Newcastle United are reportedly prepared to launch a third bid for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in the January window.

Maddison, 24, has had a strong start to the season despite Leicester sitting bottom of the table through seven games, with the midfielder registering three goals and an assist.

Newcastle reportedly placed bids of £40million and £45m in the last window – which prompted manager Brendan Rodgers to say "that might just cover three-quarters of his left leg" – but January will mark 18 months remaining on his contract, with a voluntary extension looking extremely unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON OPEN TO NEWCASTLE UNITED MOVE

Maddison is said to be more open to the idea of leaving Leicester after failing to break back into the England setup for the World Cup, with his only international cap coming as a substitute during a win against Montenegro in 2020.

With Newcastle players Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier both being involved with the Three Lions, it is viewed as a more favourable situation to capture the attention of Gareth Southgate.

The report from The Times indicates Leicester do have the option to extend Maddison's contract by one extra season, which could give them the freedom to see out the remainder of the campaign.

However, if Newcastle are willing to move into the £60m range, that kind of spending power could fund some significant moves to address the Foxes' problems, and there is no guarantee his value will remain this high if they delay.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Spanish publication Beteve, Lionel Messi will refuse any contract extension and will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

– Kicker is reporting Tottenham's Harry Kane remains Bayern Munich's top target, and with only one more season left on his deal after this campaign, Tottenham could be forced to cash-in if he indicates he is ready to leave.

– Juventus will not renew the contracts of Angel Di Maria, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot in order to reduce their wage bill, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Calciomercato is reporting Roma will join Bayern Munich and Manchester United with interest in €30m Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United are monitoring highly regarded Vasco da Gama 18-year-old Andrey Santos.

Harry Kane remains at the centre of significant transfer speculation after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City last year.

The England star appears more settled under Antonio Conte but has been linked with Bayern Munich recently.

Kane has started this Premier League campaign strongly, netting six goals in seven appearances.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLOTTING KANE-LUKAKU SWAP

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to bring Harry Kane across town from Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

The Blues boss is ready to offer Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, as part of an exchange for Kane. The England forward's contract at Tottenham expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the start of a new era after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while they are set to appoint Salzburg's Christoph Freund as their new sporting director.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports Atletico Madrid are desperate to add a versatile attacker to their squad next year, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on top of their wish list.

– Calciomercato claims Liverpool are considering a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. Newcastle United, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax are also tracking the Ukrainian, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs. TalkSPORT reports that the Reds are also keeping an eye on Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes .

– Manchester City are interested in a big-money move for Milan winger Rafael Leao next year, according to the Manchester Evening News.

– Football Insider reports West Ham have informed Manuel Lanzini he is free to leave the club in January.

– Former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro is close to a return to management with talks to take over at Serie B club Benevento progressing well, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Louis van Gaal's final pre-World Cup Netherlands squad includes three first-time call-ups, including talented Ajax midfielder Kenneth Taylor.

Seven players have been dropped from the provisional squad announced earlier this month, including Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and Feyenoord goalkeeper Justin Bijlow.

Gravenberch, 20, has not been called-up by Van Gaal since November 2021 and faces a battle to make the squad for Qatar as he instead takes a spot in the Under-21s along with Brian Brobbey and Jeremie Frimpong.

Jordy Clasie, Pascal Struijk and Joey Veerman are the others to be dropped from the provisional selection.

Ajax goalkeeper Remko Pasveer and 20-year-old midfielder Taylor are included for the first time, as is Heerenveen stopper Andries Noppert.

"We have included a number of new players in the squad. For us, this is the last opportunity to see the boys at work, before we have to announce our World Cup selection," Van Gaal said.

"As I have said before, the preparation time for this World Cup is extremely short, so I have to make good use of all available time. After this training camp, we won't get back together until November 14, a week before we play our first game at the World Cup."

