Lionel Messi could stay at Barcelona after all.

Messi, 33, sensationally asked to leave the LaLiga giants after a tumultuous 2019-20 season, which ended without a trophy.

But the saga goes on – and it may conclude with Messi remaining at the club.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CONSIDERING BARCELONA STAY

Messi is considering staying at Barcelona until the end of the upcoming season, according to Sport.

The Argentina star, who is contracted through until the end of June 2021, would begin negotiating with another club from January, the report says.

Messi has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, while Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus are also reportedly interested in the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The latest news comes as Marca reports Europe's top clubs have a tacit agreement to avoid aggressive tactics when it comes to transfers.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea's spending spree looks one step closer to continuing. Sky Sports reports the Premier League giants have agreed a deal with Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz, paying £71.4million (€80m) plus £17.9m (€20m) in add-ons. Havertz is set to join the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva as arrivals at Stamford Bridge.

- Manchester United are not giving up on Jadon Sancho. The Daily Mail reports United are sorting out the salary and fees of intermediaries before making an official bid to Borussia Dortmund for Sancho. The Bundesliga club reportedly want £108m (€121m) for the England international.

- Barcelona are expecting to rebuild this close season. Cadena SER reports no offers have come in for Samuel Umtiti and the defender could be allowed to leave for free despite being contracted until 2023.

- Despite having a deal at Bayern Munich until next year, Javi Martinez could push for an exit. Goal reports the midfielder is keen to return to Athletic Bilbao, the club he left to join Bayern in 2012, and the Bundesliga side are prepared to negotiate a sale.

- Having struggled at West Ham, Felipe Anderson could be on the move. The Mirror reports the Brazilian has been offered to Arsenal on loan for £5m.

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo said expectations are high after replacing Maurizio Sarri as the Serie A champions eye a 10th consecutive Scudetto and Champions League final berth with "great desire".

Juve surprisingly turned to first-time coach and club great Pirlo last month following the dismissal of Sarri, who led the Italian giants to a ninth successive Serie A title in 2019-20.

While Sarri helped maintain Juve's dominance in Serie A, albeit by only a point ahead of Inter, a shock Champions League last-16 exit to Lyon proved the final straw for the club's hierarchy.

With Pirlo – who was promoted from his position as Under-23 coach following just a week in charge – now at the helm, the former Italy midfielder provided an assessment of his squad ahead of their Serie A opener against Sampdoria on September 20.

"We will give all of ourselves, we will certainly have a great desire to show the fans that Juventus wants to win the 10th consecutive Scudetto and possibly reach the end of the Champions League," the 41-year-old told JTV.

"There's a great desire and high expectations, but we are here, and we want to do our best."

"I've had good impressions, we started well with enthusiasm and desire to go again," Pirlo added. "After a few days, the lads left with the national teams but we continue to work with those who stayed here.

"The lads are eager to do well, they have found a new methodology with some new exercises they have never done and therefore this already brings enthusiasm.

"The path will be long, also because we don't have a lot of time to work with many players who are away.

"But we are working well with those we have available. I hope I will have transmitted some concepts we are working on already for the first day and hope to find something in the middle of the pitch."

The Champions League is highly coveted in Turin, with Juventus unable to get their hands on the trophy since 1996.

Since reigning supreme in Europe 24 years ago, Juve have finished runners-up in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2015 and 2017.

"The aggression and the desire to win the ball back after losing it, that’s something we are working on a lot," Pirlo continued.

"Looking at the last Champions League, the teams that went all the way were the ones who were trying to recover the ball in the shortest possible time. That must be a characteristic that distinguishes us."

Leicester City have signed Belgium full-back Timothy Castagne from Atalanta on a five-year deal.

The Foxes have paid the Serie A club an undisclosed fee, reported to be £21.5million (€24.1m), to take the versatile 24-year-old to the King Power Stadium subject to Premier League and international clearance.

Castagne joins Brendan Rodgers' side just over a week after England left-back Ben Chilwell made a big-money move to Chelsea.

