Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a potential £102million move for Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.

The Stamford Bridge club have been actively searching for ways to plug the gap in the centre of their defence since losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers, and are said to have also enquired about Inter's Milan Skriniar and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Kouliably appeared the most palatable option at a fee in the range of £40m, but Chelsea may have decided the 22-year-old Netherlands international is a stronger long-term investment, and they could also potentially include a player swap to avoid forking out the full £102m release clause.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA SET SIGHTS ON ONE OF THE WORLD'S TOP YOUNG CENTRE-BACKS

The Telegraph is reporting that Juventus are holding firm on making any De Ligt suitors meet his release clause, while Football.London claims Chelsea are hoping to get a deal done with £60m plus sending Christian Pulisic to Turin.

All reporting agrees that De Ligt desires a move to the Premier League and that talks are progressing well, indicating it could just be a matter of time before a transfer fee is agreed.

Manchester City centre-back Nathan Ake is also said to be on the move to Chelsea – the club he spent five years with before departing to Bournemouth in 2017 – in a deal Calciomercato claims to be in the range of £40m.

Chelsea could theoretically land both Ake and Koulibaly for less than it would take to bring in De Ligt, but if their transfer budget in this current window is close to the reported figure of £200m, money may not be an issue.

 

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– The Times claims that Barcelona's finances are in better shape after their recent television rights deal, and the club are now willing to match the £60m required to secure Leeds United winger Raphinha.

– According to Calciomercato, Paris Saint-Germain have raised their bid for 23-year-old Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca, although it is short of their £50m asking price.

Tottenham are reportedly in advanced talks to land Middlesbrough full-back Djed Spence in a deal worth at least £15m, per Sky Sports.

– The Sun is reporting that Ruben Neves is likely to remain with Wolves for the upcoming season as clubs are unwilling to meet their demands of £75m.

– According to Sky Sports, Kalvin Phillips will undergo his medical on Friday before confirming a £45m move to Man City.

Chelsea have reportedly made Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly their top centre-back target as they look to rebuild their defence.

Koulibaly would help fill the gaping hole left by the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who both opted to head to LaLiga on free transfers as the precarious situation with Roman Abramovich's ownership made it impossible to negotiate contract extensions.

The Stamford Bridge side are said to have had interest in Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt and Inter's Milan Skriniar, but with Juventus demanding £102million and Inter holding firm for at least £55m, the 31-year-old Napoli star is now viewed as the best option.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PREPARE MOVE TO BRING KOULIBALY TO STAMFORD BRIDGE

Koulibaly is coming off a season where he helped Napoli concede the equal-fewest goals in Serie A – giving up 31 goals in their 38 league games – while he also contributed three goals and three assists in 27 outings.

He has played no fewer than 34 games in any of his eight campaigns with Napoli, but he did miss a month of action this past season with a thigh strain – his third consecutive season where he has missed time with muscle strains in his legs.

The Mirror's report highlights that Chelsea are also in advanced discussions to land Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and Leeds United's Raphinha, with the plan to sell Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic to fund the moves.

 

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– According to BILD, Borussia Dortmund would need to receive a bid of £103m to consider parting ways with Jude Bellingham in the current transfer window.

– 90min is reporting that Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal are all interested in Torino's 25-year-old Brazilian centre-back Gleison Bremer, with the Serie A club setting his price at £43m.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that Crystal Palace have agreed to an £18m fee for Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure.

– According to Todofichajes, West Ham are willing to meet the £34m release clause for Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma.

– The Sun is reporting that Arsenal have made a third bid for Ajax's Lisandro Martinez – believed to be valued at £43m – while Talksport claims Manchester United are also trying to reunite the defender with Erik ten Hag.

Italy great Fabio Cannavaro has suggested former club Napoli should attempt to sign Paulo Dybala, while making a "sacrifice" to renew Kalidou Koulibaly's contract.

Dybala appears set to join Inter when his Juventus contract expires at the end of June, with Romelu Lukaku also reportedly close to joining Simone Inzaghi's side on loan.

Napoli supporters have grown frustrated with president Aurelio De Laurentiis, with the Partenopei said to be looking to reduce their wage bill, leaving the future of Dries Mertens and Koulibaly in doubt.

Lorenzo Insigne has already left for MLS side Toronto and Cannavaro, who started his career in Naples, urged Napoli to move for Dybala.

