The power dynamic at Paris Saint-Germain is a curious watch, with Lionel Messi set to formalise an agreement to remain for another season.

Kylian Mbappe re-signed with the French champions in May until 2025 but has still been linked with moves away from the club.

Messi came out on top over Mbappe in the World Cup final earlier this month, and Barcelona believe an opportunity might arise. 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA SET TO SWOOP FOR FRUSTRATED MBAPPE

Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona are set for a shock move to sign Mbappe.

Speculation over Mbappe's future is growing amid reports he was further frustrated at Parc des Princes after Messi committed to extending his PSG stay.

The 24-year-old was close to joining Real Madrid in the past but he has been turned off by Los Blancos, since copping heavy criticism after opting to renew with PSG, and could now move to their fierce LaLiga rivals instead.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano claims Barca have identified 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Youssoufa Moukoko as a potential target and want to sign him as a free agent next year.

Liverpool want to sign Brighton and Hove Albion's World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, reports La Repubblica. The Reds have joined Juventus, Dortmund, Inter and Benfica in pursuing the Argentina midfielder.

– Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is set to choose Real Madrid over Liverpool, with the Spanish champions to prioritise a deal in 2023, claims Goal. The Liverpool Echo reports Bellingham and Dortmund will sit down in January to discuss his future.

Liverpool are interested in Inter defender Milan Skriniar , according to Fichajes. The Reds are looking at defensive reinforcements, with Skriniar out of contract at the end of this season.

Chelsea are interested in signing Celtic's Croatia international Josip Juranovic as cover for the injured Reece James, according to Sky Sports.

– Il Tempo claims that Roma have sounded out PSG about terminating Georginio Wijnaldum's season-long loan. The Dutchman suffered a serious injury in August.

Georginio Wijnaldum has joined Roma's squad for a training camp in Portugal after missing the World Cup with a broken leg.

Wijnaldum joined Roma on a season-long loan in August after spending a single campaign with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

The Netherlands international played just 11 minutes for the Giallorossi before breaking his right leg in training later that month, causing him to miss the Oranje's trip to Qatar – which ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Argentina in the last eight.

However, Wijnaldum will hope to play a significant role in the second half of the season after being seen out on the pitch at Roma's Trigoria training ground on Thursday.

Wijnaldum then joined Jose Mourinho's squad in travelling to Portugal for a training camp and three friendly matches – against Cadiz, Casa Pia and RKC Waalwijk.

Roma sit seventh in Serie A, three points adrift of a top-four place, ahead of the league's resumption on January 4.

The World Cup in Qatar is finally set to get underway, but there are a number of major players who will be watching along with the fans back home.

An unfortunate reality about the tournament is there will always be significant absences, either through a nation's failure to qualify or due to injury.

It is the latter that has been a major focus in the final week before Sunday's kick-off, with Senegal star Sadio Mane and France striker Karim Benzema both being late withdrawals from their respective squads, the latter suffering a quadriceps injury on Saturday, depriving the tournament of the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner.

Benzema's injury is just one of several significant blows for holders France, and they dominate Stats Perform's injured XI of the players unable to feature in Qatar.

Goalkeeper: Mike Maignan (France)

Maignan had a fine maiden season at Milan after joining from Lille. He kept 17 clean sheets in Serie A last term, the highest tally in the league, and conceded just 21 goals, with his save percentage of 79.4 the best of any Serie A goalkeeper to play more than 10 games in the competition.

He has made seven appearances this season, but the 27-year-old suffered a calf injury in October, leaving Didier Deschamps shorn of a quality shot-stopper to challenge Hugo Lloris.

 

Defence: Ben Chilwell (England), Reece James (England), Presnel Kimpembe (France)

Chelsea duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell were by no means guaranteed to start for England, but it's still a blow to Gareth Southgate not to have the pair available.

James has excelled at wing-back and would have been an ideal fit if England stick with a three-man defence, while he could also have slotted in at centre-back, and Chilwell would likely offer more attacking threat than Luke Shaw on the left should the Three Lions have needed to chase a game.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe helped France win the 2018 World Cup, but he had to withdraw from Deschamps' squad for Qatar due to an Achilles problem.

