Bayern Munich's German players are "very much looking forward" to Leroy Sane joining the club, according to striker Robert Lewandowski.

The Manchester City winger has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga champions following the departure of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, and Lewandowski added more weight to the rumours during a close-season tour of China.

Sane started just 21 Premier League games for City in 2018-19, six fewer than in the previous campaign, but the 23-year-old is nevertheless valued far higher than the £45million City paid Schalke for him in August 2016.

Asked about Robben and Ribery, Lewandowski told reporters: "They are legends, and of course their departure is sad.

"But Bayern will also sign more and better replacements. I believe that the winger Bayern sign in the future will be as good as Robben and Ribery.

"Bayern's German players are now very much looking forward to Sane's signing, but we have to wait and see what is going on."

Bayern coach Niko Kovac has begun the process of making space in his squad, with South Korean midfielder Jeong Woo-yeong moving to Freiburg for an undisclosed fee.

Kyle Walker's fresh contract running until 2024 continues a trend at Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

The Catalan led his club to back-to-back Premier League titles last season, before completing a clean sweep of domestic honours and he is keen to keep a core of proven winners together.

An ongoing FIFA investigation into City that could result in a transfer ban means this approach could be prudent, although it is a policy that predates football's authorities taking an active interest in the club's affairs.

A £50million signing from Tottenham in 2017, England defender Walker is in it for the long haul at the Etihad Stadium – and he is far from the only one.

Kyle Walker (age 29, contracted until 2024)

Significantly older than the other players on this list, underlining the esteem in which Guardiola holds the full-back. Walker overcame a mid-season form slump with flying colours in 2019 and brought up 100 City appearances as Watford were swatted aside in the FA Cup final. Danilo is reportedly seeking pastures new due to Walker locking down the right-back slot, with Juventus' Joao Cancelo a rumoured target to bring fresh competition.

Bernardo Silva (age 24, contracted until 2025)

A £43.5million signing from Monaco in May 2017, Silva truly came to the fore last season. The Portugal playmaker's superb form and versatility meant Kevin De Bruyne's injury woes did not hinder City to any major extent. Like Walker, his initial deal ran until 2022. A Guardiola favourite.

Ederson (age 25, contracted until 2025)

A sharp, fearless shot-stopper, Ederson's composure and skill on the ball felt like the final piece in the jigsaw for Guardiola, enabling City to fully take on their manager's style. Despite agreeing a six-year contract after joining from Benfica for £35m in June 2017, he confirmed an additional two years at the conclusion of the 2017-18 campaign.

Aymeric Laporte (age 25, contracted until 2025)

The French centre-back has become Guardiola's 'Mr Dependable' at the heart of defence, mixing an elegant assurance on the ball with an imposing physical side to his game. A £57m recruit after City triggered Athletic Bilbao's release clause last January, Laporte bolted two more years on to his Manchester stay this February.

Raheem Sterling (age 24, contracted until 2023)

Arguably the greatest success story of Guardiola's City tenure, Sterling is now an indispensable attacking asset for club and country. The former Barcelona boss had long been keen on his star winger signing fresh terms before he settled upon a three-year extension in November 2018.

Kevin De Bruyne (age 27, contracted until 2023)

Forced to be a peripheral figure for much of the treble assault, De Bruyne was named City's Player of the Season in 2017-18. The Belgium midfielder's stellar form towards the back end of 2017 apparently had Europe's super clubs licking their lips, meaning his renewed commitment in January 2018 was a source of joy and relief for supporters.

Gabriel Jesus (age 22, contracted until 2023)

Brazil forward Jesus has perhaps not kicked on as expected from his emphatic introduction to life in Manchester in 2017, when he threatened to unseat Sergio Aguero as City's premier striker. Aguero's status is once again undisputed, but a new contract signed last November showed Jesus remains an important part of City's future.

