Anthony Martial has taken savage swipes at former Manchester United managers Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, accusing both of mistreating him during their Old Trafford reigns.

French forward Martial became the most expensive teenager in history at the time when he completed a September 2015 move worth up to £58million (€69m) from Monaco.

Signed by Louis van Gaal, he spent less than a year playing under the Dutchman, with whom he said he had "a great relationship".

Mourinho was Van Gaal's successor, appointed in May 2016, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among the first signings by the new boss.

According to Martial, his problems with Mourinho "started with the story of the jersey number", saying he unwillingly gave up the number nine to Swedish star Ibrahimovic.

"During the holidays, he [Mourinho] sends me a message to ask me if I want to change to the 11, explaining to me that it is great because it is that of the legend Ryan Giggs," Martial told France Football magazine.

"I tell him that I have the greatest respect for Giggs, but I prefer to keep the nine. And when I return to the club, I see my jersey with the 11, the story didn't start well. He lacked direct respect for me."

Martial said Mourinho, who is now boss of Roma, began to use "little phrases, a bit like he had done with Karim Benzema at Real [Madrid]", when talking in the media about Martial.

"He likes these little games, but he also knows who he is doing it with. He knows that I was 20 years old then, and that if I say something it is me who will pass for the young person who lacks respect," Martial said. "So I said nothing, it was useless."

Martial took issue with losing his place to another new recruit, Alexis Sanchez, who joined from Arsenal midway through the 2017-18 season.

"It's the season of the World Cup, and it cost me dearly in the end, especially since the France team won. I should have been there," Martial said.

Mourinho was sacked by United in December 2018, with club favourite Solskjaer coming in as a surprise successor.

France international Martial finished the 2019-20 campaign as United's top scorer with 23 goals, yet he subsequently faded from favour. He claimed Solskjaer mismanaged him after that prolific campaign.

Soon after Solskjaer's dismissal in November 2021, Martial was loaned out to Sevilla, where he scored once in 12 appearances, nine of which were starts.

Martial said he had "regularly played injured" during Solskjaer's reign, claiming the manager failed to make that clear to outsiders as he struggled.

"The coach never bothered to tell the media," said Martial, who remains a United player. "Obviously, I ended up getting injured for good and when I came back I didn't play any more. I took it very badly, I had a feeling of injustice.

"You're asked to sacrifice yourself for the team and afterwards you are dismissed. For me, it's almost treachery."

Cristiano Ronaldo was named among the substitutes as Erik ten Hag chose his first Manchester United starting XI in the Premier League.

The Portugal star's relationship with United was a constant sideshow during pre-season, as he did not go on their tour of Australia and Thailand owing to personal reasons, though at the time there was frequent speculation suggesting he wanted to leave for a Champions League club.

No such move materialised and he played the first 45 minutes against Rayo Vallecano last weekend, his only action of pre-season.

But that occasion only increased the spotlight on Ronaldo, as he was one of several players to leave Old Trafford early, conduct Ten Hag described as "unacceptable" in an interview on Dutch television.

Ten Hag subsequently tried to draw a line under the situation at his news conference on Friday, adamant Ronaldo had attracted unfair focus given how many players left early last Sunday.

Similarly, the Dutchman suggested there was to be no further punishment for the guilty parties.

As such, Ten Hag explained prior to Sunday's game that Ronaldo's presence on the bench is down to his lack of pre-season action, even though United are without a recognised striker with Anthony Martial injured.

Ten Hag told MUTV: "I already mentioned; short pre-season, he only started training last week.

"He only played 45 minutes and he's not on the fitness levels the rest of the team is.

"In the Premier League, the games I saw this weekend were really tough and a high intensity."

In Ronaldo's absence, Ten Hag opted to deploy Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in attack, with support from Bruno Fernandes.

Elsewhere in the team, Lisandro Martinez – a pre-season arrival from Ten Hag's former club Ajax – was chosen to partner Harry Maguire at centre-back, while Christian Eriksen was also selected for his debut.

