Manuel Locatelli won plenty of admirers for his displays at Euro 2020.

Locatelli played a key role in Italy's tournament triumph, including two goals against Switzerland.

The former Milan midfielder has established himself with Sassuolo over the past two seasons in Serie A and is now on the radar of several leading European clubs.

 

TOP STORY - LIVERPOOL HIJACK LOCATELLI PURSUIT

Liverpool have joined Juventus and Arsenal in the race to sign Italy international Manuel Locatelli , reports 90min.

The Reds are close to making their opening bid for the Sassuolo midfielder who helped Italy win Euro 2020.

Liverpool are looking to replace Georginio Wijnaldum who has left for Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Aston Villa have countered Manchester City's £100million bid on Friday for midfielder Jack Grealish with a club-record contact offer, reports The Daily Star. The deal is believed to be worth £200,000 per week.

- Real Madrid are set to act fast on replacing Manchester United-bound Raphael Varane, with a €60m move for Villarreal defender Pau Torres, according to El Gol Digital.

- Granit Xhaka may stay at Arsenal despite strong links with a transfer to Roma, with the Gunners strongly considering a new contract offer for the Swiss midfielder, reports The Athletic.

- Hector Bellerin is close to exiting Arsenal, with his agent flying to London for talks with the Gunners about a move to Inter, claims Calciomercato. Inter are looking to replace Achraf Hakimi who left for Paris Saint-Germain.

- Sport1 claims that Liverpool have been unable to meet Borussia Moenchengladbach's €40m (£34m) asking price for midfielder Florian Neuhaus but remain interested.

Former Manchester United winger Nani scored a last-gasp winner to lift Orlando City past Atlanta United 3-2 in the MLS on Friday.

The Portuguese got on the end of Dutchman Silvester van der Water's 87th-minute cross for the winner which keeps Orlando in touch with Eastern Conference leaders New England.

Atlanta had taken a first-minute lead from Josef Martinez's perfectly placed long-range effort, but Kyle Smith equalised on the stroke of half-time from Nani's corner.

Marcelino Moreno restored United's lead in the 66th minute with a stunning curling strike from outside of the box.

Orlando put together a fine team goal to square the game up in the 79th minute as van der Water headed in Benji Michel's pass.

The Dutch substitute would then provide the pass for Nani's decisive goal, which was his seventh strike of the season.

New York City stayed close behind Orlando in the Eastern Conference with their third consecutive win, a 4-1 victory over Columbus Crew.

City piled on the style, racing to a 2-0 half-time lead after strikes from Valentin Castellanos's early header and Thiago's chip.

Keaton Parks added a third with a deft 51st-minute touch, meaning it was the first time all season Columbus had conceded three goals in a game.

Santiago Rodriguez bundled in from close-range albeit requiring a VAR review, before Pedro Santos' consolation penalty.

LA Galaxy, without Javier Hernandez, cruised past Portland Timbers 4-1 to solidify their grip on third in the west.

Malagasy midfielder Rayan Raveloson pulled off a spectacular overheard volley to open the scoring.

Juventus defender Gianluca Frabotta has joined Verona on a season-long loan deal.

The Italy under-21 international will spend the 2021-22 campaign with the Gialloblu, who finished 10th in Serie A last term.

Frabotta joined Juve from Bologna in August 2019, making his senior debut in a 3-1 defeat by Roma the following year.

The left-back appeared 17 times for the Bianconeri in all competitions under Andrea Pirlo last season, scoring in the Coppa Italia victory over SPAL.

Verona have reportedly seen off competition from Atalanta and Genoa to land Frabotta's signature.

The 22-year-old will link up with Eusebio Di Francesco, who replaced Ivan Juric at Stadio Bentegodi in June.

The former Roma boss guided the Giallorossi to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018, when they lost a thrilling tie 7-6 on aggregate against Liverpool.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has joined London rivals Crystal Palace on a season-long loan deal.