"If I were in De Laurentiis I would make a proposal to Dybala," the World Cup winner told Corriere dello Sport.

While Napoli are unlikely to be able to acquire the Argentina international, Cannavaro also says they must do all in their power to keep Koulibaly.

Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United are reportedly interested in the centre-back, whose contract is set to expire in June 2023.

De Laurentiis conceded earlier in May that the Senegal international could not be forced into staying after Koulibaly had stated "we'll see what happens at the end of the season".

"Kalidou represents a pillar of a team that in recent years has always been lucky enough to be able to count on him: if I were in the club I would make a sacrifice to keep him, to renew," Cannavaro added. 

"Maybe he has demands that some other club could satisfy, but it is difficult to find players like him in that role: we must keep them close. 

"There is a shortage [of such players], you can find a midfielder or a forward."

Luciano Spalletti will be keen to keep Koulibaly after Napoli conceded the joint-fewest goals in Serie A (31) and kept the second-most clean sheets (16 – behind Milan, 18) in the 2021-22 campaign.

Manchester United are reportedly preparing a second offer for 22-year-old Porto striker Evanilson after they had a bid of €65million rejected by the Portuguese champions.

The Brazilian was purchased by Porto in 2020 for €8.8m out of Fluminense, and after scoring four goals from 24 appearances in his first season in the Primeira Liga, he exploded in his second campaign with 21 goals in 46 outings.

He had 14 goals and four assists in 30 league games, and seven goals in seven Taca de Portugal fixtures on the way to winning Portugal's top domestic cup.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS PLAN BIG-MONEY MOVE FOR LITTLE-KNOWN BRAZILIAN

The report out of Portuguese newspaper O Jogo claims Porto has already fought off interest from both Brighton and Hove Albion and Wolves by raising their asking price to €80m.

Porto are said to be desperate to retain the striker's services for one more season – even labelling him 'untouchable' – but could have their hand forced if the Old Trafford side is willing to go all-in.

It would be a shock for United to fork out such a large sum for a striker while also trying to push Barcelona's asking price for Frenkie de Jong down to a more palatable number.

The Sun is also reporting Ajax winger Antony is a serious target for former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, Goal claims that they are hoping to convince Christian Eriksen to sign on as well, and Corriere dello Sport believe they are investigating the possibility of landing Tammy Abraham.

 

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Arsenal have reportedly become the favourites to land Leeds United winger Raphinha as Barcelona's interest in the Brazilian cools off, according to Goal.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Chelsea have joined the race for Everton striker Richarlison, with Tottenham also in the bidding for the £50m man.

– According to Sky Sports, West Ham are planning a £30m bid for 20-year-old striker Armando Broja, who scored nine goals for Southampton last season while on loan from Chelsea.

Nottingham Forest are trying to break their club-record transfer fee to sign 24-year-old Nigerian striker Taiyo Awoniyi for £17.5m from German side Union Berlin, per the Telegraph, although Football Insider claims Awoniyi will turn them down in favour of other offers.

– Calciomercato is reporting Kalidou Koulibaly will not join Juventus because he does not want to be considered a "traitor" like Gonzalo Higuain after his move to Turin – instead favouring a move to Barcelona.

Kalidou Koulibaly's agent says the Napoli defender is not in talks with any other club amid speculation over a transfer to Barcelona.

Koulibaly's contract with Luciano Spalletti's side is set to expire in June 2023, leading to suggestions Xavi's Blaugrana could swoop for the 30-year-old.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis conceded earlier this month that the Senegal international could not be forced to stay, after the centre-back had stated "we'll see what happens at the end of the season".

Spalletti will be eager to keep Koulibaly, after Napoli conceded the joint-fewest goals in Serie A (31) and kept the second-most clean sheets (16 – behind Milan, 18) this campaign.

Fali Ramadani, the agent of Koulibaly, says talk of his client being on the move is premature.

"There are many rumours, and I want to clarify that we are not in talks with any club for Koulibaly," Ramadani told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

"We are waiting to meet with Napoli to decide the best solution for both parties."

