Bayern Munich have verbally agreed terms with Barcelona for the sale of superstar striker Robert Lewandowski.

The 33-year-old scored 50 goals last season – the most of all players in Europe's top five leagues – but has since been pushing for a transfer away from the Allianz Arena.

A deal between Bayern and Barca was finally reported on Friday, with a total fee of €50million set to allow Lewandowski to leave.

And Bayern published an update on their official Twitter page on Saturday, carrying a quote from club president Herbert Hainer.

"We have come to a verbal agreement with Barcelona," he said. "It's good to have clarity for all parties.

"Robert is an incredible player, and he won everything with us. We are incredibly grateful to him."

Lewandowski was pictured saying goodbye to his Bayern team-mates at their training ground early on Saturday morning.

Robert Lewandowski said his eight years at Bayern Munich had been "special" as he bid goodbye to players and staff from the German giants on Saturday.

The Poland striker is poised to seal a move to Barcelona after Bayern reportedly accepted a €50million offer from the LaLiga club.

Barcelona are said to be paying an initial €45million, plus €5million in performance-related add-ons, to secure the player who scored 50 goals for Bayern across all competitions last season.

Lewandowski was spotted at Sabener Strasse on Saturday morning taking part in training, before hugging team-mates and coaching staff at the end of the session.

The 33-year-old joined Bayern from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, and speaking to Germany's Sky Sport News, Lewandowski said: "I will come back and say goodbye to all the employees properly. I didn't have much time to prepare for it now.

"These eight years were special and you don't forget that. I had a great time in Munich. I will fly soon. But after the training camp I will come again and say goodbye properly and organise a few things.

"I said goodbye to the guys on the pitch today. I wasn't worried about an injury in training. Something can happen to me at home. I wanted to keep fit and so I trained with the boys again."

Bayern have already moved to limit the impact of Lewandowski's departure with the signing of Sadio Mane from Liverpool, while midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and right-back Noussair Mazraoui have also recently joined from Ajax.

According to Christian Falk of BILD Sport, Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn also confirmed that an agreement had been reached with Barca for Lewandowski, with Kahn quoted as saying: "We have now reached an agreement with FC Barcelona. So far, however, only verbally. The contract is still pending."

Robert Lewandowski is poised to seal a move to Barcelona after Bayern Munich reportedly accepted a €50million offer from the LaLiga giants.

Rather than appear at Bayern's team presentation event at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, Lewandowski is expected to travel to Spain to put the finishing touches to his transfer.

It will mark the end of a saga that began in May, when it emerged there was a mutual attraction between Lewandowski and Barcelona.

Reports indicate Barcelona will pay an initial €45m, plus €5m in performance-related add-ons, to secure the player who hit 50 goals for Bayern across all competitions last season.

That made him the leading scorer from Europe's top five leagues, and it came as a jolt to the Bundesliga champions when the 33-year-old Polish striker made clear his desire to leave.

Barcelona have been pulling together funds to allow the deal to proceed, and the arrival of Lewandowski will follow the signing of Brazilian winger Raphinha from Leeds United as Xavi pieces together a team he hopes can compete for honours with Real Madrid.

According to Bild journalist Heiko Niedderer, Lewandowski arrived at Bayern's Sabener Strasse training headquarters shortly before 08:30 local time (06:30 GMT) to collect his possessions and say his goodbyes.

Later in the day, the presentation of the team at Bayern's stadium was due to see the first team and new recruits paraded in front of supporters. That had promised to be awkward if Lewandowski's future had remained unresolved.

As he departs, having won eight consecutive Bundesliga titles since arriving in 2014 from Borussia Dortmund, Bayern are expected to step up their efforts to bring in Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus.

Barcelona are due to fly to the United States for a pre-season tour on Saturday, with games scheduled against Inter Miami, Real Madrid, Juventus and the New York Red Bulls.

Lewandowski is not anticipated to be on the team flight but will hope his transfer can be completed to allow him to join his new team-mates within days.