The Netherlands will face Poland on September 22 in Warsaw, then hosting Belgium in Amsterdam three days later as the Nations League group stage comes to a close.

Netherlands squad : Jasper Cillessen (NEC), Mark Flekken (Freiburg), Remko Pasveer (Ajax), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen); Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind, Devyne Rensch, Jurrien Timber (all Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij (both Inter), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Bruno Martins Indi (AZ); Steven Berghuis, Davy Klaassen, Kenneth Taylor (all Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners, Maren de Roon (both Atalanta); Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Royal Antwerp), Wout Weghorst (Besiktas)

Virgil van Dijk took a swipe at Liverpool's critics after a vital Champions League win over Ajax lifted spirits at Anfield.

Captaining Jurgen Klopp's team on Tuesday, Van Dijk saw his fellow centre-back Joel Matip head home from a corner in the 89th minute to earn three priceless points for last season's runners-up.

Mohamed Salah had earlier broken his seven-game barren streak in the competition by firing Liverpool ahead, before a fine goal from Mohammed Kudus brought Ajax level.

The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric as Matip's goal was awarded, after Dusan Tadic's attempted clearance came from behind the line.

It meant Liverpool cast aside the misery of last week's 4-1 defeat to Napoli, and Dutchman Van Dijk said it should serve to remind players-turned-pundits of the team's great strengths.

Van Dijk told BT Sport: "Coming back from the horror show in Naples, it was very important for us to show a positive reaction, and it's not easy to turn it around, but this is a step to the right direction.

"It was very important to win today and get the good feeling going into the international break."

Asked about the key to turning around the team's fortunes, Van Dijk said: "Not listening to the outside world, that's the most important thing.

"It's funny sometimes, because there's a lot of ex-football players and they know exactly what we go through. They say a lot of things to try to get us down.

"We know that last week was unacceptable, it was very bad, and we tried to make it right. This is a step to the right direction. Don't get carried away of course, because we play so many games."

Van Dijk had a team-high four goal attempts and said: "I should have scored. We felt like we were dangerous at every set-piece, especially the corners, so it was our responsibility to at least convert one, and luckily the one and only Joel Matip did it."

Matip now has 10 goals across all competitions for Liverpool, and the team have nine wins and a draw from the 10 games in which he has found the net.

"I had a few opportunities before and I was happy that I could score," said former Schalke defender Matip. "I wasn't sure [it would be awarded], to be honest, but when I saw the referee then my emotions came out.

"It was a long and tough game, we tried over 90 minutes to create chances and were pushing forward, the whole team."

Manager Jurgen Klopp enjoyed the moment, with Liverpool playing between blank weekends, their latest Premier League games having been called off amid national mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II and a subsequent squeeze on police resources.

"I think everyone could see we understood we had to put a completely different shift into the game," Klopp said.

"We played a lot of good stuff against a really hard-fighting and good opponent. We should have scored more goals from set-pieces especially, I don't know how these balls didn't go in."

He was more than happy for it to be Matip, rather than a striker, coming up with the late heroics.

"I'm not picky in that sense," Klopp said. "It was a nice celebration and showed everything the boys thought today. Nothing is over, negative or positive, it is a first step and a very important step for us."

Joel Matip was the Liverpool hero as his thumping late header handed the Reds a much-needed 2-1 win over Ajax at Anfield on Tuesday.

The defender secured three priceless Champions League points with his 89th-minute heroics, a huge relief for boss Jurgen Klopp after last week's 4-1 humbling by Napoli.

Mohamed Salah earlier ended a seven-game goal drought in the competition to nudge Liverpool ahead, but Ajax were level before the half-hour mark as Mohammed Kudus capped a 26-pass spell of possession.

Ajax went close through Daley Blind late on, but Matip was more precise as his header crossed the line despite Dusan Tadic's desperate attempts to keep it out. 

The hosts edged ahead in the 18th minute as Alisson's kick reached Luis Diaz, who found Diogo Jota. From a central position, Jota fed the eager Salah, who lashed past Remko Pasveer and into the bottom-right corner.

