Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has confirmed Sergino Dest is having a medical with the club ahead of a potential move from Ajax.

The 19-year-old United States international has been strongly linked with a €25million move to either Barca or Bayern Munich, but it appears the Catalan club have won the race.

Dest, an attack-minded right-back, was spotted arriving in Barcelona on Tuesday, giving rise to increased speculation that the deal was practically closed.

And Koeman, who tried to persuade Dest to represent the Netherlands when he coached the Oranje, confirmed the teenager is having a medical as he plans to take the well-trodden path from Ajax to Camp Nou.

"Dest is doing his medical, we still have to sign [the contracts]," Koeman told reporters in his news conference on Wednesday. "Until he signs I will not comment

"We are going to have a young full-back – it is a matter of changing things and having young players for the future of the club is important.

"It is good because he has played in the Champions League and I am sure that, when all the contracts are signed, he will be very useful for Barca."

One player strongly linked with leaving Barca is Ousmane Dembele, who is reportedly being lined up by Manchester United as an alternative to Jadon Sancho.

The French winger has only been able to show glimpses of his ability since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 due to injuries – in 2019-20 he featured just five times in LaLiga.

While Koeman claimed no knowledge of any potential transfer for Dembele, he insisted that he sees a future for him at Barca.

"Those decisions are made by the club and the player. As we have seen, I am going to count on him," Koeman added.

"He did not play from the start [against Villarreal] because there are more players and Ansu [Fati] has proven to be very good for this team.

"He was better physically the first few weeks, but today he trained well and I'm going to count on him."

Dembele's future could be tied to that of Memphis Depay, who is said to be Barca's primary target in attack, and while Koeman would not specifically name his compatriot when asked about signings, he made no secret of his desire to add options in that department.

"We have to analyse the squad, analyse what we lack," he continued. "We know that financially the club has its problems, like everyone else.

"There are one or two positions where we need to improve, and I'm not going to lie to you, we are working.

"There are options but it is very unsafe. The club is going to work hard. If not, we will use our players because I have no complaints with the ones we have.

"We want to have two or three players per position. We have put Leo [Lionel Messi] as a nine, [Antoine] Griezmann can play there, but they are different players. Martin [Braithwaite] is more than a nine and will have his chances but we want one more."

Xabi Alonso has the qualities required to succeed as a head coach in the modern game and could be a future possibility for Bayern Munich, says CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Spain World Cup winner Alonso spent three seasons at Allianz Arena between 2014 and 2017 before the cultured midfielder called time on his distinguished playing career.

Alonso won three Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Supercup during his time at Bayern and is now in charge of the B team at Real Sociedad, the club with whom he rose through the youth ranks and started in the professional game.

Rummenigge remains in contact with Alonso and foresees a time when the Spaniard is back at Bayern, this time in the dugout.

"He will be a coach who may be of interest to FC Bayern at some point in the future. I can imagine that," Rummenigge told the BILD podcast 'Phrasenmaher'.

"We are still friends today, he reports regularly.

"Xabi Alonso has this empathy that you need. Especially with today's generation of players to spin such a common thread with them."

Rummenigge hopes such a scenario does not occur too soon, though, given the success enjoyed under Hansi Flick.

Former Germany assistant Flick led Bayern to a Bundesliga, Pokal and Champions League treble last term and Rummenigge is confident of a long association between club and coach.

"I hope he stays [a] long, long, long [time]. This is a coach who for the first time I trust will stay long," he added.

"Three to five years, that would be an extraordinary period."

Among the other topics discussed were who Rummenigge felt were the most important transfers of his tenure in the boardroom.

Unsurprisingly, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and superstar striker Robert Lewandowski were highlighted as such transfers.

"Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski were the most important transfers," he said.

Lionel Messi understands those who felt he should have kept quiet about Luis Suarez's Barcelona departure but said his criticism was a way of expressing things that have "hurt me".

Suarez was allowed to join LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in a €6million deal last week and started life at the Rojiblancos with a brace and an assist off the bench in a 6-1 battering of Granada on Sunday.

The decision of the club and new coach Ronald Koeman to tell Suarez he was free to leave is thought to have been a motivating factor behind Messi sensationally telling Barca he wanted to depart last month.

Messi later signalled he will stay at Camp Nou after accusing president Josep Maria Bartomeu of making a move "impossible".

But when Suarez – who is third in Barca's all-time list of scorers with 198 and won 13 trophies in six seasons with Los Cules – departed, Messi accused the club of "kicking out" the former Liverpool striker and added "at this point nothing surprises me" in an Instagram post.

