Louis van Gaal says the Netherlands will assess Memphis Depay's fitness following his cameo in their victory over Senegal.

The Oranje marked their return to the World Cup finals with a 2-0 win over the Africa Cup of Nations champions, with late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen sealing the points in Group A.

Depay began the game on the bench due to an ongoing hamstring issue, but was introduced for the final 28 minutes at the Al Thumama Stadium and the Barcelona forward will hope to feature against Ecuador on Friday.

"We had agreed before the game that he would play about half an hour," Van Gaal said of Depay, who has been limited to just two LaLiga appearances this season. 

"With Ecuador, he will want to play, but I have to assess his form after this game. I never thought we would lose and, with the entry of Depay, I wanted to have more chances to score. He is a player who can make the difference."

Van Gaal oversaw his 38th victory in charge of the Netherlands, the most by any manager in history, and praised the displays of Gakpo and goalkeeper Andries Noppert, who registered a clean sheet on his senior international debut.

But the head coach is seeking an improvement from his players as the tournament progresses.

"Gakpo was decisive, I left him inside because he knows how to score goals and is very agile," he added. "Senegal had three chances, but we have a goalkeeper who knows his stuff between the posts.

"We didn't play very well, too many times we gave them the ball and the chance to score. We had to be more compact. We can only improve, there was probably some tension between the players."

Memphis Depay was frustrated to be restricted to the role of a substitute in the Netherlands' World Cup opener, but he is confident of having a greater impact in coming matches.

Depay had been ruled out of Monday's match against Senegal in Louis van Gaal's pre-match news conference.

But the Barcelona forward appeared on the bench and was introduced in the final half an hour with the game still goalless.

Although Depay did not get on the scoresheet, he was involved in the build-up to both Oranje goals in a 2-0 win, with Cody Gakpo scoring the first before Davy Klaassen tucked away the rebound from the Netherlands number 10's shot.

Speaking afterwards, Depay said: "I feel good, I feel good, I feel fit. Obviously a player like me always wants to start from the kick-off, but this was the plan and now we focus on the next game.

"I'm sure that I'll feel better, and I'll work hard to find more rhythm. I'm happy that I could do a little bit of a part in 30 minutes today."

On Gakpo, who benefited from Depay's absence and was preferred to Klaassen, he said: "I'm very happy for him. He's a hard worker, he's very dedicated in his career. He's a young baller.

"I'm very happy. He's a great guy, a young guy, lots to learn, so I'm sure you'll see more moments like this."

Despite missing out on the XI, the stoppage-time clincher was also a big moment for Klaassen.

"It's a dream, of course," he said. "It's my first World Cup game, so to score your first World Cup goal and to win... you can't ask much more."

Klaassen was also asked about the OneLove captain's armband, which Virgil van Dijk had been due to wear until FIFA threatened sanctions.

The campaign promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind", but those planning to wear the armband feared they would immediately be shown a yellow card.

"We're still behind the statement," Klaassen added. "FIFA forced us to not wear it, but the statement is still there."

Van Dijk himself did not appear impressed by discussion of the topic, saying: "You know exactly what the outcome was.

"Two hours before the England game, the news came out, and I was sleeping at the time. I had no influence on anything.

"I'm not dealing with the armband because I don't want to get a yellow card."

Aliou Cisse vowed Senegal "will leave our mark" at the World Cup as they look to extend their perfect opening-game record at the tournament when they face the Netherlands.

The reigning African champions have won their previous two openers – a shock 1-0 win over France in 2002 and a 2-1 victory against Poland in 2018.

Senegal reached the quarter-finals 20 years ago, but they were eliminated in the group stage in the most recent edition and Cisse is hoping for a different outcome this time.

"The aim is to get out of this group. Once we get out of this group, we know that it will be a knockout tournament," he told reporters. 

"We will leave our mark. People are already looking ahead to the last 16, the quarter-finals, but we will be taking it a game at a time.

"We're not getting carried away. It's up to us to fully prepare ourselves and to do so wisely. We were knocked out of the last World Cup after just three games."

