Barcelona and Juventus are in talks about a possible swap deal involving Ivan Rakitic and Federico Bernardeschi.

Rakitic was linked with an exit from Camp Nou during the close season, but ended up staying at Barca.

But he could be on his way to Turin and Bernardeschi may be heading in the opposite direction.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, JUVE IN RAKITIC-BERNARDESCHI SWAP TALKS

Barcelona and Juventus are discussing a possible swap deal involving Rakitic and Bernardeschi, according to AS.

The report says Rakitic – who has made just six LaLiga starts this season – has already agreed personal terms with the Serie A giants.

However, the clubs are yet to reach an agreement, with Rakitic six years older than Italy international Bernardeschi.

ROUND-UP

- There is still work to be done if Bruno Fernandes is to find his way to Manchester United. The Daily Mail and The Sun report United want to pay Sporting CP £34million (€39.9m) with a further £25.5m (€29.9m) in add-ons, including bonuses for the English club winning the Premier League and Champions League.

- Atletico Madrid are not giving up on trying to land Edinson Cavani in this window. The LaLiga side are still eyeing a move for the Paris Saint-Germain forward, according to Marca, although they are hoping to negotiate a lower price than the €30m the Ligue 1 club are reportedly wanting.

- The wait continues for Inter as they try to sign Christian Eriksen. CalcioMercato reports Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots is scheduled to meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in London next week as the midfielder tries to get his move to the Serie A giants.

- Chelsea are favourites to sign RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to The Sun, but it may take a £68m (€79.8m) deal to land the 23-year-old.

- Arsenal are set for talks with Athletico Paranaense to negotiate a deal for midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to Globo Esporte.

- Staying at Arsenal and France Football reports Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa has agreed to join the Premier League club for free at season's end.

- Javier Hernandez will become one of the highest paid players in MLS. Sports Illustrated reports LA Galaxy will pay Sevilla $9.4m (€8.5m) for the forward, who is set to earn $6m annually, with the potential for that to rise due to bonuses.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes it is impossible to match the dominance Manchester United enjoyed under Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson led United to 13 Premier League titles, a run that began in 1992-93 and ended 20 years later.

Liverpool are aiming for a first league title in 30 years and hold a 14-point lead at the top ahead of hosting United at Anfield on Sunday.

But Klopp believes times have changed so much it is impossible to dominate like United did across the 1990s and early 2000s and Liverpool managed in the 1970s and '80s.

"To be honest I don't think it is possible. I don't think the dominance like they had is possible again," he told UK newspapers.

"Football changed completely, the power of different clubs changed completely. We made a couple of good decisions – that is why we got better. Other teams have the same chance.

"Players are coming up, make decisions. If a midfield player comes on the market and one club doesn't need him, the other club needs him and can get him. Next year he might not be on the market.

"It is like up and down."

Coming off a second-place finish last season, to go with the Champions League crown, Liverpool are unbeaten through 21 league games this campaign.

But while he accepts his side may not dominate, Klopp wants Liverpool to be regular contenders.

"I wouldn't say United in their time won a lot of games 4-0 or 5-0 but they were predictable wins, and that is clear," he said.

"We won a lot of games 1-0 or 2-1 and had to really dig in properly to do so, so I don't see this type of thing.

"But it is important that we can fight every year for it and that is all I need."

This weekend all eyes turn to the EPL where Manchester United tackle unbeaten Liverpool.

Bruno Fernandes is reportedly on the verge of a transfer to Manchester United, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally seems set to bolster his midfield.

Portugal international Fernandes was heavily linked with both United and Tottenham in the close season, though stayed at Sporting, signing a new deal at the club in November.

The new contract reportedly set the 25-year-old's buy out clause at €100million, though the fee rumoured to have been agreed between United and Sporting is closer to £50m (€58.6m).

Reports on Friday suggested United did not want Fernandes to feature in the Lisbon derby against Benfica, but Sporting and the player wanted to give him the chance to bid farewell to the club's supporters in their biggest home match of the season.

