Barcelona will always be interested in Neymar but it is financially difficult to re-sign him, the club's sporting director Eric Abidal has admitted.

Neymar attempted to secure a move back to Camp Nou in the close season, two years after leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in a deal that made him the most expensive player in history.

LaLiga champions Barca held talks with PSG but were unable to meet the Ligue 1 side's demands.

Lionel Messi suggested some at the Catalan club did not want Neymar to return, though it appears he will remain a target.

"A top player, who has a Barca philosophy and who is performing at a high level, will always be an option," Abidal told Mundo Deportivo.

"We can make decisions on the sporting level but the whole financial issue, there are things that you can do and others you cannot. The future will tell us.

"I will not say it would be option number one, because the season is very long, but clearly it can be an option."

Barca reignited their interest in Neymar amid a desire to find a long-term successor to ageing striker Luis Suarez.

The search is said to have led them to highly rated Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

Asked about the 22-year-old, Abidal said: "He is a complete player. I think he is performing at a great level. He is a player we know.

"There are other players who also have a lot of quality... but I don't pay much attention to the player who plays every weekend, I look at others."

Barca did boost their attacking options with the addition of Antoine Griezmann in July and Abidal said Suarez had been briefed on the club's intentions to pursue another competitor for his starting spot.

"I am transparent with the players," the Frenchman said. "Luis can tell you, because last year I already told him that it was going to be like that, that we were going to look for an offensive player.

"He accepted it because he wants the best for the team. Today, I can tell you that there is no priority. The planning will always be done, no matter the position on the field, the only change will be the decision."

Could Jose Mourinho find a new home at a third Premier League club?

According to one report, the ex-Chelsea and Manchester United manager is keeping a close eye on Tottenham and the uncertainty that lingers over Mauricio Pochettino's future.

The potential of a job opening in north London might even lead to him turning down a big-name former employer.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO SETS SIGHTS ON SPURS

Jose Mourinho has told friends he is "confident" of being offered a return to Real Madrid but may hold out for the Tottenham job, according to The Sun.

Zinedine Zidane is in his second stint in charge of Madrid, while Mauricio Pochettino has spent more than five years at the Spurs helm.

The report suggests it is the latter position that Mourinho covets more, meaning he "would not necessarily accept" another spell in the Spanish capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could launch a January move for Gareth Bale, reports The Sun. According to the newspaper, Real Madrid know of United's interest in Wales winger Bale and would be happy to let him leave the Santiago Bernabeu, providing they can do a deal that involves Paul Pogba moving in the other direction.

- Spanish outlet ElDesmarque reports news that could complicate any Bale-Pogba exchange, stating that although Madrid are indeed keen on France playmaker Pogba, so too are the player's former club Juventus, with Cristiano Ronaldo said to be supportive.

Paris Saint-Germain are rumoured to be United's strongest rivals for Jadon Sancho and the Ligue 1 side could make a surprise play for another England international. The Mirror claims PSG are interested in poaching Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana on a free transfer. His contract is due to expire in 2020.

- Premier League champions Manchester City will look to sign Kingsley Coman from Bayern Munich if Leroy Sane agrees on a move to the Bundesliga giants, according to Sky Sports. Coman, 23, joined Bayern from Juve in 2015, initially on loan.

- Mainz are seeking a new head coach and the Bundesliga club are reported to be targeting former Cologne boss Achim Beierlorzer. Kicker reports Mainz want a new face in charge by early next week, and Beierlorzer is said to be in the frame. The club sit in the relegation zone after eight defeats in 11 games this term. Beierlorzer would be making a rapid return to bench duty if he lands the job, having left Cologne on November 9.

Neymar, Thomas Meunier, Keylor Navas and Marco Verratti are all expected back in Paris Saint-Germain training next week following injuries.

PSG had previously announced Neymar was due to resume training this week, having been out since the previous international break with a hamstring injury.

