Will Manchester City finally land Kalidou Koulibaly?

Pep Guardiola's City want defensive reinforcements and Napoli centre-back Koulibaly is reportedly at the top of the list.

If they are unsuccessful, Sevilla's Jules Kounde is next on the list.

 

TOP STORY – CITY NOT GIVING UP KOULIBALY

Manchester City are still in talks with Napoli to sign star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

However, City are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli and Sevilla's Jules Kounde is the "backup option" but a bid has already been turned down.

 

ROUND-UP

- Romano says Wolves will complete the signing of Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo on Monday. It comes as Barca eye Ajax defender Sergino Dest or Real Betis' Emerson to replace Semedo. Norwich City's Max Aarons has also been linked.

Milan have made Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic their number one defensive target ahead of Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, reports the Daily Record.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are eyeing Real Madrid full-back Marcelo. The Brazilian has been repeatedly linked with a Cristiano Ronaldo reunion in Turin.

- The Telegraph says PSG are interested in Tottenham's Dele Alli. Out of favour under Jose Mourinho, Spurs are reportedly targeting Manchester United's Jesse Lingard as a replacement.

Roma remain interested in Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik but Madrid outcast Luka Jovic has emerged as 'Plan B', according to Calciomercato.

Leeds United are out of the race to sign Dinamo Zagreb sensation Josko Gvardiol, reports Romano. Wanted by Marcelo Bielsa, the Croatian teenager is now set for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.

Norwich City and Middlesbrough are among the teams selected to welcome back a limited number of fans this week as the EFL continues its pilot programme.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, crowds had not been allowed at professional matches across Britain since football returned in June until Cambridge United were able to facilitate spectators last week.

With fans returning to games in France and certain regions of Germany, the EFL has now confirmed an extension of its scheme, with 10 fixtures initially selected for the coming weekend, although Luton Town have opted out.

Following government guidance, crowds will be capped at a 1,000 capacity with social distancing measures in place. Talks are ongoing over the possibility of higher attendances being allowed after October 1.

Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium will be able to house fans for their game against Bournemouth, while Norwich City versus Preston North End is the only other Championship match with spectators in attendance after Luton, who host Derby County, informed the EFL they would not be involved.

In League One, Charlton Athletic, Blackpool, Shrewsbury Town and Hull City have all been given the green light to host fans.

Forest Green Rovers, Carlisle United and Morecambe are the League Two teams selected, following in the footsteps of Cambridge, Morecambe's visitors.

"It's encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to a 1,000 fans this week," said EFL chairman Rick Parry.

"The health and well-being of supporters and their wider communities remains the priority, but as we showed at Cambridge, social distancing can be applied safely.

"By extending across more EFL clubs, we hope to further demonstrate that the measures developed can allow fans to return in greater numbers from as early as next month."

Newcastle United have completed the signing of left-back Jamal Lewis, who was said to be the subject of a rejected Liverpool bid last month.

Lewis, 22, was relegated with Norwich City last season, having impressed in the Championship during the previous campaign.

Liverpool reportedly moved to sign the Northern Ireland international for £10m but had their offer turned away by Norwich.

An asking price of £20m was mooted, yet it is said Newcastle have now signed Lewis for around £15m.

Liverpool subsequently instead brought in Kostas Tsimikas as back-up to Andy Robertson.

Lewis agreed a five-year contract with Newcastle on Tuesday, having missed Northern Ireland's 5-1 defeat to Norway a day earlier amid mounting speculation.

"It was a little bit unexpected but it was something that I was obviously looking forward to when I heard that there was serious interest, so I'm delighted to be here now," Lewis told his new club's official website.

He becomes Newcastle's third signing of the week, following Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser, who both joined from Bournemouth - for £20m and on a free transfer, respectively - on Monday.

Bournemouth will start life back in the Championship at home to Blackburn Rovers, while Watford host Middlesbrough and Norwich City travel to Huddersfield Town.

The Cherries were relegated after a five-year stay in the Premier League, while Watford and Norwich were also demoted in a top-flight campaign that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

That halt means the new Championship season starts on September 12, with beaten play-off finalists Brentford travelling to Birmingham City on the opening day, while south Wales rivals Cardiff City and Swansea City – who also made the top six – host Sheffield Wednesday and visit Preston North End respectively.

Wycombe Wanderers – playing in the second tier for the first time – welcome fellow new boys Rotherham United for their first game, while Coventry City's return to the Championship starts with a trip to Bristol City.

Derby County and Barnsley start at home against Reading and Luton Town, with Stoke City and Nottingham Forest heading to London to face Millwall and QPR.

