Will he or won't he?

That's the question regarding Jadon Sancho and a possible move to Manchester United.

United, however, are reportedly bullish about their chances of prising the England international from Borussia Dortmund.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER CONFIDENT IN SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho he expects the blockbuster transfer to be completed, according to Dagbladet.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their £108million (€120m) asking price, with the transfer window set to close on October 5.

However, Solskjaer appears confident of landing his number one target.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona could announce the signing of Ajax full-back Sergino Dest on Tuesday, reports Fabrizio Romano. Bayern Munich are also trying to prise the United States international from Amsterdam.

- The Telegraph says Tottenham are eyeing Bournemouth forward Josh King, who was previously linked to United.

United are closing in on Porto full-back Alex Telles. Romano claims personal terms have been agreed, with final details and agents commission remaining as United and Porto negotiate a fee.

- The Guardian reports Tottenham have not given up on signing Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Inter are holding out for £55m (€60m) but Spurs are only prepared to pay between €30m-€35m. Napoli's Nikola Maksimovic could reportedly replace Skriniar in Milan.

- According to L'Equipe, Leeds United are nearing a deal to sign Bayern midfielder Michael Cuisance. Leeds have been unable to meet Udinese's demands for star Rodrigo De Paul.

Marcelo Brozovic has realised Inter want to sell him as the Croatia international eyes an exit, reports Calciomercato. It comes as Inter chase Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, who has since been linked to United.

- Romano says Milan are confident of completing a deal for Bodo/Glimt star Jens Petter Hauge, who impressed during the Europa League qualifier at San Siro.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was impressed by Ansu Fati's impact in Sunday's season-opening 4-0 win over Villarreal but he tempered excitement around the teenager as he revealed pre-season concerns.

Fati, 17, was in devastating form for Barca at Camp Nou as Villarreal were swept aside, scoring two fine first-half goals in a five-minute period, before then winning a penalty that was converted by Lionel Messi.

With Messi's future seemingly unclear, Fati had been billed as the poster boy of a new era at Barca – fittingly it was the Spain international who got the ball rolling in style.

And while Koeman was impressed – the Dutchman had been shown beaming as he embraced Fati after his 70th-minute withdrawal – he was keen to remind both the player and fans that the youngster still has much to learn.

"We must highlight the game and performance of Ansu Fati," Koeman told reporters. "I was complaining a little last week about him not having the maximum level of performance in the pre-season.

"He is only 17 years old, he will have a great future, but he must improve things. Sometimes he lacks a bit of concentration.

"One of my criticisms was in the friendly against Elche – he was not good. Today he was. His intensity out wide was immense, he played a great game and we took advantage of his qualities."

Sergio Busquets hit a similar note, stressing the need for patience with Fati.

"We have to be calm with him, we know the potential he has," he told Movistar. "He is tremendous for his age, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

"He has many team-mates from whom he can continue to learn so that his ceiling is as high as possible.

"You have to let him play his football and take advantage of the fact that he is at a good point."

Lionel Messi has dominated the headlines for Barcelona since their 2019-20 season finished, but he showed little sign of letting off-field matters impact his performances as he helped secure a 4-0 win over Villarreal.

Barca were in action on Sunday for the first time since losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last month, a result that seemed to start a tumultuous chain reaction at the club.

Quique Setien was sacked and replaced by Ronald Koeman, Luis Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements and ultimately sold, that angered an already disillusioned Messi – who attempted to force a transfer, and supporters subsequently launched a bid to oust president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

But the Blaugrana returned to the pitch and blew Villarreal away to begin the Koeman era victoriously, Barca's baggage seemingly left to one side and forgotten about for an evening at Camp Nou.

Messi was at the fore as he usually is and, after seeing Ansu Fati terrorise the visitors with two early goals, the superstar Barca captain dispatched a penalty that the teenager won.

That goal meant Messi has scored in 17 successive LaLiga seasons, making him just the fourth player to ever achieve the feat.

Real Madrid greats Santillana and Sergio Ramos – who scored against Real Betis on Saturday – both netted in 17 consecutive LaLiga campaigns, with the former doing so between 1971 and 1988.

The only player to have scored in more successive LaLiga seasons is Agustin Gainza, who reached 19 straight campaigns for Athletic Bilbao from 1940 to 1959.

Given the uncertainty around Messi's future, one has to wonder whether the 33-year-old will make it to 18.

