Jadon Sancho's recent dip in form could have been caused by the incessant transfer speculation surrounding him during pre-season, according to Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre. 

Sancho was the subject of intense transfer rumours in the close-season as Manchester United reportedly attempted to prise the England international away. 

Dortmund maintained early on that Sancho was not for sale once an August deadline passed, and they successfully resisted United's apparent attempts to make a deal happen. 

But, while no move transpired, Favre suggests it was not a case of no harm being done. 

Sancho has only had a hand in two goals (two assists) in four Bundesliga matches at the start of 2020-21, a somewhat disappointing figure by his usual standards.

Favre believes the pre-season saga could have affected him. 

"Every player has slow periods," he said ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Zenit. 

"There was a lot of talk about Jadon in the summer, something like that can also have an impact. 

"But no player is consistently in top form for an entire year, that's impossible. You have to accept that." 

Last season, Sancho created a total of 69 goal-scoring chances in the Bundesliga, ultimately leading to 16 assists. He also scored 17 times, meaning he was involved in 33 goals in 32 games. 

While his key pass frequency was 2.71 per 90 minutes in 2019-20, that has only decreased slightly to 2.04 this term, therefore he is still creating opportunities. 

Nevertheless, Sancho is already behind in regards to his overall productivity in comparison to the previous season.

Fabian Ruiz continues to attract interest from his native Spain.

The former Real Betis midfielder joined Napoli in 2018 and he has starred for the Italian club.

Real Madrid are reportedly keen to bring Fabian back to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – FABIAN TOPS MADRID'S LIST

Real Madrid have renewed their interest in Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Calciomercato.

Fabian, who is contracted to Serie A outfit Napoli until 2023, has been linked with Madrid, LaLiga rivals Barcelona and Manchester City previously.

The Spain international continues to impress Zinedine Zidane's Madrid.

 

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Manchester United remain hopeful of signing Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, claims The Athletic. United tried to sign Haaland before the Norwegian opted to join Dortmund from Salzburg in January. Haaland's €75million (£68m) release clause becomes active in 2022 and United are prepared to wait amid reported interest from the likes of Madrid and Juventus.

- The Athletic also says United are still trying to prise Jadon Sancho from Dortmund after failing to land the England star during the previous transfer window. Sancho has also been linked to Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Madrid and Barcelona.

- AS reports Milan are weighing up a January move for PSG striker Mauro Icardi. The former Inter captain completed a permanent transfer from the Nerazzurri at the start of the season.

- With doubts over Thomas Tuchel's future in Paris, Le10 Sport says the PSG head coach has received approaches from several Premier League clubs. Tuchel is out of contract at the end of the season and sporting director Leonardo is reportedly looking to move on from the German.

Adama Traore is reportedly set to snub Barcelona and Liverpool to extend his stay at Wolves.

Traore has been linked with a move away from Wolves, where he arrived from Middlesbrough in 2018.

But the winger is seemingly happy at the Premier League club.

 

TOP STORY – TRAORE TO EXTEND WOLVES STAY DESPITE BARCELONA, LIVERPOOL INTEREST

Traore is set for a pay rise and is close to agreeing to a four-year deal with Wolves despite interest from Barcelona and Liverpool, according to The Sun.

The three-time Spain international is reportedly set for the new contract despite having a deal until 2023.

Barcelona and Liverpool have been linked with Traore previously.

 

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- Paulo Dybala's Juventus future is again a talking point. An unused substitute against Crotone on Saturday, Dybala reportedly clashed with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are preparing for Dybala to exit amid links to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and they are eyeing Salzburg teenager Luka Susic.

- Manchester United missed out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the close season, but there is a belief the Premier League giants will target the attacker again in January or next year, according to the Daily Star.

- Marcelo Brozovic could be set for an Inter exit. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A club are prepared to sell the midfielder in January, with interest from Tottenham and Monaco.

- As he continues to impress at Salzburg, Dominik Szoboszlai is linked with a move. Football.london says the Hungary international is a target for Arsenal.

- Compared to Portugal great Luis Figo, Sporting CP teenager Luis Gomes is a target for Manchester United, according to the Mirror.

Jadon Sancho did not leave Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United because the Red Devils "misjudged" the situation, according to Hans-Joachim Watzke.

England winger Sancho was said to be United's number one target during the transfer window but Dortmund refused to budge from a reported €120million asking price.

The failed lengthy pursuit led to renewed criticism of United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and his dealings in the market.

