Willian has done enough to earn a new contract at Chelsea, according to head coach Frank Lampard.

Experienced winger Willian agreed to remain with the Blues until the end of the Premier League campaign, with his deal having been due to expire last week.

The Brazil international, who turns 32 in August, has scored three times and set one up in his four appearances since the season resumed following its three-month suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lampard remains hopeful Chelsea can reach a resolution with Willian to keep him at Stamford Bridge.

"I haven't given up hope on it, the club are still in discussions with him," said Lampard.

"We want him to stay at the club but I also appreciate the fact this contract for Willian is a big deal because of his age and where he's at, I've been there before myself and I respect that.

"But the way he's playing at the minute I think shows his worth to the squad and the group. It's something I hope we can get to.

"Whatever way [it goes] with Willian, he's been a great servant to the club and if we can get it I'll be happy, if not I'll wish him well because I've got a lot of time for him as a player and in the short term we can see what he's doing for us. It's ongoing is the short answer."

Saturday's meeting with Watford will mark a year since Lampard took over Chelsea amid a transfer embargo and with Eden Hazard having departed for Real Madrid.

The fourth-placed Blues are on course to qualify for the Champions League, which Lampard feels would be a significant feat given the circumstances.

However, he acknowledged they will be expected to kick on next season.

"I don't want to measure ourselves against other clubs, we all have our own issues. The expectation [was low] at the start of the season – and quite rightly, even myself I'm a realist and coming in knowing we'd lost Eden and the input he had individually at the club alone was huge and how do we work around that," said Lampard.

"I think we've found good ways to work around it with development of the youth, the performances of some of the senior players, the way we're trying to play.

"We're nowhere near the finished article but [with] some of the style of play stuff we've found really good levels at times.

"We're going up against two of the best club teams in the world [next season] … so we may find that the curve looks slightly different. We have to fight against that and try to close the gap as quickly as we can, in whatever way we can.

"I'm pretty pleased and I'm always a perfectionist and want more, but it means nothing if we don't finish off the season well.

"So these next games until the end of the season are huge for us to try to say we're pleased at the end of the season, because if we get in the Champions League spots of course I'll be very, very pleased."

Chelsea need someone that can have the same impact on their effectiveness at set-pieces as Virgil van Dijk did at Liverpool, says Frank Lampard.

The Blues twice saw Tomas Soucek put the ball in the net from corners during a 3-2 loss to West Ham on Wednesday, though his first was disallowed due to a contentious offside decision following a VAR review.

Lampard acknowledges dead-ball situations represent one of the Blues' biggest weaknesses and feels it is something they should take into account when assessing transfer targets.

The Chelsea head coach pointed to Liverpool's improvement from set-pieces after they signed Van Dijk, a figure who has been pivotal in their ascent to becoming Premier League champions.

"We've looked at set-plays this season. When we came into the club, we looked at the stats from last season and we were bottom of the league in defending set-plays, in terms of other teams getting big chances against us, we were second-bottom in attacking," said Lampard ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with Watford.

"If you look at personnel, and I don't like to talk about my playing days, but we didn't really work so much on set-pieces at all really - with certain managers more than others. There were probably a few reasons why and they were mainly John Terry, Gary Cahill, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and [Branislav] Ivanovic, so you stick it in an area and they defend it or they score goals.

"I think similarly with Liverpool, there was a lot of talk about them with set-pieces two or three seasons ago, they were zonal, they were conceding a lot.

"They signed Virgil van Dijk and he heads everything that comes in the box out, so there's a huge relation to personnel and if you don't have that in terms of big size across the team, I think trying to compete as hard as you can, making it difficult for other teams to score is the main thing.

"And there's no doubt – I'm not making excuses when I say that because we've not done this well enough on the pitch, and that has to improve – when you look at who you might bring in, with the balance of the squad, in the modern day its certainly something to take into account when looking at recruitment."

Chelsea made Kepa Arrizabalaga their record signing and the most expensive goalkeeper in the world by paying the £71.6million (€80m) release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract in 2018.

Lampard dropped Kepa for Willy Caballero earlier this season and reports of interest from Spain intensified after the 25-year-old put in another disappointing display against West Ham.

Asked about the rumours linking the keeper with a move away, the Blues boss said: "I'm not talking about any potential [deals], what we may do at the end of the season or not. I'm going to focus on what we've got in front of us.

"With Kepa, there's been a lot spoken about him this season. All I want from him, as with every player, is the right mentality and attitude and approach to the game – I'm absolutely certain I'm going to get that from all of them because I can feel the group is in that position – and obviously to just try to do his job as well as he can do.

"I'm happy with him and that's how we keep working. I'm not going to talk about what may be at the end of the season."

Thiago Alcantara wants a new challenge away from Bayern Munich while Kai Havertz is unlikely to be joining the Bundesliga champions this year, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed. 