Ronaldo is joined on the bench by Ten Hag's first signing, Tyrell Malacia, as well as Raphael Varane, promising youngster Alejandro Garnacho and James Garner, who impressed on loan at Nottingham Forest last season.

Erik ten Hag looked to move past the controversy surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo's early departure from a pre-season friendly as the Dutchman prepares for his first Premier League game as Manchester United manager.

Ronaldo was one of several United players who left Old Trafford early during last weekend's 1-1 friendly draw with Rayo Vallecano.

Ten Hag gave an interview on Dutch television during the week and called such actions "unacceptable".

While he was talking broadly about all players who went home early, the focus of those quotes in the media was on Ronaldo.

The Portugal star's relationship with United has been a constant sideshow during pre-season, as he did not go on their tour of Australia and Thailand owing to personal reasons, though at the time there was frequent speculation suggesting he wanted to leave for a Champions League club.

No such move has materalised and he played the first 45 minutes against Rayo, his only action of pre-season, with Ronaldo unsurprisingly the centre of attention during Ten Hag's first Premier League pre-match news conference on Friday.

"Now I have to point. Those who left early, there were many," Ten Hag said when asked about his criticism of the players. "But the spotlight is on Ronaldo, and that's not right.

"He was part of it, but again it was a lot of players. So do you research and make [it clear that] many players left."

Pressed by a reporter on whether he was happy that Ronaldo was content at the club, the somewhat prickly Ten Hag replied: "I'm really happy, I told you before. We have a top striker, I'm happy he's here. He's in the squad and we stick to the plan."

Ten Hag was subsequently asked what measures could be implemented to ensure players do not take liberties in future, though he appeared to confirm none of those guilty on this occasion were facing disciplinary action.

"I think we said enough of it. I said it's not correct, clear. You mention it, correct them, and then move on," he said.

"I think I am satisfied with the whole team, they're working well, it's a good culture. And also Ronaldo, he's working really hard."

Ronaldo seemingly has a strong chance of starting in Sunday's visit of Brighton and Hove Albion, with their only other recognised senior striker – Anthony Martial – sustaining a hamstring injury against Atletico Madrid last Saturday.

The Frenchman, who endured a disappointing loan spell at Sevilla in the second half of last season, had looked sharp in pre-season but now appears set to begin the campaign on the sidelines.

"It's always difficult to say [how long he will be out for] with these injuries, I hope not too long," Ten Hag said.

Juventus have been targeting a deal for Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, hoping he can be acquired for around £20million.

Firmino, 30, has spent the past seven seasons with Liverpool, playing a major role in winning the 2019-20 Premier League and 2018-19 Champions League, but in the past season a series of injuries limited him to his fewest league appearances (20) and league goals (five) since arriving at Anfield.

Corriere dello Sport claims the Brazilian was not Juventus' first choice when weighing up the striker market, but interest grew as it became increasingly unlikely they would be able to bring Alvaro Morata back to the club from Atletico Madrid.


TOP STORY – WITH MORATA UNLIKELY TO RETURN, JUVENTUS PIVOT TO FIRMINO

Darwin Nunez's arrival has given Liverpool an abundance of options up front, and instead of letting Firmino operate as a back-up as his value continues to diminish, the club could elect to cash in, if the price is right.

The report from Italy claims Juventus have also been investigating the possibility of acquiring Chelsea's Timo Werner or Manchester United's Anthony Martial, but securing Firmino would put an end to those pursuits.

Reports from England have indicated Liverpool are not interested in selling for the fee Juventus have so far proposed.

Meanwhile, Marca is reporting that Juventus are also in the hunt for Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo, with Manchester City and Newcastle United their main competition.


ROUND-UP

– Spanish publication Cadena Ser claims Frenkie de Jong has told team-mates he has no plans to leave Barcelona in the current transfer period, despite strong interest from Manchester United.

– Cadena Ser is also reporting that Barcelona will look to sell highly paid goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for financial relief if they can not convince De Jong to leave.

