Manchester United's hopes of silverware this season are officially over and focus is now turning towards the 2022-23 campaign.

The Red Devils are left focusing on their top-four battle in the Premier League following elimination to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 this week.

That has surely ended Ralf Rangnick's hopes of landing the managerial position full time, though it remains to be seen who will be in the Old Trafford hot seat come next term.


TOP STORY – UNITED RAMP UP MANAGERIAL SEARCH

The likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag and Thomas Tuchel have each been touted as contenders to replace Rangnick, but another name may now be in the frame.

According to Spanish outlet Fichajes, Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui is also being considered for one of the top positions in world football.

Lopetegui has previously managed Real Madrid and the Spain national team and is in his third season with Sevilla, whom he remains under contract with until 2024.


ROUND-UP

- Newcastle United intend to splash the cash when the transfer window reopens at the end of the season and, according to Fichajes, Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar is in their sights. The Brazil international was jeered by his own supporters during last week's win against Bordeaux.

- After two years with Tottenham, Fabrizio Romano claims that left-back Sergio Reguilon could be on his way back to Spain in the coming months. Barcelona are said to be monitoring his situation, while Madrid have a buy-back clause of around €40million.

- It could be a busy transfer window for Madrid, who have also been strongly linked with PSG forward Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund's in-demand striker Erling Haaland. However, Goal reports that Los Blancos are losing hope of beating Manchester City to the signature of the latter.

- Man City midfielder Rodri has another three years to run on his contract, but The Telegraph suggests that the Premier League leaders are eager to tie the midfielder down to an even longer deal, with talks between the two parties ongoing.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Nikola Milenkovic is on the radar of Inter and Man Utd. Inter are said to have made the Fiorentina and Serbia defender one of their primary targets, while United had scouts present to watch him against Bologna last week.

Pep Guardiola insisted he would not swap any of his Manchester City players as they chase treble glory – batting away speculation about Erling Haaland.

City could match Manchester United's 1998-99 feat of winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in one season, and Guardiola is no longer ridiculing that possibility.

They are a nose ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League and through to the quarter-finals of both knockout competitions, achieving such success largely without a recognised 'number nine' striker.

Haaland is the player most frequently linked with City, although Real Madrid and Barcelona are known to admire Borussia Dortmund's prolific marksman too. A decision could reportedly come soon regarding Haaland's future.

"Since I'm here, apparently every month, two months, we're going to sign 50 players," Guardiola said, when asked about the 21-year-old Norwegian. "Right now, listen, it's impossible I'm going to talk about some guy who's not here, and I don't know if he will be here. He's a Dortmund player.

"You can ask for this player or another one or another one. A transfer window is going to start, and many things are going to happen."

Southampton provide the opposition on Sunday in the FA Cup, with Guardiola taking issue with a reporter who questioned whether it might be challenging to motivate his City players for the trip to St Mary's.

Given City's other targets and Liverpool's rapid gain on them in the title race, some might consider the FA Cup a distraction, but not Guardiola.

"How do you ask me this, when we show in the last six years that we play every game in every competition like it was the last game in our lives?" Guardiola said.

"I know it looks like everything is gone, it is over, no chance of anything, but the manager still trusts a lot in his players to try to win every competition, being who we are.

"I want to do it with these guys. I would not change one single player to do these next two months we have ahead of us. Success? I don't know."

 

Since Guardiola joined City ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, Southampton have won just one of the 13 clashes between the sides (D3 L9), a 1-0 victory in July 2020 on home soil. City have drawn home and away in the Premier League with Southampton this season, however.

Guardiola was asked about how City have achieved spectacular success during his reign, while neighbours Manchester United have fallen short of delivering trophies.

United's last major silverware came in the 2016-17 season when they won the EFL Cup and Europa League, and despite high investment in players since then, they have been unable to keep pace with City.

"I would love to give an opinion about that, not to help them, because I'm sorry, but I don't have an opinion because I'm not there," Guardiola said. "I don't know the reason why. I think the team they have is fantastic. We cannot deny how good they are. But the reason why, I would say because the contenders are good too."

Guardiola said City were enjoying success due to the financial backing they have, and the support he and his staff receive from club hierarchy, comparing this to United in the Alex Ferguson era and Chelsea during early years of Roman Abramovich's ownership.

When it comes to others falling short, Guardiola said: "The difference in this club is there is strategy for many years. We lose, but this is the way."

