Jerome Boateng has joined Lyon on a two-year deal after leaving Bayern Munich as a free agent.

The World Cup winner was released by Bayern at the end of his contract, departing the club after 10 years in Bavaria.

Boateng played 229 Bundesliga matches at Bayern – a tally only bettered by three team-mates over that period, in Thomas Muller (311), Manuel Neuer (282) and David Alaba (276).

Those four players were stalwarts as Germany's most successful club won nine straight titles.

But Alaba left for Real Madrid as Boateng was also let go, with ardent supporter Hansi Flick quitting as head coach.

Boateng, now 32, did not rush into his next move, yet his arrival at Lyon in France was confirmed on Wednesday following the closure of the transfer window.

He said at a news conference: "I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome.

"I can't wait to write a new chapter in my story. I can't wait to meet my team-mates. I know the team is young and I will try to bring my experience."

Twice a Champions League winner, Boateng will indeed bring a wealth of experience to a leaky defence.

Lyon have conceded seven goals in four Ligue 1 games so far this season, as many as basement side Troyes.

Two of those were own goals, including one from Marcelo, who was later demoted to the reserves for "inappropriate behaviour" in the dressing room.

Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes committed an error leading to a goal, too, as Lyon took only two points from their first three matches before getting back on track with a win at Nantes ahead of the international break.

Boateng will be expected to bring calm in the back line as they look to make up ground, already seven points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain – opponents Bayern beat in the 2019-20 Champions League final.

"I haven't played since May but I have done everything to stay in shape," he said. "I want to regain my best level as soon as possible and be at 100 per cent to be able to help the team."

What does the future hold for Juventus post-Cristiano Ronaldo?

Moise Kean arrived following Ronaldo's return to Manchester United but it was a relatively quiet transfer window in terms of incomings.

Juve, though, are reportedly planning for 2022 already and they are targeting a pair of forward stars.

 

TOP STORY – DUO EYED BY JUVE

Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic or Paris Saint-Germain's Mauro Icardi are in Juventus' plans for 2022, according to the front page of Wednesday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

Juve had a quiet end to the transfer window after Cristiano Ronaldo left Turin for Manchester United.

But Juve are reportedly set to target either Vlahovic – also linked with Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Inter – or Icardi at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

– Staying in Turin and Tuttosport says Juve will do everything to re-sign star Paulo Dybala. He has been linked with United, Tottenham and PSG previously.

 Lyon are expected to complete the signing of former Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng on a free transfer, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Sky Sport Italia reports free agent Franck Ribery is in negotiations with Hellas Verona. Ribery is without a club since leaving Fiorentina at the end of 2020-21.

 Lautaro Martinez will sign a new deal with Inter until 2025 worth €6million per year, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Barcelona, City and Tottenham have been linked.

A stunning move for Cristiano Ronaldo could be in the works.

The Portugal captain may end up back with a former club in a swap deal.

The price for Manchester United would be high.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO SWAP DEAL RUMOURED

If Manchester United want to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, they may have to surrender Paul Pogba.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Juventus would consider using the 36-year-old forward in a swap deal for Pogba, who has a year left on his contract.

The question is whether United would part with the 28-year-old France midfielder in return.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City could land Harry Kane via a cash-plus-swap deal that sends Gabriel Jesus to Tottenham, the Daily Star reports. 

- Arsenal are interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde and Bayer Leverkusen's Edmond Tapsoba, according to The Athletic. 

- Barcelona have not given up in their attempts to sign Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, Marca reports.

- Lazio have joined Roma as suitors for veteran centre-back Jerome Boateng with the Germany international set to leave Bayern Munich. 

- Granit Xhaka is a target for Jose Mourinho's Roma, and Arsenal have said they want £17million for the midfielder, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports. 

- Pedrinho will leave Benfica before next season, ESPN reports, with Shakhtar Donetsk the likely destination for the 23-year-old Brazilian. 

- Crystal Palace will speak to former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo about replacing Roy Hodgson, The Sun reports. 

Jesse Lingard has been in blistering form during his six-month loan spell at West Ham.

As a result, speculation is rife over the 28-year-old England international's future.

Lingard is contracted with parent club Manchester United for one more season.

 

TOP STORY - EUROPEAN GIANTS CIRCLE FOR LINGARD

European powerhouse clubs Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Inter are all interested in Lingard, claims ESPN.

Lingard has scored eight goals in nine games for the Hammers, who are surprisingly sitting fourth in the Premier League.

ESPN reports those clubs are monitoring Lingard's situation, with West Ham keen to sign him permanently and the player yet to declare a preference, although it is believed he wants to play  Champions League football.

