Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich… take your pick.

Kai Havertz is not short of options following his stunning form for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

As clubs queue up to sign Havertz, a Premier League giant is reportedly leading the race.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD FAVOURITES FOR HAVERTZ

Manchester United are favourites to sign in-demand Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to The Sun.

Havertz has been linked to the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid after his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen.

United are ready to swoop for Havertz, as well as Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport says Paul Pogba is open to swapping United for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. Linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga giants Madrid, PSG have emerged as a possible destination for the disgruntled Frenchman.

Manchester City are determined to sign Juve centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, but Calciomercato claims the Serie A holders are unwilling to sell the key defender.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona are positive about signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter following Mauro Icardi's move to PSG. Inter recouped at least €50million after Icardi's loan deal at PSG became permanent. While Barca are aware it will be difficult to prise Martinez to Camp Nou, the LaLiga champions view Icardi's transfer positively.

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho, according to the Daily Express. Coutinho has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern but the German giants opted not to exercise their transfer option. Now, Chelsea are prepared to bring the former Liverpool star back to the Premier League on loan. Tottenham have also been linked.

- Juve's Douglas Costa is wanted by Atletico Madrid. That is according to Calciomercato, which claims Atletico want to bring in the Brazilian attacker in exchange for either Thomas Partey or Stefan Savic. Douglas Costa has been linked to United, while Arsenal are eyeing Partey.

Milan will meet with potential new head coach Ralf Rangnick, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. The Rossoneri continue to be linked to Rangnick while Stefano Pioli remains in charge.

- La Repubblica claims Juve have entered the race for Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. The 20-year-old has been linked to the likes of Napoli, Lazio, Fiorentina, United, Tottenham, Chelsea, PSG and RB Leipzig.

Lucien Favre did not see Jadon Sancho unveil a shirt displaying 'Justice for George Floyd' after scoring during Borussia Dortmund's 6-1 victory over Paderborn.

England international Sancho showed the garment bearing the name of the man who died in police custody in the United States, prompting protests across the country and beyond.

The 20-year-old was shown a yellow card for removing his playing shirt while celebrating the first of his three goals in the Bundesliga game on Sunday.

Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also displayed a shirt with the same slogan, as the visitors ran out comfortable winners against the team sitting bottom of the table.

"I didn't see it," coach Favre said of Sancho's celebration. "After the game, I heard about him celebrating a goal like that. There was something on a t-shirt.

"What can I say? I don't know why he did that. I didn't see it. I can't judge it."

Dortmund were held scoreless in the first half before Thorgan Hazard broke the deadlock in the 54th minute, setting them on their way to a landslide triumph.

It was a much-needed three points following a midweek loss to Bayern Munich, a result that left them highly unlikely to catch the reigning champions in the title race.

Favre revealed he was not worried by side's failure to score before the break in the absence of Erling Haaland, who missed the game due to a knee injury.

''I only said one sentence during the half-time break: 'We need to keep doing what we're doing'," he said.

"We pressed well, we tired out our opponents, and it was clear that they wouldn't be able to keep up the tempo all the way to the final whistle.

"We wanted to make sure they couldn't hit us on the counter, as they have a lot of pace up top.

"We were able to maintain the intensity we showed in the first half and the only real change we made was some alterations to our wide players' movements."

Jadon Sancho is among the leading players of his generation, according to Borussia Dortmund team-mate Axel Witsel. 

England star Sancho scored a hat-trick in Dortmund's 6-1 thrashing of Paderborn on Sunday, in the process becoming the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 30 goals. 

The 20-year-old is also the first English player to register at least 15 goals and the same number of assists in a single season in one of Europe's top five leagues since Matt Le Tissier, who achieved the feat for Southampton in the Premier League 25 years ago. 

Such impressive numbers are the reason Witsel speaks so highly of Sancho, who celebrated his first goal by revealing a t-shirt in tribute to George Floyd, who died while in police custody in the United States on Monday. 

"I think he's one of the best of his generation," said Witsel.

"He still has a lot to improve, to progress, because he is really young.

"But I'm sure in his position, as a winger, he will be one of the best."

Despite their resounding win, Lucien Favre's side sit seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich in the table.

A testing week for Borussia Dortmund ended on a positive note on Sunday.

After the disappointment of losing to Bayern Munich in midweek, they took out their frustrations on Paderborn. The Bundesliga's bottom club were hit for six with Jadon Sancho the undisputed star of the show.

The England international - centre of much transfer speculation amid reports of a return to the Premier League - registered a hat-trick to take his Bundesliga tally for the season to 17. In doing so, he helped his current employers pick up a victory that, for now, will silence some of their doubters.