Midfielder Thiago is under contract at the Allianz Arena until the end of next season yet has made clear to the club he is ready to move on at this stage of his career. 

The Spain international, who joined Bayern from Barcelona in July 2013, has been linked with newly crowned Premier League winners Liverpool. 

In an interview with BILD, chief executive Rummenigge made clear the Reds have yet to make contact over the 29-year-old, though his departure during the next window could still be possible.

"A top guy on and off the pitch," Rummenigge said of Thiago.

"We negotiated with him in a serious manner and granted him all his wishes. But it looks like he wants to do something new at the end of his career. 

"We've never had any contact with Liverpool. If he wants to do this, we have to deal with it.

"We don't want to lose a player for free next year. I say that very clearly."

While Thiago could be leaving, Bayern have bolstered their squad by signing Tanguy Kouassi and Leroy Sane, the latter arriving from Manchester City after a year-long transfer saga. 

However, a deal for Havertz is not expected to happen due to financial reasons, with clubs having to adapt accordingly following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Asked about Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Havertz, Rummenigge replied: "We also have a very big challenge ahead of us financially. Even if we like the player, we wouldn't be able to lift it financially this year." 

Pep Clotet expects Birmingham City to receive big money for Jude Bellingham but denied a deal with Borussia Dortmund has been agreed.

It was reported on Friday that Dortmund have beaten off competition from the likes of Manchester United to sign the 17-year-old midfielder on a five-year deal.

The Championship side are said to be set to be paid at least £20million for the England youth international.

Blues head coach Clotet stressed that an agreement has not been reached, but suggested it was only a matter of time before the club cash in on the teenager.

"I have not looked into the situation at all as I am only allowed to comment on things that are not speculation," said Clotet, who will leave his role at the end of the season.

"It is up to the club and the player to decide, basically for the club to decide what to do with their assets. I am just hoping that the value according to what he has achieved and his future potential, is rich

"That's what I hope because he is one of the youngest players who has played so many games in the Championship for his age, on the quality of his play, in very different positions.

"He has massive future value. Of course I am expecting that possibly he will be the most valuable player I have ever developed - and I have developed a lot.

"I am expecting it to be a really good bond financially for the club but of course that is a side of the business that is not my side.

"There is no update, I know there has been a lot of speculation lately – but there is nothing.

"We are focused, Jude is our player, he is very determined to play with us tomorrow [at Fulham] and as far as I am aware and what I see it just shows how good professionally he is.

"He just blocks everything around that and is focusing a lot on his performances and playing tomorrow.  At the moment there is nothing concrete."

Kai Havertz has an agreement in place with Bayer Leverkusen that allows him to move in the next transfer window if certain conditions are met, Rudi Voller has said.

The Germany international enjoyed a stellar season in the Bundesliga, scoring 12 goals and assisting a further six.

Havertz's form has seen him linked to a big-money exit, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea all said to be interested in an attacking midfielder Leverkusen reportedly hope to receive €100million for.

Sporting director Rudi Voller hopes to persuade Havertz to stay one more season but concedes there is a mutual understanding between the club and the player over a potential transfer.

"There is nothing specific, nothing to report. As of now, he is our player," Voller told Bild.

"We have our ideas, we know what he can do. I personally hope that he stays one more year. We have an agreement: if it works, he can go this summer."

Leverkusen face Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday and remain in the Europa League, which will be concluded in Germany in August having been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Should Havertz seal a move away before then it could leave him in a predicament similar to that of Timo Werner, who opted not to feature in the rest of RB Leipzig's Champions League campaign after agreeing to join Chelsea.

Voller believes all players should finish the season with their teams, even if it could scupper a potential move.

"Maybe I'm too old-fashioned or romantic but for me it is a matter of course that a player ends the season no matter when it ends," he added. 

"There is no discussion at all for me to consider. Could I possibly hurt myself? Or take a little vacation? Then some should have withdrawn two months ago. 

"Whether it's the Europa League or the Champions League, if it's wanted by the player, the host and the club, I couldn't understand if a player didn't want to [play]."

He added: "Of course you can't force anyone. Havertz knows what he owes to his colleagues, the fans and the club."

Leroy Sane will wear the number 10 shirt belonging to Philippe Coutinho when he plays for Bayern Munich next season.

Bayern completed the signing of Sane from Manchester City in a deal worth €60million on Friday, the Germany international putting pen to paper on a five-year contract.

When he is eligible to feature in 2020-21, Sane will occupy the number worn by Coutinho during his season-long loan from Barcelona.

However, while advertising replica 'Sane 10' shirts for sale in their official club store, Bayern said: "Out of respect for Philippe Coutinho, who is the current number 10 and could play in the upcoming DFB-Pokal final in Berlin and any games in the Champions League in August, Sane decided not to use the number in his photos on Thursday."