– According to The Athletic, Bournemouth are set to sign 23-year-old Middlesbrough winger Marcus Tavernier for £10million.

Roma are reportedly in the final stages of securing Georginio Wijnaldum on a loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain, with negotiations said to be continuing about the percentage of salary the French club will cover during his stay in Italy.

– The Daily Mail is reporting that Ajax have raised their asking price for Manchester United target Antony to £84million, likely indicating they have no intention of parting ways with the 22-year-old Brazil international.

Erik ten Hag said he was already seeing improvements in Manchester United's pressing after a 3-1 friendly win against Crystal Palace, but insisted there remains "a lot of work to do" ahead of the new season.

United maintained their 100 per cent winning record across pre-season with a routine triumph over Patrick Vieira's out-of-sorts side in Melbourne, with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho netting before youngster Will Fish received a late red card.

In opening the scoring with a neat volleyed finish, Martial became the first United player to score in three consecutive pre-season contests since 2007, when Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney did so ahead of a season in which United won the Premier League and Champions League.

As United finished a lowly sixth in the Premier League under caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick last season, their lack of an organised pressing style came under fire.

United ranked just 12th in the Premier League for possessions won in both the final and middle thirds of the pitch last season, as Liverpool topped both charts, and 37-year-old forward Ronaldo received particular scrutiny over his contributions outside of his clear goal threat.

After Tuesday's win, Ten Hag told MUTV: "We are happy with the improvement we see, but we see also there is a lot of work to do."

Asked specifically about United's pressing, he said: "That is a demand on the team, we press, we press all day. 

"If we can, we do it high on the pitch, if we can't, we do it in a lower block, but we have to do it together, as a team. The timing of the press, I still see switches we can't afford, we can prepare a better press. 

"I think also on the ball [we can improve]. We played well, but you see at 2-0 up or 3-0 up the belief is increasing, then with the ball we can delay, we can postpone so that opponents come out, and then speed up."

While Ronaldo's future at the club remains subject to speculation after he reportedly asked to leave for a Champions League club, Ten Hag is demanding greater off-the-ball work from all his forwards.

"I hope we can convince them [the attackers] to do a lot of work, a lot of running," he added. "You see, they put a lot of energy into the defence and they get rewarded by scoring goals, winning balls high up the pitch.

"No opponent likes to be pressed on the defensive line. I think it's a big advantage when you can do that, but you need the whole team."

Creative midfielder Bruno Fernandes is also relishing United's new, high-octane style, adding: "I think that we're much more aggressive now, firstly with the three guys up front; when they press, they press really strong.

"It makes where we recover the ball much closer to the goal. We are much more fresh to do that, we have more freedom when we recover the ball and we're playing much better on the ball too."

Erik ten Hag has demanded focus and motivation from Anthony Martial as the striker looks to ensure his Manchester United future.

Martial's United career seemed to be ebbing to a disappointing conclusion when he was loaned out to Sevilla in January.

The France international hardly set the world alight in Andalusia, either, scoring just once across 12 games in all competitions.

He has returned to United ahead of the 2022-23 campaign and has so far looked sharp in pre-season, netting in a 4-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday and in Friday's 4-1 victory over Melbourne Victory.

Ten Hag is confident there is more to come from the 26-year-old, who he says must be fully committed to getting the best out of himself.

The Dutchman told reporters in Australia: "I'm sure he can come back even better.

"I think when he has the right focus and the right motivation and he works hard he will have production because he is a good player.

"I say when he has the right focus and every day delivers his maximum then he will have production and it's up to him."

Depending on Cristiano Ronaldo's future, Martial is likely to compete with Marcus Rashford for a place on the left of United's attack under Ten Hag, who has been impressed with the link-up he has seen between Jadon Sancho, right-back Diogo Dalot and playmaker Bruno Fernandes on the opposite flank.

"From the right side I was quite satisfied and we create a lot off the right side, four or five really good chances, we turned around the game, that was the really good thing, we don't come down, we react and we deal with the setback," said Ten Hag, whose team fell behind on Friday before going on to win comfortably.