Diaz and Jota went close as Liverpool threatened to add to their opener, but the Reds were caught out by a rapid Ajax break down the left, which culminated with Kudus' sublime finish into the top-left corner. 

Pasveer saved well from Virgil van Dijk's header, and then denied Trent Alexander-Arnold twice in quick succession before the interval.

Both Van Dijk and Matip then headed over the crossbar from set-pieces as Liverpool kept up the pressure after the break, but Blind almost stunned Anfield from Tadic's right-wing cross when he nodded a foot wide of the right-hand post. 

Liverpool Substitute Darwin Nunez shot wide with seven minutes remaining, but Matip came good with time running out, rising to meet Tsimikas' corner and power the ball towards goal.

While Tadic nodded away, the former Southampton man was was a foot behind the line when doing so, and the relief inside Anfield was obvious as the goal was awarded.

A small minority of Liverpool fans interrupted a pre-match silence to honour Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the Champions League game against Ajax.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish had urged all supporters to respect the silence after the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance made a similar plea.

Some in Liverpool hold strong anti-monarchy views, but the club had hoped those represented among their fanbase would manage to respect a short silence before Tuesday's fixture.

Sporadic shouting at Anfield began with a "Liverpool, Liverpool" chant that was hushed by many other supporters, and the silence was halted after 25 seconds by referee Artur Manuel Soares Dias.

It had not been specified as a minute's silence, with Liverpool describing it on their website ahead of the game as "a period of silence".

The Premier League club laid a wreath at the stadium to mark the death of the long-reigning monarch, while captain Jordan Henderson signed an official book of condolence in the city.

 

Joel Matip thinks struggling Liverpool must go back to their "successful roots" in order to reverse their underwhelming start to the season.

Jurgen Klopp's men won both domestic cups and finished as Premier League and Champions League runners-up last season, but have made a stuttering start to the 2022-23 campaign.

Liverpool were thrashed 4-1 by Napoli in their opening game in Group A last week, the heaviest defeat by a Premier League side in their first game of a Champions League campaign since Arsenal lost 3-0 to Inter in 2003-04.

They have also drawn three and lost one of their six Premier League games so far, and speaking at a news conference on Monday, Matip revealed the players have made it clear to one another that their current standards are unacceptable.

"I think in the team we are all quite clear; sometimes it hurts, this is normal, but as a good team, which I think we are, you can speak out this truth," the defender said.

"You don't like to hear them maybe in the first moments sometimes, but everybody knows that something has to happen and that we have to improve.

"We have to work on these kinds of things and for these kinds of things you have to talk.

"There was a big focus on defending [after losing to Napoli] because this is the biggest thing to get successful. I think this is the first step, defend good.

"I think it always helps if you go back to the roots and these are successful roots. If you're based on this, this can give you help for a struggling time."

Matip has made just one start for Liverpool this season after struggling with injury, but came off the bench in their last two games and could be in line to start against Ajax on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old has been at Anfield since 2016 after arriving on a free transfer from Schalke, and has accepted his status as a role model for younger players, especially when things are not going well.

"You need to lead, you need to talk with each other and need to help each other," he added.

"That's the only [way], you cannot go as a person out of this, only as a team. For this, you need to have team-mates and you need to help your team-mates.

"If you are old and experienced, you should do it."

Jurgen Klopp conceded Liverpool's 4-1 humbling at the hands of Napoli in the Champions League was their worst game since he took charge in 2015.

Liverpool were comprehensively beaten by the Serie A side in their opening game in Group A, the heaviest defeat by a Premier League side in their first game of a Champions League campaign since Arsenal lost 3-0 to Inter in 2003-04.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of their second group game at home to Ajax, Klopp did not hold back in his assessment of the "horror show" at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

After Premier League games were postponed following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Klopp also said his team would rather have played this weekend but "respected" the decision not to.