Explaining why he opted to vent on social media, Messi told SPORT: "I only said what I felt in some moments that were hard for me.

"I understand that there will be those who think that I should have kept quiet or let it pass, as in so many other things that I let pass.

"But many things hurt me in recent weeks and it was my way of expressing it."

A tumultuous period, which started with Barca's 8-2 demolition at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, saw Messi attempt to force a transfer.

Eventually Messi said he will stay put this season, stating he did not want to drag the saga through the courts when Barca and LaLiga disputed the superstar forward's claim he could utilise a clause in his contract to leave on a free transfer.

Messi began Barca's LaLiga campaign by scoring a penalty in a 4-0 rout of Villarreal and he insisted his commitment to winning and the club is as strong as ever.

"Whoever knows me knows that I am not capable of playing anything other than always to win and to give everything on the pitch," he added.

"It was like that throughout my career and that is not going to change. Today my commitment to this shirt and this badge is total, it is still intact."

Lionel Messi's close-season issues at Barcelona means the 2020-21 campaign could be a difficult one for the superstar forward, says his former Argentina team-mate Emiliano Insua.

It has been a tumultuous period for Messi, starting with Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last month.

Following that humbling experience, Messi shocked the footballing world by requesting to leave Camp Nou and stating he believed a clause in his contract allowed him to leave on a free transfer.

Both Barca and LaLiga disputed his interpretation of the clause, though, saying any team wishing to sign Messi would have to pay his €700million release fee or negotiate a transfer.

Messi ultimately opted to stay this season as he did not want to drag the issue through the courts but he hit out at president Josep Maria Bartomeu in the aftermath of the saga.

The 33-year-old struck a more conciliatory and uniting tone in an interview with SPORT this week and LA Galaxy defender Insua spoke about Messi's enduring qualities, which he hopes he can continue to display after a tough period.

"I think he has everything, he was born like this, the quality he has is amazing, everything he does and has been doing is natural," Insua told Stats Perform News.

"The time I was training with him you can see that. He doesn't train too much, he doesn't need to train too much…[because] this fitness situation he has, he's really quick, really strong.

"Hopefully he can keep showing this because this summer he had a lot of problems in Barcelona, they didn't finish maybe so well in the Champions League.

"Hopefully this year he can be at the same level because I think it will be difficult for him this year."

For a long time it was rumoured Messi may have a new and familiar Camp Nou team-mate in the form of Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez, who was heavily linked with a move from Inter to Barca.

This week it was suggested Barca will no longer pursue a deal after being put off by a €98.5million fee, meaning Martinez is set to continue his promising development at Inter where he has scored 21 Serie A goals in 63 games since joining from Argentine side Racing Club ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

Martinez has struck up a particularly good understanding with Romelu Lukaku in San Siro and Insua has high hopes he will become one of the best strikers in the world.

"He showed in Argentina that he's a really good striker and he's showing it at Inter," Insua added.

"Maybe everyone expected that he needs time to set up in the Italian league, but he was really fast in the adaptation in the way he was playing.

"The partnership with Lukaku was really good also up front, so they help each other.

"He showed last year he can be one of the best strikers in the world and everyone also said that maybe he's going to Barcelona, now nobody knows anything [on that], hopefully he can keep showing that [form]."

Ousmane Dembele has been linked with a move to Manchester United before the transfer window closes.

Dembele is seen as an alternative to Jadon Sancho, who remains at Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

But Dembele is reportedly against leaving Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE NOT INTERESTED IN UNITED

Ousmane Dembele does not want to leave Barcelona amid interest from Manchester United, claims Sky Deutschland via Inside Futbol.

Dembele has emerged as an option for United, who have failed to prise number one transfer target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

As Dortmund refuse to lower their demands, United reportedly want Dembele on loan, however the France international is happy at Camp Nou.

 

ROUND-UP

United are also eyeing former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and Real Madrid's Luka Jovic, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. Desperate to reinforce their squad, United are set to attempt to sign free agent Cavani or Jovic on loan. Jovic has also been linked to Roma, Milan and Inter.

- Fabrizio Romano says Tottenham remain in talks with Inter for Milan Skriniar. Spurs are determined to sign the centre-back, though Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger – also linked to PSG – is an alternative.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is interested in joining Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, reports Sky Germany. The Chelsea winger has previously been linked with Bayern, and he has struggled to cement his position in London.

Lucas Torreira's agent is set for transfer talks with Atletico Madrid as the Arsenal midfielder looks to leave London, reports Romano. It comes as Gunners full-back Sead Kolasinac nears a switch to Bayer Leverkusen.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane addressed speculation over Luka Jovic's future amid links to Manchester United and clubs in Serie A.

