Manchester United should target a striker such as Harry Kane or Erling Haaland instead of pursuing Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, former assistant manager Steve McClaren says.

The Red Devils have been linked with England winger Sancho for many months, but Dortmund have made it clear they will not sell him before next season.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is nonetheless keen to add some more quality to his squad, having seen their season ended in disappointment with a 2-1 Europa League semi-final loss to Sevilla - their third defeat in the last four of a cup competition in 2019-20.

United mustered 20 shots against the LaLiga side but could only score through a Bruno Fernandes penalty, while errors at the back allowed Suso and Luuk de Jong to send Julen Lopetegui's men through.

It was a similar story in the quarter-finals against Copenhagen, when another Fernandes spot-kick proved decisive. Across the two matches, United attempted 46 shots, 21 of which were on target, but failed to score from open play.

Former England boss McClaren, who became assistant to Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford ahead of the treble-winning season of 1999, thinks a centre-forward - and stronger defence - could make the difference to the current side's progress.

"They had so many chances," he told talkSPORT. "I was watching the game thinking, if Robin van Persie was there, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke… you name the number nines Manchester United have had throughout the years, they would have put at least one of those chances away.

"That's what wins big games, and that's what Manchester United have failed to do in the three semi-finals: win the big games by not taking their chances and defensive errors at the other end.

"Manchester United are out of the Europa League because they failed to score in one box and failed to defend in the other.

"The solution is not as simple as, 'let's get in a number nine and all our worries are over'; they also need some defenders because Manchester United should not have conceded a goal against Sevilla. They were simple errors.

"They've got a good defender in [Harry] Maguire, and I think they need another centre-half and a good number nine and work very, very hard defensively.

“The front four are so quick, they're so exciting and they cause so many problems, and [Anthony] Martial is a fantastic player, but in the big games when it really matters, he never looks like a true goalscorer. They need class in that position.

"The manager is helpless if the club don't back him and go for the likes of [Erling] Haaland. What a perfect fit he would have been. I've seen him for Dortmund and he's an incredible player at 20. Imagine him in the Man United team, that would be spot on.

"I've seen Jadon Sancho play a lot for Dortmund and he's very, very exciting, but he's a little bit like Martial, Rashford and Greenwood and I wonder, do they really need that?

"He's not a number nine, and Martial, [Marcus] Rashford and [Mason] Greenwood aren't number nines either. You've got to get a fox in the box, a goalscorer and number nine and they've got to find one quick.

"Yes, Sancho would improve the squad, but to win big games and to win cups, you need a number nine and you need two damn good centre-backs.

"Haaland would have been perfect: a young talented striker, a number nine who can play under pressure – they're difficult to find. Harry Kane, will they get him out of Tottenham? I doubt it very much, but they need someone of that ilk."

Is Ronald Koeman the chosen one?

Quique Setien was sacked by Barcelona on Monday, following the club's Champions League horror show.

And Netherlands head coach Koeman – a former Barca defender – is reportedly on the verge of being appointed.

 

TOP STORY – KOEMAN TO LEAD STRUGGLING BARCA

Ronald Koeman is set to become Barcelona head coach, according to widespread reports.

Netherlands boss Koeman is reportedly the man Barca want to appoint following Quique Setien's sacking in the aftermath of their 8-2 Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.

Tuesday's frontpages of Marca and Sport say former Barca defender Koeman will replace Setien.

Voetbal and Sky Sports claim LaLiga giants Barca are holding talks with the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) as they seek to appoint Koeman.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Koeman set to vacate his position, Fox Sports presenter Jan Joost van Gangelen claims former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has offered to take the Netherlands job. Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal in 2018.

- The Guardian reports Premier League champions Liverpool are unwilling to pay the €30million (£27m) fee Bayern Munich are asking for star midfielder Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Inter remain in talks with Brescia to sign star midfielder Sandro Tonali, reports Fabrizio Romano. Inter will reportedly try to finalise a transfer following the Europa League final. Tonali has also been linked to champions Juventus.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Napoli want to sign Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos but are still trying to negotiate a fee. It comes as Arsenal reportedly close in on Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who has also been targeted by Napoli.

City are preparing a new and improved offer for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, says Sportitalia's Pedulla. Napoli are reportedly keen to sell Koulibaly in order to raise funds for Gabriel.

- According to Sky Sports, Manchester United are monitoring Juve winger Douglas Costa. The future of Costa in Turin is in doubt as new boss Andrea Pirlo rebuilds and with United struggling to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, they could turn to the Brazilian.