He is instead now set to return in the coming days, alongside Thomas Meunier, who has also been dealing with a hamstring issue.

Navas should likewise be back among the squad in the next seven days as he recovers from a thigh injury which forced him out of last weekend's win at Brest.

The former Real Madrid man had crucially saved a penalty against Club Brugge in the Champions League three days earlier.

Verratti has had an injury to the back of his right knee, keeping him out of international action for Italy, but is hoping to train by the end of next week.

Inter have a fight on their hands to retain the services of star forward Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona as they search for Luis Suarez's long-term replacement.

But Manchester City and United are both reportedly interested in the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – CITY & UNITED TARGET MARTINEZ

Manchester City and Premier League neighbours United want to sign Inter star Martinez, according to The Mirror.

Martinez – who is only in his second season in Milan after joining from Racing Club in 2018 – has flourished this term with eight goals across all competitions for Antonio Conte's Inter.

LaLiga champions Barcelona have been linked, while the two Manchester clubs are also reportedly targeting the 22-year-old forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Unhappy at Barcelona, Ivan Rakitic could remain in LaLiga. The Croatia international has attracted interest from the likes of Inter, United and Paris Saint-Germain in his pursuit of more game time. However, Movistar+ claims Atletico Madrid are willing to meet Barca's €40million valuation of Rakitic. Marca adds that Atletico do not plan to replace Diego Costa due to salary constraints.

- The Mirror says Arsenal scouted Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu during Turkey's Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on Thursday. Soyuncu moved to Leicester from Freiburg in 2018 and the 23-year-old has stepped up to fill the void left by Harry Maguire, who joined United in a world-record deal.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic out and Edinson Cavani in for LA Galaxy? According to Gianluca Di Marzio, MLS side the Galaxy are targeting Paris Saint-Germain's Cavani following Ibrahimovic's exit. The Uruguay forward is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked to David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise, who will open their inaugural season against the Galaxy next year.

Inter will need to fork out €30m if they want to sign Udinese's Rodrigo de Paul in January, reports Calciomercato. The Express also reports that Inter are ready to offer out-of-favour Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud an 18-month contract. Conte is determined to add depth up front, with Martinez and Romelu Lukaku leading the way in the absence of injured loanee Alexis Sanchez.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Roma have joined the chase for Everton forward Moise Kean. The 19-year-old has struggled since moving to the Premier League from Juventus, and the likes of Sampdoria and AC Milan are lining up to bring the teenager back to Serie A on loan.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni says Mauro Icardi remains part of his plans and he will consider recalling the Paris Saint-Germain striker if he can maintain his goalscoring form. 

Icardi has not featured for Argentina since scoring in last November’s 2-1 friendly win against Mexico and is not part of their latest squad for the friendlies with Brazil and Uruguay. 

The 26-year-old was overlooked for Copa America selection earlier this year after a turbulent campaign with Inter that saw him stripped of the captaincy amid a breakdown in contract talks. 

However, Icardi has scored nine goals in 10 matches since joining PSG on loan in September and is knocking on the door for a return to the international stage. 

"He is a player we have in mind," Scaloni said at a news conference ahead of Friday's friendly with Brazil in Saudi Arabia. 

"He is playing again, picking up pace after not playing at the end of last season. 

"He is on our agenda, and not because other strikers are not doing well. At any time he can return. The doors are always open for the best."

Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for their friendly double-header after serving a three-month suspension for accusing CONMEBOL officials of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

South American champions Brazil will be without Neymar for the high-profile friendly, however, as the PSG forward is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month.

"Having Messi is always a positive," Scaloni said. "I would have liked Neymar to be involved, too.

"For us it is a joy to have Leo because he is a big part of the group and gets along with all his team-mates. He is a player who has marked an era in football."

Marseille want to propose microphones for referees and written explanations of VAR decisions after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas bemoaned the officiating in his side's defeat at the Stade Velodrome.

Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille defeated their rivals 2-1 on Sunday, although the opening goal came from the penalty spot amid much controversy.

Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes was punished for handball inside the area, yet replays appeared to show Marseille's Morgan Sanson had also handled earlier in the move.

Aulas later criticised the VAR decision, also referring to a clash between Dario Benedetto and Leo Dubois, prompting a response from Marseille on Wednesday.

While "surprised" Aulas, who holds a role on the executive committee at the French Football Federation (FFF), had questioned officials, they offered ideas for how VAR could be better implemented in the league.

In a lengthy statement, Marseille suggested they join with the FFF to approach refereeing body the International Football Association Board, with their plan to install a microphone on referees to broadcast live the exchanges between the official and players, as well as broadcasting such conversations on a slight time delay.

They also advocated slow-motion replays being aired inside the stadium "in such a way as to show the public that the picture does not explain everything", plus a report be published after each day of the championship "specifying the right refereeing decisions, the obviously erroneous decisions and the decisions that should have been made but which were not".

Marseille pointed to the successful implementation of similar systems in both rugby and the NBA.

They described the increased "transparency" of such processes, adding they would "prove that these mistakes affect all clubs equally in the long run".

In addition to Aulas' comments regarding decisions on the field, Marseille also responded to criticism of the atmosphere at their ground, where Lyon's bus was attacked as it arrived at the venue.

Lyon had been advised to use an unmarked bus, as Marseille do against Paris Saint-Germain, but chose instead to arrive in club colours.

"The match was marked in the stadium by the exemplary behaviour of the immense majority of our supporters who, with their tifos and their encouragements throughout the match, gave the most beautiful expression of support to their club," the statement read.

"The Velodrome - with a record Ligue 1 attendance - showed again a unique atmosphere in France and Europe. The show on the field and in the stands ensured our championship an exceptional promotion around the world."

Manchester United have an option to bring Memphis Depay back to Old Trafford, according to Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Netherlands international Depay joined United from PSV in 2015 but could only manage seven goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.

An unhappy 18 months concluded when he joined Lyon for a fee in the region of £16million in January 2017 - and the 25-year-old has been revitalised in Ligue 1.

Depay has scored seven times in 10 top-flight appearances this season despite his club's troubled start to the campaign, along with four in as many Champions League outings.

Speaking on Tuesday, Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman told reporters it would be better for his country if Depay was playing for a bigger club.

In the event of his performances drawing offers from some of Europe's big hitters, Juninho told his club's official website that United retain first refusal under the terms of Depay's move to France.

"Manchester has a priority if several clubs line up to buy him," he said.

"But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon.

"We will discuss a contract extension by the end of the year."

Depay's current deal runs until the end of next season.

Lyon lie 14th in Ligue 1 after a 2-1 defeat to rivals Marseille last Sunday, although recently installed head coach Rudi Garcia had overseen three consecutive wins before that setback.

Lyon sporting director Juninho wants Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema to finish his career at the Ligue 1 club.

Benzema, 31, came through the Lyon academy and starred in Ligue 1 before joining Madrid for €35million in July 2009.

The Frenchman has scored 233 goals for Madrid, helping the Spanish giants win two LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

Juninho, who played alongside Benzema at Lyon, wants the forward to return to the club.

"My desire is to propose to Karim that he finishes his career at Lyon," the Brazilian told OLTV.

"He is from here, he feels from here. Why not make an economic effort between both parties to make it happen?

"We can't offer the same salary as Real Madrid, but we will wait for the right moment.

"We exchanged messages when I was in Brazil. I felt like he would like to come. He has a lot of respect for the club.

"I want him to come and play with us for two years, and then train some of the younger players.

"Karim could be the leader that we need. I dream that he will end his career here at Lyon, his home."

Benzema has made a fine start to this season, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions for Madrid.

Lyon, meanwhile, are struggling in 14th in Ligue 1, with Rudi Garcia replacing Sylvinho at the helm last month.

Memphis Depay leaving Lyon and joining a "bigger club" would only benefit Netherlands, according to Ronald Koeman.