Gallagher will spend a second season on loan in the Premier League, having made 32 appearances for West Brom last term.

The 21-year-old, who is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Blues, will link-up with former Chelsea team-mate Marc Guehi, who made a permanent move to Selhurst Park earlier in July, in a new era for the Eagles under Patrick Vieira.

Gallagher said: "I'm buzzing to be here. I can't wait to get started, I'm happy to get the deal over the line.

"I spoke to the manager, I liked what he said, I liked how he wants to play, how he wants me to play and how he wants the team to play. I feel like I can learn from him and the players around me."

Gallagher, an England Under-21 international, has also spent time on loan at Charlton Athletic and Swansea City and becomes Palace's fifth new signing.

Palace chairman Steve Parish, who has already brought in Guehi, Michael Olise, Remi Matthews and Joachim Andersen, expressed his excitement over Gallagher's arrival.

"I am delighted Conor has chosen to come to Crystal Palace on a season-long loan after some impressive performances in the Premier League last season," Parish said.

"We very much look forward to him joining the squad as we continue to build towards the new season."

Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid have stated their intention to press on with the European Super League after a court protected them against UEFA disciplinary proceedings relating to the project's ill-fated launch earlier this year.

On Friday, the mercantile court in Madrid threw out UEFA's appeal against its ruling earlier this month that stated disciplinary proceedings concerned with the founding 12 Super League clubs must be scrapped.

The Spanish pair and Italian giants welcomed the decision against what they termed "UEFA threats" and condemned European football's governing body for its "monopolistic position" over its governance of the game in a joint statement.

The case will now be assessed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

"FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Real Madrid CF welcome today's court's decision enforcing, with immediate effect, UEFA's obligation to unwind the actions taken against all European Super League founding clubs, including terminating the disciplinary proceedings against the undersigning three clubs and removing the penalties and restrictions imposed on the remaining nine founding clubs for them to avoid UEFA's disciplinary action," the statement read.

"The court backs the request made by the promoters of the European Super League, dismisses UEFA's appeal, and confirms its warning to UEFA that failure to comply with its ruling shall result in fines and potential criminal liability."

The statement continued: "Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner, always counting on all football stakeholders: fans, players, coaches, clubs, leagues, and national and international associations.

"We are aware that there are elements of our proposal that should be reviewed and, of course, can be improved through dialogue and consensus. We remain confident in the success of a project that will be always compliant with European Union laws."

The proposed Super League format guaranteed participation for its 12 founders but quickly prompted outrage across the footballing world in April.

With the Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal – pulling out, Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid soon followed.

Those nine clubs each agreed to pay €15million in support of European grassroots football initiatives and cede five per cent of their revenues from UEFA club competitions in the forthcoming season after reconciliation talks with the governing body.

Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid did not stand down, prompting a UEFA investigation and the launch of disciplinary proceedings in May that were expected to yield harsher punishments.

Friday's ruling in the Spanish capital effectively renders all of those measures void. UEFA is yet to comment on the latest developments.

Liverpool have announced Trent Alexander-Arnold has signed a new long-term contract extension with the club.

Alexander-Arnold has made 179 appearances for the Reds and was a crucial part of Jurgen Klopp's squad that won the Premier League title in 2019-20, ending the 30-year wait to be crowned top-flight champions again.

The right-back – who made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Tottenham in August 2016 – has committed his future to Liverpool as he prepares for the new domestic season, having missed out on Euro 2020 with England due to a thigh injury.

"I'm honoured to be given the opportunity and to be shown the trust in the club to be given an extension, so it was a no-brainer for me," Alexander-Arnold told the club's official website after agreeing terms that reportedly run until 2025.

"The state the club is in and where I'm at in my career is always a good option for me. To extend and make sure I'm here longer is always a good thing. I'm made up.

"It's the only club I've ever really known, so to be here for this amount of time and extending to be here for a longer amount of time is amazing for me and my family.

