Chelsea boss Frank Lampard insisted he never doubted the "incredible" talent of Christian Pulisic as he responded to claims by Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch.

Marsch last week suggested Lampard did not rate United States international Pulisic when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge due to his nationality.

Speaking to Extratime Radio, the American said: "I could see right away that Lampard's idea of Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was from America.

"When I spoke to him in pre-season a year ago, I was talking to him about having Pulisic and he was kind of like, 'Yes, he's got a lot to learn so we'll see how he does'."

Pulisic has made a big impact during Lampard's 15 months in charge, playing a direct part in 13 Premier League goals since the start of 2018-19.

Only Tammy Abraham (19) has managed more among Chelsea players still at the club, while his 2.75 dribbles completed per game is bettered only by Mateo Kovacic (3.19). 

And after getting off the mark with his first goal of the campaign in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Krasnodar, Lampard reiterated he has never questioned the winger's ability.

"I did read those comments. I was surprised that Jesse read my mind as well as he did!" Lampard said ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Burnley.

"It was a game against Salzburg when Christian scored twice in pre-season. I said it was exciting to see how he'd develop with us but Jesse put it across a little differently. 

"Maybe Jesse knows the feeling of American managers coming into Europe. I played in America for 18 months and will never underestimate the desire those players have. 

"Christian has that and incredible talent so it was never in doubt for me. I understand the rigours of it. It's the toughest league in the world to play. 

"What Christian did was find his feet quickly and had a great breakthrough season. His performance was massively impressive. 

"He'll get better and better because he is a young player. I never doubted him. It's important for me to put that straight."

On the back of successive goalless draws, Chelsea found the perfect balance between attack and defence in their Champions League Group E win over Russian side Krasnodar.

Hakim Ziyech marked his full debut with a goal while fellow attackers Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic and Timo Werner were also on target, the latter netting from the penalty spot.

Lampard has once again talked up the importance of making full use of his large squad with three more games to play over the next 10 days.

"Hakim was very good last night, so that was a big plus," he said. "The other teams, particularly those in Europe, are also finding the schedule heavy. We need options. 

"We're also searching for relationships as newer players are learning about each other and how we play. There will be rotation at times. We need everybody."

Thiago Silva did not make the trip to Russia but Lampard will bring the experienced defender back into his squad for the meeting with Burnley.

"He is fit. Taking him out of the squad for Krasnodar was a maintenance issue," he said. "It made sense to leave him out. 

"As a player towards the end of my career – and I'm not saying that's the case with him – it's about making sure we get the best out of him towards the end of the season.

"I spoke with him and he could have played if he had to but I had to put it in context of what is ahead of us."

Chelsea have won five of their six Premier League away games against Burnley, scoring at least twice in each victory. 

Diego Simeone hailed a "complete" performance from Joao Felix after his double helped Atletico Madrid to a 3-2 Champions League win over Salzburg on Tuesday.  

Simeone's men bounced back in style from last week's opening 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich to register their first points in Group A. 

They did so largely thanks to a wonderful display from 20-year-old Joao Felix, who made it 2-2 early in the second half before securing all three points five minutes from time with an improvised finish. 

His two goals came from seven shots - four more than any other Atleti player - while he competed in a joint team-high of 20 duels, winning 65 per cent of them. 

Simeone was delighted with his display and backed him to continue delivering on the big stage for Atleti. 

"If he continues to show the commitment, speed, and decision making he did today then he will continue to grow," he told reporters.

"Hopefully we can help him because with a great Joao Felix the team will be more competitive. It was possibly the most complete performance due to the importance of the game, but he has played many good ones."

Before Joao Felix's late heroics, Atleti had gone ahead thanks to Marcos Llorente's powerful drive shortly before the half-hour mark.

It was the former Real Madrid man's third goal of the season - just two fewer than he managed in the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.

Asked if the 25-year-old could be suited to a more advanced position, Simeone responded: "We are looking for a way to bring together those players who are playing well and who can provide what the team needs. Llorente is one of them.

