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.

Napoli director Cristiano Giuntoli believes star defender Kalidou Koulibaly will remain at the Serie A club, despite links to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Koulibaly had been strongly linked with Premier League giants City but Pep Guardiola's side agreed a deal to sign Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias on Sunday.

Ligue 1 champions PSG are also reportedly interested following Thiago Silva's departure, while the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked previously.

Asked about Koulibaly prior to Sunday's 6-0 demolition of Genoa, Giuntoli told Sky Sport Italia: "The team was completed in January with Stanislav Lobotka and Diego Demme, who can play in a few different roles. With Amir Rrahmani, [Victor] Osimhen and [Andrea] Petagna, we are complete, so will now try to release players who won't have much time on the pitch.

"I think Koulibaly is staying, we are very happy and so is he. I believe that he is staying."

Koulibaly helped keep a clean sheet as high-flying Napoli preserved their perfect start to the season against Genoa.

Napoli are yet to concede in two Serie A fixtures this season, while scoring eight goals to top the standings.

Gennaro Gattuso was also quizzed on Koulibaly following Giuntoli's comments and the Napoli head coach told Sky Sport Italia post-match: "I hope he remains with us, selfishly speaking, because he gives us so much both in technical terms and as a character.

"The world has changed because of the pandemic and I realise all clubs need to balance the books. I hope the call won't arrive, but I'll be nervous about it until transfer deadline day."

Senegal international Koulibaly has called Napoli home since arriving from Genk in 2014.

The 29-year-old was instrumental as Napoli claimed the Coppa Italia title last season – the club's first piece of silverware since 2014.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel criticised his players for easing off the pace in the second half of their 2-0 victory against Reims on Sunday.

Mauro Icardi scored his first two goals since February for PSG at the Stade Auguste-Delaune as the Ligue 1 champions made it three victories in succession without conceding.

PSG started with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar together for the first time this season, while Angel Di Maria and Icardi were also named in an attacking line-up.

Despite the comfortable nature of the victory, Tuchel was not overly pleased with his side's performance against a Reims side without a win this term.

"I liked it in the first half, but I don't understand why we missed a lot of chances," he told Telefoot. "After 20 or 30 minutes we should be three or four up. 

"But I am not happy with the second half that we did. It wasn't serious. There was not the same aggressiveness and the same intensity

"The plan was to put Neymar close to Mbappe. We chose an offensive structure. We tried something and I have a lot of confidence in my team. 

"We had a lot of chances and had 70 per cent of the ball. If we put three or four chances away after 30 minutes, we have a different analysis. 

"So we can see that we missed a lot. The efficiency was not there. You can't play a game like that. In the second half, we weren't serious."

Match-winner Icardi struggled towards the end of last season and did not feature in PSG's Champions League semi-final win over RB Leipzig nor the defeat to Bayern Munich in the final.

And he is relieved to have got off the mark in 2020-21 against Reims, the ex-Inter forward scoring from two of his three attempts on target and creating a joint-high four chances.

"It was important for me to score these goals," he said. I'm happy to score. "I was relaxed during my non-scoring period as I was helping the team defensively. Now we must continue. 

"I'm happy to create chances for my team-mates. We could have put in more to kill the game faster, but satisfaction prevails anyway."

Asked if PSG need another forward before the transfer window closes, Icardi said: "This is a question for the directors. The players are here to play."

Mauro Icardi scored a goal in each half to earn Paris Saint-Germain a straightforward 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Reims at the Stade Auguste-Delaune on Sunday.

PSG started their latest title defence with back-to-back defeats but have now won three games in a row without conceding.

Icardi put the champions in front against out-of-form Reims with a clinical finish past Predrag Rajkovic inside nine minutes and added a second with a little over an hour played. 

Thomas Tuchel's side had further opportunities to extend their lead but in the end two goals were enough against a Reims side still without a win this term.

Kylian Mbappe was denied by Rajkovic after six minutes but he played a big part in PSG's opener by slipping the ball through for Icardi to control and fire into the far corner.

The visitors, beaten in their last two meetings with Reims, nearly added a second through Angel Di Maria's drive and Icardi's saved header in the space of two minutes.

Neymar also went close to doubling his side's tally with a mazy run that ended with the superstar forward firing a shot past the far post from inside the six-yard box.

Those wasted chances did not come back to haunt Tuchel's men, though, as Icardi converted Mbappe's squared pass to round off a fine team move with 62 minutes gone.

Mbappe should have added some gloss to the scoreline late on but was guilty of a horror miss, somehow firing wide with plenty of the unguarded goal to aim for, while substitute Pablo Sarabia also blazed over an effort from inside the box.


