Rumour Has It: Barcelona close to Depay, Wijnaldum deals as Suarez agrees Juventus terms

By Sports Desk September 05, 2020

As Luis Suarez seemingly nears a Barcelona exit, the LaLiga giants could be getting close to two additions.

Barca were given a huge boost on Friday as star Lionel Messi announced he would stay at the club for another season.

But there are still set to be moves at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA CLOSE TO DEPAY, WIJNALDUM DEALS

Barcelona are close to deals for Lyon star Memphis Depay and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, according to AD.

Depay and Wijnaldum have been reported to be targets for Barca, who are rebuilding under Ronald Koeman after a tumultuous 2019-20 season.

Goal reports Barcelona are confident of landing Wijnaldum, who is out of contract next year.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Barcelona rebuild is set to see several exits, however. BBC reports Suarez has agreed a deal with Serie A champions Juventus.

- With Messi staying at Barcelona, perhaps Manchester City will turn their focus elsewhere. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Premier League giants are set to make a new offer – of at least £66.8million (€75m) – for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

- The other half of Manchester are enduring frustrations of their own. The Daily Star reports Manchester United are preparing to walk away from a deal for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho due to the Bundesliga club wanting £110m (€123.5m) for the forward.

- Arsenal could face competition for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey. ESPN reports Paris Saint-Germain have joined the Premier League club in the race for Partey.

- While Zlatan Ibrahimovic is staying at Milan, the Serie A club may be looking for more firepower. Tuttosport reports they are again considering a move for Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic, who struggled in his first season in the Spanish capital.

- Also at Milan and Fabrizio Romano reports they are close to reaching an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. It would be a loan for €3m (£2.7m) with an option to buy for €30m (£26.7m).

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    The past week showed everyone that Real Madrid are vulnerable. Everyone it seems, except Ronald Koeman.

    Consecutive defeats and some rather loud questions about the future of Zinedine Zidane meant Saturday's game at Camp Nou was one he dare not lose. For Koeman, this was a chance to go for the jugular, to show LaLiga and the watching world what improvements he has made to Barcelona since taking over in August.

    Instead, the first Clasico of the season was a commanding 3-1 win for Madrid, a bruising outing for Lionel Messi and a 90-minute showcase of how unclear the Koeman blueprint seems to be.

    He went, as expected, with Barca's first starting 4-2-3-1 in a Clasico since at least 2005-06, but his line-up was still puzzling. Ansu Fati is a rare talent with a robustness under pressure to match – and, of course, he scored here to cancel out Federico Valverde's opener – but Pedri, another 17-year-old, was chosen ahead of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele as two of Barca's most expensive signings again began on the bench.

    The two France forwards are hardly untouchables in this side, but starting a player of such limited experience as Pedri was a gamble that didn't pay off. He completed 79.5 per cent of his passes, the lowest rate of any starting player for Barca, and failed to have a shot or create a chance. It was a surprise that it took until the 81st minute for Koeman to bring him off.

    By the time Griezmann and Dembele were summoned in the second half, with Barca chasing the game, it was too little, too late. Sergio Ramos, the major-general of Zidane's fiercest battles, had seen to that.

    The Madrid captain can claim to be the most critical asset to either side of this famous rivalry, Messi included. Zidane had insisted this week he would not use Ramos were he not 100 per cent fit, but it sounded a hollow threat. Those chastening defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk had shown the boss that playing Ramos here was worth the risk.

    So it proved. Ramos made four clearances, three interceptions and one crucial block from a Philippe Coutinho effort at 2-1. He misplaced just three of 55 passes and completed all 15 of those attempted in the Barca half. When Clement Lenglet foolishly took a handful of his shirt to concede a penalty, there seemed only one outcome. Not even VAR delays can throw Ramos off his stride.

    He capped his display by stopping a late Messi run with an almost impudent back-foot challenge, the kind that will likely have fan accounts on social media sharing the footage every week until the reverse fixture.

    Still, even with their captain back in the team, this is a flawed and fragile Madrid, with no fit recognised right-backs and who had only scored six goals in five league games, yet Koeman's set-up left them an easy ride.

    After Messi had a shot well blocked by Thibaut Courtois 24 minutes in, Barca did not muster a single effort on target, meaning Luka Modric's composed late finish was scarcely even necessary. It was all too deep, too central and too slow; for Ramos and his fellow defenders, it was a picnic.

    It is still early in the season to write off Koeman's chances, but two wins from five games and a six-point gap to Madrid at the top – albeit with a game in hand – are sufficient warning signs of the task at hand.

    Ernesto Valverde's Barca were too rigid and Quique Setien's frighteningly open, but, after more than two months, we're no closer to knowing what kind of team Koeman's are.

  • Ramos: Pivotal Madrid penalty 'very clear' Ramos: Pivotal Madrid penalty 'very clear'

    Sergio Ramos felt the penalty he won and scored to inspire Real Madrid to a Clasico triumph at Barcelona was "very clear".

    With Saturday's clash at Camp Nou level at 1-1 in the second half after early goals from Federico Valverde and Ansu Fati, Ramos went down in the Barca box.

    It was an extravagant fall from the Madrid captain but caught the attention of the VAR, with replays highlighting a blatant tug on his shirt from Clement Lenglet.

    A spot-kick was subsequently awarded and Ramos found the net before Luka Modric made sure of the points in the 90th minute.

    Barca players were furious with the penalty decision, but Ramos saw no controversy in the call.

    "The penalty is very clear," he said. "For me, the action is clear. The referees and the VAR are there to help us."

    Wins at Barca are always worthy of celebration for Madrid, but this success was especially precious after consecutive home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk.

    Ramos played just 45 minutes across those matches due to a knee problem and was delighted by the LaLiga champions' response in Catalonia.

    "It was a week in which to vindicate ourselves and a Clasico is a unique match in the world," he said. "We faced it with great enthusiasm.

    "You always have to be united and you cannot regret bad streaks or previous results.

    "We are happy with the three points, and emotionally it is very good for the next matches. It is always very rewarding to win at our eternal rivals."

    He added: "A week of crisis at Real Madrid is two games. We have to keep adding three points at a time and keep the good energy of the group.

    "There are points that taste like glory - that is how it is here at our eternal rivals' stadium. This team has won a lot and we want to continue doing so."

    Ramos was influential at both ends of the field, with Madrid requiring their skipper to lead a determined defensive stand between his goal and Modric's.

    The centre-back, who had more shots (four) and shots on target (three) than any team-mate, weighed in with three tackles, four clearances, three interceptions and a block.

    He won seven of his 10 duels and all three in the air as Madrid batted away wave after wave of Barcelona attack over a 25-minute spell.

  • Davies facing up to eight weeks out as Bayern confirm ankle ligament tear Davies facing up to eight weeks out as Bayern confirm ankle ligament tear

    Bayern Munich expect Alphonso Davies to be out for up to eight weeks after the full-back damaged ankle ligaments against Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Davies was substituted after three minutes of Saturday's 5-0 Bundesliga victory at the Allianz Arena after rolling his ankle.

    Head coach Hansi Flick said the 19-year-old has torn ligaments and is not expected to return until at least early December.

    "He sustained a ligament injury. One ligament is fully torn, another is partially torn. We reckon he'll be sidelined for six to eight weeks," Flick told reporters.

    "It hurts when a player of this quality is ruled out."

    Davies is likely to miss most of Bayern's remaining matches in 2020, including their five remaining Champions League group games and the Klassiker with Borussia Dortmund on November 7.

    The champions' win over Frankfurt, in which Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick before further goals from Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala, moved them to within a point of league leaders RB Leipzig after five games.

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