Phil Foden (age 19, contracted until 2024)

The jewel of City's much-vaunted academy system, Foden finished last season with seven goals in all competitions - including a vital headed winner on his second Premier League start against Tottenham in April. A mesmeric solo goal for England Under-21s against France on Tuesday underlined Foden's enticing potential.

England defender Kyle Walker has signed a two-year contract extension to keep him with Manchester City until 2024, the Premier League champions have confirmed.

Walker joined City from Tottenham in a deal worth in the region of £50million prior to the 2017-18 season and became a key first-team performer as Pep Guardiola's side claimed back-to-back Premier League titles.

The 29-year-old has also won the EFL Cup in each of his campaigns at the Etihad Stadium to date and collected an FA Cup winners' medal last month, as City concluded 2018-19 with a 6-0 win over Watford at Wembley to complete an unprecedented domestic treble.

That win over Watford saw Walker make his 100th appearance for the club and he has designs on winning further major honours having renewed terms that initially ran to the end of the 2021-22 season.

"I'm thrilled to have signed a new deal," he said. "Playing for City has been everything I'd hoped it would be and more.

"It was an easy decision. I want to be competing for trophies, playing at the highest level, and I feel I have improved hugely as a player during my time here.

"The club's vision – both on and of the pitch – matches mine perfectly and I’m looking forward to spending the next five years here, hopefully winning more silverware."

Walker showed his versatility when he operated on the right of three centre-backs throughout England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

Gareth Southgate's reversion to a back four means he now faces stiff competition for a starting place from Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold at international level, while Guardiola is rumoured to be chasing fresh competition for Walker in the form of Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo.

However, City's director of football Txiki Begiristain offered assurances that the player remains vital to the club's plans over the coming years.

"We are delighted to have Kyle here for a further two years," he said. "His strength, speed and ability have been vital to our accomplishments. He is a key member of the squad.

"His experience is invaluable, particularly to the younger members of the team, and his contribution will be crucial in our efforts for continued success."

City face Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 4 before beginning their Premier League defence six days later at West Ham.

Neymar's expected exit from Paris Saint-Germain seems to be gathering speed.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave the Ligue 1 champions, with a return to LaLiga – either with former club Barcelona or Real Madrid – appearing likely.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said he no longer wanted "superstar behaviour" and Neymar looks set to depart the Parc des Princes.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SET FOR LALIGA RETURN

A return to Barcelona, where he spent four seasons before joining PSG, seems the most likely for Neymar.

According to television channel Gol, the Brazilian is already looking for a house in Barcelona, and he wants the same home he occupied during his first stint at the club.

However, the star forward has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid. Marca report PSG may want Casemiro in a possible deal for Neymar.

Mundo Deportivo report Neymar recently told Al-Khelaifi: "I don't want to play anymore at PSG. I want to go back to my house [Barcelona], where I should never have left."

ROUND-UP

- Paul Pogba may want a "new challenge" away from Manchester United, but he is set to get a nice bonus beforehand. The Sun report Pogba is due to receive a £3.78million loyalty bonus from United at the start of July. While the midfielder is linked with Real Madrid, Gianluca Di Marzio reports there are still talks for Pogba to return to Juventus.

- Real Madrid still seem keen to land Tottenham star Christian Eriksen. The Daily Mail report Madrid are set to offer Spurs £45m plus midfielder Dani Ceballos for the Denmark playmaker.

- Matthijs de Ligt appears to be getting closer to a decision over his future. The Ajax captain has told Barcelona he will not be joining them, according to Cadena SER.

- Manchester United's hopes of keeping David de Gea have received a boost. The Sun report PSG, long linked with the goalkeeper, have instead turned their attentions to AC Milan shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Romelu Lukaku will not force a Manchester United exit despite being linked with a move, according to the Mirror. There has been plenty of talk around United, with The Sun reporting the club offered Phil Jones in a deal to sign West Ham defender Issa Diop, but the Hammers want Anthony Martial. Meanwhile, Gianluca Di Marzio reports United are also showing an interest in Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj.

