Real Madrid are considering a move for Kalidou Koulibaly, while Manchester United are targeting Jadon Sancho in a cut-price deal.

Amid uncertainty over Sergio Ramos' future at Madrid, the LaLiga giants continue to be linked with centre-backs.

They seemingly have plenty of options – and Napoli star Koulibaly is among them.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID LIKE KOULIBALY

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane likes Napoli defender Koulibaly, according to AS.

The report says Bayern Munich star David Alaba, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is still Madrid's first option.

With Ramos potentially leaving when his contract expires at campaign's end, AS also says Villarreal defender Pau Torres and Sevilla's Jules Kounde will be expensive.

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- Manchester United opted not to sign Borussia Dortmund star Sancho ahead of 2020-21, and it could pay off. Eurosport reports United could land Sancho for just £50million (€57.1m) in the next transfer window. The Bundesliga club were demanding about £100m (€120m) for Sancho last year.

- Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus is seemingly attracting plenty of interest. Kicker reports Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus are interested in the three-time Germany international.

- Arsenal look set to strengthen ahead of next season. The Sun reports they are close to finalising a deal for 18-year-old Sporting CP forward Tiago Tomas for £20m (€22.8m).

- On loan at Real Betis from Barcelona, Emerson may not return to Camp Nou. CalcioMercato reports Milan are considering a move for the right-back.

- Former Milan and Chelsea forward Alexandre Pato will join Orlando City on a one-year deal, according to Fabrizio Romano and The Mane Land. Pato has been without a club since leaving Sao Paulo in August last year.

Andrea Pirlo feels sorry for friend and former team-mate Gennaro Gattuso, whose job is hanging by a thread ahead of Napoli hosting Juventus.

Sixth-placed Napoli welcome the Serie A champions on Saturday with reports suggesting Gattuso's spell as head coach could be over if they suffer an eighth top-flight defeat.

Gattuso came out in bullish fashion when asked about his future after his team were defeated 3-1 by Atalanta in their Coppa Italia semi-final on Wednesday.

He insisted it was the club's hierarchy who must answer any questions over his future.

Juve, meanwhile, reached the final by beating Inter 2-1 on aggregate, with Pirlo joking he was now 'Allegriano' after deploying a defensive style in the 0-0 second-leg draw and their last league victory over Roma.

"It's part of our job, but we are always minded to do our best," Pirlo said about Gattuso.

"The games are important, then it can happen that there may be some difficult moments.

"I'm sorry for Rino's situation, but I have to think about my problems. We want to do well and are trying to win games."

Napoli will have their work cut out against Juve, who have not conceded a goal in three consecutive Serie A games, their longest streak since reaching six in a row under Massimiliano Allegri in December 2018.

Of returning to a style previously deployed by Allegri at Juve, Pirlo added: "We faced Roma and Inter in a different way by our choice, but it doesn't mean that we will always play like this.

"These are my choices based on the opponent, but the approach remains the same - to command the game and press high. 

"It's not always possible to press high up the pitch, sometimes it is better to sit deep and let the opponents keep possession."

Juve sit seven points behind leaders Milan with a game in hand and Pirlo acknowledged it may not take as many points as normal to claim the Scudetto.

He added: "More than 80 points will certainly be needed, but compared to other years, I think it has dropped a bit due to the many competitions and the general level of the league. 

"It is difficult for a team to stay at the top all year."

Having won 2-1 in January 2020, Napoli are looking to win two consecutive games against Juve in Serie A for the first time since 2011, when they were playing under Walter Mazzarri.

Napoli have been up and down under Gattuso, drawing only one of their last 25 Serie A matches, with 15 wins and nine defeats.

Gennaro Gattuso came out in bullish fashion when asked about his Napoli future after his team were defeated 3-1 by Atalanta in their Coppa Italia semi-final.

Duvan Zapata was integral as Atalanta claimed a place in the Coppa final for the second time in three seasons, with the striker scoring a thunderous opener before teeing up Matteo Pessina in a blistering first-half display from Gian Piero Gasperini's side.

Hirving Lozano's goal had given Napoli a glimmer of hope early in the second half, but Zapata and Pessina combined again to seal Atalanta's progression into a final against Juventus with a 3-1 aggregate success.