"He's feeling better offensively, but you have to remember that he came as a midfielder. I could try it in the future because he has the energy, strength, work rate and shooting ability."

Atletico Madrid got their Champions League Group A campaign back on track as two goals from Joao Felix helped them to a 3-2 win over Salzburg on Tuesday.

Diego Simeone's side suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the defending champions Bayern Munich last week, but they started well against their Austrian opponents and went ahead through Marcos Llorente shortly before the half-hour mark.

Salzburg - who drew with Lokomotiv Moscow in their opening game - stormed into a 2-1 lead, though, thanks to goals either side of half-time from Dominik Szoboszlai and Mergim Berisha.

But Joao Felix had other ideas, quickly drawing Atletico level and then securing all three points five minutes from time with a fine strike.

 

 

Life comes at you fast. So, too, does the Champions League this season, as a rearranged fixture list sees three matchdays in the group stage take place in as many weeks. 

The opening round of fixtures did not disappoint, providing plenty of goals and also the odd surprise. 

Perhaps the most shocking result of all was Real Madrid losing at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, and both clubs are back in action on Tuesday. 

Bayern Munich are also on duty as they head to Moscow, while Midtjylland will be hoping they can pull off the mother of all upsets when they visit Merseyside to play Liverpool. 

 

Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayern: Holders head on their travels

The reigning champions opened their defence in style last week, thrashing Atletico Madrid 4-0 at the Allianz Arena. Now they face Lokomotiv in Europe for the first time since a UEFA Cup tie in the 1995-96 season. 

Bayern will be aiming to extend a club-record run of 13 away games without defeat, their last loss on the road coming against Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017. They have won 10 on their travels since, while have only lost once in 14 Champions League meetings with Russian teams. 

Robert Lewandowski scored nine away goals in the Champions League last term, the joint-most by a player in a single edition of the competition alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14. 

Shakhtar v Inter: Lukaku the one to watch for hosts

Shakhtar arguably pulled off the result of matchday one with victory in Madrid, though they have never managed to beat Inter in three previous meetings (D1 L2). This, though, will be the first Champions League fixture between the clubs. They have also failed to register a home win in their last six attempts in the competition, stretching back to a 2-1 triumph over Roma in February 2018.

The key to success for the hosts will surely be stopping Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is on the longest run of scoring in consecutive European appearances for Inter (nine games), while he has been directly involved in 15 goals during that period (11 goals and four assists).

Lukaku has scored in each of his last three Champions League games for the Nerazurri; he could become just the fifth player to score in four in a row for the Italian side, a feat previously achieved by Christian Vieri, Hernan Crespo, Samuel Eto'o and Lautaro Martinez.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Real Madrid: Benzema may be key for Zidane

Can Zinedine Zidane's squad bounce back? A Clasico triumph over rivals Barcelona has helped silence the critics - for now at least.

Madrid are unbeaten in their last nine matches against German teams (W6 D3), a run that started after a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in April 2016. They have won four of their last five away fixtures in the group stages, too.

Karim Benzema, who did not start against Shakhtar, has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 21 Champions League games when named in the XI, netting 14 goals and providing five assists.

Liverpool v Midtjylland: Salah chases record as Danes visit Anfield

Jurgen Klopp's Reds play their first European home game since a 3-2 reverse to Atletico in March that ended their hopes of reaching a third successive final. That is their only setback in the last 26 European fixtures at Anfield.

There is hope for the Danish side in that Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous four home Champions League fixtures, though the makeshift pairing of Joe Gomez and Fabinho did keep Ajax at bay in Amsterdam in matchday one. Yes, the same Ajax who won 13-0 at the weekend.

As for the hosts, Mohamed Salah is two goals away from equalling Steven Gerrard's club record of 21 in the European Cup/Champions League.

 

Other fixtures:

Marseille v Manchester City:

8 - City games usually provide goals; both teams have scored in each of their last eight Champions League fixtures. They are on their longest wait for a clean sheet in the competition since between February 2015 and 2016 (nine matches).