What does it mean? Three and easy for PSG

It is now three wins in a row for PSG without conceding, moving them up to seventh in the table and within four points of early pacesetters Rennes.

The champions may only have managed two goals from 16 attempts, but the victory is all that counts and Tuchel will be hoping to maintain this momentum.


Icardi leads from the front

Former Inter frontman Icardi spearheaded an attacking PSG line-up that also included Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria and Julian Draxler.

He scored both goals to get off the mark for the season and also created four chances for his team-mates in an impressive all-round display.


Mbappe misses a sitter

The victory was never in doubt for dominant PSG, but they should have won by an even more convincing margin.Mbappe was teed up by Sarabia but contrived to miss from close range, although the France international did lay on both assists for Icardi and - that miss aside - can be pleased with his performance.


What's next?

Reims head to league leaders Rennes for their next outing in a week's time, while PSG host Angers on Friday.

Kylian Mbappe is the "prototype" for a future Ballon d'Or winner, according to Nicolas Anelka.

At just 21, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has already accumulated a plethora of top-tier trophies having won the World Cup with France, while reaching the Champions League final for PSG, with whom he has lifted eight domestic titles.

However, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo practically enjoying dual custody of the most prestigious world player of the year award, that honour has thus far eluded Mbappe.

But compatriot Anelka, whose career saw him win silverware in England, Spain, France, Italy and Turkey, feels it is only a matter of time.

"There are the old guys who are known and recognised, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but for me it is Mbappe who is really the image of the prototype of the striker with all the qualities required to be a future Ballon d'Or winner," he told RMC Sport. 

"He's very fast, very smart, very technical. He has the qualities to do great things. He has proven it time and time again and he shows it in every game.

"Neymar is very strong too. He is very strong too."

Mbappe has endured a disrupted start to the new campaign after testing positive for coronavirus, but he made a goalscoring return in the 3-0 win over Nice.

Thomas Tuchel's side are in action at Reims on Sunday.

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.

Neymar will be back in action for Paris Saint-Germain at Reims on Sunday, much to the delight of coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Brazil forward returns after a two-game suspension following his dismissal in a controversial clash with Marseille earlier this month, when five players saw red.

PSG have won both Ligue 1 games in his absence, with fellow forward Kylian Mbappe having made a goalscoring comeback in the 3-0 win over Nice last Sunday after completing his period of isolation following a positive test for coronavirus.

Tuchel said having the duo available would transform the way his side can play.

"Yes, when Kylian and Neymar play it changes everything for us," he said.

"If both play for us, it's harder [for the opposition] to defend and easier for us to attack.

"We found solutions without both. We started the last Champions League, the group stage, with matches without them.

"It [missing Mbappe and Neymar] is not the best thing. They are there to make the difference. They will start together, that's for sure."

Leandro Paredes, sent off in the same game as Neymar, is also back in the frame along with Abdou Diallo, who got his marching orders in the win over Metz.

But one player still missing is Angel Di Maria, who is serving a four-match ban for spitting at Alvaro Gonzalez in that contentious Classique contest.

While Tuchel accepts Di Maria's sanction was deserved, he vented his frustration at the fact PSG have seemingly suffered significantly greater suspensions than Marseille in the aftermath of that game.

"I can understand the sanction of Di Maria," Tuchel said. "He had a reaction that we don't like.

"[But] we have suspensions that equate to 14 matches, the other team [Marseille] has four matches. There is a big difference in the number of suspensions.

"I do not accept it but I have to and I do not understand. We have the impression that we are the only ones responsible for this situation."

Arsenal are not close to matching Houssem Aouar's valuation, according to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas. 

French outlet Telefoot reported on Friday that Aouar has agreed personal terms with Arsenal and the clubs were set for discussions about a transfer fee. 

The Gunners are reportedly willing to pay €40million for the midfielder, though Lyon are understood to be hoping for a deal in the region of €60m. 

Aulas confirmed there is a significant disparity between what Arsenal are offering and what Lyon want. 

"There will be very few departures. For Houssem, Arsenal are way too far from his value," Aulas posted on Twitter alongside a link to L'Equipe's story on the Telefoot report. 

"We are counting on him to play a great match against Lorient and lead OL in the Champions League next year." 

Lyon were victorious in their opening match of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season, beating Dijon 4-1 on August 28, but travel to Lorient on Sunday on the back of a three-game winless run. 

The club finished seventh in the league last season and lost the Coupe de la Ligue final to Paris Saint-Germain, consequently failing to secure European qualification.

