Thiago Alcantara wants a new challenge away from Bayern Munich while Kai Havertz is unlikely to be joining the Bundesliga champions this year, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed. 

Midfielder Thiago is under contract at the Allianz Arena until the end of next season yet has made clear to the club he is ready to move on at this stage of his career. 

The Spain international, who joined Bayern from Barcelona in July 2013, has been linked with newly crowned Premier League winners Liverpool. 

In an interview with BILD, chief executive Rummenigge made clear the Reds have yet to make contact over the 29-year-old, though his departure during the next window could still be possible.

"A top guy on and off the pitch," Rummenigge said of Thiago.

"We negotiated with him in a serious manner and granted him all his wishes. But it looks like he wants to do something new at the end of his career. 

"We've never had any contact with Liverpool. If he wants to do this, we have to deal with it.

"We don't want to lose a player for free next year. I say that very clearly."

While Thiago could be leaving, Bayern have bolstered their squad by signing Tanguy Kouassi and Leroy Sane, the latter arriving from Manchester City after a year-long transfer saga. 

However, a deal for Havertz is not expected to happen due to financial reasons, with clubs having to adapt accordingly following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Asked about Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Havertz, Rummenigge replied: "We also have a very big challenge ahead of us financially. Even if we like the player, we wouldn't be able to lift it financially this year." 

Pep Clotet expects Birmingham City to receive big money for Jude Bellingham but denied a deal with Borussia Dortmund has been agreed.

It was reported on Friday that Dortmund have beaten off competition from the likes of Manchester United to sign the 17-year-old midfielder on a five-year deal.

The Championship side are said to be set to be paid at least £20million for the England youth international.

Blues head coach Clotet stressed that an agreement has not been reached, but suggested it was only a matter of time before the club cash in on the teenager.

"I have not looked into the situation at all as I am only allowed to comment on things that are not speculation," said Clotet, who will leave his role at the end of the season.

"It is up to the club and the player to decide, basically for the club to decide what to do with their assets. I am just hoping that the value according to what he has achieved and his future potential, is rich

"That's what I hope because he is one of the youngest players who has played so many games in the Championship for his age, on the quality of his play, in very different positions.

"He has massive future value. Of course I am expecting that possibly he will be the most valuable player I have ever developed - and I have developed a lot.

"I am expecting it to be a really good bond financially for the club but of course that is a side of the business that is not my side.

"There is no update, I know there has been a lot of speculation lately – but there is nothing.

"We are focused, Jude is our player, he is very determined to play with us tomorrow [at Fulham] and as far as I am aware and what I see it just shows how good professionally he is.

"He just blocks everything around that and is focusing a lot on his performances and playing tomorrow.  At the moment there is nothing concrete."

Kai Havertz has an agreement in place with Bayer Leverkusen that allows him to move in the next transfer window if certain conditions are met, Rudi Voller has said.

The Germany international enjoyed a stellar season in the Bundesliga, scoring 12 goals and assisting a further six.

Havertz's form has seen him linked to a big-money exit, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea all said to be interested in an attacking midfielder Leverkusen reportedly hope to receive €100million for.

Sporting director Rudi Voller hopes to persuade Havertz to stay one more season but concedes there is a mutual understanding between the club and the player over a potential transfer.

"There is nothing specific, nothing to report. As of now, he is our player," Voller told Bild.

"We have our ideas, we know what he can do. I personally hope that he stays one more year. We have an agreement: if it works, he can go this summer."

Leverkusen face Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday and remain in the Europa League, which will be concluded in Germany in August having been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Should Havertz seal a move away before then it could leave him in a predicament similar to that of Timo Werner, who opted not to feature in the rest of RB Leipzig's Champions League campaign after agreeing to join Chelsea.

Voller believes all players should finish the season with their teams, even if it could scupper a potential move.

"Maybe I'm too old-fashioned or romantic but for me it is a matter of course that a player ends the season no matter when it ends," he added. 