The 25-year-old signed for the French club in January 2017 and has got his career back on track following a disappointing 18-month spell with Manchester United.

He scored 29 goals in his first two full Ligue 1 campaigns and has seven in 10 outings this term, earning him links with a number of teams, including Tottenham.

Although recognising Lyon as a big club in their own right, Netherlands boss Koeman believes his side will reap the rewards of Depay joining a new side next year.

"He plays at Lyon and is even their captain sometimes," Koeman said at Tuesday's news conference. 

"The fact that he doesn't play for the biggest team in the world clearly doesn't have consequences for his place in the national team. But if he plays at a bigger club, that will also be better for us. 

"Still, Lyon is also a big club that always plays in the Champions League. Again, the fact that he plays in Lyon doesn't mean that he won't be selected for the national team.

"You always hope that every player plays for the biggest clubs that actually compete for the big prizes. 

"I think he's the kind of player that should play at a club like that. If that's in the Premier League or at any other big club, that would be great for him. But you have to ask him about his plans."

Depay has started five of Netherlands' six Euro 2020 qualifiers but is doubtful for Saturday's trip to Northern Ireland due to injury.

The forward also missed the 2-1 win in Belarus last month and Koeman said: "It's nearly the same injury as last time, but in the other leg. 

"He's very positive, because last time he was back on the pitch in about 10 to 12 days. It's too early now to say if he makes the Northern Ireland match. 

"It might be possible that he skips the first match, but plays the second against Estonia. We'll have to wait how that develops day by day."

A draw in Belfast will be enough for Netherlands to seal a spot at next year's European Championship finals, but Koeman is targeting back-to-back wins to finish above Germany in Group C.

"It's the last two matches, the earlier we qualify, the better. A draw might be enough. But I'd rather take six points and win the group. In the end, qualifying is our goal, but I'd rather finish first."

Lionel Messi is seemingly in no rush to extend his Barcelona contract.

Messi's future is regularly talked about after it was revealed earlier this year the superstar can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, though it remains to be seen if he wants to stay on beyond his current deal.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN NO RUSH OVER BARCELONA CONTRACT

Messi has no intention of discussing a contract extension at Barcelona until next season, according to Marca.

The 32-year-old plans to be at the club next season, the report says, but will not open talks regarding a new deal.

Messi has been at Barcelona during his entire professional career, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to the future. Sport reports the Ligue 1 giants are seriously considering a move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG and the 19-year-old could help the French club going forward.

- Manchester City and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle. The clubs are interested in Real Sociedad and Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, according to CalcioMercato. The 22-year-old has scored 29 LaLiga goals since the start of 2017-18.

- Unai Emery has some time. The Sun reports the under-fire Arsenal head coach will be given until 2020 to turn the club's form around. It also reports Manchester City would allow assistant Mikel Arteta – an ex-Arsenal midfielder – to head to Emirates Stadium, should his former club want to appoint the Spaniard.

- Liverpool could strengthen in January. TalkSPORT reports the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks with Bournemouth over a deal to sign winger Ryan Fraser, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Bournemouth may want Harry Wilson – who is on loan from Liverpool – as part of a deal.

- Struggling in ninth in Serie A, Fiorentina may be ready to move on from Vincenzo Montella. The club are ready to make an approach for former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, according to Firenze Viola.

Italy confirmed Marco Verratti, Domenico Berardi and Leonardo Spinazzola have withdrawn from the squad for upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia, but Sandro Tonali has been added to the roster.

Paris Saint-Germain star Verratti played 80 minutes of their 2-1 win at Brest on Saturday but was withdrawn – according to reports in Italy – due to a calf strain.

Similarly, Italy have not confirmed the issue in-form Sassuolo attacker Berardi has sustained, though it is claimed he injured his thigh during the 3-1 defeat of Bologna.

Spinazzola is reported to have suffered a muscular problem in action for Roma on Sunday.

