Achraf Hakimi is a player in demand following his first season with Inter.

Hakimi helped Inter to Serie A glory for the first time in 10 years, but his future could be away from San Siro.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly determined to beat Chelsea and Bayern Munich to the full-back.

 

TOP STORY – PSG CHASING HAKIMI

Paris Saint-Germain remain interested in signing Inter star Achraf Hakimi, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

PSG had a €60million (£51m) bid turned down by Serie A champions Inter, who are facing financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic amid speculation over stars Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez, Alessandro Bastoni and Hakimi.

Ligue 1 giants PSG are still keen on Hakimi as Champions League winners Chelsea hold talks with the Morocco international's agent, while Bayern Munich have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

Bernardo Silva wants to leave Premier League champions Manchester City, reports Duncan Castles. The Portugal international has already been linked with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona after finding himself out of favour under Pep Guardiola.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Gianluigi Buffon is close to re-joining Parma. Buffon will leave Juventus in the off-season and the Italy great is reportedly on track to return to Parma, where the 43-year-old emerged from the youth team in 1995 before eventually moving to Turin in 2001. Parma were relegated from Serie A in 2020-21.

Arsenal have turned their attention to Real Betis attacker Nabil Fekir but Diario AS says the Gunners and LaLiga side remain apart in his transfer valuation.

- Calciomercato claims there are still concerns over Paulo Dybala's future at Juventus. Dybala is out of contract in 2022 and no closer to renewing after struggling for game time. The possible departure of Cristiano Ronaldo – who has been linked with PSG and Manchester United – could solidify Dybala's position in Turin.

Leicester City are the latest team to join the race for Salzburg's Patson Daka, according to the Mirror. Liverpool, Chelsea and RB Leipzig have also been linked.

- The Mirror reports Everton and Leeds United are considering moves for veteran Real Madrid star Marcelo.

The FA have confirmed the date for the Community Shield, with the traditional English football season curtain-raiser to be played at Wembley on August 7.

Premier League champions Manchester City will take on FA Cup winners Leicester City, a week ahead of the 2021-22 top-flight campaign starting, with the match kicking off at 17:00 BST.

Arsenal beat Liverpool in the 2020 Community Shield, which was played in late August due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the footballing calendar. 

Prior to the Gunners' triumph, City had won the trophy in 2018 and 2019.

It will be Leicester's third appearance in a Community Shield match, having won the honour in 1971 – which they qualified for as champions of the second division – and lost to Manchester United in 2016.

While City cruised to their third league title in the space of four seasons in 2020-21, Leicester overcame eventual Champions League winners Chelsea to clinch their first FA Cup success.

In the two league meetings between City and Leicester last season, the Foxes won 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium, before Guardiola's men ran out 2-0 victors in the reverse fixture in April.

Chelsea and Leicester City have been fined £22,500 each by the Football Association (FA) following a scuffle between both sets of players in last month's Premier League match.

Ricardo Pereira's tackle on former team-mate Ben Chilwell late in the game sparked a melee that also involved some members of the backroom staff. 

Three Leicester players – Pereira, Nampalys Mendy and substitute Daniel Amartey – were booked by referee Mike Dean for their part in the incident.

Chelsea won the match 2-1 on May 18, three days after losing to the same opponents in the FA Cup final.

The FA last month charged Chelsea and Leicester with failing to control their players and both sides have accepted the punishment.

A statement from the FA on Tuesday said: "Chelsea FC and Leicester City have been fined £22,500 each after admitting a breach of FA Rules E20.1 following their Premier League fixture on Tuesday 18 May 2021.

"Both clubs admitted that they failed to ensure their players and club officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from provocative behaviour during the 93rd minute of the fixture."

The victory in the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures proved pivotal for Chelsea as they finished fourth, one point and a place ahead of Leicester.

Stade Michel d'Ornano in Caen is a long way from Porto's Estadio do Dragao. To be precise, it's 1,573 kilometers in the unlikely event you ever have the urge to drive across Portugal and Spain, then all the way up to Normandy in northern France.

In terms of staging posts within a career, second tier French football in 2013-14 and the 2021 Champions League final are a million miles apart. But this is the journey Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante have taken, almost stride for stride, as they wait to contest the European club game's greatest prize.