Senegal defeated Egypt in February to win their first Africa Cup of Nations title, before beating the same side the following month in a World Cup qualifying play-off.

Cisse's side are ranked 18th in the world – 10 places behind the Netherlands – and are without star man Sadio Mane in Qatar due to injury.

Senegal may have a perfect opening-game record, but the Netherlands are unbeaten in their past eight curtain-raising matches, winning six of those.

 

Oranje are back on the world stage after failing to qualify for Russia 2018, with veteran boss Louis van Gaal now in his third spell in charge.

Van Gaal, who will step aside at the end of the tournament, admits his side will need more than just talent to go all the way in Qatar and lift the trophy for the first time.

"I don't believe we have the best players on earth in our team," he said. "But I believe in team building and in tactics. I believe we can go far.

"But we also need luck – that is also important. Because of that and because I believe in imagination, we could be the world champion at the end of the tournament."

Monday's Group A contest at Al Thumama Stadium will mark the first time Senegal and three-time World Cup runners-up Netherlands have met.

Oranje are unbeaten in four matches against African opposition in the finals, while Senegal have won two and drawn one against European sides in the group stage.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Senegal - Boulaye Dia

Losing Mane to injury just before the tournament was a cruel blow for Senegal, the forward having been directly involved in 12 of their past 25 goals in major tournaments.

It will now be down to others to step up and fill the void, such as Salernitana forward Boulaye Dia, who has been in good form at club level this campaign.

Dia has six goals in 14 Serie A matches – a tally only five others can better – and has been directly involved in eight overall for mid-table Salernitana.

Netherlands - Steven Bergwijn

Memphis Depay was the Netherlands' star man on the road to Qatar with 12 goals and six assists – those 18 direct goal involvements the most of any player in UEFA qualifying – but he has been ruled out of the Senegal match.

Van Gaal has a number of other options in attack, however, with Bergwijn one of them.

The Ajax winger has eight goals and three assists in 14 Eredivisie matches this campaign, and  six goals in his past nine appearances for his country, making him one Van Gaal can rely on.


PREDICTION

The Netherlands have won 11 of their past 14 matches at the World Cup, penalty shoot-outs excluded, with their most recent group-stage loss coming in 1994 against Belgium.

Senegal are tricky first opponents for Oranje, but Stats Perform's AI model has given the Netherlands a 59.2 per cent chance of taking all three points in Al Thumama.

The prediction model gives Senegal a 17 per cent chance of victory, while a draw is rated at 23.8 per cent.

Memphis Depay will not feature in the Netherlands' World Cup opener against Senegal, but coach Louis van Gaal remains optimistic for the tournament, believing this squad to be capable of improving on a third-placed finish at Brazil 2014.

Depay had been a doubt for Monday's match in Doha due to a hamstring injury that has limited him to only two LaLiga appearances at Barcelona this season.

Oranje coach Van Gaal, speaking to the media on Sunday, confirmed the forward would miss out against Senegal, suggesting his "idea of the match" centred around how the two teams would fare without their respective stars. Senegal's Sadio Mane is out of the entire tournament.

Depay was involved in more goals in European qualifying for Qatar 2022 than any other player, scoring 12 and assisting a further six in just 10 matches.

Van Gaal said: "Mane can break open a match, and I would say Senegal will really miss him. But the same applies to us. We are really missing our top scorer and the king of the assists."

However, the Netherlands boss had been aware a swift return was unlikely for Depay, adding: "We knew before the World Cup he had a different programme, a different schedule than the schedule of a player who is preparing for a match."

When he recovers, Depay will be tasked with leading the line for a Dutch side Van Gaal considers superior to his class of 2014 – the last team he took to a tournament in the second of three stints in the role.

The Netherlands reached the semi-finals on that occasion, losing to Argentina on penalties before beating Brazil in the third-place play-off.

Given Van Gaal's high opinion of this group of players and his own considerable experience, he expects results to follow – potentially culminating in a first World Cup triumph.

"I believe in this squad, this group of players," he said. "In 2014, we came third with a squad of lesser quality, I would say. With this group, I expect more.

