The race is heating up for Neymar.

With Paris Saint-Germain reportedly willing to part with the world's most expensive player, two LaLiga giants are set to go head-to-head.

Will Neymar end up at former club Barcelona or bitter Spanish rivals Real Madrid?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND MADRID FIGHT FOR NEYMAR

A return to Barcelona and a blockbuster transfer to Real Madrid both appear on the cards for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Madrid are reportedly ready to pay €130million for Neymar in a deal which would also include either James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale.

But Globo Esporte says Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a €222m transfer in 2017 – is still on track for a Camp Nou comeback.

It comes after Le Parisien claims PSG want €300m to part with the injured Brazil forward.

 

ROUND-UP

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to become the world's most expensive full-back as Manchester United negotiate a £55million deal with Crystal Palace, according to the Daily Record. However, talks between the two Premier League sides have dragged on and the Red Devils have identified alternatives, with Sky Sport Italia claiming Napoli's Elseid Hysaj is a target.

- According to Marca, Atletico Madrid will announce the signing of Benfica sensation Joao Felix on Thursday. The 19-year-old has already undergone a medical and signed his contract ahead of the €120m move.

Frank Lampard has notified his Derby County squad that he will replace Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea if the right offer arrives, the Mirror reports. Former Chelsea star Lampard is expected to move back to London following Sarri's switch to Juve.

Paris Saint-Germain outcast Adrien Rabiot is on the verge of signing for Serie A champions Juventus, according to Sportitalia. The French midfielder and free agent has reportedly penned a five-year contract worth €7m plus bonuses, and a €10m signing-on fee.

- According to the Daily Mail, Inter and Atletico Madrid are both eyeing a move for Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has agreed a deal worth £180,000 per week to join Inter, says The Sun. With Lukaku heading for the exit, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly eyeing Bournemouth's David Brooks.

Andre Gomes is on the verge of joining Everton permanently from LaLiga champions Barcelona. Gomes enjoyed a successful loan spell in 2018-19 and a £22m fee has "verbally been agreed", according to the Telegraph.

Jorginho's previous spell at Napoli will not stop him from reuniting with Maurizio Sarri at Serie A rivals Juventus, according to the Chelsea midfielder's agent.

New Juventus head coach Sarri took Jorginho to Chelsea from Napoli last season and has been tipped to sign him again ahead of his first campaign back in Italy's top flight.

The 27-year-old failed to truly adapt to Premier League football following his reported £50million switch, leading to suggestions that he could be heading for a swift Serie A return after just 11 months at Stamford Bridge.

And Jorginho's representative Joao Santos said, while the player is not actively seeking a move, a transfer cannot be ruled out.

"Chelsea have a four-year contract with the lad," Santos told Tuttomercatoweb. "We'll wait a few days to figure out whether there is any truth in this interest mentioned in the papers.

"His past at Napoli won’t be an issue, because Jorginho is a professional. Right now, Jorginho is happy at Chelsea. 

"He found a great atmosphere and we can't really say that he'd like to go elsewhere, but anything can happen in the transfer market. We'll wait and see..."

Sarri finished as a runner-up to Juventus in 2017-18 before joining Chelsea, where he capped his one and only season at the club by winning the Europa League with victory over Arsenal in last month's final.

Santos expects the incoming Juve boss, who will be officially unveiled on Thursday, to further improve the Italian champions with his famed style of play.

"Sarri already showed at Napoli and Chelsea that he is a top-level coach," he said. "At a club like Juve, who have been so well-organised for years, he can only improve and continue to win.

"I've been tracking Sarri for five years and his style of football is very entertaining. Juventus will change, because before they would win without being convincing. Now they'll convince too."

Inter have announced the signing of Matteo Politano from Sassuolo, the club taking up a purchase option after his loan at San Siro.

Politano made 36 Serie A appearances for the Nerazzurri last term, scoring five league goals as they finished fourth in the table.

Inter are reported to have paid €20million to Sassuolo to sign the 25-year-old winger on a permanent basis.

