Pep Guardiola expressed gratitude to Didier Deschamps for picking the "best left-sided central defender in Europe" after Aymeric Laporte finally received a France call-up.

Les Bleus boss Deschamps ended the uncapped Manchester City defender's lengthy exile by naming him in the squad to face Albania and Andorra in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The uncapped 25-year-old has had to be extremely patient for international opportunities despite his consistently excellent displays at the heart of City's defence.

Laporte's performances have forced Guardiola to revise his opinion of the former Athletic Bilbao player, a day after Liverpool counterpart Virgil van Dijk was crowned UEFA Men's Player of the Year.

"It was a mistake when I said he is one of the best – for me he is the best left-sided central defender in Europe," Guardiola said of Laporte, who last won a France call-up in 2017.

"I'm incredibly grateful to Didier Deschamps and so happy for [Laporte] because he deserves it.

"All of us were so happy for him because he was looking for this call for a long time and hopefully he can stay. Now it depends on him."

Kyle Walker was less fortunate on the international front, the England regular squeezed out of Gareth Southgate's latest squad due to a surplus of right-backs.

Guardiola admitted "a little bit" of surprise over the decision but backed the 29-year-old to regain his place.

"Of course, Kyle and myself are not involved. We respect the decision and I think Kyle will come back strong," he said.

"It's [Southgate's] decision, of course I understand him and support the manager of the national team."

Walker's good form at club level has earned him three Premier League starts and restricted new signing Joao Cancelo to a brief cameo in the win over Bournemouth.

"With Joao, we are delighted with what we have seen," the City boss said.

"But he arrived late so was not in pre-season. There are many things Kyle knows completely well.

"Joao is starting to understand what to do and maybe [against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday] or maybe after the international break he will start to play."

Guardiola confirmed injured pair John Stones and Gabriel Jesus are "much better" but doubted whether they would be available for the match at the Etihad Stadium.

John Stones will be missing again for Manchester City against Bournemouth but Oleksandr Zinchenko is fit to start on Sunday.

England defender Stones did not feature against Tottenham in the Premier League last week due to a thigh injury, with Nicolas Otamendi instead partnering Aymeric Laporte.

The same duo are set to start again for City this week, as Guardiola offered little update on Stones other than to confirm his continued absence.

"No, I don't know. He's not fit for this weekend," Guardiola told a news conference, before he was asked about next weekend and replied: "We'll see."

There was better news on Zinchenko's fitness, however, after the left-back looked to be struggling during the closing stages of the 2-2 draw with Spurs.

Guardiola confirmed the 22-year-old had merely been suffering from cramp and would be available at Bournemouth.

"He's fit. He has been training. It was cramp," the manager said.

"It was such a demanding game against Tottenham. We had incredibly tough games against Liverpool [in the Community Shield] and Tottenham and the people, at the end, were tired.

"If we were more clinical in both boxes, the game in the last 20 minutes might have been easy. By going to 2-2, it's always so demanding. Against top teams, the physicality is tough.

"We're not yet in the normal process of games every three days where the rhythm is there. It was cramp, but he's okay.

New signing Joao Cancelo "is ready with his understanding", according to Guardiola, but he added the full City squad will not be needed until the fixtures ramp up following the international break.

Cancelo would have been one option to replace Zinchenko had he missed out, but the City boss is not short of alternatives, with Benjamin Mendy also back in training.

"On the left, we have Oleks, we have Angelino, we have Mendy coming back now in training all week with us," Guardiola said.

"Normally, [Cancelo] would play right-back, but he can play left. Juventus played him left many times. He can play both sides and as a winger, too.

"He can play several positions, but normally we think about him playing right-back because Kyle [Walker] cannot play every week every three days. It's impossible."

Manchester City's record signing Rodri has been named to make his Premier League debut as the champions begin their title defence against West Ham.

The Spain international joins Kevin De Bruyne and new captain David Silva in midfield but fellow new arrival Joao Cancelo has to settle for a place on the bench.

Rodri, 23, started the Community Shield triumph over Liverpool and seven members of that team have held their places.

The serious knee injury Leroy Sane suffered last weekend opens the door to Gabriel Jesus, who wins a spot in the XI ahead of Sergio Aguero.