"There is no discussion at all for me to consider. Could I possibly hurt myself? Or take a little vacation? Then some should have withdrawn two months ago. 

"Whether it's the Europa League or the Champions League, if it's wanted by the player, the host and the club, I couldn't understand if a player didn't want to [play]."

He added: "Of course you can't force anyone. Havertz knows what he owes to his colleagues, the fans and the club."

Leroy Sane will wear the number 10 shirt belonging to Philippe Coutinho when he plays for Bayern Munich next season.

Bayern completed the signing of Sane from Manchester City in a deal worth €60million on Friday, the Germany international putting pen to paper on a five-year contract.

When he is eligible to feature in 2020-21, Sane will occupy the number worn by Coutinho during his season-long loan from Barcelona.

However, while advertising replica 'Sane 10' shirts for sale in their official club store, Bayern said: "Out of respect for Philippe Coutinho, who is the current number 10 and could play in the upcoming DFB-Pokal final in Berlin and any games in the Champions League in August, Sane decided not to use the number in his photos on Thursday."

The decision appears to suggest Coutinho is unlikely to remain at Bayern for the long term.

The Brazil international has been linked with a host of clubs across Europe after the Bundesliga champions let their option to sign him permanently expire.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has not ruled out moving again for Coutinho entirely, saying: "We'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not."

Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp has fired back at Borussia Dortmund fans, claiming BVB are "purely commercial".

Hopp has long been criticised by supporters of leading Bundesliga clubs like Dortmund and Bayern Munich due to his financing of Hoffenheim.

This season's fixture between Hoffenheim and Bayern had to be halted due to protests from the visiting Bavarian supporters, before the teams deliberately passed the ball to each other to play out the final minutes.

The 80-year-old billionaire has suggested concerns within German football should instead focus on Dortmund and big-spending Hertha Berlin.

"It's still a story that hurts me because it's unjust and because I still can't imagine how to construct something like that," he told Sport1.

"We at TSG are a club that cannot be called a commercial association.

"Let's take a look at Borussia Dortmund, which has become purely commercial.

"Or let's look at Berlin; there are many millions in circulation. I'm happy for the development at Hertha, but I can't understand that I'm also being attacked by their fans."

Hoffenheim thrashed Dortmund 4-0 at an empty Signal Iduna Park on the final day of the Bundesliga season.

Despite his unpopular status, Hopp is eager for the return of spectators following the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm just sorry that the fans are no longer allowed in the stadium," he said.

"There are only a few people who insult me, which is not that important by comparison. It would be more important that normality in football finally returns."

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of winger Leroy Sane from Manchester City.

Sane, 24, has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, who confirmed the transfer on Friday.

The Germany international will initially cost Bayern €49million (£44.5m), rising to €60m (£54.5m), Stats Perform News understands.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "We're very happy to welcome Leroy Sane to FC Bayern. He is an outstanding player who has proven his qualities over the past few years, especially in the national team.

"Our goal is to gather the best German players at FC Bayern and the signing of Leroy emphasises this goal. I would like to congratulate Hasan Salihamidzic on successfully concluding the transfer."

New Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has made winning the Champions League his "top priority" in Bavaria.

Sane's long-awaited move from Manchester City to Bayern in his native Germany was confirmed on Friday.

The 24-year-old has signed a five-year contract following a transfer for which, Stats Perform News understands, Bayern have paid an initial €49million (£44.5m), potentially rising to €60m (£54.5m).

Sane was a Bayern target last year before injury ruled him out for much of the 2019-20 campaign, but he is delighted to have finalised the deal, quickly revealing some lofty ambitions.

"FC Bayern is a great club with big goals and these goals suit me as well," Sane said. "I'm looking forward to the new challenge and can't wait to train with the team.

"I know Hansi Flick from the under-21 national team, we had a very good relationship there.