City are losing only very rarely these days, which means the treble dream lives on. They won the domestic treble in 2018-19, but now the three trophies they are chasing include the old European Cup.

"I would say in September, October, November, it's more difficult," Guardiola said. "But we have two months left and still you can be there to win the titles, it can be possible. On the other side, it happened once in the lifetime."

Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule is set for a spell on the sidelines after it was confirmed he had torn his hamstring in training on Wednesday.

The Germany centre-back, who has been a regular fixture for Julian Nagelsmann's side this term amid their latest Bundesliga title challenge, will be out for an unidentified period.

Reports in Germany suggest the 26-year-old, who has agreed to join Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer at the end of his contract, will miss around three to four weeks of action.

"Niklas Sule tore a muscle in his right rear thigh during training on Wednesday," read an official club statement.

"The 26-year-old FC Bayern centre-back is now facing a spell on the sidelines."

Sule joins Alphonso Davies on the injury list at Allianz Arena, though the latter returned to training earlier this week following his myocarditis diagnosis in January.

Bayern will play Union Berlin on Saturday in their final game before the March international break, while they will discover their Champions League quarter-final opponents on Friday.

 

Manchester City appear frontrunners to secure Erling Haaland's signature after Borussia Dortmund adviser Matthias Sammer inadvertently hinted at a move for the striker.

Haaland has taken the Bundesliga by storm since he arrived from Salzburg in January 2020, scoring 80 goals in 80 appearances across all competitions.

That has made him one of the most sought-after talents in European football, with a host of elite clubs circling for when his reported €75million release clause kicks in at the end of this season.

Barcelona and Real Madrid were reportedly among the favourites to secure the Norwegian's services, with Blaugrana boss Xavi said to have met with the 21-year-old in Munich.

But Pep Guardiola's City, who Haaland's father Alf-Inge played for between 2000 and 2003, have now emerged as the leading candidates, with Sammer acknowledging the dangerous partnership the Spanish boss and talisman could form at the Etihad Stadium.

Speaking on Amazon Prime, Sammer was asked how Haaland could work with Guardiola, to which he replied: "They will both benefit from each other. Because Pep, of course - I was able to experience him for three years - has a certain idea.

"I can also imagine dealing with a centre-forward, no question. But he will also have to learn from the centre-forward."

When pressed if his answer meant a deal was already done, Sammer retreated and suggested he had no idea. However, he did offer an insight into the possible figures involved in talks for Haaland.

"I didn't hear anything today, yesterday, the day before yesterday," he said. "I know City is after him. The numbers - I had whiplash! I passed out. My wife picked me up again. Accordingly, it is possible."

City missed out on their key striker target Harry Kane from Tottenham before the start of the 2021-22 campaign, and will be keen to ensure they make no similar mistake on this occasion.

Mohamed Salah is arguably the best player in the world on current form, though Liverpool have not yet tied him down to a new deal.

Talks over fresh terms for the 29-year-old have been ongoing for some time, but nothing is close to being agreed.

With his contract up in 2023, Salah could become one of the most sought-after free agents.

 

TOP STORY – MO HAPPY TO WAIT

According to Fabrizio Romano, Salah is perfectly happy at Liverpool and is not considering pushing through a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid or Barcelona.

However, there has been no further progress on the contract talks.

Salah, who has scored 28 goals already this season across all competitions, remains fully focused on Liverpool but could leave on a free transfer at the end of next season.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland will demand that a release clause is included in his contract should he sign for Manchester City, reports The Sun. The Daily Mail suggested a deal was close.

- Bundesliga reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft, however, has claimed that Haaland is of interest to Bayern Munich, who may be faced with the prospect of losing Robert Lewandowski.

- Bayern are also said to be interested in Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest. That is according to a report by Fichajes.

- Foot Mercato say that Neymar will be offered back to Barcelona, as Paris Saint-Germain prepare for a "shake up" ahead of next season.

- Juventus and Milan, meanwhile, are interested in Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to Calciomercato.

Manchester City's search for a permanent striker appears to be ramping up, with a deal for Erling Haaland reportedly in the works.

City have not been able to properly replace Sergio Aguero despite leading the Premier League, and Haaland looks to be their primary target.

Details and discussion of the deal already appear to be in advanced stages, and City look to be best placed to sign the Norwegian.


TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR MAN CITY SWITCH

According to the Daily Mail, Haaland is set to move to Manchester City at the end of season, with personal terms already discussed and the framework for the deal already green-lit by City decision makers.

Haaland's father Alf-Inge played for the club but more importantly, City appear willing to meet Borussia Dortmund's release clause of £63million (€75.1million). 

The 21-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, would also be set to earn a significant portion of the transfer fee per reports, meaning the total outlay will reach nine figures.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have shown keen interest in the Norwegian striker, but the Premier League leaders look to be in pole position.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are looking at Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak as an alternative in the event they don't manage to sign Haaland from Dortmund . According to El Nacional, Xavi is an admirer of the 22-year-old Swedish striker, but they would face competition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal .

- Milan are set to make an offer for Mamadou Coulibaly from Monaco. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Rossoneri scout Geoffrey Moncada is particularly keen on the 17-year-old, who will be leaving Monaco at the end of the season.

- According to reports from Calciomercato, Napoli will look to begin talks with Sassuolo for talented attacker Hamed Junior Traore soon. Following the expiry of Juventus' right of first refusal clause, reports also say the Partenopei will want to move quickly.

- Real Madrid are close to confirming a contract extension for Luka Modric, per Marca reports, but are unwavering in their plans to offload Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco at the end of the season.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has cooled speculation the club will be battling to sign Erling Haaland at the end of the season.

The Blaugrana have been frequently linked with a move for the Borussia Dortmund striker, with the Norway international a player in great demand.

But with Barcelona still building up their financial stability, Laporta has played down talk of a deal for Haaland, given the hefty cost any such signing would necessitate.

"Even if we had the best economic situation, there are operations we would not do," Laporta told Eport3.

He was asked whether the Norwegian flag would be flying for Haaland at Camp Nou next season, as it was for Caroline Graham Hansen and Ingrid Engen when Barcelona's women's team won their domestic league title, sealing it with a 5-0 victory over Real Madrid on Sunday.

"[Mateu] Alemany, Jordi [Cruyff] and the technical secretary are working on improving the team. We want to carry out operations, but some are difficult," Laporta added.

"We have to save ourselves. We have improved the situation, but we have to complete the recovery of the economic situation. We won't do deals that could put the institution at risk."

Barcelona have faced a difficult year when it has come to balancing the books, being forced to let captain Lionel Messi depart due to financial constraints and then facing delays when registering new recruits.

On the field, however, they have turned a corner from their early-season woes under Ronald Koeman, with new head coach Xavi helping to steer them back into the thick of a top-four battle in LaLiga.

Haaland, meanwhile, has been reported to be closing in on a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, with the Leeds-born star poised for a return to the country of his birth.

Kylian Mbappe looks set to end one of the biggest transfer sagas of recent seasons by penning his deal with Real Madrid next week.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker will reportedly move to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer at the end of the season.

It will mark the end of a lengthy pursuit by Los Blancos, despite the Ligue 1 club's efforts to keep their star man.

 

TOP STORY - MADRID CLOSING IN ON MBAPPE

Mbappe will confirm his future in a matter of days by putting pen to paper on a contract with Real Madrid, claims Marca.

The France international was pursued by Los Blancos last year, but instead remained with Paris Saint-Germain to see out the rest of his contract.

That expires at the end of this campaign, and despite PSG's resistance, the forward will confirm his future at Santiago Bernabeu with a free move before the month is up.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have locked a deal in place for the capture of Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. City look to have beaten off several European rivals for the Leeds-born Norway international, and are now set to discuss personal terms.

- Scotland international Kieran Tierney is set to be the subject of a move from Madrid, claims 90min. The Arsenal star has helped form the bedrock of a Gunners revival this term and his performances have not gone under-the-radar when it comes to Los Blancos and their interest.

- Antonio Conte is willing to consider an extension at Tottenham, providing the club can show that they have "vision", says the Guardian. The Italian has endured a topsy-turvy tenure so far in north London, but remains one of the most respected coaches in the game.

- Crystal Palace star Conor Gallagher is unsure where his future lies following his success on loan at Selhurst Park this season, according to ESPN. The Chelsea man is with the Eagles on a year-long deal, and has picked up England honours during his tenure.

- Atletico Madrid are thinking about a move for Barcelona's Sergi Roberto. According to Fichajes, the midfielder is frustrated at his lack of consistent game-time and LaLiga's champions could swoop for him.