Riyad Mahrez has been cleared to play and replaces Bernardo Silva on the flank opposite to Raheem Sterling.

City left Mahrez out of their Community Shield squad as they had been unable to establish whether he inadvertently ingested a banned substance while on international duty with Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

West Ham, meanwhile, have included their own record acquisition, striker Sebastien Haller, for Saturday's clash at the London Stadium.

Manuel Pellegrini's men will attempt to reverse a seven-match losing streak against City in all competitions.

 

David Silva has been named the new captain of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

The experienced former Spain international, who signed from Valencia in 2010 and has won 10 major trophies at the Etihad Stadium, takes over the armband from Vincent Kompany, who joined Anderlecht as player-manager at the end of last season.

In June, Silva announced 2019-20 will be his last with City.

Guardiola said the 33-year-old playmaker, who was elected by team-mates, will be supported by vice-captains Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

"A captain has to be what he is," the City manager said ahead his side beginning their quest for a third consecutive Premier League title at West Ham. "It's an incredible, big respect from his mates. The decision they have to take is the best thing for the club.

"David has to be himself, make decisions for the team. Normally, it depends what the captain is like when [in] the locker room. They are nice guys, they know each other, they laugh a lot. It will not be a problem. He will be a good captain."

Champions City are likely to hand a Premier League debut to club-record signing Rodri on Saturday, although the match comes too soon for Joao Cancelo, whose move from Juventus in a part-exchange deal involving Danilo was only confirmed on Thursday.

"Cancelo is not going to play, not yet," Guardiola said. "He's going to settle good, he has experience, especially in Turin with a very important team.

"Rodri, every day I'm more convinced that this deal we have done with him will be one of the best this club has done in the last years. He will be an incredible holding midfielder."

City will also have Aymeric Laporte back from a knock, and Riyad Mahrez is available after he skipped the Community Shield clash with Liverpool due to concerns that medicine he took while on international duty with Algeria could complicate a doping control test.

Guardiola is expecting a difficult test against a side managed by former City boss Manuel Pellegrini, especially given the Hammers' form towards the end of last season, when they claimed three consecutive wins over Tottenham, Southampton and Watford.

"Last season, they finished well," he said. "Manuel has quality in identifying the way he plays. At the start, it was not easy: they lost the first three of four games. But he's a calm person and the board supported him. He made good results at the end of the season.

"The quality in his teams and the quality of the players up front, they've got many good players. It's the first game. Playing away is tricky but we are ready."

Joao Cancelo cited Pep Guardiola as a key factor in his decision to join Manchester City, where he is ready to battle with Kyle Walker for the right-back slot.

Portugal international Cancelo completed his switch to the Premier League champions on Wednesday, with Danilo moving in the other direction to Juventus as part of the deal.

Guardiola has made his use of full-backs an integral part of his tactics at the Etihad Stadium and Cancelo is relishing getting to work with the fourth club he will represent in as many seasons.

"Obviously, Pep Guardiola was a big reason for me to join Manchester City. I've always admired him and the way his teams play since he started at Barcelona," he told a news conference.

"It's not by chance that Manchester City have won the last two Premier Leagues and all the domestic trophies in England last season.

"I love his style of play, his character – he's very detail-orientated. That's why I'm here today."

Including the valuation of Danilo, City's deal for Cancelo tallied up to around €60million, although such a hefty price tag does not weigh heavily for the 25-year-old.

Nor does the prospect of challenging for a starting spot against Walker, the England international who signed a new five-year contract in June and starred in Sunday's Community Shield triumph over Liverpool with a magnificent goal-line clearance.

"It's a high price for a right-back but the responsibility is good for me as it will push me to be a better player and to mature to be a better player than I was when I joined," he said.

"I'm aware how Kyle is one of the best full-backs. But I always love challenges, bringing myself to the limit.

"I'm going to compete with him and I'll try to get my place. It will be up to the manager to choose one or the other, but I promise I will try to work hard and compete as best as I can.

"As a player I like new challenges; I was aware of the competition I would find here. Walker is a great player but the more competition you have the better you become as a player. 

"I have a dream to be the best in my position and the only way to do that is by challenging yourself. Only by playing with the best can you do that."