Jovic has struggled for game time since his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt in June last year, with form, fitness and Zidane's preference to play Karim Benzema up front hindering the Serbia international.

United have emerged as a loan option for Jovic, while Roma, Milan and Inter have also been linked with temporary moves for the 22-year-old.

Asked about Jovic – who was handed a rare start alongside Benzema in the 3-2 win over Real Betis last week – on the eve of Madrid's LaLiga clash against Real Valladolid, Zidane told reporters: "You have to take everything into account.

"Until the fifth [of October], the market is open. We will see.

"The players are fine and that's what interests me."

Jovic endured a turbulent first season with Madrid in 2019-20 following his big-money arrival from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht, managing just two goals in 25 appearances.

The former Red Star Belgrade and Benfica forward was prised from Germany after scoring 27 goals in 2018-19 as Eintracht reached the Europa League semi-final.

Madrid have four points from two games to sit seventh in LaLiga, three points behind leaders Getafe – who have played three matches.

Neymar is recovering from a calf injury and will be reassessed on Thursday, while Paris Saint-Germain announced Juan Bernat underwent knee surgery.

PSG star Neymar sustained a calf injury during Sunday's 2-0 win over Reims in Ligue 1 as Thomas Tuchel's side claimed their third consecutive victory to sit seventh in the table after five matches.

French champions PSG provided an update on Neymar ahead of Friday's fixture against Angers in the capital.

"After feeling some tightness in his calf during Sunday's match, he has received reassuring test results," PSG said on Tuesday.

"His condition will be reviewed again in the next 48 hours."

Neymar has only made two appearances in 2020-21, and the Brazilian forward is yet to score for last season's Champions League runners-up.

PSG full-back Bernat, meanwhile, had an operation to repair his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Bernat suffered an ACL injury in the 1-0 win over Metz earlier this month, and the ex-Bayern Munich defender is set to miss the majority of the season.

PSG confirmed Bernat's surgery at Pitie Salpetriere Hospital was a success.

Saint-Etienne defender Wesley Fofana is heading to Leicester City in a deal that breaks the French club's transfer record, it was announced on Tuesday.

Fofana was described by Saint-Etienne as "one of the greatest French talents of his generation" as they confirmed the 19-year-old centre-back was heading to the Premier League.

There have been reports Leicester will pay a fee in the region of £30million (€32m) for Marseille-born Fofana, with the transfer a huge financial boost for Saint-Etienne.

In a statement, the Ligue 1 club said: "AS Saint-Etienne reached an agreement on Tuesday evening with Leicester, the current leaders of the English Premier League, for the transfer of their defender Wesley Fofana. The amount of this transfer is the largest ever obtained by the club."

Saint-Etienne said the decision to sell Fofana was reached collaboratively by the club's board and shareholders, describing Leicester's bid as "exceptional, especially given the uncertain economic context caused by the [COVID-19] health crisis".

Leicester, who stunned Manchester City 5-2 on Sunday to move level atop the Premier League, have yet to comment on the deal.

Fofana played 14 matches in Ligue 1 last season, made two appearances in the Europa League, and helped Saint-Etienne reach the Coupe de France final, where they lost 1-0 to Paris Saint-Germain.

In April, Fofana signed a new four-year contract with Saint-Etienne, who are coached by former Leicester boss Claude Puel.

However, Fofana told L'Equipe the chance to move to Leicester was irresistible.

He said: "Coming from a poor family from the northern districts of Marseille, I can't turn this down. I would be mad to say no to Leicester."

Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho made light of their touchline spat as Tottenham prevailed against Chelsea in the EFL Cup.

Tottenham won 5-4 on penalties in the EFL Cup last 16 after Erik Lamela's equaliser cancelled out Timo Werner's first-half opener in normal time on Tuesday.

During the London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Chelsea boss Lampard and Spurs counterpart Mourinho were involved in a heated exchange in the first half.

Mourinho and Lampard enjoyed incredible success together as manager and player at Chelsea, where the pair won two Premier League titles together among other honours.

But there was no love lost between Lampard and Mourinho in the EFL Cup tie, though both were quick to praise each other after the match when asked about the incident.

"We were having some fun on the line," Lampard told reporters following Mason Mount's missed penalty. "I get on well with Jose and I think he said that to me.

"I commented on the fact that he seemed to speak more with the referee than he speaks with his players so it is just a moment with us.

"I have a huge respect for Jose, no matter what he says on the touchline. I think he was feeling the sense of the first half and how it was. All was well at the end of the game and that will never change."

