What the papers say

As the Premier League season comes to an end, the summer transfer season is just beginning and Newcastle will have to fight to keep midfielder Bruno Guimaraes from Barcelona. The Times says Barcelona believe it will cost them around £87million to sway Newcastle to let go of the 25-year-old Brazilian.

Chelsea will be looking to put this season behind them after securing former Tottenham and Paris St Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino on a three-year contract, according to the Guardian. The Blues finished 12th this season.

The Sun says promoted Sheffield United are looking at 24-year-old Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien, who is currently out on loan to DC United in MLS, to help bolster their squad for the top flight.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: Liverpool have sights set on the Lazio midfielder with the Serbian’s contract set to expire in 2024, according to Goal.

Kim Min-jae: Manchester United and Newcastle are interested in signing the 26-year-old South Korean defender from Napoli, according to Spanish outlet Fijaches and Givemesport.

Valencia head coach Ruben Baraja has said his club will fight back against “smears” after they were handed a five-game partial stadium closure and hefty fine following the racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

Speaking at a press conference, Baraja stressed he was “absolutely against racism”, but echoed Valencia’s earlier claim that the sanction was “unfair and disproportionate”, and added: “I am not going to allow the Valencia CF fans and Mestalla to be smeared with labels that do not represent us.

“Just as a player rightly fights back against insults and I support that with all my might, we as a club and a fanbase rebel against those who, during the days since the game, have accused us of being what we are not.”

Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday’s LaLiga match at the Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd and Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

In response, Valencia have been ordered to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, where the alleged abuse happened, for five matches and have also been fined 45,000 euros (£39,000) by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Reacting to that sanction, Valencia said in a strongly worded statement on Tuesday evening: “Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games.

“Valencia CF wants to publicly denounce that in this resolution of the RFEF competition committee they show evidence that contradicts what the national police and LaLiga say.

“In addition, this sanction is based on evidence that the club has not been able to see and without giving us a hearing.

“Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence. These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.

“For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday.

“In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour.

“For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight.

“The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices.

“Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club. Valencia CF asks for the utmost respect and rigour for our institution and fans.”

In announcing the punishment against Valencia, the RFEF said in a statement: “The competition committee has sanctioned Valencia CF with the partial closure of the Mestalla stadium for five matches, more specifically the Mario Kempes south stand, following the events that occurred during the league match between the local team and Real Madrid CF.

“It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, a Real Madrid CF player, during the aforementioned match, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.”

LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday’s match.

Before Tuesday night’s games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind banners which read ‘Racism, out of football’.

LaLiga shared a pre-match clip from the Celta-Girona game on its official Twitter account with the hashtag #JUNTOSContraElRacismo (#TOGETHERagainstRacism).

The footage also showed a supporter holding up a placard with ‘No Al Racismo’ (No to Racism) written on it.

There were similar sentiments at the Valladolid-Barcelona game as fans showed their support for Brazil international Vinicius.

Barcelona forward Raphinha removed his shirt when substituted to show a message which read: “As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war.”

Vinicius was not included in Real’s 23-man squad for Wednesday night’s LaLiga match against Rayo Vallecano at the Bernabeu.

The forward’s red card against Valencia had been rescinded by the RFEF but the 22-year-old did not train on Tuesday, with Real coach Carlo Ancelotti saying the winger had some discomfort in his knee.

Valencia will appeal against their five-game partial stadium closure and hefty fine following the racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, calling the sanction “unfair and disproportionate”.

Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday’s LaLiga match at the Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd and Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

In response, the club have been ordered to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, where the alleged abuse happened, for five matches and have also been fined 45,000 euros (£39,000) by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Valencia said in a strongly worded statement: “Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games.

“Valencia CF wants to publicly denounce that in this resolution of the RFEF competition committee they show evidence that contradicts what the national police and LaLiga say.

“In addition, this sanction is based on evidence that the club has not been able to see and without giving us a hearing.

“Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence. These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.

“For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday.

“In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour.

“For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight.

“The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices.

“Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club. Valencia CF asks for the utmost respect and rigour for our institution and fans.”