Someone Cancelo places in that bracket is Bernardo Silva, his international team-mate and former Benfica academy colleague with whom he is now reunited in Manchester.

"I've talked with Bernardo Siva several times before and he's said this is an amazing place to be," Cancelo added.

“Bernardo is a great player. We have a great relationship. For me, he is one of the best players in the world. It's a pleasure to play with him.

"The style of play of Manchester City is very good. I feel it is an ideal place for me to develop."

Joao Cancelo's move to Manchester City marks Pep Guardiola's latest upgrade to a position that has become pivotal to his all-conquering tactical approach.

Dani Alves and Eric Abidal starred in Guardiola's celebrated Barcelona side but he truly began to experiment and innovate with full-backs during his time at Bayern Munich.

In order to offset the counter-attacking threat of Bundesliga opponents, he began to deploy Philipp Lahm and David Alaba "tucked-in" alongside their defensive midfielder – a tactic that also aided the control of possession Guardiola so greatly craves. A source close to the Catalan tactician told Omnisport the internal positioning of full-backs is probably his biggest innovation.

Upon his arrival at City in 2016, the Bayern approach was briefly used. However, an aging group of fine club servants – Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Aleksandar Kolarov – were not up to the job, to varying degrees. As his team found their feet on the way to a third-placed Premier League finish in 2016-17, Fernandinho was even selected in both full-back positions.

In Guardiola's overhaul that close season, a transfer window that proved key to City's subsequent domestic dominance, the majority of a £221.5million outlay went on full-backs.

There have also been some less-likely solutions found and challenges remain at City in a defensive role the 48-year-old has revolutionised.

Kyle Walker

A weighty £50m acquisition from Tottenham, Walker has proved his worth as first choice throughout City's back-to-back Premier League title triumphs. The pace and athleticism that became his calling card and White Hart Lane were to the fore in an astonishing goal-line clearance during Sunday's Community Shield encounter against Liverpool, but the 29-year-old has proved himself to be a more adaptable performer than many considered.

Walker offers Guardiola in-game flexibility by being able to operate on the right of a back three – a role he also filled throughout England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. Having penned a five-year contract extension last month, it is possible his future could lie at centre-back.

Benjamin Mendy

Social media comedian and an instant cult-hero for City supporters, a succession of debilitating knee injuries mean the laughs have dried up for Mendy. When fit and firing, the £51.75m signing from Monaco offers a dynamic attacking option from deep and would help to shift the focus of City's attacks down the left if Leroy Sane joins Bayern Munich. At this stage, however, reaching and maintaining full fitness must be the France international's sole focus.

Danilo

Heading in the other direction to Turin as a makeweight in the Cancelo deal, Danilo has rarely let City down when called upon. He enjoyed a brief period as first choice midway through last season when Walker's form waned at right-back but has largely been a victim of the England man becoming one of Guardiola's most trusted performers. Two seasons in Manchester yielded four Premier League goals, five major trophies and a Brazil recall for Russia 2018. Following a torrid time at Real Madrid, the 28-year-old's career is once again moving in the right direction as he begins a new chapter in Turin.

Fabian Delph

Mendy's injury woes forced Guardiola to be creative at left-back and Delph was his most unlikely success story of 2017-18. A career midfielder, he allowed Guardiola to revisit his Bayern template and started 21 league games in City's 100-point season. Form and fitness deserted Delph last time around and the emergence of another unlikely deputy paved the way for his departure to Everton.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

An attacking midfielder by trade and a signing largely expected to be loaned out before being sold at a profit. However, Zinchenko never read that script and seemingly begins 2019-20 as Guardiola's first-choice left-back. Occasional shaky outings in 2017-18 did nothing to suggest such progress but his recovery from a goal-causing error to assist Sergio Aguero in a 3-1 win at Southampton last December proved a turning point.

He was superb as City won the first part of their domestic treble against Chelsea in the EFL Cup final, although Sunday's more torrid outing at Wembley when faced with Mohamed Salah showed the transition from stand-in to specialist can be tough - as Delph would attest.

