Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has confirmed the club are closing in on the signing of Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak.

The Sweden international is poised to move to St James' Park on a club-record deal of £60million, showing a major statement of intent from the Saudi owners.

While yet to be officially confirmed, Howe expressed his confidence on pushing the deal over the line when speaking ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash against Wolves. 

"It's not completed. We hope to get it done," he said, adding he hopes Isak could yet make his debut this weekend.

"Yes, fingers crossed. There's no guarantee with these things because we're in other people's hands, but hopefully."

The imminent signing of Isak comes amid another injury blow for Callum Wilson, who has scored twice in three Premier League games this season but is facing another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring issue.

"We don't believe it to be serious – we're hopeful that Callum will only be out for a couple of weeks," Howe added.

"But naturally we reacted slightly off that in terms of we were always looking for an attacking player, but it changed our focus maybe slightly on the type.

"But we're delighted to hopefully sign Alex, who will be a big player for us."

Job done.

Thank you for your support at Prenton Park this evening - safe journey home.

Onto Molineux on Sunday!  pic.twitter.com/oaedMuQgY8

— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 24, 2022

Bayern Munich and Barcelona await Inter in the Champions League group stage, but Nerazzurri vice-president Javier Zanetti insists his side are "not afraid" of the challenge.

UEFA's flagship club competition has provided a headline reunion with new Barca arrival Robert Lewandowski returning to his former side Bayern in Group C.

The draw of the Poland talisman revisiting the Allianz Arena remains the standout pick of the group-stage clashes, with Inter and Viktoria Plzen the other two sides to compete alongside the European giants.

Simone Inzaghi's side pushed Liverpool close in the round-of-16 clash last season and, despite falling to the Reds, Zanetti insists the Nerazzurri will take a no-fear approach to their draw alongside Bayern and Barca.

"It is a difficult, complicated group, with two teams that know how to play very well in this competition," Zanetti told Sky Sport Italia when asked about facing the two European heavyweights. 

"The Champions League is a competition of details, with the best in the world. We are there and we will play it.

"It is a challenge to face these teams now. Bayern is a team that has consolidated, Barca has found balance with Xavi, we want to give continuity to last year's progress.

"We are not afraid, only respect, I believe that Inter will be ready and prepared."

While the prospect of locking horns with Barca and Bayern may prove daunting, Inter and Zanetti have fond memories of facing both sides in Europe's premier club competition.

Indeed the Nerazzurri, then managed by Jose Mourinho, overcame the Blaugrana 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals, before seeing off the German giants 2-0 to lift the trophy in 2009-10 – a feat that Zanetti hopes his side can repeat.

"Yes, it's a good memory that came to mind," the Argentine said as he discussed that victorious campaign.

"This is another story, football has changed. We will prepare our matches in the best possible way; we are growing and we proved it last season. We will try again this year."

Manchester United are set to be busy in the final week of the transfer window and are closing in on a huge signing.

Erik ten Hag wants to bring in Antony from his former club Ajax, and the Brazil winger is keen to be reunited with his former coach.

United made a dismal start to the season by losing their opening two games, but bounced back by beating Liverpool on Monday, and are aiming to make another splash in the transfer market after signing Casemiro from Real Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – ANTONY TRYING TO FORCE UNITED MOVE

Antony is attempting to force through a move to United by handing in a transfer request at Ajax.

That is according to The Mirror, while The Telegraph have claimed the 22-year-old's representatives are now basing themselves in London in order to push through a deal.

Ajax are reluctant to sell and this week turned down a £67.6million (€80m) bid from United, who are expected to up their offer. The Dutch club are said to want a fee of £84m (€100m), but Antony is trying to force their hand.

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic report that Dele Alli is on the brink of joining Besiktas on loan from Everton. The England international is in Istanbul to complete the move.

- Sky Sports Germany are claiming Chelsea will turn their focus to Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Edmond Tapsoba if they cannot sign Leicester City's Wesley Fofana.

- Newcastle United are set to break their transfer record by signing Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for £60m (€71.1m), according to widespread reports.

 

- David Moyes confirmed West Ham had bid for Lucas Paqueta, but that approach has been turned down by Lyon, according to L'Equipe.

- BILD reporter Christian Falk has claimed Manchester United will decide whether or not to push ahead with a move for Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp on Thursday.

- According to Fabrizio Romano, Marseille are not considering a move for Cristiano Ronaldo, who may be allowed to leave Old Trafford.

- Romano also reports that Marseille forward Arkadiusz Milik is joining Juventus.

