It's November 25, 2020. A young German winger stands on the touchline anxiously waiting to step on to the Allianz Arena pitch for his Champions League debut in his hometown.

But as he waits to be allowed on, there are people watching both on television and in the largely empty stands who know this isn't how it should've been.

Rather than wearing the all-red of Bayern Munich, Karim Adeyemi jogs on in the all-black of Salzburg with the Austrian champions 3-0 down.

A technically gifted and rapid forward, Adeyemi has long been considered one of Germany's most promising young players, having cost Salzburg a reported €3million when he was 16.

Adeyemi had left Bayern six years earlier. It's a detail that has dominated much of his early professional career, with questions about why he left never far away.

Now 20, Adeyemi has previously spoken at length about his attitude as a kid, how learning wasn't much to his liking and distraction was a regular nuisance to him. These factors certainly didn't help at Bayern.

Neither, Adeyemi alleged in the past, did the club, who he said showed little support to players who strayed from "the plan". The collective, rather than individualistic talents, was prioritised.

He and Bayern were simply not a good match at the time. He left Die Roten and, while such a disappointment might've been enough to derail other ordinary kids, Adeyemi has since proven he is rather extraordinary.

A move to a smaller local club, Unterhaching, soon followed. It was there that, according to youth coach Marc Unterberger, Adeyemi was able to develop with a greater degree of individual emphasis and that eventually translated into him becoming a better asset for the team as a whole.

"He had his own thoughts on how to deal with things," Unterberger told Stats Perform in 2021. "We never wanted to change him completely, and I think we succeeded quite well. Karim is a really great guy and a great person.

"Until the time Karim came to us, we had never had such an exceptional player in our youth division.

"Of course, as a young person, you benefit from being accepted for who you are, but I would like to make it very clear that there was no situation within the team in which Karim behaved in such a way that we as a club were forced to act.

"On the contrary, over time he developed more and more towards putting himself at the service of the team. He was easily distracted, that's right, but let's be honest, something like this is normal when young people develop."

Unterberger arguably knows Adeyemi better than any other coach, given he was there for the youngster's entire six-year stay at Unterhaching.

"I can still remember it very well, the first time I saw him play in an Under-11 tournament," he recalled.

"Back then he was still playing for TSV Forstenried. My first thought was: 'We absolutely need this player'. Fortunately, it worked out later!"

That might be something of an understatement in reality. The €3m fee that Unterhaching received made him the most expensive Under-18 German player ever at the time, while 2019 saw him win the Fritz-Walter Gold Medal, an award handed out to Germany's best youth player. Previous winners include Timo Werner, Emre Can and Mario Gotze.

But most importantly, that move proved an unequivocal success for the player, as did his next.

Adeyemi confirmed to Stats Perform last year that he rejected the chance to join Chelsea from Unterhaching in his teens, instead opting to move just over the border to Salzburg. Had he gone to London, maybe he would've broken into their first-team – but it's probably just as likely that he'd have been lost among the Blues' army of loan players.

That's not to say loans can't work. Adeyemi's Salzburg career was carefully mapped out for him even before he joined, and that included an initial 18-month stint with Liefering, who essentially act as a B team. A haul of 15 goals and eight assists in the second tier provided strong evidence the teenager was ready for the step up in 2020.

His introduction to top-tier football wasn't quite so explosive, only having a hand in goals in six of his first 29 Austrian Bundesliga matches, but a key factor here was the need to remain patient – only nine of those 29 games were as a starter.

It wasn't until the final three months of 2020-21 that Adeyemi began to nail down a starting role, with seven of his 11 starts coming between mid-February and the end of May. This period also yielded six of his seven league goals.

This proved the final push he needed – with Patson Daka leaving for Leicester City, Adeyemi went from being the forwards' supporting act to the leading man in attack.

As you'd expect, this led to a bit of a change in his role, but there's no doubt he's thriving, securing his first senior international cap in September and finding himself linked heavily with Borussia Dortmund.

 

Sure, chance creation frequency is down (2.7 per 90, to 1.6), but the pay-off in terms of his effectiveness in front of goal is more than worth it.

His 14 goals is a league high, while only Kelvin Yeboah (11.2) – who has since joined Genoa – can better Adeyemi's 10.1 non-penalty expected goals (np-xG). Though on a per-90-minute basis, Adeyemi ranks first in the division with 0.72 np-xG (minimum 650 minutes played).