Diego Simeone was more impressed by Luis Suarez's assist and movement off the ball than his two goals in Atletico Madrid's 6-1 LaLiga rout of Granada.

Suarez was brought on in the 70th minute and marked his Atleti debut in style by netting an impressive double and setting up fellow substitute Marcos Llorente on Sunday.

The Uruguay international, who only joined in a €6million deal from Barcelona on Friday, also won a penalty that was overturned by VAR in a one-sided LaLiga contest.

Suarez scored with two types of finishes – one a brilliant header and the other a cute first-time finish on the rebound – but head coach Simeone was most pleased by the way his new forward teed up Llorente with only his second touch of the ball.

"His two goals didn't stand out for me, but his assists, his runs and his movement did," Simeone said after the match.

"The changes gave us a bit extra with the strength of Marcos, the quality of Vitolo, the clarity of Thomas [Partey] and Suarez knows what he has to do: play for the team."

Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Joao Felix were also on target for Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano as they recorded their biggest win in an opening league game under Simeone.

Atleti have been tipped to rival Real Madrid and Barca for the title this term and Simeone is hopeful that increased competition for a starting spot can get the most out of his players.

"It will depend on our work, our squad depth and the players' security. The team was liberated," he said. 

"The arrival of an important player improves the team, but the team was already working very well. Now we'll continue taking it game by game, like always.

"Suarez's arrival generates a very good internal competition and if the 23 players accept the minutes they're going to get, I'm sure we'll compete well

"From my perspective, when it comes to building a squad, I look for guys who know how to perform and who accept when they play and when they don't.

"That's how great teams are formed. That's what gives you the possibility of having more options. That's what we're looking for season by season."

Lionel Messi's desire to leave Barcelona showed no sign of impacting his on-pitch performance as he and Ansu Fati led the 4-0 dismantling of Villarreal on Sunday, marking a triumphant start to the Ronald Koeman era.

Barca have been engulfed by all manner of turmoil since losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in their previous competitive match on August 14, with the unsuccessful attempt to force a transfer by club talisman Messi undoubtedly the major headline, but as they started their 2020-21 season they proved this is not a team to write off lightly.

Fati got the ball rolling with an impressive double in a five-minute period, before then winning the penalty that was scored by Messi, who subsequently saw a cross of his turned in by Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Unai Emery's side tightened up in the second half, with Barca consequentially having a little less freedom in the final third, but Villarreal's slight improvement had no impact on what was an easy start for Koeman in LaLiga.

With Messi's future up in the air, Fati had seemingly been billed as the poster boy of this new era at Barca and fittingly he was their inspiration here, opening the scoring 15 minutes in with an emphatic first-time finish from Jordi Alba's cut-back.

The teenager was decisive again a few moments later, latching on to Philippe Coutinho's throughball and coolly slotting past the helpless Sergio Asenjo, who also had no answer to Messi's penalty, which was won by the omnipresent Fati as well.

Things got even worse for the visitors on the stroke of half-time, Torres poking Messi's cross beyond Asenjo as the unlikely spectre of Sergio Busquets lurked for a tap-in.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barca's intensity did drop after the interval and Villarreal became a more compact unit following a couple of half-time changes.

Koeman took the opportunity to give Fati a bit of a rest with 20 minutes to go, with another talented teenager – Pedri – given the chance to come off the bench for his LaLiga debut after joining from Las Palmas.

Miralem Pjanic and Francisco Trincao were also given their debuts as substitutes, with the young Portuguese winger almost adding a fifth goal when stinging the palms of Asenjo, but Villarreal managed to avoid any further embarrassment.

What does it mean? A smooth landing for Koeman

The first five-and-a-bit weeks of Koeman's reign had been anything but straightforward, from watching the fallout of Barca's Champions League humiliation to partaking in the unceremonious dumping of Luis Suarez that – in part – contributed to Messi's disillusionment.

Even just this week Messi vocalised his disdain for the Barca hierarchy following their treatment of Suarez, who earlier enjoyed a goalscoring debut for Atletico Madrid.

But once out on the pitch, Barca's baggage vanished. While this certainly remains a flawed squad, Messi, Coutinho and Fati provided a devastating reminder that it is also a group with immense attacking ability.

Fati sinks Yellow Submarine

While Messi certainly did well with all eyes on him, Fati was the standout, even more so given his age.

In scoring twice, Fati became the youngest player from Europe's top five leagues to net 10 times in all competitions since 2019-20 began, but he also won the penalty and provided a couple of key passes before his 70th-minute withdrawal.

