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.

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 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.

Pep Guardiola refused to answer questions surrounding reports Manchester City are closing in on a deal for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.

Reports have suggested City are ready to meet Haaland's €75million (£64m) release clause and that Haaland wants to join the reigning Premier League champions this summer.

City failed in a protracted effort to prise Harry Kane away from Tottenham before the start of this season, while forward Ferran Torres departed to join Barcelona in January.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez have carried the bulk of the goalscoring burden as City bid for a Premier League and Champions League double, while Gabriel Jesus, whose contract expires at the end of next season, has also been linked with a move away.

Haaland's arrival would see City atone for the disappointment of missing out on Kane by acquiring another of the most feared centre-forwards in world football.

But when asked about reports of them nearing the signing of the Dortmund forward, Guardiola told a media conference ahead of Wednesday's game with Brighton and Hove Albion: "No answer to your question. I have another concern in my head, to think what will happen in this club next season."

Pressed on the question of whether he needed to add a striker to his ranks, Guardiola replied: "We are playing without a striker.

"For many years I don't think about transfer windows, especially when we have incredible things to play for."

Haaland has scored 25 goals in 24 games in all competitions for Marco Rose's team this season, outperforming his expected goals tally of 22.2.

One of world football's hottest commodities, Erling Haaland, is reportedly set to join Manchester City in the next transfer window after agreeing to personal terms.

It has long been understood that Haaland would likely not return to Borussia Dortmund for another season, with the Bundesliga club entertaining offers from the world's biggest clubs.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain were considered Manchester City's biggest competition for the Norway forward's signature, but a massive contract, recent success and close personal ties to his father seem to have been the deciding factors.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND CHOOSES MANCHESTER CITY

The Daily Mail is reporting Haaland has agreed to a deal with Manchester City that will make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League at £500,000 per week.

With terms agreed, City are expected to trigger Haaland's £62.2million (€75m) release clause and sign him to a five-year deal, which could be announced in the next week.

His father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played at Manchester City from 2000-2003 and is said to have been "heavily involved in the negotiations".

 

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– According to Goal, Real Madrid did not want to unsettle their dressing room by signing Haaland and making him the highest-paid player.

– Fichajes is reporting Real Madrid's attention will turn to Manchester United's Edinson Cavani now Haaland is out of the picture, while The Mirror claims Madrid have strong interest in Chelsea right-back Reece James.

Liverpool target Serge Gnabry is discussing a contract extension with Bayern Munich, according to Goal.

West Ham are hoping to add Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, with the England international likely to leave the club if they are relegated, per the Daily Mail.

Arsenal are in the box seat to land Marco Asensio from Real Madrid after Milan rejected his wage demands, reports CalcioMercato.

Julian Nagelsmann is relishing a "match point" game with Borussia Dortmund after Bayern Munich moved on the brink of another Bundesliga title with a 3-0 win at Arminia Bielefeld.

Bayern bounced back from the disappointment of their Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal in routine fashion, goals from Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala securing all three points against their relegation-threatened opponents.

It means Bayern have a nine-point lead over Dortmund with four games remaining and can clinch the title with victory over their arch-rivals at the Allianz Arena next Saturday.

"It was a deserved win and it's important for us to have this match point game at home against Dortmund," Nagelsmann said in quotes reported by Bayern's official website. 

"It's a coincidence that doesn't happen very often. We're looking forward to that."

Bayern's Joshua Kimmich added: "The first half was pretty good, but in the second half we slowed down a bit. 

"We kept allowing counter-attacks with long balls. It was a deserved win. 

"We definitely want to win the title next week against Dortmund at home. This is a special game for us and for the whole Bundesliga. Because to get the championship trophy, that's clearly the ultimate goal."

Gnabry, who also created four chances, conceded there was an element of frustration from the aggregate defeat to Villarreal that was taken out on struggling Arminia.

"It was a bit of a reduction in frustration today after being eliminated from the Champions League, in which we had planned to progress," he said.