32 - Dimitri Payet is still looking for his first goal in the competition. He has attempted 32 shots without scoring (21 for Lille and 11 for Marseille).

Atalanta v Ajax:

9 - Ajax are unbeaten in their last nine away games in the Champions League (W6 D3), winning six of their last seven. Only in two of their 15 previous Champions League campaigns have the Dutch side started with two consecutive defeats (2004-05 and 2012-13).

10 - Only Barcelona (11) had more shots on target during the opening round of fixtures this season than Atalanta's tally of 10 in the 4-0 thrashing of Midtjylland.

Porto v Olympiacos:

6 - These clubs have previously faced each other on six occasions in all European competitions, with Porto winning twice. Both of those victories came at home (D1 L3).

12 - Olympiacos have lost 12 of their last 14 away games in the Champions League (W2), losing the last seven in a row and shipping at least two goals in each of those defeats (21 in total).

Atletico Madrid v Salzburg:

1 - Dominik Szoboszlai could become the youngest Hungarian player to score in consecutive Champions League games (aged 20 years and two days), having found the net in Salzburg's 2-2 draw with Lokomotiv.

8 - Atletico are unbeaten in all eight of their previous meetings with Austrian teams in European competition (W7 D1). Having lost their last two European fixtures, they will be looking to avoid suffering three consecutive defeats for the first time in Champions League history.

Holders Bayern Munich begin their Champions League defence with the visit of Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, in a game that will pit Robert Lewandowski against Luis Suarez.

Liverpool, winners in 2019, travel to Ajax, and Real Madrid host Shakhtar Donetsk, with two of the competition's most successful clubs hoping to avoid some worrying runs of defeats.

Antonio Conte's Inter tackle Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City host Porto, a team who boast a rather unfortunate record when it comes to games on English soil.

Here is some of the key Opta data from day two of matchday one.

Ajax v Liverpool: Can Firmino stop the rot?

This will be Liverpool's first meeting with Ajax since the 1966-67 European Cup, when the Dutch side prevailed 7-3 on aggregate in the last 16.

Liverpool's campaign last season ended at the same stage with back-to-back losses to Atletico Madrid. Should they lose in Amsterdam, it will be the first time since Brendan Rodgers was in charge in October to November 2014 that they have suffered three consecutive Champions League defeats.

Perhaps Roberto Firmino is the man to help them. He has been directly involved in 26 goals (15 scored, 11 assisted) in 33 Champions League matches; since his debut in 2017-18, the only other player with 10 or more goals and assists in that time is Kylian Mbappe (13 goals, 13 assists).

 

Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid: Lewandowski has history in his sights

Bayern were the first team in history to win every game en route to lifting the trophy last season, and their 11-game winning run is already the longest ever in the competition.

Should Robert Lewandowski score, he will become the first player to do so in 10 Champions League group games in a row. He currently shares the record of nine with Cristiano Ronaldo, who did so from 2012 to 2014.

Atletico have only won twice in their previous 10 group games away from home, but Luis Suarez could give them the boost they need – he has scored five goals in his last five starts in the competition, as many as he managed in his previous 31 starts combined.

 

Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk: Zidane puts 100 per cent record on the line

Real Madrid have been in the Champions League group stage 28 times and have never failed to reach the next round. Leeds United, who did so twice, are the only other team to feature in more than one group stage and boast a 100 per cent record.

That said, Madrid lost their final two games last season – both legs of the last-16 tie with Manchester City – and losing to Shakhtar Donetsk would put them on a three-match losing streak in the Champions League or European Cup for the first time since September 1986.

With captain Sergio Ramos injured, Zinedine Zidane will have concerns about his defence. At least the forward line is in capable hands: Karim Benzema has managed four goals and two assists across six consecutive home games in the competition, and Shakhtar have failed to keep a clean sheet in 22 Champions League matches in a row.

Manchester City v Porto: More English misery?

