Lille midfielder Renato Sanches will join either Paris Saint-Germain or Milan, according to Les Dogues president Oliver Letang.

Sanches has been heavily linked with a move to the French capital as he enters the final 12 months of his contract, but Letang insisted at the end of June that the Ligue 1 champions had made no contact.

Milan are the other European side interested in the 24-year-old, with reports suggesting the Rossoneri have a €15million deal in place with Lille should they fail to agree a transfer with PSG.

Letang, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday to welcome Guinea forward Mohamed Bayo to Lille, confirmed Sanches will leave, though he remains unsure to which club yet.

"Renato has two very good possibilities, two very big clubs," he told reporters. "If he is still with us, it is because we have not reached an agreement with the clubs concerned.

"Renato is going to leave, to which club I don't know. I will keep the nature of these discussions confidential. It will be Paris or Milan."

PSG have already brought in Hugo Ekitike and Vitinha as the first signings of former Lille coach Christophe Galtier's tenure.

Sanches would provide another creative presence in midfield for Galtier's side, having created the most chances of any Lille player during his three league campaigns at the club (88 – since 2019-20).

Last season, the Portugal international also led the Lille charts for assists (five – level with Burak Yilmaz) and ranked third for successful passes in the opposition half (724).

Sanches will be hoping a move to either Milan or PSG will boost his hopes of featuring at the World Cup in Qatar for Portugal in November.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has rubbished rumours linking the English champions with a swap deal for Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

French outlet Le Parisien reported that PSG had offered Neymar to City as part of a swap deal earlier in the off-season that would have seen Bernardo Silva go the other way.

According to the report City declined the proposal but Guardiola clarified the story was not accurate.

"I am so sorry for Le Parisien, but it is not true," Guardiola told reporters in Houston ahead of their pre-season game against Club America on Wednesday.

"I am sorry for them because the information they have received is false.

"Neymar is an incredible player and by my information, he is a nice guy. Let him express himself at Paris.

"Manchester City bought 150 players every summer, and it is not true. I am sorry for Neymar, of course."

It has been reported this off-season that PSG have put 30-year-old Neymar on the market, while Guardiola reiterated his belief that Bernardo would stay at City last month amid links with Barcelona.

City have landed several key players this off-season, with new signings Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Julian Alvarez and Stefan Ortega Moreno, while Bernardo has established himself a pivotal player in City's midfield.

The English champions won the race to land 21-year-old Norwegian forward Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, with expectations high for his impact at a club which appeared to lack an out-and-out striker last term.

"We cannot put too much pressure on these players," Guardiola said.

"We need to get them houses, apartments in Manchester, and in the sessions what we want them to do will increase.

"The first impressions of Julian, Kalvin, Erling, and Stefan were really good – they seem like good people.

"Having good vibes in the locker room is more important than tactics."

Guardiola also did not close the door on further signings, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko – who is set to join Arsenal – all departing.

"We will see about signing, [Manchester City director of football] Txiki [Begiristain] and his department are scouting, he’ll know what is best for the team," he said.

Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

Barcelona are looking to strengthen their defence in the transfer market after club president Joan Laporta claimed they had seen off competition from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain for Robert Lewandowski.

The Catalan giants have made several additions as Xavi bids to better last season's second-placed league finish, acquiring Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, Leeds United's Raphinha and Bayern Munich great Lewandowski.

Barca finished some 13 points behind rivals Real Madrid last season, although that represented an achievement of sorts with the Catalan giants having sat ninth in LaLiga when Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman.

In an interview with Hristo Stoichkov for TUDN during Barca's pre-season tour of the United States, Laporta said their business is not yet complete.

"Now we are going to work on the defence," Laporta said. "Xavi has us oriented with a series of players and I hope that the Catalans will have new joys, because the Catalans like Lewandowski.

"This team gives you a guarantee of work, it gives you a guarantee that the players have a profile that is hungry, and we are trying to ensure that they have a better environment. 

"Xavi knows what the fans want, so that when we go to the stadium we have a good time and see that genuine style, playing football with maximum expression and also with goals. 

"Verticality, pressure, possession, control of the ball, all this Xavi wants to implement at its maximum expression."

Barcelona have been strongly linked with moves for Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso after boasting just the sixth-strongest defensive record in LaLiga last season, conceding 38 goals (more than Sevilla, Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Villarreal).

Meanwhile, 12 teams in the Spanish top flight bettered Barca's tally of 11 clean sheets last season.