Bayern are also heading to the US in the coming week to step up their own pre-season work.

Chelsea have marked Sevilla's Jules Kounde as their centre-back of the future after a deal for Manchester City's Nathan Ake fell apart.

An agreement had been taking shape to bring 27-year-old Ake back to Stamford Bridge – where he began his Premier League career – before City decided to retain the services of the Netherlands international.

Instead, 23-year-old Kounde is now in Chelsea's sights, likely as a long-term solution after also securing 31-year-old centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for a fee reportedly just shy of £34million.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA ENTER THE KOUNDE RACE

Kounde has already racked up 150 games of top league experience between his time with Bordeaux in Ligue 1 and Sevilla in LaLiga, and is expected to cost in the range of £56million, according to ESPN.

The France international, with 11 senior caps for his country, also has an impeccable injury history, tallying 184 appearances in all club competitions in just the past four seasons, with no significant injuries.

Chelsea will be mainly competing against Barcelona, with the Spanish giants reportedly already agreeing to personal terms with Kounde, and reports claim they are willing to exchange Memphis Depay or Sergino Dest to get a deal done.

Barcelona may be unable to afford the move unless Sevilla are willing to take back a player, as their £65m deal for Raphinha and their chase of Robert Lewandowski could restrict their financial flexibility

ROUND-UP

Aston Villa have placed a £20million price tag on 18-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka to try to fend off interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Newcastle United, according to Talksport.

– The Athletic is reporting that 29-year-old Jesse Lingard is considering a highly paid move to Saudi Arabia.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are set to agree to personal terms with Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko.

– Sky Sport in Germany claims Bayern Munich are close to securing Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt for around €80million.

– The Independent is reporting that William Saliba will try to push his way out of Arsenal if he is not guaranteed a place in Mikel Arteta's starting line-up, with Marseille and Atletico Madrid named as interested parties.

Thomas Tuchel has achieved his "top priority" for the transfer window by signing Raheem Sterling, while the Chelsea head coach cannot foresee Robert Lewandowski arriving.

Sterling joined Manchester City for a reported fee in the region of £45million on Wednesday, as Chelsea confirmed their first signing since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the Blues.

The England international, who signed a five-year deal with Chelsea, scored 17 goals in all competitions for City last season, a tally bettered by only Riyad Mahrez (24) and Kevin De Bruyne (19).

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo has also been linked to Stamford Bridge, alongside Barcelona's top target Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski scored 50 goals in all competitions last term, the most of any player across Europe's top five leagues, and Tuchel appreciates his quality but does not envisage bringing him in.

"I don't think we have a chance for Lewandowski but if there is a chance, he is one of the best number nines," said Tuchel.

"The priority is not on the number nine position right now. We have our top priority [Sterling], we have got our top priority signed. It makes me very, very happy and from there we are very flexible.

"He was the absolute number one for that position. I gave his name to Todd straight away. Every time we played against him, he's horrible to play against, horrible!

"The main point is his intensity and the amount of repetition of intensity that he delivers. This is simply outstanding over the last years.

"It's exactly what we need to raise the level of our players. That's why we are so sure and that's why he was, for us, top of the list.

"Our goal threat should be enough right now. If we think something crazy comes up that we don’t see, maybe we will get involved, maybe not."

 

The versatile Sterling is expected to bring experience to the Chelsea attack, a feature lacking at the back for the Blues after the departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Cesar Azpilicueta is reportedly wanted by Barca as well, while Chelsea appear set to bring in Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly to somewhat fill the void in defence.

The minimum requirement for success under Boehly will be a top-four Premier League finish to qualify for the Champions League, and Tuchel acknowledged he must rebuild to develop a competitive squad.

"I think with Thiago [Silva] in the middle, Toni on the left and Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] or Andreas [on the right] we had the best back-three in the world," he added.

"It's possible [to rebuild at short notice]. We can, we have to. I think we can put a structure in place and we have a structure on which we can rely on.