"I want to win as many trophies as possible with FC Bayern, and the Champions League is the top priority."

Sane will not be available for Bayern in this season's Champions League, however, with the Bundesliga champions considered among the favourites ahead of August's eight-team finals.

Meanwhile, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic thanked City for "trusting and constructive negotiations", and the Premier League club wished Sane well.

Manager Pep Guardiola, formerly of Bayern, said: "We wish Leroy all the best in this new chapter of his career.

"Leroy has been part of one of the most special periods in this club's history and he leaves with the best wishes of everyone here at Manchester City."

City director of football Txiki Begiristain added: "From arriving as a fledgling young talent four years ago, we are proud of the contribution Leroy has made since joining Manchester City.

"He leaves with many friends and fond memories of his time at the Etihad."

Sane scored 39 goals in 135 appearances for City in all competitions, helping Guardiola's side to win the Premier League and EFL Cup in 2017-18 followed by a domestic treble the following season.

He addressed the City fans on his Twitter page, writing: "Thanks so much for the great time and all the support over the past four years.

"It has been a really intense and successful time which I surely won't forget."

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of winger Leroy Sane from Manchester City.

Sane, 24, has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, who confirmed the transfer on Friday.

The Germany international will initially cost Bayern €49million (£44.5m), rising to €60m (£54.5m), Stats Perform News understands.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "We're very happy to welcome Leroy Sane to FC Bayern. He is an outstanding player who has proven his qualities over the past few years, especially in the national team.

"Our goal is to gather the best German players at FC Bayern and the signing of Leroy emphasises this goal. I would like to congratulate Hasan Salihamidzic on successfully concluding the transfer."

Speaking ahead of the move on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola wished the player all the best at the City boss' "fantastic" former club Bayern.

Sane joining Bayern is a switch that has been mooted since last year, however the German side were said to be unwilling to match City's previous asking price.

He then suffered a serious knee injury in the Community Shield last August and only returned to the pitch last month.

Sane joined City from Schalke in 2016 in a deal reportedly worth an initial £37m (€40m) and went on to show flashes of immense ability during his first campaign.

He elevated his game to the next level in 2017-18 and won the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) Young Player of the Year award as Guardiola's side clinched the Premier League title.

Sane helped City to another top-flight crown the following year and scored 16 goals across all competitions, though links with Bayern became commonplace towards the end of 2018-19.

Much of Sane's time on the sidelines through injury coincided with strengthening reports of him desiring a move to Bayern, and on June 19 Guardiola confirmed the club had been informed he would not be signing a contract extension.

As such, Guardiola accepted Sane was either to be sold this year or leave on a free transfer in June 2021.

City have at least avoided the latter scenario, though the fee of up to €60m is significantly less than the £137m (€150m) asking price they are alleged to have set in 2019.

For Bayern, the addition of Sane comes two days after they signed highly rated defender Tanguy Kouassi from Paris Saint-Germain, his contract with the French champions having expired.

Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

The Leroy Sane saga

July 02, 2020

The Manchester City winger has certainly been in the headlines over the past 12 months.

Werder Bremen were held to a goalless draw by Heidenheim in the first leg of the Bundesliga relegation play-off on Thursday.

Bremen, who finished 16th in the Bundesliga thanks to a huge victory over Cologne on the final day, failed to make home advantage count at Weserstadion.

They will also be without an influential player for the second leg on Monday, with captain Niklas Moisander having received a red card in the 87th minute.

In a match of few opportunities, Fin Bartels forced the first save from Heidenheim goalkeeper Kevin Muller three minutes before Moisander's sending off, with Timo Beermann squandering a chance to win it for the visitors late on.

Achraf Hakimi has joined Inter in a permanent move from Real Madrid, the Italian club confirmed.

Hakimi, 21, has reportedly cost Antonio Conte's side an initial €40million and he joins on a five-year contract.