Midfield: N'Golo Kante (France), Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina), Paul Pogba (France), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)

Giovani Lo Celso was not always a key player for Tottenham but retained his place as a crucial cog for Argentina. La Albiceleste will be without the midfielder, who sustained a hamstring injury while playing for Villarreal against Athletic Bilbao late in October.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored three goals in four games for the Netherlands at Euro 2020, but shortly after joining Roma on loan from PSG, the former Liverpool midfielder suffered a fractured tibia and had no chance of recovering in time to make Louis van Gaal's squad.

Another two France stars complete the midfield, with Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante missing for Les Bleus. Both players were exceptional in 2018, but Kante is out with a hamstring problem, while Pogba is yet to make an appearance for Juventus this season after joining from Manchester United.

 

Attack: Karim Benzema (France), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Christopher Nkunku (France)

It's fair to say France have been hit hardest by injuries to big players, and there could arguably be none bigger than Benzema, the Ballon d'Or holder. Given he is 34, it could well have been the Real Madrid striker's final shot at a World Cup and is a huge blow not only to France but to football fans around the world who were highly anticipating the Benzema-Kylian Mbappe link-up.

A player who might have softened the blow of Benzema's injury was Christopher Nkunku, had he not already been ruled out himself with a knee issue sustained in training last week, just before Les Bleus left for Qatar. Nkunku has been in sensational form for RB Leipzig, with only Mbappe of players from Europe's top five leagues having scored more goals (58) since the start of last season than the RB Leipzig star, who has amassed 52 in 75 games.

Mane, meanwhile, was carrying the hopes of Senegal on his shoulders. The Africa Cup of Nations holders have a talented squad, but Mane was the stardust. He went down with an injury to his fibula while in action for Bayern Munich just before the World Cup break, and though Senegal named the ex-Liverpool attacker in their squad, he underwent surgery earlier this week and was duly ruled out.

 

Ronald Koeman claimed an attempted move to bring Georginio Wijnaldum to Barcelona fell through after president Joan Laporta delayed a deal.

The Dutchman, who was fired by the LaLiga outfit last October after 14 months in charge at Camp Nou, struggled at times on the Barcelona bench and was replaced by Xavi.

Koeman, who will embark on a second spell as Netherlands head coach after the World Cup in Qatar, has confirmed he attempted to bring in compatriot Wijnaldum during the final transfer window of his Barcelona tenure.

However, Koeman contends that president Laporta, then recently returned to the position as Josep Maria Bartomeu's successor, stymied any move by dragging his heels.

"I tried to sign Wijnaldum for Barca, but I failed because the president wanted to play with me more than bring in a player," Koeman told Dutch newspaper AD.

"That delayed the operation, and for that reason, he opted for PSG. Otherwise, he would have played for Barcelona."

Wijnaldum left Liverpool in June 2021 to join Paris Saint-Germain, but he struggled across a dismal first season, resulting in him being loaned out to Roma for the current campaign.

A serious leg injury has since left Wijnaldum sidelined, however, making it highly unlikely he will be included in the Netherlands' squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Manchester United have been offered the chance to add some more talent from Real Madrid, with Marco Asensio reportedly being put on the table.

The two teams recently agreed to a deal that sent Casemiro to Old Trafford, and their discussions must not have finished with the 30-year-old defensive midfielder, with 26-year-old Asensio also being made available.

Asensio is coming off a season where he netted 10 goals in 31 LaLiga appearances, but has found himself relegated to a bench role this campaign, playing a total of seven minutes from Madrid's first two league fixtures.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED LOOK TO MADRID FOR FURTHER REINFORCEMENTS

According to the Telegraph, United have been told Asensio will cost €30million, and Arsenal are also interested in the Spain international as he searches for playing time ahead of the World Cup.

However, further reporting from ESPN claims United will not pull the trigger on any move for Asensio until they figure out if Ajax winger Antony is attainable, with that move being their priority, and a price tag said to be in the range of €100m.

Ajax have been firm on their desire to retain the services of their 22-year-old Brazilian up until this point, and if they remain that way, Asensio would be a more-than-adequate contingency plan – if he wants to go there.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Times reports that Paris Saint-Germain had a £59m bid for Bernardo Silva turned down by Manchester City.

– According to AS Roma Live, Jose Mourinho views Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga as a potential replacement at Roma for the injured Georginio Wijnaldum.