A look at Ligue 2's YouTube highlights from the first time the Manchester City winger and Chelsea midfielder faced one another on September 27, 2013, when Caen hosted Le Havre, reveals a few very familiar traits.

Kante can be seen bustling around with intent from the right of Caen's midfield three, although three-minute condensed match clips are obviously not the best medium for showcasing his qualities.

Mahrez created Le Havre's best first-half chance with a cute throughball, almost snuck in a cheeky free-kick at the near post and then did that first touch. You know the one – kills a cross-field ball stone dead with the outside of his left boot, twists the defender inside out and gets a shot off.

That attempt was saved, however, and a Faycal Fajr penalty after Le Havre's Zargo Toure was sent off gave Caen a 1-0 win. They would go on to secure promotion, beginning a remarkable mid-decade run of success for Kante, irrespective of which team he happened to be representing.

But Mahrez was the first to escape Ligue 2, joining Leicester City midway through the campaign and similarly earning promotion from the Championship.

After an improbable escape from relegation in 2014-15, Leicester parted company with manager Nigel Pearson and appointed Claudio Ranieri. Kante was one of his close-season signings, with Caen pocketing £5.6m, and the rest is gloriously improbable history.

That was a hefty outlay compared to the £400,000 Leicester sent Le Havre's way for Mahrez, who finished the Foxes' Premier League-winning campaign in 2015-16 with 17 goals, 11 assists and the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

 

While the Algeria winger won the approval of his fellow professionals and Jamie Vardy's astonishing rise from non-league to the top of the English game earned him the FWA Footballer of the Year prize, the biggest revelation was arguably Kante.

"This player Kante, he was running so hard that I thought he must have a pack of batteries hidden in his shorts," Ranieri told the Players' Tribune.

"I tell him, 'One day, I'm going to see you cross the ball and then finish the cross with a header yourself!'."

A run to the final of Euro 2016 followed with France, and Kante was the one jewel of the Leicester triumph to depart in its immediate afterglow. He joined Chelsea for £32m, helped to drive Antonio Conte's men to the Premier League title and cleaned up at the end of season awards.

Twelve months later, he was a world champion as France romped to glory at Russia 2018. Kante was football's sure thing, at club or international level. And yet, in hindsight, the full palate of his qualities were perhaps a touch under-appreciated.

All eulogies came back to that insatiable work-rate, that battery pack in the shorts. Maurizio Sarri's installation as Antonio Conte's successor at Stamford Bridge, bringing with him his cerebral deep-lying playmaker Jorginho, would mean a change of pace.

In his two seasons under Conte, Kante made 127 and 113 tackles. This was down from terrifyingly relentless 175 (winning 71.4 per cent – his best success rate in the Premier League) in that season at Leicester, which does much to explain how his reputation was established and remained in the popular imagination.

 

In 2018-19, his tackles number fell to 74 and it has never returned to previous levels under Frank Lampard or Thomas Tuchel. But as a shuttling midfield presence under Sarri, his 73 touches in the opposition box that season were more than in his entire Premier League career up until that point, with four goals and four assists his reward.

Where some feared Jorginho's arrival would shove Kante out of his preferred position, they now operate very effectively in tandem and will probably do so against City. For all that the former Napoli man is charged with setting the tempo, Kante remains tidily efficient in possession. His pass completion in every season at the Bridge tracks between 85 and 89 per cent.

The 30-year-old stamped his presence all over the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid and was named man of the match for both legs in a 3-1 aggregate triumph. During the second encounter in London, Kante made five interceptions – only bettered by six from Jorginho – but also made more passes in the opposition half (25) and created more chances (three) than any other Chelsea player.

This week in Porto, UEFA is displaying the Champions League trophy in a public square opposite Jardim de Joao Chagas. The shimmering prize is flanked by a City shirt bearing Kevin De Bruyne's name and number. The Chelsea jersey has Kante on the back. He is unquestionably one of the main attractions and keys to victory this weekend.

The same can be said for Mahrez, although his adjustment to life in Manchester was not as seamless as Kante's in England's capital.