Erling Haaland could make his long-awaited return from injury during Borussia Dortmund's clash with Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday, revealed head coach Marco Rose.

Haaland, who has hit 16 Bundesliga goals at a rate of just 71.56 minutes per goal this season, has not featured for second-placed Dortmund since sustaining a muscle injury six weeks ago.

But ahead of Dortmund's home clash with relegation-battlers Arminia, Rose revealed that his top scorer could be set for a return to action, albeit from the bench. 

"Erling is now pain-free, which makes him very happy," the 45-year-old said. "He's just happy that he's now training with the team every day again and is in a very good mood. 

"First and foremost, it's always about health. Everything else is secondary."

Rose did, however, say that the Norway star was unlikely to play from the start, issuing a reminder that he has been out for a "long time", and that he was more likely to be introduced from the bench.

 

Bundesliga matches involving Dortmund have averaged 4.21 goals per game this season, the highest tally in the division, and BVB have actually conceded more goals (37) than Sunday's opponents have (33), despite sitting 13 places higher in the table.

Yet, with Dortmund nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich with a game in hand, Rose seemed content with his side's progress, and hoped to deliver one last push for the title during the run-in.

"Despite some weaker games, we have also delivered some spectacles," Rose said. "The fans have always pushed us with their feedback. 

"That's what I'd like to see from Sunday onwards, so that we can push together at the end of the season."

Elsewhere, Haaland's return could be accompanied by that of Giovanni Reyna, in what would be a major boost to the United States ahead of this month's crucial World Cup qualifiers.

The 19-year-old suffered what looked like a hamstring injury last month and has made just five Bundesliga appearances all campaign, but the club's social media channels have now revealed that the youngster has been in full training this week and is in line for a return. 

With just three matches left in their qualification campaign, USA are battling with Canada, Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica for a spot in Qatar, facing each of the latter three in crucial matchups before the end of March. 

Xavi is confident that Barcelona will land their transfer targets in the next window but was unwilling to confirm whether Erling Haaland is one of those his side are chasing.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported on Wednesday that Barcelona are growing increasingly confident of winning the race for in-demand Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland.

The 21-year-old has been linked with an array of Europe's elite clubs, including Barca's rivals Real Madrid, after scoring 80 goals in 79 games for Dortmund in all competitions.

That is a tally bettered only by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (115 goals in 97 matches) among players from Europe's top five leagues since January 2020.

Haaland has a reported €75million release clause that kicks in at the end of the season, although Barca's well-documented financial issues over the past year would make any deal difficult.

While falling short of confirming whether his side are looking to recruit Haaland, Xavi insisted Camp Nou is a lure for any player, despite Barca's relative recent plight.

"You say I have met with Haaland – I didn't know that!" Xavi said at a pre-match news conference previewing Thursday's Europa League match with Galatasaray.

"It's always a good time to come to Barca for any footballer. There isn't a footballer who has said no to Barca since I've been here.

"The player we want to sign, when we can talk to him, we talk to him about the game model, about the training sessions.

"If you will touch 20 balls at another club, here you will touch 40. The club, the city that is wonderful, the history of Barca...

"I will try to convince any player that coming to Barca is a golden opportunity."

 

Speculation regarding Haaland's future will likely rumble on for a number of months yet, but Barca are hopeful of completing some transfer business of sorts before then.

Gavi and Ronald Araujo are both set to be out of contract next year, though the club are working to tie both players down to fresh terms.

"They are two very important players," Xavi said. "The club's working very well and they are a priority for us. 

"It is a process. Sometimes the negotiations take a long time. We hope for the good of the club that there is an agreement."

Barca host Galatasaray on Wednesday for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie boasting an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

While the Catalans are considered the favourites of many to lift the trophy in May, Xavi believes perennial winners Sevilla are the team to beat.

"I don't see us as one of the favourites. We have never won the competition," he said. "Sevilla are more favourites than us. 

"We are one of the candidates and we have to prove it on the pitch. There is enthusiasm in Barcelona. Every game at Barca is an exam, but we haven't done anything yet."

Barca have faced Galatasaray eight times previously, winning each of the past three meetings, the most recent of those a 3-1 win in the 2002-03 Champions League group stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United may be coming to a premature end.