Cristiano Ronaldo's agent has reportedly made contact with Napoli, who would only be able to bring in the 37-year-old if they part ways with promising young striker Victor Osimhen, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

– Foot Mercato is reporting Nottingham Forest have secured yet another signing, with former Villarreal full-back Serge Aurier agreeing to terms on a free transfer.

– According to the Telegraph, Newcastle United have moved on from their chase of Watford forward Joao Pedro, and are now hoping to bring in Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

Manchester United have been offered the chance to add some more talent from Real Madrid, with Marco Asensio reportedly being put on the table.

The two teams recently agreed to a deal that sent Casemiro to Old Trafford, and their discussions must not have finished with the 30-year-old defensive midfielder, with 26-year-old Asensio also being made available.

Asensio is coming off a season where he netted 10 goals in 31 LaLiga appearances, but has found himself relegated to a bench role this campaign, playing a total of seven minutes from Madrid's first two league fixtures.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED LOOK TO MADRID FOR FURTHER REINFORCEMENTS

According to the Telegraph, United have been told Asensio will cost €30million, and Arsenal are also interested in the Spanish international as he searches for playing time ahead of the World Cup.

However, further reporting from ESPN claims United will not pull the trigger on any move for Asensio until they figure out if Ajax winger Antony is attainable, with that move being their priority, and a price tag said to be in the range of €100m.

Ajax have been firm on their desire to retain the services of their 22-year-old Brazilian up until this point, and if they remain that way, Asensio would be a more-than-adequate contingency plan – if he wants to go there.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Times is reporting Paris Saint-Germain had a £59m bid for Bernardo Silva turned down by Manchester City.

– According to AS Roma Live, Jose Mourinho views Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga as a potential replacement at Roma for Georginio Wijnaldum.

Cristiano Ronaldo's agent has reportedly made contact with Napoli, who would only be able to bring in the 37-year-old if they part ways with promising young striker Victor Osimhen, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

– Foot Mercato is reporting Nottingham Forest have secured yet another signing, with former Villarreal fullback Serge Aurier agreeing to terms on a free transfer.

– According to the Telegraph, Newcastle United have moved on from their chase of Watford forward Joao Pedro, and are now hoping to bring in Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

Jose Mourinho has blasted the "scum" who claimed Felix Afena-Gyan was responsible for Georginio Wijnaldum's broken leg.

Wijnaldum fractured the tibia in his right leg during a training session on Sunday, just a fortnight after joining the Serie A club in a season-long loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain.

It has been claimed in certain quarters that teenage Ghana forward Afena-Gyan was to blame for an injury that could rule the Netherlands midfielder out of the World Cup in Qatar.

Roma head coach Mourinho hit back at those accusations in an Instagram post ahead of the Serie A encounter with Cremonese on Monday.

"Sometimes football can be s***. In only two weeks, Gini became one of us because of his human qualities (his football qualities we already knew)," he wrote.

"Sadly, in a very unfortunate accident he had a bad injury that will keep him away from playing for a long time.

"But it's not just football to be s*** sometimes, people can also be… Those who initiated the rumours that a top kid like Felix could be responsible for what happened are real scum.

"Let's all be together tonight: we play for @officialasroma, for gwijnaldum and for @ohenegyanfelix9."

Roma midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum broke his right leg in training on Sunday, just two weeks after joining the club.

The Netherlands international moved earlier this month on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain, with the Serie A side possessing an option to buy.

Wijnaldum won the Ligue 1 title with PSG last term, having joined on a free transfer from Liverpool, but he moved to join Jose Mourinho's side after just a single season with the French giants.

He made his Serie A debut off the bench in Roma's 1-0 victory over Salernitana on the opening weekend but is now set for a stint on the sidelines.

In a statement, Roma said: "Following an injury sustained during training this afternoon, Georginio Wijnaldum subsequently underwent medical tests that confirmed the presence of a fracture to the tibia in his right leg.

"The player will undergo further assessments in the coming days."

Roma continue their campaign at home to Cremonese on Monday, before travelling to Turin to tackle Juventus.

It remains to be seen whether 31-year-old Wijnaldum can recover from his injury in time to feature for the Netherlands at the World Cup, which begins in November.

Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed former Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah was among those who advised him to join Jose Mourinho's Roma.

Having left Liverpool for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last year, Wijnaldum headed to Roma on a season-long loan deal last week.