"For example, if we play against Everton, Thiago can play, Trevoh Chalobah can hopefully play, and Azpi is at the moment here. 

"If there are guys still to be signed or not fully aware of the principles, I don't want to use it as an excuse. When I came in, I had one day to start with the back-three because it was a fit and I still think it will be a fit.

"The first 10 days or 11 days with the group have been outstanding. The mentality, worth ethic and quality in training is absolutely impressive and this makes me very happy.

"I want to be ready when we play Everton. I want to win and I will demand it from myself, my team and all my players.

"The team will be strong. I am not ready to use it as an excuse even though it is maybe true that we are in transition. We can, I can focus, I think the team can focus on what makes us strong and we can take it step by step and work out how to win games."

While Chelsea made their long-awaited first signing in Sterling, top-four rivals Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City have all been busy in the transfer window.

Tuchel was quick to hail the transfer dealings of Antonio Conte, who looks set to seal his sixth signing of the transfer window in Djed Spence, and conceded Chelsea will have to catch up with their competitors.

"I mean it when I said we fight against the best teams and the best coaches, which does not make life easier and they set the bar so high last season, but we start again from scratch," said Tuchel. 

"So we will try again. I can promise you that everybody is ready to try again. We will not give in before we play games. That's why the sanctions did not help. We lost important players and the other teams are recruiting, and did not have the losses that we had.

"If you look at the transfer period of Tottenham with Antonio Conte, it's maybe the strongest team they ever built. Manchester United will not give in, Arsenal will not give in, they've made two big signings already, so we are aware of the situation and try to do our best to be competitive."

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic "never had any doubts" Robert Lewandowski would report back for the start of pre-season training this week.

The Poland international told Bayern in May he wished to move away from the Allianz Arena this transfer window.

That came on the back of a campaign that saw Lewandowski score 50 goals in all competitions – the most of any player across Europe's top five leagues.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta last week confirmed the LaLiga giants had made an offer for the prolific striker and were awaiting a response from Bayern.

Reports from the German media suggested Lewandowski would delay returning for training, but that did not prove the case as he was present for fitness tests on Tuesday.

While the future of the former Borussia Dortmund star remains far from certain, Salihamidzic praised the 33-year-old for not downing tools in an attempt to force through an exit.

"Robert is a top professional who I know very well," Salihamidzic told Bild. "I never had any doubts that he may not show up for training."

 

Bayern have offloaded the likes of Niklas Sule, Marc Roca and Corentin Tolisso this window, while Ryan Gravenberch, Noussair Mazraoui and Sadio Mane have arrived.

Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt is another player on the German champions' radar, with Salihamidzic confident an agreement can be reached with Juventus.

"It was important to meet with Juve," he said. "We held two talks and now we have to be patient and see what happens. In principle, I'm an optimistic person."

De Ligt played more minutes (2,675) than any other Juve outfield player in Serie A last season as Massimiliano Allegri's side struggled to a fourth-placed finish.

And although Lewandowski may have asked for a move away, Salihamidzic believes Bayern are still a club that big-name players want to join.

"It's sexy for the players to go into the future with this club and this coach," he said.

"We'll keep our eyes and ears open, see what's happening on the transfer market, and we'll do our best for Bayern."

Bayern face MLS side D.C. United in their opening pre-season friendly next Wednesday as part of their tour of the United States.

Christopher Nkunku insists his decision to commit to RB Leipzig is not merely delaying a move to a bigger club next year.

Nkunku signed a new deal in June, extending his contract with the Bundesliga team by two years until 2026 despite being linked with a host of Europe's biggest teams.

France international Nkunku joined Leipzig from Paris Saint-Germain in 2019 and has gone from strength to strength in Germany, netting 35 goals and adding 16 assists across all competitions last season. Of players in Europe's top five leagues, only Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe scored more times in the 2021-22 campaign.

The 24-year-old was a part of the Leipzig side that in May won the club's first ever DFB-Pokal, and after that cup triumph they will be aiming to challenge for Bundesliga supremacy, with Bayern Munich presently on a run of 10 consecutive league titles.