- Manchester City appear set to strengthen with the signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri. Goal report Rodri has decided to leave Atletico and join City, who are set to pay his €70m buy-out clause.

Arjen Robben is a target for PSV and the former Bayern Munich winger has already been contacted by the Eredivisie club, according to Mark van Bommel.

Robben left Bayern at the end of 2018-19, bringing his decade-long association with the Bundesliga giants to an end.

The 35-year-old is now a free agent, and boss Van Bommel – who guided PSV to a second-placed Eredivisie finish last season – made no secret of his desire to see Robben return to a club he played for between 2002 and 2004.

However, Van Bommel accepts it may still prove difficult to bring in the ex-Netherlands international.

"There's been more than one call," Van Bommel told Voetbalzone. "But it's very simple, he's the one who has to make the decision.

"He knows that we would love to have him here and we now have to give him the time he needs to make a decision.

"I am not going to put any pressure on him to force a decision. It's an important decision for him.

"He could retire or he could continue to play. He could join us or he could go elsewhere. He will have received loads of offers."

Should Robben arrive, it could well be as a replacement for Hirving Lozano, who looks set to leave PSV after another stellar campaign, with Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly leading the chase for the Mexico forward.

Another player who looks set to depart PSV is full-back Angelino, who has been heavily linked with a return to Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola looks to add a left-back to his squad.

And Van Bommel acknowledged PSV have a fight on their hands if they are to keep hold of the 22-year-old, who left City in 2018.

"There is a chance he could leave, yes," Van Bommel said when asked about Angelino's future.

"We would rather not allow anyone to leave, but there's not an awful lot you can do with certain players. Ideally we would like to hold on to players."

Pep Guardiola's style of play will suit Rodri if he completes a transfer from Atletico Madrid to Manchester City, according to former Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Luis Milla.

Spain international Rodri is expected to complete a £62.5million transfer to the Etihad Stadium, bringing the former Villarreal midfielder's time at Atletico to an end after just one season.

Milla, who won La Liga twice with Madrid and once with Barcelona during an illustrious playing career, said the 22-year-old would be a natural fit at City should the club opt to make him their record signing.

"Rodri could fit perfectly at Manchester City, because his coach has an Ajax and Barcelona style and looks for the same idea of play," Milla told Omnisport.

"City has a coach that was influenced at Barcelona. Rodri has the ability and virtues to play that way."

Guardiola is thought to see Rodri as a potential successor to 34-year-old midfielder Fernandinho in the City engine room, offering a similarly disciplined approach to the game.

West Ham's Declan Rice and Lyon's Tanguy Ndombele have also been linked with City, but Milla sees Rodri as an ideal signing for the Premier League champions.

"We are talking about a player with the ability to read football quickly," said Milla.

"He also understands what he has to do in each moment, he is intelligent, tactically he never loses his position, and he knows how to play a positional game."

Leon Goretzka and his Bayern Munich team-mates would be "ecstatic" if Leroy Sane joined from Manchester City.

Sane has been touted as a top target for the Bundesliga champions with experienced wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery leaving the club at the end of the season.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness confirmed their interest but acknowledged it would take an "insane" fee to prise the Germany international away from City, where it is hoped he will sign a contract extension despite seeing a decrease in his starts under Pep Guardiola in 2018-19.

Goretzka would be delighted to reunited with his former Schalke colleague, who joined City in 2016 for a reported £37million.

Asked for his thoughts on Bayern plucking away Sane, one of the Premier League's leading stars, he told Bild: "I think that Bayern can definitely keep up in that regard.

"It's still one of the best and biggest clubs in the world. Leroy knows that. He's felt really good in England in the past few years. Now he has to decide for himself what the right move is.

"Leroy knows that Munich is a very beautiful city, so I don't have to tempt him. He knows he can always contact me if he needs advice or wants to hear my opinion.