"It all depends not only on technical skills and tactical skills but also a bit of luck that you score at the right time or that the others don't score.

"I think we could become world champion, but there are squads that are in my view of a higher level than my squad. The thing is how the squad deals with that, and there I think I may be able to benefit from a head start.

"I'm saying we can become world champion. Whether we become world champion is a separate issue, but I'm saying we can."

While Van Gaal would not confirm the identity of his starting goalkeeper, he hinted at Cody Gakpo getting the nod ahead of Davy Klaassen in Depay's absence, and there is no doubt who his captain is.

Van Dijk appeared next to Van Gaal, who said: "I have a wonderful captain next to me. I have worked with so many captains, and he is a truly great captain. That makes things easier."

But neither Van Dijk nor Van Gaal would answer political questions after Gianni Infantino's remarkable opening address the previous day.

"I am no longer going to speak about political issues," the previously outspoken Van Gaal said. "I'm focusing on this coming match.

"I put a full stop after all these issues after we invited the migrants to watch our practice session. I requested all my players also stopped doing that and put a full stop and focus on the match against Senegal."

Some of the Premier League's top clubs are reportedly keeping a close eye on Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram – including Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Thuram, 25, is a towering presence up front, standing at six-foot-four and, after arriving at Gladbach from Ligue 1's Guingamp in 2019 for a fee of €12million, he has continued to grow as a goalscorer.

Through just 15 Bundesliga games this season, Thuram has matched his career-high tally of 10 league goals, including strikes against both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

His recent run of form has seen him earn a late inclusion into France's World Cup squad as they look to defend their title, and although he may not receive a start, he was worked his way onto the radar of some of the world's elite clubs.

 

TOP STORY – 25-YEAR-OLD FRANCE INTERNATIONAL LIKELY AVAILABLE ON FREE TRANSFER

Thuram has spent four seasons with Gladbach, and this is looking like his last as he is yet to renew his contract ahead of its expiry date at the end of this campaign.

With a transfer value likely north of €40m, the ability to land a powerful striker entering his prime as a free agent is a deal too good to pass up for forward-hungry Premier League sides.

90min is reporting Tottenham sent scouts over to Germany recently to watch him play, while Liverpool and Arsenal are also mentioned as interested parties.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Express, Cristiano Ronaldo could move to Chelsea after the departure of Thomas Tuchel, who was said to be the one blocking the idea.

– Express is also reporting Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City have identified 19-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Alberto Moleiro as a target. 

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting 22-year-old Salzburg striker Noah Okafor is available for a January transfer, with City, Liverpool and Milan named as suitors for the €40m-rated Switzerland international.

Chelsea are confident they have done enough to secure 25-year-old RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku in the January window, per 90min.

– According to Relevo, Barcelona are willing to let Memphis Depay leave on a free transfer in January.

Barcelona forward Memphis Depay reportedly is looking to leave the club on a free transfer in January, and a trio of high-profile Premier League teams are mentioned as potential suitors.

Depay, 28, played 38 games for the Catalan giants in the 2021-22 campaign, but he has found himself on the outside looking in this season, appearing in only three contests.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, and Barcelona looking to shed his salary to increase their financial flexibility, the Netherlands international is hopeful his exit can be arranged mid-season.
 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TEAMS CIRCLE OUT-OF-FAVOUR BARCA FORWARD

According to Mundo Deportivo, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are paying close attention to Depay's situation with Barcelona.

If he is allowed to leave on a free transfer, United are said to have strong interest in bringing him back to Old Trafford, where he spent two seasons from 2015 to 2017 before being sold to Lyon.

The report also mentions Chelsea and Tottenham, who had interest in the previous transfer window before deciding against a move.

Depay has not played since a September 22 Nations League match for the Netherlands against Poland, but if he puts on a show at the World Cup, interest could skyrocket.


ROUND-UP

– According to The Guardian, Erik ten Hag plans on selling United captain Harry Maguire at the end of the season.

– 90min is reporting Arsenal are planning moves for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans and Palmeiras' 21-year-old Danilo in a bid to strengthen their midfield in January.