 

ROUND-UP

- Serbia international Sergei Milinkovic-Savic has garnered interest from European giants Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The midfielder is contracted with Lazio until 2024.

- Manchester United may have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho last off-season but they are set to revive their interest, says the Manchester Evening News.

- Calciomercato reports that French winger Ousmane Dembele is open to joining Juventus from Barcelona in the next transfer window.

- Tottenham are making their move to sign off-contract Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, reports Sky Germany.

- Arsenal have joined the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, alongside Leicester City, according to the Telegraph.

- Tuttosport says Torino's Italy international forward Andrea Belotti is being courted by Chelsea, Everton, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

- Fiorentina want to hire Gennaro Gattuso from Napoli as their next coach, claims Sky Sport Italia. Gattuso is out of contract at Napoli at the end of the season.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, while Ronaldo's future at Juventus is far from certain.

A possible switch to the Spanish capital could reportedly impact Ronaldo.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, RONALDO IN AT PSG?

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could join Paris Saint-Germain if Kylian Mbappe leaves for Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid, who have been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku.

If Mbappe makes the move to the Santiago Bernabeu, it could send Ronald to Paris as Juve look to reduce their wage bill in Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic reports Harry Kane will ask to leave Tottenham if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League. The Spurs star has been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City and Madrid.

Barcelona are eyeing Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez, claims Mundo Deportivo. The LaLiga giants are not rumoured to be interested in Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng, who is set to depart Bavaria at season's end.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are interested in signing Barca star Pedri, who reportedly has a release clause around £70million (€81m).

United have been warned West Ham will not accept an offer to include Jesse Lingard as part of a deal to prise Declan Rice to Old Trafford, claims The Sun. United are also keen to bring back Sam Johnstone from West Brom if David de Gea or Dean Henderson leave.

- Bild says Liverpool are entering the final stages of a deal for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Premier League rivals United have also been linked.

Jerome Boateng will not be offered a new contract by Bayern Munich at the end of the season, the German club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has announced.

The 32-year-old has spent the past 10 seasons at the Allianz Arena, making over 350 appearances during that time and winning 21 trophies.

He was a regular for Bayern last season as they won a domestic and European treble and has started 29 games in all competitions this campaign.

However, with Dayot Upamecano due to arrive from RB Leipzig ahead of next season, the former Hamburg and Manchester City player will follow fellow long-serving defender David Alaba in departing when his contract runs out.

"Jerome's contract expires in the summer and will not be extended," Salihamidzic told Sky Sport Germany ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Paris Saint-Germain. "He leaves through a big door, hopefully with more titles."

Boateng's future is rumoured to have been a point of conflict between Salihamidzic and head coach Hansi Flick behind the scenes, with the latter pushing for a new contract to be awarded.

The centre-back has also represented Germany 76 times, but he has not been called up to the squad by outgoing boss Joachim Low since October 2018.

Alaba announced in February that he will also be leaving Bayern when his deal comes to an end in June, but Bayern have already moved to snap up Upamecano from Leipzig in a deal worth a reported €42.5million.

David de Gea's future at Manchester United has been the topic of conversation for months.

The situation has become muddied in recent weeks during the Spaniard's period of paternity leave but De Gea is back in England and playing second fiddle to Dean Henderson.

De Gea has been at Old Trafford since 2011 but United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has started Henderson for seven games in a row.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA TO EXIT UNITED

De Gea's representatives are already sounding out potential buyers and he is set to leave Manchester United this off-season, according to the Daily Mail.

The 30-year-old is contracted with the Red Devils although no transfer fee has been mentioned yet.

The report claims Real MadridParis Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid are potentially interested clubs.

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports Barcelona will continue to pursue Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland but a source has said a deal will be "very difficult".

- Tottenham defender Juan Foyth is on loan at Villarreal this season and the Spanish club want to sign him permanently for less than the €15.3million (£13m) option fee, according to Football Insider.

Jerome Boateng will leave Bayern Munich as a free agent at the end of this season with the club opting not to offer him a new contract, reports Kicker.

- Sky Sports are claiming that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to ink a one-year extension with Milan.

Teenagers Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz have been called up to Germany's senior squad for the first time, but there is still no place for Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng. 

Musiala, 18, pledged his allegiance to Germany last month having previously represented England at every level from Under-15 to Under-21. 

The versatile attacker played in the Chelsea academy from 2011 until 2019 before opting to move back to Germany, where the Stuttgart-born youngster has since made quite the impression at Bayern Munich. 