With Napoli sitting in sixth in Serie A – having lost seven games – reports have emerged over recent weeks claiming Gattuso, who joined last season, is fighting to save his job.

Napoli face Juve in their next outing on Saturday and, asked if that match will prove make or break for his tenure, Gattuso insisted it was the club's hierarchy who must answer that question.

"I don't know, you have to ask the club," he said. "The captain of the ship is me, when things go badly, they are at the expense of the captain.

"I can't think of this as the penultimate or last resort, I have to work and I have to be able to trust.

"I'm a coach, it's like that. I won't be the first, nor the last, but I have the duty to try until the end."

Without first-choice centre-backs Kostas Manolas and Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli allowed 19 attempts at their goal, with Atalanta landing seven on target.

Atalanta were worthy winners, and Gasperini had only one regret.

"It's a great satisfaction," he said. "We dedicate it to the fans.

"The regret is not living these moments with them, but reaching the final is a sign of continuity. This team are at the top. 

"We will think about the final later. For us it's already a great success. Then we will play against an extraordinary side like Juventus.

"Now we have many important games, we will host Real Madrid [in the Champions League]. That will be an event for Bergamo."

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli future appears bleak after the Coppa Italia holders' hopes of retaining their crown were ended by a 3-1 defeat at Atalanta.

Gattuso led Napoli to their sixth Coppa Italia triumph in his first half-season at the club in 2019-20, and talks of a new deal were rife earlier this season.

Yet those discussions have made way for reports of Gattuso's imminent departure and, despite a spirited second-half showing sparked by Hirving Lozano's 53rd-minute goal, his time might be up.

Without Kostas Manolas or Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli's defence was carved open in the first half – Duvan Zapata integral as he scored the opener and twice set up Matteo Pessina, whose double sent Atalanta into a final against last season's runners up Juventus.

After drawing 0-0 in the first leg, Atalanta threw away a three-goal lead against Torino on Saturday and might have conceded early on this time had Lorenzo Insigne directed a dipping volley on target.

But it was Atalanta who hit the front when Zapata arrowed a brilliant 10th-minute shot into the left-hand corner from 25 yards out.

Zapata turned provider six minutes later, the Colombia striker playing a crisp first-time pass into the path of Pessina to round off a slick team move.

Atalanta could have had a third prior to the break if Zapata had kept a close-range prod down.

With nothing to lose, Napoli came out rejuvenated after the break, and had their rewards when Lozano turned in at the second attempt following Pierluigi Gollini's save.

Zapata should then have restored Atalanta's two-goal lead, yet failed to keep his header on target after meeting Josip Ilicic's corner.

His profligacy may have proved costly, but Gollini made a superb stop to deny Victor Osimhen, and Pessina ultimately wrapped up the win with a deft close-range finish to book Atalanta's place in the final.

Kalidou Koulibaly tested positive for coronavirus ahead of Napoli's Coppa Italia semi-final second leg with Atalanta and Serie A meeting with Juventus.

The centre-back returned a positive result on Friday and began self-isolating ahead of Saturday's league game against struggling Genoa.

Napoli are scheduled to face Atalanta for a place in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday and Juve – who sit two points ahead of them in fourth in Serie A – the following Saturday.

A club statement read: "After the swabs carried out this morning, Kalidou Koulibaly tested positive for COVID-19.

"The player is asymptomatic and will observe a period of self-isolation at home."

Napoli are already without Faouzi Ghoulam for their trip to Genoa after the full-back tested positive for coronavirus.

After taking on Juventus, Napoli travel to Granada for the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on February 18.

Atalanta were unable to make the most of their superiority as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Napoli in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final, with David Ospina keeping the visitors at bay.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men were in control for much of the game and created the best chances of the match, but they ultimately had to settle for a draw ahead of the return leg in Bergamo next week.

Luis Muriel was Atalanta's danger man, proving a real nuisance to Napoli as he offered a threat in front of goal and also proved an able creator, though Ospina in the home side's net stood firm.

Napoli might have been expected to produce an improvement after the interval but still they struggled to craft openings of their own, consigning them to an underwhelming 0-0 first-leg draw.