A statement issued by Madrid read: "The club wants to thank Achraf for all these years of dedication, professionalism and exemplary behaviour since he came to our academy in 2006 and wishes him good luck in his new phase."

The Spain-born Morocco international has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing this term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga this term – the best of any defender.

Dortmund were not shy about their desire to see Hakimi remain at Signal Iduna Park, but the writing appeared to be on the wall when BVB confirmed the capture of Thomas Meunier on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain following reports of Inter closing in on their target.

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal.

He was sent out on a two-year loan to Dortmund and, although he enjoyed a wonderful 2019-20 in Germany, there are those who are unconvinced by his defensive qualities, particularly in a back four.

Similarly, Hakimi's contract with Madrid was due to expire in 2021, and a potential unease at being behind Carvajal in the pecking order again could have given rise to the possibility of losing him for free next year.

Their loss is Inter's gain, however, as Conte finally gets his hands on a world-class wing-back, having had Ashley Young, Victor Moses, Antonio Candreva, Cristiano Biraghi and Kwadwo Asamoah as his options in 2019-20.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has no interest in leaving the LaLiga giants.

Speculation over the France international's future has increased amid his, and Barca's, struggles.

But the 29-year-old seemingly wants more than one season at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN NOT INTERESTED IN BARCELONA EXIT

Griezmann has no interest in leaving Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

Since arriving from Atletico Madrid for €120million, Griezmann has managed just 14 goals in 43 games this season.

Griezmann was introduced as a 90th-minute substitute in Barca's 2-2 draw with his former club on Tuesday.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and Quique Setien's future as Barcelona head coach remains a talking point after one win in four games. AS reports Setien is not in immediate danger but is far from safe, while Sport says his future is uncertain, although the club are hoping to keep him at the helm until the end of the season.

- Manchester City look set for a rebuild in the close season. The Guardian claims Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, who is out of contract next year, is a target for the Premier League giants.

- After making a stellar start to the season with Lyon before suffering a serious knee injury, Memphis Depay has been linked with a move. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want the attacker, who has 14 goals in 18 games this season.

- Carlos Tevez's future remains uncertain. Ole says the former Manchester United and Manchester City forward, 36, could retire as he struggles to agree to a new contract with Boca Juniors.

- With Bruno Lage on his way out as Benfica coach, the Portuguese giants are searching for a new boss. According to A Bola, Benfica have looked at the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Ernesto Valverde and Laurent Blanc, but are now considering former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal coach Unai Emery.

- Tottenham defender Serge Aurier could be set for a move. Sky Sports reports Monaco are interested in the Ivory Coast right-back.

Premier League champions Liverpool will emerge at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday to a guard of honour from previous title-holders Manchester City.

It will be the latest episode in the captivating rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

We run the rule over two men whose tactical approaches and high levels of achievement have – and it does not feel too grandiose to suggest this – changed football in the 21st century, as well as one another.

THE BUNDESLIGA YEARS

Guardiola's arrival to take the reins of a treble-winning Bayern for 2013-14 came shortly after their rivalry with Klopp's Dortmund reached its peak.

Arjen Robben's 89th-minute winner saw Bayern down BVB 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley – a game played out against a backdrop of Dortmund's star playmaker Mario Gotze agreeing terms to move to Bavaria.

In hindsight, Klopp's gegenpressing machine – winners of back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12 – were coming off the top of their curve, having finished 25 points behind a relentless Bayern domestically that season.

The decline continued over the next two seasons. Dortmund were remarkably in relegation trouble halfway through 2014-15, before a post-Christmas recovery preceded Klopp's emotional farewell.

Nevertheless, there was still time for telling blows to be landed. Guardiola's first competitive game in charge saw Bayern beaten 4-2 in the 2013 DFL-Supercup at a delirious Signal Iduna Park.

Stung by that loss, Guardiola sprung a notable surprise in the first league encounter between the sides that November, where he broke Dortmund's rabid press by playing Javi Martinez as an attacking midfielder and repeatedly targeting the rangy Spain international with long balls.