The Italy international will now be part of Antonio Conte's squad after the former Chelsea boss succeeded Luciano Spalletti as head coach.

Inter also announced on Wednesday the signing of Eddie Salcedo from Genoa on a permanent basis after he too spent last season on loan.

Philippe Coutinho says he is unsure where he will be playing next season as speculation continues to mount over his Barcelona future.

The Brazil international had an underwhelming first full campaign at Camp Nou, contributing five LaLiga goals and two assists.

Coutinho acknowledged earlier this week he needs to improve to justify his hefty price tag, with Barcelona paying a fee that could rise to £142million to sign him from Liverpool in January 2018.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are rumoured to be interested in the 27-year-old, but he is keeping his attention on helping Brazil to Copa America glory on home soil.

"I do not know. The future, nobody knows," Coutinho told reporters when asked if he will leave Barcelona.

"I am focused to play with the national team now."

Coutinho scored twice in Brazil's 3-0 win over Bolivia in their opening Copa America match, but he could not inspire his side in Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Venezuela.

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.

Everton have confirmed left-back Leighton Baines will remain at the club next season after signing a new one-year contract.

Baines will enter his 13th campaign at the club after the 34-year-old defender agreed to extend his stay at Goodison Park.

Former England international Baines, who joined from Wigan Athletic in 2007, started only five Premier League games last term.

However, despite being usurped by Lucas Digne following the left-back's arrival from Barcelona, Baines was happy to stay.

"I do feel as proud as when I first signed," he told Everton's website. "As you get older, you realise the work you need to do to sustain the level required by the club.

"And to be judged to be at that level in the later stages of your career is testament to the work you do. You take pride in it all.

“When you look at the back end of last season and how well we played and the results we picked up against some good teams it gives us plenty of optimism going into this season. We are confident about what we can do and striving to achieve success."

Manager Marco Silva added: "It was vital for me to keep Leighton at Everton and I am very pleased to finalise his contract before we return for pre-season.

"Leighton is part of the club's fabric and a top-class professional. Most importantly, Leighton is still an exceptionally good footballer and features in our vision for what we want to achieve at Everton."

Everton have signed Jonas Lossl ahead of the new campaign, while they are reportedly closing in on a permanent deal for Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes after he impressed on loan in 2018-19.

But Nikola Vlasic will not be available to Silva as the winger has completed a move to Russian Premier League side CSKA Moscow.

Vlasic, who scored CSKA's winning goal when they beat Real Madrid in the Champions League during his loan at the club last season, has signed a five-year contract.

Mats Hummels will be back at Borussia Dortmund next season after the club agreed a transfer with Bayern Munich, but questions have been asked over the size of the fee.

Dortmund are reported to have parted with €38million to bring back Hummels, who at 32 is likely heading into the latter years of his career at the highest level.

It is clear there is no real resale value involved in the deal for Dortmund, but if he can help break Bayern's dominance of the Bundesliga the club will feel he is worth every penny.

Hummels' club career could also be extended by the fact he will not be playing international football, having this year been dropped from the Germany squad by Joachim Low.

With the help of Opta numbers, Omnisport assesses the success of Hummels' career to date to examine whether the transfer represents good value for money.

 

PERFECT IN POSSESSION?

The signing of Hummels, the club's former captain, should help Dortmund keep the ball. In 2018-19, Opta numbers show he had the best passing accuracy of his whole Bundesliga career at 89.4 per cent, with anything near 90 per cent considered elite for a defender.

Hummels' passing accuracy improved by a significant amount in his three seasons in Munich, each of them showing a figure higher than anything he recorded in black and yellow. In fact, in five of his eight seasons with Dortmund, he had a passing accuracy rate below 80 per cent.

The trend is the same when European performances are assessed. In the Champions League last term, Hummels had a pass success rate of 87.6 per cent, whereas his last Champions League campaign with Dortmund in 2014-15 saw him record just 79.7 per cent.

Data suggests Hummels has improved in possession radically at Bayern and he will be expected to demonstrate this development back at Dortmund, where he could make his next debut for the club in August's DFB-Supercup, which is of course against Bayern.