"We would all be ecstatic if he comes. But I'll be damned if I put him under pressure or influence his opinion. I was in a similar situation last year. I had to make a decision for myself and felt it was best to do it alone."

Newly appointed Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri is on the same level as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, according to Arrigo Sacchi.

Sarri was confirmed as Juve boss on Sunday, leaving Chelsea after just one season in the Premier League.

Reports suggested Guardiola was also a target for the Serie A champions, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri last month.

Sacchi – who won two European Cups and a Serie A title at the helm of AC Milan in the 1980s and '90s – feels Sarri is one of the best tacticians in the world.

"Sarri is of the same level as [Jurgen] Klopp, Guardiola, [Mauricio] Pochettino," he said on Monday.

"They have the same vision of work."

Guardiola has won two Premier League titles in three seasons at the helm of City, but his last Champions League success came with Barcelona in 2011.

Sacchi played down suggestions Juve ever had a chance of bringing Guardiola to Turin.

"He sent me a message. I heard that with Guardiola to Juve there was never anything," he said.

"He is very happy where he is. This season he will try to win the Champions League."

From Madrid to Munich? Gareth Bale could be set for a new challenge.

Out of favour at Real Madrid, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are reportedly eyeing the Wales star.

With Madrid looking to trim their wage bill and raise some funds, Bale appears headed for the exit door…

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT BALE

According to The Sun, Bayern Munich are ready to offer Gareth Bale an escape from Real Madrid.

Having already signed Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes, Madrid are looking to sell as Zinedine Zidane continues his overhaul in the Spanish capital.

And with Niko Kovac's Bayern keen to bolster their attacking options on the flank following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, the German giants are reportedly prepared to take Bale on loan.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- Radio CRC in Italy reports that Napoli have moved closer to signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, which would reunite the Colombia star with Carlo Ancelotti after he was lured to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in 2017.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will submit a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Real Madrid, according to ABC. Meanwhile, the Mirror claims the French World Cup winner is prepared to go on strike.

- The Mirror also says Mohamed Salah will weigh up his Liverpool future at the end of the 2019-20 season, despite reported interest from Juventus and Real Madrid.

- According to Sky Sports News, Manchester United are interested in West Ham defender Issa Diop. The Red Devils are reportedly willing to pay £45million plus a player. It comes as United struggle in their pursuit of a centre-back as they continue to be linked to Leicester City's Harry Maguire and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also reportedly persevering in his efforts to prise Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

- Premier League champions Manchester City have moved ahead of rivals Manchester United and Atletico Madrid in the race to sign Benfica sensation Joao Felix. That is according to the Daily Mail, which claims City's willingness to loan the 19-year-old – who has a £105million release clause – back to the Portuguese champions has tilted the transfer battle in their favour.

- The Daily Star reports Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann will reject Manchester United's advances to team up with Lionel Messi at LaLiga champions Barcelona.

- According to Sky Germany, Mats Hummels is close to re-joining Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich. The 30-year-old defender left Dortmund in 2016.

Gabriel Jesus insists there is no chance he and strike partner Sergio Aguero will leave Manchester City before next season.

The Brazil international, who is currently away on Copa America duty, was restricted to just eight Premier League starts in 2018-19 due to the goalscoring form of Aguero.

That led to speculation last month suggesting City are prepared to offload Jesus during the close-season in order to raise funds to bring in other players.

But the 22-year-old sees his future at the Etihad Stadium and insists he is respectful of Aguero's status at the club, which has forced him to settle for a back-up role.

"He is a legend at the club - he's the top scorer [of all time]," he told the Daily Mail. "Obviously as a player I always want to play, but I'm happy to help and I respect Sergio.

"I think it's out of the question that Aguero leaves, and me too."

Luka Jovic was officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Wednesday, and Los Blancos' new striker is one of the headline names taking part in the Under-21 European Championship.