- Cadena Ser claims Barca plan to force pay cuts on players who refuse to leave Camp Nou. Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic are among three of the highest earners who the club are hopeful of selling this off-season.

Milan are hopeful of re-signing Gianluigi Donnarumma and Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the end of the month despite negotiations dragging on, according to Calciomercato.

- AS reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano could join Real Madrid in 2021. Due to the financial situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, Madrid are reportedly holding off on major transfers until next year.

Jadon Sancho would have made the difference for Manchester United in their Europa League semi-final against Sevilla, according to Paul Scholes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men squandered numerous chances in a 2-1 loss to Sevilla in Cologne.

United have been heavily linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund star Sancho, who scored 20 goals in 2019-20.

Former United star Scholes believes the Premier League club need to spend money on an attacker, saying Sancho would have delivered in Germany.

"I don't think they played badly, I thought they were really good against a really good Sevilla team, but that 15, 20 minutes after half-time, with all them chances, you've got to score them," Scholes told BT Sport.

"We're talking about quality, we talk about spending money on centre-forwards and wide players, and you talk about hundreds of millions these days to get these players, but these are the players that win you trophies, these are the ones that win you medals.

"We know all this Sancho thing is going on, but they need to start spending the money. If they want to win trophies, they've got to start spending the money.

"Okay, created chances tonight, but if Sancho was in that team tonight I think United are scoring."

Winners of three Europa League titles since 2014, Sevilla will face either Inter or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final on Friday.

Goodbye Quique Setien?

Barcelona's Champions League horror show against Bayern Munich is reportedly the final straw for the club's hierarchy.

Who will replace the former Real Betis boss at Camp Nou?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SACK SETIEN

Barcelona have decided to sack head coach Quique Setien, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

LaLiga giants Barca were humiliated in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday following an 8-2 defeat to Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich.

Barca have already decided Setien – who replaced Ernesto Valverde in January – will not continue in 2020-21, and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has already been linked, while club great Xavi and Massimiliano Allegri are other possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Star reports Manchester United are eyeing Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez. United have been linked to the Spain international previously and are believed to be ready to revive their interest.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Evening Standard says United remain in talks with Borussia Dortmund regarding Jadon Sancho. Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave the Bundesliga side, though United are reportedly still in negotiations for the England international. Meanwhile, Outlet Republika in Serbia claims United have agreed to sign teenage sensation Filip Stevanovic from Partizan Belgrade before loaning him back to the capital club.

- Hella Verona defender Marash Kumbulla wants to join Inter, Sky Sport Italia claims. Kumbulla has been linked to Napoli, Lazio and Juventus.

Bayern Munich want to keep loanee Ivan Perisic, according to Sky Sport Italia. Perisic has spent the season on loan from Inter and Bayern are hoping to negotiate a permanent deal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to remain at Milan and could soon sign a new contract with the Rossoneri, reports Calciomercato.

- Foot Mercato claims Barca could consider re-signing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern. Thiago, who left Barca in 2013, has been tipped to join Liverpool, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have emerged as possible destinations.

Arsenal are planning to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico following the arrival of William, reports The Daily Star.

So, the Jadon Sancho saga rambles on.

Manchester United want to sign Sancho, but Borussia Dortmund are adamant the 20-year-old will be staying put in 2020-21.

Could Barcelona and Real Madrid enter the mix?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BRACED FOR SANCHO BATTLE

Manchester United believe Barcelona and Real Madrid will enter the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Mirror.

United have identified Sancho as their number one transfer target, however, Dortmund continually insist the England international will not leave the Bundesliga team.

If United fail to land Sancho this off-season, the Red Devils are bracing for a three-way battle with LaLiga giants Barca and Madrid next year.

ROUND-UP

- Cristiano Ronaldo to Barcelona? The Juventus superstar's entourage told AS he is happy in Italy, despite claims the former Madrid forward has been offered to the LaLiga outfit as the Scudetto holders look to free up cash.

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Premier League champions Liverpool are in contact with Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich regarding Thiago Alcantara. The Spanish star has also emerged as a possible target for Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Tuttosport says Paulo Dybala could be offered to United in exchange for Paul Pogba. Dybala has been linked with Juve exits as the Serie A champions look to slash their wage bill. Dybala could be the player sacrificed in a bid to lure Pogba back to Turin, while Madrid and PSG are believed to be interested in the Argentina international.