The high priest of tiki-taka (a label Guardiola famously loathes) had presided over "more long balls than in the last three years combined" from a Bayern team, according to Klopp, who bristled after Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller added to Gotze's inevitable second-half opener in a 3-0 win.

A depleted Munich were similarly reactive when they won the DFB-Pokal final 2-0 in extra-time, even if flooding midfield numbers was a more recognisably Guardiola tactic.

Diverting from his dizzying 4-3-3 of swirling triangles has remained something the Catalan tactician has frequently done across his meetings with Klopp, and not always with the success he enjoyed in Germany.

HOLLOW VICTORIES AND THE PHONEY WAR

Klopp ended his homeland head-to-head against Guardiola with three victories, making it back-to-back Supercup triumphs in 2014, having claimed a 3-0 Bundesliga result at Allianz Arena earlier that year – the authority of which was dimmed by the fact Bayern had already cantered to the title.

Guardiola had four victories to his name, with one draw ultimately falling in Dortmund's favour as Bayern failed with all four of their penalty attempts in a 2015 DFB-Pokal semi-final shoot-out.

However, Klopp was denied a glorious farewell as his team lost in the final to Wolfsburg and the fact Robert Lewandowski had followed Gotze to Munich by this point underlined a deck stacked against him.

Liverpool came calling for Klopp in October 2015 and he helmed helter-skelter runs to the EFL Cup and Europa League finals. Manchester City and Sevilla prevailed respectively.

That was Manuel Pellegrini's final honour as City boss as he made way for Guardiola, who collected a third successive Bundesliga title in 2015-16. Thomas Tuchel's Dortmund finished closer in terms of position and points (second, 10 behind) than Klopp's version had managed when in direct competition.

With the stage presumably set for renewed hostilities between Guardiola and incoming Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, the similarly newly installed Antonio Conte did not read the script as Chelsea romped to 2016-17 Premier League glory.

Klopp got the better of his head-to-heads with City as a Georginio Wijnaldum goal sealed a 1-0 New Year's Eve win at Anfield before Sergio Aguero rescued a point for the hosts in the return game.

Guardiola laid it on thick after that 1-1 draw, declaring it to be "one of the most special days of my life".

"He is Spanish. They are a little bit more emotional than the Germans," Klopp chuckled in response.

TON-UP BUT NOT INVINCIBLE AND THE ROAD TO KIEV

Liverpool beat City three times in 2017-18, when most other teams could barely lay a glove on Guardiola's record-breaking side.

But the game where City prevailed, an unusual 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium where Liverpool subsided meekly after Sadio Mane's red card for clattering Ederson with a high boot, arguably had the biggest influence on the campaign.

When that game was 11 v 11, Guardiola's back three was horribly exposed. Aguero's opener arrived against the run of play, with an unusually wasteful Mohamed Salah having tormented Nicolas Otamendi.

City never used 3-5-2 in the league again that season, reverting to a swashbuckling 4-3-3 that churned out 19 consecutive wins and made the second half of the schedule a virtual procession.

Liverpool halted their designs on invincibility however, claiming a raucous 4-3 Anfield win in January. Klopp hailed "pressing from another planet" by his front three as Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah were all on target in a euphoric nine-minute spell after half-time.

Guardiola had again seen a swift avalanche of goals bring the roof in during a big match and his tweak to a 4-4-2 diamond, eyeing avenues around those Liverpool pressing lanes, backfired in that season's Champions League quarter-final.

A 3-0 first-leg loss at Anfield, with all the goals arriving during the first half, left City with a mountain to climb and a death-or-glory approach in the return fixture – deploying a formation probably best described as 3-CHARGE!!! – eventually ran out of steam in a 2-1 loss.

But it was Liverpool who came up short in the Kiev final on Loris Karius' nightmare outing against Real Madrid, while City sauntered to a 100-point haul as dominant Premier League champions. Sitting 25 points back in fourth, the Reds had a considerable gap to bridge.