As his old team-mate adapted to Sarri, Mahrez struggled to take on board Guardiola's demands having got the £60m move he had long craved. However, his 2019-20 returns showed improvements, with 11 Premier League goals and nine assists – up from seven and four a year earlier. Waiting patiently on the right-wing for his team-mates to disrupt opponents and leave him with one-on-one duels was different to the freedom he enjoyed at Leicester but starting to pay dividends.

He is now one of Guardiola's go-to men, came second behind Ruben Dias in City's player of the year poll and is a scorer of heavy goals.

When the Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund was on the line, 2-2 on aggregate with his team heading out on away goals at Signal Iduna Park, Mahrez slammed home a high-pressure penalty after an interminable VAR delay. He went on to score a goal in each leg as Paris Saint-Germain were swept aside 4-1 on aggregate, including the winner through a disintegrating defensive wall at the Parc des Princes.

"Riyad always was at a good level," Guardiola said earlier this month. "Maybe at the beginning he didn’t play much in the first season because we already had a structure with Leroy [Sane] and the other ones, but step by step he regained his position.

"Lately he has been playing really good and hopefully he can maintain this level."

At the other end of the square where Kante's shirt stands alongside the trophy he hopes to lift this weekend, UEFA have installed a merchandise stall where a shirt to commemorate the all-English final will set you back €60.

That amounts to fleecing that could not be further away from the value for money Leicester enjoyed when they plucked Mahrez and Kante from France and set them on the path to Porto.

Zinedine Zidane's career as head coach of Real Madrid looks set to come to an end after a trophy-less 2020-21 season.

Madrid finished as runners-up in LaLiga, while they were knocked out in the Champions League semi-finals and exited in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey.

Zidane returned to take charge of Los Blancos in 2019, after a previous stint from 2016 to 2018 where they won Europe's continental crown three times in a row.

 

TOP STORY - ZIDANE STEPS DOWN AT MADRID

Spanish outlets AS and Marca both are reporting Zinedine Zidane will step down as Real Madrid head coach.

The former France international has reportedly informed the club of his final decision following weeks of speculation around his post.

Zidane had requested a few days to consider his options and has now made his final decision and contacted his players individually, the reports say.

 

ROUND-UP

- Het Nieuwsblad reports that Belgium international and Leicester City's FA Cup final hero Youri Tielemans is among Liverpool's targets as they seek to replace Georginio Wijnaldum.

- Liverpool have also reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate, according to ESPN.

- The Mirror reports that Leicester City may offer a deal to Schalke defender Ozan Kabak after he spent the second half of the season on loan at Liverpool.

- Kicker reports that Bayer Leverkusen are pondering an off-season swoop for Arsenal defender William Saliba.

- Le10Sport claims that French champions Lille are ready to replace the departed Christophe Galtier with Thiago Motta at the helm.

Ronald Koeman's first season in charge at Barcelona was less than convincing, creating doubts about his future.

Koeman guided Barcelona to third place in La Liga in 2020-21, as well as lifting the Copa del Rey, but they bowed out of the Champions League in the last 16.

It was a season of change at Barcelona, with Joan Laporta taking over as president in March and recently stating they will undergo an off-season "renovation" and that their "cycle has ended".

 

TOP STORY - KOEMAN SET FOR BARCA SHOWDOWN TALKS

Ronald Koeman will sit down with Barcelona president Joan Laporta this week for showdown talks about his future, claims Diario Sport.

Koeman was appointed by previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu on a two-year deal in August last year.

Laporta will also likely inform the Dutchman to sell up to 10 players to fund their off-season transfer plans.

Barcelona have been linked with a host of players including Sergio Aguero, Erling Haaland and Georginio Wijnaldum this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims that David Alaba will join Real Madrid irrespective of Zinedine Zidane's future. Alaba has completed and agreed to a pre-contract.

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain are shaping as the favourites to sign Liverpool's off-contract midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum rather than Barcelona who are yet to make an offer for the Dutchman.

- Barcelona are weighing up an off-season move for Atalanta's German versatile full-back Robin Gosens, claims Diario Sport.

Milan will look to secure Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea on a permanent deal, with a €28million option to buy him, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal have opted out of the race for Brighton's Yves Bissouma, boosting Liverpool's hopes of signing him reports The Mail.

- Leicester City are in the hunt for Sassuolo midfielder Jeremie Boga, joining the race along with Atalanta and Napoli, according to Calciomercato.