Reports in Italy also suggest Juventus are interested in Koulibaly after Bianconeri great Giorgio Chiellini ended his 17-year spell in Turin.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly will not be forced to stay at the club amid reports linking him with Barcelona, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Koulibaly's contract with Luciano Spalletti's men is due to expire in June 2023, and the Blaugrana have been touted as a potential destination if he decides to end his eight-year spell with the Partenopei.

The 30-year-old has been a key figure as Napoli secured a third-place finish in Serie A this season, and they go into their final game of the campaign, against Spezia on Sunday, having conceded the joint-fewest goals in the league (31 – along with Milan) and kept the second-most clean sheets (15, Milan have kept 17).

Koulibaly fuelled speculation over his future earlier this week when he told Onze Mondial: "We'll see what happens at the end of the season."

The Senegal international did say he would not force a move to another club, though he did suggest Napoli had ended previous negotiations over a transfer by setting a high asking price, adding: "Sometimes it was too high for some clubs, and it blocked negotiations. 

"You should know that I am not a guy who likes to go to clash to get something. If I have to leave one day, I will leave cleanly rather than fight with the club." 

Speaking at a charity event in Naples, De Laurentiis said he remains keen to keep Koulibaly, but would not force the defender to stay.

"He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide," De Laurentiis said.

"We must decide. We want Koulibaly to stay, but people can't be forced to. Everyone has their own dignity and needs. 

"We respect everyone, do you understand that I [only once] forced someone to stay? The only one, who is a dear friend, is [former Napoli head coach] Walter Mazzarri, after two years he told me he wanted to leave, I told him he would stay. He did it and he gave us four years of satisfaction."

Koulibaly has featured in 26 league games for Napoli this season, with Spalletti's men conceding just 19 goals across those contests.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. It appears time will finally run out on Sunday and the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga will finally be at its end.

Paris Saint-Germain have experienced another monumental blow this season with another cruel elimination in the Champions League and Real Madrid are waiting in the wings.

According to reports, the 23-year-old will finally announce his decision on Sunday.

TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO CONFIRM DECISION ON SUNDAY  

Kylian Mbappe will announce whether he will play for Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid on Sunday, according to L'Equipe.

The Parisian has never hidden his admiration for LeBron James and appears set to mimic his 'The Decision' announcement from 2010.

What is for certain according to reports, Mbappe is intent on announcing the decision before the France national team meets up for camp in Clairefontaine on May 28.

While it has been recently reported a move to Real Madrid seems likelier, talks are still ongoing according to the L'Equipe report, with PSG aiming to scupper a potential move at the last minute.

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– Meanwhile, France team-mate and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba had agreed personal terms with Manchester City, according to the Times, but backed out in fear of fan backlash and now appears likely to move abroad.

– Along with Pogba, Juventus are also hoping to further bolster their midfield stocks and sign Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, the Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

– Diario AS is reporting Paulo Dybala has ruled out a move to Tottenham once his contract with Juve expires at the end of the season.

– Kalidou Koulibaly has emerged as a target for Barcelona, who would be willing to add Miralem Pjanic as part of a package deal for Napoli, per Fichajes.

Paul Pogba's departure from Manchester United at the end of this season has been long assumed.

The French midfielder's 2016 arrival for a second spell at Old Trafford came in a world-record breaking deal, but he has not delivered on the expectations that accompanied the £89million price tag.

As a result, the World Cup winner could well make a return to Juventus, the club where he first came to serious prominence.


TOP STORY – JUVENTUS LINE UP POGBA RETURN

Juventus have made a contract offer they believe puts them in the box seat to sign Paul Pogba, according to the Mirror.

Pogba is set to leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of this season, and Juve have reportedly offered an £8million annual salary.

With Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini's impending departures freeing up salary room, the Pogba offer is also said to include a substantial signing-on fee and bonus package to complement the base deal.

The 29-year-old Pogba has missed the Red Devils' past four Premier League games due to calf trouble, and he was absent for two months earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.

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- Paris Saint-Germain would want to trim their playing squad before considering any more for United's Pogba, RMC Sport is reporting.

- United will seek to replace Pogba by signing cash-strapped Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero.

- According to the Telegraph, Tottenham are interested in Everton's RicharlisonAnthony Gordon and Ben Godfrey.

- In order to compensate for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger's departures, Calciomercato reports Chelsea will look to sign Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Kalidou Koulibaly says "it is a real shame" Senegal team-mate Edouard Mendy is not in the running to win this year's Ballon d'Or after an impressive first year at Chelsea.