An RFEF statement on Tuesday night read: “The competition committee has sanctioned Valencia CF with the partial closure of the Mestalla stadium for five matches, more specifically the Mario Kempes south stand, following the events that occurred during the league match between the local team and Real Madrid CF.

“It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, a Real Madrid CF player, during the aforementioned match, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.

“In addition, an economic sanction of 45,000 euros (£39,000) is imposed on Valencia.”

LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday’s match.

Before Tuesday night’s games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind banners which read ‘Racism, out of football’.

LaLiga shared a pre-match clip from the Celta-Girona game on its official Twitter account with the hashtag #JUNTOSContraElRacismo (#TOGETHERagainstRacism).

The footage also showed a supporter holding up a placard with ‘No Al Racismo’ (No to Racism) written on it.

There were similar sentiments at the Valladolid-Barcelona game as fans showed their support for Brazil international Vinicius.

Barcelona forward Raphinha removed his shirt when substituted to show a message which read: “As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war.”

LaLiga has spoken out against FIFA over plans to reshape the structure of the 2026 World Cup into four-team groups.

Football's governing body had originally intended to have 16 groups of three teams after expanding from 32 to 48 nations for the tournament jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

However, following the Qatar 2022 edition, plans to maintain the current four-team system resurfaced and have now been rubber-stamped at FIFA's annual congress.

The decision has enraged LaLiga however, with the competition set to expand to 104 games from 64.

LaLiga has also objected to plans for a new international club tournament, which will join an expanded Club World Cup on the football calendar. The latter is due to take place every four years starting from 2025, but an as-yet-unnamed additional event is set to take place annually alongside it.

"Following the announcements made today at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, LaLiga states that FIFA continues its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar," read a statement.

"[FIFA is] showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general. FIFA completely neglects the economic damage these decisions inflict on leagues around the world.

"Leagues were not consulted about any of the changes presented, especially about the new annual club competition, of which we were completely unaware, and which seriously affects our competitions.

"These decisions do not take into account the competitive, sporting and economic impact on national leagues, clubs and players, by further cramming an already overloaded schedule.

"LaLiga and other leagues represented in the World Leagues Forum will analyse FIFA's decisions and decide on the most appropriate next steps."

Under the three-team World Cup group structure, all nations would have played two games before the top pair from each group would have proceeded to a round-of-32.

Now however, the eight best-ranked third-place sides from 12 groups will also be included in the mix, with the revised format ensuring every side plays at least three games.

It also means those who reach the final will play eight games, including the showpiece match itself, one more than teams who reach the end of the tournament currently partake in.

Real Madrid have reportedly identified Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Manchester City's Joao Cancelo as their three primary targets in a €300million plan.

The Spanish giants have been pursuing 19-year-old Bellingham for months, while 22-year-old Kvaratskhelia has emerged as one of world football's breakout prospects during his first Serie A season.

Cancelo's future with City is also up in the air after Pep Guardiola allowed him to be loaned to Bayern Munich, with the German club hesitant to make the move permanent.

They could be three of the biggest names to move in the upcoming transfer window, and Madrid are said to want to bring them all to LaLiga instead of resuming the chase for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

TOP STORY – MADRID PLAN AMBITIOUS MOVE FOR WORLD-CLASS TRIO

According to Fichajes.net, Madrid will try to secure all three of their top targets for a combined fee in the range of €300m.

The report states they are comfortable with the asking price of Kvaratskhelia, which is said to be a minimum of €100m, while they expect Liverpool to rival them in a €150m chase for Bellingham.

Cancelo has a €70m (£61.5m) buy clause in his loan deal, which is said to be more palatable to Madrid than Bayern, as they view him as a long-term solution at right-back.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is reporting Manchester United remain keen on 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, and that the Italian club's financial situation could tempt them to accept a bid in the region of €50m (£44m).

– According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter and Milan are enamoured with 21-year-old Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun, who is among Ligue 1's top scorers this season during a loan stint with Reims.

Manchester United are concerned with the prospect of a drawn-out pursuit of Tottenham striker Harry Kane and will instead prioritise Napoli's Victor Osimhen or Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic, per ESPN.

– Journalist Ekrem Konur is reporting Atletico Madrid plan to offer Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino a two-year deal with an option for a third year.