The Premier League race is run. A season that has seemingly been a never-ending story finally concluded on Sunday with the focus centred on the top four.

Chelsea lost but still ended up securing Champions League qualification, Liverpool won to astonishingly end an eventful campaign in third and poor Leicester City missed out after a crazy game at home to Tottenham as Harry Kane clinched the Golden Boot.

West Ham finish above Spurs in sixth to make the Europa League, while Manchester United ruined Nuno Espirito Santo's last game in charge of Wolves. There was yet another goal for Joe Willock, while David McGoldrick made sure he will no doubt be the subject of a pub quiz question in years to come.

Manchester City had clinched the title long ago, but a home game with Everton offered a chance for their returning fans to say farewell to a club legend.


Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea: Tuchel slips up on the road as Blues lose

Thomas Tuchel's side held on to their top-four spot thanks to the result at the King Power Stadium, with the German coach able to celebrate despite suffering his first away defeat in the league since taking charge at Stamford Bridge.

Bertrand Traore scored the opener for Villa, in the process becoming the 25th different player to manage a Premier League goal against Chelsea having previously been at the Blues. Anwar El Ghazi doubled the lead with the 100th penalty scored in the competition this season, the first time a campaign has reached triple figures.

On the subject of penalties, Jorginho finished with the most goals for Chelsea in the league with seven – all from the spot. It is the lowest number for the club’s leading scorer in a top-flight season since 1974-75, when Ian Hutchinson also managed seven.

Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace: Mane helps Reds prosper at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp has now finished in the top four at the end of the five full seasons he has had in charge of the Reds, who handed their former boss Roy Hodgson a 2-0 defeat in his Palace swansong.

Sadio Mane got both goals, the second with the aid of a huge deflection. He has scored 10 or more in all seven of his Premier League campaigns, including his two with Southampton before moving to Anfield in June 2016.

Liverpool won their meetings with Palace by a combined 9-0 score; only against Ipswich in 2001-02 (11-0) have they enjoyed a bigger aggregate margin across two Premier League games in the same season. While he had no need to conjure up another last-gasp goal this time, Alisson Becker did manage to keep a clean sheet on his 100th league outing for Klopp's side.

Leicester City 2-4 Tottenham: Foxes run into trouble against Bale and Kane

Leicester spent 242 days in the Premier League's top four this term, only to end the final one sitting in fifth place. For a second successive year, a late loss of form has cost them a Champions League place.

A sixth defeat in 13 matches did not appear on the cards when they twice led against Spurs thanks to Jamie Vardy, who scored two penalties in a match for a third time this season. However, a Kasper Schmeichel own goal – his second in the top tier – levelled matters, with the visitors then moving clear in a frantic finish.

Gareth Bale scored twice late on in potentially his final game for Tottenham, but will Kane still be there when the transfer window shuts? The striker's 41st-minute effort lifted him to 23 for this term as he became only the third player to win the Golden Boot award as many as three times, following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry (four) and Alan Shearer (also three).

Aguero at the double, Willock matches Shearer (yes, really)

In scoring twice after coming on as a substitute, Aguero ended his City career as he had started it – with a brace off the bench (he had done just the same on debut against Swansea City, way back in August 2011). His double takes his final tally to 184 Premier League goals, in the process surpassing Wayne Rooney (183) for the most by a player for a single club.

As for Manchester United, a 2-1 triumph at Wolves sees them become just the fourth side to remain unbeaten away across an entire top-tier season, a feat most recently achieved by Arsenal in 2003-04. The current-day Gunners beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0, though still finished eighth for a second year in a row.

At Fulham, Willock was on target once more in a 2-0 win for Newcastle United. It means the on-loan Arsenal midfielder becomes only the second Newcastle player to score in seven consecutive Premier League appearances, after hall-of-famer Shearer in 1996.

West Ham secured a top-six finish for only the second time in the Premier League era thanks to a 3-0 win over a Southampton team who do not prosper on their travels – they ended up losing 10 of their 11 away fixtures in 2021, during which they leaked 33 goals and scored just seven times.