"Yes, we would have wanted to play," he said. "But for the reasons we all know it didn't happen and, of course, we respect that.

"Now we try to use the time for analysis and training, which made absolute sense after the game we played at Napoli.

"I have lots of thoughts [on the Napoli game]. I watched the game back plenty of times and it was a real horror show, to be honest.

"It was the worst game we played since I'm here. We've had a few bad games, I know that. Everyone remembers Aston Villa [7-2 loss in 2020-21] and some others where we were just not up to speed, but there were always glimpses in these games. In this particular game, [there was] nothing.

"You have to understand why that happens, it's not a common thing, that's more an individual thing. Eight out of 11 [players] were absolutely below their level, three others were not on top level, just [played] a normal game.

"In football it's like this, you sort all individual problems as a team, and that's the first thing we have to do, to follow a common idea again.

"Everything we did since I'm here and everything teams do in football is based on really solid, if not perfect, defending. That's what we had to work on, and that's what we did."

Liverpool have made an uninspiring start to the season, drawing three and losing one of their six Premier League games so far, and Klopp revealed there have been some home truths within the camp following the performance in Naples.

"I know that the players want to sort the situation, we are not over the moon about our season so far," he added. 

"In the end we all agreed that we could have conceded more goals in [the Napoli] game. We could have scored one or two more as well, but we could have conceded more, which is really crazy.

"We had absolute truth - didn't hide anything, we didn't hold back anything, there was no need for that... but not to knock the players down, just to make sure where we are now after this game, this is the starting point for us and now we have to make sure we sort the problems together on the pitch." 

Klopp confirmed that midfield duo Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who were both left out of the Champions League squad – will not return from their respective injuries until October, despite the former being called up to the Guinea squad for the upcoming international break.

"No, I don't expect [Keita] to go on international duty," he said. "The return date is sometime in October, that's why we had to make the decision, with Ox it's the same, and that's why the two boys are not in the Champions League squad."

The Reds boss will also be without Andrew Robertson for the clash with Ajax, confirming the Scotland captain suffered an injury near the end of the Napoli defeat.

"Robbo is not 100 per cent," he said. "Very late, 93rd minute, he actually felt it the next day only, but he's out. I would say at least until after the international break."

Champions League football resumes on Tuesday, with Robert Lewandowski's return to Bayern Munich with Barcelona being an obvious highlight.

Barcelona travel to Bavaria in a match few would be disappointed to see replicated in next year's final, with Atletico Madrid also travelling to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen.

After Premier League football was suspended at the weekend as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, Liverpool are back in action against Ajax and are seeking to respond to a defeat to Napoli last week, while Tottenham travel to face Sporting CP.

Elsewhere, Inter face Viktoria Plzen after both sides lost their opening fixture and Eintracht Frankfurt, following defeat to Sporting, travel to Marseille – and the only remaining match of the day is Porto against Brugge.

For a closer look at all the action you can look forward to, Stats Perform has dived into the Opta data to highlight the most interesting facts for each match.

Bayern vs Barcelona

Scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Barcelona against Viktoria Plzen, Lewandowski returns to Bavaria with a devastating record this season and his goals in the 5-1 triumph saw Barcelona scoring more in one game than they had in their previous nine matches in the competition (4).

While that will give the visitors confidence, Barcelona have a poor record against the Bundesliga champions having suffered eight defeats in the competition to Bayern – twice as many as they have lost against any other opponent (4 vs Milan, Chelsea and PSG).

Four of those losses have come in the group stages, with Bayern winning both matches in 1998-99 and 2021-22 to boast a 100 per cent record against Barcelona in that regard, who have not lost more than twice against any other opponent in the group stage.

On top of that, Bayern have won 35 of their last 37 home matches in the group stages of the Champions League – the only exceptions being a 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in December 2013 and a 1-1 draw with Ajax in October 2018.