- Barcelona star Luis Suarez is wanted by Qatari outfit Al-Arabi, says beIN SPORTS. Suarez is contracted to the LaLiga giants until 2021 as Barca eye Inter forward Lautaro Martinez as his long-term replacement.

Juve are eyeing a move for Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata, reports Calciomercato. Zapata starred as Atalanta finished third in Serie A and reached the Champions League quarter-finals. Juve – now led by Andrea Pirlo – have also been linked with Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik and Roma veteran Edin Dzeko.

- The Sun claims City are considering a £40million bid for Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks.

United are challenging rivals Chelsea for Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, who is valued at £80m, according to The Mirror.

Napoli are eyeing a double Roma raid, with Gazzetta dello Sport saying Cengiz Under and Jordan Veretout are on the list. With Jose Callejon and Allan set to leave, Napoli want to sign Roma's Under and Veretout.

Liverpool look set to have some major competition in their bid to sign Thiago Alcantara.

Out of contract at Bayern Munich next year, Thiago has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League champions.

However, two big-spending European giants are reportedly joining the race for the midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY, PSG EYE LIVERPOOL TARGET THIAGO

Manchester City and PSG are interested in reported Liverpool target Thiago, according to Le 10 Sport.

Sport Bild says Liverpool are prepared to pay £27.1million (€30m) for the midfielder, an offer which could be enough for Bayern.

However, it also reports the champions are worried a club like City may trump their bid.

ROUND-UP

- While it looks like Jadon Sancho may remain at Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United are not giving up on the star attacker. The Mirror reports the Premier League club have put other moves on hold as they chase Sancho.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Paul Pogba's future is yet to be sorted. Sky Sports reports the midfielder, who is contracted until 2021 with the club holding an option to extend it for a further year, is expecting talks over a new deal after United's Europa League campaign ends.

- After crashing out of the Champions League in the last 16, Real Madrid have been expected to strengthen. However, Marca reports Madrid have told players there will be no new signings.

- With Ismaila Sarr linked to Liverpool, Watford are seemingly holding firm. The Evening Standard reports Watford are demanding £40m for Sarr, who has also been linked to Wolves and Crystal Palace.

- Arsenal and Roma could be close to a swap deal. Nicolo Schira reports the clubs are in advanced talks about a deal that would send Lucas Torreira to the Serie A club and Amadou Diawara to Arsenal.

Jadon Sancho says he "loves" playing with Borussia Dortmund's current crop of players after his side cruised to a convincing 6-0 friendly win over Rheindorf Altach on Wednesday.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc declared earlier this week that Manchester United target Sancho will remain at the German club for the 2020-21 campaign.

England international Sancho, 20, is part of BVB's training camp in Switzerland and played 45 minutes against Austrian side Altach in their opening pre-season friendly.

Lucien Favre fielded plenty of fresh faces at Stadion Schnabelholz and Sancho, into his fourth season at senior level, enjoyed playing with the next generation of young talent. 

"I love playing with this lot," he told BVB-TV. "It is a special bunch. We've got some special young players coming up. I am really happy to share the pitch with them and guide them.

"I was once in their shoes, playing with the seniors. I am happy for them."

Fellow Englishman Jude Bellingham made his first appearance for Dortmund since joining from Birmingham City.

The €25million signing set up goals for Gio Reyna and Erling Haaland and was pleased with his introduction to life with the German giants.

"I loved every minute of it. It was a great first few minutes with the guys on the pitch," he said. "I really enjoyed it. The guys are so good, they made it easy for me. 

"They played very well, even though it was the first game after the break. I am very happy to be part of this team."

Haaland also registered a penalty while fellow senior pros Thorgan Hazard, Emre Can and Julian Brandt were on target in the final 15 minutes.

But it was Bellingham who was singled out for special praise by Favre after his impressive debut display.

"Jude Bellingham was good. He has to play in front of the defence," he said. "It's not easy when you're 17. He was involved in almost all of the goals. 

"He moved forward at the right moments. This is important. He feels when he has to leave his position and has done well. 

"It's important that we have midfielders who can speed up the game and make the final pass."

The Jadon Sancho transfer saga continues to ramble on.

Borussia Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave following Monday's apparent deadline, while Manchester United are still eyeing the English sensation.

Will Sancho be gracing Old Trafford in 2020-21?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED STILL TARGETING SANCHO

Manchester United are not giving up on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in the UK.

United were dealt a blow on Monday when Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said Sancho will remain with the Bundesliga club in 2020-21.

Despite United's frustration over negotiations, the Independent and Goal claim the Red Devils are still pursuing the England international.