Wijnaldum lifted the Champions League and Premier League trophies during a successful five-year spell at Anfield, but his impact was limited during a frustrating 2021-22 campaign in the French capital.

While the Netherlands international made 38 appearances in all competitions for PSG last season, fellow midfielders Danilo Pereira (2,623), Marco Verratti (2,621) and Idrissa Gueye (2,043) all played more than his total of 1,992 minutes for the Ligue 1 winners.

After becoming the latest arrival of a busy transfer window at the Stadio Olimpico, Wijnaldum said former Giallorossi winger Salah, alongside Kevin Strootman and PSG wing-back Achraf Hakimi, encouraged him to move to Italy.  

"First of all, I wanted to come because of the effort the club put in to sign me as a player," Wijnaldum told a news conference on Tuesday. 

"Also, I spoke with Mo Salah and Kevin Strootman about Roma, about the club and the city, and I only heard good stories about it. 

"I even spoke with Achraf Hakimi about it, even though he played at Inter Milan, he said [Roma] was a beautiful club and a beautiful place and I would be happy here. So that convinced me a lot.

"I know the club, we played them twice when I was at Liverpool [in the Champions League in 2018], and the atmosphere at the Olimpico was amazing – so I knew that I would be playing for a club with a great atmosphere and beautiful supporters.

"But that was basically the only thing I knew, so I asked for some advice from Mo and Strootman and they had good stories." 

Wijnaldum has joined the likes of Nemanja Matic and Paulo Dybala in signing for Roma ahead of the new Serie A campaign, and added the influence of Mourinho was another factor in his decision to head to Italy.

"When I arrived, we spoke more about football things. I think his record as a manager speaks for itself," the midfielder said of the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss.

"The things he did in football, the prizes he won and the clubs he managed, it's unbelievable. 

"I think every player wants to work with him and I am the same. From the moment I spoke to him, I told myself I really wanted to join the club – but that was the case even before.

"I think the thing that convinced me the most was the amount of effort the club, through Mr [director of football, Tiago] Pinto and the manager, put in to sign me. At that moment I felt really wanted and appreciated by the club and that helped me make the decision."

Georginio Wijnaldum has joined forces with Jose Mourinho at Roma on a season-long loan deal after a difficult first year at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Serie A club confirmed the signing of Wijnaldum on Friday, just over a year after he moved to PSG from Liverpool as a free agent.

Roma have the option to sign the Netherlands midfielder on a permanent basis at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

His arrival comes on a day fellow midfielder Jordan Veretout left the Giallorossi to join Ligue 1 side Marseille.

Wijnaldum was signed by PSG in June 2021 after his Reds contract expired, with the French giants muscling in when it had looked like he would join long-time admirers Barcelona.

Yet Wijnaldum struggled to make an impact in France, starting only 22 games and frequently coming in for external criticism for his performances.

He scored three goals and provided three assists across all competitions, and made 16 appearances off the bench, but has been considered expendable by new head coach Christophe Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino last month.

Wijnaldum was a first-team regular with Liverpool, starting 34 of the club's 38 Premier League games in his final season at Anfield.

At PSG, he was substituted 15 times last term, with only Angel Di Maria (18 times) replaced more often.

 

Now the 31-year-old heads to Roma, who finished sixth last season in Serie A and won the Europa Conference League.

A number of players have left the Italian capital side, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Inter on a free transfer, but head coach Mourinho has brought in Paulo Dybala from Juventus and Nemanja Matic from Manchester United.

Like that pair, Wijnaldum will add considerable experience to the Roma ranks, and the prospect of regular first-team football in a World Cup year was sure to appeal to the Dutchman.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


ROUND-UP

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

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

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

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

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

The revolving door at Stamford Bridge could face a potential slow down with the growing wage disparity between the Premier League and the rest of Europe's top five leagues.

Premier League clubs dominate lists of the highest wage spenders in European football and since Roman Abramovich's takeover, Chelsea have long been a prominent figure in that regard.

In a changing marketplace, however, moving players this season has become a trickier task.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER, KEPA STAYING PUT AT CHELSEA

Chelsea are struggling to move Timo Werner and Kepa Arrizabalaga among other players due to wage demands, according to The Telegraph.

The Blues are also finding it tricky to move Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley, despite the club's desire to accommodate potential signings.