Capped seven times by Belgium, Castagne can play on either side of the defence and helped Atalanta reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, as well as secure a third-place finish in Serie A.

Castagne will link up with his new team-mates, including compatriots Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet, after he has been on international duty.

He came through the youth system at Genk and spent three seasons with the club before making the move to Italy.

After three campaigns with Atalanta, Castagne will now get an opportunity to ply his trade in the Premier League for a Leicester side that just missed out on a Champions League spot last season.

Chelsea rejected the chance to sign Miralem Pjanic from Juventus as part of a swap deal for Jorginho, according to the Italy international's agent Joao Santos.

Jorginho had been strongly linked with a return to Serie A with champions Juventus during Maurizio Sarri's time in charge.

Juve replaced Sarri with Andrea Pirlo last month and have signed Arthur from Barcelona, however, with Pjanic heading the opposite way.

But Jorginho's representative Santos claims things could have turned out differently had Sarri remained in place at the Allianz Stadium.

"Juventus had offered a swap deal including Miralem Pjanic, but the English side didn't take it into consideration," he told Tuttomercatoweb.

"[Juve sporting director Fabio] Paratici never called me. Would he have moved to Juventus with Sarri? I think so."

Jorginho has had a mixed spell with Chelsea since joining from Napoli two years ago and has also been touted as a target for Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Roma.

And Santos says the 28-year-old, who is currently on international duty with Italy, will look to find a new club if he is overlooked for selection by Blues boss Frank Lampard.

"He has a three-year deal with Chelsea. The market is long, it will last until October 5," he said. 

"If Chelsea were to think that he is no longer part of the project, I would find an alternative solution.

"Last year he played 40 games for Chelsea and is an important member of the national team. 

"So far we haven't received any official offers. He is followed by many clubs and there aren't many players with his characteristics in that role."

It seems little progress was made between Barcelona and Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, has sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants, but the transfer saga looks set to drag on.

A meeting between the parties was tipped to provide some clarity, but it seems little has changed.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, BARCELONA YET TO REACH AGREEMENT

Messi and Barcelona did not reach an agreement on Wednesday, according to widespread reports in Spain.

AS reports Messi is insisting he leaves, while Barca are refusing to negotiate.

Messi has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, while Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been credited with an interest.

According to The Telegraph, Messi could leave for as little as €100million.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Luis Suarez has also been linked with a move away from Camp Nou. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the forward has almost agreed terms with Juventus, who may pay Barcelona a small fee for the 33-year-old. Suarez is out of contract next year.

- Liverpool are seemingly still trying to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. RMC Sport reports Liverpool is Thiago's only choice despite links to Manchester United.

- Inter Miami could be set for a huge signing. ESPN reports Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain is very close to agreeing to personal terms with the MLS club.

- After a fine loan spell at Roma, Chris Smalling is wanted by the Serie A club. Gianluca Di Marzio reports there is confidence from Roma they can get a permanent deal done for the Manchester United defender, who could sign a three-year deal.

- Roma and Manchester United may yet be involved in another deal. CalcioMercato reports Roma are looking at United midfielder Fred on a loan deal with an obligation to buy for €20m (£17.8m) to €25m (£22.2m).

- Emiliano Martinez continues to be linked with a move from Arsenal. The Telegraph reports Villarreal, who have former Arsenal boss Unai Emery in charge, are considering the goalkeeper if he is told he will not be Arsenal's first choice this season.

Sandro Tonali turned down Barcelona and Manchester United because he wanted to join Milan, according to Brescia president Massimo Cellino.

Tonali is a three-time Italy international and starred for Brescia in 2019-20, although they were relegated from Serie A.

The 20-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Inter, but is now set to join Milan.

Cellino said Tonali was eager to join Milan despite offers from Barcelona and United.

"In January we received an offer of €65million from Barcelona. Not later than 10 days ago we received an offer of 10 million higher than Milan's from Manchester United," he told Top Calcio 24.

"But the boy was determined to go to the Rossoneri."