After the deadline, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc admitted Sancho would have been allowed to depart Signal Iduna Park had the club's demands been met.

CEO Watzke further expanded on Dortmund's position, though did not specifically name United when discussing what occurred.

"[They] misjudged the situation. We would be more willing to compromise. We had a clear line and will continue to do so next summer," Watzke told ZDF Sports.

"In this industry, you can never say that a player is completely unsellable." 

United are already rumoured to be planning a fresh move for Sancho in the January window when big-money moves are generally harder to strike.

Watzke was asked if he felt Sancho would have left amid rumours he was keen for a switch to Old Trafford.

"I heard and read everywhere in the spring that Sancho was gone. But he's here," he added.

"We had an agreement with him and it didn't look like that." 

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

The Paris Saint-Germain and France forward is not short of options as Europe's elite eye a blockbuster transfer.

But Real Madrid are believed to be Mbappe's preference.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE WANTS MADRID MOVE  

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is only thinking about joining Real Madrid amid interest from Barcelona and Liverpool, according to the front page of Friday's AS.

Mbappe is reportedly unwilling to extend his PSG contract, which expires in 2022.

Madrid are eyeing a 2021 swoop for Mbappe, and while LaLiga rivals Barca and Premier League champions Liverpool are also interested, the French forward wants to move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

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- Sport claims Barcelona have already agreed to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay in January. The report says Barca are now trying to reduce salaries at the club as they look to resolve the futures of Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite. Dembele was linked with a deadline-day move to Manchester United.

Juventus are set to reignite their interest in Lyon star Houssem Aouar, reports Calciomercato. Aouar was heavily linked to Arsenal before the transfer window closed, while PSG have also been credited with an interest.

Milan and Serie A rivals Juve will go head-to-head to sign Salzburg midfielder Luka Sucic, says Calciomercato. The 18-year-old has only made two league appearances for the Austrian champions.

West Ham are set to confirm the signing of Brentford star Said Benrahma, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano and widespread reports. Benrahma is reportedly going to cost the Hammers £30million.

- Bild reports Borussia Dortmund sensation Giovanni Reyna is set for a new lucrative contract in Germany. The American teenager has been linked with Liverpool and Madrid.

Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Ansu Fati headline the final 20-name shortlist for the 2020 Golden Boy award.

The prize, presented by Italian newspaper Tuttosport and won by Joao Felix last year, is given to the best player aged 21 or under from a top-tier league in Europe.

Haaland is a leading contender for the accolade after scoring 44 goals across all competitions in 2019-20 – 16 of those coming in 18 appearances after a mid-season move from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund.

Among all Bundesliga players last season to have scored at least 10 goals, only Robert Lewandowski (81.2) had a better minutes-per-goal record than Haaland (81.7).

His Dortmund team-mate Sancho finished the 2019-20 league campaign with 17 goals and 16 assists, making him the first player since Opta began detailed data collection (2004-05) to register at least 15 in both categories in the same Bundesliga campaign.

The England international's prolific campaign saw him become the youngest player (20 years, two months and six days old) in the history of Germany's top flight to reach 30 career goals.

Despite their impressive numbers, Haaland and Sancho face stiff competition from Fati, who became the third-youngest player (16 years, 304 days old) to find the net in LaLiga history and the youngest of all time in the Champions League (17 years, 40 days).

He finished the season with eight goals in all competitions and has continued his rise this term, netting three times in as many LaLiga games and becoming the youngest player to score for Spain.

Alphonso Davies will also be in contention after establishing himself as one of the top left-backs in the game during Bayern Munich's treble-winning season.

The full 20-man shortlist:

Mitchel Bakker (Paris Saint-Germain), Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), Jonathan David (Lille), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Fabio Silva (Wolves), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Dominik Szoboszlai (Salzburg), Sandro Tonali (Milan), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Borussia Dortmund held onto Jadon Sancho during the previous transfer window – and they have no plans to sell the star in January.

Sancho was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, but the England international ended up staying at the Bundesliga club.

If United are planning another move in January, it seems it is destined to fail again.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND WON'T SELL MAN UTD TARGET SANCHO IN JANUARY

Borussia Dortmund will not sell Sancho in January, according to Bild.

Sancho, 20, has continued to be linked to Manchester United, while Liverpool and Bayern Munich have also been credited with an interest.

The attacker has scored one goal and provided two assists in three games in all competitions this season.

 

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- As he recovers from another serious knee injury, Nicolo Zaniolo is set to stay at Roma. Corriere della Sera reports Roma will extend the Italy international's contract – which expires in 2024 – until 2025.