Angelino

Briefly assessed as an option amid Guardiola's full-back shortfall of 2016, Angelino was loaned to Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda before joining PSV. An impressive 2018-19 in Eindhoven saw City trigger a buy-back clause for their former academy product, with Guardiola deciding specialist cover at left-back is a must as Mendy continues his latest rehabilitation. Some accident-prone moments in pre-season suggested the 22-year-old has work to do, though.

Joao Cancelo

A technically assured player who attacks with the verve to be expected from a converted winger, Cancelo's skills appear to make him something close to the archetypal Guardiola full-back. His capacity for causing damage in the opposition half makes him a candidate to supply the threat Mendy has fleetingly provided on the opposite flank. Cancelo accounting for that natural width could in turn allow Gabriel Jesus to be fielded on the right of a front three, where he excelled during Brazil's triumphant Copa America campaign.

Talking of Brazilians, Cancelo has cited Alves as a key influence on his playing style. Having been frustrated when his former charge picked Paris Saint-Germain over City in 2017, Guardiola can content himself with having the latest model for his next innovations at full-back. 

Manchester City have completed the signing of Portugal international full-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus in a deal that sees Danilo move in the opposite direction.

Cancelo, 25, has signed a six-year contract at the Etihad Stadium after just a single season at Juve.

After spending the 2017-18 season on loan at Inter from Valencia, Juve made a move and brought Cancelo to Turin for €40.4million.

He enjoyed a fine season as the Old Lady won the Serie A title, producing a number of high-quality performances on the right flank, with his dribbling and driving runs into the attacking third catching the eye.

"City are a fantastic club, with a brilliant manager and I am delighted to be here," Cancelo told City's website. "Everything about them has impressed me, from the facilities, to their style of play.

"I am always looking to develop my game and win trophies and I believe I can do that here, so now I'm really looking forward to the new season and testing myself in the Premier League."

City had been linked with a move for him for much of the transfer window, apparently having had an offer rejected earlier in the close season.

New Juve coach Maurizio Sarri was said to have approved the sale of Cancelo even before he took over from Massimiliano Allegri in June.

Cancelo will compete with Kyle Walker for the right-back spot, unless the latter is used in a central role, while he can also offer cover on the left.

Danilo, meanwhile, moves in the other direction, having only featured 34 times in the Premier League during his two seasons at the English club. Juventus revealed the total deal was worth €65m (£60m), having paid €37m (£34.1m) to bring in the Brazilian defender.

Juventus have completed the signing of Danilo from Manchester City, the full-back moving to Turin as part of the deal that sees Joao Cancelo join the Premier League champions.

Brazil defender Danilo has signed a five-year contract with the Serie A giants after completing a medical on Wednesday following his arrival in Turin a day earlier.

Cancelo – who signed from Valencia for a reported €40.4million in 2018 – has gone in the opposition direction, with Juve paying City €37m (£34.1m) for Danilo in a transfer worth €65m (£60m) in total.

City reportedly spent £26.5m to bring Danilo in from Real Madrid in 2017, though he played only 34 times in the Premier League across his two seasons in England.

The 28-year-old becomes the latest addition for Juve in a busy close season.

They have also recruited Aaron Ramsey, Luca Pellegrini, Adrien Rabiot, Gianluigi Buffon, Merih Demiral, Matthijs de Ligt and Cristian Romero, who has returned to Genoa on loan.

 

@2DaniLuiz's first words as a Juventus player pic.twitter.com/AQKlPD78nH

— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 7, 2019

Danilo's move from Manchester City to Juventus is edging closer to completion after the full-back arrived for his medical with the Serie A giants.

The 28-year-old is set to join Juve as part of a deal to take Portugal defender Joao Cancelo to City, with the Old Lady also reportedly receiving £25.7m (€28m).

Having arrived in Turin on Tuesday, Juve's eighth signing of the transfer window was sent to the club's medical facility for checks the next day.

Former Real Madrid man Danilo signed for City in 2017 and went onto make 34 Premier League appearances for Pep Guardiola's side, scoring four goals.

City are also expected to announce Cancelo's signing on Wednesday, with Guardiola set to secure a player his side have been linked with throughout the close season.

Manchester City right-back Danilo has arrived in Turin as the Premier League champions look set to complete a deal with Juventus for Joao Cancelo.