There was a win for Leeds United at home to West Brom, taking them up to 59 points – the most by a promoted club since Ipswich Town (66) in 2000-01. Sheffield United finished bottom, but at least signed off on a winning note. Striker McGoldrick grabbed the only goal against Burnley to earn his own place in history: it was the 1,000th scored in the Premier League during the 2020-21 season.

Ryan Mason conceded it is "disappointing" Tottenham will only play in the new Europa Conference League next season. 

Spurs secured seventh place in the Premier League on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Leicester City, who agonisingly missed out on a top-four spot by one point. 

Jamie Vardy put the Foxes ahead from the penalty spot, but Harry Kane – in what could prove to be his final game for the club amid rumours he wants to leave – pulled Spurs level before the interval with a goal that secured this season's Golden Boot ahead of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. 

Another Vardy spot-kick restored Leicester's lead, but there was late heartache for the hosts as a Kasper Schmeichel own goal and two strikes from Gareth Bale sealed victory for Spurs. 

The result meant Tottenham finished a point ahead of north London rivals Arsenal and will compete in the inaugural Europa Conference League – a competition designed to give clubs from countries that struggle to secure spots in the Champions League and Europa League a taste of European competition. 

While interim manager Mason acknowledged it is important for Tottenham to have European football, he said the Europa Conference League is not where they want to be.

"First of all, we wanted to be in the Champions League," he told a media conference. 

"I've said all along, it's disappointing where we are at this moment. It's very disappointing for the football club. 

"It's important we're in Europe; not the European competition we'd want to be in. Wednesday night was a massive dent for us [a 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa], I said that after the game.

"The most important thing to do today was to come and win at a very, very difficult place. And I thought we came here and not only won, I thought we deservedly won. 

"I felt like we were the better team. I felt like we were in control, and like I said, we had some real moments of quality.

"So, it was important we finished today with a win, for many different reasons. Yes, it's not the competition we want to be in next year, but it's a European competition, and we will respect it, that's for sure."

A 23rd goal of the season sealed a third Golden Boot for Kane, the England captain becoming only the third player to win the award as many as three times, after Thierry Henry (four) and Alan Shearer (three). 

With 14 assists to his name, Kane also recorded his best-ever Premier League season for goal involvements (37), overtaking his 36 from 2016-17 – and became just the second player to lead the way for both goals and assists in the competition, after Andy Cole in 1993-94.

Mason – who played with Kane at Spurs before moving to Hull City in 2016 – was pleased his former team-mate topped the scoring charts again and described him as the Premier League's best player. 

"Harry Kane deservedly won the Golden Boot today," he added. "Like I said, all along I think he's been the best player in the Premier League. Most goals and most assists, it says it all.

"I feel very honoured to have played with him and we had some amazing experiences together, coming through the ranks, and I've been very fortunate in these past five weeks to have coached him, to have managed him and he turned up again today.

"He scored important goals in important moments and showed moments of brilliance. So, from an individual point of view I'm very pleased Harry has got another Golden Boot to add to the collection."

Brendan Rodgers will "200 per cent" be in charge of Leicester City next season despite his side missing out on Champions League qualification with defeat to Tottenham.

The Foxes started the final round of Premier League games in fifth and would have finished above fourth-placed Chelsea – beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa on Sunday - had they defeated Spurs.

But Leicester failed to preserve a 2-1 lead given to them by a couple of Jamie Vardy penalties, either side of Harry Kane's strike, as they lost 4-2 at the King Power Stadium.

Kasper Schmeichel punched a corner into his own net and substitute Gareth Bale added a couple of late goals to earn Tottenham a comeback win that saw them finish seventh.

Rodgers, who guided Leicester to their first FA Cup triumph with victory over Chelsea in last week's final, has been linked with a move away ahead of next season.

However, the ex-Celtic boss intends to stay on at Leicester. Asked if he was willing to allay supporters' fears amid links with Tottenham, Rodgers told talkSPORT: "200 per cent I can... I love it here."

Rodgers added at his post-match news conference: "The fans need have no worries about myself, I love it here, even more so that we've just missed out. 

"That motivates me even more to be here to push the club even closer to that level. We'll plan and get ready."

Leicester lost just six of their first 25 Premier League games of 2020-21, compared to six losses in their last 13 to see out the campaign.

They ended more days (242) in the top four than any other Premier League side this term, yet they have to settle for a place in the Europa League again next season.