"But in the end, football just keeps going. Today was a new game. We wanted to win and we did. We played well with the ball, created a lot of space, let our opponents run and lost the ball a few times. 

"We had a lot of chances and maybe we could have scored earlier. But we can be satisfied." 

Erling Haaland's price tag means he is an unrealistic transfer target for Bayern Munich, according the club's chief executive Oliver Kahn.

With Bayern's own star striker Robert Lewandowski linked with a move to Spain ahead of his contract expiring in 2023, it has been suggested that Die Roten could make another raid on rivals Dortmund, just as they did when bringing Lewandowski to the club in 2014.

Haaland has scored 18 goals in 20 Bundesliga appearances this season, 14 fewer than Lewandowski, albeit having played nine games fewer than the 33-year-old.

A host of Europe's top clubs expected to make serious attempts to sign the Norwegian come the end of the season. However, Kahn says Bayern do not have the finances to make a deal work.

"I don't think we would be doing our job well if we didn't deal with a young striker," Kahn told German TV channel Sport1.

"He's shown his performances too, at BVB he's an excellent striker. He's also a very interesting player for the future.

"There is always talk of the 'Haaland package'. [But] these are areas that are very, very far away from what we imagine [financially]."

Haaland has averaged a goal every 86.78 minutes in the Bundesliga this season, the third-best rate amongst players to have hit double figures, behind only Lewandowski (a goal every 78.22 minutes), and Bayer Leverkusen's Patrik Schick (every 83.35 minutes).

Since making his Bundesliga debut on January 18, 2020, Haaland has scored 58 goals in 63 league games, a tally only bettered by Lewandowski's astonishing return of 88 goals in 72 games during that time.

The 21-year-old scored twice as Marco Rose's side hammered Wolfsburg 6-1 on Saturday, with team-mate Tom Rothe becoming the youngest player to score on their Bundesliga debut (aged 17 years and 169 days) as BVB look to deny Bayern a 10th consecutive title. 

Tom Rothe made Bundesliga history as Borussia Dortmund cut Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the German top flight to six points in emphatic fashion.

Dortmund thrashed Wolfsburg 6-1 on Saturday, putting pressure on Bayern ahead of their meeting with Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.

It was Rothe who put Dortmund ahead with a near-post header in the 24th minute, as Marco Rose's side scored five times in a rampant first-half display.

In doing so, Rothe - aged 17 years and 169 days - became the youngest player to score on his Bundesliga debut.

Axel Witsel, Manuel Akanji, Emre Can and Erling Haaland all found the net before half-time, with Haaland then doubling his tally in the 54th minute.

Dortmund face Bayern in Der Klassiker next Saturday, by which point Die Roten will be expected to have restored a nine-point advantage at the Bundesliga summit.

Along with Brenden Aaronson and Luka Sucic, Karim Adeyemi is part of a young core enjoying a breakout season at Salzburg.

In his third season in the Austrian Bundesliga, the 20-year-old has come up with 16 goals and three assists in 24 league appearances, and earned his first international cap for Germany last September.

Reports also suggest that a return to Germany at domestic level is imminent.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND CLOSE IN ON ADEYEMI

Borussia Dortmund and Salzburg have reached a basic agreement over the transfer of Karim Adeyemi, according to reports from Sky Sport Germany.

After several rounds of talks, this week has finally seen a breakthrough between the two clubs, with €35million the reported fee the two clubs have agreed on.

However, Dortmund are still to arrive at a point that satisfies Adeyemi and his representatives on personal terms.

According to the report, all three parties are looking to finalise the deal, but RB Leipzig, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain also remain interested.

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Harry Kane is set to turn down a move to Manchester United, with Erik ten Hag reportedly due to take over at Old Trafford instead of Kane's former boss Mauricio Pochettino, the Mirror reports.

– United have been given a boost in their pursuit of Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger however, as talks with Barcelona have reportedly stalled, according to the Sun.

Newcastle United have targeted Sevilla's Diego Carlos as a viable alternative if Sven Botman opts to join Milan, per the Chronicle.

