Napoli supporters partied long into the night as they took over the city to celebrate the club’s first Serie A title in 33 years.

After the disappointment of the celebrations being put on hold by Sunday’s draw at home to Salernitana, Luciano Spalletti’s side got the job done with a 1-1 draw at Udinese to spark incredible scenes in Naples.

The city’s piazza’s were crammed with jubilant fans, who lit flares and fireworks as they chanted into the early hours.

“Seeing the Partenopei smiling and joyful is the greatest emotion for me. They are the ones who pass on their happiness. The problem was reaching this point, as when you have the feelings of an entire city weighing on your back,” Spalletti told DAZN.

“There are people here who will be able to get through difficult moments in their lives because they remember this moment. These people deserve all the joy.

“It perhaps makes me feel more relaxed now, we’ve been able to give them that joy. These fans have seen huge coaches come and go. They saw Diego Armando Maradona play and perhaps his protection is also felt in this success.”

Argentina great Diego Maradona fired Napoli to their first title in 1987 and cemented his hero status with the club by winning a second in 1990.

Napoli also won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia during Maradona’s spell in the city, but in the 89 years of their history without him the club have only previously won five Italian Cups.

Maradona died in 2020, with the club naming their stadium in his honour.

Now, in the ground that bears his name, Spalletti’s swashbuckling side have stormed to the Scudetto with five games to spare.

Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen grabbed the second-half equaliser at Udinese to clinch the title – his 22nd league goal of the season.

Osimhen has been the star man for Napoli this season, with talented Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, 22, also establishing himself as one of Europe’s most exciting talents.

Napoli sealed their first Serie A title in 33 years as Victor Osimhen's strike earned a 1-1 draw against Udinese.

Having missed the chance to win the title in front of their own fans on Sunday, Napoli went into Thursday's clash at Dacia Arena knowing a point would be enough to claim their first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era.

Fittingly, it was talisman Osimhen – with his 22nd league strike of the season – who scored the goal to claim Napoli's third Serie A crown, cancelling out Sandi Lovric's opener.

Unlike Napoli's local rivals Salernitana, Udinese did not quite have the same commitment to postponing Napoli's party, which is sure to be one for the ages.

Napoli's contingent of travelling fans were making all the noise in the opening stages, though their enthusiasm was dampened when Lovric planted a brilliant finish into the top-right corner in the 13th minute.

Aiming to snap a three-game scoreless streak in Serie A, Osimhen forced a save from Marco Silvestri soon after, while partner in crime Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had a penalty appeal dismissed following a VAR review.

Osimhen went close with a header just after the half-hour, though Napoli were fortunate that Lovric had been unable to beat Alex Meret for a second time at the other end a moment earlier.

Napoli's number nine would not be denied again, though, and after Silvestri palmed out Kvaratskhelia's low effort, Osimhen slammed home an equaliser seven minutes into the second half.

Osimhen thought he had made it 2-1 with 23 minutes remaining, only for the goal to be disallowed due to a foul in the build-up.

Luciano Spalletti's tension on the touchline was clear, but his team stayed calm on the pitch as they saw out a draw that will go down in their history.

Lazio extended the Serie A title race by at least a day with a 2-0 win over Sassuolo, meaning Napoli have the chance to clinch the Scudetto on Thursday.

Felipe Anderson’s 14th-minute goal and a second from Toma Basic two minutes into stoppage time secured a victory which kept Lazio in second place, although Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli need just a point at Udinese on Thursday evening to claim their first Serie A title for 33 years.

First-half goals from Leandro Paredes and Dusan Vlahovic ended Juventus’ four-game winless league run as a 2-1 victory cemented them in third place.

Assan Ceesay’s 37th-minute penalty, awarded for handball by Danilo, cancelled out Paredes’ opener, but Vlahovic struck within three minutes to clinch the points.

Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez both scored twice as Inter Milan hit struggling Verona for six to maintain the pressure on the top three.

Inter effectively won the game inside six first-half minutes with Adolfo Gaich’s 31st-minute own goal sparking a collapse which saw Hakan Calhanoglu and Dzeko increase the visitors’ lead before the break with Martínez twice and Dzeko again finding the net after it.

Atalanta climbed into fifth after coming from behind to beat lowly Spezia 3-2 at the Gewiss Stadium.