 

ROUND-UP

Kai Havertz is closing in on a move to Chelsea, reports the Evening Standard. The Bayer Leverkusen star is "desperate" to join Chelsea following the German club's Europa League exit on Monday.

Andrea Pirlo's Juventus overhaul is underway. Calciomercato and Tuttomercatoweb say Blaise Matuidi is set to move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. Aaron Ramsey, Gonzalo Higuain, Sami Khedira, Daniele Rugani, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa are also on the chopping block following Maurizio Sarri's exit. United have been linked with a move for Costa.

- Sky Sport reports Chelsea and Barcelona are battling to sign Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico. Atletico Madrid are also reportedly interested.

Milan are looking to re-sign star midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Calciomercato. Kessie is wanted by city rivals Inter.

- L'Equipe says Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is set to decide his future. Gabriel will choose between United, Arsenal, Everton and Napoli. RMC and L'Equipe, meanwhile, report Gent star Jonathan David will undergo a medical at Lille on Tuesday ahead of his €32million transfer.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to talk about rumoured transfer target Jadon Sancho after the Red Devils advanced to the Europa League semi-finals.

United booked their spot in the final four of Europe's secondary club competition after edging Danish opponents Copenhagen 1-0 in extra time on Monday.

Bruno Fernandes' 95th-minute penalty secured a semi-final showdown with either Premier League rivals Wolves or LaLiga outfit Sevilla.

But attention turned to Borussia Dortmund star Sancho post-match amid ongoing speculation over the England international's future.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc, earlier on Monday, insisted Sancho will stay at the Bundesliga club, despite United's interested.

Asked about Sancho, Solskjaer replied: "I can't comment on other team's players, I can't do that. You know that. I never do."

On the match itself in Cologne, Solskjaer said: "I am delighted that we're through. I think we deserved to win tonight. It could have been one of those nights that you ended up with a penalty shootout. They made it hard for us.

"It's a good team we played against, well organised. They had a gameplan – we knew they were going to be hard to break down. We knew we would get chances."

Juan Mata was influential as a substitute at the start of extra time, his composure and passing helping United earn the decisive penalty.

Mata has struggled for game time this season but Solskjaer heaped praise on the 32-year-old Spaniard.

"I think you saw when he came on he's so composed, calm," Solskjaer said. "He's clever, he's got quick feet in small right areas.

"He can pick a pass, he can calm us down at times and he's such a great influence in and around the place as well, with the culture and the dressing room. I just commend him for his professionalism.

"Of course, he's disappointed he's not played more but he's one of the top assist-makers in the Europa League and he's really done well for us."

Manchester United win and Bruno Fernandes scores a penalty? Sounds familiar enough. But Monday's Europa League quarter-final against Copenhagen, a peculiar one-off meeting in the strangest of seasons, was fittingly weird.

United mostly dominated, had 26 shots, hit the target 14 times, hit the post three times, but needed an extra-time spot-kick to progress 1-0. Copenhagen defended, failed to test Sergio Romero once in 120 minutes, but never looked out of the game - one that finished at close to midnight in Cologne with the temperature still at 28 degrees Celcius.

In United red, there were performances that were brilliant and infuriating in equal measure. Anthony Martial led the Copenhagen defence on a merry dance but finished as though he had two left feet; Brandon Williams controlled the left flank but gave the Danes their best opening; Juan Mata was exceptional off the bench and still made a mess of three chances for a second goal.

United can be certain of one thing, though: this is the sort of game where smashing the British transfer record for Jadon Sancho would come in handy.

Monday marked Borussia Dortmund's deadline for a Sancho deal to go through. The player travelled with the squad for their pre-season training camp and sporting director Michael Zorc declared the matter was at an end, saying: "We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season. The decision is final. I think that answers all our questions."

It doesn't, of course. United never looked likely to strike a deal so early in a transfer window that runs until October and it's largely expected they will continue to seek an agreement that won't threaten the stability of either the club's finances post-pandemic or the dressing room. Their latest performance is unlikely to change that.

Copenhagen had conceded more than one goal just twice in their previous 42 games in Europe. They knew the onus was on United to dictate and, presumably, also knew the difficulty the Red Devils have had in breaking down sides this season. Their approach was not a surprise, and nor was United's inability to unsettle them.

Luck was against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, it's true. Mason Greenwood had a goal disallowed for offside, a penalty was overturned because of Harry Maguire straying beyond the last man, and Greenwood, Fernandes and Victor Lindelof each hit the woodwork.