- Staying in the Italian capital and Corriere dello Sport says Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac has been offered to Roma, who are preparing for the January transfer window.

- West Ham appear set to land Brentford forward Said Benrahma. BBC reports the Premier League club are set to sign Benrahma for £30million, with £25m of that being paid up front.

- As Harry Wilson prepares for another loan move from Liverpool, the Premier League champions want a £1m fee as part of a deal, according to The Sun. Swansea City reportedly lead the race for Wilson.

- Brighton and Hove Albion are apparently looking at Swansea City attacker Andre Ayew. However, The Sun reports Ayew's high wages could see him miss out on a move to the Premier League club.

- West Brom appear set to strengthen. Sky Sports reports they have agreed a fee worth around £15m for Huddersfield Town striker Karlan Grant. Grant scored 19 Championship goals last season.

Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham are back in England contention again after missing the friendly win over Wales due to breaching coronavirus protocols.

Sancho, Abraham and Ben Chilwell were left out of the squad for Thursday's 3-0 victory after it emerged earlier in the week they had attended a party last Saturday.

The trio were at a surprise birthday party thrown for Chelsea striker Abraham, who insisted he had no prior knowledge of it and subsequently apologised.

British tabloid The Sun claimed approximately 20 people were at the event despite United Kingdom regulations prohibiting meetings of more than six people in social situations.

Sancho also took responsibility for his actions in an apology posted to his official Instagram account, with Southgate confirming the players would be missing for at least the Wales friendly.

Southgate said their availability to face Belgium in Sunday's Nations League encounter depended on them passing UEFA-mandated coronavirus tests two days before, and they were given the go-ahead to return to training on Saturday.

"Tammy and Jadon both trained this morning, so everyone is available," Southgate told reporters.

"They've obviously missed a bit of training, so that's a bit of a concern in terms of their load through the week but no, it [the punishment] is done, that situation is done.

"They are back with the group and we move forward."

Chilwell remains a doubt for Sunday's match, however, as he was unable to take the UEFA test on Friday due to a non-coronavirus related illness.

"So, Ben will be tested today and we have to wait for the results of that test tomorrow and then we can make a decision from there medically on that," Southgate added.

A player who impressed in Sancho's absence on Thursday was Jack Grealish, who set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin's opener on his first England start.

But Southgate was eager to calm comparisons between Aston Villa playmaker Grealish and Three Lions great Paul Gascoigne.

"I'm very conscious, I don't want to be dampening the enthusiasm for Jack, I always answer honestly about people, but when you talk about Gascoigne, there's not a player in English history at that level, in my opinion," he said.

"But I don't want that to be seen as a criticism of Jack. In many ways, Gascoigne was unique, such an incredible player, it's a bit like talking about Bobby Moore.

"I think what we have to say is, young players who come through, we shouldn't burden them with comparing them to someone else, their own talents are unique.

"I kind of understood some of the comparison, but I think Gascoigne was on another level to anyone else I played with."

Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell will miss England's friendly against Wales on Thursday, manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

The Football Association (FA) launched an investigation after the trio allegedly broke coronavirus protocols by attending a party, which reportedly was held to celebrate Abraham's 23rd birthday and took place at the Chelsea striker's London flat on Saturday.

Coronavirus regulations in the United Kingdom currently prohibit meetings of more than six people in social situations, but British tabloid The Sun claimed approximately 20 people were at the party.

The FA delayed Sancho, Abraham and Chilwell from joining the team while they looked into the incident and it has now been confirmed they will not take part against Wales.

Southgate added that they will not be in contention for Sunday's Nations League meeting with Belgium either if they are not able to join the squad on Friday.

"I think the players have already accepted they were in the wrong. They had broken those lockdown guidelines that were there," Southgate said on Wednesday.

"I have to be careful being on my moral high horse about things that happen when we aren't in camp with the team.

"We do have an issue in terms of the COVID guidelines and making sure any player that comes in is as lower risk as possible to the group. We are having to monitor the players, they are being tested today and tomorrow, we have to check for further symptoms.

"They obviously miss the game with Wales. If they are not able to be with us by Friday morning, they will miss the game with Belgium.

"We just have to make sure to protect the whole group - that is key. The timelines on the incubation period are really complex and we have to manage that as best we can."

Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were sent home during the previous international break for breaching coronavirus protocols in Iceland and Southgate has reminded the players of their responsibilities.