Werner has seen the Blues search for attackers this off-season and could potentially be joining Romelu Lukaku out the door, while Kepa has notably been Edouard Mendy's understudy.

Finding a suitable club for the two has the potential to be difficult, however, with both being brought in on lucrative wages.

 

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona will make a final attempt to sign Sevilla's Jules Kounde amid likelier interest from Chelsea, Sport is reporting.

Manchester City have had a £30million bid for Marc Cucurella rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion, who value him around £50m, according to The Athletic.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to offload Georginio Wijnaldum and Roma have emerged as a potential destination for the Netherlands midfielder, Corriere dello Sport reports.

– Juventus are considering the termination of Aaron Ramsey's contract in an attempt to cut heavy wage spending, per Fabrizio Romano.

Gabriel Jesus could be set for a move to Arsenal after the club came to a £45million agreement with Manchester City to pry away the 25-year-old striker, according to reports.

It had previously been claimed the Gunners were offering £30m – well short of City's £50m asking price – but were given some added motivation when Tottenham apparently entered the race.

The Brazil international ended the season in fine form at City, scoring four times in the 5-1 win against Watford in April, but could he be on his way to the Emirates Stadium?

TOP STORY – ARSENAL RAISE OFFER AND AGREE TO JESUS FEE

According to The Athletic, Gabriel Jesus is on the verge of a big money move to Arsenal.

The striker's relationship with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta dates back to the Spaniard's days as assistant coach to Pep Guardiola at City, giving him a unique insight into Jesus' progression since arriving in the Premier League.

The Athletic's report includes that the arrivals of both Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez to City in this transfer period would have significantly hindered Jesus' playing time if he were to stay.

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports report that Chelsea have offered Timo Werner to Juventus as part of negotiations for Dutch centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, with the Blues unwilling to meet his release clause, said to be set at €120m.

Christian Eriksen is deciding between staying at Brentford or accepting a larger contract offer to move to Manchester United, with Sky Sports reporting he may be unwilling to move from the Bees for family reasons.

Everton, Wolves and West Ham are keeping a close eye on former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum as the 31-year-old has been told he can leave Paris Saint-Germain this transfer period, according to 90min.

– Spanish publication Sport say Leeds United winger Raphinha has shunned other Premier League clubs in an effort to push his way to Barcelona.

It is the end of an era at Liverpool as one of their iconic front three leaves for pastures new.

After six years at Anfield, Sadio Mane has departed for a new adventure with Bayern Munich, completing a move for €41million (£35.2million).

Stats Perform understands Liverpool will receive a guaranteed €32million (£27.5m), plus €6m (£5.2m) based on appearances and a further €3m (£2.5m) depending on future success that Mane and Bayern achieve.

The Reds have already moved on by bringing in Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez from Benfica, but it feels significant that Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will never play together again for Jurgen Klopp's side.

The trio fired Liverpool to multiple trophies, including a Champions League and Premier League, though the additions of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz in the last couple of years had already seen a slight evolution.

However, Klopp has now lost one of his main men, which is an experience the German boss has had to get used to in his career, especially the idea of his players moving to Munich.

While it may not feel like quite the blow of past desertions given the forward planning, Stats Perform has taken a look at how the decision to leave Klopp went in the past.

 

Nuri Sahin

Sahin was always likely to be a major component for Borussia Dortmund when he became the Bundesliga's youngest player aged 16 years, 11 months against Wolfsburg in August 2006, a record that was only broken in November 2020 by Youssoufa Moukoko.

He shone under Klopp, particularly in 2010-11 when Dortmund shocked German football to win the Bundesliga title, with Sahin claiming the league's Player of the Year award and earning a move to Real Madrid.

After 14 goal involvements from midfield (six goals, eight assists) in his last season in the Bundesliga, Sahin struggled to do similar in Spain, making just 10 appearances in all competitions for Madrid, with one solitary goal in the Copa del Rey against Ponferradina.

An unsuccessful loan move to Liverpool the following season was cut short halfway through, and just 20 months after leaving Signal Iduna Park, Sahin was back in the yellow and black on loan, before making the switch permanent in 2014, staying until a move to Werder Bremen in 2018.

Shinji Kagawa

The Japan international spent two very productive seasons at Dortmund under Klopp between 2010 and 2012, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and scoring 21 goals in 49 league games.