"Sure, Sancho [performed well], but I think the whole right side played really well because there's a good connection between Jadon Sancho and Diogo and Bruno [Fernandes]."

Erik ten Hag will get Manchester United into gear and enable them to meet high expectations this upcoming Premier League season, according to left-back Luke Shaw.

Ten Hag arrived in the close season to replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who in turn followed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after United finished the league season in sixth on 58 points – their lowest tally in the Premier League era and 13 points off the Champions League spots.

The former Ajax coach is the fifth permanent manager to take over at Old Trafford since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, and United were expected to be active in the transfer market as Ten Hag aims to rebuild.

But United have only signed Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia so far, despite Rangnick suggesting the Red Devils may need up to 10 players to reshape their squad to compete.

While the lack of transfer activity remains questionable, Shaw believes Ten Hag will raise the performance levels and provide a structure that was lacking in previous seasons.

"It's clear that he's a top, top manager," Shaw, who played 20 league games last season, said at a fan event in Bangkok. "He has a structure to play the way he wants us to play.

"We haven't had that for quite a while and it was clear to see last season, which was extremely disappointing.

"We have to bounce back, and he has been working us extremely hard, but I think we need it. We're really looking forward to this season because I know it's going to be much better than the last one."

Shaw was joined by team-mates Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial in a question-and-answer segment at the event, and was asked to provide a word that best reflects United's new outlook.

While Varane and Martial provided non-committal responses, Shaw proclaimed the team's ambition with the word "trophy", something United have not picked up since the Europa League in 2017.

Before travelling to Australia for an exhibition tour, United will face Liverpool on Tuesday in Thailand to kick off their pre-season.

Arsenal are looking to bring in two forwards this off-season after narrowly missing out on Champions League football.

With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah's contracts expiring and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already leaving in January, the Gunners are in need in attack.

According to reports, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has identified the players to propel his side forward.

TOP STORY – ARSENAL IDENTIFY STRIKER TARGETS    

Arsenal are looking to bring in Victor Osimhen and Gabriel Jesus this off-season, according to Goal.

Jesus' contract at Manchester City expires following the end of the next season, but the Gunners have reportedly been in talks for weeks with his representatives, with a deal early in the window in mind.

Meanwhile, it is understood Osimhen's agent flew to London for a meeting with Arsenal technical director Edu over a possible transfer.

With Napoli having qualified for the Champions League and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis driving a traditionally hard bargain, however, the 23-year-old's transfer will not come cheap.

Although Arsenal may be looking for two forwards, it remains to be seen if they opt for two big-money signings.

ROUND-UP

– Eden Hazard has ruled out an off-season departure from Real Madrid, citing unfinished business after an injury-plagued time at the club, per HLN.

– Sevilla will not be turning Anthony Martial's loan deal from Manchester United into a permanent move, according to the Daily Mail.

– Raphinha has reportedly told Leeds United he wants to leave this off-season to play for Barcelona, Sport reports.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is set to have a £200m influx of transfer funds as Todd Boehly's takeover nears completion, the Telegraph is reporting.

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

Tic tac, tic tac, as it goes in the Spanish media. Real Madrid's courting of Kylian Mbappe has long avoided subtlety and discretion, but he remains their primary target.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has just about become the world's best footballer in the meantime, contributing an extraordinary 33 goals and 18 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this term.

A move to the Spanish capital at the end of the season remains a possibility, and reports suggest Real Madrid will go all out to make it happen.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE REMAINS MADRID'S PRIMARY TARGET

Real Madrid are confident they will sign Kylian Mbappe amid the increasing likelihood of Erling Haaland joining Manchester City, according to the Daily Mail.

With the end of the season and the subsequent expiration of the 23-year-old's contract nearing, Madrid and Mbappe have yet to sign a pre-contractual agreement as a means of not disrespecting PSG.

While the club are playing the waiting game, they remain confident for the sole fact a new deal with PSG has not yet been signed and confirmed.