– Football Insider reports Villarreal are seeking to permanently sign Giovani Lo Celso from Tottenham, having had the 26-year-old on loan since January.

– Meanwhile, Football Insider also reports that Manchester City have made Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni their top priority to replace Fernandinho.

Not a window goes by where Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's name does not emerge in transfer speculation.

The 27-year-old's contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season, but Juventus are keen to move on the long sought-after Lazio midfielder.

The Serbia international has only progressed under Maurizio Sarri, attracting reported interest from the Turn giants.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE RAMP UP CHASE FOR MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Milinkovic-Savic's agent Mateja Kezman has commenced talks with Juventus over a possible transfer from Lazio, according to Calciomercato.

The Serbian midfielder has long been a weak area since their appearance in the Champions League final in 2015, and multiple coaches in that period have not been conducive for personnel.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito famously placed an initial €100million value on Milinkovic-Savic, but it has reportedly dropped to €70m. It is perceived that price tag is still too steep a figure for Juventus, as a consequence of compatriot Dusan Vlahovic's signing in January.

It is believed that Lazio would be open to players in return as part of a packaged deal.

 

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- Manchester United and Arsenal have joined the race to sign Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, the Mirror reports.

- Erling Haaland has dismissed interest from Manchester United, believing they do not meet the Norwegian striker's ambitions, according to ESPN.

- Paris Saint-Germain are in talks to sign Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku, only a year after he joined the London club from Inter, per the Sun.

- Roma are interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, Calciomercato is reporting.

- Spanish international Marco Asensio is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, per Mundo Deportivo, with Milan and Tottenham interested.

Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Giovanni Reyna's season is over after the club confirmed the United States international suffered a muscle and tendon injury against Stuttgart on Friday.

The teenager was forced off in the early stages of BVB's 2-0 Bundesliga victory in the latest of a line of fitness issues that have seriously impacted his season.

Now, Dortmund have confirmed he will sit out the rest of the campaign, with Marco Rose's side nine points of adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.

"Midfielder Gio Reyna, who had to be substituted early in the game, suffered a muscle and tendon injury," Dortmund confirmed in a statement. "The season is over for the American."

Restricted to just 13 appearances this term for the German side, English-born playmaker Reyna has struggled to live up to the heights of his first full senior season last term.

He suffered a hamstring injury in September while on international duty against El Salvador and subsequently was out of action into the new year.

A return to action in February for Dortmund saw him promptly reaggravate the problem, though he only missed a few further weeks.

He subsequently recovered in time to play a part in the Stars and Stripes' successful Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification last month but will now wait for the 2022-23 season to play again.

 

 

Jesse Lingard's future with Manchester United is unclear.

The 29-year-old England international is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lingard had a brilliant loan spell at West Ham United last season but has remained out of favour at Old Trafford this term.

 

TOP STORY – ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR LINGARD

Lingard could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the Italian club joining the race for the forward, according to the Mirror.

Lingard is being pursued by West Ham following his impressive loan spell, while Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old.

Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus also have an interest in Lingard, with a move to Italy offering a lucrative alternative option.

English pair Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have enjoyed productive spells at Roma, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on loan from Arsenal.

 

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- Real Madrid are moving on from their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe , who appears set to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, by turning their attention to landing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, claims the Mirror.

- Inter will make a move to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, following his August exit from the Italian champions, reports Football Insider. Lukaku previously expressed his regret at leaving Inter.

- The Sun claims that Arsenal and Tottenham will battle to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison who is rated at £60million and could be put up for sale.

- Danny Ings could be on his way out of Aston Villa as manager Steven Gerrard plans a clear-out, according to the Mirror.

- CBS Sports claims Liverpool and West Ham are no longer interested in Leicester City's Youri Tielemans, leaving the door open for Manchester United to land the midfielder.

- Juventus are circling for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho , reports Tutto Mercato.

Xavi had no issue with Dani Alves' controversial opinion on Erling Haaland's worth, saying he would forgive his former Barcelona team-mate for anything. 