"It's a proud moment for me – it always is – signing a new contract here. To be given the trust, like I said before, by the club and the staff is an amazing feeling."

Alexander-Arnold has played over 40 games in each of the previous three campaigns under Klopp, including starting the Champions League final win over Spurs in 2019 – a year that also saw him make the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or.

The 22-year-old excelled as Liverpool were crowned champions the following season, scoring four goals and providing 13 assists – only Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (20) supplied more – while playing in every league fixture.

While he struggled to replicate the same form in 2020-21 in a defence that lost key personnel to serious injuries, he still made 34 starts and managed two goals, one of which was a dramatic long-range late winner at home to Aston Villa in April.

"I live the dream every day really. Being able to represent the club and to be in and around names and players, and obviously managers and staff, that are world class every day is a privilege for me and I'm very fortunate to be in the position I am," Alexander-Arnold added.

 

Gareth Southgate selected Alexander-Arnold in his 26-man England squad for this year's European Championship, despite speculation he would be a high-profile absentee from the final list.

However, injury deprived him the chance of being involved with the Three Lions as they reached the final, losing on penalties to Italy.

Liverpool open the new Premier League season with a trip to Norwich City on August 14.

Liverpool have announced Trent Alexander-Arnold has signed a new long-term contract extension with the club.

Alexander-Arnold has made 179 appearances for the Reds and was a crucial part of Jurgen Klopp's squad that won the Premier League title in 2019-20, ending the 30-year wait to be crowned top-flight champions again.

The 22-year-old right-back – who made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Tottenham in August 2016 – has committed his future to Liverpool as he prepares for the new domestic season, having missed out on Euro 2020 with England due to a thigh injury.

"I'm honoured to be given the opportunity and to be shown the trust in the club to be given an extension, so it was a no-brainer for me," Alexander-Arnold told the club's official website.

"The state the club is in and where I'm at in my career is always a good option for me. To extend and make sure I'm here longer is always a good thing. I'm made up.

"It's the only club I've ever really known, so to be here for this amount of time and extending to be here for a longer amount of time is amazing for me and my family.

"It's a proud moment for me – it always is – signing a new contract here. To be given the trust, like I said before, by the club and the staff is an amazing feeling."

Marc Albrighton has signed a new three-year extension with Leicester City, the club announced on Friday.

Albrighton, 31, featured 42 times across all competitions last term as Brendan Rodgers' men secured their first ever FA Cup win by defeating Chelsea in May.

The midfielder, who has racked up 253 appearances at the club, joined from Aston Villa in 2014 and played a key role in the Foxes' unlikely Premier League title win under Claudio Ranieri in 2015-16.

Speaking to the club's media after extending his contract, Albrighton said: "I'm delighted. Obviously, it's a club that is progressing every single year. It's a fantastic club with the people here and the direction that they're going – it's great to be a part of.

"I have always been the type of player and person who wants to establish himself at a club and stay there. I'm settled here and I'm really enjoying it."

During his seven-year spell at Leicester, Albrighton has established himself as one of their most consistent performers, if not always the star of the show.

Most notably, during Ranieri's title-winning season, only Riyad Mahrez (68) created more chances than Albrighton's 62 as he repeatedly caused problems on either flank with his enticing deliveries.

Indeed, in his 31 Premier League appearances last season, Albrighton provided 38 chances – a total bettered only by Youri Tielemans (49) and James Maddison (51).

The former Villa man was also Leicester's first Champions League scorer when he netted away at Club Brugge before producing the decisive, quarter-final sealing strike against Sevilla later in the 2016-17 competition.

Mauricio Pochettino hailed Georginio Wijnaldum as a "complete player" ahead of the Trophee des Champions clash against Lille, while also commending Achraf Hakimi's versatility.

Paris Saint-Germain disappointed last season as they finished runners-up in Ligue 1 and were beaten home and away by Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals.