Pep Guardiola has not ruled out the possibility of Bernardo Silva joining Barcelona – a club he "likes very much" – but acknowledged a deal would be tricky at this stage of the transfer window.

Silva remains a key man for City, excelling and scoring the equaliser in Sunday's 3-3 draw at Newcastle United, yet he also continues to be linked to Barca.

The Blaugrana have invested heavily in this window, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde among their eye-catching signings.

However, Barca coach Xavi is said to still be eager to add to his squad, with Silva seen as a potentially key capture.

City visited Camp Nou on Wednesday for a friendly – another 3-3 draw – and both Xavi and Guardiola were predictably asked to discuss Silva after the match.

"Who does not like Bernardo Silva? Just like De Bruyne or Haaland," Xavi said. "But there is no news.

"He is a player that I love – there are few like him – but it already depends on City."

Those comments offered Guardiola the opportunity to have a definitive say on Silva's future, but he repeated his mantra that he would only wish to keep happy players at City.

And Silva, the City manager added, would certainly be receptive to Barca.

"We count on him and I do not want him to leave," Guardiola said. "He is a superlative player in everything [he does].

"But as I have always said: I do not want a player to be unhappy. If a good offer came, he wanted to leave and there was an agreement, we would see.

"Although, if he left now, it would be a problem, because the market is about to close.

"With that said, Bernardo likes Barcelona very much."

The window will close next Thursday, with City's incoming business seemingly done after adding Erling Haaland, Stefan Ortega, Kalvin Phillips and Sergio Gomez to Guardiola's squad, along with Julian Alvarez, who was signed in January.

Ferran Soriano has once again dismissed talk of Barcelona signing Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva.

Silva has long since been linked with a move to Camp Nou, but Pep Guardiola has made it clear he wants to keep the Portugal midfielder.

The 30-year-old playmaker scored one goal and set up another in the Premier League champions' 3-3 draw at Newcastle United on Sunday.

Silva is set to face Barca in a friendly on Wednesday and City chief executive Soriano does not expect him to be playing for the Catalan giants this season.

He told Cadena Ser's Que t'hi Jugues: "This story has taken many turns, but deep down it has never moved from the starting point."

Soriano added just over a week before the transfer window closes: "It's a bit late to talk about comings and goings."

Silva made 50 appearances for City in all competitions last season, a tally only bettered by Joao Cancelo (52), with the 28-year-old scoring 13 goals and providing seven assists.

Only Kevin de Bruyne (129) and Jack Grealish (78) created more chances for City than Silva's 76 last term.

 

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has cited "insanely good" Karim Benzema as inspiration as he vows to never stop improving at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland has made a solid start to life in England since his £51million (€60m) move from Borussia Dortmund, scoring three goals in as many Premier League games for the reigning champions.

City pipped some of the world's biggest clubs in the race to secure the services of the Norway international, including reigning LaLiga and Champions League winners Real Madrid.

Madrid talisman Benzema played an instrumental role during their successful 2021-22 season - top-scoring in both competitions along the way - while he recently surpassed Raul (323) as the club's second-leading marksman of all-time behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (450).

The 34-year-old appears certain to be in the running for the top prize at this year's Ballon d'Or awards, and his recent exploits have provided inspiration for a player 12 years his junior.

"I don’t know what will happen, but it must always be about learning, about developing," Haaland told FourFourTwo. "You can never stop looking for new ways to become better.

"Look at Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. He's 34 now and suddenly, he's developed into an even better player over the last couple of years – that's insanely good. I want to always do that."

 

Toni Kroos intends to finish his career at Real Madrid, while the former Germany international says he will not reverse his decision to retire from the national team ahead of Qatar 2022.

The veteran playmaker has completed a clean sweep of major honours with the LaLiga giants since arriving from Bayern Munich in 2014, shortly after helping Die Mannschaft to World Cup glory in Brazil.

Yet having hung up his boots for the national side following last year's Euro 2020 last-16 exit at the hands of England, Kroos admits he may well follow suit at domestic level sooner rather than later.

However, he will not be looking to wrap up his time on the pitch anywhere other than Santiago Bernabeu, regardless of time frame.

"I believe that the year 2023 is appropriate [to retire]," Kroos told Bild. "I will be 33 years old.

"I will decide whether I will renew for a season or two. That is still open for discussion, but I am completely sure that I will retire at Real Madrid."

Kroos will not walk back his decision to depart the national team, however, with the 106-cap veteran having no intention of making himself available for Hansi Flick's squad.