The tournament starts on Sunday, with Poland taking on Belgium before hosts Italy face Spain; Jovic's first taste of the competition will come when Serbia play against Austria in Group B on Monday.

But Jovic is not the only young star who is looking to shine at this event, with Manchester City's Phil Foden likely to be a key cog in England's midfield, while Sandro Tonali is one of Italy's brightest prospects.

And, ahead of the tournament, we have taken a look at the main players who will be looking to make an impact for each side.

GROUP A

Belgium – Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht)

Anderlecht are no strangers to a teenage star becoming a key man; think Romelu Lukaku, Aleksandar Mitrovic or Youri Tielemans. Verschaeren is the next such prospect and his form has been so impressive that he could feature for Belgium at this tournament, despite being just 17. He is not yet capped at under-21 level, but that will soon change in the coming weeks for the silky attacking midfielder.

Italy – Sandro Tonali (Brescia)

Despite only turning 19 last month, Tonali has already established himself in Brescia's first team. He was a revelation in Serie B in 2018-19, helping his side to the title and subsequent promotion. A technically gifted midfielder who has been likened to Azzurri great Andrea Pirlo, Tonali is sure to be central to most of the host nation's play throughout the competition.

Poland – Sebastian Szymanski (Dinamo Moscow)

While many players at this tournament might hope to earn a move with their performances, Szymanski has already done that. Dinamo Moscow paid a reported €5.5million to Legia Warsaw for the talented playmaker just a few weeks ago, having emerged as one of the primary talents in the Ekstraklasa. A fine dribbler, agile and possessor of great vision, the 20-year-old – who was in Poland's preliminary squad for last year's World Cup – will be key for his side.

Spain – Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb)

Dinamo Zagreb have a fine reputation for developing young players and Olmo is the latest. The winger left Barcelona at 16 to move to Croatia and it appears to be working out, having established himself as a key player. Good on the ball and an able goalscorer, Olmo might not be one of the household names in Spain's squad, but that could be about to change.

GROUP B

Austria – Dario Maresic (Sturm Graz)

Although critics say Maresic did not enjoy the best of seasons at Sturm Graz, the centre-back is impressively experienced for a 19-year-old, having been around the first-team since he was 16. A fine ball-playing defender, Maresic has often been linked with German and English clubs – this might be his best chance to impress yet.

Denmark – Joachim Andersen (Sampdoria)

Robert Skov's goals will be vital if Denmark are to make a splash in Italy, but they will also need to be solid at the back – that's where Andersen comes in. Signed from Twente in 2017, the Sampdoria centre-back enjoyed a breakout season in 2018-19, catching the eye with his ability to play out from the back. Arsenal are reportedly interested, but an impressive tournament could see his price tag continue to rise.

Germany – Alexander Nubel (Schalke)

Among the players going head-to-head with Jovic in the group stage will be Nubel, who enjoyed a breakthrough season with Schalke in the Bundesliga, unseating Ralf Fahrmann. Nubel made nine appearances in qualifying, conceding just seven goals and keeping five clean sheets, and could well be on course to prove himself as Manuel Neuer's heir apparent.

Serbia – Luka Jovic (Real Madrid)

Jovic's sensational form for Eintracht Frankfurt has earned the 21-year-old a mega-money move to Madrid. The former Benfica youngster scored 27 goals in all competitions for Frankfurt last term, and has also netted twice for the senior international team. With seven goals in qualifying, and riding the crest of a wave, Jovic will be aiming to drag Serbia deep into the competition, and he certainly has the talent to do so.

GROUP C

Croatia – Lovro Majer (Dinamo Zagreb)

The second Zagreb player to feature on this list, Majer's style of play has drawn comparisons to that of Luka Modric, who of course led Croatia to the World Cup final at Russia 2018. But Zlatko Dalic's team is an ageing one, and midfielder Majer, who made his international debut in 2017, could well be in line to play a key part in the senior squad in years to come.