Alves, 38, is back at Barca as a veteran player under Xavi, having featured alongside the coach in hugely successful Blaugrana teams earlier this century. 

Xavi has enjoyed being able to work with his old colleague again, but Barca have their sights set on rather more ambitious signings at the end of this season. 

Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland has regularly been linked with a move to Camp Nou, although Barca are far from alone in admiring a striker whose contract reportedly includes a €75million release clause. 

However, right-back Alves has claimed Kylian Mbappe – widely expected to join rivals Real Madrid – "is a more complete player than Haaland in all aspects of the game". 

"I wouldn't do crazy things for Haaland," the Brazil defender told Sport. "Honestly, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on him." 

Alves' employers Barca, on the other hand, may well be up for splashing out on the 21-year-old – but that does not mean Xavi was concerned by his player's comments. 

"I forgive Dani everything, anything he says," the Barca boss said at a media conference ahead of Sunday's game against Levante. "He's a phenomenon, really. 

"Sometimes you guys complain that you don't have headlines, right? Well, with Dani, it's hard to choose just one. He is a phenomenon. 

"The truth is that the signing of him has gone very well for us, he is a natural leader. It is a spectacle, both for us and for you." 

On Haaland, Xavi added: "We'll see. Yes, we are planning for next year, but let's see. The situation is not easy, especially financially, economically." 

Whether Barca can afford the type of sums required to both sign and pay Haaland remains to be seen, but Xavi is confident he has the club's backing. 

"[The club] know my priorities," he said. "From here on, whatever we can do, well, we are going to do it, but it is true that we have to be very prudent and very cautious because the economic situation is what it is." 

Kylian Mbappe is a more complete player than Erling Haaland, according to Barcelona defender Dani Alves.

Two of the hottest properties in world football, both players are heavily linked with moves away from their respective clubs.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe, who is widely believed to be heading to Real Madrid in the close season, has scored 28 goals and assisted a further 17 in 38 appearances across all competitions this term.

Meanwhile, despite a string of injuries, Haaland has been directly involved in 29 goals (scoring 23 and assisting six) for Borussia Dortmund in 2021-22.

Barcelona are among a host of clubs reportedly interested in both forwards, with Manchester City and Real Madrid also in contention to make blockbuster moves.

 

But if the Blaugrana are to spend big on one of them, Alves believes that Mbappe should be their main priority. 

Speaking to Sport, the veteran defender said: "Mbappe is a more complete player than Haaland in all aspects of the game.

"I wouldn't do crazy things for Haaland. Honestly, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on him.

"I would spend a lot of money on Mbappe, but not on Haaland.

"If you are going to make a giant investment, you have to do it in the best way. If it depended on me, I would bet on Mbappe."

After a disappointing few seasons in LaLiga, Eden Hazard may be heading back to the Premier League next term.

Hazard has made 65 appearances for Real Madrid since arriving ahead of the 2019-20 season, but has not played more than 25 minutes in a league game since a late-January fixture against Elche.

Battling poor form and injury, Real Madrid are reportedly planning to loan the Belgian winger out for next season, and one Premier League club has jumped to the front of the line.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL HOPE TO LAND HAZARD ON LOAN

If Real Madrid are to loan out Hazard, Foot Mercato is reporting that Arsenal are the team most aggressively seeking his services.

According to the report, Real Madrid's plan is to loan the former Chelsea star for the 2022-23 season, with the goal of increasing his value enough to sell him ahead of the 2023-24 season, when one year remains on his deal.

Arsenal used a similar tactic to land Martin Odegaard last season, securing him on loan from the Meringues in January before signing him with a €35million transfer seven months later.

It is worth noting that the Foot Mercato report also stated that Hazard has no interest in leaving the Spanish side after this season, and may be willing to ride out the rest of his contract.

 

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Newcastle United are set to challenge Manchester United for the signature of Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to i News.

Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund are reportedly interested in Real Sociedad star Mikel Merino, per Fichajes.

– El Nacional is reporting that Barcelona believe Ousmane Dembele will leave the club and head to Paris Saint-Germain if the French giants do not retain Kylian Mbappe.