Previously linked with the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United, Nkunku could become the subject of fresh interest should he play a starring role at the World Cup or continue to build on his excellent club form.

However, he said on Thursday: "For me, it was a given to extend my contract here. I feel right at home in this city and at this club. I still don't see my work here as finished. So I'm not thinking about leaving the club next year either.

"We did really well as a team last season, but there's still more to come. I want to continue the success with RB Leipzig."

Nkunku's individual performance earned him the Bundesliga player of the season award. He took that ahead of Bayern's Lewandowski, who scored 35 goals in the competition.

"The numbers look outstanding but in the end it was a team performance," Nkunku told reporters. "The lads helped me a lot. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to get any goals or assists.

"Together we are working to make this season even better. And I'm convinced that we can achieve something even greater."

Leipzig begin the new season with a DFL-Supercup clash against Bayern on July 30, with their Bundesliga campaign commencing away to Stuttgart on August 7.

Between the 2020-21 season and the start of last term, Leizpig lost head coach Julian Nagelsmann, while defenders Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate went to Bayern and Liverpool respectively. Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer also headed to Bavaria early in the season.

There has been nothing nearly as dramatic this time around, so far.

"The team has hardly changed. There was no great upheaval this summer, and that's a good thing," Nkunku said.

"I can't say whether we're good enough to win the league, but we will be in the hunt and we will give it our best shot. We all want more and in the end we could achieve something really great."

Thomas Tuchel has not ruled out signing another striker but refused to be drawn on whether Chelsea could move for Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski.

The Blues on Wednesday made their first big signing of the Todd Boehly era, landing Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for a fee reported to be in the region of £45million.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge after he did not travel to Thailand and Australia for Manchester United's pre-season tour.

Lewandowski has informed Bayern Munich he wants a new challenge, although Barcelona are the favourites to sign the prolific striker.

Tuchel says the London club may bring in further firepower, but gave little away when asked about Ronaldo and Lewandowski.

He told Sky Sports: "I will not comment on them, their careers speak for themselves and it's not needed that I give another comment and put rumours out there, which do not help anybody. We will announce when something is to be announced."

Asked about the prospect of signing another striker, he said: "I would not rule it out, but it's not the priority. I think the priority right now is defence, which everybody knows, it's not a secret. We need to see what is possible."

Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly is expected to bolster Chelsea's defence, while Nathan Ake appears set to return to the club from City after sanctions were lifted on the club following a change of ownership.

Tuchel says it is vital more new faces arrive, with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku having departed.

The German said: "The stakes are high and we're competing not only against the best teams who have ever played in the Premier League but also the best coaches,

"We come from sanctions, we come from losing top-quality players, key players, we are a club in transition, in transition of ownership, we were behind in the transfer race and we were behind in the table. So we have things to improve.

"The signing of Raheem shows what we're capable of doing, it shows the ambition of the club and the ownership and it's good because we're all here to win and compete.

"We love to compete and we love the challenge at the very top. For that we need signings of new quality players or otherwise there's no chance."

 

After last season's disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal, Bayern Munich are on the verge of transforming their team in one transfer window.

Sadio Mane and Ryan Gravenberch are potentially transformative signings for Bayern, and they apparently are not done just yet.

According to reports, Gravenberch's international team-mate is doing to what he can to force a move to Sabener Strasse.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT BAYERN'S TOP TARGET

Bayern Munich are reportedly edging closer to securing the signature of wantaway Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Bild.

De Ligt is reportedly willing to lower his wage demands in order to help force through a move, after a gap in expectations between the two clubs over the initial offer.

Bayern's proposal to the Bianconeri was reportedly €70million with an extra €10m in bonuses, with the latter looking at €80m as a base to any package.