England – Phil Foden (Manchester City)

There has been plenty of clamour for Foden to get more first-team opportunities at Manchester City in recent seasons, but Pep Guardiola has understandably taken his time in introducing the 19-year-old into a side that swept up four domestic trophies last term. Foden was a huge part in England winning the Under-17 World Cup in 2017, and Aidy Boothroyd is almost certain to turn to the playmaker to be England's creative fulcrum in their bid to win silverware.

France – Houssem Aouar (Lyon)

From one current City player, to a youngster that has been linked with a move to the Premier League champions. Aouar has been a consistent performer since establishing himself in Lyon's side during 2017-18, and is sure to be the one France look to supply the firepower for his club-mate Moussa Dembele. The 20-year-old, who is an exceptional passer, also thrives on getting among the goals, scoring 14 times in all competitions for Lyon over the course of the past two seasons.

Romania – Florinel Coman (Steaua Bucharest)

Winger Coman reportedly has a €100m release clause in his contract with Steaua Bucharest, whom he joined in 2017. A tricky, quick player with an eye for goal - he scored 12 across all competitions last term - he is without a doubt Romania's shining light heading into the tournament.

Mohamed Salah out and Nicolas Pepe in at Liverpool?

Liverpool are reportedly willing to sell star forward Salah in order to bring Lille's Pepe to Anfield.

Salah is coming off a memorable Champions League triumph with the Reds but could be heading out the door.

 

TOP STORY – SALAH COULD MAKE WAY FOR PEPE

According to le10sport, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is prepared to sacrifice Salah to sign Lille forward Pepe.

Pepe took Ligue 1 by storm with 22 goals as Lille qualified for the Champions League and Liverpool are believed to be among the Ivory Coast international's admirers.

The Reds are so keen apparently that they are prepared to sell top scorer Salah, who reportedly has a complicated relationship with Klopp.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Maurizio Sarri saga appears to be reaching its conclusion, with Sky Italy reporting Chelsea and Juventus have reached a deal to allow the Italian to move to the Serie A champions. The former Napoli coach's return to Italy is set to pave the way for ex-Chelsea star and Derby County manager Frank Lampard to take over at Stamford Bridge.

- According to AS, LaLiga champions Barcelona are making back-up plans should they miss out on Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, who is the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Juve.

- Premier League title-holders Manchester City have been put off by a £90million price tag on Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, according to The Daily Mail. Pep Guardiola is reportedly eyeing the England international as a replacement for Vincent Kompany, while neighbours United are also interested.

- Liverpool are not interested in making another move for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, The Independent reports. The Champions League winners came close to signing the France international last year but pulled out amid reported concerns over his knee.

- Carlo Ancelotti is still determined to bring Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez to Napoli, says AS. James' future is up in the air after Bayern Munich opted against signing the Colombia international permanently following a two-year loan spell.

- Cadena SER claims Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is ready to sell Ivan Rakitic amid reported interest from United. The same station also says Marco Asensio is among the players on the market at Madrid following the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes.

- United and rumoured Madrid target Paul Pogba has no intention of remaining at Old Trafford in 2019-20, according to L'Equipe.

Bayern Munich buying Leroy Sane would be a boost to the Bundesliga, according to Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Manchester City winger Sane has been linked with a switch to Bayern, who are seeking to improve their wide options due to the imminent departures of experienced duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness said it would require an "insane" sum to buy Sane, though, while chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge indicated the 23-year-old needs to decide for himself whether he wants a move.

Sane, who joined City from Schalke for a reported initial fee of £37million in 2016, scored 16 goals in all competitions for the Premier League champions last term but only started 21 top-flight matches, six fewer than in the 2017-18 campaign, as he seemingly lost Pep Guardiola's trust.

The winger refused to answer questions about his future after helping Germany hammer Estonia 8-0 in Euro 2020 qualifying this week.