However, the French giants have had a busy transfer window, bringing in Hakimi, Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma as they attempt to reassert their authority.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's final, Pochettino praised the former Liverpool man, who he feels will significantly strengthen their midfield.

"We are very pleased to have him here. I think Georginio Wijnaldum can contribute going forward and also defensively", the head coach said. "He has the aggression that we need as a team."

"His experience and quality make him a player who can help in the same way, going forward and defensively. He can win the ball back [and] be aggressive, so I think he is a complete player."

Indeed, Pochettino's men missed that aggression in midfield to drive them forward and regain possession as they limped to a second-place finish in 2020-21.

Last season, PSG ranked 11th in Ligue 1 in terms of the number of possession recoveries and Pochettino has previously explained this is an area for improvement.

While PSG recorded 2,250 recoveries across the previous campaign, champions Lille were the hardest working, recovering possession 2,460 times. The signing of Wijnaldum, who ranked fourth in terms of recoveries for Liverpool in 2020-21, will likely help their cause.

 

Hakimi contributed seven goals and nine assists last season for Inter, a total bettered by only four defenders across Europe's top-five leagues.

"He offers many options to the team, especially going forwards," Pochettino said.

"He has attributes that not many others have in terms of his physical strength, quality and crossing. He is brilliant at cutting in.

"He is adapting well and we hope that he will quickly show that he is a key part of the squad."

On Thursday, Mauro Icardi suggested a win over Lille would inflict revenge, with PSG having lost the Ligue 1 title to them last year.

But Pochettino insisted that the focus was on in-house improvement and any success would serve to make amends for their underwhelming campaign, not Lille's triumph.

"This game won't be about getting revenge against Lille but against ourselves," he added. "The loss of the league title and our Champions League exit left a bitter taste.

"We will do everything to change that, we want to win every competition. We are Paris Saint-Germain, we want to win. We'll do everything to win this trophy, but it's not about revenge because Lille deserved their title."

The United States and Canada will do battle in the semi-finals of the women's football tournament at Tokyo 2020 after edging into the final four.

USA - winners of the Olympic tournament four times previously - managed to beat the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties in their quarter-final after the game finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.

Having finished with fewer than six points in the group stage of a major event for the first time in their history, the USA knew a much-improved display was needed against a Dutch side who scored 21 times in their opening three games, the most of any women's side at a single Olympics.

They duly delivered a strong display as they twice took the lead only for Vivianne Miedema to continue her sensational form, scoring twice to cancel out goals from Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams in an engrossing contest in Yokohama.

Megan Rapinoe swept the decisive penalty kick high into the net after Alyssa Naeher had made two stops to her right.


BRAZIL FALL SHORT AGAIN

Canada await USA after they inflicted further heartbreak on Brazil, whose wait for gold in this event goes on.

Beaten semi-finalists in Rio five years ago, Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw before suffering another defeat on penalties to the 2016 bronze medallists.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, who was injured in the closing stages of extra time, recovered to make two critical saves in the shoot-out to secure a 4-3 win.

"In the moment, it was about trusting myself, trusting my instincts, and trusting my ability to make a save," she said afterwards.

"Pain is temporary. We have our eyes on the prize."

 

WHITE TREBLE NOT ENOUGH AS MATILDAS WIN CLASSIC

The stand-out quarter-final took place between Australia and Great Britain, a seven-goal thriller eventually ending in a 4-3 victory for the Matildas.

Two goals from Ellen White had turned the game on its head and looked to be enough to send Hege Riise's side through, but Chelsea star Sam Kerr levelled in the 89th minute with a crisp low strike.

The contest then swung Australia's way in a dramatic minute in extra time, Mary Fowler's deflected shot finding the top corner after Caroline Weir had a penalty saved at the other end.

Kerr scored another before White completed her hat-trick with a deft header to set up a frantic finale, with Australia just holding on for a famous win.

Remarkably, they overperformed in terms of expected goals by 3.2, their highest such figure at these finals.