It has been reported City will have to pay £25.7million (€28m) for Portugal defender Cancelo, as well as sending Danilo to the Serie A champions.

Amid claims Cancelo had touched down in Manchester for a medical, Juve posted a clip on their Twitter page of Danilo stepping off a plane in Italy and posing for pictures.

City spent a reported £26.5m to sign Danilo from Real Madrid in 2017, the Brazil international playing 34 times in the Premier League across two seasons.

Cancelo cost Juve €40.4m in 2018 and made 25 Serie A appearances.

After breaking the world-record fee for a defender, Manchester United do not appear to be done just yet.

With Harry Maguire joining Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James at Old Trafford, a London-based Dane could make the move to Manchester.

It could also lead to an in-demand Portuguese midfielder swapping Sporting CP for Tottenham.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE LAST-DITCH ERIKSEN MOVE

Manchester United are hoping to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen before Thursday's deadline, according to the Daily Mail.

Eriksen is reluctant to renew his contract – which expires in 2020 – with Tottenham and United are looking to lure the Denmark international to Manchester prior to the transfer window closing.

If Eriksen, who has also been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, leaves Tottenham then he could be replaced with Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

Portugal international Fernandes has long been tipped to join United.

 

ROUND-UP

- InfoSport+ says Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60million offer for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala. Dybala was linked to Manchester United as part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku but that move has seemingly ended over reported wage demands.

- Staying with the same theme and Corriere dello Sport reports that D-Day is approaching. Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing Dybala to leave Turin, as the Argentina international weighs up offers from Manchester United and PSG. Lukaku, meanwhile, is said to have already reached an agreement with the Serie A champions.

Bayern Munich are set to sign Manchester City's Leroy Sane, claims France Football. The Germany international will reportedly return to his homeland in a club-record €113m (£104.4m) transfer on a five-year contract.

Inter are considering signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal on loan, according to FcInterNews. Vidal worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus and they could be reunited in Milan as Barca look to lighten their midfield following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong.

- Widespread reports in Italy claim a deal involving Joao Cancelo and Danilo is done. Manchester City will reportedly send Danilo and €28m to Juventus in exchange for Portugal full-back Cancelo.

- According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Premier League side Wolves are ready to offer €30m for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. The 25-year-old has also been linked to Arsenal following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral.

Everton have put together a £100m transfer package to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. According to The Sun, Everton will offer £65m plus striker Cenk Tosun and midfielder James McCarthy.

- Widespread reports in the United Kingdom claim Wayne Rooney is close to joining Championship outfit Derby County as a player-coach. Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney has two seasons remaining on his contract with MLS team DC United.

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku to Juventus in a straight swap for Paulo Dybala? It appears simple, however, it is not.

United and Juventus are reportedly ready to exchange players, but Dybala is not entirely convinced about leaving Turin.

Now Inter could be set to pounce as the transfer window takes another turn…

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA HAS UNITED DOUBTS AS INTER CIRCLE

According to multiple reports in Italy, Juventus attacker Dybala has no intention of joining Manchester United in a swap deal involving Lukaku.

Inter had been favourites to sign Lukaku, however, Serie A champions Juve have emerged as frontrunners to prise the Belgium striker at the expense of Dybala.

United and Juve have reportedly agreed on an exchange but Calciomercato, Rai Sport and Tuttomercatoweb claim Dybala is not convinced about a move to Old Trafford due to a lack of Champions League and his style of football in the Premier League.

Dybala – who is apparently demanding a higher salary than Paul Pogba and is set to meet Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri – could end up at Inter, with Corriere dello Sport's front page dominated by a shock move.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Bild+, Bayern Munich have made their first offer for Manchester City winger Leroy Sane. The report comes after Niko Kovac apologised for saying he was confident of signing Sane before the transfer window shuts.

- Paris Saint-Germain have named their price for wantaway star Neymar. L'Equipe says the Ligue 1 champions are demanding €300million for the Brazilian, who is wanted by former club Barcelona.

- Calciomercato says Manchester City are close to signing Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo. The Premier League champions have been linked with Cancelo throughout the window and they are now poised to complete a deal for the Portugal international, who could cost £45.6-50.1m (€50-55m).