The decision appears to suggest Coutinho is unlikely to remain at Bayern for the long term.

The Brazil international has been linked with a host of clubs across Europe after the Bundesliga champions let their option to sign him permanently expire.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has not ruled out moving again for Coutinho entirely, saying: "We'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not."

Raul Jimenez is happy at Wolves, where the players are focused only on team success until the end of the season, according to Diogo Jota.

Striker Jimenez has been outstanding for Wolves since his arrival from Benfica in 2018, scoring 41 goals in all competitions.

The Mexico international's performances have even prompted reports of a potential move to Manchester United or Juventus at the age of 29.

But team-mate Jota is confident Jimenez will not become distracted as Wolves battle United, Chelsea and Leicester City for Champions League qualification.

"I think he, like us, is happy here. I think everyone is," Jota told Sky Sports. "And if we are happy, we always play better.

"After, when the season is finished, I think everyone can think about their own career, but until then we go as a team, thinking to do our best each game."

Asked to describe Jimenez, his strike partner added: "I think he's an unbelievable player.

"We signed him when we came to the Premier League and, [although] not from the beginning, I started to create a good relationship with him, not just on the pitch but out of the pitch as well.

"That helps me, it helps him, it helps the team. In the end, that's all that matters, that we can have a great relationship between players.

"Obviously, a clever player like Raul is a finisher, he decides matches. He is really important to us and he is in a good moment now."

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of winger Leroy Sane from Manchester City.

Sane, 24, has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, who confirmed the transfer on Friday.

The Germany international will initially cost Bayern €49million (£44.5m), rising to €60m (£54.5m), Stats Perform News understands.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "We're very happy to welcome Leroy Sane to FC Bayern. He is an outstanding player who has proven his qualities over the past few years, especially in the national team.

"Our goal is to gather the best German players at FC Bayern and the signing of Leroy emphasises this goal. I would like to congratulate Hasan Salihamidzic on successfully concluding the transfer."

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of winger Leroy Sane from Manchester City.

Sane, 24, has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, who confirmed the transfer on Friday.

The Germany international will initially cost Bayern €49million (£44.5m), rising to €60m (£54.5m), Stats Perform News understands.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "We're very happy to welcome Leroy Sane to FC Bayern. He is an outstanding player who has proven his qualities over the past few years, especially in the national team.

"Our goal is to gather the best German players at FC Bayern and the signing of Leroy emphasises this goal. I would like to congratulate Hasan Salihamidzic on successfully concluding the transfer."

Speaking ahead of the move on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola wished the player all the best at the City boss' "fantastic" former club Bayern.

Sane joining Bayern is a switch that has been mooted since last year, however the German side were said to be unwilling to match City's previous asking price.

He then suffered a serious knee injury in the Community Shield last August and only returned to the pitch last month.

Sane joined City from Schalke in 2016 in a deal reportedly worth an initial £37m (€40m) and went on to show flashes of immense ability during his first campaign.

He elevated his game to the next level in 2017-18 and won the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) Young Player of the Year award as Guardiola's side clinched the Premier League title.

Sane helped City to another top-flight crown the following year and scored 16 goals across all competitions, though links with Bayern became commonplace towards the end of 2018-19.

Much of Sane's time on the sidelines through injury coincided with strengthening reports of him desiring a move to Bayern, and on June 19 Guardiola confirmed the club had been informed he would not be signing a contract extension.

As such, Guardiola accepted Sane was either to be sold this year or leave on a free transfer in June 2021.

City have at least avoided the latter scenario, though the fee of up to €60m is significantly less than the £137m (€150m) asking price they are alleged to have set in 2019.

For Bayern, the addition of Sane comes two days after they signed highly rated defender Tanguy Kouassi from Paris Saint-Germain, his contract with the French champions having expired.

Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane wants Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi to remain in LaLiga amid speculation of a possible departure.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until 2021 but a report emerged on Thursday, claiming the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is considering an exit.

According to Cadena SER, Messi has halted contract negotiations due to his frustrations with Barca – who are on track to be dethroned by bitter rivals Madrid this season.

Zidane was asked about the rumours regarding Messi after Madrid moved four points clear of two-time defending champions Barca thanks to Thursday's 1-0 win over Getafe.

"I don't know what will happen but we hope not because he is in this league and we want the best in this league," Zidane said post-match.

Sergio Ramos was the hero for Madrid against Getafe, scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in the 79th minute at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.

The victory was Madrid's sixth in a row as Los Blancos extended their advantage over stuttering Barca with five matches remaining in LaLiga.

Zidane hailed captain Ramos, who took his LaLiga tally to nine goals in 2019-20 following his 450th league appearance for Madrid.

"Our captain is our leader on the field, but also outside," Zidane said of the Spain skipper, who took his career total to 100 goals.