– According to ESPN's report, Erling Haaland fears Manchester United would not be able to match his competitive ambitions on the pitch.

– Benfica's Darwin Nunez is signing with a new agent as Arsenal and Manchester United circle the striker who has five goals in nine Champions League games this campaign, per Metro.

James Maddison's importance to Leicester City is of little debate, but the Foxes are considering selling the playmaker.

Though the 25-year-old's sole senior England cap came in 2019, he has provided 13 goals and eight assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this season.

However, Maddison's sale might be required to facilitate the Foxes strengthening in other areas.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON SALE TO FUND LEICESTER REVAMP

Leicester are weighing up the prospect of Maddison's sale in order to make new signings, the Daily Mail has reported.

Manager Brendan Rodgers wants three new additions to propel the Foxes up the Premier League following a season in which they have plateaued.

Leicester will reportedly back Rodgers, but the impact of coronavirus on their finances would likely mean outgoing as well as incoming transfers, and Maddison holds one of the higher market values at the club.

The 25-year-old's £50million price tag would provide serious flexibility in the transfer market, while the club also has to make decisions on Caglar Soyuncu and Youri Tielemans.

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–  Barcelona want to confirm a contract extension for Ronald Araujo , who has received an offer from Manchester United, according to Sport, but the 23-year-old has viewed this club's pursuit of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen with caution.

–  Arsenal and Tottenham are keen to sign Lautaro Martinez , but Inter will only sell if they meet a transfer demand in excess of €80million (£67.3m), per Calciomercato.

– The Sun is reporting Newcastle are preparing a £20million offer for Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, while also showing interest in Watford's Ismaila Sarr.

–  Manchester United target Manuel Akanji wants to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season and is considering a move to the Premier League, according to Sport1.

Mats Hummels said Borussia Dortmund would have to stomach the criticism after a 4-1 home defeat to RB Leipzig that he felt was particularly harsh.

There was evidence to back up defender Hummels' verdict, with Opta data showing Leipzig only shaded the game 0.79 to 1.24 in terms of expected goals (xG), which is a measure of the quality of a team's chances.

Dortmund had 63.8 per cent of possession, and both teams had 10 shots, but Leipzig were far more clinical with the chances that fell their way.

Indeed, 10 shots is the fewest needed by any team to score four goals in a Bundesliga game this season.

It added up to a desperate day for Dortmund, who were playing inside a full home stadium for the first time since the pandemic hit after restrictions were relaxed in Germany.

In-demand striker Erling Haaland, who played the full game, had only one shot and was largely peripheral.

"That's disappointing for us," Hummels said of the result. "We had a lot planned for the crowd here today. The first time with over 80,000 after two years.

"That was a victory for Leipzig today in terms of effectiveness and the exploitation of chances. It was by no means a 4-1 game in terms of performance ratios, but we have to live with the fact that we are criticised for the result because that's the way it is in football.

"I think the people of Leipzig know that things could have gone very differently in the first half. In the end, it's goals that count in football."

Christopher Nkunku, fresh from winning his first two caps for France, scored one and assisted two of Leipzig goals.

He now has 16 goals for the season and 11 assists, which are both team highs.

 

Leipzig have won more points (26) and have a better goal difference (plus 22) than any other side in the second half of the Bundesliga season, and they sit fourth, three points clear of a Freiburg side that lost at home to leaders Bayern Munich.

Dortmund head coach Marco Rose felt Leipzig said his team, who remain second in the table but nine points behind Bayern, "didn't defend well enough".

"Offensively, we didn't finish the attacks enough and thus gave Leipzig opportunities to counter-attack again and again," Rose said. "We have to work on that."

Leipzig boss Domenico Tedesco, quoted on the Bundesliga website, said: "Winning 4-1 in Dortmund is not something that can be taken for granted.

"We played with discipline, won the ball a lot and in the end we deserved a win. We played well on the counter-attack too, so we could have scored one or two more goals in the second half."

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