Australia will contest their semi-final against Sweden, who ended Japan's quest for a medal on home soil with a 3-1 victory.

Mina Tanaka cancelled out Magdalena Eriksson's sixth-minute opener, but Sweden took control in the second half through further goals from Stina Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani.

 

Raphael Varane has posted a heartfelt goodbye to Real Madrid ahead of his transfer to Manchester United.

It was announced on Tuesday that the Red Devils had agreed a deal in principle to sign the France centre-back, who had a year left on his contract with LaLiga giants Madrid.

United are reported to be paying a fee of £42.7million (€50m) to secure the transfer, with the player set to travel to England this week, where he will undergo a period of isolation before completing a medical.

Varane visited Madrid's Valdebebas training ground on Friday for the final time before departing the club where he won four Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles among a host of trophies following his arrival from Lens in 2011.

"These past few days have been charged with many emotions, feelings that I now want to share with all of you," he wrote on Instagram.

"After 10 incredible and wonderful years at Real Madrid, a club I will always carry in my heart, the day has come to say goodbye.

"Since I arrived in 2011, together we exceeded all expectations and achieved things I could never have dreamed of.

"I would like to thank all the coaches and all the people who work or have worked for the club for everything they have done for me.

"Many thanks also to all the Madridistas who always gave me a lot of affection and with their great demands pushed me to give my best and to fight for every success.

"I have had the honour of sharing a dressing room with the best players in the world. Countless victories I will never forget, especially 'La Decima'. I realise it's been a great privilege to have been able to experience such special moments.

"Finally, I want to thank all Spaniards and especially the city of Madrid, where my two children were born. This country will always be special to me.

"It's been an incredible journey in every way. I leave with the feeling of having given everything and I will not change a single thing in this story of ours.

"A new chapter begins..."

 

Kieran Trippier has one year remaining on his Atletico Madrid contract.

The England international has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.

It has been reported that Trippier wants to return to England, having left Tottenham for LaLiga in 2019.

 

TOP STORY - TRIPPIER TO WAIT ON UNITED MOVE

Manchester United target Kieran Trippier is willing to wait until late in the transfer window to secure his move, reports the Telegraph.

Atletico Madrid full-back Trippier is said to have set his sights on a move to United, who have already been busy in the transfer market by launching moves for Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

The report claims Trippier is prepared to sit tight and wait for United to raise the funds required to put together a move for the 30-year-old former Manchester City junior.

 

ROUND-UP

- Aston Villa are ready to restart talks with Jack Grealish about a new deal next week as Manchester City begin to ramp up their interest, according to the Express and Star.

- Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is being lined up by West Ham,  with a proposed £20m bid set to be tabled, according to the Daily Mail. It had been reported Zouma may be used in a deal for Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

- Barcelona are lining up a second bid to sign Juventus defender Cristian Romero after having had a player-plus-cash deal turned down, reports SportItalia. Tottenham are also keen on Romero.

- Celtic could make a move for ex-England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is currently on Tottenham's books, says BBC Sport.

Hector Herrera scored a dramatic winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time to send Mexico into the Gold Cup decider against the United States after a tense 2-1 semi-final victory over Canada in Houston.

The Atletico Madrid midfielder fired in a low strike from the edge of the box after substitute Rodolfo Pizarro's cutback, clinching the win on Thursday.

Mexico defender Carlos Salcedo had seen his second-half penalty saved as Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau came up with some big stops.

The reigning champions had taken the lead with an Orbelin Pineda penalty on the stroke of half-time, but Canada levelled from Tajon Buchanan with a low 57th-minute finish.

Mexico will now have a shot to claim a 12th Gold Cup title when they tackle six-time champions the United States in Sunday's decider. El Tri have won four of the past six Gold Cup titles and qualify for the final for the 14th time.

Two-time winners Canada were chasing their first appearance in a Gold Cup final since 2000 but miss out.

Canada forward Stephen Eustaquio fired over the bar early before Alistair Johnston desperately blocked off a Jesus Gallardo chance in the 27th minute.