De Ligt's move to lower wage expectations gives the reigning Bundesliga champions added leverage over Juventus, who after Paulo Dybala's departure, would not want to see another star run down their contract.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are now targeting PSG centre-back Presnel Kimpembe after almost securing Kalidou Koulibaly's signature, The Guardian reports.

– Meanwhile, Mason Mount is seeking to begin negotiations with the Blues over a new long-term deal, per The Athletic

– Ousmane Dembele is set to sign a new two-year contract with Barcelona after his previous deal expired, Sport is reporting.

– Charles de Ketelaere prefers a move to Milan despite interest from Leeds United for the Club Brugge striker, according to Fabrizio Romano.

 

Leon Goretzka hopes Robert Lewandowski and Bayern Munich can find "a fair solution" amid uncertainty over the striker's future.

The Poland captain has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona after revealing he is eager for a new challenge.

Lewandowski reported for pre-season medical tests with Bayern on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen if he will play for the Bundesliga champions again.

Bayern midfielder Goretzka wants a resolution that suits both Lewandowski and the club.

He told Sport Bild; "I can only say that I would be happy if Bayern and Robert found a fair solution for both parties.

"The last time I was asked and answered this question, it immediately made headlines."

Goretzka believes the Bavarian giants are fortunate to have such an array of attacking talent.

He added: "Bayern is a team that is usually in the opposition box. Players with qualities in tight spaces also help.

"When I see the names we have in attack, it is absolutely first class."

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United remains unclear after stepping away from their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

The 37-year-old Portuguese has reportedly told United he wants to leave this off-season, although new boss Erik ten Hag said the Portuguese is in their plans for the upcoming campaign.

Ronaldo is one season into a two-year deal at Old Trafford, having re-joined United in August last year.

TOP STORY – RONALDO OFFERED TO PSG IN MESSI LINK-UP

Le Parisien claims that Manchester United's Ronaldo has been offered to French champions Paris Saint-Germain by his agent Jorge Mendes.

PSG, however, were not interested in the 37-year-old as they felt he was not the right fit and would put strain on their bulging wage bill, headlined by Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Mendes has also held talks with Bayern Munich and Chelsea as he seeks a move away from Old Trafford for Ronaldo.

ROUND-UP

–  Chelsea are homing in on a €40 million (£34m) deal for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly with the two parties in talks on a five-year deal, claims Sky Sport Italia. The Blues are looking for defensive reinforcements after Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger's departures.

–  Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Ajax's Lisandro Martinez with negotiations entering key stages reports Fabrizio Romano. The two clubs will meet on Wednesday, with Ajax having turned down United's previous approach, but the Argentinian is keen to move to the Premier League.

– The Telegraph claims that Newcastle United have held discussions with Real Sociedad about a deal for Swedish striker Alexander Isak with the fee believed to be a club record.

Barcelona have agreed to a five-year deal with Raphinha, with the move from Leeds United worth €67m (£55m) according to Fabrizio Romano.

– Marca reports that Real Madrid will beat Barcelona to the signature of 17-year-old Algeciras winger Alvaro Leiva.

Massimiliano Allegri insists Juventus "will be ready" if defender Matthijs de Ligt leaves for Bayern Munich, as he revealed talks were ongoing regarding a transfer for the Netherlands international.

De Ligt has been strongly linked with the Bundesliga champions throughout the transfer window, with Juventus chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene revealing last month that the former Ajax man wants to leave the Bianconeri.

The 22-year-old has made 87 Serie A appearances since joining Juventus for a reported €85million in 2019 but has struggled for consistency in Italy.

Having won eight consecutive league titles prior to De Ligt's arrival, Juventus have only lifted one Scudetto in three seasons with the Dutchman.

Meanwhile, Juventus never conceded more than 30 league goals during any of those eight successive title triumphs but have let in a minimum of 37 in each campaign since De Ligt joined.

Speaking on Juventus' pre-season tour of the United States on Tuesday, Allegri conceded a move to Germany was a possibility for De Ligt, but he is optimistic positive about the club's plan to replace him.

