Atletico Madrid have signed Serbia Under-21 striker Ivan Saponjic from Benfica on a three-year contract.

Neither club disclosed the fee paid for the 21-year-old but the deal is reported to be worth in the region of €8million.

A physically imposing forward, Saponjic will provide an extra attacking option for coach Diego Simeone alongside Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and record signing Joao Felix, who also arrived from Benfica for €126m.

But while the Portugal international starred in the club's Primeira Liga triumph in the 2018-19 season, Saponjic played for Benfica B after joining from Partizan Belgrade in January 2016 and spent the 2017-18 campaign on loan with Belgian club Zulte Waregem.

He joins fellow new faces Marcos Llorente, Hector Herrera, Felipe, Lodi and Joao Felix at Atletico, with star forward Antoine Griezmann widely expected to complete a €120m switch to Barcelona.

Milan Skriniar has reiterated his commitment to Inter as the Nerazzurri aim to challenge in Serie A under new coach Antonio Conte.

Skriniar signed a new long-term contract with Inter in May amid reported interest from a number of Europe's major clubs.

Former Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, however, did not stay on at San Siro, with the club choosing to replace him with former Juventus and Italy coach Conte.

Inter - who finished fourth last term - are undergoing something of a rebuild, with Radja Nainggolan, a regular under Spalletti, and Mauro Icardi both likely to leave the club, while Romelu Lukaku is a reported target.

But Skriniar insists he has no plans to move on and is instead focusing on helping Inter test Juve's domestic dominance.

"I've always said I wanted to stay here, I'm happy to be here," Skriniar told Sky Italia.

"With the new coach, there could be a new system so we also have to work for this, to always do better.

"There is a great desire to work to improve. It is working hard and well, and it is important. We knew what was waiting for us with the new coach and he has been himself immediately since the first training session.

"What we know is that we have to work from the first day to the maximum because our goal is to fight for the top places."

Nabil Fekir may still leave Lyon but the Ligue 1 club will sanction no other departures following a period of upheaval.

Talented left-back Ferland Mendy and star midfielder Tanguy Ndombele have departed for Real Madrid and Tottenham respectively, while the club will enter the 2019-20 season with a new head coach in Sylvinho.

Juninho Pernambucano is also settling into his seat as director of football and the Brazilian is determined to guard against a further drain on talent.

That means Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele and Houssem Aouar are all set to stay, but captain and World Cup winner Fekir could still find a new home after entering the final 12 months of his contract.

"For now, the only possible departure is Fekir," Juninho said.

"I have spoken with him. It was about personal things, to know his life. I translated for the coach. [Sylvinho] likes him personally.

"It's hard to convince him to continue – he's a world champion and his generation has left. It's not a closed matter, but I'm telling you the truth.

"We would like to keep him."

Arsenal are reportedly weighing up an approach for the Liverpool-linked France international, but no movement appears to have been made since Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas declared his willingness to listen to offers.

The 25-year-old will not feature in Saturday's friendly against Swiss side Servette due to an adductor issue.

Juninho, speaking at the presentation of new left-back Youssouf Kone, confirmed talks are continuing with Sampdoria centre-back Joachim Andersen.

"We will be far ahead in the transfer market if we sign Andersen. I'm quite satisfied," he said.

Ousmane Dembele's behaviour at Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona should put Bayern Munich off making a move for the France forward, according Die Roten great Lothar Matthaus.

Recent speculation has left Dembele's future looking uncertain, with Barca seemingly set to sign Antoine Griezmann and rumours over a move for Neymar refuse to go away.

Should either Griezmann or Neymar – or potentially both – come in, Dembele may well find himself further down the pecking order in Ernesto Valverde's squad.

Dembele joined Barca as Neymar's replacement in 2017, though he has struggled with injuries and inconsistent form since his move from Dortmund, who received an initial €105million fee after the player had gone on strike to push through a move.

With Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben – who has since retired – no longer at Bayern, the Bundesliga champions are on the hunt for at least one winger, with Manchester City's Leroy Sane also a target.

Rumours have linked Bayern with a move for Dembele, but Matthaus believes bringing in the 22-year-old – whose attitude has also been called into question during his time at Camp Nou – would be a mistake.

"When I think about the scandals that Dembele caused at Borussia Dortmund and at Barcelona, ​​I see no reason to believe that he would behave differently at Bayern," Matthaus told BILD.