But, amid all of the speculation, just how did the playmaker fare on the pitch as Rafa Silva's late double handed the bragging rights to Benfica?

5th minute – It was a rather anonymous start for Fernandes, who stalled a promising move from Sporting when he intercepted a heavy touch from team-mate Rafael Camacho, despite being stood in an offside position.

13th minute – This will certainly have got United fans excited! From inside Sporting's half, the midfielder – who has recorded 13 assists in all competitions this season – played a superbly weighted pass over the top of Benfica's defence, straight into the path of Camacho. The winger got a shot off, but it flashed wide of the right-hand upright.

38th minute – In what quickly became a scrappy encounter, Fernandes struggled to stamp his quality on proceedings again until seven minutes before half-time, when he picked out Yannick Bolasie with a pass. The Everton loanee was unable to beat Odisseas Vlachodimos, though.

43rd minute – The build up to this match was all about Fernandes and it seems Benfica's players were in no mood to let it be the Bruno show. He was clattered into by Franco Cervi as the visitors started to give their rivals' captain some rough treatment.

46th to 50th minute – Friday's encounter had to be paused for five minutes, as a section of Sporting fans threw smoke bombs onto the pitch and set fires in the stands. Fortunately, the stewards got them under control as quickly as possible.

58th minute – Once the match had restarted, Benfica began targeting Fernandes once more, with Chiquinho receiving a booking for a late lunge which left Sporting's skipper needing treatment on his ankle.

66th minute – Fernandes also proved his worth from set-pieces, with his cross from a corner finding Idrissa Doumbia, who could not direct his header on target.

67th minute – With a point to prove, Fernandes almost picked out Luiz Phellype with an incredible diagonal from far out on the right flank. Unfortunately for Sporting, Vlachodimos got there first.

80th minute – Fernandes can only watch on as Sporting's defence fail to clear their lines not once, but twice, with Benfica substitute Rafa on hand to put the Primeira Liga leaders ahead, though the goal only stood after a long check with VAR.

97th minute – In the seventh minute of 10 added on due to the earlier disruption, Fernandes is forced deep in an attempt to get Sporting on the front foot, but he is quickly crowded out, with his only option a pass out wide to Marcos Acuna.

99th minute – Game over, and is that goodbye Fernandes? Rafa steals the show – and the headlines – of this Lisbon derby, setting himself brilliantly with an expert first touch from Haris Seferovic's pass, before prodding a fantastic finish beyond Luis Maximiano. 

Full-time – The cameras come up close to Fernandes, though he betrays little emotion as he shakes hands with the Benfica players, before heading for the tunnel with his captain's armband unfastened.

Pep Guardiola feels it is pointless rooting for Manchester United at Anfield this weekend given Liverpool's huge advantage over Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp's unbeaten Reds host United - the only side to take points off them in the Premier League this season - on Sunday in a blockbuster encounter that is sure to be of interest to fans across the world.

Those of a City persuasion are in the unenviable position of knowing a victory for their cross-city rivals would be beneficial to Guardiola's side.

Yet, given the Reds would still be 11 points clear with a game in hand if they lose and City beat Crystal Palace at home on Saturday, Guardiola sees little point in even paying attention to how Liverpool are faring.

Asked whether he would be supporting United on Sunday, Guardiola replied: "Being so far away from [Liverpool], I think it's not interesting to look a little bit [at] what Liverpool does.

"It's better to focus on what we can improve for the rest of this season in all competitions, in the Premier League as well, and prepare the next one."

While they have not been able to gain on Liverpool given the relentless pace of Klopp's men, City have enjoyed an upturn in recent weeks, winning nine of their previous 10 games in all competitions.

Guardiola, who is under contract at the Etihad Stadium until 2021, has already stated he would like to stay on next season and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss stressed the only way he could depart is if the club sack him.