"He is an unrepeatable player. He is unique and we know what he transmits to everyone else. I'm happy for him for his goal because when it comes to shooting a penalty, he has a lot of confidence. 

"It's almost in the 80th minute and Dani Carvajal's effort in goal is from the whole team. We know that with patience and tranquillity we can score goals. This is what happened.

"The last 20 minutes with freshness we claimed a very important result. We have to congratulate all the players because what we are doing is not easy."

Zidane also provided an update on star centre-back Raphael Varane, who took a blow to the head and had to be replaced in the first half.

"Right now he's not right because it's a blow to the neck," Zidane added. "He has gone home and the doctor is going to see him and we will see from tomorrow [Friday]. 

"We are not going to risk anything. It was a strong blow and tomorrow we will see exactly what he has."

Western United captain and former Italy international Alessandro Diamanti has signed a new contract, the A-League club announced on Friday.

Diamanti will remain with Western United in Australia on a two-year deal – a boost for the league's newest team as the 2019-20 season prepares to resume on July 16 following the COVID-19 crisis.

The 37-year-old former West Ham, Bologna and Atalanta attacker – who had been linked to rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City – arrived as a marquee signing in July last year.

Diamanti has flourished in the A-League, scoring five goals and supplying seven assists in 19 appearances prior to the coronavirus-enforced break in March.

"We've started something special this year at Western United and I'm excited to re-sign and continue the journey we have started together," Diamanti said.

"Our coach Mark Rudan has supported me since I arrived and given me the freedom to enjoy my football and express myself, so I thank him for that. Both he and the club are building something special and I want to be part of it as long as I can.

"I was honoured to be the first captain of Western United, and I hope I can continue to help the club be successful and entertain our great fans."

"From the day he walked into the football club Alessandro has been a marquee in every sense of the word," Western United head coach Mark Rudan added.

"He's been fantastic on and off the park. His footballing skills has had the whole competition in awe, equally his positive attitude and personality has been adored by not just our fans but every football fan around the league.

"We're ecstatic as a football club to extend Diamanti's contract as we continue to build and grow Western United."

In May, Diamanti told Stats Perform News that the A-League had reignited his passion for football following his arrival from Serie B side Livorno.

"Virus or no virus, I would have kept playing anyway," he said. "For sure I will still be playing football as long as I feel physically and psychologically like this, being able to offer great performances and loving to train everyday.

"Then to be honest, to come here gave me back that lightness and that passion you always tend to lose in Europe. I will stay here in Australia next season."

Western United were sixth after their 20 matches when the league was halted due to COVID-19.

Diamanti and Western United are scheduled to resume their season against the Victory on July 16, though a location for the fixture is still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

Zidane explained why Achraf Hakimi was being sold hours before he sealed his Inter Milan move.

Achraf Hakimi has joined Inter in a permanent move from Real Madrid, the Italian club confirmed.

Hakimi, 21, has reportedly cost Antonio Conte's side an initial €40million and he joins on a five-year contract.

A statement issued by Madrid read: "The club wants to thank Achraf for all these years of dedication, professionalism and exemplary behaviour since he came to our academy in 2006 and wishes him good luck in his new phase."

The Spain-born Morocco international has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing this term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga this term – the best of any defender.

Dortmund were not shy about their desire to see Hakimi remain at Signal Iduna Park, but the writing appeared to be on the wall when BVB confirmed the capture of Thomas Meunier on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain following reports of Inter closing in on their target.

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal.

He was sent out on a two-year loan to Dortmund and, although he enjoyed a wonderful 2019-20 in Germany, there are those who are unconvinced by his defensive qualities, particularly in a back four.

Similarly, Hakimi's contract with Madrid was due to expire in 2021, and a potential unease at being behind Carvajal in the pecking order again could have given rise to the possibility of losing him for free next year.

Their loss is Inter's gain, however, as Conte finally gets his hands on a world-class wing-back, having had Ashley Young, Victor Moses, Antonio Candreva, Cristiano Biraghi and Kwadwo Asamoah as his options in 2019-20.

Everton have completed the signing of France Under-19 left-back Niels Nkounkou on a free transfer from Marseille, fending off reported interest from Juventus.

Nkounkou has agreed a three-year deal with Everton following the expiration of his contract at Marseille.

The 19-year-old played 14 times for Marseille's B team in the National 2 in 2018-19, France's fourth tier, while also being named on the bench for the first team twice.

He was a rumoured target for Serie A champions Juve but will now be working under Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park, though Nkounkou will first bolster David Unsworth's U23 side.

Everton, who are unbeaten since the resumption of the Premier League, have Lucas Digne and Leighton Baines as their options at left-back.

Baines, however, is yet to agree to a contract extension, with the 35-year-old's current deal set to run out at the end of the season.

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