Liverpool vs Ajax

Liverpool won both meetings with Ajax in the 2020-21 Champions League group stages, the only campaign in the competition when they have met, with the Dutch side not beating Liverpool in any competition since a 5-1 win in December 1966.

Ajax's defeat to Liverpool in December 2020 is one of only two defeats that the Eredivisie champions have experienced in their last 25 matches (W13, D10) away from home in UEFA competition, the other being a 2-0 defeat to Getafe in February 2020 in the Europa League.

Having suffered defeat to Napoli last week, Liverpool are looking to avoid back-to-back defeats to start a Champions League campaign for the first time, while they have only lost their first home match in two of their previous 46 major European campaigns (W35, D9).

With seven Champions League wins in a row, Ajax travel to Anfield with a stellar run in the competition as only Bayern (8) boast a better winning streak currently.

Sporting vs Tottenham

While the two sides have never met competitively, Sporting are winless in all six of their Champions League matches against English opposition (D1, L5) and have lost all three of those games in Lisbon without scoring a single goal.

Tottenham's record against Portuguese opponents is scarce, winning against Pacos de Ferreira in the qualifying phases for the 2021-22 Europa League but not facing an opponent from the country in the Europe's premier competition since a 4-3 aggregate defeat to Benfica in the 1962-63 semi-final.

Sporting have never won their opening two matches in the Champions League, while Antonio Conte is looking to follow in the footsteps of Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs seek back-to-back wins to open a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2017-18 season under the Argentine.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico

Neither side has a particularly good record to encourage them heading into Tuesday's tie, with Leverkusen having won just four of their last 20 Champions League matches (D8, L8), while Atletico have only kept one clean sheet in 21 away matches against German opposition in major UEFA competitions.

Atletico have only won one of four away matches against Leverkusen, a 4-2 victory in February 2017 in the Champions League, and have won only one of their last seven matches in Germany – though that was the match in 2017.

Late drama is to be expected whenever Atletico compete in the Champions League, with five of their last 10 goals in the competition coming in the 90th minute of matches.

Other fixtures:

Viktoria Plzen vs Inter

8 - Viktoria Plzen have won their last eight home European matches (including qualifiers), scoring at least twice in every win (21 in total). They have only lost one of their last 19 on home soil in European football (W16 D2), a 5-0 reverse against Real Madrid during their last UEFA Champions League campaign in November 2018.

2 - Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, Inter striker Lautaro Martínez has scored just two goals from 48 shots (inc. blocks) in the UEFA Champions League. The Argentine’s shot conversion rate of 4.2 per cent (including blocks) is the lowest of any player to have attempted 30+ shots during this period.

Porto vs Brugge

3 - Porto have lost their last three UEFA Champions League matches, with two of those coming against Atletico; they have never lost four in a row in the competition before.

1 - In major European competition, Club Brugge have lost five of their six away matches in Portugal (W1), their one win coming against Sporting Braga in September 2011 in the UEFA Europa League.

Marseille vs Eintracht Frankfurt

15 - Marseille have lost 15 of their last 16 UEFA Champions League matches (W1), with the exception coming in their last home game in the competition in December 2020 against Olympiacos.

2 - Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt will face in European competition for only the second time, also meeting in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League group stages. Frankfurt won both matches (2-1 away, 4-0 home).

Edwin van der Sar has signed a new deal to stay on as Ajax chief executive officer until June 2025.

The 51-year-old has been part of Ajax's boardroom set-up for the past decade and has held his current position since 2016.

Van der Sar had a little over a year to run on his existing contract, but Ajax confirmed on Friday he has extended those terms by a further two years.

"A lot has happened in the last ten years at Ajax," Van der Sar, who also spent nine years in goal for Ajax, told the club's official website. 

"In these years we have grown with the club in many ways. The international recognition has, mostly due to the results of the first team, grown substantially. 