Mendy joined Chelsea from Rennes last September and did not take long to oust Kepa Arrizabalaga as first choice between the sticks at Stamford Bridge.

He played a key part in the Blues' 2020-21 Champions League triumph, the 29-year-old's nine clean sheets the most by a goalkeeper in their debut campaign in the competition.

That includes a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the final as Mendy became the first African goalkeeper to lift the famous trophy.

Mendy's 19 shutouts in all competitions this calendar year, meanwhile, has been bettered only by Manchester City's Ederson (20) among keepers in Europe's top five leagues.

He was not included on the 30-player Ballon d'Or shortlist last week, however, and Koulibaly has suggested that could be down to his nationality.

"It's a real shame that Edou isn't included. He is the first African goalkeeper to win the Champions League," Koulibaly told reporters while away on international duty with Senegal.

"We must continue to work and move forward. We have to do the double [the work] of some people to be well judged.

"Edou is a very positive person. We talked about it together. He will continue to fight to be part of it. For me, he has a place among these 30 players."

Gianluigi Donnarumma is the only goalkeeper in contention to win football's most prestigious individual accolade after helping Italy to Euro 2020 success.

The Paris Saint-Germain star's save percentage of 70.8 in 2021 is considerably lower than Mendy's 77.23 at club level when taking all competitions into account.

Indeed, only Keylor Navas – who Donnarumma is battling with for a starting spot at PSG – boasts a better save percentage (78.38) than Mendy among those to have played at least 15 times since January 1.

Napoli defender Koulibaly is also not part of the shortlist for the award, with Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez the only African players selected.

Five of Mendy's Chelsea club-mates were included in the shortlist, however, with Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku, Cesar Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho nominated. 

Erling Haaland has his pick of Europe's elite.

The Borussia Dortmund and Norway star is wanted by the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.

But Premier League champions City are one particular club looking to prise Haaland from Germany if the rumours are to be believed.

 

TOP STORY – CITY HOPING TO CAPITALISE ON PUMA PARTNERSHIP

Manchester City are hoping their Puma sponsorship and a looming boot deal can help land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Star.

City's kits are manufactured by Puma, while Haaland is reportedly poised to sign a boot deal with the German giants.

Haaland has been linked with City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus.

 

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- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juve are planning an approach to bring United midfielder Paul Pogba back to Turin. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and while United are keen for a renewal, the Frenchman has been linked with Madrid and PSG also.

- United captain and England defender Harry Maguire is poised for a new bumper contract at Old Trafford, reports the Mirror.

Liverpool are considering a move for Barca's Ousmane Dembele with Juve unwilling to part with Federico Chiesa, says Team Talk.

- According to Football Insider, Newcastle United have made star Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly a priority signing in January. It comes after Newcastle's blockbuster takeover.

PSG are targeting Napoli's soon-to-be free agent Lorenzo Insigne, per Le10 Sport. Insigne has also been linked with Inter and Milan.

- Manchester United outcast Donny van de Beek is wanted by Serie A powerhouse Juve, claims Corriere dello Sport. Van de Beek was in talks over an Everton switch during the previous window.

- Milan star Franck Kessie is among Barca's midfielder targets for the January window, says Diario Sport. Van de Beek, Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele and Marcelo Brozovic of Inter are also options.

Giorgio Chiellini says he felt "ashamed" by the racist abuse Napoli players were subjected to by Fiorentina fans during Sunday's Serie A game at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Victor Osimhen were targeted during leaders Napoli's 2-1 victory in Florence.

Koulibaly called for those guilty of the abuse to be banned for life and Italy captain Chiellini demanded that strong action must be taken.

The Juventus centre-back said: "It is unacceptable. We need laws and rules that are applied, this is the most important thing.

"I was ashamed, as an Italian and a Tuscan, also because Italy is not a racist country for me.

"Something more must be done, otherwise from outside we give a bad image of ourselves "

Defender Koulibaly was targeted by spectators as he was interviewed on the pitch after the game.

According to reports by II Napolista, Fiorentina's director general Joe Barone went to Napoli's changing room to apologise personally.

Osimhen slammed the perpetrators in a tweet, writing: "Speak to your kids, your parents, make them understand how disgusting it is to hate an individual because of the colour of their skin. NO TO RACISM."