The Portuguese forward has struggled since Ralf Rangnick's arrival as interim manager in December.

United are also battling to finish in the Premier League's top four.

TOP STORY - RONALDO COURTS MOVE TO MESSI'S PSG

FootballTransfers claims that Ronaldo has decided that he will leave Manchester United if they do not qualify for the Champions League, with a move to join Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain on his agenda.

Speculation about Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford ramped up after he missed Sunday's Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury and flew to Portugal.

The report that claims that Ronaldo returning to Juventus has been ruled out, along with his original Portuguese club Sporting CP, with the five-time Ballon d'Or courting a move to Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Defensa Central reports that Newcastle United have commenced talks with Real Madrid over a move for 31-year-old ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard who has had an underwhelming spell with Los Blancos.

- Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has a list of clubs circling for his services with Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham all interested, according to 90Min.

- The Mail claims that PSG will make a move for Rashford too, should Kylian Mbappe leave the French capital to join Madrid.

- Manchester City and Madrid are in the lead to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland ahead of Bayern Munich and Barcelona claims The Athletic.

- RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is being tracked by Chelsea and Man City according to FootMercato.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are the natural heirs Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, so says Gonzalo Higuain.

Both players have been linked with moves to Real Madrid, and Mbappe recently scored a superb solo goal to give Paris Saint-Germain a 1-0 lead over Los Blancos in their Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Madrid had multiple bids for Mbappe turned down in August. The 23-year-old will become a free agent at the end of the season.

Reports had suggested that Mbappe could miss Wednesday's return leg in Spain after suffering a knock in training, but with PSG hoping that he will be fit for the trip, former Madrid forward Higuain claims the forward is one of the two heirs apparent to Messi and Ronaldo.

The Inter Miami forward, who scored 107 goals in 190 LaLiga appearances for Madrid between 2007 and 2013, also believes Mbappe's arrival could take his old club back "to the top" of European football.

"[Mbappe] has all the characteristics," Higuain told Stats Perform.

"I believe that Leo and Cristiano at some point will stop playing, because life is like that, and Mbappe and Haaland will be their successors. 

"Of course, Mbappe has all the characteristics to take Real Madrid to the top."

Mbappe recently moved level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the joint-second highest goalscorer in PSG's history, with his tally of 156 goals for the French giants bettered only by Edinson Cavani, who scored 200 goals for the club.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti called Mbappe "unstoppable" after he downed the Spanish giants at the Parc des Princes last month.

PSG sporting director Leonardo, meanwhile, recently referred to Mbappe as the "best player in the world today", hinting the in-demand striker could yet elect to remain in the French capital.

Mbappe was suspended for PSG's 1-0 Ligue 1 loss to Nice last time out, and is the only player in the French top flight to have reached double figures for both goals and assists this season, with his 24 goal contributions (14 goals, 10 assists) helping the Parisians to a 13-point lead at the summit. 

Haaland, meanwhile, is one of the most prolific forwards in European football, and it has been reported that Madrid and Manchester City are leading the chase for the 21-year-old.

Since making his debut for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020, the Norway international has netted 80 times in all competitions, a tally which ranks behind that of only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (112) in the same timeframe of players in Europe's big five leagues.

Joan Laporta has denied that Barcelona have held negotiations with Erling Haaland to try to lure the Borussia Dortmund striker to Camp Nou.

It was reported by L'Esportiu that Barca head coach Xavi and sporting advisor Jordi Cruyff had travelled to Munich to meet Haaland this week.

Xavi did not deny meeting the sought-after Norway international, stating he "cannot give details" over a potential move for the 21-year-old and the Blaugrana are "working for the present and the future" in the transfer market.

Laporta insisted the Catalan giants would not engage in official talks with Haaland – who has a €75million release clause that kicks in at the end of this season – without Dortmund's permission.

The Barca president told reporters: "At Barça we don't negotiate with the player, when we have to negotiate we will do it with Borussia Dortmund if the circumstance arises. 

"Xavi hasn't denied it? Well, I categorically deny it. If we negotiate, we would do it with Borussia Dortmund. We are working on many players who can improve the squad next season according to what the coach, the director of football and the technical secretary say.

"We are working and planning, but not negotiating with players. Neither meeting nor negotiating."

 

But Laporta does not believe it would be an issue if Xavi has spoken to Haaland in Bavaria.

He added: "I am convinced that conversations can be held between athletes, they can talk about football, which is what they know.