Cellino added: "I know that [Antonio] Conte has thought a lot about Tonali, but I was also convinced that he was going to Inter.

"But at a certain point the boy didn't want to hear anything anymore and went to Milan."

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed Kalidou Koulibaly and Arkadiusz Milik would leave if the right offers came in.

Koulibaly has been linked with a move to Manchester City, while Roma are reportedly the frontrunners to sign Milik.

Speaking on Wednesday, De Laurentiis said the duo would depart Napoli for the right price.

"Koulibaly and Milik are both leaving, market permitting," he told Canale 21.

"So, if the market allows these two talented players to leave, we will know how to replace them.

"Otherwise, we will talk about them next year."

Koulibaly, 29, has developed into one of Europe's leading centre-backs since arriving at Napoli from Genk in 2014.

The Senegal international is contracted until 2023, but has been linked with a £57.7million (€65m) move to City.

Milik, meanwhile, has spent four seasons at Napoli and netted 14 goals in 35 games in all competitions in 2019-20.

Juventus midfielder Arthur says linking up with Cristiano Ronaldo will be "the realisation of a dream" as he targets Champions League success at his new club.

The Brazil international has joined Juve ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, with Miralem Pjanic having gone the opposite way and moved to Barcelona.

Arthur spent two seasons in the same side as Lionel Messi at Barca and is now relishing the prospect of playing alongside another multiple Ballon d'Or winner in Ronaldo.

"I have had the privilege of playing with great players. Playing with Ronaldo is almost the realisation of a dream," he said when presented to the media on Wednesday.

"Today is a very important day for me. I thank my family, the managers, Fabio [Paratici, chief football officer] and all those who have welcomed me."

Juventus won a ninth straight Scudetto last season but sacked head coach Maurizio Sarri after losing to Lyon in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Iconic former midfielder Andrea Pirlo was installed as Sarri's successor and Arthur is honoured to play under the Italian, who has never previously managed at senior level.

"I haven't talked to the coach in detail yet. But he played football in a unique way, different to others. I feel privileged to play for such a coach," he said. 

"Anyone with an interest in football followed his playing career."

Arthur won two trophies in his two seasons at Camp Nou, but Barca fell short in the Champions League in both campaigns.

It has been 24 years since Juve last won silverware in Europe's premier club competition and Arthur is out to change that.

"One of the main reasons for joining was this," he said. "Here I can play with important players and the Juventus project is extremely ambitious. 

"The Champions League is a priority. I will work with my team-mates to reach that goal and many others.

"We are talking about Juventus, a club with a unique history. It is a team with an important structure - all these factors will always make it unique."

Reflecting on his two years at Barca, Arthur added: "I can only thank them - ​​they had great affection for me. I was treated very well, as part of a very ambitious project."

Brahim Diaz's agent Pedro Gonzalez says Real Madrid failed to get the most out of the young midfielder and has backed his client to succeed on loan at Milan.

The 21-year-old joined Madrid in January 2019 after six years at Manchester City but has made just five LaLiga starts since then, with only substitute appearances in the top flight last season.

He previously vowed to win over head coach Zinedine Zidane, but the Spaniard is now on the verge of linking up with Milan for the 2020-21 season after flying into Malpensa airport on Wednesday.

Diaz declared himself "ready for this challenge" ahead of undergoing a medical and his representative Gonzalez is confident the ex-Man City product can become a key player at San Siro, having been underused by Zidane at Madrid.

"Brahim returned to Spain in January 2019, but in Madrid they didn't give him the required space and above all the confidence he needed," he told Tuttomercatoweb.

"He's a young player and he needs to play continuously to bring out his full potential.

"I'm convinced of the Rossoneri choice. Brahim has already lived abroad and will therefore adapt quickly to his new reality.

"His future team-mate Samu Castillejo, another great player I brought to Malaga, will help him. I say this with great pride.

"If Brahim Diaz has chosen Milan, it means he already knows he can help the team by carving out a leading role.