The Griezmann conundrum lingers on

It will be hoped that Koeman finds the secret to getting the best out of Antoine Griezmann this term.

Leading the attack in Suarez's place might help in the long run, but he was practically anonymous here, touching the ball just 30 times (seven fewer than goalkeeper Neto), having only one shot and failing to create a single chance in his 78 minutes on the pitch.

What's next?

Barca go to Celta Vigo on Thursday, while Villarreal will hope to bounce back at home to Deportivo Alaves a day earlier.

Luis Suarez revealed he felt the need for "fresh air" before leaving Barcelona as he scored twice in a remarkable debut for Atletico Madrid.

Suarez came on in the 70th minute at Wanda Metropolitano with Atleti 3-0 up against Granada thanks to goals from Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Joao Felix, while Saul Niguez had missed a penalty.

A stunning cameo followed, with Suarez netting a brilliant double after providing an assist for his fellow substitute Marcos Llorente.

The 33-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona as the Catalan club look to rebuild under Ronald Koeman, but Suarez believes the time was right for him to move on.

"Very good, very happy for the debut, for the three points," he told Movistar. "When you make your debut and help the team with goals, you are always happy.

"It is a moment in which I needed fresh air, it is important to change and accept it.

"I come to a club that has given me a spectacular welcome, the atmosphere is very good from the beginning and that is reflected on the field."

Before Suarez stole the show, Joao Felix had put in an impressive display partnering Costa up front, having teed up Correa's goal prior to getting on the scoresheet himself.

"We're feeling good about ourselves. We've completed a great game, scoring many goals and creating lots of chances," he told Atleti's club media.

"We have to continue like this. I'm feeling good. I'm happy and enjoying myself. Things are going well.

"This was just the first game, but we want to complete a very, very good season. We're working towards that. We started today and have to continue against Huesca."

 

Luis Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements as Barcelona have looked to rejuvenate their squad, but the 33-year-old stole the show in a 6-1 victory on his Atletico Madrid debut.

Atleti were already 3-0 up against Granada in LaLiga by the time Suarez was introduced in the 70th minute at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday, setting the stage for him to take the headlines.

In a remarkable cameo, Suarez scored twice, provided an assist and won a penalty, which was subsequently overturned by VAR.

Suarez, who scored with a brilliant header and then a cute first-time finish on the rebound after he had hit the post, managed four attempts in total, created one chance and completed 10 passes from his 16 touches, with a 70 per cent passing accuracy.

His tally of shots was the most of any player on either side, while his two efforts on target both resulted in goals. The assist, for fellow substitute Marcos Llorente, came with just his second touch.

The Uruguay striker's double makes him the first Atleti debutant to net a brace, while he is also the first player to both score and assist on his debut for the club in the 21st century.

With Suarez's star quality to call on, Diego Simeone's side could be well placed to mount a serious title challenge this term.

A penny for Lionel Messi's thoughts.

Luis Suarez scored twice and assisted another in a dream debut off the bench in Atletico Madrid's 6-1 demolition of Granada in their opening LaLiga fixture.

The Uruguay forward, who joined from Barcelona in a €6million deal on Friday, had already provided an assist for Marcos Llorente and won a penalty that was overturned by the time he powered in a header for his first Atleti goal.

Jorge Molina's consolation brought only brief joy for Granada as Suarez, who only entered the fray in the 70th minute, rounded off a sensational cameo in second-half injury time.

The result was already beyond doubt before Suarez's introduction with Diego Costa heading Atleti in front and, after Saul Niguez missed a first-half penalty, Angel Correa and Joao Felix were also on target prior to the late glut of goals.

Luis Suarez will have to wait for his full Atletico Madrid debut after the former Barcelona striker was named on the bench for Sunday's clash with Granada.

Uruguay star Suarez completed a €6million move to Atleti on Friday, after being deemed surplus to requirements by Barca.

New Barca boss Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to sell the former Liverpool star had already been made before he arrived at Camp Nou, much to Lionel Messi's chagrin.

Diego Simeone was full of praise for his latest addition in the build-up to Atleti's home game against Granada, confirming the 33-year-old would be involved, though he did not reveal if Suarez would start.

Ultimately, the striker had to settle for a place on the bench at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Joao Felix partnering Diego Costa up front.