Newcastle United will rival Arsenal in the chase for 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, who will reportedly cost in the range of £100million, per Football Insider.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Chelsea have hosted 16-year-old Palmeiras prodigy Endrick on an official club visit, introducing him to fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva.

Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund have shown interest in 20-year-old Leeds right-back Cody Drameh, per the Daily Mail.

Memphis Depay in unsettled at Barcelona, having only managed two league appearances this campaign.

The 28-year-old Dutchman has fallen out of favour under Xavi this term, despite scoring 13 goals last season.

Depay joined the Blaugrana in June 2021 on a two-year contract, with that deal expiring at the end of this season.

 

TOP STORY – SEVILLA PLOT JANUARY MOVE FOR DEPAY

Sevilla are weighing up a January swoop for Barcelona's wantaway forward Memphis Depay, claims Fichajes.

The Netherlands international has reportedly sought a way out of Camp Nou, with claims he has requested a release letter, enabling him to be signed for free in January.

New Sevilla head coach Jorge Sampaoli is not satisfied with his side's attacking options after their dismal start to the LaLiga campaign.

 

ROUND-UP

– Napoli forward Victor Osimhen is on Manchester United's radar as they weigh up striker options for next season, according to the Manchester Evening News. Real Madrid are also interested in the Nigerian, claims Sport.

– Benfica's Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez is also garnering interest from Manchester United, reports Record.

Bayern Munich's hierarchy are split on the prospect of signing Tottenham forward Harry Kane, with concerns raised that he would not suit their style, claims Bild.

– Mundo Deportivo reports Newcastle United are interested in Real Betis' forward Nabil Fekir, but the Spanish club want €50million for him.

– The Evening Standard claims Arsenal are pondering allowing Marquinhos to exit on loan in January. The Brazilian forward has played once in the league this season.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes has only played 27 games for the club since arriving from Lyon, and he has been so impressive that he is now a target of Barcelona.

Guimaraes, 24, spent three seasons with Lyon before Newcastle secured his services in a £40million move in January.

He scored five goals in just 11 starts this past Premier League campaign, and has added two goals and two assists this season, with Newcastle unbeaten in the 10 games he has started.

The Brazil international with eight senior caps to his name is a key part of why Newcastle currently occupy fourth place in the Premier League table, but they will now reportedly have to fend off interest from Barca.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA INVESTIGATE A MOVE FOR GUIMARAES

According to The Sun, Barcelona have officially moved on from their chase of Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and are instead focusing their attention on Newcastle's Guimaraes.

The report claims Barcelona were "priced out" of a move for Silva after City slapped a price tag of £80m on him and Guimaraes would certainly not come cheap.

With his contract tying him to Newcastle until 2026, it would need a huge offer to land the 24-year-old. 

While their spending spree will eventually need to be balanced out with some sales, the Magpies are said to be offering Guimaraes a new contract that will pay him £200,000 per week to put any questions about his future to bed.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting both Roma and Juventus are expected to pursue 23-year-old Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi, who is valued in the region of €30m.

– According to The Mirror, Sporting will attempt to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, and are preparing a second contract offer despite previously stating they can not afford the Portugal legend.

– Relevo claims N'Golo Kante is seen by Barcelona as a potential successor to Sergio Busquets, with the Chelsea midfielder's contract set to expire at the end of the season.

– It could be a busy January for Barcelona as Sport are reporting they hope to sell Memphis Depay, while Fichajes believe Franck Kessie will push for a move back to the Serie A.

– According to IG Esporte, Brighton and Everton are interested in 25-year-old Monaco left-back Caio Henrique.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is known to be desperate for Lionel Messi to finish his career at his long-time club.

The 35-year-old Argentine forward departed Camp Nou hastily in August last year due to Barcelona's financial issues.

Messi joined the Blaugrana in 2000 and had an association with the club for more than two decades, scoring 672 goals across 778 first-team appearances.


TOP STORY – LAPORTA PLOTTING JANUARY MOVE FOR MESSI

Laporta is planning a move for Barcelona club legend Lionel Messi in the January transfer window, according to Sport.