Napoli want to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, according to Sky Sports News. Napoli, who have been linked to James Rodriguez, Hirving Lozano and Nicolas Pepe, are willing to pay Palace €59.9m (£54.6m) for the Ivory Coast international.

- According to Sky Sports News, Manchester United are prepared to pay up to £80m for Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire. The Red Devils have been pursuing Maguire throughout the window, but a deal is yet to be reached. However, United are willing to eclipse the world-record fee for a defender.

- Tuttosport claims Edinson Cavani has taken another step towards signing for Inter. Amid Inter's ongoing and so far fruitless pursuit of Lukaku, Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani has emerged as a target, with a financial proposal agreed by the Uruguay international.

Maybe Juventus are not ready to give up on signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba just yet.

Pogba, 26, has been linked with a return to Turin and a move to Real Madrid as he looks for an Old Trafford exit.

But, just as it looked like Juve were struggling and Madrid was the midfielder's most likely destination, that may have changed.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO OFFER THREE PLAYERS IN MOVE FOR POGBA

Juventus could offer a fee plus three players in their move for Manchester United star Pogba, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Full-back Joao Cancelo, attacker Douglas Costa and midfielder Blaise Matuidi are the players mentioned for potential moves in the report.

Meanwhile, ESPN FC report Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has told coach Zinedine Zidane that it will be very difficult to sign Pogba this close season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are still trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. According to Sky Germany, Barca are offering €100million plus two players, having given PSG a list of six that includes Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and Malcom. That is up from the earlier offer of €40m plus two players. According to Sport, Barca have made Coutinho and Rakitic priorities to be sold.

- After being linked to Bayern Munich, Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to re-sign with Chelsea. The Daily Mail report the 18-year-old England international will sign a five-year deal worth more than £100,000 per week to stay at Stamford Bridge.

- Giovani Lo Celso apparently wants to join Tottenham, but Spurs are unwilling to meet Real Betis' £60m (€66.8m) asking price, according to The Sun, who say Erik Lamela could be added into a deal. Danny Rose could also reportedly leave Spurs and Sky Sports say PSG are interested in the left-back.

- Arsenal have beaten their north London rivals to the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, according to ESPN FC. Arsenal will complete the signing of Saliba for £26.9m (€30m) and loan him back to the Ligue 1 club despite late interest from Spurs, the report says.

- Another reported Arsenal target, Wilfried Zaha, has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave, according to The Sun. Arsenal have reportedly had a £40m bid for the attacker rejected.

- Bayern Munich are ready to meet Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez's €25m release clause, according to Kicker. Mendez, 22, was handed a Spain debut late last year and scored six goals while providing seven assists for Celta in LaLiga in 2018-19.

One of the more prolonged transfer sagas of the close-season is over after Juventus completed the purchase of highly rated Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax.

The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the finest prospects in world football and will cost Juve a total of €85.5million, with the Serie A champions beating off competition from a host of major European clubs for his signature.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Liverpool were all strongly linked with the imposing centre-back, but he will instead bolster Juve's already impressive squad.

Juve have moved with impressive decisiveness in the transfer market in recent times and new coach Maurizio Sarri has a particularly strong array of defenders to choose from next term following confirmation of De Ligt's arrival.

Below, we examined what Sarri's squad looks like after De Ligt's signing, what further changes could be made and how the team might start the season...

GOALKEEPER AND DEFENCE – An end of an era?

There have been changes aplenty in this department at Juve recently. Wojciech Szczesny can expect to remain first choice between the posts, but the return of Gianluigi Buffon on a year-long contract will keep the Pole on his toes.

One of the most surprising things about Juve's close season is their apparent willingness to offload Joao Cancelo, a standout performer last term. He is being strongly linked with Manchester City, as Danilo seems likely to go the other way.

Nevertheless, Juve's defence has been suitably bolstered. With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci getting on in years, the sought-after De Ligt, Cristian Romero and Merih Demiral provide long-term quality and youthfulness at centre-back (albeit Romero will remain at Genoa on loan next season], while 19-year-old Luca Pellegrini offers competition at left-back.