Bournemouth host Norwich in the third round of matches, the same weekend Watford renew acquaintances with fierce rivals Luton. Watford and the Canaries face off at Vicarage Road on December 26.

The three relegated teams will hope to be in the promotion hunt come the final day on May 8, with Bournemouth and Watford at home to Stoke and Swansea, while Norwich go to Barnsley.

Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp has joined Norwich City on a season-long loan, the Premier League club confirmed on Monday.

Skipp, 19, who made seven Premier League appearances last season, follows fellow teenager Troy Parrott in making a temporary switch to a Championship club after the 18-year-old forward signed for Millwall.

The arrival of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton appeared to have limited Skipp's Spurs opportunities for the coming campaign.

Tottenham were reportedly set to make a signing on Monday, meanwhile, with former Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart said to be a target.

Hart is a free agent after leaving Burnley in June.

Philippe Coutinho's move to Arsenal is seemingly getting close.

The Brazil international has been on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona in 2019-20, but is expected to leave Camp Nou permanently.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL DEAL FOR COUTINHO IS 'ADVANCED'

A deal sending Coutinho to Arsenal from Barcelona is "more advanced", according to Sport.

The former Liverpool star would head back to England less than three years after leaving Anfield.

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 34 games for Bayern in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- There could be good news coming for Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Marc-Andre ter Stegen has agreed to extend his deal at the club for five years, but there is still no financial agreement between the parties.

- Jerome Boateng's Bayern Munich future seems uncertain. Sport Bild reports the Bundesliga champions want to sell the defender, who would like to extend his contract beyond 2021.

- Takefusa Kubo looks set for another loan spell away from Real Madrid. AS reports Kubo will join Villarreal on loan for 2020-21, having spent this season at Mallorca.

- Are Liverpool looking for a back-up for Andy Robertson? The Athletic reports the Premier League champions value left-back Jamal Lewis at £10million, but Norwich City will not even enter talks for less than £20m.

- Contracted at Manchester United until 2022, Tahith Chong could be heading elsewhere to gain experience. Sport Bild says Werder Bremen are in talks with United over a loan deal for the attacker.

- After losing the Championship play-off final, Brentford may also see a star depart. The Guardian reports Crystal Palace are battling with Aston Villa to sign Ollie Watkins, who scored 26 goals in 49 Championship games in 2019-20.

Will Manchester United sign Jadon Sancho or not?

That is the question dominating headlines as United reportedly negotiate with Borussia Dortmund.

This transfer saga is one to watch.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO END SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United are threatening to walk away from a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in England.

Sancho has been tipped to swap Dortmund for United, with Bild claiming a lucrative five-year contract has been agreed as the Bundesliga outfit insist on a €120million (£108m) fee.

But Goal, Sky Sports and The Mirror say United are ready to pursue alternatives of Dortmund do not lower their demands.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian reports Leicester City are trying to sign Francisco Trincao from Barcelona. Leicester have proposed a two-season loan deal with an obligation to buy for £45m (€50m). Trincao is preparing to link up with Barca after the LaLiga giants signed the 20-year-old from Braga in January.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are eyeing a move for Norwich City left-back  Jamal Lewis, says The Mirror. Lewis impressed in 2019-20 as Norwich were relegated and Liverpool are looking to wrap up a £10m deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio claims Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier is open to joining Serie A side Milan.

- According to Tuttomercatoweb, Juventus are lining up possible replacements for under-fire head coach Maurizio Sarri. Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini and Luciano Spalletti have all been linked.

-  Aston Villa are aiming to keep star captain and rumoured United target Jack Grealish by offering a new contract, reports The Sun.

- Linked with United , Everton and Napoli, France Bleu Nord claims Arsenal are leading the race for Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes.

- Is Federico Chiesa set for Old Trafford? La Nazione reports United have made a €55m (£49m) offer for the Fiorentina forward, who has also been linked to Inter, Juve and Chelsea .

- Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake is poised to complete his move to Manchester City. Fabrizio Romano reports there is a total agreement and a medical will take place in the next couple of days.

Juventus could be getting closer to landing Arkadiusz Milik, while Arthur may have played his last game for Barcelona.

After winning a ninth straight Serie A title, Juve are linked with several forwards.

They may have taken a step closer to bringing one in.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS AGREE TERMS WITH MILIK

Juventus have agreed preliminary terms with Napoli forward Milik, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

However, the report says Juve are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli, who are said to have expressed an interest in Federico Bernardeschi.