Kagawa decided to try his hand at the Premier League, moving to Manchester United in June 2012, but much like Sahin, found the grass far from greener.

Due to injury, he only played a supporting role as United won the title in the 2012-13 season, scoring six goals in 26 appearances in all competitions, before making a further 29 in the first campaign at Old Trafford following the retirement of Alex Ferguson, with no additional goals to his name.

Like Sahin, Kagawa returned to Dortmund in 2014, spending a further five years at the club.

 

Mario Gotze

The fresh-faced Gotze came through the youth ranks at Dortmund and, like Kagawa, played a vital role in Klopp's great Dortmund side that won two Bundesliga titles, and also had a big hand in getting them to the 2013 Champions League final.

One of the side narratives to that final against Bayern was that prior to it, Gotze had agreed a €37m move to the Bavarian club.

Klopp was hurt by Gotze's decision, but although the attacking midfielder went on to score the winner for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and have a decent record at Bayern, scoring 36 goals in 114 games, he never really established himself as a key cog in their team, and in a familiar move for those who had left Dortmund, returned three years later.

Gotze spent four years back in the yellow and black, but was never able to recapture the magic that made him one of Europe's hottest prospects under Klopp.

Robert Lewandowski

Arguably the only real success story of those who moved on from Klopp, though there is no denying that the building blocks were put in place by the German for Lewandowski to become the striker he is today.

Arriving at Dortmund as an unknown from Lech Poznan, he scored just eight times in 33 games in his first Bundesliga season, before going on to rack up 66 across his next three league campaigns.

His goals also played a part in Dortmund winning two titles and reaching the Champions League final, but a year after Gotze had moved to Bayern, Lewandowski did the same following the expiry of his contract.

There were thoughts that the Poland international might struggle to replicate his form to quite the expected levels in Munich, scoring just 17 goals in his first Bundesliga season.

However, since then he has never scored fewer than 22, and broke Gerd Muller's record for most goals in a Bundesliga season when he netted 41 times in just 29 games in 2020-21.

Since leaving Dortmund in 2014, Lewandowski has won eight Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokal's and a Champions League, while also being awarded the FIFA Best Men's Player of the Year in the last two years.

 

Philippe Coutinho

Klopp probably thought the days of losing his star players were behind him when he arrived at Liverpool, but on the eve of his third season at Anfield, he was rocked when Coutinho handed in a transfer request.

The influential Brazilian was part of Klopp's first great front three at Liverpool along with Mane and Firmino, but the arrival of Salah softened the blow of his move to Barcelona in January 2018, as did the reported £142m (€160m) fee.

Despite a promising start to life at the Camp Nou, the pressure of the price tag and essentially being the replacement for the legendary Andres Iniesta proved too much, with Coutinho loaned to, of course, Bayern after just 18 months in Spain.

He had a successful season in Germany, winning a treble and having 20 goal involvements (11 goals and nine assists) in 38 appearances in all competitions, but returned to Barca and again failed to impress, albeit a serious knee injury curtailed most of his 2020-21 campaign.

After 16 goals and seven assists in 84 games in all for Barca, Coutinho returned to England in January 2022 to play for ex-Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, recording five goals and three assists, enough to secure a permanent move for a slightly more modest fee of around £17m (€20m).

Georginio Wijnaldum

The Netherlands midfielder may be a harsh inclusion as it remains unclear how much of his exit from Liverpool was his decision and how much was the club's, but Wijnaldum parted ways with Klopp and the Reds at the end of the 2020-21 season to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The man who earned cult status at Liverpool with his two goals against Barcelona in their dramatic comeback in the Champions League semi-final second leg three years ago would now get the chance to play alongside Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.

However, despite being a regular under Klopp, having never started fewer than 27 league games in his five years on Merseyside, the 31-year-old started just 18 Ligue 1 games for PSG, scoring once.

Wijnaldum was voted the worst signing in Ligue 1 by a poll held by Get French Football News, but still has two years left on his contract at the Parc des Princes, so could yet turn things around, and had a title winners' medal to show for his efforts after his debut campaign.

Mane will most likely win more titles in Germany to add to his already meaty collection from his time at Liverpool, but whether he can recreate the level of performances and subsequent adulation he received from the red half of Merseyside remains to be seen.

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

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