FLAWLESS IN 2018-19

During the 2018-19 season with Bayern, Hummels did not make a single error that led to a goal, providing such solid displays he was named the best centre-back in the league by Kicker. 

However, the 2012-13 campaign with Dortmund was the only season during which Hummels made more than one error leading to a goal (two), suggesting he has merely maintained a high level of performance.

The Opta numbers for this area of Hummels' game suggest Low may have been too hasty in jettisoning the defender from Germany duty, although his club form at Dortmund could yet force him back into the international picture.


DUEL SUCCESS STILL HIGH

The perception that Hummels may be on the wane is not backed up by his duel success rate, either.

Last term, Hummels won 66.8 per cent of his duels in the Bundesliga and 67.7 per cent of Champions League duels, a return similar to the numbers he recorded at Dortmund.

His duel success has been impressive both at Dortmund and Bayern. Throughout his career on average he has won 66 per cent of his duels.

Should he maintain those numbers in the 2019-20 season and beyond, Dortmund will no doubt be thrilled with their latest recruit, who also adds much-needed experience to a young squad.

James Rodriguez has been identified as a target by Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti and the club plan to contact his agent to discuss a move, according to chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.

The Colombia star's future is up in the air as his two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich looks set to end without the German club making the move permanent, while he does not appear to be counted on by those at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus have all been linked with a swoop for James, but it seems Napoli will be the first to launch a bid after Ancelotti brought up the possibility of bringing the 27-year-old to Serie A.

"We have always said that we need two full-backs and one striker," De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"James Rodriguez fits the image of what Carlo Ancelotti wants.

"I don't know how much he 100 per cent answers our needs, but we certainly can't put his skill in doubt. At a certain point one must then empower his coach.

"If he [Ancelotti] wants him for Napoli, it is because he knows how useful he [James] can be, even if he is very expensive. I said, 'let's go ahead'."

James, who is on international duty at the Copa America, said on Sunday that he is unsure where his future lies, but De Laurentiis confirmed he will be in touch with the player's agent, Jorge Mendes, to open discussions.

PSV winger Hirving Lozano is being considered as an alternative if a move for James falls through, though De Laurentiis made it clear the club cannot afford to buy both players.

"If I don't reach an agreement with Jorge Mendes, I'll talk to Mino Raiola about Hirving Lozano," De Laurentiis added. "We can't take them both.

"We already have a series of players we can't ignore. We have to sell first and then we can buy.

"Mendes is perhaps the best agent in the world today. He is also a friend. I think James will be very expensive, but if we have to make a sacrifice, we do it. For one player, you can do it."

Mats Hummels is set to return to Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich, joining former team-mate Mario Gotze back at Signal Iduna Park.

Hummels and Gotze were both part of the Dortmund teams that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp, so Lucien Favre will hope they can lead BVB back to the top.

Deals between the two German giants are not very common, but there have been some high-profile examples of players to feature for both Bayern and Dortmund.

Omnisport picks out six of the best, with Hummels' return costing Dortmund a reported €38million fee.

Mats Hummels

Hummels will know his way around Signal Iduna Park as it is only three years since the former BVB captain left Dortmund for Bayern. And he had already moved in the other direction earlier in his career. It is often forgotten Hummels started his career at Bayern only to sign for Dortmund, initially on loan, in January 2008. There, he would become one of the most impressive young defenders in the game, so it was no surprise Bayern bought him back in 2016.

Even at the age of 30, Dortmund will hope Hummels has more to give, especially as he will no longer be playing international football after Joachim Low's decision to drop him from the Germany squad. Hummels could make his next Dortmund debut against Bayern in August's DFB-Supercup.


Robert Lewandowski

Like Hummels, Lewandowski made his name at Dortmund and played a key part in their double title-winning success in the Klopp era. And, like Hummels, he was tempted away by Bavarian giants Bayern, making the switch in 2014.