Milik, 26, has scored 14 goals in 33 games in all competitions for Napoli this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- One player heading to Juventus is Arthur. The midfielder was expected to finish the season with Barcelona, but Sport reports the Brazil international does not want to play for the LaLiga giants – who are still in the Champions League – again and wants to join Juve at the end of August.

- Manchester City are seemingly getting closer to signing Valencia attacker Ferran Torres. Goal and SPOX report Torres has agreed to a five-year deal with City, but the clubs are yet to agree to a fee.

- Coming out of contract at season's end, Willian was expected to leave Chelsea. However, Sky Sports reports the winger could agree to a new deal with Chelsea before the end of the week after a breakthrough was found.

- Chris Smalling's future remains uncertain. CalcioMercato reports Manchester United want €20million (£18.3m) from Roma for the defender, who has been on loan at the Serie A club. Tottenham are also reportedly interested in Smalling.

- Arsenal are seemingly still trying to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey. Get French Football News reports Arsenal attempted to include Matteo Guendouzi in a part-exchange deal for Partey, but the offer was rejected.

- Bayern Munich could be set to make a surprise signing. Sky Sport Austria reports the Bundesliga champions are interested in Norwich City right-back Max Aarons.

- Wilfried Zaha looks likely to be at the centre of transfer speculation once again. The Mirror reports Crystal Palace are set to listen to offers for the attacker, with Everton said to be interested.

The Premier League's longest season yet concluded on Sunday with Liverpool champions for the first time.

The Reds were comfortable in ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title, but there was drama until the closing minutes of the final day.

Manchester United and Chelsea can celebrate Champions League qualification as the division's strugglers reflect on their contrasting fortunes.

Meanwhile, with the help of Opta data, we look at some of the quirkiest numbers from the 2019-20 campaign.


5 - David Luiz conceded five penalties in the Premier League this season, the most a player has ever given away in a single season in the competition.

167 - Jack Grealish was fouled 167 times in the 2019-20 Premier League, the most fouls won by a player in a single campaign on record (since 1998-99).

24 - Scott McTominay now has the fastest Premier League yellow card on record. He was booked just 24 seconds into Manchester United's December home win against Newcastle United.

2000 - It was a season of milestones for McTominay, who scored Manchester United's 2000th Premier League goal against Norwich City in October. They became the first club to the landmark.

27 - The Norwich class of 2019-20 became the only side not to record a single point from a losing position in Premier League history. They lost all 27 matches in which they fell behind.

4 - Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard's fourth-placed finish is the highest finish for an English manager in their debut Premier League season since Frank Clark's Nottingham Forest came third in 1994-95.

2 - Lampard's season ended well, but September's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool made him just the second Chelsea boss - after Bobby Campbell in 1988 - to lose his first four home matches in all competitions.

33 - At the age of 33, Jamie Vardy became the oldest player to win the Premier League Golden Boot, scoring 23 goals in 2019-20.

5 - Virgil van Dijk became just the fifth outfield player to play every minute for a Premier League title-winning side, following Gary Pallister (1992-93), John Terry (2014-15), Wes Morgan (2015-16) and Cesar Azpilicueta (2016-17).

2013 - Anthony Martial's June hat-trick against Sheffield United was Manchester United's first in the Premier League since Robin van Persie scored three against Aston Villa in April 2013.

7 - Martial and Marcus Rashford assisted one another a combined seven times in this season's Premier League, the most of any pairing in a single edition of the competition for Manchester United.

49 - All 49 clubs to have played in the Premier League have conceded at least one hat-trick after Raheem Sterling's three-goal haul against Brighton and Hove Albion in July.

14 - Manchester United won 14 penalties in the 2019-20 season, the most a team has ever won in a single Premier League campaign.

29 - Harry Kane is the only player to face more than one club in the Premier League and score against them all, with Sheffield United the 29th he netted against.

15 - Kevin De Bruyne ended the season with a joint-record 20 assists - tied with Thierry Henry - but he became the first player to set up 15 goals in three separate Premier League campaigns.

93 - Tottenham went a record 93 games without a goalless draw before they were held 0-0 by Watford in January.

David Silva paid tribute to the "amazing people" he has worked with at Manchester City and even joked he will miss the English weather after playing in his final Premier League match.

The Spain great signed off after 309 English top-flight appearances in style as Pep Guardiola's men ran riot in a 5-0 hammering of relegated Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium.

Silva has won the Premier League four times during his 10 years at City, adding two FA Cup medals and five EFL Cup triumphs for good measure.

The veteran playmaker has left his mark as one of the greatest to ever grace the Premier League and is proud of the legacy he has forged in English football.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: "It [the send-off from team-mates and coaching staff] was emotional because they are amazing people.