"The decision I made at that time stands," he added.

 

Unai Emery says Juan Foyth wants to stay at Villarreal but knows he could join Barcelona before the transfer window closes.

Barca have targeted defender Foyth after missing out on Cesar Azpilicueta, who decided to stay at Chelsea.

Villarreal vice-president Jose Manuel Llaneza warned the Catalan giants they would have to meet the €42million release clause in order to sign the Argentina right-back.

Emery reiterated that former Tottenham full-back Foyth is not looking to leave, but the Villarreal head coach accepts there are no guarantees he will stay.

"Barca's interest is real," Emery told Cadena SER's 'El Larguero'. "It's a position they need and it fits for them. The issue is whether the player wants it or not, he has always told me that he is very happy.

"He does not contemplate leaving and wants to stay. From here, I don't know to what extent circumstances will go one way or the other.

"He's an important player for us and he's grown a lot in recent years. I don't rule out that at any given moment the surprise will be against us, but the most normal thing is that he stays at Villarreal."

Emery is hoping to add to his squad by signing striker Edinson Cavani, who is also wanted by Valencia.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal boss said: "I spoke to Edinson Cavani – we have a good relationship, he wants to come to Spain. It's possible."

Erik ten Hag is expecting Casemiro to emerge as a leader in his Manchester United team after the Brazil midfielder competed his £60million (€70m) move from Real Madrid.

Casemiro, who won 18 major titles during a trophy-laden nine-year spell with the Spanish giants, was unveiled as a United player ahead of their 2-1 Premier League victory over Liverpool on Monday.

The Brazil enforcer is the fourth arrival of a busy transfer window at Old Trafford, following in the footsteps of Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen, all of whom impressed when starting against Liverpool.

Casemiro will likely have been encouraged by a first glimpse of his new team-mates, as United handed Jurgen Klopp's side their first league defeat of 2022 via goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Ten Hag, who is now the first ever United manager to secure his maiden competitive win against Liverpool, expects Casemiro's big-game experience to be an asset for the Red Devils.

"He has won so many trophies in his career," Ten Hag said. "He knows the road, how you win games and finally how you win trophies.

"We [now] have more players who have won already many trophies in their career. That has to be a guidance for the rest of the team so they know and they understand how to win games.

"We did really well today compared to last week so we make a step [forward], but it is what you have to deliver every day and in every game."

No midfielder has matched Casemiro's tally of 415 tackles won in LaLiga since the start of the 2015-16 season, with the 30-year-old's defensive abilities allowing Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to star throughout one of the most successful periods in Madrid's history.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the match, Ten Hag referred to Casemiro as "the cement between the stones", adding: "That is what we have been looking for in the summer and found him, [I'm] very happy with his signing."

Ten Hag expects multiple United players to display leadership qualities, and used a post-match interview to hail Bruno Fernandes' performance as captain after dropping Harry Maguire to the bench.

"I think he took the responsibility and I think it encouraged him, the captaincy, and I think he showed leadership together with Rapha Varane," Ten Hag told Sky Sports.

"I think definitely on the pitch, they make a huge difference, but that is what they have to bring, and it’s not just those two, I think we need more leaders.

"When you want to make a winning team, you need more leaders and we need the spirit that we showed today."

United travel to Southampton for their next Premier League outing on Saturday, having collected three points from their first three games of the campaign.

Bernardo Silva will stay at Manchester City despite Barcelona's interest in signing the midfielder, according to the Premier League champions' chief executive Ferran Soriano.

Barcelona have enjoyed a busy transfer window as they attempt to close the gap on last season's LaLiga and Champions League winners Real Madrid, signing Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie, while they also hope to bring in Marcos Alonso from Chelsea.

But the Blaugrana have also been credited with a strong interest in Silva, who refused to rule out a move earlier this month when declaring City "know what I want".

Silva could make a Camp Nou appearance on Wednesday when City take on Barca in a friendly arranged to raise funds to fight motor neurone disease, but Soriano is adamant the Portugal midfielder will not be returning to Barcelona on a more permanent basis.

Speaking to El Chiringuito de Jugones, Soriano said: "Of course, I can say that Bernardo Silva will stay at Man City."

Pep Guardiola has also affirmed his desire to keep Silva on multiple occasions.

Silva made 50 appearances for City in all competitions last season, a tally only bettered by Joao Cancelo (52), with the 28-year-old scoring 13 goals and providing seven assists.