Memphis Depay remains Barcelona's preferred transfer option, while Manchester United want Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles in this window.

LaLiga giants Barca have been linked with numerous attackers as they rebuild under Ronald Koeman.

Depay has seemingly been the favourite to join, and it appears nothing has changed.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY THE FAVOURITE TO JOIN BARCELONA

Depay is in pole position to join Barcelona from Lyon, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says Depay, 26, fits the profile and salary expectations at Barca.

Depay and Koeman worked together while the latter was in charge of the Netherlands between 2018 and 2020.

ROUND-UP

- United are still hoping for two signings this transfer window. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking to land Borussia Dortmund star Sancho and Porto left-back Telles .

- Arsenal could be close to strengthening by signing Houssem Aouar . Telefoot says the attacker has agreed to join the club, with Lyon and Arsenal set for talks over a fee.

- As they continue their search for a defender, Manchester City may be close to making a decision. Goal reports the Premier League club are in talks with Benfica over Ruben Dias , in a deal that could see Nicolas Otamendi  go the other way. Meanwhile, ESPN says Sevilla are expecting an improved bid from City for Jules Kounde after an initial £50.2million (€55m) offer was rejected.

- Chelsea may not be done spending just yet. The Mirror reports they want to make another move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice , and it could lead to Jorginho joining Arsenal .

- Sergino Dest is expected to join Barcelona and Guillem Balague claims the Ajax right-back should officially join them next week. Barcelona sold Nelson Semedo to Wolves this week.

- Could there be late movement in the transfer window for Tottenham ? The Sun reports Spurs are in talks to sign Inter defender Milan Skriniar and are prepared to pay between £25m (€27.4m) and £30m (€32.9m), which is well below Inter's valuation.

Ivan Perisic has returned to Inter with desire and enthusiasm, coach Antonio Conte said amid transfer talk about the attacker.

Perisic is back with the Serie A giants after spending 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich, where he won the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.

The Croatia international, who arrived at Inter from Wolfsburg in 2015, has again been linked with a move amid reported interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

But, ahead of Inter's Serie A opener against Fiorentina on Saturday, Conte said Perisic had returned with a renewed determination.

"I am happy for Ivan, because in the end he had an incredible experience with Bayern Munich, a winning one, in which he won three trophies," he told a news conference.

"Now he's back, with great determination to play for Inter and help us out, to put himself at the service of the team, and I am happy that he's got this desire.

"Also, because when you've got this kind of determination, this enthusiasm, this desire, in the end everything gets easier for the coach."

Inter finished second in Serie A last season, but have added the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov to their squad.

The arrival of Vidal from Barcelona was confirmed this week as the midfielder reunites with Conte after the pair worked together at Juventus.

"Arturo Vidal is in good shape, he arrived in good physical condition," Conte said.

"Tactically, he is a player that has already played with me, but at the same time we're doing new stuff now compared to the past, when he was one of my players.

"Therefore, he is integrating well, he's a smart player, tactically, physically, he's got a great mindset.

"In our midfield, he can do everything. He can be one of the two central midfielders, he can play as an offensive one, he can play together with a low playmaker should we decide to do that. He can play in any role and we are happy to have him with us."

Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United, but he remains in Germany.

Sancho's valuation has proved a stumbling block for United, who have made the England international their number one transfer target.

United, though, are not giving up hope as they reportedly make one last attempt to sign the 20-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET FOR FINAL SANCHO OFFER

Manchester United will make a take-it-or-leave-it offer for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star and the Mirror.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their €120million (£108m) asking price.

But United are preparing a final and non-negotiable £90m (€98m) offer, with £75m (€82m) up front with an additional £15m (€16m) in add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS reports Real Madrid face competition for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. Eyeing a move for Camavinga in 2021, Madrid are set to face a battle from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe could be available for around €100m, says L'Equipe. The PSG star, who is reportedly seeking an exit, is wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- The Sun claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to leave Stamford Bridge on loan following Edouard Mendy's arrival.

- Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has agreed to join Serie A side Roma, reports DiMarzio.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Juventus are weighing up a €60m move for Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked to Milan.

- If Milan Skriniar leaves for Tottenham, DiMarzio claims Inter could target Schalke star and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are making a late push to sign long-time target and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez following Luis Suarez's switch to Atletico Madrid.

Barca are confident they will sign Ajax full-back Sergino Dest ahead of Bayern, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that Atletico will not negotiate with Arsenal regarding Thomas Partey as they believe he will stay in the Spanish capital.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas named Arsenal while discussing the future of in-demand star midfielder Houssem Aouar.