"I have no doubts about this. As soon as he has finished his growth path, we will talk about an absolute champion and not a promising youngster anymore."

Spain Under-21s international Diaz has scored two goals in 21 appearances for Madrid in all competitions during his 20 months at the club.

Away clashes with Inter and Milan in a hectic January could have a major say over whether Juventus continue their dominance of Serie A under Andrea Pirlo.

Legendary midfielder Pirlo was appointed Juve head coach last month after Maurizio Sarri was sacked despite guiding the Turin giants to a ninth successive Scudetto.

Inter, runners-up last season, are expected to pose the biggest threat to the champions in the upcoming season and the Nerazzurri will be at home for the first encounter between the two giants in a fixture provisionally scheduled for January 17.

Milan will be looking to kick on next season and Juve will face Stefano Pioli's side at San Siro less than a fortnight before doing battle with Inter.

Juve are due to play six Serie A matches in the first month of 2021, also taking on Udinese, Sassuolo, Bologna and Sampdoria.

Pirlo's first Serie A game in charge will come at home against Samp on September 20, with a trip to Roma following.

A title showdown could be in the offing on May 16, with the Bianconeri entertaining Inter in their penultimate game of the campaign.

The schedule, published on Wednesday, is subject to change.

 

Juventus' fixtures in full:

September 20 - Juventus v Sampdoria
September 27 - Roma v Juventus
October 4 - Juventus v Napoli
October 18 - Crotone v Juventus
October 25 - Juventus v Hellas Verona
November 1 - Spezia v Juventus
November 8 - Lazio v Juventus
November 22 - Juventus v Cagliari
November 29 - Benevento v Juventus
December 6 - Juventus v Torino
December 13 - Genoa v Juventus
December 16 - Juventus v Atalanta
December 20 - Parma v Juventus
December 23 - Juventus v Fiorentina
January 3 - Juventus v Udinese
January 6 - Milan v Juventus
January 10 - Juventus v Sassuolo
January 17 - Inter v Juventus
January 24 - Juventus v Bologna
January 31 - Sampdoria v Juventus
February 7 - Juventus v Roma
February 14 - Napoli v Juventus
February 21 - Juventus v Crotone
February 28 - Hellas Verona v Juventus
March 3 - Juventus v Spezia
March 7 - Juventus v Lazio
March 14 - Cagliari v Juventus
March 21 - Juventus v Benevento
April 3 - Torino v Juventus
April 11 - Juventus v Genoa
April 18 - Atalanta v Juventus
April 21 - Juventus v Parma
April 25 - Fiorentina v Juventus
May 2 - Udinese v Juventus
May 9 - Juventus v Milan
May 12 - Sassuolo v Juventus
May 16 - Juventus v Inter
May 23 - Bologna v Juventus

Gonzalo Higuain will leave Juventus and join a club outside Serie A, his brother and agent has confirmed.

Juve boss Andrea Pirlo confirmed last month that the striker will be allowed to leave as he will not be part of the first-team picture in 2020-21.

Higuain, who joined from Napoli in 2016 in a €90million deal, has won three Serie A titles and two Coppe Italia with the Bianconeri but spent most of 2018-19 out on loan with Milan and Chelsea.

His brother, Nicolas, says they have agreed to part ways with Juve a year before his contract expires and have already received approaches from clubs in Europe, China and the United States - although none of those are of particular interest.

"Gonzalo still has one year on his contract, but the club and Pirlo have unilaterally decided to say goodbye and we must therefore find a termination that represents a good deal for everyone," he told Tuttosport.

"We haven't yet gone into the details; we've only discussed the technical aspect. Pirlo and the management have decided there is no room for Gonzalo, so now we'll look for an agreement. I'm sure there'll be no big problems because we have a fantastic relationship with the management.

"I think it'll take a few weeks for logistical reasons. I'm in Buenos Aires and I'm struggling to get to Turin due to the pandemic. We're talking at a distance, but it'll be important to meet.