"But there is also an amazing organisation behind that success. Our goal is to become a structural part of the international top teams. 

"Starting 2024, the design of the European tournaments will change, and we want to compete yearly in the renewed Champions League. 

"That journey is not at an end, and I want to keep contributing to that process. Every day I get to work with enthusiastic co-workers who also want to keep raising the bar. 

"Not only with the first team, but also in the office, the youth academy, and the Ajax Women. 

"The stadium is always packed and the growth in sales of various Ajax kits to young and old, not only national but also international, is unreal. 

"We feel the support of our fans home and away. Enough reasons to keep putting my heart and soul in this club the coming years."

Ajax have won five trophies during Van der Sar's six years as CEO, including the Eredivisie title in three of the past four seasons.

Rangers' players "let a lot of people down" with their performance in Wednesday's heavy Champions League defeat to Ajax, according to midfielder Ryan Jack.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side were on the end of a 4-0 loss in Amsterdam, four days on from going down to rivals Celtic by the same scoreline in the Scottish Premiership.

Ajax were three ahead inside 33 minutes thanks to goals from Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis and Mohammed Kudus, which Steven Bergwijn later added to.

That is the earliest Ajax have ever led by three goals in a Champions League game as they beat Rangers for a fifth time in five meetings in all competitions.

Jack was at fault for the fourth of the hosts' goals, with a terrible pass being intercepted, and accepts his side were simply not good enough at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

"We have let a lot of people down tonight," he told BT Sport. "We apologise to the fans who sacrificed to make this trip and support us. 

"We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves. The games are coming thick and fast and we have to pick ourselves up, stick together and go again.

"Obviously everyone's disappointed. All we can do is pick ourselves up because we have a massive game away to Aberdeen. 

"We know how tough a venue that will be, so on the back of the two 4-0 defeats it's important we pick ourselves up."

Rangers had seven of their 11 starters from May's Europa League final loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, but Van Bronckhorst made a triple change at half-time.

That led to an improved second-half showing, albeit with Ajax taking their foot off the gas prior to Bergwijn's late fourth.

Reflecting on a third defeat in 12 matches this season, Van Bronckhorst said: "The performance wasn't good. The players are committed. They want to fight and work hard. 

"But against an opponent like Ajax when you're not as organised as you should be it's going to be tough.

"You don't want to give space away against Ajax. We gave less space away in the second half because we played a little bit more defensively. 

"We should have stayed more in our zones in the first half. We didn't do that so well and, as I said, every mistake is punished."

Ajax reached the last-16 stage last season and have now won each of their past four group matches in the competition, their best-such run since December 1995 (also four).

"This was a beautiful evening for us," Ajax playmaker Dusan Tadic told RTL7. "It was a great win in front of our fans. The team spirit was very good. 

"There was a lot of movement in the squad and we often put pressure on Rangers. We played very well and managed to show our own football. 

"I played in a new position for the third game in a row, and there is always room for improvement, but I have played for the team and I am very happy with this victory."

Ajax blew away Rangers with three first-half goals as the Dutch giants kicked off their Champions League campaign with a resounding 4-0 victory in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis and Mohammed Kudus were all on target inside 33 minutes, with that Ajax's earliest three-goal lead in the competition's history.

Rangers, also beaten 4-0 by rivals Celtic at the weekend, made a triple substitution at the break but Ajax showed no remorse and added a late fourth through Steven Bergwijn.

Ajax were dominant from the first whistle and there was a sense of inevitably about their opener when an unmarked Alvarez headed in Dusan Tadic's in-swinging corner.

Berghuis added a somewhat fortunate second for Ajax, the Netherlands winger's strike taking a big deflection off James Sands on its way past Jon McLaughlin.

A quickfire third followed as Kudus was allowed to charge into the box and fire a stunning shot across McLaughlin and into the top-far corner.