The signing of Lewandowski, who scored 50 goals in all competitions during his final season with Bundesliga champions Bayern, represents the biggest coup of the transfer window for Barcelona, and Laporta claims they were not the only party pushing hard to sign him.

"We made a first offer and it ended at 45 [million euros], plus five. It's within our possibilities, the player has also adjusted his salary to be within our possibilities and the Catalans are now very happy", Laporta added. 

"We have competed with teams like PSG and Chelsea, and the player wanted to come to Barca. This is what I like.

"As Johan [Cruyff] said, 'I want players who want to come to Barca', and we have to thank him because he has been earning less and enduring great pressure from Bayern, for whom I have great respect.

"Barca needs, like any great team, a goalscoring striker. He is a goalscoring machine gun. 

 

"This player has been awarded the golden boot several times, if you look at his record he guarantees a goal, and every great team needs a striker who guarantees you goals.

"I think that Johan would like Lewandowski – he is a goalscoring striker, different from others we have had.

"Also, with [Ousmane] Dembele, Raphinha, Ferran Torres, who for me is a player who has a goal and has a lot of potential, all of them and Ansu [Fati], [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang - it's going well, it's progressing very well, we have a forward [line] with guarantees of putting on a show and scoring goals.

"I want Barca to become a world reference again. In the economic sphere, we are recovering the club, we are achieving it, although we have to work more. 

"But the football side of things does not wait and I think we are doing a good job."

Inter Miami hope to be able to sign Lionel Messi and establish themselves as "the benchmark of soccer in the United States", co-owner Jorge Mas has reiterated.

The MLS outfit are owned by a group including former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England great David Beckham, so they are no strangers to big names.

But the arrival of seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi in the United States would likely represent a landmark transfer in the sport's history.

For now, Messi, who had spent his entire club career with Barcelona until last year, is under contract at Paris Saint-Germain for another season, while there is the option for a further 12 months, too.

However, Inter are not giving up hope of recruiting the 35-year-old before he calls time on a legendary career.

The club's chief business officer Xavier Asensi hinted at interest in Messi earlier this week, and Mas doubled down on their transfer market ambition in an interview with Sport as Barca visit Miami in pre-season.

 

Mas, a co-owner alongside Beckham, said: "Well, look, both David Beckham and I aspire to bring the best players in the world here to Miami.

"[It is] not only because of the project we are creating, because we want to be the benchmark of soccer in the United States, but when you talk about the best players in the world, Leo is obviously the best player on the planet.

"Hopefully the conditions will be for him being there, playing in the shirt of Inter Miami of the United States. We aspire to that. Hopefully the circumstances will arise.

"We have nothing guaranteed, there is no agreement, but I am a very optimistic man, and hopefully in the future Leo Messi can be part of our project."

West Ham are reportedly confident they will be able to land 20-year-old Lille midfielder Amadou Onana after increasing their bid for the Belgium international.

Onana, who made his senior international debut on June 3 against the Netherlands in Nations League action, enjoyed a terrific first season in Ligue 1 after leaving Hamburg in Bundesliga 2 for a £6million fee.

The defensive midfielder totalled 41 club appearances in the season, including eight games in the Champions League, but the Hammers may face some competition for his signature from within the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – WEST HAM SET SIGHTS ON LILLE'S BIG BELGIAN YOUNGSTER

According to The Athletic, West Ham had a £25million bid rejected by the French club, but the Evening Standard claims that the English side are confident an increased bid of £30m plus add-ons will get the job done.

However, The Athletic's report states that there is also interest in Onana coming from Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United, which could throw a wrench in West Ham's plans.

West Ham appear to still have plenty of business to take care of, with the Evening Standard also linking them with a £30m move for 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, as well as trying to convince Jesse Lingard to return after a successful loan stint in the latter half of the 2020-2021 season.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Sport, Barcelona are trying to attach Memphis Depay to their offer for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after not meeting the €65m asking price, while Marca claims Chelsea have already agreed to personal terms with him and have offered Sevilla €55m.

– AS is reporting that Atletico Madrid have enquired with Cristiano Ronaldo's representatives about the superstar's interest in joining the club.

Leeds United and West Ham are said to be competing for £34m Rennes striker Martin Terrier, according to L'Equipe.