Since then, the Poland international has developed a reputation as one of the world's finest strikers, often scoring against Dortmund, but the last couple of years have seen him linked with a move away. It is possible his star is on the wane too as the 22 Bundesliga goals last term were his lowest return since the 30-year-old's first season at Bayern.


Mario Gotze

There will be a familiar face for Hummels in the Dortmund dressing room as Gotze is also back at the club. The playmaker, who scored the goal that clinched World Cup glory for Germany in 2014, left Dortmund for Bayern in 2013 but never truly settled at the club and it made sense for BVB to bring him back after three mostly unhappy seasons.

"I can understand many fans could not accept my decision [to leave Dortmund]," he said. "I wouldn't reach it today either." Although a metabolic disorder has kept Gotze on the sidelines, he still scored seven Bundesliga goals last term and has won the club's fans back over.


Torsten Frings 

Germany midfielder Frings had short spells for both Dortmund and Bayern, but he is best remembered for his two long periods as a Werder Bremen player.

Dortmund signed Frings from Werder during the 2002 World Cup but after two years he left for Bayern, where he won a domestic double. It was his only season in Munich, though, and he was soon back at Bremen.


Christian Nerlinger

Even though he was from Dortmund, it was at Bayern where Nerlinger started his career, winning a brace of Bundesliga titles as well as the UEFA Cup in 1995-96. 

Nerlinger joined hometown club Dortmund in 1998 but injuries affected his ability to make an impact and the midfielder, capped six times by Germany, was forced into early retirement in December 2005.


Thomas Helmer

Euro 1996 winner Helmer joined Dortmund from Arminia Bielefeld in 1986, but only won the DFB-Pokal at the club. Bayern were interested in buying the defender in 1992 but Dortmund were unwilling to sell him to their Bundesliga rivals.

Instead, Helmer moved to Ligue 1 side Lyon, but he then switched to Bayern in controversial circumstances only three months later. Helmer would become Bayern's captain and won three league titles before an inauspicious end to his career at Sunderland.

Becoming a Real Madrid player is starting to sink in for Ferland Mendy, who opened up on his 10-year journey from being told he would never play football again to joining "the greatest club in the world".

The France international completed a €48million transfer from Lyon last week, signing a contract that will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2025.

At his presentation on Wednesday, Mendy described how he fought his way back from the brink of having his career ended by surgery to realising his ambition of playing for Los Blancos.

"When I was 15 I had a hip operation and they told me I would never play football again," he told reporters.

"I was in a wheelchair for a while and spent six or seven months in hospital for rehab.

"Now I'm at Real Madrid. It's incredible."

Mendy's arrival has sparked speculation over the future of Madrid full-back Marcelo, but the new recruit is looking forward to learning from the Brazil international as he adapts to life in LaLiga.

He also revealed compatriot Raphael Varane had offered to support him through his transition away from Ligue 1.

"I've spoken to Varane and he told me it was the greatest club in the world," said Mendy.

"He said he would help me to integrate well in the dressing room. That's going to be easier for me as I play with him for France.

"I'm very happy to be a part of Real Madrid. I know the quality of Marcelo. He's had a great career and I'm going to learn a lot from him."

Asked whether France team-mates Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe could be the next stars to arrive in Madrid, Mendy replied: "Why not?

"They're high quality players but we haven't spoken about Real Madrid. The only person I spoke about Real Madrid with is Varane."

Mats Hummels is set to return to Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth a reported €38million after a transfer agreement with Bayern Munich was announced.

The World Cup winner left Signal Iduna Park for rivals Bayern in 2016, having moved to Dortmund from Munich in 2008, but is now heading back the other way.

Hummels will now undergo a medical with BVB, who finished second in the Bundesliga in 2018-19 after the Bavarians overtook them in a gripping title race.

Errors from an inexperienced backline contributed to Dortmund's failure to see out their first title triumph since 2011-12.

However, Lucien Favre's men have moved quickly in the transfer window, bringing in Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and now Hummels. Favre also signed a one-year contract extension on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old made over 300 appearances in his first stint with Dortmund, winning the Bundesliga twice, the DFB-Pokal once and losing in the 2012-13 Champions League final to Bayern.