Rodgers replaced Claude Puel as Leicester boss in February 2019 with the club 11th in the league and has since guided them to successive fifth-placed finishes in his first two full seasons in charge. 

And while the 48-year-old is disappointed to have missed out on the Champions League again, he is pleased with the progress made in his time at the helm.

"It's hugely disappointing for us to miss out," he told BBC Sport. "We fought so hard all season. You're judged after 38 games and unfortunately we couldn't quite make it.

"I have nothing but pride and admiration for the players. They've constantly had things go against them with injuries.

"When we started work together we were mid-table and just over two years later we're challenging the elite and won the FA Cup for the first time in our history.

"We're on the right path without the resources [of other teams]. I have nothing but pride. The ownership have given me amazing support. 

"The players have given me their heart and souls every day. I'm so disappointed for them we couldn't get over the line."

Leicester finished the campaign as the joint-third highest scorers in the league with 68 goals, but Rodgers is looking to add to his attacking options during the close-season.

"We would like to strengthen the top end of the field – we need more of a goal threat," he said at his post-match news conference.

"We also need a little more physicality in the team and need more players with a winning feeling to add to the ground of talented players we have."

Leicester City missed out on Champions League qualification as a Kasper Schmeichel own goal and a late double from Gareth Bale condemned the Foxes to a 4-2 defeat by Tottenham on the final day of the season. 

Chelsea's 2-1 loss to Aston Villa meant Brendan Rodgers' side would have sealed a top-four finish with victory over Spurs and they started well, Jamie Vardy putting them ahead from the penalty spot. 

Harry Kane – in what could prove to be his final game for the club amid rumours he wants to leave – pulled Spurs level before the interval, though, with a goal that secured this season's Golden Boot ahead of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. 

Another Vardy spot-kick restored Leicester's lead early in the second half, but there was late heartache for the hosts when Schmeichel – one of the heroes of last weekend's FA Cup final win over Chelsea – punched into his own net from a corner 14 miniutes from full-time.

Bale's late brace then ensured Brendan Rodgers' side finished the campaign a point adrift of Thomas Tuchel's fourth-placed side.

 

Manchester City are champions, Manchester United will come second, and Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham will be relegated. We know that.

And yet, there is so much to play for on the Premier League's final day.

Chelsea's win over Leicester City has put them in the driving seat to come third, while Liverpool's late-season resurgence means they are back in a Champions League spot, something that seemed implausible just weeks ago.

However, with Leicester behind only on goal difference and just a point separating third from fifth, it could all change depending on Sunday's results.

While they cannot now break into the top five, West Ham, Tottenham, Everton, Arsenal and Leeds United are also vying to finish as high as they can – and clinch a place in next season's Europa League or Europa Conference League.

With so much at stake, it's difficult to predict exactly how things will play out, but that's exactly what the AI team at Stats Perform has done.

 

HOW IT WORKS

The data model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly.

All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model - with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position.

So, who will be celebrating on Sunday?

LIVERPOOL HOLD FIRM AS FOXES FALTER

Our model predicts the Premier League season will finish with a top four of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea side are given a strong chance – 55 per cent – of finishing in third place. They need to match the result of Liverpool and Leicester to be certain, and they face an Aston Villa side who are guaranteed to finish 11th.

Liverpool are also set to have a reason to celebrate at the end of a troubled season. The Reds are given a 48.6 per cent chance of finishing fourth, which they will almost certainly do if they defeat Crystal Palace at Anfield. They could still snatch third, of course, if Chelsea do not win, and are given a 40.3 per cent chance of doing that.

Leicester City are given just a 20.4 per cent chance of taking back a top-four spot and only a 4.7 per cent hope of coming third. In fact, our model gives them a 74.9 per cent chance of finishing in fifth place. Assuming there is no shock on Merseyside, Leicester must beat Tottenham handsomely to leapfrog Liverpool, as they trail by four goals in goal difference.

 

WILL SPURS OR ARSENAL FINISH HIGHER?

West Ham have an 88.1 per cent chance of sealing sixth place to sign off an impressive season. They need only avoid defeat at home to Southampton to make sure.

As for bragging rights in north London, things are a little tighter.