"I have been working for them for 10 years and I have a good relationship with them. I love them and I am going to miss all of them.

"To win so many titles and the way we won it, I am a lucky guy, I have had a lot of nice moments, and this one as well, the last one. I will miss everything – even the weather as well!"

Silva's City career is not quite at an end yet as they will resume their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid on August 7.

City lead 2-1 from the first leg and Silva remains determined to depart a European champion.

"I hope we can win the Champions League," he added. 

"It is a pity we have to play with no people but the safety of the people is the most important thing."

Kevin De Bruyne claimed two assists were taken away from him and that in his mind he had already beaten Thierry Henry's Premier League record for most in a season.

Belgium playmaker De Bruyne was in masterful form as Manchester City hammered relegated Norwich City 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium, scoring two fine goals and setting up Raheem Sterling for another.

His part for Sterling's effort, City's third in their final game of the domestic season, was his 20th top-flight assist of the season, putting him level with Henry's benchmark for Arsenal in the 2002-03 campaign.

However, De Bruyne – perhaps tongue-in-cheek – feels a little short-changed, believing there were two other occasions he should have been given an assist.

The attacking midfielder put in a cross for Sterling to score against Arsenal in December that took a slight deflection, and also provided a throughball for the England international that hit David Luiz on the thigh against the same opponents in June.

"I have got two more – you guys took two away from me that I am still claiming so for me I was already above [Henry]," De Bruyne said about levelling the benchmark of a man who was his former assistant coach with Belgium in quotes reported by BBC Sport.

"It is what it is. I need my team-mates, obviously I am creating for them to score, and I am grateful when they do. It is nice to have [the record] and it is nice to have it with Thierry."

Manchester United and Chelsea claimed the final two Champions League qualification spots on the Premier League's final day, while Watford and Bournemouth were relegated to the Championship. 

Frank Lampard's side beat Wolves 2-0 while United grabbed the other Champions League berth thanks to a 2-0 victory over Leicester City, who missed out on a top-four finish despite spending most of the campaign in the table's upper reaches.

A 1-1 draw at West Ham saw Aston Villa retain their top-flight status, with Bournemouth's 3-1 victory over Everton not enough to prevent them and Watford - beaten 3-2 by Arsenal - joining Norwich City in being demoted.

 

FOXES MISS OUT ON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Brendan Rodgers' men were 14 points clear of United as recently as January but Bruno Fernandes' 71st-minute penalty and substitute Jesse Lingard's stoppage-time strike meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side finished above Leicester after 38 games.

A draw would have been enough for Leicester to finish fourth had Chelsea been beaten by Wolves, but first-half goals from Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud ruled out that possibility early on.

Jamie Vardy, who won the golden boot with 23 goals, headed against the crossbar in the second period before Fernandes converted United's record 14th penalty of the campaign and Lingard added another to ensure a return to Europe's premier club competition, with Leicester's misery compounded by Jonny Evans' late dismissal.

 

VILLA SURVIVE DESPITE LATE DRAMA

Villa captain Jack Grealish's 84th-minute strike looked to have been enough to preserve their Premier League status - and, though Andriy Yarmolenko's deflected effort brought West Ham back level moments later - Dean Smith's team held on to avoid going straight back down at the first attempt.

Instead it was Bournemouth - a Premier League club since 2015 - who went down despite their win at Goodison Park.

Watford, who were promoted five years ago too, were also relegated having fallen 3-0 down to Arsenal inside 33 minutes, with goals from Troy Deeney and Danny Welbeck not enough to save them.

 

SPURS SEAL EUROPA LEAGUE SPOT

A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace ensured Tottenham sealed a top-six finish and the final qualification place for next season's Europa League, as Wolves dropped down to seventh on goal difference.

As well as scoring twice, Kevin De Bruyne also equalled Thierry Henry's Premier League assist record with his 20th of the season as Manchester City thrashed Norwich 5-0 to reach 102 goals for the season.

Champions Liverpool came from behind to beat Newcastle United 3-1, Brighton and Hove Albion won 2-1 at Burnley and Southampton defeated Sheffield United 3-1.

Kevin De Bruyne scored two brilliant goals and equalled an assist record as David Silva bowed out on a high notet in Manchester City's 5-0 Premier League battering of relegated Norwich City.

Gabriel Jesus' 22nd goal of the campaign – his best return for the club – preceded a moment of brilliance from De Bruyne, who then matched Thierry Henry's record of 20 Premier League assists in a season by teeing up Raheem Sterling for a third at the Etihad Stadium on the final day.