But it would be doing Adeyemi a huge disservice to give the impression he's 'just' some poacher. He's an immensely exciting player characterised by his explosive pace, low centre of gravity and silky ability on the ball. Yeboah (21) is the sole forward with more carries leading to shots and chances created than Adeyemi (21), though the Ghanaian's total comes from nearly 300 minutes more on the pitch.

It's a similar story in the Champions League. His carries led to a combined total of eight shots and chances created in the group stage – the only Opta-defined strikers to better that were Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo (both nine) and Arnaut Danjuma (14).

 

Even if it's reductive to just look at that metric, there's no doubt his performances have translated to European football's biggest stage – Sevilla's Diego Carlos will have been hoping to never see the youngster again after terrorising the Brazilian in the group.

Adeyemi's displays were a major factor in Salzburg reaching the knockouts of the Champions League for the first time in their history.

It would be a truly inspirational tale were it to be him, the young Bavarian cast-off, who plotted Bayern's downfall this time.

Julian Nagelsmann has backed Bayern Munich to bounce back from hitting rock Bochum.

The Bayern boss will send out his team to face Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday after a wave of criticism in the wake of a shock 4-2 weekend defeat.

Such are the sky-high standards at German giants Bayern that the 4-2 loss to mid-table Bochum in the Bundesliga has seen the team exposed to criticism and questioning, mostly but not exclusively from outside the club.

Bayern still hold a six-point lead at the top of the German top flight, and they will be strongly favoured to fend off Salzburg over two legs at the last-16 stage in Europe.

"If you concede four goals, the defence is of course criticised," Nagelsmann said. "Before Bochum we were good. We are by far the team with the most ball wins in Europe."

Nagelsmann said he had been looking at how Bayern's opponents were able to open up a 4-1 interval lead and added: "You can anticipate many things if you're greedy. We didn't have that against Bochum.

"Most of the time we're able to score more goals than we concede. In the Champions League and in the cup, of course, the impact is greater when that happens. So we are all willing to get a better result than we got on Saturday."

Bayern have come under fire from club legend Lothar Matthaus, who now works as a television pundit. Matthaus pointed the finger at Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez, saying they are not providing good value for money.

Nagelsmann said he would not comment "on every expert opinion that comes out without pressure from the leather chair", adding: "In the end, it's about us delivering such a performance that this kind of thing doesn't even come up."

Bayern honorary president Uli Hoeness suggested there was perhaps "not enough friction" in the team, and Thomas Muller responded to that and similar verdicts on Tuesday.

Muller said: "At the end we are judged on our results. It was a disastrous result against Bochum.

"We've already discussed that, we're very self-critical. We already have friction. Many of us have known each other for years. The powers that come from that trust unleash more powers. I see us on the right track."

Looking at the Bochum result, Muller said: "We don't close our eyes and tick it off, we're very analytical and self-critical."

The pursuit of 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is well known.

Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all been linked with Haaland.

The race is set to heat up, with Haaland reportedly holding a €75 million (£68m) release clause in his Dortmund contract which triggers at the end of the current season.

TOP STORY – MAN CITY LEAD THE WAY IN HAALAND RACE

Football Insider reports that Man City are in the box seat to sign Haaland in a major development with his father Alf-Inge Haaland's connection with the club.

Alf-Inge played with City from 2000 to 2003 and is telling Erling to join the club ahead of other suitors.

City's Abu Dhabi owners are set to launch a concerted pursuit for the Norwegian and will be able to meet his release clause.

Madrid 's bid to sign Haaland may be aided by Adidas, who are associated with the club and looking to bring him on board, after his deal with Nike expired at the end of January.


ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports that Lyon are preparing a significant offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Lacazette joined the Gunners from Lyon in 2017.

- El Nacional claims that Madrid are open to selling Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who is being targeted by PSG. Casemiro is a regular but his sale may open up funds for moves for Kylian Mbappe and Haaland.

- Franck Kessie will depart Milan when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports Calciomercato, with Barcelona entering the race to sign the midfielder, and Tottenham also interested.

- Sport claims that Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta already has an agreement in principle to join Barcelona on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Edinson Cavani will exit Manchester United at the end of his contract in June, with Spain his preferred destination rather than returning to South America according to Fabrizio Romano.