Alongside Suarez among the Atleti substitutes is midfielder Thomas Partey, who is reportedly the subject of interest from Arsenal.

Simeone elected to go with Koke and Saul Niguez in central midfield, with Yannick Carrasco and Angel Correa out wide, and a back four of Kieran Trippier, Stefan Savic, Felipe and Renan Lodi – who enjoyed a fine maiden LaLiga season in 2019-20.

Defender Jose Gimenez – a mooted Manchester City target – is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.

Sergio Ramos defended referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea and the officials after Real Madrid beat Real Betis 3-2 through a contentious late penalty.

Ramos gave Madrid all three points from the spot in the 82nd minute, Marc Bartra adjudged to have handled in the area following a VAR review.

It did appear as though Bartra may have been pushed into the ball by Borja Mayoral, with Betis unfortunate to suffer their first defeat after two successive wins under Manuel Pellegrini.

Earlier Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho had turned the game in Betis' favour following Federico Valverde's opener but Emerson conceded an own goal three minutes after the second-half restart and was then sent off before the game's controversial finish.

"I can't comment on specific incidents," Ramos said to Madrid's official website.

"From what we've been told it was a clear penalty, but there's nothing that can be done about it now.

"Sometimes they help us and sometimes they go against us, but that's football. The referee is there to do the best he possibly can and I don't think it's ever intentional."

Madrid have four points from two games, with their victory at the Benito Villamarin following a 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad.

Ramos added: "We were very good for the first 15 minutes. We dominated the game up until the first goal, which gave us confidence but in the end, we had to dig in.

"If you keep giving the ball to quality teams who like to have possession, they will create chances and you run the risk of them scoring goals.

"The most important thing was our mentality and the team came out hungry to come back, which is exactly what we did. We managed to level it up quickly to get right back in the game.
 
"It serves as a lesson for us. We're not going to come from behind in every game. The other day we played really well but just lacked a bit of an edge. 

"We created a lot of chances today and it was a fantastic second half, we were dominant and it's clinched us the three points which will do us the world of good."

 

Ruben Dias is on the verge of leaving Benfica.

The Portugal international is wanted by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Could he help City dethrone Premier League champions Liverpool?

 

TOP STORY – DIAS SET FOR CITY

Benfica defender Ruben Dias will join Manchester City, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Pep Guardiola has been eyeing defensive reinforcements following Nathan Ake's arrival from Bournemouth, and now Dias is set to swap Benfica for City.

As part of the deal, veteran centre-back Nicolas Otamendi will move in the opposite direction.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Barcelona rejected a €150million offer for teenage sensation Ansu Fati from an unnamed club. Manchester United have been linked previously.

Sergino Dest will travel to Camp Nou to complete his move to Barca, reports RAC1. The Ajax full-back is also wanted by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Milan and Roma are both interested in signing Norwich City right-back Max Aarons, says Sky Sports. The Englishman has previously been linked to Barca and Bayern.

- According to Sportitalia, West Ham are in talks with Serie A holders Juventus for defender Daniele Rugani.

- Lyon want €50million (£46m) for in-demand star Houssem Aouar amid interest from Arsenal, claims RMC Sport. Paris Saint-Germain, City and Chelsea have also been linked.

Zinedine Zidane claimed his 100th LaLiga victory as Real Madrid head coach on Saturday.

Zidane reached the century milestone in Madrid's thrilling 3-2 win over 10-man Real Betis.

The French great, who celebrated his second LaLiga title in charge of Madrid last season, achieved the feat in 147 games.

Zidane has the second-most league victories in Madrid's history, behind Miguel Munoz (257).

In his second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane – whose first win came in January 2016 – has seen his Madrid team score 342 goals while only conceding 142.

Madrid earned their first win of the 2020-21 season, following last week's stalemate against Real Sociedad.

After Federico Valverde's 14th-minute opener for Madrid, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when captain Sergio Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has no plans to sign new players before the transfer window shuts following his team's thrilling 3-2 win over Real Betis.

Sergio Ramos scored a late penalty as LaLiga champions Madrid claimed their first win of the 2020-21 season at 10-man Betis on Saturday.

After Federico Valverde's 14th-minute opener, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

Zidane was asked about Madrid's transfer activity pre-game, with the Spanish giants quiet since the market re-opened, having allowed the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz to leave.

Quizzed again on possible new signings post-match, Zidane told reporters: "No. We spoke about this before. I'm happy with the squad that I've got.