And Matthaus does not believe he is the only one who thinks this way, citing Bayern chief Uli Hoeness' reaction to Dembele's behaviour at Dortmund as another reason to doubt the transfer rumours.

"Uli Hoeness had a clear position against Dembele's strike at Dortmund, and if Bayern pick the player up, they would have a credibility problem," he added.

Dembele scored 14 goals for Barca across all competitions last season.

Tunisia international Aymen Abdennour has terminated his contract at Valencia and signed for Kayserispor in the Turkish Super Lig.

The centre-back made 35 appearances across two underwhelming LaLiga campaigns with Los Che after arriving from Monaco as Nicolas Otamendi's intended replacement in 2015, costing the club a reported €25million.

He was shipped out to Marseille in 2017 but finished a difficult two-season loan spell as part of the Ligue 1 club's reserves side, which competes in the fourth tier of French football.

Valencia confirmed the defender's contract was rescinded to facilitate the move to Turkey.

Marko Arnautovic insists he always gives his all and criticised the European media for suggesting otherwise.

Arnautovic left West Ham on Monday, joining Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG for a reported fee of £22million

The 30-year-old only signed a new five-year deal at London Stadium in January, with West Ham handing Arnautovic the bumper contract after he initially submitted a transfer request amid interest from a then unnamed Chinese side.

However, Arnautovic scored just twice following the saga, with his commitment at times called into question.

But on his presentation as an SIPG player, Arnautovic hit back, claiming the media's portrayal of his attitude is inaccurate.

"They do not train with me, they do not play with me, but they just write something," the former Werder Bremen and Stoke City forward said.

"Maybe that's the characteristic of European media, the truth is that I always give everything to my team, I never spare myself.

"I'm here to work hard, I want to do my part so the club can achieve all of its goals."

Arnautovic is joining former Chelsea playmaker Oscar at SIPG - who currently sit third in the Chinese Super League - while ex-Porto star Hulk is also at the club.

"I feel they are very good people who really want to help me integrate into the team, and I feel very welcome," said Arnautovic, who will wear the number seven jersey previously taken by SIPG's record goalscorer Wu Lei, now at Espanyol.

"Because of this meaning, I feel more pressure," Arnautovic responded when asked if he would be able to fill the void left by SIPG's former star winger.

"But I am ready for this challenge to make many goals and assists with this jersey and this number."

Barcelona have fended off reported interest from other European heavyweights to sign England youth international Louie Barry.

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain were rumoured to be eyeing the West Brom forward, along with several Premier League clubs.

But it is Barca who have secured the 16-year-old, who will now be part of the Juvenil A side having signed a three-year contract.

Barry has spent 10 years at West Brom, and made his debut for the Championship club's Under-23 team last season.

Formerly a Republic of Ireland youth international, Barry switched allegiance to England in 2019, making his debut against Brazil in February, going on to score seven goals in nine appearances.

Ivan Marcano has returned to Porto just one season after leaving for Serie A side Roma.

Marcano left Porto in May 2018 on a free transfer following four years with the Primeira Liga team, signing a three-year contract with the Giallorossi.

However, the centre-back managed just 13 appearances across all competitions in 2018-19, and has now returned to Portugal, with Roma receiving a €3million fee.

The 32-year-old has agreed a four-year deal with Porto - who sold defender Felipe to Atletico Madrid earlier in the off-season - keeping him at Estadio do Dragao until 2023.

Marcano's departure leaves Roma short of options in central defence, with Kostas Manolas having joined Serie A rivals Napoli.

Toby Alderweireld, who has one year left on his current Tottenham contract, is reportedly a target for Roma, who on Wednesday signed goalkeeper Pau Lopez from Real Betis, having already brought in Leonardo Spinazzola and Amadou Diawara.

James Rodriguez's potential move to Napoli is being held up by Real Madrid's unreasonable asking price, according to Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

LaLiga giants Madrid reportedly want more than €40million for playmaker James, who has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti is eager to be reunited with the player he coached in Spain and Germany, but a stalemate in negotiations is said to have alerted Atletico Madrid.

Napoli are remaining calm, with De Laurentiis confident the Colombia international favours a switch to Stadio San Paolo.

"Carlo likes him very much and we're waiting for a more reasonable demand," De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport.

"The obstacle is Real Madrid, who are asking for too much in our opinion.

"But James wants to come to Napoli."

Mauro Icardi is one player who will not be joining Ancelotti's side, despite the striker being told he can leave Inter.