– According to The Athletic, 31-year-old Neymar wants to finish his career at Paris Saint-Germain and has no interest in leaving.

England's top clubs are reportedly investigating what it would take to pry Joao Palhinha away from Fulham at the end of the season.

Palhinha, 27, is in his first Premier League campaign after arriving in a £17million move from Sporting CP in July, and he immediately forced his way into Marco Silva's first team.

All 24 of his league appearances this season have come as a starter, and his three goals for the surprisingly competent Cottagers match his best return for a league season.

But the area he shines is on the defensive side, tallying the most tackles of any midfielder in Europe's big five leagues this season, and he has been a driving force behind his side's rise from Championship winners to a top-half Premier League outfit.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER UNITED AND ARSENAL CIRCLE PALHINHA

According to The Sun, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Tottenham are all showing interest in Portugal international Joao Palhinha.

The report states that it is believed Palhinha's terrific debut season in England – as well as the four years remaining on his contract – has more than doubled his transfer value to over £40m.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail adds that Liverpool are considered "the most serious suitor", and estimates that his value could reach £60m.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Athletic is reporting Manchester City will be at the front of the queue to sign 26-year-old left-back Ben Chilwell if he is part of an expected mass exodus from Chelsea at the end of the season.

– According to journalist Nicolo Schira, Paris Saint-Germain have joined Chelsea and Manchester United as clubs keen on breakout 24-year-old striker Victor Osimhen at Napoli.

Inter are considered the favourites to land Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram when he leaves the club on a free transfer at the end of the season, per Calciomercato.

– Sport is reporting in-demand 18-year-old Athletico Paranaense forward Vitor Roque would favour a move to Barcelona after rejecting an approach from Arsenal.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid are stepping back from their long-term pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Xavi hopes to stay at Barcelona for "many years" but insists his main focus is on winning trophies, rather than extending his contract at Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana are on track for a treble this season. Nine points clear at the LaLiga summit, Xavi has already secured Supercopa de Espana glory, while Barca are also 1-0 to the good in their two-legged Copa del Rey semi-final tie with Real Madrid.

The former midfielder has one year remaining on his existing contract, although club president Joan Laporta revealed negotiations over a new deal were ongoing.

Xavi is hopeful those talks are successful and he can enjoy a lengthy reign at Barca, similar to that of Alex Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues during his 27-year tenure with Manchester United.

But that is not the 43-year-old's primary objective.

Speaking at his press conference ahead of Barcelona's trip to Athletic Bilbao, he told reporters: "It's difficult to be Ferguson in Barcelona. I love to be here. I suffer many days, but I am thankful to the president.

"He's really happy. It's great to have his support. He is a loyal man and hopefully I will stay here many years. But it will depend on all our results. Now is not the moment to talk about my contract.

"Of course, we are talking about this situation. We've been talking about a contract extension, but we need to be calm and focus on winning trophies.

"I still have one more year. We are close to winning trophies, and that's the most important thing – not my contract, we need to win trophies."

Barca will be eager to maintain their momentum ahead of next week's blockbuster showdown with title rivals Real Madrid at Camp Nou, and Xavi has urged his players to retain their concentration levels.

"We are just focused on tomorrow's game to keep the advantage of nine points," he added. "With Real Madrid, that is crucial. Then, we will have the following week to focus on El Clasico.

"We need to keep this good advantage before the visit of Real Madrid, but [Athletic is] going to be a really tough game for sure.

"We are now in the most important part of the season. We need to play well, compete and win those games. These two weeks before the international break are crucial."

Xavi has compared Robert Lewandowski with former Barcelona legends Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi ahead of the striker's return from injury.

LaLiga's top scorer with 15 goals this season, Lewandowski has missed the Blaugrana's last two games after sustaining a hamstring strain.

But the Poland captain is back in the squad for the trip to Athletic Bilbao, where leaders Barca will be aiming to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the table. 

"Robert has been training with the group since Thursday after some days off, and he's ready," head coach Xavi said during his pre-match press conference. "He's feeling well and always wants to play.

"We are really happy to have him here with us. I will compare him with people like Ronaldinho and Messi. He's changed the mentality of the team. He's our leader and all our players are growing with him.