Joshua Kimmich slammed Bayern Munich's performance during their 4-2 defeat by Bochum, describing it as their "worst of the season".

The Bundesliga leaders came crashing back down to earth at Vonovia Ruhrstadion as they were beaten for only the second time in 32 meetings between the sides.

Bayern conceded four goals for the second time this season with Christopher Antwi-Adjei, Jurgen Locadia, Cristian Gamboa and Gerrit Holtmann all on target before half-time for the hosts.

Julian Nagelsmann's side were also thrashed 5-0 by Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal in October.

And Kimmich questioned the mentality of his team-mates in a scathing post-match reflection.

"That was our worst performance of the season throughout the game," he told Sky.

"We missed all the virtues. If something like this happens once in the season, then I say that it can happen.

"But this is not the first time this has happened to us this season.

"We have to be careful. We have to ask ourselves whether this is the mentality that FC Bayern embodies."

Nagelsmann also bemoaned a "sluggish" display from his players but took full responsibility for the defeat.

"Both in victory and defeat, you sit together in the boat; I also told the guys," the head coach added. 

"Of course, I also criticise myself if the idea didn't work out very well.

"Bochum pressed well, but we played very slowly and sluggishly. Normally, I have to change a bit earlier in the first half. After the change of sides, it was a bit better."

Bayern Munich were beaten by Bochum for the first time in 18 years after a crushing 4-2 defeat at Vonovia Ruhrstadion.

Despite a Robert Lewandowski brace, Julian Nagelsmann's side could not avert a surprise loss against their inspired opponents.

Christopher Antwi-Adjei, Jurgen Locadia, Cristian Gamboa and Gerrit Holtmann were all on target before half-time for the hosts, who had not netted four times in the Bundesliga since a 5-3 victory over Wolfsburg in November 2007.

Meanwhile, the leaders conceded four goals in the German top flight for the first time since a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in November 2019.

Bayern had won each of their past eight away games against Bochum and took the lead after just nine minutes, Lewandowski scrambling the ball home after Kingsley Coman cushioned Thomas Muller's cross neatly into his path.

But the runaway leaders led for just five minutes as Antwi-Adjei beat Sven Ulreich after latching onto Holtmann's sweeping pass.

The hosts completed the turnaround from the penalty spot, with Locadia sweeping home after Dayet Upamecano was penalised for handball.

Two became three when Gamboa played a neat one-two with Patrick Osterhage and arrowed a terrific shot into the far corner, before Holtmann made it four with a wonderful curling effort from 20 yards.

The hosts thought they had increased their advantage after the break, but Antwi-Adjei was denied by the offside flag.

Lewandowski pulled one back with a neat volley 16 minutes from time, but Bochum maintained their composure and discipline to seal a memorable win.

There may still be three months of the 2021-22 campaign to play, but Manchester United will already have one eye on next season.

Not only is there a question mark over who will be in charge, but United must also freshen up a squad that has once again underperformed this time around.

If reports are accurate, it may well be that two of United's long-term targets end up reuniting at Old Trafford.
 

TOP STORY – POCHETTINO WANTS KANE TO JOIN HIM AT UNITED

Mauricio Pochettino has long been considered the favourite to take over from Ralf Rangnick should the interim manager, as expected, step aside at the end of the season.

According to the Telegraph, Pochettino wants assurances that he will be financially backed if he leaves Paris Saint-Germain, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane reported to be on his radar.

Kane and Pochettino previously worked together for five and a half years at Tottenham and are said to still remain in contact.

However, Spurs resisted big-money interest from Manchester City for their star player last year and are not expected to budge too much on their valuation in the next window.


ROUND-UP

- Gareth Bale looks increasingly likely to leave Real Madrid when his contract expires later this year. According to one report, from Tuttomercatoweb, the Wales international has reached an agreement to return to Tottenham, where he spent last season on loan.

- Sport claims that Frenkie de Jong has no intention of leaving Barcelona in the next transfer window. The Ajax academy product is rumoured to be a target for Liverpool and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Real Madrid have added Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney to their list of transfer targets, Spanish outlet El Espanol reports. Los Blancos are seeking a replacement for Marcelo, who turns 34 in May and is soon to become a free agent.