De Laurentiis acknowledged he enquired about the Argentina international, but found him to be set on joining Serie A champions Juventus, and the Napoli chief will not entertain a swap deal involving Lorenzo Insigne.

"[Icardi] will always want to go to Juventus," he said.

"Anyway, I prefer Insigne, because we need him, and then we have [Arkadiusz] Milik and [Dries] Mertens.

"We can't ignore Icardi's talent, he's a very strong player, but we've talked about him so much now that he looks older than 26."

Aston Villa have further bolstered their defensive stocks with the signing of England Under-21 international Ezri Konsa from Championship side Brentford.

Villa reportedly triggered the centre-back's £12million release clause to make him their seventh signing since winning promotion to the Premier League.

The Charlton Athletic product briefly played under Dean Smith at Brentford, for whom he made 42 league appearances in 2018/19.

Konsa joins Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause, both now committed to permanent deals, among Villa's defensive reinforcements and will fly out to the United States with his new team-mates on Thursday.

"Ezri fits the profile of the type of player we were searching for," manager Smith said.

"It helps that [assistant coach] Richard O'Kelly and I have worked with him before. He's a high-potential player who I believe can step up to the Premier League and I'm really looking forward to working with him again."

Konsa formed part of the England squad that stumbled to a premature exit at the recent European Under-21 Championship.

Villa have not confirmed the length of the contract.

Arsenal say they are "very disappointed" in Laurent Koscielny after confirming the defender has refused to travel on their pre-season tour of the United States.

The Gunners are due to ramp up preparations for the new campaign with a friendly against Colorado Rapids in Denver and three International Champions Cup encounters but will do so without their captain.

Koscielny's refusal to join his team-mates in making the trip comes amid intense speculation surrounding his future.

Ligue 1 sides Lyon and Bordeaux have been linked with the 33-year-old former France international, as have Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

An Arsenal statement read: "Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour.

"We are very disappointed by Laurent's actions, which are against our clear instructions. 

"We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time."

Koscielny made 17 appearances in the Premier League last season after returning from a long-term Achilles injury in December.

His compatriot, teenage centre-back William Saliba, is on the cusp of completing a transfer to Emirates Stadium, but is expected to then return to Saint-Etienne on loan.

Neymar's prospective return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain has been given the seal of approval by Brazil and Blaugrana great Rivaldo.

A PSG exit for the 27-year-old forward looks increasingly likely this close season, two years after his world-record €222million move to the Ligue 1 champions from Barca.

The Brazil international failed to turn up to the first day of pre-season training, while PSG sporting director Leonardo has confirmed Neymar is available for the right price.

And Rivaldo, who spent five seasons at Camp Nou, wants to see his compatriot back at Barca.

"For the moment, the one [Brazilian] that I like the most is Neymar," he said, courtesy of Betfair.

"I [would] like that he returns to Barcelona."

Even without Neymar due to an ankle injury, Brazil managed to win the Copa America on home soil on Sunday thanks to a 3-1 win over Peru.

Asked for the nation's next star, 2002 World Cup winner Rivaldo praised Real Madrid attacker Vinicius Junior.

"We have Vinicius, who is a great player that went to Madrid and has everything that is needed to be a great player," he said.

Barcelona are in no rush in their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

Neymar, 27, is set to be fined by the Ligue 1 champions after failing to turn up for the first day of pre-season training.

With sporting director Leonardo confirming the Brazil forward can leave for the right price, Barca think they are in a strong position, and the Catalan giants are ready to play a waiting game.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN NO RUSH OVER NEYMAR

Barcelona are prepared to wait and see if PSG blink first over Neymar, according to a report from AS.

Neymar left Camp Nou for PSG in a world-record €222million move two years ago and it has now become clear he wants an exit from Parc des Princes.

In a strong position, Barca are remaining patient in their pursuit of the Brazil star, who has also been linked with their rivals Real Madrid.

Marca also report Barcelona are willing to wait, with PSG's asking price sure to continue dropping as the skilful forward continues to show his desire to leave.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are ready to give in to Ajax's demands over Matthijs de Ligt. Sport report the Serie A champions are planning to present the star defender on Saturday, having apparently agreed to pay the Eredivisie club €75m for the centre-back.

- Manchester United are increasingly confident about signing Leicester City defender Harry Maguire. The Daily Mail claim the Red Devils are hoping to land the centre-back for £75m, which is short of Leicester's reported £85m valuation.