"We won without him, but we missed him. We attack better with Lewandowski. He presses high up front; he's a crucial player for us."

Barca will be without the injured Pedri and Ousmane Dembele at San Mames, while Ronald Araujo misses out through suspension.

That could see Eric Garcia start in the heart of defence, with Xavi paying tribute to the Spain international.

"He's a great professional," he added. "He doesn't participate as much as he deserves. But he has competition at a big club like Barca.

"He is a player of present and future. I'm counting on him. He always plays well when he's on the field. He's an example in the locker room."

Manchester United have reportedly made Tottenham striker Harry Kane their top priority when addressing their attacking options at the end of the season.

Kane, 29, has already stamped his legacy as one of the Premier League's greatest ever strikers, sitting third on the all-time goals list in the competition with 201. He also owns the record for the most goals ever scored for Tottenham (268) and is tied for the most goals representing England (53).

Despite his decorated personal resume, Tottenham are set for a 15th consecutive season without any silverware, and with their Champions League hopes for next campaign hanging on by a thread, they may have run out of time to prove to their star striker why he should stay.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED DETERMINED TO BRING KANE TO OLD TRAFFORD

According to the Manchester Evening News, Erik ten Hag has identified Kane as his primary target.

The report adds that they remain interested in Napoli's Victor Osimhen, as well as Benfica's Goncalo Ramos, but Kane is the top priority if they can make it happen.

With only one more season remaining on his contract, Kane will likely get his wish to leave if he decides he will certainly not sign a new deal, as the club would be risking a potential £100million sale if they hold onto him through the next transfer deadline.

But just because Tottenham may sell him does not mean he would land at Old Trafford, with Bayern Munich's well-documented interest still prevalent.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Inter are interested in bringing in towering 24-year-old Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca from West Ham after a disappointing first season in the Premier League.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, 25-year-old Tottenham striker Richarlison is a candidate to replace Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, while Calciomercato adds Juventus are also keeping a close eye on Richarlison's availability.

Roberto Firmino has offered his services to Barcelona as he seeks a new team for next season, per Sport.

– Football Insider is reporting Manchester United are in "pole position" to meet the £70m (€79m) asking price to sign 25-year-old Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, despite his repeated comments that he has no interest in leaving Spain.

– Journalist Rudy Galetti claims Chelsea are interested in a pair of 28-year-old centre backs – Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City and Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez.

Manchester United have reportedly made Tottenham striker Harry Kane their top priority when addressing their attacking options at the end of the season.

Kane, 29, has already stamped his legacy as one of the Premier League's greatest ever strikers, sitting third on the all-time goals list in the competition with 201. He also owns the record for the most goals ever scored for Tottenham (268) and is tied for the most goals representing England (53).

Despite his decorated personal resume, Tottenham are set for a 15th consecutive season without any silverware, and with their Champions League hopes for next campaign hanging on by a thread, they may have run out of time to prove to their star striker why he should stay.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED DETERMINED TO BRING KANE TO OLD TRAFFORD

According to the Manchester Evening News, Erik ten Hag has identified Kane as his primary target.

The report adds that they remain interested in Napoli's Victor Osimhen, as well as Benfica's Goncalo Ramos, but Kane is the top priority if they can make it happen.

With only one more season remaining on his contract, Kane will likely get his wish to leave if he decides he will certainly not sign a new deal, as the club would be risking a potential £100million sale if they hold onto him through the next transfer deadline.

But just because Tottenham may sell him does not mean he would land at Old Trafford, with Bayern Munich's well-documented interest still prevalent.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Inter are interested in bringing in towering 24-year-old Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca from West Ham after a disappointing first season in the Premier League.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, 25-year-old Tottenham striker Richarlison is a candidate to replace Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, while Calciomercato adds Juventus are also keeping a close eye on Richarlison's availability.

Roberto Firmino has offered his services to Barcelona as he seeks a new team for next season, per Sport.

– Football Insider is reporting Manchester United are in "pole position" to meet the £70m (€79m) asking price to sign 25-year-old Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, despite his repeated comments that he has no interest in leaving Spain.