Although Napoli looked bright at first, Atalanta soon became the dominant force and went close to a fluke early lead when Muriel's wicked free-kick delivery from the left drew a desperate save from his compatriot Ospina in the hosts' net.

The excellent Muriel was involved again soon after as he fed Matteo Pessina into the box, but Ospina saved at his feet and Rafael Toloi hopelessly shot wide a few minutes later following a clever one-two.

Muriel then wasted a decent chance of his own late in the half, blazing over from just inside the area after cleverly evading Kalidou Koulibaly.

Ospina remained busy at the start of the second period as he first rushed out to thwart Muriel, before holding on to Joakim Maehle's excellent header from a corner just past the hour.

Napoli's midfield presence diminished considerably as they lost Diego Demme and Lorenzo Insigne in quick succession to knocks, with Atalanta's dominance increasing as a result.

But Robin Gosens missed a glorious chance as he headed wide 13 minutes from time and that proved to be their final opportunity.

 

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has reportedly decided to stay with the Ligue 1 giants.

Neymar's contract is due to expire in 2022 and the forward has repeatedly been linked with a return to Barcelona.

But the Brazil international seems set to remain at PSG.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR AGREES TO FOUR-YEAR EXTENSION WITH PSG

Neymar has agreed to a four-year extension with PSG, according to TNT Sports Brasil correspondent Marcelo Bechler.

The deal will keep Neymar, who arrived at PSG from Barcelona in 2017, tied to the Parc des Princes until 2026.

Neymar has won nine domestic trophies, including three Ligue 1 titles, since arriving in Paris.

 

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- Also out of contract next year is Neymar's star PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe. TNT Sports Brasil reports selling the forward, who has been linked to Real Madrid previously, would give the Ligue 1 giants the chance to sign Barcelona star Lionel Messi or Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, or both.

- Real Madrid could also be set for other business. AS reports LaLiga's champions are prepared to sell Vinicius Junior in the next transfer window, with the 20-year-old having netted just three times in 25 appearances in all competitions this term.

- Arkadiusz Milik joined Marseille on loan from Napoli in January, but Juventus are still considering a move for the forward, according to CalcioMercato.

- Dele Alli was reportedly wanted by PSG in January, but the midfielder ended up staying at Tottenham. The Telegraph reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy blocked Alli's move due to the club's injuries and run of poor form.

- A free agent, Daniel Sturridge's future remains unclear. The Daily Mail reports the forward is wanted by MLS clubs.

Achraf Hakimi only moved to Inter from Real Madrid at the start of the 2020-21 season.

But the future of the Morocco international is already making headlines.

Will Hakimi still be an Inter player at the end of the campaign?

 

TOP STORY – HAKIMI WANTED IN ENGLAND

Manchester City are interested in signing Inter star Achraf Hakimi, according to Calciomercato.

Hakimi has established himself as a key player for Antonio Conte's Inter after arriving from Real Madrid.

But Inter – in the spotlight amid reported financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic – are facing a battle to keep Hakimi, with Chelsea and Arsenal also chasing the Morocco international.

 

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- Calciomercato says Napoli want to bring back former head coach Maurizio Sarri. Gennaro Gattuso is under pressure and Sky Sport Italia claims the two parties will part in June. Sarri left Napoli for Chelsea in 2018. Former boss Rafael Benitez has also been linked.

Lionel Messi could help bitter rivals Madrid. According to El Chiringuito, Messi's proposed switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain could aid Madrid in their quest to prise Kylian Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu. Mbappe has also been linked to Liverpool.

- Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are interested in Erling Haaland, but Borussia Dortmund have no intention of losing both the Norwegian and Manchester United target Jadon Sancho at the end of the season.

Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso said "you can't just go to the supermarket and ask for €10 of determination" as the club continue to stutter following a shock loss at Hellas Verona.

Gattuso's Napoli lost for the second time in five days after being overhauled 3-1 by Verona in Serie A action on Sunday.

Napoli were beaten 2-0 by rivals Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday, and they tasted defeat again, despite Hirving Lozano's memorable opener.

Lozano broke the deadlock after just 8.95 seconds – the third fastest goal in Serie A history, behind Rafael Leao (2020) and Paolo Poggi (2001).

Excluding penalty goals, only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Luis Muriel (10) have scored more than Lozano (nine) this season in Serie A.