There was also an inspired Karl-Johan Johnsson in the Copenhagen goal. In a remarkable performance, he made 13 saves, the joint-most of any keeper in a Europa League match since the competition's rebranding from the UEFA Cup in 2009. The best came against Martial, who grew increasingly dangerous as the game wore on and was the only United forward to drive at the Copenhagen defence and destabilise their impressive rearguard.

That's where Sancho would be invaluable. The 20-year-old has plundered the Bundesliga in a Dortmund side where he is encouraged to run straight at a full-back or centre-half at every available opportunity. Against a team like Copenhagen, built around zonal marking and covering the space in front of the box, that kind of approach can shift matters in your favour.

Of course, United should be expected to beat teams like this without an extra-time penalty or the need to spend around £100million on a new winger, and they certainly created enough to have made the scoreline more comfortable. The inescapable truth remains that Solskjaer's side lurch from dazzling to tedious, too often attacking down blind alleys while trying to follow the trumpeted United Way.

Sancho would change that - assuming he would want to go.

Jadon Sancho is staying at Borussia Dortmund despite reported interest from Manchester United, according to the Bundesliga club's sporting director Michael Zorc.

England international Sancho – who joined Dortmund from Manchester City in 2017 – has become a star in the Bundesliga.

Sancho provided 20 assists and scored 20 goals in all competitions for Dortmund in 2019-20, after scoring 13 times and setting up 19 goals in the previous season.

Premier League giants United are rumoured to have made signing the 20-year-old a top priority but on Monday – reportedly a deadline Dortmund had set for any deal to be struck – Zorc insisted the winger, whose current deal runs until 2022, was staying put.

"We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season, the decision is final," Zorc told reporters at Dortmund's pre-season training camp.

"I think that answers all our questions."

"Last summer we adjusted Jadon's salary to match the development of his performances. So in context, we had already extended his contract until 2023 back then."

Borussia Dortmund have included Jadon Sancho in a 31-man squad for a training camp in Switzerland, despite continued speculation over the player's future.

The England international has been strongly linked with a big-money move to Manchester United, who can also offer Champions League football after securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Dortmund reportedly wanted a deal done before they went away to continue preparations for the 2020-21 season, though that has failed to materialise.

According to media speculation, the Bundesliga club value the 20-year-old at £108million having signed him from Manchester City for a fraction of that price back in 2017.

While Sancho waits to find out if United strike a deal with his current employers, he will train with Dortmund in Bad Ragaz.

Jude Bellingham is also in the travelling party, the teenage midfielder having recently joined the German club from Birmingham City.

However, Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer have remained at home to continue rehabilitation work as they recover from injuries.

Dortmund are due to play friendly fixtures against SC Altach and Austria Vienna during the camp.

Could Paulo Dybala swap Italy for Spain?

The Juventus attacker was close to leaving Juventus for either Manchester United or Tottenham prior to the 2019-20 season, while Paris Saint-Germain were also linked.

Now, Real Madrid are reportedly targeting the 26-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – KROOS OUT, DYBALA IN?

Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

ROUND-UP

- Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

- The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

- AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

- According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future has dominated headlines.

With Aubameyang due to become a free agent in 2021, Arsenal have been desperate to re-sign the Gabon international.

Now, it looks like the 31-year-old will remain at Emirates Stadium for an extended period.

 

TOP STORY – AUBAMEYANG TO SIGN NEW DEAL

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to signing a new three-year contract with Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

Aubameyang's current deal is due to expire next year and the Arsenal star has been linked to LaLiga giants Barcelona, as well as Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

But Aubameyang is set to sign a deal that will run until 2023, a two-year extension.

 

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano claims it is only a matter of time before Willian signs a contract with Arsenal until 2023. Chelsea midfielder Willian is free to talk to clubs as his deal at Stamford Bridge expires. The Gunners are also eyeing Thomas Partey but Atletico Madrid insist the midfielder will not leave unless his £45million (€50m) release clause is paid.

Paul Pogba is happy at Manchester United and is ready to sign a new contract, reports Romano. Pogba has been previously linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford, and The Guardian claims United will listen to offers for Jesse Lingard as they try to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. United and Dortmund are still negotiating a transfer for Sancho, according to widespread reports.

Edinson Cavani could be poised to join Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro, reports Globo Esporte. The 33-year-old Uruguay international is a free agent after leaving PSG. Cavani has been linked to Portuguese giants Benfica, newly promoted Premier League team Leeds United, MLS outfit Inter Miami, Atletico and Inter.