Verratti is the only player to have been replaced, with highly rated 19-year-old Tonali, who has impressed in his debut Serie A season with Brescia, in line to earn his second cap.

Italy have already qualified for Euro 2020. Their two remaining qualifiers see them face Bosnia away on Friday, before hosting Armenia three days later.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel says Edinson Cavani will need to learn how to manage the competition with Mauro Icardi for a starting berth in attack.

Cavani made his first start for PSG since August 25 in Saturday's 2-1 win over Brest but struggled to make an impact at Stade Francis-Le Ble.

He was replaced in the 80th minute by Icardi, who scored the winner five minutes later after Samuel Grandsir had cancelled out Angel Di Maria's first-half opener.

Tuchel conceded Cavani lacked rhythm against Brest and has challenged the Uruguay international to relish the competition for places in attack.

"It's not easy to play against this team here for an attacker," he told Canal+.

"He [Cavani] lacks rhythm. He must manage this competition. It's like that for his job. It's always difficult for an attacker, a very sensitive position. But we have no choice but to accept this situation and work hard. 

"Sometimes you are in a phase where you feel good. There is a bit of luck and everything goes perfectly. Mauro is in this phase."

PSG were far from their fluid best but did enough to ensure they returned to winning ways domestically after a shock defeat to Dijon last time out.

Tuchel, who made six changes from the side that beat Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek, praised his side after they became the first side to beat Brest at home this season.

"I really like this victory," he added. "A lot of changes have been made, including players lacking rhythm and confidence like Layvin [Kurzawa], Edinson [Cavani] and [Julian] Draxler. The changes were necessary to stay fresh. 

"It was not easy in the first period with the wind against us. We had opportunities to accelerate but we made technical mistakes. The second period was easier to control but we gave an opportunity to the opponent, who scored. 

"A good reaction was shown afterwards. I felt like we really believed it. We deserved to win. We are the first to win here! [this season]"

Edinson Cavani was upstaged by Mauro Icardi as Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1, securing a nervy 2-1 triumph over Brest on Saturday.

Uruguay international Cavani had been restricted to appearances off the bench after sustaining a hip injury but was chosen from the start by Thomas Tuchel.

However, the striker struggled to make an impact against a spirited Brest side, with Icardi scoring the winner just five minutes after replacing his team-mate.

Samuel Grandsir had earlier cancelled out Angel Di Maria's strike for PSG, who recovered to secure victory and ensure they did not drop points for the second consecutive Ligue 1 game following their shock defeat to Dijon last time out.

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed the Premier League giants have "absolutely no chance" of signing Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, 20, has been linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions, with Liverpool emerging as a potential surprise destination despite reported interest from Real Madrid.

But Klopp, whose side host Manchester City in a blockbuster clash on Sunday, dismissed talk Liverpool could add the France forward.

"Buying this calibre of player is difficult. I don't see any club at the moment who can buy Kylian Mbappe from PSG," he told the media.

"I don't see any club, that is how it is. And we are involved in the clubs that cannot do it. It is as easy as that.

"Okay, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him. What a player he is. But it is about the money of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance. Sorry for killing that story."

Liverpool were quiet during the previous transfer window, opting against adding any new faces to the first team.

Klopp again talked up the importance of keeping his squad together, saying the players he wanted were out of Liverpool's reach financially.

"The players we thought about to make this team better were really expensive and we could not spend the money. That is how it is," he said.

"To see a player better, or with potential to be better or play the same is difficult. That is what it was. That was the situation. It was not that we were not ready, but we did not want to make five or six changes. Not at all. They are at a wonderful age with still space for improvement.

"We wanted to do something and we could have done a lot, but we only wanted to do the right thing. That is the reason we kept this squad because it is really good and if you want to improve it you have to go for the right players, not just some players to fix whatever."

Liverpool hold a six-point lead at the top ahead of the clash against City at Anfield.

Page 1 of 31
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.