But that was as good as it got for Napoli, who conceded an equaliser prior to half-time before Antonin Barak and Mattia Zaccagni secured maximum points for hosts Verona.

Napoli – sixth in the standings, two points outside the top four and nine adrift of leaders Milan – have only won three of their past eight league matches as Gattuso voiced his frustration post-game.

"I make the decisions, so when we don't win, it's my responsibility. It's disappointing, because we had the right game-plan, we made it difficult for them, created four or five scoring opportunities in the first half and could've killed the game," Gattuso – who is yet to sign a new contract despite speculation – told Sky Sport Italia.

"The regret is that we could've done so much and kept wasting it. We were always four against four and didn’t make the right passes. We know this Verona side loves to play physical football, so we started to do what they wanted.

"All teams have ups and downs this season, we need to clear our minds. I expect what we prepare during the week. We played the first half exactly the way we wanted to, but we did everything wrong in the second half.

"We made the wrong choices. It's not easy, you can't just go to the supermarket and ask for €10 of determination. It can't be brought out of the players just by saying it. It's about the interpretation of the game, we had one in the first half and a totally different attitude after the break."

It was the first time Napoli lost to Verona since suffering a 2-0 Serie A defeat in 2015.

Could Barcelona be about to make a splash in the free-agent market?

Strapped for cash amid the coronavirus pandemic, Barca are believed to have set their sights on two stars.

David Alaba and Sergio Aguero are on the agenda at Camp Nou…

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYEING OUT-OF-CONTRACT DUO

Barcelona are set to target Bayern Munich star David Alaba and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero , according to Mundo Deportivo.

Alaba and Aguero are both out of contract at the end of the season, prompting interest from embattled LaLiga giants Barca.

Bayern's Alaba has been tipped to join Real Madrid , while the likes of Manchester United , Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.

Aguero, meanwhile, is no certainty to renew in Manchester, where Pep Guardiola is reportedly eyeing Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Inter's Romelu Lukaku .

 

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-   Sport reports Raphael Varane wants to leave LaLiga champions Madrid . The French defender has previously been linked to United .

- Madrid cannot afford to sign the likes of PSG star Kylian Mbappe and Haaland due to their current financial situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, claims Marca.

- The Guardian says West Ham have lowered their asking price for Declan Rice , who has been linked to Chelsea and United .

- Martin Odegaard is close to swapping Madrid for Arsenal on loan, reports journalist Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also says United have not opened talks with Lens to sign Argentine centre-back Facundo Medina . The Red Devils are eyeing a new centre-back amid links with in-demand RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano .

Napoli want to sign either Sporting CP full-back Nuno Mendes or Benfica's Nuno Tavares , reports Calciomercato.

- There are serious doubts over Edin Dzeko's future at Roma, with Calciomercato claiming Juventus and Inter are monitoring the situation.

Arkadiusz Milik has joined Marseille on loan from Napoli until 2022 and the forward's move could be made permanent for a reported €12million.

Milik, 26, heads to the Ligue 1 club after four and a half seasons at Napoli, although he has not made an appearance in 2020-21.

The Poland international scored 48 goals in 122 games in Serie A, having arrived from Ajax for a reported €35m in 2016.

Knee injuries hampered his Napoli career, and his switch to Marseille was confirmed on Thursday.

While Napoli said Marseille had an "obligation to make the transfer permanent", the Ligue 1 side claimed it was an option.

Reports say a permanent deal would be an initial €8m plus €4m in bonuses.

Milik had also been linked to Premier League sides Tottenham and Everton, but he was delighted to get the move to Marseille, who sit sixth in the Ligue 1 table – 10 points behind Paris Saint-Germain but holding a game in hand.

"I am happy and proud to announce that I am officially a player of Olympique de Marseille, one of the most prestigious clubs in Europe," Milik wrote on Twitter.

"I'm ready for this new adventure. Allez OM."

Kalidou Koulibaly has vowed he and Napoli will come back stronger after the disappointment of losing to Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana.

A 2-0 defeat on Wednesday meant Gennaro Gattuso lost out to former Milan team-mate Andrea Pirlo in the battle of the coaches.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata came either side of Napoli missing a penalty, with Lorenzo Insigne off target from the spot.