These were three much-needed points as well, and not just to boost morale after the midweek defeat to Bayern had seemingly dashed their Bundesliga title dream for another season and raised questions over Lucien Favre's suitability to lead the team beyond the current campaign. 

Instead of being tucked in behind the leaders, Dortmund's Klassiker setback had them looking worryingly over their shoulder.

Borussia Monchengladbach's 4-1 thrashing of Union Berlin on Sunday had pulled them into BVB's rear-view mirror, as they joined Bayer Leverkusen – 1-0 winners at Freiburg on Friday – on 56 points. RB Leipzig, meanwhile, can leapfrog the pair and reclaim third place by beating Cologne on Monday.

With the chasing pack sensing an opportunity to attack a wounded rival, a win – any type of win – was all that mattered for Dortmund against opponents propping up the rest in the table. Still, they had drawn 3-3 against Paderborn in their previous meeting, while they were without the injured Erling Haaland. 

The Norwegian's absence was keenly felt during a scoreless first 45 minutes, too. Thorgan Hazard was nominated to be the replacement up top, but no Haaland left Dortmund without a battering ram to knock down the door. Instead, they had to patiently pick at the lock, eventually opening Paderborn up. 

Leopold Zingerle helped their cause admittedly, the hospitable goalkeeper gifting Hazard the chance to score the opener as he dropped a cross straight into the path of the Belgian.

After that, however, it was all about Sancho. 

The 20-year-old had not started a game since the resumption of a campaign held up by the coronavirus pandemic, a calf injury leading to cameo roles off the bench. In each of the three previous games his time on the field had increased, including playing all of the second half in the 1-0 defeat to Bayern. 

Now, though, Favre was happy to give him top billing again. Even with the game long over as a contest, the Dortmund boss left Sancho out there to demonstrate just why he is so coveted by clubs in his homeland, suggesting there are no long-term concerns over his fitness for the remainder of the run-in. 

He capitalised on the extended opportunity, sealing his hat-trick and with it a place in the Bundesliga history books.  

A tap-in from Julian Brandt's square pass to double Dortmund’s advantage and was followed by revealing a shirt with the words "Justice for George Floyd" written across it, in reference to the black American who died while in Minneapolis police custody. 

His second was a well-placed finish when teed up by Hazard, quickly ending Paderborn's comeback hopes after Uwe Hunemeier's penalty halved the deficit. Sancho's third, however, was the pick of the bunch.

There was clearly still plenty left in the tank as proceedings drifted into added time, allowing him to race clear on the counter down Dortmund's right before clinically slotting the ball inside Zingerle's near post. 

The treble makes him the youngest player to reach 30 goals in the competition’s long history. How many more he will add to that tally, considering the rumours surrounding his future, is unclear, but this was a day when he made a clear statement – and not just with his performance, either.

Jadon Sancho broke an English and a Bundesliga record on Sunday, as the Borussia Dortmund winger scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout of Paderborn.

Sancho, who revealed a "justice for George Floyd" t-shirt after scoring his first goal in the 57th minute, put Dortmund 2-0 up following Thorgan Hazard's opener.

It took the youngster onto 15 goals for the season, making him the first English player to register at least 15 goals and assists in a single season in one of Europe's top five leagues since the 1994-95 Premier League campaign, when Matt Le Tissier did so for Southampton.

The winger also became the first player to achieve the feat in a Bundesliga campaign, since the start of detailed data collecting in 2004-05.

Sancho was not done there, however, and drilled in a second in the 74th minute before rounding off the win - and his hat-trick - in stoppage time.

Dortmund's victory moves them onto 60 points, four clear of Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, though seven adrift of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Jadon Sancho marked his return to the Borussia Dortmund XI with a hat-trick and a political message as they thumped Bundesliga strugglers Paderborn 6-1 on Sunday.

Sancho was restored to the line-up for the first time since the coronavirus-enforced break after a disappointing midweek defeat to Bayern Munich saw the defending champions move seven points clear at the summit.

That reverse prompted fresh speculation regarding head coach Lucien Favre's future, but Sancho helped his second-placed side get back on track as they look to secure Champions League qualification.

Although Dortmund were frustrated until the 54th minute at the Benteler-Arena, Thorgan Hazard's opener was swiftly followed by a second from Sancho, who would later net again after Uwe Hunemeier brought Paderborn back into the contest, with Achraf Hakimi and Marcel Schmelzer adding gloss to the scoreline.

The England international rounded off his treble in the 92nd minute by capping a rapid Dortmund counter-attack.