But even if it might damage Dortmund's chances of unseating Bayern at the summit, Watzke feels Sane's arrival would benefit the Bundesliga.

"I think it would be very good if Bayern bring Leroy Sane back as a Germany international," Watzke said to Bild.

"Because that would further increase the appeal of the league."

Dortmund have added to Lucien Favre's squad for the 2019-20 season by signing Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz and Julian Brandt, although Christian Pulisic has left for Chelsea.

Sergio Aguero could set a new Premier League record for goals on the opening weekend of a season in 2019-20.

Manchester City start their title defence at West Ham, where a hat-trick would make the Argentina attacker the most prolific opening-weekend goalscorer in the competition's history.

City's bid for a third consecutive title will likely be challenged strongly by European champions Liverpool again and Jurgen Klopp's side open their season at home to Norwich City, a favourite victim of the Reds.

Here, with the help of Opta, we look at two key facts for each of the opening-day fixtures.

 

Liverpool v Norwich City

- This will be the first time that Liverpool and Norwich have met since a nine-goal thriller at Carrow Road in January 2016, in which the Reds prevailed 5-4.

- Norwich City have only lost more Premier League games against Manchester United (12) than they have against Liverpool (11), but they have conceded more goals in the Premier League against the Reds than any other side (45).

Bournemouth v Sheffield United

- Sheffield United have won each of their past eight competitive meetings with Bournemouth.

- On the only previous occasion that Bournemouth and Sheffield United played one another on the opening matchday of a league season, the Blades were relegated from the second tier that campaign (1987-88).

Burnley v Southampton

- This is the second successive Premier League season that Burnley and Southampton have met one another on the opening matchday. Southampton hosted Burnley last season on the opening weekend and they drew 0-0.

- The last five Premier League meetings between Burnley and Southampton have produced just six goals (four for Burnley, two for Southampton).

Crystal Palace v Everton

- Everton are unbeaten in their most recent nine Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace, winning four and drawing five. 

- On the only previous occasion that Crystal Palace and Everton played each other on the opening matchday of a league season, Crystal Palace won 2-1 at Goodison Park but ended the season bottom of the league (Premier League 1997-98).

Leicester City v Wolves

- Leicester City's first home game and Wolves' first away game in the Premier League last season was in this fixture at the King Power Stadium on matchday two. The Foxes won 2-0.

- In their 4-3 victory over Leicester in January, Diogo Jota became the first Wolves player to score a top-flight hat-trick since John Richards in October 1977 (also against Leicester City). He also became the second Portuguese player to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tottenham v Aston Villa

- Spurs will start a league season at home for the first time since 2010, following eight successive seasons with an away match to start their league campaign.

- Harry Kane has scored four goals in five Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, including two goals in their last such meeting: a 2-0 win for Spurs at Villa Park in March 2016.

Watford v Brighton and Hove Albion

- This is the second successive season Watford have hosted Brighton on matchday one. Last term, Watford beat the Seagulls 2-0 at Vicarage Road last August thanks to a Roberto Pereyra double.

- Brighton have won just one of their opening league fixtures to a top-flight season; this was in 1980-81, against Wolves.

West Ham v Manchester City

- Manchester City have won their past seven competitive matches against West Ham with a combined score line of 23-3 in their favour.

- Sergio Aguero has scored six goals on matchday one of previous Premier League seasons, more than any player still playing in the competition. Players with more matchday-one goals in Premier League history are Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard (all eight) and Teddy Sheringham (seven).

Newcastle United v Arsenal 

- Newcastle have not won their opening league game of a season since 2012-13, when the Magpies recorded a 2-1 victory at home to Tottenham.

- Arsenal have won 12 of their most recent 13 competitive fixtures against Newcastle, losing only once in this run: 2-1 at St James' Park in April 2018.

Manchester United v Chelsea

- This will be the first meeting between these Manchester United and Chelsea on matchday one of a league season since 2004-05, when Jose Mourinho took charge of his first Premier League match. Chelsea won 1-0 thanks to an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal and went on to win the league title that season.