Hummels also helped Germany to World Cup glory in 2014 before moving to Bayern two years later and claiming three league titles in as many seasons.

He is no longer part of the Germany set-up, though, with Joachim Low revealing plans to build for a future without Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller earlier this year.

The centre-back has 70 caps for his country.

Neymar "knows what he has to do" over his Paris Saint-Germain future, according to team-mate Marquinhos.

The world's most expensive player has been linked with a sensational return to Barcelona in recent weeks, while PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi's recent warning that he would no longer tolerate "celebrity behaviour" at the club was perceived in some quarters as a veiled dig at the Brazil superstar.

Ankle ligament damage ruled Neymar out of Brazil's Copa America campaign but, speaking after his country's 0-0 draw with Venezuela, Marquinhos was clear he hopes his compatriot will remain in the French capital.

"A player of Neymar's calibre, the difference he makes... as a team-mate, friend and fan, I want him to stay at Paris Saint-Germain," the 25-year-old defender told reporters.

"He knows what he has to do, our president also knows what he has to do. I do not know [about] the conversation they had."

Neymar has scored 34 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG but his two seasons in France have been hindered by lengthy spells on the sidelines due to injuries.

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.

Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt should avoid joining Manchester United this close season, according to Ruud Gullit.

De Ligt, 19, has been linked with numerous European heavyweights, including United, Liverpool and Barcelona, although Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly favourites to sign the centre-back.

Netherlands great Gullit feels his fellow Dutchman should not head to Old Trafford after United missed out on Champions League qualification.

"I don't think Man United, they don't play [in the] Champions League," he said, speaking at the Costa Smeralda Invitational.

"I think he wants to play Champions League. So, that's unfortunate for Man United.

"It's going to be difficult, a lot of them maybe have a UEFA ban, so there's a lot that's going on still. So I hope he makes the right decision for himself."

De Ligt captained Ajax to a domestic double last season, while they also reached the Champions League semi-finals.

Diego Simeone talked up Atletico Madrid's track record of developing young players amid speculation they are closing in on Benfica talent Joao Felix.

Media reports began to emerge on Monday, claiming Atletico had struck a deal with Portuguese champions Benfica for the 19-year-old attacking midfielder – who scored 15 goals and set up another seven in the Primeira Liga this season.

Despite his tender age, it was suggested Atletico will pay Joao Felix's reported €120million release clause, the same fee they are expected to receive for Antoine Griezmann.

Some fans have voiced reservations about replacing Griezmann with a relatively unproven youngster, but Simeone thinks developing young players is an area Atletico excel in.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Simeone said: "Historically, Atletico buy young players to develop them here.

"It's just like what happened with [Jan] Oblak, [Jose Maria] Gimenez and Lucas Hernandez when they came through from youth teams – or Griezmann.

"We want a talented guy who can absorb our ideas. Our technical staff is already working on some situations to help to develop players."

Atletico are going through a massive rebuild, with Lucas, Diego Godin, Luciano Vietto and Juanfran already confirmed exits, while Filipe Luis, Griezmann, Rodri, Vitolo and Nikola Kalinic are all tipped to leave as well.

Simeone is no stranger to a turbulent transfer window, though he considers Atletico's current transition to be one of the trickiest he has been through.

"It's a difficult transition we're going through, but we face it with hope," he said. "It's a challenge and we have to face it because we are losing senior guys who have given a lot to the club.

"We are looking for Atletico to compete again as we have done so far. During seven-and-a-half years, we were second, third, first, second [in LaLiga]... It's not easy.

"Our renovation began last year began with Fernando Torres, Gabi, now Juanfran, all reference points, my guys, those who gave me everything and who did it wonderfully well.

"At this time we are preparing Oblak, Saul [Niguez] and Gimenez, to make them the leaders of the squad.

"If Joao Felix and others come with different characteristics than we had before, then we will have to play differently.

"In training we will see where we are going. It's clear that this year's challenge is one of the most complex since I arrived at the club."

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