Aouar has been linked with Premier League outfit Arsenal, as well as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea following Lyon's memorable run to the 2019-20 Champions League semi-final.

Lyon value Aouar at €60million (£55m) and are refusing to lower their demands as Mikel Arteta's Arsenal struggle to raise the necessary funds.

Asked if Aouar could remain at the Ligue 1 club, Aulas told Le Progres: "Financially, Arsenal are like everyone else [in a tricky spot amid the coronavirus pandemic].

"And Houssem could say to himself that the best thing would be to stay with us."

Lyon captain Memphis Depay has also been linked with Barcelona and Milan, while Moussa Dembele continues to attract interest from across Europe.

"From the start I said that we would not lose the three players announced every day in the newspapers," Aulas said.

"Ten days before the end of the transfer window, none of the three have gone. And I don't imagine that will happen. If one or two leave, they will be replaced."

Lyon have endured a difficult start to the 2020-21 season, winning just one of their opening four matches to sit 12th in the standings.

But amid doubts emerging over head coach Rudi Garcia's future, Aulas insisted: "Rudi is with us. He has been cited as one of the best 10 managers in Europe. News gets invented, it is sad.

"We are not going to respond to such nuisances. Rudi Garcia is and will be our manager, that is clear. And we are going to have a great team."

Chelsea made Kepa Arrizabalaga the world's most expensive goalkeeper when they shelled out £71.6million to sign him in August 2018.

Club director Marina Granovskaia said upon the announcement of his arrival: "Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.

"He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years. His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism."

Just over two years later, though, and Kepa's long-term future at the club is far from certain, with the Blues having paid £22m to bring in Edouard Mendy from Rennes.

Chelsea said Mendy had joined to "complement our existing group" of keepers, but he will be expected to swiftly make the starting spot his own after Kepa committed two errors leading to goals across the opening two games of the Premier League season.

With the help of Opta, we look at what Chelsea can expect from Mendy and how he compares to Kepa.

Safe hands

Mendy (24) made nine fewer league appearances than Kepa (33) in 2019-20, with the coronavirus pandemic having curtailed the Ligue 1 season when most teams still had 10 more fixtures to fulfil.

He conceded 19 goals and kept nine clean sheets as Rennes qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history, while Kepa let in 28 more and shut out the opposition one time less.

Mendy registered a far higher save percentage than the Blues keeper (76.3 per cent to 53.5 per cent) and blew him out of the water in terms of goals prevented.

According to expected goals on target data (xGoT), the shots on target faced by Mendy were enough to concede 21 goals. However, he only let in 18 (excluding own goals) and was therefore responsible for preventing three goals.

For Kepa, the numbers tell a far different story. An xGoT value of 34 compared to the 45 goals he let in (excluding own goals) means he conceded 11 more than expected.

On that basis alone, it is easy to see why Chelsea were keen to seek out an alternative.

On the deck

The move to Chelsea means Mendy may have to adapt to a different style of goalkeeping, though.

In the Premier League last season, 51 per cent of Kepa's 198 goal-kicks ended inside his own box.

 

However, Mendy sent far more of his long, with only 21 per cent of his 163 goal-kicks finding a recipient in his area.

Furthermore, over half of Mendy's passes (56.7 per cent) were classified as long balls, with Kepa's ratio down at 33.7 per cent. Despite that, though, his average of 20.1 successful passes per 90 minutes was just 2.6 fewer than the Spaniard.

Unless Chelsea specifically want greater emphasis on long-range distribution, Mendy could require some time to adjust to playing a shorter passing game.

But if he is able to adapt, Kepa may find his game time at Stamford Bridge severely limited.

Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

Paris Saint-Germain will be without Angel Di Maria for four matches after the playmaker was suspended for spitting at Marseille defender Alvaro.

Di Maria has been handed the punishment for his part in the stoppage-time fracas which occurred in Le Classique on September 13.

Neymar, who accused Alvaro of racism - something the OM player denied, Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa were all sent off for PSG, while Dario Benedetto and Jordan Amavi saw red for Marseille at Parc des Princes.

While Neymar has served his suspension, Di Maria will miss four games for the Ligue 1 champions.

However, Thomas Tuchel will be able to call on the Argentine for the clash with Reims on Sunday, with the sanction not coming into force until September 29.

Di Maria will be absent for PSG's Ligue 1 fixtures against Angers, Nimes, Dijon and Nantes.

After losing their first two games of the campaign, PSG have claimed maximum points from their last two fixtures, seeing off Metz and Nice respectively, with Kylian Mbappe having returned from his coronavirus-enforced quarantine.

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