Porto have played 20 away games against English sides in Europe and have failed to win any. In fact, they have lost 17 of those games and have not scored in the previous seven. They do at least go into this contest off a run of just two defeats in 16 Champions League group-stage matches.

City have a pretty strong recent record in the group stage, having gone unbeaten in 11 games since a surprise 2-1 loss to Lyon in September 2018. They also have Raheem Sterling in sharp form: the forward has scored 20 goals in the competition since his debut for City in September 2015, a tally only Harry Kane can match among English players in that time.

 

Other fixtures:

Inter v Borussia Monchengladbach:

9 – Romelu Lukaku has scored nine goals in 11 appearances in European competition for Inter. Since the start of last season, only Robert Lewandowski (15) and Erling Haaland (10) have netted more across the Champions League and Europa League.

8 – Strike partner Lautaro Martinez has scored five in six Champions League starts and eight in 14 in Europe overall for the Nerazzurri.

 

Salzburg v Lokomotiv Moscow:

10 – Since September 2018, Lokomotiv Moscow have lost 10 Champions League games, more than any other club in that time.

16 – Salzburg scored 16 group-stage goals last season but finished third in their group. The only other team to score that many and get knocked out were Chelsea in 2012-13.

 

Midtjylland v Atalanta:

16 – Atalanta have scored at least once in 16 of their previous 17 European games, including nine in three matches in last season's knockouts. Josip Ilicic has nine goals in 13 European appearances for the club.

18 – Midtjylland conceded 18 goals in eight matches in the 2015-16 Europa League, their previous involvement in Europe. No team conceded more that season.

 

Olympiacos v Marseille:

3 – This will be Andre Villas-Boas' first Champions League game since March 2016. He has lost his most recent three matches in the competition.

41 – Steve Mandanda has made 41 appearances in the competition, the most for any Marseille player in history. The goalkeeper accounts for 37 per cent of the total games played by current Marseille players in this tournament.

Adama Traore is reportedly set to snub Barcelona and Liverpool to extend his stay at Wolves.

Traore has been linked with a move away from Wolves, where he arrived from Middlesbrough in 2018.

But the winger is seemingly happy at the Premier League club.

 

TOP STORY – TRAORE TO EXTEND WOLVES STAY DESPITE BARCELONA, LIVERPOOL INTEREST

Traore is set for a pay rise and is close to agreeing to a four-year deal with Wolves despite interest from Barcelona and Liverpool, according to The Sun.

The three-time Spain international is reportedly set for the new contract despite having a deal until 2023.

Barcelona and Liverpool have been linked with Traore previously.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paulo Dybala's Juventus future is again a talking point. An unused substitute against Crotone on Saturday, Dybala reportedly clashed with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are preparing for Dybala to exit amid links to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and they are eyeing Salzburg teenager Luka Susic.

- Manchester United missed out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the close season, but there is a belief the Premier League giants will target the attacker again in January or next year, according to the Daily Star.

- Marcelo Brozovic could be set for an Inter exit. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A club are prepared to sell the midfielder in January, with interest from Tottenham and Monaco.

- As he continues to impress at Salzburg, Dominik Szoboszlai is linked with a move. Football.london says the Hungary international is a target for Arsenal.

- Compared to Portugal great Luis Figo, Sporting CP teenager Luis Gomes is a target for Manchester United, according to the Mirror.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

The Paris Saint-Germain and France forward is not short of options as Europe's elite eye a blockbuster transfer.

But Real Madrid are believed to be Mbappe's preference.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE WANTS MADRID MOVE  

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is only thinking about joining Real Madrid amid interest from Barcelona and Liverpool, according to the front page of Friday's AS.

Mbappe is reportedly unwilling to extend his PSG contract, which expires in 2022.

Madrid are eyeing a 2021 swoop for Mbappe, and while LaLiga rivals Barca and Premier League champions Liverpool are also interested, the French forward wants to move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport claims Barcelona have already agreed to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay in January. The report says Barca are now trying to reduce salaries at the club as they look to resolve the futures of Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite. Dembele was linked with a deadline-day move to Manchester United.