Emmanuel Gyasi fired the visitors into an 18th-minute lead before Marten de Roon, Davide Zappacosta and Luis Muriel struck within 22 minutes either side of half-time, although Mehdi Bourabia reduced the deficit with 26 minutes remaining to ensure a tense conclusion.

Substitute Junior Messias’ stoppage-time free-kick spared AC Milan’s blushes and denied relegation-haunted 10-man Cremonese a lifeline.

Luca Caldirola’s first-half equalizer handed Monza a 1-1 draw with Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who had gone ahead through Stephan El Shaarawy and had Zeki Celik sent off at the death.

In LaLiga, lowly Valencia came from behind to claim a 1-1 home draw with rivals Villarreal after Samuel Lino cancelled out Nicolas Jackson’s strike.

Napoli failed to secure their first Serie A title since 1990 after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Salernitana.

Luciano Spalletti’s side were handed the chance to win the Scudetto with a record six games to go after Lazio’s 3-1 defeat at Inter Milan, where substitute Lautaro Martinez scored twice to help Inter come from behind with three goals in the last 13 minutes.

And they were on course for the win required when Mathias Olivera headed home a 62nd-minute corner, only for Boulaye Dia to equalise with a curling left-footed shot six minutes from time.

Napoli need just two points from their last six games to win the title and could be crowned champions before their next game at Udinese on Thursday if other results go their way.

Lazio remain second in the table after Juventus could only manage a 1-1 draw at Bologna in the day’s late game, while Fiorentina earlier thrashed bottom side Sampdoria 5-0.

Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain were booed off after suffering a 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient.

Enzo Le Fee put the visitors in front after 15 minutes and PSG were reduced to 10 men just five minutes later when Achraf Hakimi was sent off for two bookable offences.

Kylian Mbappe equalised in bizarre circumstances when Lorient goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo incorrectly thought a free-kick had been awarded and rolled the ball in front of him, allowing Mbappe to take a touch before scoring into an empty net.

The furious protests of Lorient’s players fell on deaf ears but they had the last laugh as Darlin Yongwa restored their lead shortly before half-time and Bamba Dieng scored a late third just minutes after having a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.

Marseille closed to within five points of PSG after coming from behind to beat Auxerre 2-1.

Birama Toure fired the visitors in front shortly after the half-hour mark, but Cengiz Under equalised on 75 minutes and Alexis Sanchez grabbed the winner just two minutes later.

Monaco’s hopes of Champions League qualification suffered a blow as they were thrashed 4-0 at home by Montpellier, Arnaud Nordin scoring twice for the visitors who are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

A 4-2 defeat at Rennes saw Angers relegated to Ligue 2 and Troyes look set to join them after a 1-0 home defeat to Nice left them 10 points from safety.

In Germany’s Bundesliga, Bayern Munich beat bottom side Hertha Berlin 2-0 to move top of the table.

Thomas Tuchel’s side took advantage of Borussia Dortmund being held to a 1-1 draw at Bochum on Friday, with Serge Gnabry opening the scoring on 69 minutes and Kingsley Coman doubling the home side’s lead 10 minutes later.

In the day’s other game, Jonas Wind scored twice as Wolfsburg beat Mainz 3-0, with all three goals coming in the first half an hour.

Atletico Madrid closed to within two points of second-placed Real Madrid in LaLiga courtesy of a 5-2 win at Real Valladolid.

The visitors raced into a 3-0 lead inside 38 minutes before being pegged back by a Cyle Larin penalty and Sergio Escudero’s 74th-minute strike, but an own goal from Joaquin Fernandez and Memphis Depay’s stoppage-time goal secured all three points.

Cadiz leapfrogged Valencia in the table with a 2-1 win over their fellow strugglers, but Getafe missed the chance to do likewise and get out of the relegation zone as they lost 1-0 at Espanyol.

Luciano Spalletti apologised to Napoli supporters for missing the chance to seal the Scudetto in front of their home fans on Sunday.

The Partenopei seemed on course to secure their first league title in 33 years after Mathias Olivera headed Napoli into the lead in the second half against Salernitana at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Lazio's 3-1 defeat earlier in the day at Inter meant a win would have been enough for Napoli, yet just as celebrations were starting in and around the stadium, Boulaye Dia snatched a 1-1 draw for Salernitana with a stunning 84th-minute equaliser.

Napoli could still clinch the title as soon as Wednesday if Lazio fail to beat Sassuolo, but Spalletti acknowledged his side had let their supporters down with the late concession.