"Unless they sack me, I'm going to stay another year here," he added.

"I don't have to announce, I have a contract. I'm going to stay, 100 per cent.

"[Unless] they don't like it and say, 'We want to change the manager.' But for sure 100 per cent I'm going to stay here next season, not because we won the last two games, or the last month we are playing a little bit better.

"Even if it was going bad or not qualifying for the Champions League, I'm not going to give up.

"The managers have good moments and bad moments, not all the managers win all the time. In the bad times we can say we are bad because we've lost some games so what can we do to get better? So, it's simple."

Harry Maguire is honoured to have replaced Ashley Young as Manchester United's captain, with the England defender claiming it is a "dream come true".

Young ended his eight-and-a-half-year stay at Old Trafford on Friday, with the England international joining former team-mate Romelu Lukaku and United loanee Alexis Sanchez at Inter.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed in his news conference ahead of United's clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday that Maguire – signed from Leicester City for a world-record fee for a defender in 2019 – will take the armband, despite having only been at the club since August.

Maguire has since expressed his excitement at having taken over as club captain, while former United skipper Wayne Rooney also congratulated the 26-year-old.

"[It's a] dream come true to be named the Man Utd captain," Maguire wrote on his official Twitter account. "Proud moment and a huge honour. Just want to wish Ashley Young all the best at Inter."

Young, meanwhile, penned a heartfelt goodbye to United's staff, players and supporters.

"To Man Utd, you gave me the chance to play with legends, to win trophies, to work under the greatest manager [Alex Ferguson] in history and to be your captain. Thank you for letting me be part of your story for eight-and-a-half years," the 34-year-old, who signed for United from Aston Villa in 2011, tweeted.

"To the United fans, every time I walked on the pitch wearing your shirt I gave you my all. Thank you for your support during the highs and the lows. I leave as one of you, see you again in an away end soon."

Ashley Young will hope for a glorious final chapter to his career with Scudetto-chasing Inter after completing his switch from Manchester United.

The 34-year-old was a part of the England team that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and he is far from the only Three Lions star to try his hand in Italy's top flight.

Here, we take a look back at some of the famous English names to have sampled Serie A.

David Beckham

United and England great Beckham caused consternation among LA Galaxy fans by joining Milan on loan for the second half of the 2008-09 season. Motivated in part by his Three Lions recall and the need to retain fitness for World Cup qualifying matches, Beckham proved a hit, chipping in with two Serie A goals for the Rossoneri. He returned a year later as South Africa 2010 beckoned, but an Achilles injury ended the dream.

Ashley Cole

A 33-year-old Cole headed to Italy's top-flight following a distinguished Premier League career, so arguably provides a handy parallel for Young. However, a man who once had a solid claim on being the best left-back in world football struggled at Roma, most notably when he was substituted at half-time during a 7-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich with the score 5-0. After 16 appearances over the course of 18 months, Cole was released from his contract in January 2016 and joined LA Galaxy.

Joe Hart

After being jettisoned from Pep Guardiola's first-team plans at Manchester City on the eve of the 2016-17 campaign, Hart needed a quick solution. Torino were his unlikely saviours and the England goalkeeper endeared himself to supporters in Turin over the course of a season-long loan, despite some high-profile errors. It certainly proved a more successful post-City excursion than his subsequent spells at West Ham and Burnley.

Chris Smalling

If Young needs an example of a success story when swapping Old Trafford for Italy, then he need look no further than long-time colleague for club and country Smalling. Deemed surplus to requirements by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the arrival of Harry Maguire, the 30-year-old has been a revelation at Roma, performing superbly across 14 Serie A appearances and scoring twice. Smalling has made such an impression at the Stadio Olimpico that he narrowly missed out in a fan vote for Roma's team of the decade.

Micah Richards

Hart's long-time City team-mate Richards made a loan switch to Fiorentina for the 2014-15 season after falling out of favour with Manuel Pellegrini. The right-back made 19 appearances in all competitions but the injury problems that would force an early retirement aged 31 had already started to take a significant toll.