Koulibaly followed suit on Twitter, where he said he was called a "monkey".

He added: "They called me that. These people have nothing to do with sport. They must be identified and kept out of the stadiums. Forever."

Serie A has had issues with racist behaviour from supporters already this season.

Milan last month filed an official complaint to the Federal Prosecutor's Office following Tiemoue Bakayoko's claims that he and Franck Kessie were abused by a section of Lazio fans.

Kalidou Koulibaly has called for permanent bans for the fans who targeted himself, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Victor Osimhen with racist abuse in Sunday's match between Napoli and Fiorentina. 

The three Napoli players were the subject of racist chants from some sections of the Fiorentina support during the game.

Koulibaly, who helped Napoli to a 2-1 win, was also targeted by spectators as he was interviewed on the pitch by DAZN after the game.

According to reports by II Napolista, Fiorentina's director general Joe Barone went to Napoli's changing room to apologise personally.

Osimhen hit out at the perpetrators in a tweet, stating: "Speak to your kids, your parents, make them understand how disgusting it is to hate an individual because of the colour of their skin. NO TO RACISM."

Koulibaly followed suit, revealing the fans called him a "f****** monkey".

"'Monkey of s***. F****** monkey'", Koulibaly's tweet began.

"They called me that. These people have nothing to do with sport. They must be identified and kept out of the stadiums. Forever."

Serie A has had issues with racist behaviour from some supporters already this season.

In September, Milan filed an official complaint to the Federal Prosecutor's Office following Tiemoue Bakayoko's claims that he and Franck Kessie were abused by a section of Lazio fans.

Juventus' slow start to life under Massimiliano Allegri continued on Saturday as second-half goals from Matteo Politano and Kalidou Koulibaly saw them lose 2-1 at Napoli.

After being held by Udinese before suffering a shock home defeat to Empoli, it looked like being third time lucky for Allegri in his second spell in charge as Alvaro Morata profited from a terrible Kostas Manolas error to open the scoring early on.

But Napoli responded through a Politano strike shortly before the hour mark after Wojciech Szczesny pushed the ball into the forward's path, and the hosts completed the comeback thanks to Koulibaly's finish five minutes from time.

It is just the second time in 51 Serie A campaigns – the other occasion being in Allegri's first tenure in 2015-16 –  that Juventus have failed to win any of their first three games to a Serie A season.

Napoli started the match on top but found themselves behind against the run of play when Morata caught Manolas in possession and beat David Ospina from a tight angle.

Dejan Kulusevski was denied by a fine Ospina save soon after, although the offside flag would have denied the forward, who was making his first start of the campaign.

Napoli showed good resolve to find an equaliser as a shot by Lorenzo Insigne, making his 400th appearance for the club in all competitions, was parried by Szczesny and Politano reacted quickest to squeeze home.

The hosts always looked the more likely to find a winner in the remaining half an hour and so that proved when Moise Kean's poor defensive header was fumbled by Szczesny for Koulibaly to score from a yard out.

 

Dani Olmo departed Barcelona's youth setup in 2014, moving to Croatian giants in Dinamo Zagreb.

Now playing for RB Leipzig, the 23-year-old continues to catch the eye.

Olmo is reportedly eyeing another chance at Barca.

 

TOP STORY – OLMO WANTS BARCA COMEBACK

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo is hoping to return to Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Olmo came through Barca's famed La Masia before joining Dinamo Zagreb's youth team in 2014 and eventually Bundesliga outfit Leipzig in 2020.

The 23-year-old Spain international, however, wants a new chance at Barca and has reportedly set yes to a Camp Nou comeback without looking at contract terms.

 

ROUND-UP

- Everton are hopeful of launching a bid to sign Edinson Cavani from Manchester United following Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford, per Todo Fichajes.

- Calciomercato says Inter are considering a move for Eintracht Frankfurt and Serbia winger Filip Kostic, who was poised to join Lazio on deadline day before a move fell through.

- The Sun says Wolves are set to make Adama Traore their highest earner amid interest from Tottenham and Liverpool.

Chelsea could target Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly in January, reports Football London. The Senegal star has previously been linked with Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barca and others.

- Le10 Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain never made an offer for Ronaldo, who left Juventus for United.

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