Juventus are set to reignite their interest in Lyon star Houssem Aouar, reports Calciomercato. Aouar was heavily linked to Arsenal before the transfer window closed, while PSG have also been credited with an interest.

Milan and Serie A rivals Juve will go head-to-head to sign Salzburg midfielder Luka Sucic, says Calciomercato. The 18-year-old has only made two league appearances for the Austrian champions.

West Ham are set to confirm the signing of Brentford star Said Benrahma, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano and widespread reports. Benrahma is reportedly going to cost the Hammers £30million.

- Bild reports Borussia Dortmund sensation Giovanni Reyna is set for a new lucrative contract in Germany. The American teenager has been linked with Liverpool and Madrid.

Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Ansu Fati headline the final 20-name shortlist for the 2020 Golden Boy award.

The prize, presented by Italian newspaper Tuttosport and won by Joao Felix last year, is given to the best player aged 21 or under from a top-tier league in Europe.

Haaland is a leading contender for the accolade after scoring 44 goals across all competitions in 2019-20 – 16 of those coming in 18 appearances after a mid-season move from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund.

Among all Bundesliga players last season to have scored at least 10 goals, only Robert Lewandowski (81.2) had a better minutes-per-goal record than Haaland (81.7).

His Dortmund team-mate Sancho finished the 2019-20 league campaign with 17 goals and 16 assists, making him the first player since Opta began detailed data collection (2004-05) to register at least 15 in both categories in the same Bundesliga campaign.

The England international's prolific campaign saw him become the youngest player (20 years, two months and six days old) in the history of Germany's top flight to reach 30 career goals.

Despite their impressive numbers, Haaland and Sancho face stiff competition from Fati, who became the third-youngest player (16 years, 304 days old) to find the net in LaLiga history and the youngest of all time in the Champions League (17 years, 40 days).

He finished the season with eight goals in all competitions and has continued his rise this term, netting three times in as many LaLiga games and becoming the youngest player to score for Spain.

Alphonso Davies will also be in contention after establishing himself as one of the top left-backs in the game during Bayern Munich's treble-winning season.

The full 20-man shortlist:

Mitchel Bakker (Paris Saint-Germain), Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), Jonathan David (Lille), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Fabio Silva (Wolves), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Dominik Szoboszlai (Salzburg), Sandro Tonali (Milan), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Jurgen Klopp has lauded Sadio Mane for developing into one of the game's leading attackers.

Mane moved to Anfield in 2016, having shone for two years at Southampton after also impressing for a couple of seasons at Salzburg.

The Senegal international scored 31 goals in 63 league games for the Austrian club and 21 in 67 for Saints.

Mane looks to have kicked on to another level since joining Liverpool, though, netting 66 times in the Premier League across 130 matches.

He has been a key member of a team that reached back-to-back Champions League finals - with Liverpool winning the tournament the second time around - while Mane claimed a Premier League winners' medal last term too.

"I saw his potential [at Southampton] and I hoped that he could reach that level, 100 per cent, because the combination of speed, physicality, technique and awareness is pretty rare," Klopp told reporters.

"That's what he showed at Southampton already - and what he showed at Salzburg already, which I should have seen earlier.

"From a talent to a settled, proven world-class player is a big step, because you have to do it pretty much week in and week out. That's what he is able to do. It's a massive development.

"I have no idea of a number but for sure [he is] in the top, top, top, top offensive wingers, strikers, whatever you want to see in the world.

"I think everybody would agree on that. That's why we are really happy to have him here, obviously."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists the injury sustained by Virgil van Dijk in Tuesday's friendly with Salzburg is nothing to be concerned about. 

The Netherlands international was forced off in the 55th minute of the Reds' 2-2 draw in Austria after suffering a cut to his head. 

Klopp, though, confirmed after the game that the 29-year-old is not expected to suffer any lasting effects. 