Rangers had a Borna Barisic strike chalked off for offside, and Ajax only added to their opponents' pain thanks to Bergwijn's finish following a terrible pass from Ryan Jack.

Gavi is one of the hottest young talents around Europe having become a regular at Barcelona in 2021-22.

The youngster has been capped 10 times for Spain already, despite only turning 18 in August.

However, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been frustrated that he is yet to re-commit to the club.

TOP STORY – BAYERN MUNICH ENTER GAVI PURSUIT

German champions Bayern Munich have joined the race for Barcelona's teenage midfielder Gavi, reports Bild.

Gavi is out of contract at the end of this season and already being pursued by Liverpool and Manchester United.

Bayern are monitoring Gavi's contract status to see if he does renew his deal with the Blaugrana, with reports he is restless.

ROUND-UP

– The Standard reports that Chelsea's main target in January is a new central midfielder, with Ajax's Mexico international Edson Alvarez top of the list.

– Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has offered a hint that Mason Mount is set for a new contract, liking a tweet from Fabrizio Romano that claimed talks are under way with a final proposal soon.

Miralem Pjanic may end his time with Barcelona on Tuesday, according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims he is set to fly to UAE to discuss a deal with Sharjah FC .

Wolves' proposed move for ex-Spain international Diego Costa could collapse due to his work permit application being denied due to a lack of recent international appearances, reports The Sun. The ex-Chelsea forward is a free agent.

Istanbul awaits next June, and this week the journey starts as the group stage of the Champions League begins.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to reach the final and lift the trophy. Most will fail in that quest, but that's not to say those who don't win the competition are failures.

Every year we enjoy breakout seasons from individuals in the Champions League as they announce themselves on the biggest stage.

Whether those performances earn big-money moves or simply greater acclaim, you can expect there to be a few players you might not be very familiar with who go on to impress.

Ahead of the first round of games, Stats Perform has identified a few to keep an eye out for.

Tanguy Nianzou, centre-back, 20 – Sevilla

After coming through Paris Saint-Germain's academy and then spending a season at Bayern Munich, France youth international Nianzou joined Sevilla as the replacement for Jules Kounde in pre-season.

It's been a rocky start for the youngster. He's part of a defence that's looked extremely unconvincing, with their expected goals against (excluding penalties) of 7.5 the second-worst in LaLiga after four games, three of which Sevilla have lost.

On matchday one, Nianzou will come up against Erling Haaland and Manchester City. The defender is very highly rated, but this will be a massive test of his readiness for regular football at such a level.

Goncalo Ramos, forward, 21 – Benfica

If you believe transfer gossip, there were plenty of clubs ready to prise Ramos from Benfica in the transfer window, but ultimately he stayed put and will be considered Darwin Nunez's replacement this season.

A well-rounded striker, Ramos works hard, is up for a physical battle and is technically proficient. Last season, he scored seven Primeira Liga goals as back-up to Nunez, although his early form in that regard this term suggests work is needed.

His two strikes from 3.9 xG show he's getting into good situations but isn't yet proving clinical – albeit he did net four in Champions League qualifying.

Benfica are in a group with Juventus and PSG, so they'll hope Ramos finds a reliable streak to aid their outside chance of progression.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, winger, 21 – Napoli

The first winner of Serie A's Player of the Month award of the new season – and in his very first month in the league – it's been some introduction from Kvaratskhelia.

He was playing back home in Georgia in the second half of last season after being able to suspend his contract at Rubin Kazan amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. His deal was then terminated by Rubin after it emerged he was subject to death threats after leaving.

Kvaratskhelia had been linked with numerous big clubs but eventually landed at Napoli as Lorenzo Insigne's replacement. They may not be anything alike as players, but that's not stopped Kvaratskhelia having a major early impact with four goals in five Serie A games.

A tall winger who possesses great dribbling skills, he's a player primed to make a statement this season.