"We've had many enquiries from France, England, Spain, China, the United States... many proposals, but none to make your legs shake.

"We'll assess things calmly, but two things are for sure: Gonzalo will not play in Italy anymore, and certainly not for Boca Juniors. He grew up with River Plate and will never move to their rivals.

"He feels strong in his mind and body. He'll make the decision, but he wants to keep playing and play abroad. Maybe he'll return to Argentina in the future, but not now."

Nicolas Higuain admits he was surprised Pirlo was so quick to tell the striker to move on, although they appreciated the new coach's forthright approach.

"We expected Pirlo to give Gonzalo a chance as we are talking about a striker who has scored 350 goals in recent years. It takes 10 years to achieve that and then, unfortunately, everything is quickly forgotten," he said.

"Juve's ambition is to win the Champions League, but I don't know how many players we have who have won three league titles scoring 66 goals overall.

"But we're football people and we know these things can happen. We appreciated Pirlo's honesty. He told Gonzalo to his face what he thought."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will provide Bologna with a close-up view of what might have been when Milan begin their Serie A campaign at home on September 20.

The Swedish veteran penned a one-year extension at San Siro this week having previously been linked to a move to Sinisa Mihajlovic's side.

Ibrahimovic's decision will have been swayed in part by a sensational finish to the previous campaign, which saw Milan go unbeaten in 13 games across all competitions when football in Italy resumed after the suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Milan will aim to build on that form, which yielded a sixth-place finish, during a favourable-looking opening that sees home games with Bologna and Spezia sandwich a trip a Crotone, though the derby with Inter and a clash against Roma at San Siro follow.

Lazio will be the last visitors to Milan of 2020 on December 23, while the Rossoneri host Juventus on January 6 in one of six matches – which include a visit from Atalanta – that month.

The second clash against Inter takes place on February 21, while a trip to Turin to face champions Juventus is on May 9 in one of three away games from Milan's last four matches.

Stefano Pioli, who signed a new two-year contract as head coach in July, takes his side to Atalanta – who finished third last season – on the final day on May 23.

The schedule, published on September 2, is subject to change.

Milan's fixtures in full:

September 20 - Milan v Bologna
September 27 - Crotone v Milan
October 4 - Milan v Spezia
October 18 - Inter v Milan
October 25 - Milan v Roma
November 1 - Udinese v Milan
November 8 - Milan v Hellas Verona
November 22 - Napoli v Milan
November 29 - Milan v Fiorentina
December 6 - Sampdoria v Milan
December 13 - Milan v Parma
December 16 - Genoa v Milan
December 20 - Sassuolo v Milan
December 23 - Milan v Lazio
January 3 - Benevento v Milan
January 6 - Milan v Juventus
January 10 - Milan v Torino
January 17 - Cagliari v Milan
January 24 - Milan v Atalanta
January 31 - Bologna v Milan
February 7 - Milan v Crotone
February 14 - Spezia v Milan
February 21 - Milan v Inter
February 28 - Roma v Milan
March 3 - Milan v Udinese
March 7 - Hellas Verona v Milan
March 14 - Milan v Napoli
March 21 - Fiorentina v Milan
April 4 - Milan v Sampdoria
April 11 - Parma v Milan
April 18 - Milan v Genoa
April 21 - Milan v Sassuolo
April 25 - Lazio v Milan
May 2 - Milan v Benevento
May 9 - Juventus v Milan
May 12 - Torino v Milan
May 16 - Milan v Cagliari
May 23 - Atalanta v Milan

Inter are scheduled to face Juventus in Turin on the penultimate day of the Serie A season in what could be a title-deciding showdown.

Antonio Conte's side finished just a point behind champions Juve in 2019-20 after suffering just four defeats in 38 games, two of which came against the Old Lady.

The Nerazzurri are set to meet Juve on matchday 37 in 2020-21 before concluding the campaign at home to Udinese.

Inter can expect a tricky start to their title challenge. They begin away to Benevento on September 20 before consecutive games against Fiorentina, Lazio and city rivals Milan.