The report states that Barcelona want to take advantage of the Fair Play situation in January, rather than wait for the off-season where the 1/4 rule will make any move more difficult.

However, Laporta's plan is full of obstacles for the Blaugrana to overcome, not least LaLiga's financial restraints, along with convincing Messi and his current club Paris Saint-Germain to part midway through the season.

Messi has publicly said he has deferred any decisions on his club or international future until after the World Cup.


ROUND-UP

– Sporting CP head coach Ruben Amorim may have distanced the club from links with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in midweek but The Mirror reports that the Portuguese club will make a bid for him in January.

– Brighton and Hove Albion are open to selling Moises Caicedo amid interest from Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle United but have slapped a £85m price tag on the 20-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder, reports the Sunday Mirror.

– The Express claims that Arsenal are leading the race ahead of Manchester United to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans. The Belgian could move to the Gunners for free, as he is out of contract at the end of the season and unlikely to pen a new deal.

– Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante - whose contract is also up at the end of June 2023 - is a major target for Barcelona who are looking at replacements for veteran Sergio Busquets, reports Relevo.

– Sport claims Barcelona are looking to offload Memphis Depay in January, with Juventus interested in signing the Dutch attacker.

Wolves are set to approach ex-Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui again, having failed to convince him previously to become their new manager, claims The Sun.

Barcelona pair Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay are facing a spell on the sidelines after returning from international duty with the Netherlands carrying injuries.

De Jong left the field at half-time during last week's Nations League win over Poland, while Depay hobbled off later in the same game.

Neither player featured in Sunday's win against Belgium after being given permission to return to club side Barcelona early.

Barca confirmed on their official website on Monday that both players remain injured and are not being considered for selection against Real Mallorca next weekend.

Reports from Spain suggest De Jong could return within a week, but Depay is facing closer to a month out of action with an injury to his left thigh.

The news comes on the same day that Barca announced Ronald Araujo is to undergo thigh surgery on Wednesday, ruling the defender out for the remainder of the year.

Fellow centre-back Jules Kounde also suffered an injury on international duty with France and is expected to miss a month.

The Netherlands will be without Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Teun Koopmeiners for their decisive Nations League showdown with Belgium on Sunday.

De Jong and Depay have been ruled out due to thigh and leg injuries respectively.

The Barcelona duo did the damage during a 2-0 away victory over Poland on Thursday and will play no part in the final Group A4 game versus the Red Devils at Johan Cruijff Arena

Atalanta midfielder Koopmeiners also misses out in Amsterdam after suffering a concussion.

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has called up Ajax's Brian Brobbey and Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich in the absence of the trio.

The Dutch will qualify for the Nations League Finals if they avoid defeat by three goals or more.

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal is doubtful that Memphis Depay and Steven Berghuis will be fit enough for Sunday's Nations League Group A4 decider against Belgium.

The Oranje cemented their position as group leaders on Thursday with a 2-0 win over Poland thanks to goals in each half from Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn.

That result means they only need to avoid defeat to Roberto Martinez's side to progress to the Finals next June.

Berghuis replaced the injured Teun Koopmeiners inside the opening five minutes at the PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, but the forward was later withdrawn for Kenneth Taylor, while Depay limped off in the 52nd minute to be replaced by Vincent Janssen.

Van Gaal had good news on Koopmeiners' condition, but the Netherlands boss was not optimistic about Depay and Begrhuis' chances of featuring against the Red Devils.

"I understand that Teun was already feeling a bit better, and I replaced Frenkie [de Jong] as a precaution. He had some tension on the muscles, but he expects to play, and he knows his own body," Van Gaal told NOS. 

"I don't think Memphis will play on Sunday and neither will Berghuis. It's a back injury and that usually lasts longer than a few days."

Gakpo, who was linked with a move to the Premier League during the transfer window, has started the season in fine form for PSV, scoring eight goals in seven Eredivisie games.

The 23-year-old continued his momentum on the international stage as well, stroking home his third goal for his country early on.

He played in a more central role than he is accustomed to at club level, and Van Gaal believes that is where his future might lay.