- According to transfer expert Ekrem Konur, Brazilian side Flamengo remain in talks to sign Neto from Barcelona on a free contract. The once-capped Brazil international has played second-fiddle to Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the past three seasons.

- Inter midfielder Arturo Vidal is a man in demand ahead of becoming a free agent in July. Calciomercato suggests that Premier League sides Aston Villa and Tottenham, as well as Marseille and Galatasaray, are set to battle it out for his signature.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has no favourite for Super Bowl LVI and may well not be awake to take it in regardless.

The Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in California, though it will be beyond midnight in Germany by the time the game starts.

This week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Germany would stage four NFL games over the next four seasons, starting from the 2022 campaign.

Indeed, it will be Bayern's Allianz Arena that hosts the first NFL regular-season game to be played in mainland Europe, with Frankfurt the other venue.

With the Super Bowl dominating headlines in the lead-up to this weekend, Nagelsmann was quizzed on his preference ahead of the Rams-Bengals clash.

"I don't have a favourite. My favourites have all been eliminated," Nagelsmann explained in a news conference on Friday.

"I don't have one favourite team. I have a connection to the Kansas City Chiefs, but I also find the Green Bay Packers interesting."

He then quipped: "Most of the time, when I watch the Super Bowl I fall asleep at halftime because I have a [lot of] work to do."

Asked if he is excited by the prospect of the NFL coming to Germany, following its success of staging games in London over recent years, Nagelsmann joked: "The anticipation in Germany is very great... when I get tickets!"

In total, five NFL regular-season games will be played outside the United States next season.

Three will take place in London, one in Munich and one in Mexico.

Things have not quite gone to plan for Cristiano Ronaldo in his second coming at Manchester United.

The Red Devils are out of both domestic cup competitions and sit well off the pace of Premier League leaders Manchester City, making an unlikely Champions League triumph their remaining hope for silverware this season.

Ronaldo is enduring a five-game goal drought and, according to a report, he could choose to end his second United spell after only one season.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO WANTS MENDES TALKS OVER FUTURE

Cristiano Ronaldo will speak with his agent after growing disillusioned with life at Manchester United, according to the Daily Star.

The forward is hoping to speak with Jorge Mendes when he is back in Portugal for March's World Cup play-off against Turkey about his options after the end of the season.

Ronaldo, whose contract runs until the end of 2022-23, wants to see who will be appointed as United's next permanent manager – but he is not in favour of giving the job to interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

ROUND-UP

- Paul Pogba is also looking to leave Manchester United this year when his contract expires, but he will have to accept a pay cut to get a move abroad that he wants, the Mirror says.

- A possible replacement for Pogba could be Youri Tielemans. Het Nieuwsblad reports Leicester City have dropped their asking price for the midfielder, who is wanted by United and Arsenal.

Real Madrid rejected the idea of signing Dusan Vlahovic, now at Juventus, because they are putting everything into getting Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, says Cadena Ser.

- However, AS reports Madrid are still seriously interested in Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, which could scupper Robert Lewandowski's hopes of moving to the Spanish capital.

Juve defender Matthijs de Ligt is flattered by interest from Chelsea and Barcelona, Sport Mediaset claims.

Barca are also desperate to sign Haaland and will therefore prioritise cut-price deals for defenders, says ESPN. Chelsea trio Cesar AzpilicuetaAndreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso are on their shortlist.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard was thrilled by the performances of Philippe Coutinho and Jacob Ramsey in Wednesday's draw with Leeds United, convinced the latter will be an England international before long.

Villa played out a gripping 3-3 draw with Leeds at Villa Park, the visitors fighting back despite finding themselves 3-1 down at half-time.

Coutinho and Ramsey were crucial to Villa's lead – the Brazilian cancelled out Daniel James' early opener with a well-placed finish before setting up each of Ramsey's goals, both of which were well-weighted throughballs for the surging youngster.

It was the first time Coutinho has had a hand in at least three goals in a single game since August 2020, when he helped Bayern Munich to their remarkable 8-2 demolition of his parent club Barcelona in the Champions League – you have to go back to December 2019 for the last such instance that occurred in a league match.

Coutinho's struggles since leaving Liverpool have been well-documented, with the talented attacking midfielder struggling to find his niche at Barca and Bayern, but Gerrard is enjoying watching his old team-mate again.