"Virg only looks like he has a piercing now and has a plaster on it," he told Liverpool's official website.

"It should not be, and is, no problem. In the moment it is, of course, not cool but there will not be a problem."

Liverpool face Arsenal in the Community Shield on Saturday before kicking off their Premier League title defence against Leeds United on September 12. 

Rhian Brewster scored a double off the bench as Liverpool came from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw against Salzburg in their final pre-season friendly.

Jurgen Klopp again named a strong line-up and granted Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joe Gomez, Neco Williams and Alisson an hour of game time.

The Premier League champions fell behind inside three minutes when Patson Daka caught Fabinho in possession and raced through to slot a cool finish past Alisson.

Daka doubled his and Salzburg's tally 10 minutes later when he darted away from Virgil van Dijk and steered Mergim Berisha's square pass home.

A goal-line block from Albert Vallci kept Mane at bay before half-time, while Van Dijk was forced off after suffering a cut to his head following the restart.

Brewster scored in the 3-0 win over Stuttgart on Saturday and went on as one of seven changes after the hour mark. He fired into the roof of the net at the end of an intricate move to halve the deficit in the 72nd minute.

The 20-year-old striker, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Championship side Swansea City, looped an equaliser into an empty net from 20 yards after Alexander Walke raced off his line to deal with Oumar Solet's poor header and kicked a clearance straight at Curtis Jones.

Klopp's team will now return to England ahead of their Community Shield meeting with Arsenal on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp expects Liverpool to be quickly into their stride as the Premier League champions prepare for the new campaign with two friendlies in Austria.

The Reds will face Klopp's childhood club Stuttgart and Austrian champions Salzburg on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.

Arsenal await in the Community Shield on August 29 and Klopp underlined the importance of the two warm-up matches.

"It's important for us obviously after the mini-break to find our feet as quick as possible," the Liverpool boss told the club's official website.

"Training looks really, really good in the moment – this is actually what we expected, the boys didn't lose a lot from the physical abilities.

"Now [we] are in the middle of the preparation, all the tactical stuff already, so it looks really good in the moment and the two opponents are really good opponents. That will be really tough. 

"These are not the most important games in the world but in this moment they are very, very important because we just want to see that the boys again use the things we think they should use in a game."

The Wembley showdown with FA Cup winners Arsenal will come before the sides have completed their pre-season preparations, but Klopp anticipates an entertaining game nonetheless.

"From a timing point of view, the Community Shield is in the middle of the pre-season, if you want," he said.

"For us it's not the same. It will be a good game, I'm pretty sure. Arsenal is a good team, so it will be a good game, but both teams will not be the finished articles.

"How can we be after two weeks' training again and stuff like this? But that's not important because both teams probably have the same situation, so it will be tough.

"But what I want to see from the boys, that we play our football again. That's it pretty much."

The fixtures for the 2020-21 Premier League season, scheduled to begin on September 12, will be released on Thursday.

What does the future hold for Quique Setien at Camp Nou?

Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January, however, the ex-Real Betis head coach saw Barcelona dethroned as LaLiga champions by bitter rivals Real Madrid.

After leading Leeds United back to the Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa is reportedly wanted by countryman Lionel Messi.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI URGES BARCA TO SIGN BIELSA

Lionel Messi has called for Barcelona to replace Quique Setien with Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, according to The Sun.

Bielsa guided Leeds to the Premier League for the first time since 2004, ending the club's 16-year exile from England's top flight.

Now, superstar captain Messi – who is reportedly unhappy with Setien at Camp Nou – wants the dethroned LaLiga giants to bring the former Argentina and Athletic Bilbao head coach to Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City star James Maddison has agreed a contract extension at King Power Stadium, according to The Sun. Maddison has reportedly committed himself to Leicester until 2025 following previous links to Manchester United.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Inter are eyeing Barcelona's Junior Firpo if they are unable to sign Emerson Palmieri from Chelsea.