He has made 18 Bundesliga appearances this term – only four players who are younger than him (18 years, 21 days) have played in more matches across the top five European leagues this term. 

One of those is Wirtz, who has shown immense promise at Bayer Leverkusen since making his debut shortly after his 17th birthday in May last year. 

With four goals and as many assists in 21 Bundesliga games, Wirtz – a technically gifted attacking midfielder – is one of only two players under the age of 20 (along with Arnaud Kalimuendo) across the top European leagues to be involved in eight league goals. 

Similarly, across those same leagues, Adil Aouchiche (46) is the only individual yet to turn 20 with more key passes than Wirtz's tally of 37.

Joachim Low, who earlier this month confirmed he will leave his post later this year, is urging both players to relax despite the added pressures that come with international recognition. 

"We are excited to get to know Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz even better," he told the German Football Association (DFB). "They earned the nomination with their recent good performances. 

"But especially with such young players, our responsibility is to be careful with them and lead them step by step to the highest level. 

"Both have huge potential, and I am sure that we will have a lot of fun with them in the next few years, but at the moment it is important not to rush into anything, they should take it easy and develop carefree. I think the next few days will be a good experience for Jamal and Florian." 

Amin Younes, who has been impressing with Eintracht Frankfurt this term, has earned his first call-up since October 2017, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Emre Can, Lukas Klostermann and Kai Havertz all return after missing the November internationals, which included a 6-0 humiliation by Spain. 

However, there is still no recall for Bayern duo Muller and Boateng, nor Borussia Dortmund centre-back Hummels. 

All three World Cup winners were cast aside by Low in March last year as he looked to refresh the squad in the wake of the 2018 World Cup failure. 

Earlier this month, Low did not rule out potentially bringing them back into the fold given their solid form at club level, yet he has ignored them again on this occasion as Germany begin their World Cup qualification campaign with games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season, so where will he be playing in 2021-22?

The Milan and Italy goalkeeper – still in discussions with the Rossoneri – has attracted interest from across Europe.

Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly circling.

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA WANTED IN ENGLAND

Manchester United and Chelsea are considering signing Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma as a free agent, according to The Transfer Window podcast.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season, though Tuttosport reports he and Milan remain in contract discussions.

Serie A champions Juventus and Ligue 1 titleholders Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.

Sky Sports says United are also targeting Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak amid doubts over David de Gea's future.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are eyeing Chelsea's Christian Pulisic. The United States international has found himself out of favour under new manager Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge.

- The wish list of new Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been revealed. Sport reports aside from Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon captain Memphis Depay, Laporta is also targeting Sergio Aguero and Bayern star David Alaba, as well as in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Arsenal want to sign Inter full-back Achraf Hakimi as a replacement for Hector Bellerin, according to the Telegraph. Bellerin has been linked to PSG and Barca.

- Sport Bild reports Bundesliga champions Bayern will let veteran defender Jerome Boateng leave amid his links with Chelsea.

Thomas Muller has declared himself ready to return to international duty after Germany boss Joachim Low hinted at a recall for the Bayern Munich attacker ahead of Euro 2020.

Low said last week he is considering a U-turn that would see Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng return from the wilderness in time for the rescheduled tournament.

The World Cup-winning trio were told by Low in March 2019 that they would no longer be part of his plans, which left Muller – a regular up until that point – "dumbfounded".

However, with Low under pressure on the back of November's 6-0 thrashing against Spain, the long-serving coach has reiterated the door is once again open for the trio.

Speaking to Sky Sport Germany on Saturday, Low said: "The European Championship is a separate competition and our job is to bring the best players and the best team with us in order to guarantee the greatest possible success."

The three players have a combined 246 caps and have impressed at club level since last featuring for Germany, with Muller and Boateng helping Bayern to six major trophies since the start of last season.

Muller, who has a combined 50 goals and assists in the Bundesliga since the start of last season – only team-mate Robert Lewandowski (75) has more – would welcome the chance to represent his country again this year.

"I feel comfortable in the team. Standing on the pitch with the boys is fun, and there are a lot of national team players on the pitch," he said.

"I feel like chasing titles in the summer. We will see if it is the end for me after the Champions League final or whether I will play for the national team. I'm definitely ready."

Muller played 91 minutes of Bayern's 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in Saturday's Der Klassiker, a game in which Boateng was forced off in the second half with a knee injury.

Boateng has had numerous setbacks in the past and Bayern boss Hansi Flick is awaiting news on the severity of this latest injury.

"We don't know exactly what he has done," Flick said. "He said he thought he twisted his knee a bit, but we have to wait for the diagnosis. He is having a scan."