Paul Gascoigne

The breakout star of the Italia 90 World Cup, Gascoigne's move to Lazio became something of a saga – delayed by 12 months after he damaged knee ligaments launching into a wild challenge on Gary Charles during Tottenham's 1991 FA Cup final victory over Nottingham Forest. Once Gazza arrived in Rome, it was never anything but eventful. His first goal brought pandemonium as he headed a late equaliser in the derby against Roma, with moments of brilliance vying with fitness struggles thereafter. A broken leg suffered in training ruined his final season before joining Rangers in 1995.

David Platt

Platt did not have to contend with Gascoigne's goldfish bowl existence and the goalscoring midfielder carved out a fine career in Serie A. Signed by Bari a year after his breakthrough performances at Italia 90, Platt went on to earn moves to Juventus and then Sampdoria. He won the UEFA Cup at Juve and the Coppa Italia with Samp and, by the time he headed back to England to join Arsenal in 1995, Platt boasted 31 goals from 100 Serie A games.

Paul Ince

Way before Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Young made it cool, Paul Ince was swapping United for Inter in the mid-1990s. For two seasons from 1995-96, Ince starred for a Nerazzurri side during the early stages of its transformation under Massimo Moratti's ownership. He formed an impressive midfield partnership with Nicola Berti and had 10 goals from 54 Serie A outings before returning to the Premier League with Liverpool in 1997.

Ashley Young has completed his transfer from Manchester United to Inter for a reported €1.5million (£1.3m).

Inter have handed Young, 34, a contract until the end of the season, though the deal includes an option for it to be extended by a further year.

The full-back underwent a medical in Milan on Friday and will hope to play an important role in the Nerazzurri's push for the Serie A title – they sit two points adrift of reigning champions Juventus at the midway point.

"Manchester United can confirm that Ashley Young has completed his transfer to Inter," read statement from the Old Trafford club.

"The 34-year-old captain, who joined in 2011, made 261 appearances for the Reds, scoring 19 goals.

"Everyone at the club would like to thank Ashley for his many seasons of service and to wish him well for the future."

The former Aston Villa star won four major trophies during his time in Manchester, including the 2012-13 Premier League title.

The England international made 41 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19 but has been used sparingly by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.

Young has played in 12 league games, three Europa League matches and three times in domestic cup competitions.

A full-back for much of the past three seasons, his opportunities for regular first-team football have been limited by the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the emergence of Brandon Williams as competition for Luke Shaw at left-back.

Young joins former United team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez under Antonio Conte at Inter and is the third Englishman to play for Inter.

Ashley Young has completed his transfer from Manchester United to Inter for a reported €1.5million (£1.3m).

Manchester United have triggered an extension clause in Eric Bailly's contract to keep the defender at the club until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Bailly, who signed for United from Villarreal in 2016 for a reported £30million fee, has made 50 Premier League appearances across three-and-a-half injury-hit campaigns.

The centre-back is yet to appear at all for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side this season due to a knee injury, though he is nearing a comeback after featuring for United's Under-23s on January 10.

Omnisport now understands United have taken up the option to extend the 25-year-old's deal, which had been set to expire at the end of the campaign.

While Bailly will be staying put, United have allowed Ashley Young – who has been replaced by Harry Maguire as the Red Devils' captain – to leave the club for Serie A title-challengers Inter.

Sporting CP playmaker and Portugal international Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, continues to be linked with a big-money switch to Old Trafford.

Jurgen Klopp warned the Anfield factor will be "massive" as he urged Liverpool to set the tempo of Sunday's clash with Manchester United.

Liverpool had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Old Trafford in October, spared defeat by Adam Lallana's late goal after Marcus Rashford fired United ahead.

United set up to counter-attack on that occasion, despite having home advantage, and their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this week said his team had "found a nice way of playing" against Liverpool.