- Manchester United have lost more Premier League games (18) and conceded more Premier League goals (71) against Chelsea than they have against any other team.

Manchester City and Liverpool look set to go head-to-head for the 2019-20 Premier League title once again after last season's titanic tussle.

City edged out Liverpool to defend their crown after winning 14 Premier League games in a row in a stunning run of form from February.

Liverpool only lost once in the league all season - away to City in early January - but finished a point behind Pep Guardiola's side.

Winning the Champions League by beating Tottenham in the final ensured the Reds had something to show for their efforts, though.

City and Liverpool will be expected to do battle for the league again, with Chelsea sitting a whopping 25 points back in third last season.

So where will the 2019-20 Premier League title be won and lost? After the release of the full fixture list, Omnisport takes a look.

OPENING FIXTURES

Liverpool have a chance to strike the first blow as they kick off the 2019-20 season at home to newly promoted Norwich City.

Guardiola's men open their campaign the following day at West Ham before hosting Tottenham in their first home game.

The Reds play Arsenal at home and Chelsea away in their first six fixtures, meaning Jurgen Klopp's side must be in top form from the off.

City's opening six games include a repeat of the FA Cup final against Watford, who they thrashed 6-0 at Wembley, as well as games against Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion.

CRUNCH CLASHES

City and Liverpool are not scheduled to meet until November, which will give both teams a chance to find their Premier League rhythm.

Like last season, Liverpool are at home in the first of their two meetings with the defending champions, hosting City on November 9.

City drew 0-0 at Anfield last term - Riyad Mahrez fluffing a late penalty - and their 2-1 defeat of the Reds after the turn of the year proved a key result.

This time around Liverpool will not go to City until early April, kicking off a race to the finish line. That game already looks like a potential title decider.

DERBY DAYS

City's run of 14 consecutive wins last season gave Liverpool no room for slip-ups and although the Reds responded with nine successive victories of their own, dropped points earlier on proved costly.

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by rivals Everton on March 3 and the Merseyside derby could again be a key moment in the title race, with Goodison Park hosting the game on March 14 next year. They play at Anfield in early December.

The Reds also crucially failed to win at Old Trafford, again playing out a 0-0 draw against Manchester United, and clashes between those two rivals will rightly be highlighted once more.

Liverpool host United - set for a rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - on January 18 having made the trip to Old Trafford in October this year.

City won the Manchester derby both home and away last term with this season's game against United at the Etihad Stadium set for December 7 while the return is slated for early March.

FESTIVE FIXTURES

Christmas is when City's challenge threatened to come unstuck last season as Guardiola's men suffered shock defeats in consecutive matches, at home to Crystal Palace and away to Leicester City, following a loss to Chelsea earlier in November.

This term sees City away to Wolves on Boxing Day, with Nuno Espirito Santo's side having thrived in games against the 'Big Six' last term, before hosting newly promoted Sheffield United and Everton in their other Christmas clashes.

Liverpool won nine games in a row before losing to City on January 3 last year, so Klopp will be seeking a similar return from their festive schedule this time out.

The Reds go to Leicester City on Boxing Day before a home double-header against Wolves and Sheffield United ahead of the FA Cup third round in early January.


THE RUN-IN

City's toughest runs of games appear to be in November and March, while Liverpool face two of their top-six rivals in their last three games of the Premier League season.

Their May fixtures start with a trip to Arsenal before Chelsea come to Anfield, with Klopp's side wrapping up their campaign with a visit to Newcastle United.

City are at home on the final day, with Norwich City heading to the Etihad Stadium, and prior to that game they face Southampton, Newcastle United, Brighton, Bournemouth and Watford in a seemingly kind sequence.

Champions League commitments could complicate matters further for both City and Liverpool in 2019-20, but the title race might well go to the wire for the second season in a row.

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