Sarri's biggest decision will revolve around his centre-back choices. Having worked with Daniele Rugani at Empoli, he might see more action and De Ligt can surely expect to feature regularly.

An end to the Chiellini-Bonucci dynasty might not be far away.

 

MIDFIELD – Big roles for Pjanic and Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot are the new midfield arrivals and both join with massive expectations – particularly the former, who many feel could be Juve's answer to the Marek Hamsik of Sarri's Napoli side.

Sarri's favoured 4-3-3 dictates one of the midfield trio will sit deeper. He likes that player to be very comfortable on the ball and a fine passer, meaning Miralem Pjanic looks set to fill the 'Jorginho role', as the Bosnian appears rather more suited than Sami Khedira and Emre Can.

Given Rabiot's lack of action over the past year at Paris Saint-Germain, he looks to have the most work to do to break into the starting XI, while Rodrigo Bentancur's fine development means he is likely to become essential.

However, should Juve pull off the signing of Paul Pogba from Manchester United, he would surely be an automatic pick on the left of the central trident.

 

ATTACK – Departures galore expected

Juve's options in attack are numerous, and several of them were being linked with moves away even before Sarri's appointment was confirmed.

Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic are all reportedly for sale, while Gonzalo Higuain's situation is by no means clear.

The Argentinian excelled under Sarri at Napoli and joined him at Chelsea in January, but he underwhelmed in the Premier League. As such, it is difficult to see how he fits in at Juve, but he and the coach clearly have a rapport.

Federico Bernardeschi and Cristiano Ronaldo are untouchable, while Moise Kean showed plenty of promise towards the end of last season, but if all of Sarri's expendables leave, they will be left a little short on the flanks.

Few wingers have been linked with the Bianconeri, though they are said to hold an interest in Callum Hudson-Odoi, Federico Chiesa and Burnley youngster Dwight McNeil.

 

POSSIBLE JUVENTUS XI FOR 2019-20

Szczesny; De Sciglio, De Ligt, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Ramsey, Bentancur; Bernardeschi, Ronaldo, Mandzukic

Real Madrid want Paul Pogba and the LaLiga giants are confident the Manchester United midfielder would reject a possible return to Juventus.

Pogba, 26, is set to leave Old Trafford this close season, just three years after returning to the Premier League club from Juve.

The France international is heavily linked with a move to Madrid, but the Serie A champions are also reportedly interested.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID BELIEVE POGBA WILL REJECT JUVE RETURN

Real Madrid feel Pogba will opt against a return to Juventus even if the chance presented itself, according to the Daily Mail.

The report says Pogba wants to play for compatriot and Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and experience a new league.

Pogba has travelled with United for their pre-season tour, but his agent recently said the midfielder wants an exit.

ROUND-UP

- Madrid are set to raise some funds by selling James Rodriguez to Napoli. Marca report Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is in Madrid with James' agent, with the LaLiga side wanting €42million for the playmaker. Napoli, meanwhile, want an option to buy later.

- Mauro Icardi is unwanted at Inter, with Napoli and Juventus linked with the forward. Corriere dello Sport report Juve president Andrea Agnelli was meeting with agent Gabriele Giuffrida, who could be the intermediary for negotiations between the Serie A champions and Inter.

- Manchester United appear to be searching for a midfielder this close season and they are linked with a surprise move for Tiemoue Bakayoko. RMC Sport say United have made contact with Chelsea about Bakayoko, back at Stamford Bridge after a loan spell at AC Milan, while Paris Saint-Germain are also chasing the French midfielder.

- Juventus are willing to sell Joao Cancelo. According to Corriere Torino, Maurizio Sarri has approved the sale of the full-back, who has been linked to Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

- Everton are looking to strengthen with the addition of a forward. Sport report the Premier League club are willing to offer £31.4m (€35m) for Barcelona forward Malcom, who has also attracted interest from Arsenal. Meanwhile, La Gazzetta dello Sport say Everton had a £26.9m (€30m) offer for teenage Juventus forward Moise Kean turned down.

- Like Icardi unwanted at Inter, Radja Nainggolan has offers from China. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Belgian midfielder is evaluating offers from Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs Dalian Yifang and Shanghai Shenhua.

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