The Napoli coach told DAZN: "We are very sorry for not giving the happiness [of winning the title] to this wonderful crowd.

"We represent what their dream is. It is right that they receive this dream they have. We are the ones who materialise the dreams of our fans.

"We have to score this extra goal to give it to them. From my point of view, the enjoyment is only delayed because I am very comfortable with the current standings.

"We postpone it for now but it is a lengthening of the celebrations because I am convinced we will get the two points [to win the league]."

Their surely imminent Scudetto triumph would mark Napoli's first such success since the Diego Maradona era.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen have led the way for the Partenopei on their quest for glory, but Spalletti emphasised the importance of his squad this term.

"It's clear that if it [winning the title] were to happen, I'd have some satisfaction too," he added. "But the players deserve it more because I've seen the attention, willingness and quality they have come to train.

"I'm referencing those who have played less because they force those who have played the most to keep the bar high and it becomes difficult to become a soft or demotivated team."

Napoli sit 18 points clear and could wrap up the title when they face Udinese on Thursday, albeit the championship could be settled a day earlier if Lazio falter against Sassuolo.

Napoli missed a chance to seal their first Serie A title in 33 years as Boulaye Dia's sensational equaliser earned a 1-1 draw for Salernitana.

Inter's victory over Lazio earlier on Sunday meant a win would be enough for Napoli to secure their first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era.

Mathias Olivera looked set to seal his name in Napoli history after heading the Partenopei ahead in the 62nd minute.

Yet Dia's brilliant 84th-minute effort means Luciano Spalletti's side will have to wait until at least Wednesday to officially win the title.

Stadio Diego Armando Maradona was rocking at kick-off following news of Lazio's defeat, though the home fans had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first clear opening, when Victor Osimhen headed over from a free-kick.

The expectant Napoli faithful had their patience tested as the first half wore on – Amir Rrahmani glancing a header wide and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa seeing a good effort saved by Guillermo Ochoa.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia tried his luck from long range after the break, though his shot never had enough dip on it to trouble Ochoa, while Piotr Zielinski sent an acrobatic attempt over.

Zielinski made way for Giacomo Raspadori soon after, and that change immediately and emphatically paid off.

Raspadori delivered a fine outswinging corner, which Olivera brilliantly turned home.

Eljif Elmas dragged wide as Napoli searched for a game-settling second, with Kvaratskhelia going agonisingly close.

Dia made Napoli pay, cutting in from the left, getting the better of Osimhen and drilling a wonderful strike into the top-left corner, with subsequent saves from Ochoa frustrating a fervent crowd.

Luciano Spalletti insisted Napoli "will be ready" and "must not change anything" ahead of their rescheduled Serie A clash – and potential Scudetto-clinching showdown – with Salernitana.

The Partenopei had been set to play on Saturday but will now take to the pitch at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday instead.

It means Napoli now play after second-placed Lazio, meaning the title will be theirs if they win after their nearest rivals fail to beat Inter at San Siro earlier the same day.

Nevertheless, Spalletti says his players remain focused on the task in hand, also urging them not to take anything for granted against in-form Salernitana, who are unbeaten in eight matches.

"We've known for a long time what our direction is," the coach said during his pre-match press conference. "We continue on our path so far, then there are things that are above us that we can't control.

"It's okay to be controlled by other things, and we adapt. But we will be ready to play our game, we would have been ready today anyway. Let's just play.

"We have not entrusted our Scudetto to the judge or to fate, but to our idea of football, to make happy those who wait for us with bated breath for hours at an airport or in the street just to see an Azzurri coach pass by.

"The team must not change anything, and for the desire that I saw this morning, I am convinced that we will play our game.

"I don't know if it will be enough because we will face a strong opponent, they haven't lost in eight games. What happened has motivated the opponents more, but we will do what we had to do today."

Napoli's Serie A clash with Salernitana this weekend has been rescheduled by one day due to public security concerns, it has been confirmed.

The Partenopei had been set to play on Saturday, but will now take to the pitch at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday instead.

The move comes with Luciano Spalletti's side poised to win the Scudetto if Lazio fail to beat Inter at San Siro during an earlier kick-off the same day.

Serie A's decision to postpone the fixture, however, has forced a further reshuffle for Napoli's fixture list, with their game against Udinese affected.

Originally due to take place on Tuesday, the game will now be played two days later on Thursday, in what could be their first game as champions.