"We are what we are and we're going to try to have a successful season."

Reflecting on the match itself following Madrid's goalless draw against Real Sociedad in their season opener, Zidane said: "When you're behind it's difficult to change the dynamics of the game but we managed it today. It's crucial to do that every once in a while.

"We had a lot of chances, and people we talk about how we don't score enough but today we hit three and could have had more. I'm very proud of all the players, they're working brilliantly. We have to keep it up."

"The referee is there to review the action," added Zidane after Betis defender Marc Bartra was penalised for handball. "I think that in the end it's just what happened. He's in charge. I never get involved with the referees and I'm not going to get involved today. The most important thing for us is the game we played at a difficult ground.

"We can be happy with the work done, we had to work hard for it and we managed to take all three points, which is the most important thing."

"In the end it was a very complicated, difficult game," he said. "The players have given their all. It's three very important points for us at a complicated ground and against a team who have just won their first two games. We are happy. We know there is a long way to go and that we can and will improve."

Zidane also handed a rare start to out-of-favour forward Luka Jovic, who continues to be linked with a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Jovic – playing alongside Karim Benzema – was tripped when through on goal as Emerson was shown a red card past the hour-mark, and Zidane said: "What I was looking for was to play in the opposition's half with a different formation.

"We can play in different ways and one of them is with the two forwards. We can be happy with the game because in the end we got all three points."

Sergio Ramos' late penalty secured Real Madrid their first win of the 2020-21 LaLiga season as Los Blancos won 3-2 at 10-man Real Betis, for whom Barcelona-owned Emerson endured something of a nightmare.

Zinedine Zidane's men began their title defence with an underwhelming 0-0 stalemate with Real Sociedad, and while they were only marginally better in Seville, they just about made the most of their numerical advantage.

Madrid initially looked good value for their lead when Federico Valverde prodded them in front, but Betis showed excellent resilience to turn it around.

Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho did the damage in a three-minute salvo, the latter netting in successive games having not scored in his first 57 outings for the club.

Things began to look up for Madrid early in the second half when Emerson found his own net before then getting sent off, and Los Blancos completed the win thanks to Ramos' spot-kick eight minutes from time.

Diego Simeone wants Luis Suarez to improve on the goalscoring output of Alvaro Morata and be the catalyst that makes Atletico Madrid LaLiga title challengers again following his move from Barcelona.

Suarez completed a €6million switch from Barca on Friday, signing a two-year contract with Atleti following a largely acrimonious Camp Nou departure.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barca's all-time goalscoring charts in his six years at the club and netted 16 in the league last term, a respectable figure given he made just 22 starts and missed a significant portion of the season through injury.

Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to move the former Liverpool star on had already been made before the Dutchman arrived.

But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Simeone is adamant Suarez's impact at the Wanda Metropolitano could be massive, challenging him to improve on the 12 LaLiga goals scored last season by Morata, who was allowed to leave for Juventus.

"The arrival of Suarez encourages us to continue growing," Simeone told reporters, having also confirmed the striker is in the squad for Atletico's season opener at home to Granada on Sunday.

"He will give us internal competition. He is a forward who has impressive offensive power and hopefully he can continue to produce the numbers that he has been doing in the past.

"These six years [at Barca] have been wonderful [for Suarez]. His colleagues have received him with enthusiasm we hope he adapts as soon as possible.

"We all know him – he's a great reference for the team. Given the option that Alvaro had of being able to leave, the best way to continue improving was to look for someone who could improve on Alvaro's scoring contribution, and when the option of Suarez appeared, what was I going to say? His numbers speak for themselves.

"We were lucky that when we had a very good [Radamel] Falcao, a very good [Diego] Costa or a very good [Antoine] Griezmann, we came close to fighting for everything. Let's hope that with Luis Suarez it will be like that and we can overcome what we did last season."

Atletico finished third in LaLiga last term, 17 points adrift of a Real Madrid side that, while certainly solid, was hardly spectacular as they clinched the title.

Six teams – including Sunday's visitors Granada – scored more than Atletico in 2019-20, but Simeone feels things will be different with Suarez having a point to prove.

"I'm going to be sincere with you, he was convinced that this was the place where he could show that he was a top-notch forward," Simeone added. "I found what I was looking for for this club – ambition and a desire to be here.

"Hopefully he will give us back the options we had when we had the best Falcao, the best Costa or the best Griezmann. That would mean getting closer to the successes that all fans want."

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