"Coming to Barca is attractive because the team is under construction and they fall in love [with the club] because there are very young players, with a lot of talent, who have a present and a future, but the economic issues are valued by other people in the club."

Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule insisted he will "give everything" to ensure Borussia Dortmund finish second in the Bundesliga this season, despite agreeing to join Marco Rose's side in 2022-23.

Sule has agreed to join Dortmund when his deal expires at the Allianz Arena in June, but Julian Nagelsmann has repeatedly assured that the centre-back remains committed to the cause.

That was evident when Sule opened the scoring against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, although the reigning Bundesliga champions had to settle for a 1-1 draw after Thomas Muller's own-goal.

The 26-year-old was a standout performer against Gerardo Seoane's side, completing a game-high 99 successful passes, with no player attempting more in the opposition half (53).

While Bayern missed the chance to go 11 points clear at the Bundesliga summit, Sule expressed his commitment to Nagelsmann's side with his focus solely on domestic and Champions League success this term before joining Dortmund.

"I'm nothing but grateful. I'll give everything for this club until the last day, hopefully with two more titles," Sule told Sky Deutschland, as quoted by BILD.

"I believe in that. I'm grateful for the way people here are coping with my decision.

"I deliberately haven't spoken out yet. I'm still a Bayern player. There are still two big titles to play for and I will give everything to make sure Dortmund finish second this season."

The Bavarian giants sit nine points clear at the top, with second-placed Dortmund boasting a game in hand but they are not in action next until March 13.

But Nagelsmann was disappointed with his team's outing as he acknowledged Leverkusen squandered as many presentable opportunities as Bayern.

"The first half an hour was very good," he told reporters. "We had a lot of control and missed the second goal. We had chances. The goal we conceded was avoidable. The communication between Thomas [Muller] and Sven [Ulreich] was there, but I think it was too quiet.

"We were lucky not to concede a second. In the second half, Leverkusen defended deep. They had three good chances on the counter.

"The final touch was missing for us. I think in the end a point was fair for both teams, even though, of course, both wanted to win."

Bayern will look to make amends in the league when they visit Hoffenheim in a week's time, after Nagelsmann's men host Salzburg on Tuesday in the return leg of their Champions League last-16 clash, which is finely poised at 1-1.

Xavi insisted he "cannot give details" on a potential transfer for Erling Haaland, but assured Barcelona are "working for the present and the future" in their dealings.

Haaland has thrived in the Bundesliga since he arrived at Borussia Dortmund from Salzburg in January 2020, scoring 80 goals in 79 appearances across all competitions.

That has made him one of the most sought-after talents, with a host of European's elite circling for when his reported €75million release clause kicks in at the end of this season.

Barca, Real Madrid and Manchester City are said to be the main suitors for the Norway international, who is yet to make his Dortmund future clear.

The Blaugrana club have confirmed 18-year-old winger Pablo Torre will sign from Racing Santander at the end of the season in a deal that could cost them more than €20million, and Xavi was asked whether the teenager could be joined by Haaland.

"I can't give details," he responded at a news conference previewing Sunday's LaLiga clash with Elche.

"The only thing I can say about Haaland is that we are working for Barca, for the present and future. If we announce something, you will know. Like yesterday with Pablo Torre."

 

Kylian Mbappe seems set to join Barca's Clasico rivals Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires in June, and Xavi would welcome the France international's arrival in LaLiga, even if it is not at the Camp Nou.

"The more players at this level, of course, the league would improve," Xavi said. "Obviously, it would be even more attractive."

Xavi believes that Barca still have the pulling power to attract high-profile signings, while he detailed his plans for the incoming Torre.

"It's still one of the advantages," Xavi said of Barca's ability in the transfer market. 

"It's explaining the project, trust and being honest with the player we want to sign. The model, the idea of the game, which he will enjoy, the club, which is the best in the world, the city.

"The most important thing is that I haven't seen any player who has said no to Barca. They all want to come. It's exciting to come to Barca.

"We have been following Pablo. He is a natural talent. He can play inside, on the wing, he dominates with both feet.

"He is very young and has the ability to play for Barca for years. It depends on him and his mentality. 

"He is a great signing for the present and future. He will have be involved with the first team, but he will play the role of Abde [Ezzalzouli] and [Ferran] Jutgla as a rotational option."

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