"I thought that Gakpo performed his duties well both in possession and out of possession," the head coach added.

"It was a good lesson for him and a good development. He wanted to play from the left, but for me, he has everything to become a good 10.

"He scored again, that's also important. It was a world-class goal. I jumped off the bench too. I don't normally do that. It was a top goal."

Barcelona head coach Xavi believes "everyone is prepared" as he highlighted the importance of squad players after the 3-0 victory over 10-man Elche at Camp Nou.

Memphis Depay's strike and Robert Lewandowski's double saw Barca cruise to a fifth win in their opening six La Liga games, while adding a fourth consecutive league clean sheet.

The three points moved them top of the table ahead of Sunday's Madrid derby, and Xavi believes squad depth will be vital as Barcelona bid to land their first LaLiga title since the 2018-19 campaign.

"We are a broad squad, in which everyone trains well. Everyone is prepared and plugged in when the team needs it, and that's what's important," Xavi said.

"It's an atypical year with a tight schedule. We won't rest for a few weeks, and we need everyone. It's about making a group. Whoever plays, the team is up to the task.

"We have plenty to choose from, many options, and in the end the squads are the ones that win the titles, not the starting 11."

Two of Barcelona's best performers against LaLiga's bottom side were youngsters Alejandro Balde and Pedri, and Xavi was full of praise for the teenage pair.

"He [Pedri] is one of the best who's come through here. He understands the game, makes a difference with the pass, doesn't lose the ball. We have to take care of him," the 42-year-old Xavi said.

"They [Elche] did a lot of individual marking and Balde can generate superiority inside and out. It is surprising that an 18-year-old boy plays at that level.

"He's in great physical condition, and he's going to give us a lot."

Barcelona went top of LaLiga as a Memphis Depay strike and Robert Lewandowski's double saw them cruise to a 3-0 victory against 10-man Elche at Camp Nou.

Elche captain Gonzalo Verdu was sent off after just 14 minutes, before Lewandowski and Depay put Xavi’s side 2-0 up at the break.

Lewandowski grabbed his second of the game after the interval to make it 11 goals in all competitions since his arrival from Bayern Munich as Barca eased to victory.

Victory continued Barca's unbeaten start to the domestic season as they moved top ahead of Sunday's Madrid derby.

Verdu was dismissed for cynically dragging down Lewandowski after Frenkie de Jong put the striker through on goal.

Edgar Badia made numerous saves to keep the hosts out, but the Catalans eventually capitalised on their numerical advantage with 34 minutes gone when Lewandowski tapped in Alejandro Balde's cross.

Depay made it 2-0 soon after, lashing into the roof of the net after bamboozling John Donald with a brilliant turn.

Barca thought they were three up before the break when Pedri bundled in, but the midfielder was offside in the build-up.

Lewandowski scored his second just after half-time, rifling into the bottom-left corner after the ball fell to him in the box. 

The Poland international nearly had his hat-trick when seeing a drive saved by the legs of Badia, before skimming the crossbar with another attempt.

But those misses mattered little as Barca eased to another win.

Memphis Depay has pledged his immediate future to Barcelona and says he is committed to the club's "sporting success."

The Netherlands international has yet to feature for the Catalan giants this season, and had been linked with a move to Serie A side Juventus.

Premier League clubs Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle United were also rumoured to be interested in signing the former Manchester United and Lyon forward.

However, the 28-year-old took to social media on Thursday to confirm he will not be leaving Camp Nou, posting on Twitter: "I have decided to stay at Barca! Fully committed to contribute to the club's sporting success."

One player who did leave Barca on transfer deadline day was Martin Braithwaite, who joined LaLiga rivals Espanyol.

The 31-year-old joined the club from Leganes in February 2020, with Barca having been granted an emergency extension to complete the signing outside of the transfer window following an injury to Ousmane Dembele.

Braithwaite made an impact in the 2020-21 season, scoring a brace in the Champions League against Dynamo Kyiv, but an injury last term led to an extended absence.

It was confirmed earlier on Thursday that the Denmark striker's contract had been terminated.

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