Lorenzo Lucca, striker, 21 – Ajax

He may only be 21, but Lucca's fledgling career has already been somewhat nomadic, finding himself registered as a senior player at six clubs – the latest being Ajax, whom he joined on loan with an option to buy from Serie B side Pisa.

Remarkably, the last of his six league goals for Pisa last season came in October, so it's clear the jury is still out and he has a lot to prove, but he has the attributes to be a threat for any team.

Standing at just over two metres tall, Lucca is a giant, yet he also possesses a surprising turn of pace and is technically very good. The Italy Under-21 international has only played 21 minutes with the first team this season, but he has three goals in two games for the second string.

It's unlikely he'll be a key figure for Ajax, but given his skillset he will be a viable option at times – let's just see if he can take his chances.

Matt O'Riley, midfielder, 21 – Celtic

Last season, O'Riley was playing in League One for MK Dons; on Tuesday, he'll likely line-up against Real Madrid. It's been quite a quick ascension for the gifted midfielder.

A product of Fulham's academy, O'Riley left the Cottagers stunned when he rejected a new contract in 2020. He spent six months training with Dons and then signed for them in January 2021 – that saw him exposed to first-team football and a year later he was at Celtic.

The London-born Denmark Under-21 international has enjoyed a wonderful start to the season, with his vision and ball-playing abilities marking him out as a real creative threat and earning links to Manchester United.

How he fares in the Champions League with the step up in quality could prove crucial with respect to his short-term future.

Deadline day has seen major transfers aplenty, with clubs across Europe pushing to complete final pieces of business before the window slams shut until 2023.

Barcelona have terminated Martin Braithwaite's contract, the forward widely expected to join Espanyol, while in France, Abdou Diallo completed a switch to RB Leipzig to begin an exodus from Paris Saint-Germain.

Further deals for both clubs are also on the cards, with a frantic end to the window expected in the final hours.

Premier League's power push

PSG's exodus was of benefit to English sides, Fulham signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan and Everton bringing Idrissa Gueye back to Merseyside three years after he left for the French capital. Gueye said: "There is no better feeling than coming back home. I've followed the team every week and watched how they play. For me, there is no better place than Everton so that's why I chose to come back here."

Fulham have also signed former Chelsea and Arsenal playmaker Willian on a free transfer.

Nottingham Forest hit number 19 for the window, drafting in Willy Boly from Wolves, while Southampton saw Jack Stephens move across the south coast to join Bournemouth on loan.

Arsenal's quest for a new midfielder has seen attention turn to Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz, though the Gunners face a stern test with bids reportedly rebuffed from the side they defeated 2-1 on Wednesday.

Chelsea look set to bring one of the long-running sagas of the window to a close, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poised to join from Barcelona. Marcos Alonso is expected to move to Camp Nou as part of that deal and the Blues may sell Billy Gilmour to Brighton and Hove Albion.

One player not on the move, however, was Joao Pedro as he confirmed he would remain at Watford amid reported interest from Newcastle United and Everton.

Europe's eye for business

On the continent, Julian Weigl moved to Borussia Monchengladbach on loan from Benfica. 

Free agent Florian Grillitsch has joined Ajax, who are said to have turned down approaches from Chelsea and Everton for Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus respectively.

Krzysztof Piatek also departed Germany, leaving Hertha Berlin for Serie A side Salertina, and was followed to Italy by Aster Vranckx, joining Milan on loan from Wolfsburg.

The Serie A champions are not yet finished, with an announcement confirming the capture of Sergino Dest from Barcelona expected imminently.

In Spain, Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, joined second-tier outfit Eibar on a free transfer following his exit from Rayo Vallecano and Ilaix Moriba joined Valencia on loan from Leipzig, with Gennaro Gattuso's side also closing in on signing Justin Kluivert from Roma following the collapse of a proposed move to the Premier League.

Real Sociedad were also in on the late action, landing forward Umar Sadiq from Tenerife, the Nigerian likely to be a replacement for Alexander Isak.

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