He said: "Looking at Philippe's performance tonight, not just his goal and assists, if you don't love watching that you shouldn't be watching football.

"That was absolutely beautiful, some of the stuff he has done.

"It was vintage Philippe Coutinho tonight. He's certainly getting back close to where he was when the whole world was speaking about him.

"He's still got improvements to do from a physical point of view but in terms of his technical ability, you don't play for Brazil that many times or become a global superstar without that talent.

"He will get better and better. He is a joy to work with."

Ramsey, 20, is still waiting for recognition at international level with England, though Gerrard – who represented the Three Lions 114 times – is adamant the gifted midfielder is on the cusp of a call-up.

Gerrard did not want any comparisons made between himself and Ramsey, though he reckons the Villa academy product "is right up there" in terms of the standard of players he featured alongside.

"Listen he's not following in anyone's footsteps, Jacob Ramsey is Jacob Ramsey," Gerrard continued.

"He's going to be a terrific player and it won't be too long before the whole country are watching him, I'm sure, because he's in a top place.

"I know the level of the England players, I've been around it, and have enough experience to know it's only a matter of time but let's all be sensible and keep calm about it.

"I want him to make his own headlines with his football. He is a top talent, I'm loving every moment of working with him. He is getting stronger with each game because we're giving him the platform to express himself. He is in a wonderful place."

Erling Haaland's future remains in the balance after Borussia Dortmund head coach Marco Rose declared "everything is on the table".

The prolific striker's reported €75million release clause kicks in at the end of this season, putting a host of Europe's leading clubs on high alert.

With the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all credited with interest in the Norway international, Rose knows Dortmund have a battle on their hands to keep hold of their star man.

But the 21-year-old is yet to declare his intentions and Rose has not given up hope of retaining Haaland's services.

"I'm in contact with Erling every day and also have a feeling for this player and this person," he told Bild.

"Everything is on the table internally, everyone is honest with each other. He'll make a decision at some point and the club will prepare well for it.

"We all want him to stay for sure."

Haaland is one of the most sought-after talents in world football after scoring 80 goals in 79 appearances for Dortmund since joining the club in January 2020.

His 80 strikes have come from an expected goals (xG) return of 64, meaning he has scored 16 goals more than expected given the likelihood of the shot going in.

No player from the Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A or Ligue 1 boasts such a large xG differential.

Bayern Munich have announced that midfielder Jamal Musiala has tested positive for coronavirus.

The 18-year-old was absent from training on Tuesday and it was confirmed by Bayern on Wednesday he has contracted the virus.

Musiala will serve a period of self-isolation and is set to sit out Saturday's Bundesliga trip to Bochum, as well as next week's Champions League last-16 first leg with Salzburg.

That is a blow for Julian Nagelsmann as Musiala has played in 27 of Bayern's 30 matches in all competitions this season – only five others have featured more regularly.

The Germany international has been directly involved in 10 goals – six of his own and four assists – which is the sixth-most of any Bayern player in 2021-22.

Musiala's 53 dribbles completed this season, meanwhile, is behind only Leroy Sane (71) and Alphonso Davies (83).

Nagelsmann is well accustomed to dealing with player absentees through COVID-19, however, having had to make do without nine first-teamers at the start of the year.

Bayern Munich chairman Herbert Hainer has questioned Niklas Sule's decision to leave the club at the end of his contract to join Borussia Dortmund.

Dortmund announced on Monday a pre-agreement is in place with the Germany defender, who will join the club from Bayern at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old has agreed to a four-year deal at Signal Iduna Park, having decided against extending his Bayern contract, which expires at the end of 2021-22.

However, Hainer has questioned Sule's decision to choose Bundesliga rivals rather than potentially more lucrative offers from the Premier League and LaLiga.

"He was already being discussed at Dortmund and there was speculation – in addition to Real Madrid, Manchester City and a few others – but I hadn't thought that it would be his first choice," Hainer told Bild.

"It will be exciting to see him on the other side. But it's not new to us either. We also gave Mats Hummels to Dortmund.

"I don't know what salary Niklas Sule gets at Borussia Dortmund. But I don't think it's a sporting climb.

"Niklas is a very good player who has become a regular in the national team in the last five years. I'm assuming that he'll really give it his all over the next three months so that he can still clinch the titles that we have ahead of us."