Sancho celebrated his first by revealing a T-shirt bearing the message "Justice for George Floyd" in reference to the black American who died in an incident involving a police officer in Minnesota this week, prompting protests across the United States.

Bundesliga colleagues Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram had similar tributes earlier in a weekend that concluded with Dortmund's return to winning ways.

 

 

Jadon Sancho revealed a "justice for George Floyd" t-shirt after putting Borussia Dortmund 2-0 up in Sunday's Bundesliga clash with Paderborn.

On his first start since the resumption of the Bundesliga, England international Sancho tucked in from Julian Brandt's cross in the 57th minute, after Thorgan Hazard had given Dortmund the lead.

In celebration, Sancho took off his Dortmund top to reveal a t-shirt featuring the name of the man who died in police custody in the United States, prompting protests across that country and beyond.

Jadon Sancho and a return to England continues to make headlines.

The England international and former Manchester City youngster is reportedly keen to move back to his homeland.

But Borussia Dortmund are not willing to make things easy for Sancho's suitors.

 

TOP STORY – BVB NOT BUDGING ON SANCHO PRICE

Borussia Dortmund are not prepared to offer discounts on Jadon Sancho amid strong interest from the Premier League, according to Goal.

Dortmund star Sancho has been linked to Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool and the England international remains keen on a move to the Premier League.

While Sancho reportedly has no intention of renewing his Dortmund contract – which expires in 2022 – the Bundesliga outfit are unwilling to accept anything less than £100million (€110m) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60m offer for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio, however, are reportedly set to reject the bid.

- Staying in the French capital and Sky Sport in Italy reports PSG and Inter have reached an agreement over the transfer of Mauro Icardi. The Argentina international forward has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at PSG. The Ligue 1 champions are reportedly set to pay €50m plus €7m in bonuses.

Arsenal, Chelsea and United are interested in Juventus and Italy international Federico Bernardeschi, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio says United are eyeing Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri. The 19-year-old Italian has been plagued by injuries in France.

Juve want to bring Chelsea forward Pedro to Turin, according to Calciomercato. The Spanish veteran, who is set to become a free agent, worked with Maurizio Sarri during the Italian coach's time at Stamford Bridge.

- Sport reports Martin Odegaard's future at Real Madrid depends on head coach Zinedine Zidane. Odegaard has flourished during his two-year loan spell at Real Sociedad and whether the Norwegian returns to the Basque Country remains to be seen.

Arthur remains committed to staying at Barcelona amid Juventus links, Mundo Deportivo says. Juve have been keen on bringing Arthur to the club, with Miralem Pjanic tipped to leave for Barca. However, Arthur is happy at Camp Nou and sees Spanish football more compatible with his style.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick hailed "great talent" Jadon Sancho amid links with a move for the Borussia Dortmund star.

Sancho came off the bench as Dortmund suffered a 1-0 Der Klassiker loss on Tuesday in a huge blow to their title chances.

The 20-year-old England international has been linked with a move away amid reports Bayern and several Premier League giants are interested.

Flick was asked about Sancho after Bayern's win and was full of praise for the attacker's quality.

"I don't like to talk about players who are under contract to other clubs," he told a news conference.

"I can say that Jadon Sancho has a high quality but in the end he also does Borussia Dortmund very, very well."

Flick added: "He is a great talent and has enormous qualities. That's why you simply have to acknowledge that Dortmund has a very good player there."

Sancho has scored 14 goals and provided 16 assists in 26 Bundesliga games this season.

Jadon Sancho was named among the substitutes for Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

The England winger has been struggling for full fitness and has only appeared as a substitute in Dortmund's two matches since the Bundesliga resumed this month.

Head coach Lucien Favre again kept him out of the starting line-up for the Klassiker at Signal Iduna Park, with Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt supporting Erling Haaland in attack.

Mats Hummels was fit to start after being taken off at half-time of the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg, in which Sancho came off the bench to set up Achraf Hakimi for Dortmund's second goal.

Bayern, who are without the injured Thiago, named Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka at the heart of midfield, with Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry behind striker Robert Lewandowski.

Jerome Boateng, another fitness doubt, was cleared to start at the heart of defence alongside David Alaba.

Steffen Freund believes Jadon Sancho is good enough to play for Liverpool or Manchester United but warned the winger he risks becoming the next Luka Jovic if he leaves Borussia Dortmund too soon.

Manchester City academy product Sancho, 20, has been linked with a move back to the Premier League after scoring and assisting a combined 30 goals for Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season.

However, former BVB midfielder Freund cited the example of Real Madrid flop Jovic as to how a big-money move to a new club at such a young age can hamper a player's development.