Mexico won a penalty in first-half stoppage time following a VAR review on Doneil Henry's foul, with Pineda coolly sending Crepeau the wrong way.

New England Revolution forward Buchanan equalised 12 minutes into the second half, ghosting into the box and sliding a low shot past Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.

Mexico then had a chance to reclaim the lead from the penalty spot after another VAR review, but Crepeau dived to his right to block Salcedo's effort.

Theo Corbeanu tested Talavera with a curling effort, before Crepeau made a point-blank save from a Mexico corner.

Mexico would find a way, with vice-captain Herrera's late winner.

Gyasi Zardes netted an 86th-minute winner to send the United States into their 13th Gold Cup final after a 1-0 semi-final triumph over Qatar in Austin on Thursday.

It could have been an entirely different story but Hassan Al Heidos missed a 61st-minute penalty for the Asian champions.

US head coach Gregg Berhalter brought on Zardes along with Nicolas Gioacchini in the second half to devastating effect, with the pair combining for the winner.

Gioacchini burst into the box and beat a man, before a side-foot pass which found Zardes to hammer home from close range.

US will play either Mexico or Canada in Sunday's final, as they chase their seventh Gold Cup title.

Qatar's Hashim Ali lashed a seventh-minute chance wide, before the US were denied by goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham's double save from Schalke talent Matthew Hoppe's effort and Paul Arriola's rebound.

US keeper Matt Turner produced a stunning finger-tip save to thwart Abdulaziz Hatem's 21st-minute volley.

Barsham was alert again in the 52nd minute, getting out quickly to deny Daryl Dike's low shot.

Qatar won a penalty on the hour mark after a VAR review on James Sands' tackle but Al Heidos skied his effort over the bar.

Berhalter brought on Zardes for Dike in the 63rd minute, along with Gioacchini for Hoppe in the 81st minute, reinvigorating the US attack and the pair made the decisive contribution late.

West Ham have completed the signing of goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.

Areola, who spent the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Real Madrid, was at Fulham last season but could not help prevent Scott Parker's team dropping down to the Championship.

The 28-year-old was nevertheless impressive during the campaign and West Ham have moved to keep him in the Premier League for at least another season.

Areola, who was part of France's 2018 World Cup squad but did not make an appearance in Russia for Les Bleus, has signed a one-year loan deal, which also sees the Hammers have the option to make the transfer permanent in 2022.

Lukasz Fabianski made 35 appearances as David Moyes' team went on to secure European football with a sixth-place finish, though Areola will now provide stern competition to the Poland international.

"Alphonse is an experienced and talented goalkeeper who has played at the highest level and performed very well in the Premier League last season," Moyes told West Ham's official website.

"As we prepare for a very busy schedule, he will provide fantastic competition for the goalkeepers already at the football club and we are going to need to use our squad to ensure compete to the best of our abilities across all competitions."

In 36 Premier League appearances last season, Areola conceded 48 goals, outperforming an expected goals against tally of 50.2, suggesting he pulled off saves which he would not have been expected to make.

Only Sam Johnstone, Aaron Ramsdale, Emiliano Martinez and Illan Meslier were forced into action more times than Areola, who made 116 saves in total and also tallied up 39 clearances (including punches), the fifth-most of any goalkeeper in the top flight.

His save percentage of 70.37 ranks him sixth out of goalkeepers to played at least 30 games, while he kept nine clean sheets – as many as Manchester United's David de Gea, though one fewer than Fabianski and 10 less than league-leader Ederson, who was of course helped by a stingy Manchester City defence.

One area where Areola presents an improvement is with his passing, his accuracy of 68.74 per cent some way better than Fabianski (54.91).

"For me it was the best opportunity to sign for this club, to sign for West Ham and to try my best to help the team," Areola said.

"We have really good squad. I watched games last season so I know the potential and the talent in this squad, so I can't wait to start."

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