Those words could come back to haunt the Norwegian in the Premier League this weekend.

"Maybe they've found a specific way to play against Liverpool, but the difference between playing at Old Trafford and playing at Anfield is massive and we want to show that as well," Klopp said.

Rather than worry about teams 'parking the bus', Klopp's new mission is to stop the train - aware United's attackers can break at electric pace, just as they did to stunning effect in the derby against Manchester City in December.

"This game asks us for perfection. If you lose the ball at the wrong time, the train starts going and that's what is clear, but it's about us to make sure it will not happen," Klopp added.

The United draw remains the only game in which runaway leaders Liverpool have dropped points in the Premier League this season.

Klopp again pointed out his surprise at United's tactics in that previous meeting, and suggested he had no regrets over his comments about their fierce rivals' defensive approach.

"It's strange when you play against a high, high quality team, which is what United still is, and they played the way they play," Klopp said.

"We had it with Tottenham. After 70 minutes I think we had around 80 per cent possession. That's not normal. On the other hand, the counter-attacks are of the highest level in the world, that's for Tottenham and Man United for sure as well.

"I'm not saying they only counter-attack, but that's a main thing for them to do. If people want to see that as criticism, I cannot change that, but it's not, it's just a description of the situation."

Klopp said Fabinho and Joel Matip are fit to return to Liverpool's squad for the game after several months on the sidelines with their respective ankle and knee injuries, but Dejan Lovren will not resume full training until next week.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to see Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood take up the mantle of Manchester United's last ruthless front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney.

One of United's finest modern forward lines led Alex Ferguson's side to two league titles, an EFL Cup, the Club World Cup and back-to-back Champions League finals, one of which they won, between 2007 and 2009.

Ronaldo and Tevez left for Real Madrid and Manchester City respectively that year and United have struggled since to form a similarly effective trident in attack.

However, there are encouraging signs around Rashford, Martial and Greenwood, who have scored more goals combined in all competitions this season than Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Solskjaer thinks it will take time to match the understanding of the Premier League leaders' attacking players but, ahead of Sunday's trip to Anfield, he believes in the potential of his forwards.

"The front three that they've got have been playing together for ages, not ages, but for seasons now," he said. "You can see the rotations, movements, the understanding between them, and we hope that our three get that understanding. I've probably only started them once together, the Newcastle United game, so we've got a way to go to get to the level of the three [at Liverpool], the understanding and consistency they have. But we scored four goals in that game [against Newcastle], so it's probably something I've got to look at more often.

"I believe in ours. We're going to add to them as well, definitely, but in the years to come I'm sure we'll see lots of them three. But Liverpool have scored more goals than us outside the front three so I'm not going to say ours are better than theirs or theirs are better than ours.

"We've got them on long contacts, developing into a very, very exciting front three. Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney were different, floating, but that's what we want as Man United supporters - you want to see them express themselves, go to places like Anfield and put fear into their defenders. But we've got Dan James as well, who adds to that, so I'm very excited about it."

Solskjaer agrees that United's goalscoring threat belies the insinuation made by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, after the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October, that the Red Devils are overly defensive against their fierce rivals.

"I don't think it's an accusation. You take it as a compliment that they didn't create chances against us," Solskjaer said. "When the opposition manager is frustrated, that's a good sign for you as a manager. Of course, I think we've been closer to winning both those games, so I don't know what the problem has been."

Ashley Young is set to join Inter provided he passes a medical on Friday and Solskjaer confirmed there were no plans to sign a replacement full-back.

For now, the United boss is putting faith in young Brandon Williams to rise to the challenge of playing at Anfield.

"Does he look like I need to speak to him? I don't think so," Solskjaer replied when asked if Williams might need guidance ahead of a traditionally tempestuous match.

"He's been absolutely outstanding since he's come in. Every challenge we've put in front of him, he's tackled head on and he's only 19, had 10, 11 starts. He reminds me so much of the mentality of Gary Neville and I think he'll enjoy going to Anfield, put it that way."