Mourinho added: "With Frank the most important thing is my feelings towards him rather than any words we exchanged. I owe him everything he gave me, he always gave me everything he had as a player and I never forget that.

"My feelings towards him will always be feelings of how much I owe him for how much of an incredible player, friend he was.

"The only thing I was telling him, just an opinion of an old coach to a young talented coach, which was when the players need us it is when they are losing, when they are winning we don't need to be the protagonists of the touchline, we need to be there when they are losing.

"In the last match when they were losing 3-0 [against West Brom] I felt really sorry for him because he was sad and quiet in his chair. In terms of football I can't teach him anything, he knows football, it is just an opinion, stay on the touchline when your team is losing and stay calm when your team is winning."

Jose Mourinho hailed Eric Dier for an effort level that was "not human" against Chelsea, despite the defender having had to leave the pitch for an unscheduled comfort break.

Spurs triumphed 5-4 on penalties in the EFL Cup last 16, Mason Mount missing the crucial kick after Erik Lamela's equaliser had cancelled out Timo Werner's strike in normal time.

During the second half, Dier headed back to the dressing room to use the toilets and was pursued by Mourinho, the England international then seen running back to the pitch soon afterwards.

Mourinho put Dier's hasty disappearance down to dehydration, the 26-year-old having been the only outfield player to have kept his place in the starting line-up from the 1-1 Premier League draw with Newcastle United two days ago.

Yet the Spurs boss had nothing but praise for the efforts of Dier, who also scored in the shoot-out.

"What happened to Eric Dier is not normal," he told Sky Sports. "I have to praise him in a special way.

"The football authorities, with so many rules that are at this moment in place, should be forbidden to play in 48 hours two matches of this intensity. Newcastle was a Premier League match and this one, if you want to say, is at a Premier League level.

"He had to go. Maybe it's a normal thing when you're completely dehydrated and have nothing in your muscles, which was the case. I knew he had to go, I was just trying to put some pressure on him to have him back for the remaining time.

"He was a great example for everybody in playing these two matches. Of course, if the football authorities don't care about players, I care. Of course, Eric Dier cannot play the match on Thursday [against Maccabi Haifa].

"What Eric Dier did is not human. There are so many rules about everything, but Eric did what he did. All the other players were phenomenal. [Japhet] Tanganga, not even a friendly, but all the boys were phenomenal."

Dier himself explained: "He wasn't happy, but there was nothing I could do about it really. Nature was calling.

"I heard there was a chance when I wasn't on the pitch, but thankfully they didn't score and we've ended up with the win.

"We've had a lot of games against Chelsea, a lot of tight games, they've always ended up falling their way, so for one to fall our way is a very nice feeling."

Before the game, Mourinho had effectively discounted challenging for the trophy due to the packed fixture schedule, with Spurs facing Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday and Manchester United in the league next Sunday.

"I said before the game we would be ready to fight, and we were ready to fight. I told the players before the penalties that I did not care about what happened with the penalties, I care about what they did," he said.

"They were the best team, they were magnificent. Second half, a super team like Chelsea looked an ordinary team – they are not, they are a super team. We played so, so well.

"The team managed to wait for the right moments because I told the players they should only think about this game. I have to think about three games at the same time. They were phenomenal – all the credit to the boys, I cannot believe in 48 hours we are playing a European game. They were phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.

"I just told them that we were going to wait for the moment to change the system which is not our system, a system we are not used to playing. We tried to organise the team with the players we had available."

Tottenham reached the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup after beating Chelsea on penalties following a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

Timo Werner struck his first Blues goal 19 minutes into the contest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and it looked to be enough to send them into the last eight for the 14th time in the past 20 seasons.

However, Erik Lamela, who started as a makeshift striker, drilled past debutant Edouard Mendy to give Spurs a deserved equaliser with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

The first nine penalties of the ensuing shoot-out were converted before Mason Mount clipped the outside of the left post with the 10th, allowing Spurs to progress.

Chelsea made eight changes from their Premier League draw with West Brom on Saturday, handing full debuts to Ben Chilwell and new goalkeeper Mendy, while Harry Kane dropping to the bench was one of nine alterations for Spurs from their draw with Newcastle United.

Sergio Reguilon's debut did not start according to plan, as the Tottenham left-back lost possession and was easily beaten by Cesar Azpilicueta, whose deflected low cross allowed Werner to fire low past Hugo Lloris.

Mendy was also given a busy first half in English football, just managing to stop Gedson Fernandes along with Kurt Zouma and then blocking Lamela's strike with his legs.

Reguilon and Mendy came face to face early in the second half, the Spurs man's stinging strike palmed over the bar after good play from Serge Aurier.