Everton are interested in signing Atletico's Thomas Lemar, says Le10Sport. Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are also hoping to bring United full-back Diego Dalot to Goodison Park, reports The Mirror.

- According to The Athletic, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is set to join Tottenham from Southampton. Spurs will pay £19m for the former Bayern Munich midfielder.

Liverpool will have to pay close to £20m for Norwich City left-back Jamal Lewis after the Premier League champions had a £10m offer rejected, says The Guardian.

David Silva looks set to move to Lazio. According to Sky Sport Italia, the Manchester City midfielder – a free agent – will swap the Premier League for Serie A following the club's Champions League campaign.

Manchester City's preparations for their eagerly awaited Champions League showdown against Real Madrid have been thrown into flux by the news teenage centre-back Eric Garcia will not sign a new contract at the club.

Garcia has established himself as Pep Guardiola's first-choice central defensive partner for Aymeric Laporte since the Premier League resumed.

However, the 19-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona and Camp Nou looks increasingly likely to be his next destination following Guardiola's shock disclosure on Thursday.

Garcia is far from the first bright young thing to look beyond the environs of the Etihad Campus. Here, we look at how those next moves panned out, as Phil Foden's impressive first-team breakthrough increasingly looks like the exception to the rule.

ERIC GARCIA

Garcia's defection feels like it will cut Guardiola deep – the City boss having lavished praise upon "a guy who doesn't make mistakes", making for a pointed contrast with the out-of-favour Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones. Plenty of City youngsters have had a strong argument in terms of having no obvious pathway to the first team but, even allowing for the arrival of Nathan Ake and further reinforcements being sought at centre-back, this in not really a case Garcia can make.

He made seven of his 13 Premier League appearances after lockdown this term. It seems a simple case of Barcelona's allure being too strong to ignore.

BRAHIM DIAZ

Brahim is back in Manchester this week with Real Madrid, meaning his reasons for departing have common ground with the Garcia situation. The forward was similarly offered fresh terms at the Etihad Stadium but, despite 15 appearances and two goals across all competitions, the plethora of attacking options at Guardiola's disposal undoubtedly came into his thinking. Madrid paid €17million for Brahim last January and have not shown a great deal more inclination to give him a run at the highest level.

RABBI MATONDO

Another attacking player who assessed the star-studded cast ahead of him and decided he would be better off elsewhere. The curious thing about Matondo's €9m move to Schalke in the same month Brahim left is he had not troubled Guardiola's first-team squad, even if he had made the breakthrough with Wales at international level. Eighteen months on, he has 27 Bundesliga appearances and two goals to his name. It is nevertheless difficult to imagine Matondo taking the course of action he did without another man blazing a trail...

JADON SANCHO

Sancho was set for a place on City's 2017-18 pre-season tour alongside Foden. But while his fellow England youth international went on to enjoy a sparkling debut against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup, Sancho kicked his heels at home. Contract negotiations and, as a result, relations with City had broken down. In the bigger picture was the club looking to add Alexis Sanchez to their already considerable forward line.

Sancho sensed his career would be allowed to flourish at Borussia Dortmund and, as he reportedly moves towards a return to England at Manchester United having established himself as one of the most lethal attackers in Europe, it is impossible to argue he was proved anything other than emphatically correct. If he steps out at Old Trafford next season, it will sting on the blue side of Manchester.

JASON DENAYER

Denayer's tale is arguably one that came into the thinking of Sancho and others when considering their future prospects at the Etihad Stadium. Having impressed on loan at Celtic in 2014-15, City gave the Belgium defender a five-year contract. They then signed Nicolas Otamendi for £32m and loaned the youngster to Galatasaray, where he returned in 2017-18 after a season with Sunderland. Denayer will also play in the Champions League last-16 this week with Lyon, who he joined in 2018 for €10m having never managed a competitive appearance for City.

MARCOS 'RONY' LOPES

In the same month Denayer received wildly mixed messages about his future, Portuguese winger Lopes moved to Monaco for €12m after spending the previous season in Ligue 1 at Lille. He produced a handful of exciting cameos while on the fringes of Manuel Pellegrini's City squad, having become the club's youngest ever goalscorer at 17 years and eight days in a January 2013 FA Cup win over Watford. Even then, Lopes – who recently joined Nice on loan from Sevilla – saw the writing on the wall.

"I knew it wouldn't change anything because I knew the players at City at the time, I knew the money involved," he told The Athletic earlier this year. "I knew in my head that to play more, I would have to leave."

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