Tottenham, whose chances of pipping the Hammers to sixth are rated lower than one in 10, have a 36.4 per cent chance of finishing seventh. However, they face the tough task of going to Leicester and taking all three points to be certain.

Arsenal, who are on a four-game winning run, are given a 38.6 per cent chance of clambering above Spurs on the final day, with Mikel Arteta's men hosting Brighton and Hove Albion knowing a win could lift them up two places in the table, given Everton must go to Manchester City.

The Toffees and Leeds United are poised to round out the top 10.

Harry Kane's reported desire to leave Tottenham has created a race for his signature.

A lack of silverware is believed to be behind Kane's alleged urge to move on, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea the leading suitors.

In the post-COVID world where club finances have been hit hard, some clubs are getting creative.

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA'S PLAYER-PLUS-CASH SWAP DEAL

Chelsea are launching a player-plus-cash swap deal to land Kane from Tottenham involving goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and forward Tammy Abraham, claims ESPN.

Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris is expected to leave the club, hence the lure of Kepa who has been back-up to Edouard Mendy, while Abraham, who is not a regular starter for the Blues, could help to fill the void left by Kane.

Kane is contracted with Tottenham for another three seasons and Spurs are believed to want a transfer fee of £150 million, so the addition of players would drop that figure down to an affordable level.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian reports that Sergio Aguero has agreed to a two-year deal with Barcelona, with his departure from Manchester City this off-season already confirmed.

- Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac will leave the Gunners, with Schalke 04 and Lazio circling for the Bosnian's signature, reports Football London.

- Fernandinho was set to exit Manchester City, but The Times claims he will renew with the club on a one-year deal.

- The manager merry-go-round is in full swing, with The Mirror claiming that Wolves are looking at ex-Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, while The Sun reports that Tottenham will try to convince Brendan Rodgers to join the club if Leicester City fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Ryan Mason understands why Harry Kane would want to play with Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne – hailing the Belgian as an "exceptional" talent.

Interim Tottenham boss Mason faced further questions on Friday about the future of striker Kane, who has dropped heavy hints he wants to leave Spurs at the end of the season.

Kane said in an interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap that De Bruyne's service to City's front players is "a striker's dream", and that has only fuelled speculation the England captain could be heading to the blue side of Manchester.

Mason, who counts Kane as a close friend, said he had not heard the interview.

"But I would love to play with Kevin De Bruyne as well," Mason said. "I think every footballer in the world, every footballer in the Premier League [would want to].

"He's an exceptional player and from what I know – I've spoke to him a few times – he's an exceptional person as well.

"If you ask any footballer in world football right now, if they'd like to play with Kevin De Bruyne, I think they'd say yes."

Kane could play for Tottenham for the last time on Sunday, when Mason's team visit Leicester City on the final day of the Premier League season.

Mason says that is where his focus must be, rather than on the future of Kane or any other member of his squad.

Kane also has a strong personal incentive to perform strongly, given he sits level with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah on 22 goals at the top of the league scoring charts.

"I've been out on the training pitch, preparing for a game that we need to win. Harry is going to be part of that," Mason said.

"I hope Harry scores a couple, I think his performances this season have warranted the Golden Boot.

"I think he's the best player in the Premier League. Hopefully from an individual point of view, he gets the Golden Boot as well and, in doing that, helps Tottenham get three points.

"That's the most important thing. I can't speak on transfer value. In football, things change so quickly. At the moment, Harry's a Tottenham player. He's going to be involved and hopefully he can win the Golden Boot."

Kane has scored seven goals across his career on the final matchday of Premier League seasons – only Andy Cole (nine), Les Ferdinand (nine) and Matt Le Tissier (eight) have scored more such goals in the competition.

He has also scored more Premier League goals against Leicester – a club he previously represented on loan – than he has past any other opponent, with his 14 goals in 11 games a striking record.

Seven of those goals have come in six games at the King Power Stadium, including a four-goal haul in May 2017. He followed that three days later with a hat-trick against Hull City in a breathtaking finish to a season that saw Kane score four Premier League hat-tricks.

Mason, who played with Kane at Tottenham, was forced to retire early from playing football due to a head injury, and the 29-year-old knows more than most the importance of snatching every great opportunity that arises in what can be a short career.