It also means Udinese have suffered a further postponement of their own, with their clash against Sampdoria delayed by a day from a week on Sunday to the Monday afterwards.

Massimiliano Allegri was left to rue Juventus' "slow and static" defending after Napoli snatched a dramatic late winner at the Allianz Stadium.

A generally dull contest was settled in the third minute of stoppage time, when Giacamo Raspadori's thumping volley edged the runaway Serie A leaders ever closer to clinching the Scudetto.

The Juve defence were caught napping as Luciano Spalletti's side snatched all three points, and Allegri admitted he expects higher standards from his players.

"It's disappointing to lose a game like that, but we should've done better on the goal," he told DAZN. "We just stopped playing and absolutely need to do better in that sense.

"It’s simple, just look at the move, we are at the 93rd minute and ought to have bodies into the box to defend.

"This is part of the growth process for players, something we take for granted. We were too slow and static in reacting to the ball in that situation."

Juventus saw two goals disallowed in the final 20 minutes, with Angel Di Maria and Dusan Vlahovic both denied, but Allegri refused to blame referee Michael Fabbri for the result.

"We need to stay calm, accept as we always have done the refereeing decisions – good or bad," the head coach added. "Otherwise, we waste energy, because we cannot change the result now.

"The referee was very good today, I congratulate him on his performance."

It was the Bianconeri's first league outing since the reversal of their 15-point deduction, lifting them to third in the table with 59 points - three ahead of Roma and Milan in fourth and fifth respectively.

Nevertheless, Juve still trail Napoli by 19 points and, while praising his players' attitudes in adversity, Allegri hopes they can close the gap and launch a greater title challenge next season.

"This is a surreal situation we were in, and the lads were marvellous," he said.

"We had some difficulties this season, especially after the 15-point penalty. We've still got a lead over Milan and Inter, so now we must pick up the points we are missing.

"This is a season that will help us grow a great deal and next year, we'll be right back up there fighting for the Scudetto."

Luciano Spalletti recalled his long journey to Serie A glory after Napoli took another significant step towards the Scudetto with a dramatic win at Juventus.

Napoli could wrap up the title as soon as next weekend after Giacomo Raspadori's 93rd-minute volley gave them a 1-0 victory in Turin on Sunday.

The gap to second-placed Lazio is 17 points with seven games remaining, meaning it will surely soon be party time for the Partenopei, who have not won the title since the days of Diego Maradona.

Spalletti said Napoli would have to "wait to uncork the bottles", but he only half-heartedly talked down their title celebrations having had his own long wait to this point. The coach is yet to win a league title in his home country.

"I haven't travelled in the window seat," he told DAZN. "I've always hitch-hiked. The fact that I am in a position to win this Scudetto repays all the sacrifices I've made.

"Sometimes I was made fun of because of my boots [on the touchline], but I suffered to have those. I remember well when I couldn't buy them. Since I suffered a few times before, this year I put them on.

"I took a more difficult road than others who start from different levels, and it's probably right for them, too, because in their careers as players they gained such esteem as to start from a higher level."

While Raspadori has not quite had the same difficult path as Spalletti, his first season in Naples has also not been straightforward, limited to only nine Serie A starts due to injury.

Sunday's goal was his second of the season, but it was a big one.

"I am happy because they have shown me that they love me, as they do every day," the forward said.

"There is never a moment to stand still, it was a difficult moment and I worked to get out of it together with the coaching staff. Now, I'm happy for the goal."

Giacomo Raspadori's 93rd-minute volley gave Napoli a dramatic 1-0 win against Juventus on Sunday, securing a rare Serie A double over the Bianconeri.

A remarkable conclusion to the match in Turin was entirely at odds with everything that had gone before, a dull first 70 minutes suggesting the two clubs were taking a collective breath at the end of a manic week.

Juve are back into the top four following their successful initial appeal of an earlier points deduction, while Napoli's full focus is on the Scudetto after crashing out of the Champions League.

If a point then perhaps suited both sides, neither showed it, with Juve twice having the ball in the net in the closing stages before Raspadori grabbed what might be considered a deserved winner.

This encounter was certainly nothing like the reverse fixture, which runaway league leaders Napoli had dominated to win 5-1.

Indeed, the Partenopei created precious little until Victor Osimhen saw three chances come and go in quick succession in the second half.