Mbappe has reportedly remained the club's first preference despite interest in Haaland, who appears set to join Manchester City.

ROUND-UP

 Anthony Martial appears set to return to Manchester United with Sevilla not interested in making his loan deal permanent, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Tottenham from Juventus on a permanent basis despite another season left on his 18-month loan, reports the Evening Standard.

– According to Tuttosport, Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici has also identified Torino defensive pair Gleison Bremer and Wilfried Singo as potential targets.

Real Madrid are also keen on signing Jude Bellingham but Borussia Dortmund are intent on keeping the 18-year-old and are prepared to increase his standing at the club, Bild is reporting.

Sevilla and Real Madrid were title rivals when they last met in LaLiga back in November.

Then, as is the case now, Madrid led the table, but Sevilla were just two points back in third having played the same number of games. Optimism was growing for a genuine title fight.

But the team the capital from behind to win 2-1 through a late Vinicius Junior goal and have since opened a significant gap to Sevilla.

Including the three earned at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid have collected 10 more points than Sevilla in the intervening period.

Now, as the sides prepare to face off again at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Carlo Ancelotti's men – fresh from reaching the Champions League semi-finals – look to be coasting towards a 35th championship.

Even victory for Sevilla would only close the deficit to nine points with six games to play – and such a result feels highly unlikely based on recent history.

One-sided recent rivalry

Perhaps discussion of a tussle at the top earlier in the season was premature given Madrid's dominance of this fixture in the past few seasons.

Defeat at the Bernabeu was Sevilla's fifth in six league matches against Madrid, with their other encounter in that run a draw.

Indeed, this is their worst winless run against Madrid since a sequence of 15 games between May 1993 and April 2003 – 13 of which were losses. That was Sevilla's longest such streak against Madrid in LaLiga history.

 

Away day success in Andalusia 

This miserable stretch for Sevilla has included consecutive home defeats to Madrid, who are now bidding to win three in a row away from home in this fixture for the first time since a run of four ended in November 1996.

Those past two Madrid victories have been by 1-0 scorelines, meaning they could become only the third team in LaLiga history to win three in a row at Sevilla without conceding after Barcelona in March 1961 (three matches) and Celta Vigo in November 2003 (four).

Madrid have enjoyed recent trips to Andalusia as a whole, winning on their past seven visits. This is their best ever such run in LaLiga.

Los Blancos have scored in 31 of their past 32 league matches in the region (W24 D2 L6) for 78 goals in total at a rate of 2.44 goals per game.

Can ex-flop Lop stop the rot?

The match in November was Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui's 100th in LaLiga, but it should have come as no surprise that it did not come to plan. His career rarely has when Lopetegui has become entwined with Madrid.

His Spain tenure was ended prematurely when he agreed to join Madrid as coach on the eve of the 2018 World Cup – a decision that panned out for nobody.

Lopetegui oversaw just six wins in 14 matches in all competitions before he was sacked after a 5-1 defeat to rivals Barcelona. His win rate of 42.9 per cent was the second-lowest among all Madrid coaches to oversee multiple games.

As evidenced by the result in November, things have scarcely improved for Lopetegui where Madrid are concerned since his dismissal.

He has overseen five of the six matches in Sevilla's winless run in this fixture, with the four defeats tied for his most against any team in LaLiga – along with Barca, of course.

On the other hand, opposite number Ancelotti has won six of his seven games against Sevilla as a coach, including two victories in finals, winning the UEFA Super Cup with Milan in 2007 and Madrid in 2014.

Benz at his best while Martial flounders

It was hoped the January signing of Anthony Martial would boost Sevilla's title hopes, yet his only goal in their colours so far came in the Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb.

There has been just a single assist in LaLiga, too, meaning Martial is still waiting for his 100th goal involvement in Europe's top five leagues two months on from his 99th – that tee-up for Rafa Mir against Elche.