- West Ham have begun searching for someone to replace Marko Arnautovic, who left for China. The Sun say the Premier League club have been offered the chance to sign free agent Mario Balotelli, while Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Hammers have also shown an interest in Juve forward Gonzalo Higuain.

- Mario Mandzukic could be set for a surprise return to Bayern Munich. Bild report the Juve striker has been discussed as a possible back-up for Robert Lewandowski and another wide option for head coach Niko Kovac.

- Everton continue to be linked with forwards and the Telegraph say the Premier League club expressed an interest in Lille's Nicolas Pepe, who is said to have been a target of rivals Liverpool. Meanwhile, the Sun claim Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is prepared to talk to the Toffees.

- Newcastle United seem close to finding their replacement for Rafael Benitez. According to the Daily Mail, Sam Allardyce has rejected a return to the club, with Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce now the favourite.

AC Milan must harness the bitter experience of missing out on a top-four finish last season and focus on making amends in 2019-20, according to Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Goalkeeper Donnarumma was injured in Milan's 3-2 victory over SPAL on the final day of the 2018-19 campaign, a result that was not quite good enough to see them pip rivals Inter to fourth place.

The Rossoneri will not play in Europe at all in the upcoming season, the club reaching an agreement with UEFA to serve a ban after breaching Financial Fair Play rules.

However, Donnarumma had underlined his commitment to the cause as Milan attempt to reclaim their place at Europe's top table under new coach Marco Giampaolo.

"I was upset to leave the field early in Ferrara [against SPAL] but I'm eager to begin the new season," Donnarumma told Milan TV.

"It's upsetting that we won't be in Europe this year but as our coach and director said, we can now focus on returning to the Champions League, where the club deserves to be.

"We were qualified for the Champions League with just 10 minutes to go but we all know how it ended.

"We were all disappointed but it has to be a boost for us to achieve our goal this year."

Donnarumma - who has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain during the close season - is vastly experienced despite being only 20, though he still suffers pre-season nerves.

"The first day of training is always a flurry of emotions," he said.

"It always feels like my first time at Milanello and I'm excited. I'm keen to begin training and give my all. We have to give our best in order to return to where we deserve to be, which is in Europe.

"I'm more mature even though I'm just 20 years old but I feel more like a man now, which is also thanks to AC Milan, and I feel the same way on the pitch.

"I have greatly improved in many aspects, but I still have to improve a lot, because it is never enough – you always have to give your best in every training session in order to constantly improve."

Eder Militao vowed to give his all to make history with Real Madrid following his arrival from Porto.

Madrid confirmed in March an agreement was in place to sign Militao after reportedly triggering his €50million release clause.

And following the conclusion of his Copa America commitments with tournament hosts and champions Brazil, the 21-year-old was presented to the media on Wednesday.

Militao, who made one substitute appearance in Brazil, said joining Los Blancos has always been his dream.

"I'm very happy to play for the best club in the world," the youngster said at a news conference that was cut short after he complained of feeling dizzy.

"Since I was a kid I wanted to play for the biggest club in the world and I want to thank the president and all the Madrid fans for their confidence.

"They can rest assured that I will give everything for this jersey. I hope to have a great season here and make history with this club."

Capable of playing at centre-back or right-back, Militao is expected to immediately challenge for a regular spot in Madrid's back four.

"I am a versatile player, who always plays for the love of what he does," he said. "I do not like to lose and I always expect the most from myself. I am very competitive and very competent.

"I think it's going to be a very good fight [for a starting place]. I've come to do my job - it will not be easy, but I'm going to listen to what the coach says."

Militao was the first signing of head coach Zinedine Zidane's second spell and he has since been joined in making the switch to the Spanish capital by Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy.

Madrid president Florentino Perez welcomed the youngster's arrival and described him as one of the best defenders around after seeing off competition from rival clubs.

"Winning is part of this club's DNA and nobody surrenders here," he told reporters. "Today is an important day for us as we welcome one of the great defenders in world football.

"He arrives at just 21, he's adapted quickly to European football and for five months he was part of the best defensive set-up in Portuguese football with Porto.

"His courage and attitude will help him to succeed, as will the millions of fans we have around the world.

"Now you [Militao] will face the biggest challenge of your entire professional career. You arrive at Real Madrid because you have chosen this club ahead of all the big clubs that wanted to have you in their ranks. 

"Here you will demonstrate everything you have shown. Your courage and your love for this badge will help you succeed. And our supporters from all over the world will also help you."

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