Mourinho threw on Kane with a little over 20 minutes left as Spurs maintained their pressure, but it was Lamela who levelled, slotting low past Mendy after working space from Reguilon's cross.

Eric Dier, Tammy Abraham, Lamela, Azpilicueta, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jorginho, Lucas Moura, Emerson Palmieri and Kane all scored before Mount's crucial miss, as Spurs avenged their shoot-out defeat in the semi-finals of two seasons ago.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have been drawn in Group C of the CONCACAF Gold Cup where they will face Costa Rica, Suriname, and the winner of preliminary round 8.

The Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will kick off on July 10, 2021. The 12 Concacaf national teams, which qualified directly through their performances in the Concacaf Nations League group stage, the guest participant, AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar, and the three Prelims winners have been divided into four groups.

Group A will feature Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and the winner of preliminary 9.  Group B will consist of the USA, Canada, Martinique, and the winner of preliminary 7.  In Group D Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar will compete to advance.

The competition will begin on July 2, 2021, with the Preliminary Round, which will include12 Concacaf Member Associations competing for the final three spots in the 16-team Group Stage. For the two-round Prelims, the participating national teams have been divided into six matchups.  The games are listed below. 

Round One

Matchup #1: Haiti vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Matchup #2: Guatemala vs Guyana

Matchup #3: Trinidad and Tobago vs Monserrat

Matchup #4: Cuba vs French Guiana

Matchup #5: Guadeloupe vs the Bahamas

Matchup #6: Bermuda vs Barbados

Round Two

Matchup #7: Winner Matchup #1 vs Winner Matchup #6

Matchup #8: Winner Matchup #2 vs Winner Matchup #5

Matchup #9: Winner Matchup #3 vs Winner Matchup #4

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday.

Eden Hazard is "very close" to a return to full fitness as Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refuted suggestions the forward lacked professionalism. 

The Belgium star has struggled to find his rhythm in Spain following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea in June last year.

He managed a solitary goal in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu as he battled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.

Zidane hinted that Hazard is primed for action for the first time this season, though stopped short of confirming his spot in the team for Wednesday's clash with Real Valladolid.

"I think he's very close to a return," said Zidane. "He is prepared and training well with the team.

"The issue is that he hasn't been able to train much until now, but now he is back training regularly. So, we'll see what happens.

"What he wants is to play. He had a big problem that caused him issues for a long time, but now it seems like he is fine.

"The season is very long and he is a professional. He does not lack professionalism. What he wants is to be with his team-mates and to play."

Asked if he was looking to add to his squad in what remains of the transfer window, Zidane pointed out the difficulties he already faces in picking the LaLiga champions' strongest XI.

Vinicius Junior is one player who is having to contend with being on the periphery, although Zidane insists he is content with the winger.

"I'm very happy with the squad that I have," he said. "Adding more players would not be ideal.

"I'm already struggling to choose between the players that I have. I have the best squad.

"I'm very happy with Vinicius. He wants to play like every player, I pick my starting line-up every match, and of course I count on Vinicius, he is a great player."

Zidane's side responded to their opening-game draw with Real Sociedad by winning 3-2 at Real Betis last time out. 

Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has been ruled out of the DFL-Supercup match against Borussia Dortmund with a knee injury.

Sane sustained the problem in Sunday's shock 4-1 away defeat to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

He will subsequently be missing for Wednesday's Klassiker contest with Dortmund, while David Alaba is a doubt and will be checked closer to kick-off due to a muscular injury.

Sane, who scored on his debut for the club against Schalke this month after signing from Manchester City, will also be out for Bayern's weekend league meeting with Hertha Berlin, their last game before the international break.

"David has muscular problems, so we have to wait and see how that develops," explained head coach Hansi Flick at his pre-match news conference.

"But Leroy is out - he has a capsule injury in his right knee and hopefully he will be back after the international break."

Dortmund beat Bayern 2-0 in the 2019 Supercup, with Flick's men, who had won it in the previous three years, at home for this meeting as they look to bounce back from the Hoffenheim loss.

"Dortmund have a fantastic, young side and they also have experience in their ranks," said Flick.

"They play attractive, offensive football, which I like. This will be a test against one of Germany's best. This game will help to develop us.

"My team's mentality is absolutely outstanding. Maybe one or two of them are slightly tired, but they always give 100 per cent on the pitch.

"That was also the case in Hoffenheim, but unfortunately, we didn't do some things that well that day."

With Sane injured, Champions League final hero Kingsley Coman is in contention to join Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller in support of striker Robert Lewandowski.

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