 

This underwhelming form stands in stark contrast to that of compatriot Karim Benzema, who has 38 goals in 38 games in all competitions this season, with only Robert Lewandowski matching his 51 goal involvements among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Benzema has eight goals in 21 LaLiga games against Sevilla, although he has scored just once in 10 visits to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Only at Camp Nou (one goal in 13 games) has he played as many games while scoring so few goals.

Of all the seasons to improve that return, though, this is surely the one.

Everton have endured a nightmarish season and currently find themselves in the Premier League's relegation scramble.

The Toffees are sitting only three points above the relegation zone, despite two games in hand on 18th-placed Watford.

Just as pertinent is their financial situation, which will reportedly force them into having to sell one of their most valuable assets.

TOP STORY – EVERTON TO CHOOSE BETWEEN RICHARLISON AND CALVERT-LEWIN

The Sun is reporting Richarlison or Dominic Calvert-Lewin will have to leave Everton in order for the club to balance their books.

Their latest figures revealed a £121million loss in the last financial year, and one of the two strikers will now have to be sold.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are Everton's two highest goal scorers still at the club since the latter arrived in 2016. The Brazilian has scored 47 in 142 appearances in all competitions, while the former Sheffield United man has tallied 55 in 180 games.

Richarlison is a reported target for Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Arsenal apparently keeping a close eye on Calvert-Lewin's situation.

ROUND-UP

– England midfielder Kalvin Phillips has told Leeds United he wants to sign a new contract, potentially warding off interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle, per The Mirror.

– According to ESPN, Anthony Martial could be used to create a package deal from Manchester United for Tottenham's Harry Kane .

– Le Parisien report N'Golo Kante turned down an offer to leave Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain in January.

Milan have cooled on Real Madrid's Marco Asensio due to the 26-year-old's wage demands, as reported by Tuttosport.

Barcelona are reportedly too restricted by LaLiga financial rules to enter the race for the world's best players, even after inking a deal with Spotify worth up to $235million.

Xavi's side have gone from strength to strength recently, finding form and re-establishing Barcelona as a prime destination, with a number of strong signings rumoured to be heading to Camp Nou in the next transfer window.

While there may be interest in bringing in the biggest names in the world, Barcelona supporters will likely need to lower their expectations.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OUT OF SALAH RACE

It was reported that Barcelona have interest in signing Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, but The Daily Mirror claims that it will not be possible due to LaLiga's financial rules.

Salah – who boasts 28 goals and 10 assists in 36 matches for Liverpool this season – is likely to fetch a price similar to Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who Barcelona president Joan Laporta ruled out when talking with RAC 1, as well as Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, due to the lofty figures.

While Barca may not be willing to fork out €100m for a single signing, they are rumoured to have agreed to terms with Robert Lewandowski, who could fetch up to €60m at 33 years old, as well as Franck Kessie and Cesar Azpilicueta, with further interest in Ajax's Antony and Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

ROUND-UP

– Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Premier League strikers Timo Werner and Anthony Martial from Chelsea and Manchester United, according to 90Min.

– According to The Sun, Newcastle United are keen on signing Watford's Ismaila Sarr in the upcoming transfer window in a deal believed to be worth around £35m.

– Leeds United have placed an asking price of £67m on Brazilian winger Raphinha, per The Daily Mirror, with The Athletic also reporting that the club insists his only release clause is triggered if the Whites are relegated from the Premier League.

– Calciomercato is reporting that Arsenal and Atletico Madrid will be competing for the signature of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, with the Italian club said to be interested if the fee hits £58m.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, Paulo Dybala is interested in joining Atletico Madrid when his contract expires after this season, and while Inter also have interest, they would need to sell Martinez to do so.

Anthony Martial acknowledged he fell out of love with football at Manchester United before rediscovering his enjoyment on loan at Sevilla.

Julen Lopetegui's side staved off interest from Juventus and Barcelona to secure the services of Martial on loan in January after limited opportunities at Old Trafford this season.

Rangnick confirmed in December that the 26-year-old wanted to leave due to a lack of first-team chances – he had played the full 90 minutes of a game only once this season and featured for just eight minutes since the German's arrival.