There is continued speculation United are trying to finalise the signing of midfielder Bruno Fernandes, but Solskjaer would only say: "I can't tell you about any players that play for other teams. We're focusing on this game at the moment. That's my only concern."

With United's arrival expected to be greeted by Liverpool fans outside the ground, Solskjaer says he has no particular concerns about a hostile atmosphere.

"No safety fears, no," he said. "They want to try to intimidate us but as long as it's within the boundaries. I've been sat in a coach going into Europe or Anfield and whatever they shout and scream at you, you don't really notice.

"We need a very, very good performance to go there and win, but we beat Manchester City last month, we had the Paris Saint-Germain game – we need to get to the level of those performances definitely when you go away to a team that's top of the league.

"The last two performances we've had against Liverpool, we've played at Old Trafford twice, drawn twice and been closest to winning both those games, so we've got games to look back at that will give us lots of belief.

"if we perform to our best, we've got a chance to win."

With Liverpool looking likely to end a title drought stretching back to 1990, Solskjaer thinks such an unexpectedly long gap between league triumphs for their bitter rivals should serve as a warning to United.

"We're working hard to make sure it doesn't happen," he said when asked if he feared United, who last won the title in 2013, could experience a similar dry spell. 

"Let that be a lesson for us. They've been close a few times and we can't let ourselves for another 24 years without winning the league. I'm sure we won't. I believe in this club. We've started something that takes a little bit of time, but we'll get there."

Ashley Young has arrived in Milan to undergo a medical ahead of a proposed move to Inter from Manchester United.

An initial fee of £1.3m (€1.5m) was agreed on Thursday between the two clubs for the 34-year-old.

Young, who is to be replaced as United club captain by Harry Maguire, is expected to finalise his transfer on Friday.

The former Aston Villa star has spent eight and a half years at United, winning four major trophies, including the 2012-13 Premier League title.

The England international made 41 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19 but has been used sparingly by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.

Young has played in 12 league games, three Europa League matches and three times in domestic cup competition.

A full-back for much of the past three seasons, his opportunities for regular first-team football have been limited by the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the emergence of Brandon Williams as competition for left-back Luke Shaw.

Young will join former United team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez under Antonio Conte at Inter, who are two points behind Juventus in the Serie A table and bidding for their first domestic title since 2010.

Harry Maguire has been named as Manchester United's new club captain.

England centre-back Maguire joined United in an £80million deal last August and succeeds Ashley Young, who is on the verge of a move to Inter.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the news ahead of Sunday's Premier League trip to Liverpool.

"Harry has been wearing the captain's armband and he will keep wearing it," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"He's been a leader in the group and I've been impressed by his leadership skills.

"He's come in and everything about him tells me he's a leader. He's been leading this young group.

"Harry will keep on wearing the armband now."

Marcus Rashford is unlikely to be fit for Manchester United's clash with Liverpool on Sunday, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rashford came off the bench and was involved in Juan Mata's winning goal just minutes later as United beat Wolves 1-0 in the FA Cup third-round replay.

The striker was forced off 10 minutes from time with an apparent back problem, however, with Solskjaer admitting the plan to use Rashford had "backfired".

Solskjaer later assured they would do everything possible to get Rashford fit for the trip to Anfield, but he is not convinced he will be ready.

"I can't tell you now," Solskjaer told reporters on Friday when asked whether Rashford would be available.

"We'll do some more checks and treatment with him today. I'm not going to hold my breath. But let's see.

"As I said with Harry [Maguire] a few weeks ago, of course we're going to give him the absolute amount of time to find out.

"We're going to do some more checks and treatment with him today. Yesterday, of course, was just a recovery day anyway and some treatment for him.

"I haven't seen him this morning, but I'm not going to hold my breath. I would probably think that he wouldn't be ready, but let's see. There's still 48 hours, more than that, so let's see."

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