 

Sule joined Bayern from Hoffenheim in 2017 and has made 159 appearances for the club, winning four Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal crowns, as well as the 2019-20 Champions League.

However, when it emerged he would not be signing a new contract, former Bayern star and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed the centre-back "never really asserted himself in his position" while at the club.

Sule's agent, Volker Struth, recently said his client "didn’t feel fully valued" by the German champions.

"I can only speak of myself and the people I am with every day," Hainer said in response to those comments.

"We all appreciated him and know what we had and still have in him. You have to ask him yourself what exactly he means by that."

Karim Benzema leads the LaLiga scoring charts this term with 17 goals.

But Real Madrid are set to revamp their attacking options if transfer speculation is true.

Benzema turned 34 in December and is contracted until 2023.

TOP STORY – BENZEMA CONCERN ON MADRID FUTURE

Madrid top scorer Benzema has requested a meeting with president Florentino Perez over concerns on his future with Erling Haaland's potential addition, reports Onze.

Los Blancos are set to be bolstered by forwardKylian Mbappe's arrival in the off-season to form an attacking trio alongside Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

But Haaland's potential move from Borussia Dortmund has left Benzema fearing he may lose his spot.

ROUND-UP 

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is being lined up by Bayern Munich as their ideal replacement for Niklas Sule, claims Fichajes. Sule has confirmed his exit to Borussia Dortmund for next season.

- Juventus have a new plan ahead of fresh contract talks with Paulo Dybala, according to Calciomercato. Dybala is unsigned beyond this season.

- Manchester United and Brazilian giants Flamengo have agreed to a £12m fee for the permanent sale of Andreas Pereira, reports Universo.

- Atletico Madrid, who are looking to replace the departed Kieran Trippier, are set to make a €30m offer for Aston Villa full-back Matty Cash, claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Calciomercato reports that Milan still have an eye on Club Brugge's Dutch talent Noa Lang.

Borussia Dortmund have announced the signing of defender Niklas Sule, who will join the club from Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old has agreed to a four-year deal at Signal Iduna Park, having decided against extending his Bayern contract, which expires at the end of 2021-22.

"We're delighted that we have managed to sign Niklas Sule, a Germany international, on a free transfer and have tied the player down for four years," said Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.

Sebastian Kehl, who will succeed Zorc later this year, added: "Niklas has shown during the course of personal talks that he is really keen on Borussia Dortmund.

"He possesses a lot of experience, composure in his build-up play and the necessary physicality to take the next step with us from this summer onwards."

Sule joined Bayern from Hoffenheim in 2017 and has made 159 appearances for the club, winning four Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal crowns, as well as the 2019-20 Champions League.

However, when it emerged he would not be signing a new contract, former Bayern star and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed the centre-back "never really asserted himself in his position" while at the club.

Ex-Bayern captain Stefan Effenberg accused Sule of chasing money over sporting success as interest from Chelsea and newly rich Newcastle United was reported.

Sule's agent, however, told Sport1 that the player simply wanted a new challenge.

 

Rising Spain star Gavi has earned plenty of admirers since bursting onto the scene last year.

Gavi has made 26 LaLiga appearances for Barcelona despite only turning 17 in August.

The teenager has also been capped by Spain, with four appearances to his name.

TOP STORY – REDS PLOT GAVI SWOOP

Liverpool are set to make an audacious swoop for Barcelona teenager Gavi amid the Blaugrana's financial issues, reports the Daily Express.

Barca have been trying to convince the 17-year-old to re-sign with the club but have not met his salary demands yet.

The Reds are hoping to capitalise on that situation, with a view to an offer in the near future.

 

ROUND-UP

Borussia Dortmund are in contract talks with outgoing Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule, claims Transfermarkt's Manuel Veth. Sule has confirmed he will leave Bayern when his contract expires at the end of this campaign and is reportedly asking for €12-15million per season.

- Former Germany national team head coach Joachim Low is being lined up as Carlo Ancelotti's successor at Real Madrid, claims El Nacional.

Barcelona could swoop for Chelsea target Jules Kounde with the Catalans lining up an off-season move for the Sevilla defender, according to the Daily Star.

- Express reports Barcelona are also looking to seal deals for Chelsea defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen in the coming days.

Manchester United and Chelsea will both chase West Ham United's Declan Rice in the next transfer window, reports Sky Sports.

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