Riyad Mahrez added further gloss prior to De Bruyne masterfully stroking in the hosts' final goal in a wonderful outing, which was Spain great Silva's final outing in England's top flight after 10 years and 309 Premier League appearances.

A greater challenge in the shape of Real Madrid lies in wait as Silva sets his sight on finishing a glittering decade with a Champions League medal.

Onel Hernandez's 20-yard strike being ruled out handed the hosts a reprieve they made the most of 11 minutes in, when Jesus squeezed home after Norwich failed to deal with Sterling's cut-back.

Ben Godfrey made two great blocks to deny Jesus and then Silva as the pressure built but Teemu Pukki passed up a great chance to level when he shot straight at Ederson one-on-one following suspect defending.

De Bruyne duly punished Norwich, showing exquisite feet before lashing an unstoppable effort into the top-right corner from 25 yards.

Silva tested Tim Krul in search of a final Premier League goal and Kyle Walker's fizzed cross narrowly missed the outstretched boot of Jesus.

Christoph Zimmermann was saved by the post when he diverted De Bruyne's cross towards his own goal but the Belgian brilliantly slipped in Sterling to roll in his 20th league goal of the campaign.

Mahrez stroked home a fourth after De Bruyne pressured Kenny McLean, with the latter the former Chelsea midfielder curling in a wonderful fifth to complete the rout.

Pep Guardiola hopes to see progress from Manchester City against Norwich City as they prepare for their Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid.

EFL Cup winners City lost their Premier League crown and could not retain the FA Cup but may yet triumph in Europe's elite club competition for the first time.

Guardiola's side lead Madrid 2-1 after the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in February, meaning they need only protect their advantage to reach the eight-team finals tournament in Lisbon.

But the manager was concerned by the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal last weekend and still saw room for improvement in a 4-0 midweek thrashing of Watford as he considers his Champions League team selection.

With City on 97 league goals ahead of the Norwich game on the final day, Guardiola told reporters: "It's nice to score goals, but we cannot deny it is not enough to finish [higher].

"We are 18 points behind Liverpool, so we have to analyse what happened and every game must be a target. Maybe scoring 100 goals will help to win the game.

"Then we will see the players preparing the game against Madrid; this game against Norwich and the way they train this week, we are going to pay attention to prepare to play against Madrid.

"Every day will be an exam for me to see who is ready to play this game. I would say against Arsenal we were not ready. Against Watford, it was a little bit better, but we still need to improve."

Sergio Aguero has been a doubt for the Madrid game following knee surgery, yet Guardiola appeared to provide a boost as he named no injury absentees for that match.

"Everyone will be fit for Madrid, hopefully - except [Benjamin] Mendy who is suspended," said Guardiola, making no mention of City's record goalscorer.

Pep Guardiola offered glowing praise of Kevin De Bruyne but congratulated Jordan Henderson, the man who pipped the Manchester City midfielder to the Football Writers' Association's (FWA) Footballer of the Year award.

Henderson captained Liverpool to the Premier League title and earned more than a quarter of the FWA votes as a result.

De Bruyne - enjoying another sterling campaign at City - was among the closest contenders, and his contributions were acknowledged by Guardiola in a news conference ahead of the campaing-closing clash with Norwich City.

"[De Bruyne] speaks for himself with what he gives to our team and to the Premier League," the manager said. "It is not necessary to say what a fantastic player he is.

"At the same time, congratulations to the Liverpool captain for the award - he is a really good player."

De Bruyne could catch Thierry Henry's season record of 20 Premier League assists on Sunday, a tally he stands one shy of as things stand.

Guardiola added: "He enjoys to make assists. I would love for Kevin to score goals but he enjoys making assists too.

"I think in the last period he is enjoying taking free-kicks and penalties and taking this responsibility.

"The numbers are incredible - not just this season but also the year when we won 100 points. He was incredible and I will never forget how he played when we achieved this incredible milestone."

De Bruyne has been a key figure at the Etihad Stadium since his 2015 arrival, but he may need to be even more influential next season as captain David Silva departs.

"We will see [if he becomes the leader]," Guardiola said. "The players make these roles on and off the pitch - it depends on what they want, not the manager.

"I think these things are won with the respect on and off the pitch. You can't assign these roles. It comes naturally."

Silva is set to make his final Premier League appearance, and Guardiola said of his skipper: "[He is] extraordinary, the amount of games, the huge quality he's played with, the titles he helped [to win].

"He is another player alongside six or seven players who made this club what it is now."

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