Jovic starred in the German top flight with Eintracht Frankfurt last season with 17 goals, but the 22-year-old has scored only twice in an underwhelming debut campaign in Madrid and has been linked with a move away.

Freund, who spent five years with Dortmund from 1993, is worried Sancho's career could go the same way if he makes the wrong choice when the transfer window opens for business.

"Jadon is ready to play for Liverpool or Man United, no question, because his stats are unbelievable. That shows that he can take the next step," he told talkSPORT.

"In the Borussia Dortmund side with [Erling] Haaland, [Julian] Brandt improving, with Emre Can signing, with changing to a back three – that suits Sancho.

"It would be good for him to play for Borussia Dortmund now and next year so that he will have more match time.

"He's only 20, so why not play for Borussia Dortmund? We're not talking about Freiburg or Paderborn; we're talking about Borussia Dortmund, one of the top 20 clubs in Europe.

"Remember Jovic, who moved to Real Madrid from Eintracht Frankfurt – he's not playing. If you have an offer from Real Madrid you think, 'I have to go'.

"No, you don't have to go because the salaries in the Bundesliga are on a good level, too – not as much as Real Madrid or the Premier League, though.

"But you can earn good money and improve and not make too much of a big step at once.

"So, for Jadon to move to Man United with that pressure, they are struggling to qualify for the Champions League, so maybe it's better to stay another year in Dortmund."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc revealed last month he does not believe any teams will risk spending big for Sancho amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to clubs across the world facing a significant loss of earnings.

Freund has suggested it may be best for any interested parties to hold off from tabling an offer for the English youngster, who is reportedly valued well in excess of €100million, until BVB feel forced to cash in.

"If the offer comes in and the people from Borussia Dortmund think it's right then they will sell him," he said.

"With the coronavirus, if something goes wrong in the Bundesliga and we can't see football until the end of the year, then it's not the right moment to talk about players, they cost so much money.

"I think the price will drop anyway. All the clubs in Germany are losing a lot of money.

"It's not the same without money from tickets and sponsors and so it'll be difficult to keep your best players."

Tuesday's Der Klassiker between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich looks set to play a decisive role in where the Bundesliga title ends up, and the game itself could conceivably be decided by the two teams' options on the flanks.

There is something deeply satisfying and exhilarating about an effective, attack-minded wing partnership, and there have been many such combinations down the years that fit the bill.

Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos, Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben, Djalma Santos and Garrincha – the list goes on.

While there are also many effective flank pairings in modern football, when considering which are the most effective from an attacking sense, it is difficult to look past those served up by Germany's big two.

Although Jadon Sancho has only been fit enough to make a couple of substitute appearances since the Bundesliga resumed, there is every chance he will be back in the starting XI on Tuesday, with Achraf Hakimi, Alphonso Davies and Serge Gnabry all likely to feature as well.

All four are enjoying fine seasons – below, we examine just how effective the quartet have been.

Hakimi v Davies

Given they'll both be operating on the same side of the pitch, Hakimi and Davies will likely spend a significant amount of time in close proximity or running at the other, hoping to punish any defensive lapses. Even watching it could be exhausting, given how quick they are.

Both are more renowned for their attacking tendencies than defensive nous, which is certainly understandable with respect to Davies, who is effectively in his first season as a full-back. A straight comparison highlights plenty of common strengths when they are unshackled.

Davies' remarkable pace has attracted attention at times this term, and with good reason – his top speed of 35.3km/h is second only to Kingsley Coman (35.7km/h) in the Bayern side, though Hakimi clocks in as the quickest player since these records began in the Bundesliga, having got up to 36.5km/h.

Bayern youngster Davies shades it in terms of ball carries (running with possession for at least five metres), however. He embarks on 19.9 per game, 0.4 more than Hakimi, while Davies holds on to the ball for 12.4m on average – the Dortmund right-back keeps it for 11.5m.

Davies has also attempted more take-ons (118 to 113), has a better dribble success rate (58 per cent to 56 per cent) and runs an average of 11.2km per 90 minutes, 600m more than Hakimi.

Nevertheless, Hakimi's 146 carries for more than 10m is a Bundesliga-high, and while Davies negligibly edges him out in many of the aforementioned metrics, the Moroccan's 14 Bundesliga goal involvements is more than double that of the young Canadian.

Either way, it is clear to see both full-backs play a significant role in driving their respective teams up the pitch - Davies might be in for a more robust test of his defensive capabilities in this contest, however.