Martial has since registered 297 minutes of action for Sevilla across all competitions, with Lopetegui's team second in LaLiga - 10 points behind Real Madrid - and still in contention for the Europa League.

Sevilla face West Ham in the return leg of their last-16 clash on Thursday in Europe's secondary club competition, and Martial will be hoping to add to his current tally of one goal in six games.

Despite not finding his feet in front of goal as of yet, Martial expressed how much he is enjoying life in Spain.

"For me, it was the best option to play and enjoy football again. I lost it [love for the game] a little bit in Manchester because I was not playing," Martial told the Daily Mail.

"I feel very good in Sevilla. The city is very good and we are a good team so, for me, it's perfect. I'm playing so I'm happy.

"But I'm here just until the end of the season and that's it."

 

Martial became the most expensive teenager in history at the time when he completed a move worth up to £58million (€69m) from Monaco in 2015.

The France international hit the ground running in Manchester, finishing the 2019-20 campaign as United's top scorer with 23 goals.

However, the arrival of Rangnick caused problems after a well-publicised rift between the pair following the German's claims that Martial refused to feature against Aston Villa, which the player denied.

"I asked United to leave because I wanted to play," he added. "I still have a contract but they know what I want, so we will see at the end of the season.

"When he [Rangnick] arrived, my objective was to leave. I told him I wanted to leave and that's it.

"He talked to me and said, 'If you want to stay, with the way you train you will play if you keep training like that'. But I wanted to have a new atmosphere and a new club."

Martial refused to suggest he will use the Sevilla loan as a chance to prove a point to United, but he will use the opportunity to show his worth to France ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"I'm just going there to win and help the team," he continued. "I don't care what people say about me. Really.

"The World Cup for me is an objective. I want to be part of this group and that's why I'm here because I want to play and show I can be in the squad. I need to show my quality and score goals."

Anthony Martial revealed that Barcelona and Juventus both attempted to sign him in January, but the forward chose Sevilla as "the best option" for him and his family.

Julen Lopetegui's side brought the France international in on loan until the end of the season after limited opportunities under Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United.

Rangnick confirmed in December that the 26-year-old wanted away from Old Trafford due to a lack of chances – he had played the full 90 minutes of a game only once this season and featured for just eight minutes since the German's first game.

But the destination of Martial's move might have been different, with the former Monaco man revealing both Juve and Barca were interested in his services.

"Juventus tried to sign me," he told Diario de Sevilla in an interview released on Wednesday. 

"I was talking to my agent and told him that I preferred to go to Sevilla. It was the best option for me and my family.

"Barcelona spoke with my agent. But as I said, I spoke to my agent and told him: 'My priority is Sevilla'. And when I say something to someone, I don't change it, I keep my word.

"For me it was the right decision because I knew I was going to play and for me playing was the most important thing. 

"Other big clubs tried to convince me but I preferred to come to Sevilla because I knew that Sevilla was a very good club, a family club. For me it was the right decision."

The Bianconeri subsequently brought in Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in a deal potentially worth €80million, with the Serbia star scoring on his debut against Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Barca managed to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who terminated his contract with Arsenal, and Adama Traore on loan from Wolves to bolster his attacking ranks, which also include Ferran Torres after his arrival at the start of January.

The finances of Martial's loan were not revealed, but he confirmed he agreed to lower wages to secure a move to Spain as he looks to impress France boss Didier Deschamps ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"Both Sevilla and I have made an effort so that I could come," he responded when asked about the finances behind the agreement. 

"I have less salary, but I also know that paying my salary is an effort for the club. So we've both made an effort. But I know that this effort will be good for both parties."

On World Cup selection, he added: "Yes. It is one of my goals. I want to do it because the last time I was not in the World Cup and France won it. So I'll do my best to be there this time."

Martial will be hoping to make an impact on Friday when Sevilla host Elche as Lopetegui's men look to cut the six-point gap on Real Madrid at the summit of the Spanish top flight.

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