Meanwhile, only Kevin de Bruyne (129) and Jack Grealish (78) created more chances for City than Silva's 76 last term, and he got off the mark for the new campaign by scoring the equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Newcastle United on Sunday.

 

Chelsea lost 3-0 to Leeds United on Sunday and it would appear that defeat has sparked the Blues into action.

New owner Todd Boehly has been keen to make his mark since arriving at Stamford Bridge, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella among others.

But head coach Thomas Tuchel wants more. Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana is a priority target for the defence, while last week Chelsea had two bids rejected by Everton for Anthony Gordon.

Now it would appear the Blues are confident of completing the signing, while they are also reportedly in talks to land a second attacker.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA IN FOR GORDON AND LEAO

The Times reports that Chelsea will this week push ahead and match Everton's £50million asking price for winger Gordon, who scored four goals in a breakthrough Premier League season last term.

Everton boss Frank Lampard stressed the importance of Gordon to his plans, and played the 21-year-old against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but also suggested that a decision might have to be made if a bid was too good to turn down.

Gordon might also be joined in moving to Stamford Bridge by Milan star Rafael Leao. The Portugal international scored 11 times for the Rossoneri as they won Serie A last season, and the same report claims that Chelsea are in talks with the Italian champions over a move for the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- Several outlets are reporting that West Ham have struck a deal with Chelsea to sign left-back Emerson Palmieri for around £13million.

- Eric Bailly is close to joining Marseille on loan from Manchester United, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- The Telegraph claims Newcastle United have been told they must pay £30million to buy striker Joao Pedro from Watford.

- Villarreal coach Unai Emery told El Larguero that Edinson Cavani could join the club, while he also said that Juan Foyth is of interest to Barcelona.

- Everton were hoping to have Idrissa Gueye and Mohammed Kudus signed but have bumped into difficulties with Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, says The Times.

- Fabrizio Romano also reports that Fulham and Roma will hold further talks this week over Justin Kluivert.

- Barca defender Samuel Umtiti will join Lecce, says Gianluca Di Marzio.

Casemiro is "as determined as ever" to win trophies with Manchester United following confirmation of his transfer from Real Madrid.

United confirmed last week an agreement had been reached with Madrid, and the reported £60million (€70m) deal officially went through on Monday.

The 30-year-old bade an emotional farewell to Madrid at a news conference prior to travelling to Old Trafford for United's clash with fierce rivals Liverpool.

And after being paraded on the pitch ahead of kick-off, United announced on their website that Casemiro has penned a four-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.

Vastly experienced Brazil international Casemiro won 18 trophies in his decade with Madrid, including five Champions Leagues, and is eager to land more silverware in England.

"The opportunity to start a new challenge at Manchester United and in the Premier League is extremely exciting," he said.

"I've worked with many great managers in my career, and having met with Erik [ten Hag] and heard his ideas, I can't wait to work closely with him, his staff and my new team-mates in the coming years.

"I'm ending one beautiful journey in Madrid whilst starting another in Manchester as determined as ever to win football matches, win trophies and make our fans proud by bringing success to this great club.

"Everybody knows the history of Manchester United, the significance of the club around the world and what it means to its supporters. 

"To represent United is an honour and I am ready to give everything to help the team achieve our ambitions."

Casemiro has played over 550 games in his career and has 22 trophies to his name, including Copa America success with Brazil, whom he is expected to represent in this year's World Cup.

He becomes United's fourth signing of the window following the arrivals of Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen.

"Casemiro is a serial winner and one of the best midfielders in world football; his exceptional record speaks for itself," said United football director John Murtough.

"He compliments the skillsets of the squad and will be a great addition to the dressing room with his experience, knowledge and character.

"I know that Casemiro remains as determined as ever to be successful on the pitch and we look forward seeing that happen in a Manchester United shirt."

Pavel Nedved has confirmed Barcelona forward Memphis Depay is a target for Juventus.

Barca are reported to have agreed to terminate Depay's contract just over a year after he arrived at Camp Nou as a free agent.

The Bianconeri are the favourites to sign the Netherlands forward, who has also been linked with Premier League clubs Tottenham and Newastle United.

Juventus vice president Nedved says the Serie A giants are interested in Depay, but he is not the only target on their radar.

He told DAZN: "There is no need to speed up the process, that is never a good idea. We are evaluating, we are vigilant about what the market offers.

"We must evaluate well, looking at training and injuries; we are considering entering the market.

"Depay can play with with Dusan [Vlahovic] or in his place, I agree. He can play with [Moise] Kean and play as a wing, but he is only one of the names we are evaluating."