Sancho v Gnabry

It's worth pointing out neither player is exactly guaranteed to start – fitness issues have meant Sancho only made substitute appearances in Dortmund's past two matches, while Gnabry was on the bench at the weekend.

However, given their respective records this term, if they are in top condition, there is little doubt both will start. It is the biggest match of the season, after all.

Sancho and Gnabry have enjoyed immensely productive campaigns. The Bayern winger has had a hand in 20 Bundesliga goals, while the England international hit 30 with his 16th assist of the season at the weekend when setting up Hakimi.

Sancho is way out in front in terms of take-ons, having attempted a league-high of 131 this term, completing 47 per cent. Gnabry has looked to beat his man 92 times, succeeding 48 per cent of the time.

But there are fundamental differences between their respective styles of play when in possession.

Gnabry is more likely than his counterpart to end a carry with a shot, doing so 29 times in 2019-20, behind only Timo Werner (36). Similarly, 22 of his successful dribbles have come inside the penalty area – a joint-high for the division with Robert Lewandowski and Marcus Thuram.

By comparison, Sancho has only completed eight dribbles in the box and just 14 of his carries ended with a shot. However, eight of them have led to an assist, which is a Bundesliga record in 2019-20 and seven more than Gnabry.

This suggests, to a certain degree, that Gnabry lacks some of the awareness of Sancho, or at the very least possesses more of a single-minded approach.

The data also highlights Sancho's slightly deeper role, which is backed up by the fact he tends to run further (11.2km per match to 10.7km), sprint more (35.5 per match to 34.1) and has reached a higher top speed (34km/h, to 33.2km/h) than Gnabry.

While Sancho arguably comes out on top generally, there's no doubting both are exceptional talents and if they get anywhere close to their best on Tuesday, either he or Gnabry could light up the Klassiker by themselves.

Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is expecting Jadon Sancho and Mats Hummels to be involved in Tuesday's Klassiker against Bayern Munich, while Axel Witsel could also be in the squad.

Dortmund host Bayern in a potentially vital match for the title race, with Favre's side heading into the clash four points adrift of the pacesetters.

Both sides have resumed their Bundesliga campaigns following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus with a pair of wins – Dortmund beating rivals Schalke and Wolfsburg, while Bayern eased past Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Favre has had to contend with injury problems since the resumption, however. Sancho has only been fit enough to make two substitute appearances, Hummels was withdrawn halfway through Saturday's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg with an Achilles issue and Witsel has missed the past two fixtures with a muscular problem.

But there is a chance all three could take part in some capacity.

"I think Mats Hummels will be okay to play. I can't say for sure, but I'm 99 per cent [sure] he will be on the pitch," Favre said.

"Axel Witsel started to train with the team yesterday [Sunday]. He could be in the squad.

"Jadon was lacking training. He has now been training with the squad for 10 days. He played 20 minutes against Schalke and a little more against Wolfsburg. He did well. He is getting there slowly.

"He did well in training and slowly but steadily gets back to his old level. He is getting there, I don’t see a problem – we'll see."

Bayern warmed up for the trip to Dortmund with an entertaining 5-2 win over Frankfurt – Thomas Muller and Alphonso Davies catching the eye in particular for Die Roten.

Borussia Dortmund are hoping Mats Hummels will recover from an Achilles problem to take on former club Bayern Munich on Tuesday, but Lucien Favre revealed Jadon Sancho is not guaranteed to start.

Hummels had to be withdrawn at half-time in Dortmund's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday, as Emre Can made his return from the bench.

BVB sporting director Michael Zorc later revealed the World Cup winner was suffering with a long-standing issue.

Dortmund face defending Bundesliga champions and leaders Bayern at Signal Iduna Park in midweek.

Zorc said of Hummels, who spent three seasons at Bayern before returning to Dortmund: "I spoke briefly to the doctor. Mats has a complaint with his Achilles tendon.

"He has had this from training for a long time. But we hope that he can play again on Tuesday."

Head coach Favre added: "I can't tell if he will play or not. I hope that he will be back on Tuesday."

Sancho's involvement in the crunch top-of-the-table clash is also in some doubt despite an impressive cameo at Wolfsburg.

The England winger earned his 16th assist of the season as he teed up Achraf Hakimi for the second goal, adding to the in-form Raphael Guerreiro's first-half opener.

But Sancho was again only appearing from the bench, as he had against Schalke, following a calf injury upon his return from the coronavirus-enforced break.

Any assumptions Sancho was simply being rested in order to start against Bayern were seemingly dismissed by Favre.

"He's only been training with the team for 10 days. That is not much," Favre said. "I can't say for sure if he will play on Tuesday."

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