The forward had a low shot deflected off the outside of the post with 20 minutes remaining, then nodded straight at Wojciech Szczesny from the resulting corner.

Osimhen lifted a first-time effort over the crossbar soon afterwards, and that miss might have proved costly when Angel Di Maria netted a deflected strike on the counter, only for the VAR to highlight a marginal foul in the build-up.

Dusan Vlahovic was also denied after scoring as Federico Chiesa had run the ball out of play, but it looked as though Napoli's last chance had been squandered by Osimhen again when Szczesny saved well.

Seconds later, though, Eljif Elmas crossed from the right, and Raspadori hammered a low strike between the goalkeeper's legs to snatch the points.

Lionel Messi's club future remains uncertain, with his Paris Saint-Germain contract at the end of this season.

The two parties have not reached any agreement on a new deal, while there has been speculation linking the 35-year-old with a return to Barcelona.

Messi has also been linked with big-money moves to clubs in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

TOP STORY – PSG WILLING TO MOVE ON FROM MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are willing to let Lionel Messi exit on a free transfer in the upcoming off-season, reports the Sunday Mirror.

Contract talks between Messi and PSG have stalled in the months following Argentina's World Cup triumph, having reportedly been close to penning an extension.

The report claims PSG are "in no rush" to extend Messi's deal as interest, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi looking to run the club in a more sustainable way, relying less on star power.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich's number one striker target in the off-season remains Napoli's Victor Osimhen following talks with officials and new boss Thomas Tuchel, claims BILD. The German champions are also keen on Tottenham's Harry Kane, Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani.

Barcelona are considering off-season moves for Chelsea duo N'Golo Kante and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , reports The Mirror.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Liverpool and Manchester United will both hold talks with Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister will take place "very soon".

– Brentford’s David Raya, Porto’s Diogo Costa and Valencia’s Giorgi Mamardashvili are all on Manchester United's goalkeeper shortlist to replace David De Gea, according to GiveMeSport.

– Football Insider claims Aston Villa are readying a £55m combined bid for Manchester City pair Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips.

– Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is on Chelsea's shortlist to be their new permanent manager, reports The Guardian.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is urging his team to take advantage of their Serie A points deduction reprieve as they host leaders Napoli with second place in sight.

The Bianconeri were hit with a 15-point deduction in January after an investigation into a capital gains case, with the club found guilty of alleged breaches in relation to historical transfers.

Former chairman Andrea Agnelli, ex-director Pavel Nedved and one-time managing director Fabio Paratici, who joined Tottenham in 2021, were all suspended from football by the Italian Football Federation (FICG), along with eight other individuals.

Juve's initial appeal to have the deduction revoked proved successful, with the Collegio di Garanzia referring the case back to the FIGC following Thursday's announcement. Nedved and some other former directors have been cleared, although Agnelli and Paratici had their suspensions upheld.

The FIGC could yet punish Juve again after re-evaluating the case, but for the time being the 15 points they lost in January have been reinstated, hoisting them back up third in the table.

It is timely for the Bianconeri as they bid to qualify for the Champions League, and Allegri appreciates the magnitude of the boost.

"We did what was possible after the penalty. It's normal that there was some conditioning but there shouldn't be any excuses. What happened, happened. Now we have to think about what must happen from today until June 4," he said.

"It would be too easy to think about what if... It could be said that [the deduction] brought us together, but maybe we would've won 10 points more than we have without what happened, because maybe in terms of mental conditioning it's difficult to explain.

"I'm happy with what the boys have done, it's something important.

"We had to reset everything, make a mental effort to readjust to what the rankings were and try to get back on track.

"In the meantime we had the Europa League, the Coppa Italia. What we've done has been done well, now we have to do better from here to the end of the season. We have the possibility of going to the final of the Coppa Italia and the Europa League, and we try to go and get Lazio in second place."

They could usurp Lazio as early as Sunday if they do beat Napoli, though even after the Partenopei's Champions League disappointment in midweek, Luciano Spalletti's side represent a huge threat.

Serie A's runaway leaders crushed Juventus 5-1 earlier this season, meaning they are aiming to do the double over the Old Lady for only the fourth time in the top flight.

Napoli's form has become a little patchier in recent times, failing to win three of their previous six games in the league, as many as in their first 24 of the season.

But those disappointments have all been at home. On the road they have been irrepressible, winning each of their past seven away games in the league and 12 of 13, the exception being a 1-0 defeat at Inter in January.