Depay was an unused substitute in Barca's goalless LaLiga draw with Rayo Vallecano and the 4-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad.

 

Casemiro said the qualities of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric made it "easy" to star in Real Madrid's midfield ahead of his move to Manchester United, as he backed Los Blancos to replace him from within.

The Brazil international is joining United in a deal reportedly worth an initial £60million (€70m), having won an incredible 18 trophies during a nine-year spell with Madrid. 

Casemiro lifted the Champions League on five occasions during his time in the Spanish capital, and produced a masterful performance as Carlo Ancelotti's team clinched their 14th European crown against Liverpool in May.

Modric, Kroos and Casemiro have been key throughout one of the most successful spells in Madrid's history, starting together in four Champions League finals (in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022), and the 30-year-old admits he will miss the duo.

"All the titles that you win, all the training sessions, the games you play, they make you happy, just realising you are a Real Madrid player," Casemiro said at a news conference on Monday.

"This era, winning five Champions League titles, is a once in a lifetime experience and very special to me, something I'll never forget. 

"Speaking about Kroos and Modric, they're my great friends, and apart from on the pitch I also think about them as two fantastic people and the great friends they've been to me. 

"It's very easy to play alongside them, I don't have much work to do, I will give them all the credit for all the work they have done. Of course, I will miss them a lot.

"It was difficult to talk to them, like it was in my conversation with the president. Toni sent me a message at 4am, asking me if all the rumours were true. 

"I'm really loyal to all of my team-mates, not just these two team-mates, but I have to be sincere with myself. If my time here is over, I have to take a step forward. I'm going to a great club, the biggest in the UK. 

"I will always be a fan, celebrate Real Madrid's goals and titles, which they will continue to win, no doubt about it. Real Madrid players are the best in the world and it's the best club in the world – it will always be like that for me."

With Kroos absent through illness, Madrid fielded a new-look midfield as they made it two wins from two outings in LaLiga by thrashing Celta Vigo 4-1 on Saturday, with Eduardo Camavinga and recent arrival Aurelien Tchouameni joining Modric in the starting line-up.

And Casemiro believes the presence of the two young French talents means Madrid may not need to replace him, adding: "Real Madrid is a club that always signs the best players in the world.

"Aurelien could also do the job, he's the kind of player that Madrid can rely on for many years to come. Toni and Modric will play at this high level but he can be a great asset as well.

"Camavinga already showed us how important he can be as well. Tchouameni is also a player that is very important, in the French national team as well.

"Real Madrid find themselves in a great place right now, they have great players and will continue to win important titles, that's what this club is about."

Manchester United-bound Casemiro has promised to return to Real Madrid later in his career.

Casemiro is joining United in a deal said to be worth an initial £60million (€70m). 

The 30-year-old, who joined Los Blancos from Sao Paulo in 2013, has been a mainstay of Madrid's midfield since he returned from a loan at Porto in 2015.

He has won 18 titles with Madrid in total, including five Champions League triumphs and three LaLiga successes. 

Ahead of his move to United officially going through, Casemiro bid farewell to Madrid on Monday, and pledged that he will one day return to the club.

"I want to make it clear that one day I will come back here to show how special this club is to me, and to help in any way that might be useful," said Casemiro, who was in tears as he spoke to a gathering of Madrid players, officials, coaches and his team-mates.

"I am excited to develop my career at such a great club like Manchester United. Madrid will always be great in the present and the future, thank you so much and Hala Madrid!"

He further explained: "When my wife and myself arrived here we didn't know anyone, it was a new country for us, this new club and we wanted to build our lives here and our future and our family, of course.

"When I got a call from Real Madrid, I was at Sao Paulo, and obviously I was very excited about it. I knew that one day I would play for the first team, but when I arrived I started at Real Madrid Castilla, and it was such a big excitement for me. I started learning the values of this club and they are the best part of this club.

"The future of this club is always its homegrown players. I've won a lot of titles here, thank God, but obviously without my mum, brothers, my wife and my beautiful children it would not have been impossible. Without the club, everyone who is here today.

"Thank you very much the board of directors, for treating me in such a nice way, the coaching staff and obviously my team-mates, who I wouldn't have achieved anything without."

Casemiro had particular thanks for his fellow midfielders, adding: "Speaking of my team-mates I can't not mention two of them: Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who I've played alongside in so many crucial matches and who I have experienced so many unique moments with.

"I've grown here as a person and as a player. I'd like to thank our fans for all those magical nights here."

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