Tottenham are leading the chase to sign forward Callum Wilson if Bournemouth are relegated from the Premier League, says The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Milan and Napoli are considering moves for Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. The 19-year-old has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Roma are considering a contract renewal for star Nicolo Zaniolo, according to Calciomercato. Zaniolo – who arrived from Inter in 2018 – has found his future in doubt amid talk of a falling out with head coach Paulo Fonseca and others. An Inter return has been touted, while Juventus are also reportedly interested.

- United are seriously targeting Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. Le10 Sport claims the Red Devils are making a last-minute attempt to sign Gabriel, who has been linked to Napoli among others.

- Kicker reports PSG are targeting Hertha Berlin attacker Matheus Cunha. Inter are also believed to be eyeing the Brazilian.

- Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman is on a shortlist of players United are eyeing on loan should they miss out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, says Sky Sports News. Bayern, however, have no intention of parting with Coman. Liverpool and Real Madrid have also been credited with interest in Sancho.

For most of the year, Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona.

Barca are eyeing a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez, though, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have impacted their transfer plans.

However, a blockbuster move could still be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA STILL WANT TO SIGN LAUTARO

Barcelona remain keen on signing Inter star Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, according to the front page of Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo.

Barca's interest in Martinez is well documented but a transfer has been put on hold as the LaLiga giants re-assess their plans after the Argentina forward's €111million release clause expired at the start of the month.

However, Barca head coach Quique Setien is reportedly considering three options in his pursuit to recruit Martinez.

Ousmane Dembele could be sold to raise funds or a swap deal involving Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti could be proposed to Inter, while a player plus cash offer including Junior Firpo is the third alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Chelsea are ready to swap goalkeepers. Unhappy with the world's most expensive keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea are ready to use the Spaniard as a makeweight in a deal to sign Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing in-demand Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, reports Tuttosport. The Hungary teenager has been heavily linked to Milan and Napoli, as well as Arsenal.

Ajax are hopeful of keeping star goalkeeper Andre Onana for one more season, claims De Telegraaf. Onana has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Barca.

- Journalist Nicolo Schira reports Napoli are confident of reaching an agreement with Lille forward Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian has been tipped to join the Serie A side, who have prepared a five-year contract worth €3.5m per season amid talk of an €80m transfer.

- While Osimhen could arrive, Napoli are set to lose Arkadiusz Milik. Calciomercato claims Italian champions Juventus are interested, while the likes of Atletico, Tottenham and Roma are also keen. Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is an alternative for Juve, as well as Atletico.

- According to Calciomercato, Edinson Cavani has turned down a move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. A free agent since leaving PSG, Cavani is reportedly wanted by Roma.

Everton and PSG both want to sign Napoli midfielder Allan, says Calciomercato. Napoli are looking to raise funds.

Manchester City will accelerate their rebuilding plans after having their Champions League ban overturned, claims the Telegraph. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – also linked to United, Liverpool and Real Madrid previously – is reportedly high on the list of targets, which includes Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Atletico star Saul Niguez.

Hwang Hee-chan is the latest player to make the jump from Salzburg to RB Leipzig after his reported €14million move was confirmed on Wednesday.

South Korea international Hwang has signed a five-year contract and will wear the number 11 jersey, which will be vacated by Timo Werner following his move to Chelsea.

Hwang initially joined up with Salzburg in 2016 and showed promise, scoring 12 goals in his first full season in the Austrian Bundesliga, which is still a personal best.

After a more underwhelming 2017-18 season, he went on loan to Hamburg in the German second tier, but his record of three goal involvements from 20 matches left a lot to be desired.

But upon his return to Salzburg, he thrived under new coach Jesse Marsch as he netted 11 times and set up another 13 in Austria's top flight, helping his side to the title.

He is the latest in a long line of players to move the move between the two Red Bull-owned clubs, and he could yet be followed out of Salzburg by several other sought-after potential stars.

Patson Daka, Dominik Szoboszlai and Karim Adeyemi are all reported to have admirers at big clubs around Europe.

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