"Yesterday there was a meeting with Bayern Munich, but at the moment he is a Juventus player," Allegri said of De Ligt.

"In football, anything can happen, but if he leaves the club will be ready."

De Ligt contributed to Juventus keeping 11 clean sheets in his 31 league appearances last season, featuring in more shutouts than any other Bianconeri defender.

 

Meanwhile, Juventus have moved to recruit Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria on free transfers in an attempt to add more creativity to a side that scored just 57 Serie A goals last season – that was the fewest they have netted in a single campaign since finishing seventh in 2010-11.

And Allegri is expecting big things from his new stars as he highlighted the importance of making a fast start to the upcoming Serie A season.

"Pogba and Di Maria are important players who raise the technical level of the team and take away responsibilities from some players," he added. "I am very happy that they have arrived. 

"Pogba has arrived in the right way, with determination and with desire. In recent years he has not played at his level, now he is back home and can give us a hand. Paul has a level of physique and quality that can help us.

"Last year we didn't even win a trophy. With the additions, for now, of Di Maria, Pogba, [Federico] Gatti, and the returns of [Federico] Chiesa and [Weston] McKennie, [we] make the team more competitive. 

"Winning is never easy and we must do everything to win the championship. The first three months will be important."

Chiesa suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in January, six months on from starring in Italy's Euro 2020 triumph, and Allegri says Juve fans will have to remain patient as the winger recovers.

"Chiesa should return in mid-September," he said. "Then, with these injuries I am very cautious. He will return to 100 per cent from January onwards."

Robert Lewandowski was back on Bayern Munich duty as the Barcelona target showed up for pre-season fitness tests on Tuesday.

The Polish striker would hope to make his Bayern exit as painless as possible, after making it clear to the club he is determined to move on before the new campaign starts.

That meant he obliged a commitment to undergo physical checks at the Barmherzige Bruder hospital in Munich, arriving just after 09:00 local time, according to reports.

Newspaper Bild said Lewandowski arrived back in Germany from his holidays on Monday evening, before showing up to the hospital in a green Bentley.

He is said to have spent around an hour there, before departing. It remained to be seen whether, or when, Lewandowski would follow the hospital visit with a trip to Bayern's Sabener Strasse training ground.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta last week said his club had made an offer for Lewandowski and were awaiting a response.

German media reports said a further bid was expected this week, with Germany's Sky Sport saying a final offer of €50million, plus add-ons, was set to be submitted.

Lewandowski, who turns 34 in August, scored 50 goals in all competitions last season to lead all players across Europe's top five leagues.

Bundesliga champions Bayern have signed Sadio Mane from Liverpool since the end of last season, but they have also indicated they hope to keep Lewandowski.

If Lewandowski remains a Bayern player come the weekend, it could mean he faces an awkward appearance in front of the club's supporters.

Bayern will stage their team presentation event at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, which includes a welcome for new signings and an open training session for Julian Nagelsmann's squad.

That is followed by a pre-season trip to the United States for Bayern, who are due to play against DC United and Manchester City on that trip.

Lewandowski has entered the final year of his Bayern contract and would be able to leave on a free transfer at the end of that deal.

Chelsea have reportedly turned their attention to Bayern Munich winger and Germany international Serge Gnabry.

The decision was made to pivot away from Leeds United winger Raphinha after Barcelona seemingly moved into pole position for the Brazil international, with Chelsea then deciding to test the waters for former Arsenal forward Gnabry.

He is coming off his highest-scoring Bundesliga season, having netted 14 goals and contributed six assists in 34 league fixtures, scoring another three goals in the Champions League.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA GEAR UP FOR GNABRY BID

Despite it being widely reported that Chelsea have secured Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for fee of around £45million, the Blues are clearly not satisfied with their winger stocks. 

This was further fuelled by reports the club tried to include Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech along with cash in a deal for Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, with Ziyech now appearing likely to land a move to Milan.