– Journalist Rudy Galetti claims Chelsea are interested in a pair of 28-year-old centre backs – Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City and Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez.

Harry Maguire's future at Manchester United is unclear, having fallen down the pecking order under Erik ten Hag.

The United club captain is contracted until 2025 and his deal includes £200,000 per week wages.

Maguire has only started one of United's last eight Premier League games and did not play in Thursday's Europa League win over Real Betis.

TOP STORY – PSG SET FOR SHOCK MAGUIRE MOVE

Paris Saint-Germain are set for a shock £50million (€56m) move for Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, according to The Sun.

It has been claimed that Maguire is among a list of players that United are willing to sell in the off-season with Newcastle United and West Ham reportedly interested.

According to The Sun's report, PSG tabled a deal for Maguire in January, but time ran out to finalise it and the French champions will move again for him.

ROUND-UP

– The Independent reports Real Madrid are plotting an overhaul to bring in a new generation of young stars, with Manchester City's Erling Haaland top of the list along with Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham.

– The Guardian reports Manchester United will enter the race to sign Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount, with interest also from Liverpool and Newcastle United. Mount and Chelsea are currently in the middle of a contract dispute, potentially making him available, with United viewing him as a cheaper alternative to Bellingham.

–  Barcelona are in the market to sign Manchester City's Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo if Bayern Munich do not make permanent his loan spell, claims Sport.

Newcastle are circling to sign Southampton free-kick specialist James Ward-Prowse, according to Football Insider. Newcastle are one of numerous Premier League clubs interested in him.

– Gazzetta dello Sport reports Inter have tabled a two-year contract offer to Edin Dzeko amid interest from West Ham.

– L'Equipe claims PSG are ramping up their bid to sign Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva in the off-season.

LaLiga has filed a complaint at a Seville court after Vinicius Junior was again subjected to racist abuse in Real Madrid's goalless draw at Real Betis on Sunday.

Vinicius suffered racist abuse at two matches against Atletico Madrid this season, while similar incidents have been reported at games against Real Mallorca and Real Valladolid.

Footage captured a Betis supporter shouting racist insults at Vinicius during Sunday's stalemate at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, leading LaLiga to resort to legal action once again.

A statement from the league read: "In view of the racist insults directed towards Vinicius Junior during the Real Betis-Real Madrid match on Sunday, March 5, LaLiga has sent a complaint to the Seville Court of Instruction in order to identify the person responsible and to take the appropriate legal measures.

"This is the seventh complaint made to the relevant authorities by LaLiga regarding racist insults against Vinicius Junior."

Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti last month said racism was a problem throughout Spanish football, adding: "Vinicius is the victim of something that I don't understand. It must be solved."

 

It has been reported that Manchester United will look to maintain the momentum gained from this season with three major signings.

Manager Erik ten Hag is said to have an illustrious shortlist of priority targets, including numerous forwards.

But the Red Devils will likely want to bolster their midfield ranks to support Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Fred.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO LAUNCH BUMPER CAMAVINGA BID

Fichajes reports Manchester United are planning a bumper £115million (€130m) offer for Real Madrid's French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

The report claims United are major admirers of Camavinga, who has not fully convinced since his move to Santiago Bernabeu in August 2021.

United view the 20-year-old as a major world-class talent, although Los Blancos may be reluctant to let him go.

 

ROUND-UP

– ESPN claims Harry Maguire is on the chopping block at Old Trafford with Manchester United looking to sell several first-players including the England defender. Newcastle United are the favourites to sign him while West Ham are in contention, reports 90min.

Paris Saint-Germain are circling for Newcastle United's Dutch defender Sven Botman, reports iNews. Botman previously spent time in France with Lille.

Vinicius Junior could leave Real Madrid, with president Florentino Perez open to letting him go in order to sign PSG's Kylian Mbappe, claims El Desmarque. Vinicius Junior and Madrid are yet to agree on a new deal with the Brazilian's contract expiring in 2024.

Eden Hazard will not exit Real Madrid anytime soon, with the Belgian midfielder intending to remain with Los Blancos until his contract expires in 2024, according to The Athletic.