Koulibaly, who has been among Europe's most coveted defenders in recent seasons, says Napoli will not be broken by the disappointment of missing out on the trophy.

The Coppa Italia holders, who beat Juventus on penalties to land that accolade in June, sit third in Serie A, with only Milan and Inter ahead of them.

"A defeat gets even harder to accept on the day after. But it doesn't last long," he wrote on Instagram.

"The desire to fight for new wins is stronger."

Koulibaly attempted more passes (63) and made more clearances (six) than any other Napoli player, with the game decided on fine margins.

Napoli, a point ahead of Juventus in Serie A, are back in league action when they face Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo felt lifting his first silverware as a boss was "more beautiful" than his numerous playing successes.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata either side of a missed Lorenzo Insigne penalty gave Juve a 2-0 win over Napoli in Reggio Emilia on Wednesday.

Pirlo won the Champions League and World Cup in a decorated playing career but said the feeling of leading a team to a trophy is something different.

"It's a great joy," Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season, told Rai Sport. "Lifting the first trophy as a coach is something different, more beautiful than as a player.

"I'm at the helm of an important team, of a historic club."

That burden looked to be weighing heavily last weekend after a 2-0 defeat at rivals Inter left Serie A champions Juventus 10 points off the pace in the Scudetto race.

"The important thing was to win after the other night's knockout," Pirlo said.

"We wanted to show that we weren't the ones from San Siro. We needed a game of sacrifice."

Pirlo shared a warm embrace with his great friend and Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso before kick-off, remarking this was no time to reprise their infamous history of play fighting and practical jokes.

"Tonight just hugs because we were too focused," he added.

Cristiano Ronaldo believes Juventus' 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana victory over Napoli can bolster their confidence in the fight for the Scudetto.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in Reggio Emilia, netting the 760th goal of his incredible career - a strike that pulled him level with Josef Bican as the greatest goalscorer of all-time according to some estimates.

Substitute Alvaro Morata sealed the first silverware of Andrea Pirlo's tenure with the final kick of the game, although Juve were indebted to a penalty miss by Lorenzo Insigne and two magnificent saves from Wojciech Szczesny.

"It was a difficult match, very difficult, but we had an excellent attitude," Ronaldo told television reporters.

"Winning this cup is very important to gain confidence. We are very happy."

Wednesday's triumph saw Juve bounce back from a dispiriting 2-0 loss at Inter last weekend, a setback that left them 10 points shy of leaders Milan with a game in hand.

"We need a different attitude, we made a mistake with Inter," Ronaldo said.

"But it has passed. The important thing was to win today and it is a very important trophy because it can give us confidence for our growth in view of the next matches."

Naturally, Ronaldo is not giving up on Juventus winning their 10th consecutive Serie A title just yet.

"Milan and Inter are very strong, but the season is still long, a lot of games are left and, yes, I think we can win," he added.

"The road is very difficult but I think it is possible."

Gennaro Gattuso urged Lorenzo Insigne not to blame himself for Napoli's Supercoppa Italiana defeat to Juventus after he missed a chance to equalise from the penalty spot. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's close-range strike in the 64th minute, his 760th goal in professional football, put Juve 1-0 up in Wednesday's clash. 

However, Insigne had a golden chance to restore parity 10 minutes from time after Weston McKinnie felled Dries Mertens in the area.

Insigne sent Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way but shot woefully wide of the left-hand post.

An excellent save from Szczesny then denied Hirving Lozano an injury-time equaliser before Alvaro Morata finished off a rapid Juve break to secure glory for the Bianconeri.

Gattuso refused to pin the blame on Insigne, however, the forward's miss seeing him spurn the chance to score his 100th Napoli goal.

"I have to thank my players, as they did what we needed to. They were a little timid, especially in the first half, but reacted to the goal," Gattuso told RAI Sport.

"These things can happen, I congratulate them on their efforts. We could've done something more perhaps, but we know these situations are difficult.

"In such an important game, you can have a little bad luck and that includes a missed penalty, but the save on Lozano at the 94th minute was incredible.

"We win and lose with everyone in the team, Lorenzo mustn't think we lost because of him, as that's just not true."

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