CHASING PERFECTION

Despite that deficit, their efforts in going blow-for-blow with City over 90-minute periods left the impression Liverpool were the best placed of the pretenders to overthrow the champions.

Both teams reconvened on Merseyside undefeated in October 2018 and remained that way as the free-flowing nature of recent meetings gave way to a cagey 0-0 draw.

Reprising the theme of those early Klassiker meetings, Guardiola took his foot off the throttle as City played at a controlled tempo – an approach that would have ended the club's Anfield hoodoo but for Riyad Mahrez's ballooned late penalty.

Fire and brimstone returned the following January, though, with a wobbling City recovering their poise and avoiding a 10-point deficit at the top. Aguero and Leroy Sane were on target either side of Firmino in a bravura display, where Aymeric Laporte took on the unfamiliar role of left-back to stifle Salah.

That was Liverpool's only loss of the season as they finished on 97 points, agonisingly one shy of City. However, their subsequent Champions League final win over Tottenham improbably propelled them further along.

Just as Guardiola has tempered some of his more cavalier tendencies when faced with Klopp, the challenge of an unrelenting City also forced the Liverpool boss into subtle and decisive tweaks.

In bringing in Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, he spent big for what many see as the finest goalkeeper and centre-back on the planet. Their very presence means risk can be reduced.

Heavy metal football has given way to a steady pulsing beat that never wavers. In the city of Merseybeat, Klopp has gone electro.

Amid their steamrollering of the opposition this season, Liverpool have 19 wins by a solitary goal in all competitions. They are frighteningly and ruthlessly clinical. A profligate City trail in their wake, although Guardiola has used this relative freedom from pressure to thumb intriguingly through his tactical playbook in 2020.

Both men have inspired the other to reach beyond their comfort zones and the result is the two best teams in world football. With Klopp contracted to Liverpool until 2024 and Guardiola talking up an extended stay, the thought occurs that they are each other's motivation for sticking around. There is nowhere better to measure their greatness than against one another.

Eintracht Frankfurt sports director Fredi Bobic admitted star winger Filip Kostic could leave the Bundesliga side.

Kostic has previously been linked to Antonio Conte's Inter, while there is reported interest in the Serbia international from the Premier League.

The 27-year-old enjoyed another fine campaign, scoring four goals and tallying 11 assists, having contributed 10 goals and 13 assists across all competitions last season.

Bobic was asked about the future of Kostic and he said: "Filip is happy here. He feels very comfortable with us, but it may also be that we are ready to release him.

"That depends not only on us, but also on the player. But I can imagine that he will play here next season: fans happy, players happy, me happy."

Bobic, who sanctioned the big-money departures of Luka Jovic (Real Madrid) and Sebastien Haller (West Ham) at the start of the season as Eintracht made significant profits, is anticipating a difficult transfer period due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"The goal was clearly to break the €300million mark in the 2019-20 season," he said. "But suddenly there was a stop sign at €280m."

"There are an incredible number of players on offer right now, including interesting ones. But we have to look at the books to see what is possible. Because we do not know how long the situation will last.

"We have to be patient, it will be tough and long. It won't be an easy time. We already have a few players we would like to sign but if the money is not there, you cannot buy."

Bobic – who is also planning to offer head coach Adi Hutter a new contract – was also asked about Ante Rebic and loanee Andre Silva.

Rebic joined Milan on a two-year loan deal at the start of the season as Silva moved to Eintracht on the same terms.

Milan are reportedly keen on signing Rebic permanently, while Silva scored 16 goals for Eintracht.

"We have agreed with the owner of Milan that we will get together soon and talk about the topic," Bobic said. "I don't think Ante wants to get back to our salary level.

"Andre knows that we are happy with him. He is also happy to be here in Frankfurt and can imagine staying longer."

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