Kane's firm stance is that he wants to be in a team that wins trophies, and Tottenham have not unlocked the potential that looked to be there during much of Mauricio Pochettino's reign.

Post-career "regrets" are the sought-after striker's biggest fear, he told Neville.

"No player wants to end their career with regret, I don't think any human being likes having regrets," Mason said. "It's normal. If you speak to any player in the world, they'd probably say the same.

"My attention and every player's attention is on the weekend. At the moment, the only conversations I'm having are about the weekend, with not only Harry but also every other player in the squad."

Leicester City captain Wes Morgan has announced his retirement from football.

Morgan, who skippered Leicester to their astonishing maiden Premier League title in 2015-16, will hang up his boots after the Foxes' closing game of the season at home to Tottenham on Sunday.

Christian Fuchs, another of the heroes of Leicester's title win, will also leave the King Power Stadium when his contract expires next month.

"In terms of what Wes has given me since I’ve been here, it’s been immeasurable really," said manager Brendan Rodgers, who sent on Morgan to close out Leicester's FA Cup triumph last weekend.

"I always knew it was going to be important for my senior players and, in particular, my captain to be on side in terms of the vision of how we wanted to go forward.

"He's provided me with fantastic support. On the pitch, his career was obviously coming to an end, but he still played a very important role for me, even though he wasn't playing every single week. He has a warrior sprit."

The 37-year-old defender has played more than 750 games in his professional career, with 324 appearances - and 14 goals - coming in Leicester colours, but will forever be associated with one incredible campaign.

"This group came together to create something that I'm not sure will ever happen again, a team like Leicester, at that time, winning the Premier League against all odds," Morgan told Leicester's official website.

"It's something that doesn’t really happen but we made it happen. It was a very, very special moment for everybody involved.

"To win the Premier League, it was amazing and something you can never talk enough about."

Fuchs was an invaluable part of that triumph, having joined on a free transfer after a spell with Schalke, and went on to play 152 games for the club.

"I came to a club where you'd probably assume, for the next couple of years, you'll be fighting relegation, maybe eventually playing in mid-table if the team improved," he told lcfc.com.

"But it went completely upside down and I'm very, very happy with that choice to join Leicester City.

"It was very unexpected, but we've played at a very high level, always with the desire of the owners to improve the club, trying to get better every year we were working together.

"I'm looking back without any regrets, looking back very proud, and I have a big smile on my face. It has definitely been the best six years of my career."

Morgan and Fuchs then helped Leicester to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Rodgers' side can return to Europe's elite competition next season if they manage to better either Chelsea or Liverpool's results on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel's team are third, a point better off than Leicester in fifth, and travel to Aston Villa. Liverpool, who are fourth on goal difference, host Crystal Palace.

Chelsea and Leicester City have been charged by the Football Association (FA) following a scuffle between both sets of players during the closing stages of Tuesday's Premier League match.

Tempers flared in added time at Stamford Bridge after Ricardo Pereira caught former team-mate Ben Chilwell with a bad challenge near the touchline, sparking a melee that also involved some members of the coaching staff.

Three Leicester players – Ricardo, Nampalys Mendy and substitute Daniel Amartey – were booked by referee Mike Dean for their part in the incident, which came three days on from Leicester's 1-0 win against Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

Amartey was at the centre of controversy following that triumph at Wembley after footage emerged of the midfielder – again an unused substitute – throwing a Chelsea pennant to the ground.

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger admitted his side used that perceived act of disrespect as motivation in the midweek league encounter, the Blues coming out on top 2-1 to keep their top-four hopes in their own hands.

The fallout from that latest meeting now continues, with the FA charging both clubs with failing to control their players.

"Chelsea FC and Leicester City FC have both been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20.1 following their Premier League fixture on Tuesday 18 May 2021," a statement from the FA read on Thursday.

"It is alleged that both clubs failed to ensure their players and/or club officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour during the 93rd minute. 

"Chelsea FC and Leicester City FC both have until Tuesday 25 May 2021 to provide their respective responses."

Chelsea are third in the Premier League heading into their final game of the season away at Aston Villa, one point better off than Liverpool in the final Champions League qualification spot.

Leicester are level on points with Liverpool but require a five-goal swing on the final day if they are to finish above the Reds.

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