– CBS Sports claims Arsenal's Reiss Nelson has drawn interest from French club Nice along with Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion. Nelson netted a dramatic late winner in the Gunners' 3-2 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Bayern Munich are on the verge of tabling new contract offers to Lucas Hernandez and Jamal Musiala , per Fabrizio Romano. Agreement on the Hernandez deal is imminent, while new Musiala's long-term contract is a priority.

Mikel Arteta remains "fully focused" on guiding Arsenal to Premier League glory this season amid rumours he is wanted by Real Madrid to replace Carlo Ancelotti.

Arsenal are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the English top flight in pursuit of their first title since the 2003-04 campaign.

Arteta has been widely praised for his work at Emirates Stadium in his third full season in charge, with a report from Spain on Wednesday suggesting Madrid could make a move.

Ancelotti is said to be under pressure as Madrid head coach, despite guiding the club to a LaLiga and Champions League double last season.

However, when asked about the speculation ahead of Arsenal's Europa League last-16 first-leg tie with Sporting CP, Arteta said he is giving it little thought.

"It's things that managers or players can’t control, what is written," he said at Wednesday's pre-match press conference. 

"What I can tell you is that I'm fully focused on what I'm doing here and extremely proud and grateful to do what I'm doing in this football club. That's it."

Arteta's focus will switch from the Premier League to Europa League on Thursday when Arsenal take on Portuguese heavyweights Sporting at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

It is the third of six games in the space of 18 days for the Gunners, but Arteta hinted he will not look to rotate his squad for the European tie.

"We have one team and we have to play the games with the best possible players to win it," he said. "There have been moments where we have made eight changes. 

"We try to accommodate. Players have moments throughout the season where they're available and when they're not. For sure we will try to pick the best team to win the game.

"Of course everyone wants to play. It's true as well when we've wanted to rotate players they've been injured and unavailable. Tomorrow that may be the case. 

"Sometimes it's been difficult and players have to deserve to play the minutes. Being fair in football is very difficult. 

"You have to be really good at communicating your decisions to help players understand what you do, but all the time you have to think for the best of the team. 

"We want everybody to feel important and we are going to try to make them feel like that."

Gabriel Jesus took part in training on the eve of the Sporting match, but Arteta gave little away when asked if the striker could make his first appearance since November.

"News on the squad will be tomorrow," he said. "We have brought a few players and you will see who is available."

Asked if Kieran Tierney, Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah are available, Arteta said: "Let’s see how they evolve. 

"We're trying to accommodate everybody and get them in the best position for tomorrow."

LaLiga has refuted claims made in a Spanish newspaper that the league is in danger of financial collapse and will now take legal action.

El Espanol published an article titled "LaLiga in the face of economic collapse: DAZN and CVC are considering breaking their contracts with Javier Tebas".

The report suggested two crucial partners were considering their relationships, with Jorge Calabres saying "Spanish football is in an extreme situation" as DAZN and CVC study the possibility of breaking their contracts.

However, LaLiga issued a swift response on Wednesday rejecting the claims.

They said in the statement it was "absolutely false that DAZN and CVC are studying breaking their contracts with LaLiga".

The statement added: "It is surprising that, despite not having confirmation from DAZN and CVC, Jorge Calabres and El Espanol have published this false news, citing unspecified "sources in the sector". 

"It is also worrying that neither the aforementioned journalist nor any other person from El Espanol has contacted LaLiga to verify the information, in yet another lack of journalistic rigour and professionalism. 

"The latter is not surprising, given the obvious campaign of personal attack that El Espanol and Jorge Calabres are in against LaLiga and its president, Javier Tebas, through continuous false, manipulated or misrepresented publications in recent months.

"We will take legal action against those responsible for this publication, and against all those who disseminate these falsehoods, in defence of our interests and those of the clubs."

Among a host of other reasons, the report claimed CVC was considering its position because LaLiga were unable to guarantee the long-term participation of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

El Espanol reported that if an early termination clause was triggered, CVC could end its contract and ask LaLiga clubs for its investment to be returned with six per cent interest.

But LaLiga said these concerns were untrue and Tebas, LaLiga's president, also criticised the report personally, slamming the article as "fake news".

Barcelona are nine points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table this season, as the Catalan club seek what would be their first LaLiga title in four years.

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