"I don't think we can attribute what happens when they are the responsibility of their clubs to England," said Southgate.

"At the beginning of the week we had a good meeting with the players and spoke about the responsibility of being an England Player and how the spotlight is different.

"When the [Sancho, Abraham and Chilwell] story broke, there was no mention of their clubs. Whether they have one cap or 50 caps, it takes a lot of energy and time away from the team. The players in camp are 100 per cent focused on the game.

"If you are going into major tournament and it happens, then they can derail you. That did not happen in Russia and it allowed us to focus on our football.

"I have also talked about the connection of the fans and we have 10 with us who were in Russia. They have done good work with their clubs and communities, but some of the young ones have not done that and they need to prove themselves.

"They need to remember it is an honour to play for England. We have all made errors, I had nights out as player, but we are living in unique times with COVID. Politicians, businessmen have erred within the field.

"Fighting the virus, we need to work to pull together. There is a lot of disharmony now when before we saw people clapping the NHS and doing shopping for their neighbours."

Jadon Sancho has issued an apology after breaking coronavirus protocols when pictured at a party alongside fellow England players Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell. 

The trio are being investigated by the Football Association (FA) after they attended a surprise birthday party reportedly thrown for Abraham at the striker's London flat on Saturday.

Coronavirus regulations in the United Kingdom currently prohibit meetings of more than six people in social situations, but British tabloid The Sun claims approximately 20 people were at the party.

Posting on Instagram, Sancho said: "I would like to apologise for breaking the government guidelines and although I was unaware upon arriving of the numbers attending, I take full responsibility for my actions. 

"I will make sure moving forward that I learn from this."

As a precaution, England confirmed the three players have been instructed to delay arriving for international duty while the FA investigates.

The Three Lions face Wales in a friendly on Thursday before taking on Belgium and Denmark in the Nations League.

Sancho, who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, has featured three times for Borussia Dortmund so far this season, scoring one goal.

Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham are being investigated by the Football Association for allegedly breaking coronavirus protocols by attending a party, while Raheem Sterling has been ruled out of England's upcoming matches due to injury.

Borussia Dortmund star Sancho and the two Chelsea team-mates are understood to have attended a surprise birthday party thrown for Abraham at the striker's London flat on Saturday.

Coronavirus regulations in the United Kingdom currently prohibit meetings of more than six people in social situations, but British tabloid The Sun claims approximately 20 people were at the party.

As a precaution, England confirmed the three players have been instructed to delay arriving for international duty while the FA investigates.

Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were both dropped from the squad in the previous international period due to flouting coronavirus preventions measures in Iceland, when they were caught socialising with two Icelandic girls.

They were subsequently left out of the selection this time around as a consequence of their actions, suggesting similar measures could be taken if Chilwell, Sancho and Abraham are found to be in breach of regulations.

An apologetic Abraham is quoted by The Sun as saying: "I arrived home to find a small surprise gathering.

"Though I was totally unaware this was planned, I would like to wholeheartedly apologise for the naivety shown for the organisation and attending of this gathering.

"All I can do now is learn from it, apologise to everyone and ensure it never happens again."

Adding to England's woes, Manchester City star Sterling has withdrawn from the upcoming triple-header that sees the Three Lions face Wales in a Friendly on Thursday, before Nations League clashes with Belgium and Denmark on October 11 and 14.

England have not specified the injury Sterling has sustained, but reports suggest it is a minor hamstring issue.

His place in the squad has been taken by versatile Chelsea defender Reece James, who is called up for the first time.

Ousmane Dembele out, Memphis Depay in?

Barcelona want to reunite former Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman with Lyon captain Memphis Depay.

And Dembele is believed to hold the cards amid Manchester United links.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE TO UNLOCK DEPAY TRANSFER?

Ousmane Dembele's exit is the key to Barcelona signing Lyon star Memphis Depay, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Lyon captain Depay has an agreement with Barca, but the LaLiga giants must reportedly first sell forward Dembele before bringing in the Dutchman for a rumoured €25million fee.

Dembele is open to joining Manchester United, who are believed to be eyeing the Frenchman as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

United are poised to complete the signings of free agent Edinson Cavani and Porto full-back Alex Telles on Monday's deadline.

 

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- Goal confirmed Juventus are close to signing Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa. The Italy international is set to join Juve on an initial two-year loan deal, with an obligation to buy permanently for €40million if certain conditions are met.