While Napoli were knocked out of Europe by Milan this week, Allegri recognises Napoli's standing.

"There is no desire for revenge. There is just a desire to beat the league leaders who have won seven times in their last seven away games," he said.

"They are strong, they have shown it in Italy and in Europe. Sometimes you lose games that you don't deserve to lose, but in the end the results count.

"Napoli are doing very well. They killed the championship by keeping an impressive away record.

"This is a Napoli that's on its way to winning the Scudetto. They've had an extraordinary season and are deservedly winning [the title].

"It will be a difficult match against a strong team, who came out of the Champions League despite playing a good game and who will try to score as many points as possible to get to the Scudetto as soon as possible."

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly prepared to submit a €150million bid for star Napoli striker Victor Osimhen in the upcoming transfer window.

Osimhen, 24, is in his third season with Napoli after arriving in a club-record €70m move from Lille, and this time around he has put together one of the best goalscoring campaigns in Europe.

With 21 goals in 24 Serie A appearances, and five goals in six Champions League outings, the Nigeria international has been unstoppable.

Now, the world's best clubs have taken notice.
 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARED TO MEET MASSIVE ASKING PRICE

While there is also said to be strong interest in Osimhen coming from the deep pockets of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain are trying to wrap things up early with a serious bid.

Football Insider is reporting the French giants are ready to meet Napoli's enormous €150m asking price, with the hope they can blow Chelsea out of the water as they consider a £100m (€112m) bid of their own.

Osimhen's contract ties him to the club for two more seasons after this one, but with his value at an all-time high, and with Napoli being able to offer the chance at league titles and deep Champions League runs, the Serie A leaders can demand a substantial windfall.


ROUND-UP

– According to GiveMeSport, Manchester United view Valencia's 22-year-old goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili – who is priced around £45m (€50m) – as a potential long-term replacement for David de Gea.

United are also showing interest in 19-year-old Benfica centre-back Antonio Silva, although they face competition from Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Real Madrid, Juventus and Liverpool, per Ekrem Konur.

– Football Insider is reporting Liverpool and Tottenham are the two teams 23-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka will choose between when his contract expires in a few months.

– According to the Daily Mail, 31-year-old Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino will join Barcelona on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Arsenal sent scouts to Spain to get a closer look at the Real Sociedad duo of 24-year-old midfielder Martin Zubimendi and 26-year-old defender Robin Le Normand, per the Daily Mail.

Manchester City are reportedly keeping a close eye on Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic as a potential replacement for Ilkay Gundogan.

Kovacic, 28, has been a regular starter since arriving from Real Madrid in a £40million transfer back in 2019, but significant upheaval has seen him fighting for his spot in Chelsea's best XI.

With nine substitute appearances among his 23 Premier League outings this season, Kovacic's future at Stamford Bridge is up in the air as he prepares to enter the final year of his current contract.

While City are said to be serious about their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham, it may not stop them making a move for Kovacic, who they purportedly believe could slide in seamlessly in Gundogan's place.

 

TOP STORY – CITY CONSIDER KOVACIC AS BELLINGHAM REMAINS THE PRIORITY

According to GiveMeSport, City are closely monitoring Kovacic's contract situation, and if no extension arrives he could be a prime candidate for Chelsea to ship off.

Further reporting from the Evening Standard adds that Chelsea are planning a "major overhaul" of their squad before June 30 in a race to comply with financial fair play rules.

That newspaper does not mention Kovacic as one of the likely departures, instead naming Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mason Mount.

City are reportedly not dissuaded by Dortmund's asking price of around £125m for English super-prospect Bellingham, but there has been no indication the teenager would sign off on the move among interest from the world's biggest clubs.

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Napoli have marked 21-year-old Atlanta United winger and World Cup winner with Argentina Thiago Almada as their top transfer priority.

– According to Sport, Barcelona and Inter are in favour of a potential swap deal that would send 26-year-old midfielder Franck Kessie to Italy in return for 30-year-old Marcelo Brozovic.

David de Gea is on the verge of signing a contract extension with Manchester United, per Forbes.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Chelsea, United and Paris Saint-Germain target Victor Osimhen will require a €150m (£132m) bid to pry away from Napoli.

– According to TalkSPORT, Aston Villa have renewed their interest in 22-year-old Arsenal talent Emile Smith Rowe after having a £30m bid turned down in 2021.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.