They face Atalanta away on November 8 and Napoli at San Siro on December 16, with their final match before the mid-season break seeing them head to Hellas Verona on December 23.

The home meeting with Juve takes place on January 17 during a month in which Inter are scheduled to play six Serie A matches.

Three of their final four games will be at home, with the games against Juve and Udinese preceded by clashes with Sampdoria and Roma.

The schedule, published on September 2, is subject to change.

Inter's fixtures in full:

September 20 - Benevento v Inter
September 27 - Inter v Fiorentina
October 4 - Lazio v Inter
October 18 - Inter v Milan
October 25 - Genoa v Inter
November 1 - Inter v Parma
November 8 - Atalanta v Inter
November 22 - Inter v Torino
November 29 - Sassuolo v Inter
December 6 - Inter v Bologna
December 13 - Cagliari v Inter
December 16 - Inter v Napoli
December 20 - Inter v Spezia
December 23 - Hellas Verona v Inter
January 3 - Inter v Crotone
January 6 - Sampdoria v Inter
January 10 - Roma v Inter
January 17 - Inter v Juventus
January 24 - Udinese v Inter
January 31 - Inter v Benevento
February 7 - Fiorentina v Inter
February 14 - Inter v Lazio
February 21 - Milan v Inter
February 28 - Inter v Genoa
March 3 - Parma v Inter
March 7 - Inter v Atalanta
March 14 - Torino v Inter
March 21 - Inter v Sassuolo
April 3 - Bologna v Inter
April 11 - Inter v Cagliari
April 18 - Napoli v Inter
April 21 - Spezia v Inter
April 25 - Inter v Hellas Verona
May 2 - Crotone v Inter
May 9 - Inter v Sampdoria
May 12 - Inter v Roma
May 16 - Juventus v Inter
May 23 - Inter v Udinese

Juventus are at home to Sampdoria in Andrea Pirlo's first Serie A game as head coach and Atalanta travel to Lazio for the standout fixture of the opening matchday.

Pirlo was appointed as Maurizio Sarri's successor last month and the legendary midfielder will set about trying to mastermind a 10th consecutive Scudetto with a clash against Samp at Allianz Stadium on September 20.

Juve are then away to Roma in a mouthwatering second Serie A match of Italy great Pirlo's reign.

Great entertainers Atalanta get their campaign under way at home to Lazio in an encounter between the sides that finished third and fourth respectively last season.

Inter, runners-up in the 2019-20 campaign are on the road at newly promoted Benevento and Milan face Bologna at San Siro, with Roma heading to Hellas Verona.

The penultimate round of fixtures will see Juve entertain Inter and Roma the home side in a derby battle with Lazio.

October 18 is the schedule date for the first Milan derby, with the second to take place on February 21.

 

Serie A matchday one fixtures:

Benevento v Inter
Fiorentina v Torino
Genoa v Crotone
Juventus v Sampdoria
Lazio v Atalanta
Milan v Bologna
Parma v Napoli
Sassuolo v Cagliari
Udinese v Spezia
Hellas Verona v Roma

With a crucial meeting set to take place in the Lionel Messi saga, the Barcelona star has reportedly agreed to a deal with Manchester City.

Messi, 33, has sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants, where he has spent his entire professional career.

But just whether a move happens could hinge on an upcoming meeting.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI AGREES €700M DEAL WITH CITY

Messi has agreed to terms on a deal worth £623million (€700m) with the City Football Group (CFG), which owns Manchester City, according to the Daily Record.

The deal is reportedly five years in length, including three in Manchester and two with MLS side New York City.

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi is set for a Barcelona exit after a tumultuous and trophy-less 2019-20 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Messi's dad, Jorge, is set to meet with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, according to Mundo Deportivo. It reports Jorge is drafting an exit for Messi, but Barcelona plan to tell him the superstar has a contract and they will not negotiate. It also reports Barca are preparing to offer Messi a renewal until the 2022 World Cup.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.