The Daily Mail claims Chelsea have enquired about Gnabry, 26, who debuted with Arsenal as a 17-year-old in 2012, but his time at the Gunners fizzled out with injuries before a loan move to West Brom, resulting in Werder Bremen scooping him up in a bargain £5m move.

He scored 11 goals in his first season in the Bundesliga to earn a move to Bayern, where he has tallied 171 games and 63 goals across four Bundesliga campaigns, winning four consecutive league titles.

ROUND-UP

– The Mirror is reporting that Barcelona's top priority is to sell Frenkie de Jong to fund their move for Leeds' Raphinha, while the Manchester Evening News claims top Manchester United officials are in Spain ironing out the details for the Dutch international's switch to Old Trafford.

– TalkSPORT claims that if United's chase of De Jong falls through, they are prepared to target Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves or Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Wolves have rejected an offer worth over £20m from Everton for 22-year-old midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White, according to The Telegraph.

– According to the Irish Independent, 21-year-old Nathan Collins will become the most expensive Irish player ever when he completes his £20.3m move from Burnley to Wolves this week.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting that Ousmane Dembele has decided to stay on at Barcelona, shunning interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the Reds must be excited rather than concerned about the prospects of the new season, despite the departure of Sadio Mane.

Mane completed a €41million (34.7m) move to Bayern Munich in June, ending a successful six-year spell at Liverpool, where he won both the Premier League and Champions League.

Since arriving from Southampton in 2016, Mane scored 90 goals in 196 Premier League games, a tally bettered only by Jamie Vardy (104), Mohamed Salah (118) and Harry Kane (134) in that period.

The Senegal international heads to the Bundesliga champions for the 2022-23 term, while Klopp's side have brought in Darwin Nunez from Benfica to fill the void up top.

Salah has also penned a contract extension at Anfield, with youngsters Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay arriving as well, and Klopp believes Liverpool have no reason to worry for the next campaign.

 

"We know how good Sadio is, we will realise how good he was for us in moments because there were just 'Sadio moments' when no one else can do it like him," Klopp told Sky Sports News.

"That's not a bad thing because two years ago Diogo Jota came in and Diogo did amazing stuff for us.

"Bobby Firmino had probably not the season we all expected because of injuries but in training Bobby is back, 100 per cent. He's a world-class player.

"You don't have to be worried when you think about us or you can be excited about what's possible for us. We cannot do the same thing year-in, year-out, it's just not possible.

"We have a base, we have to build on this base and be more unpredictable for other teams and that's possible with bringing in other players because they have a different skill-set.

"How can you keep going? How can you improve a world-class football team? It's by training, obviously – we believe in that a lot – but as well in bringing new players in.

"We need fresh blood, a new dynamic, fresh desire to create a team full of excitement and determination for the things coming.

"Sometimes you do it exactly like you want and sometimes you have to react on a situation like when Sadio told us that he wants to move on. We have to replace him, he's a pretty good player.

"Thankfully we could do that already in the window by bringing in Luis [Diaz] and now Darwin. Fabio is a very exciting player.

"Two of the world-class front three are still here plus extra, extra quality, The spine of the team is as well, the last line, the midfield, have a very interesting mix of experience and youth. I'm really looking forward to working with that."

There have been growing suggestions Liverpool still require another midfielder to partner Thiago and Fabinho, with Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham among the names heavily linked to Merseyside.

Despite still being aged 18, Bellingham started 44 games for Dortmund in all competitions in the 2021-22 season – four more than any other player – but Klopp will not be making a move for the midfielder.

 

"No. I can say that," he told reporters when asked if there would be more transfer activity. "I don't think something will happen in midfield, but you never know. If somebody comes to you and says, 'I want to go'.

"Nobody came to me but if that happens then we have to talk. But if the situation stays like it is, then tell me why [I should sign someone]? I do not understand.

"People told me about this discussion but the last thing that would have crossed my mind is that we have to do this.

When pressed on interest in Bellingham, Klopp added: "He's not on the market, so that's the first problem with that player. Well, the only problem with that player!"

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