Germany head coach Joachim Low is considering a dramatic U-turn that would see Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels invited back to the national team.

With the delayed Euro 2020 finals coming up in June, Low wants Germany to be as strong as possible, and a 6-0 thrashing by Spain in November was a result that pointed to a need for a change in direction.

Low's own future has come in for scrutiny, and there have even been suggestions Bayern Munich's treble-winning boss Hansi Flick could replace him.

The 2014 World Cup-winning coach declared in March 2019 that it was time for Germany to move on from the old guard, stating that Muller, Hummels and Jerome Boateng – all world champions themselves – would no longer be part of his plans.

It was a decision that Muller at the time said left him "dumbfounded", and Bayern were also critical, with all three players belonging to the Bavarian giants at that time.

Hummels has since moved on to Borussia Dortmund where the 32-year-old defender remains one of German football's star performers. Only Arminia Bielefeld's towering striker Fabian Klos (146) has won more balls in the air this season than Hummels (118) and just two players have made more blocks than his 22, taking all competitions into account.

Bayern midfielder Muller is one of only two players from the Bundesliga to reach doubles figures for goals and assists in all competitions this term, posting 13 and 12 respectively, with Dortmund's Jadon Sancho the other.

"Special circumstances can justify an interruption in the upheaval," Low said in an interview with Kicker magazine.

On the specific matter of Hummels, Boateng and Muller, Low said: "That will be a difficult and important question, also for me

"The character of Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels is that they do not oppress others."

Jerome Boateng has left Bayern Munich's Club World Cup squad to return to Germany following the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Kasia Lenhardt, 25, was found dead in her Berlin apartment on Tuesday. Her death is not being treated as suspicious by authorities.

She and Boateng had separated last week, the latter confirming in a since-deleted social media post.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick confirmed Boateng had asked to leave the squad for personal reasons on the eve of their Club World Cup final against Mexican side Tigres, and he will be absent indefinitely.

Flick told a news conference: "This has stunned us.

"Jerome came to me and asked me to return home. After a negative [COVID-19] test, he will return home and not be available until further notice."

Boateng had played the 2-0 semi-final win over Egypt's Al Ahly on Monday and would have likely started again when Bayern go up against Tigres.

His experience and physical prowess will have been key in potentially nullifying the threat of in-form Tigres striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, who has netted in each of his previous six matches across all competitions.

Flick would not give any hints as to his selections, but has urged Bayern to take the initiative.

"It is up to us to put pressure on our opponents and to play our game when we have possession," Flick continued. "We did it well in the semi-final. I have full trust in my team.

"We have to be alert. Tigres are very quick in their build-up. They work well down the wings and have players in the centre who score.

"We have to be there from the start and convert our chances this time."

Flick's Tigres counterpart, Ricardo Ferretti, was in a bullish mood ahead of the match, adamant people are underestimating them ahead of this contest just because they are not from Europe.

He said: "You mention Bayern of Europe and nobody denies their achievements, but why do people only want to see things from one side?

"In 10 years we have won 11 titles. If you want to predict it [the game] because they are European and we are North American, it would be underestimating us.

"We know the capacity of Bayern, but as I have always said, we are not afraid of anyone. We will try to do our thing, very well, in order to be champions."

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the club are keeping an eye on Dayot Upamecano, even if it is too early to expect the RB Leipzig defender to join them.

Upamecano, 22, has developed into one of the most highly prized centre-backs in Europe in recent seasons and has been tipped for a major move at the end of the season.

Bayern have been heavily linked with the France international, particularly with David Alaba expected to leave on a free transfer, most likely to Real Madrid.

Rummenigge confirmed transfer plans are being drawn up but was not prepared to state that any agreement had already been reached.

He told Bild that Upamecano was "at least at Leipzig until the end of the season", adding it was "a bit too early" to assume he would join the champions.

"We'll deal with this, of course, not only with him specifically but crucially which positions we want and where we have to do something," he said.

Bayern could also lose Jerome Boateng after this season, with the 32-year-old's contract expiring in June.

However, Rummenigge suggested he could extend his deal at the Allianz Arena after re-establishing his place in Hansi Flick's plans.

"Jerome is playing a good role again. The coach is satisfied with him," said Rummenigge.

Rummenigge also rubbished suggestions Bayern could look to sell Leroy Sane this year.

The former Manchester City winger has only started seven times in the Bundesliga in 2020-21, although he has scored four goals and provided five assists in those appearances.

"He has a five-year contract. It would be nonsensical [to sell]. We need this kind of player," Rummenigge added.

"Of course he will stay here at Bayern. And I'm convinced he'll find his way here."

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