Juve are free to bring in Chiesa as Douglas Costa prepares to move to Bayern Munich on loan, reports Goal. The 30-year-old previously played for Bayern between 2015 and 2018.

- Sky Sports says Milan and Chelsea are in talks over a loan deal for defender Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international is free to leave Chelsea, with Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham also reportedly interested.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Roma are poised to sign Chris Smalling from United. Smalling spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Roma.

- Arsenal outcast Matteo Guendouzi is nearing a loan switch to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, according to Goal.

Wayne Rooney has questioned Manchester United's "odd" approach of making Jadon Sancho their number one transfer target rather than Harry Kane.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has insisted Sancho will not be sold before the transfer window closes on Monday.

United have been unwilling to meet the Bundesliga club's €120million (£108m) asking price for the England winger, so the 20-year-old is set to remain in Germany.

It emerged this weekend that United are closing in on signing former Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani.

Rooney believes they should have gone all in for Tottenham and England frontman Kane, who will face United in a Premier League clash at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"Jadon Sancho is a top player, but I find it odd that he has been Manchester United's transfer priority," Rooney, who is United's record goalscorer, said in his column for The Sunday Times.

"Why consider paying close to £100million for someone similar to talent you've got already? United have Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial and where would Sancho's arrival leave Mason Greenwood, who plays in the same position and is of similar age?

"I'd rather put that £100million towards trying to get Harry Kane. Yes, getting Kane out of Tottenham would be difficult, maybe impossible, but United are a club who should always make an effort to sign the very best players and Kane is exactly what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs, as is Erling Haaland, who United missed out on last year - a genuine number nine.

"A Kane or Haaland or someone like Robert Lewandowski would give Rashford and Martial someone to play off and freedom to roam into different areas, pick the ball up and try to beat men - without the burden of always having to score."

Could Ousmane Dembele be the solution for Manchester United?

Jadon Sancho has been United's number one target, but the Premier League giants have been unable to prise the Englishman from Borussia Dortmund.

Barca's Dembele is reportedly next on the list and believed to be open to swapping Spain for England.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE WEIGHING UP MAN UTD MOVE

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is considering a transfer to Manchester United, according to Sport.

Dembele – struggling for game time at Camp Nou – has emerged as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho for United, who are trying to sign an attacker before the transfer window closes.

Initially linked with a loan move, ESPN claims United are prepared to pay €50million (£45m) for Dembele as Paul Pogba attempts to convince the Frenchman to make the move.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal says Bayern Munich are trying to convince Chelsea to sanction Callum Hudson-Odoi's exit, initially on loan. Bayern previously tried to sign Hudson-Odoi and the Bundesliga champions have returned again, prepared to include an obligation to buy the 19-year-old winger in 2021.

- L'Equipe claims Real Madrid have entered the race for Lyon star Houssem Aouar. The Frenchman has been heavily linked to Arsenal, as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

Lucas Torreira will undergo a medical on Saturday ahead of joining Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal, says Onda Cero.

Diogo Dalot will join Milan from United on loan, reports Fabrizio Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio. Out of favour in Manchester, the Portuguese full-back had also been linked to Roma.

- According to the front pages of Saturday's Tuttosport, Corriere dello Sport and La Gazzetta dello Sport, Federico Chiesa is nearing a Fiorentina exit as he eyes Serie A champions Juventus. The Italian has also been linked to the likes of United, Inter and Chelsea.

Napoli have submitted an offer to sign Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko on loan, reports Fabrizio Romano. Hertha Berlin, PSG and Milan are also reportedly eyeing the Frenchman.

Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted Manchester United target Jadon Sancho will not be sold before the transfer window closes.

Sancho has emerged as United's number one transfer target, though the Premier League giants have been unable to prise the England international from Dortmund.

Dortmund have been adamant Sancho will stay in 2020-21, with United so far unwilling to meet the Bundesliga club's €120million (£108m) asking price.

With United reportedly still trying to negotiate a deal before Monday's deadline, Zorc issued a warning having previously declared the 20-year-old will continue at Dortmund.

"Obviously we have talked to Manchester United in the past," said Zorc, who has fielded repeated questions about Sancho's future.

"But everything that needs to be said regarding this topic has already been said by me and all the people in charge at Borussia Dortmund.

"This will not change over the next three days."

Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre was also asked about Sancho, who missed Wednesday's 3-2 DFL-Supercup loss to Bayern Munich.

As Dortmund prepare for Saturday's Bundesliga fixture against Freiburg, Favre said: "Jadon has a slight cold, we'll see."

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