– Calciomercato claims Paris Saint-Germain have been offering Georginio Wijnaldum to Roma and Milan in an effort to move him on from the club, despite arriving on a free transfer 12 months ago.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester City have a bid ready to go for 23-year-old Brighton fullback Marc Cucurella to replace the outgoing Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Lionel Messi moving to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami would serve as a "reference point for football in the U.S." as David Beckham's franchise look to make high-profile signings.

That is the message from Miami's chief business officer Xavier Asensi, who hinted to Mundo Deportivo that his side will look to make a move for Messi.

Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini made their MLS debuts on Sunday for Los Angeles FC in a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Five-time Champions League winner Bale and Chiellini, who won Euro 2020 with Italy last year, joined Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Beckham as some of the biggest names to play in MLS.

With Messi's Paris Saint-Germain contract set to expire at the end of the upcoming season, Asensi suggested Miami will attempt to sign Messi but conceded the aim may be unrealistic.

When asked whether signing a player like Messi was a target for Beckham's side, Asensi said: "Yes, with some caveats. You can't compare Leo Messi with any other player; he's different.

"Having said that, what we're looking for is to be the reference point for football in the U.S., and to do that, the important thing is the players and the show that you can put on.

"To do so, you need the best players, and having them is a genuine objective at this club. In terms of Leo Messi, there's him and then there's everyone else.

"It depends on him and what he wants. We want to have the best players in the world, and I think Messi is the best in history. From there it's up to him."

 

Messi, 35, experienced a lean first season by his own high standards for PSG, scoring 11 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions.

That return was 17 fewer than he managed for Barcelona in the 2020-21 campaign, his final campaign before ending a 21-year association with the Blaugrana.

Though his goal tally diminished, Messi set up 14 league goals – only once in his last five seasons at Camp Nou (21 in 2019-20) did he assist more in a term.

After making his intentions and admirations for Messi clear, Asensi's focus turned to the pre-season friendly against Barca on Wednesday.

"From an emotional point of view it's marvellous and professionally it's exceptional," he added. "Barca are, if not the biggest, one of the three biggest clubs in the world for sure, and clubs are the ones that capitalise on the passion for football.

"I don't know of any fans of FIFA or UEFA. In international football everyone supports their country, but clubs don't have any borders, they go everywhere. And in terms of clubs, Barca are among the biggest, looking at the numbers.

"Emotionally, it's the biggest thing for me. To have them here, for the people of Miami, is spectacular."

Paris Saint-Germain have completed the signing of Reims attacker Hugo Ekitike on loan until the end of the 2022-23 season, with an option to buy.

Reports suggest the eventual fee, should the deal be made permanent, will see the Ligue 1 champions pay around €35million for the 20-year-old.

Newcastle United had been linked with Ekitike, with reports suggesting he had turned down a move to the Premier League side in January.

Reims coach Oscar Garcia then quelled fears the forward would leave, suggesting Ekitike wanted to stay unless Real Madrid or Barcelona made an offer.

However, PSG have now swooped in to sign the striker on an initial loan deal as new head coach Christophe Galtier attempts to build a squad capable of competing domestically and in the Champions League.

 

Ekitike emerged as one of the hottest prospects in Europe's top five leagues after a fine 2021-22 Ligue 1 campaign, in which he scored 10 goals and assisted three more.

He contributed a goal involvement every 98 minutes on average and his conversion rate of 32.3 per cent was the second-best among players with 20 or more attempts across Europe, comfortably exceeding his expected goals total of 7.0.

While PSG have acquired a young talent to support Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, Galtier's side are also reportedly interested in Sassuolo forward Gianluca Scamacca.

PSG head coach Christophe Galtier called Neymar a "great player" when questioned about his possible exit from the club, but admitted the size of his squad has to be reduced.

The Brazilian forward has been linked with a move away from the Parc des Princes, with apparent interest from a host of Europe's top clubs.

Neymar has been with PSG for five years, since the club made him the world's most expensive player with a fee that far exceeded €200million.

The former Santos man has won four Ligue 1 titles over his time in the French capital, but his inability to help the club win their first ever Champions League, and subsequent negative fan reaction, has led to rumours of discontent.

He was booed by fans in PSG's first home game after the collapse in the round of 16 Champions League second leg against Real Madrid, where they let a 2-0 lead slip to crash out 3-2 on aggregate after Karim Benzema's hat-trick at the Santiago Bernabeu.

When asked about a possible Neymar departure, Galtier told reporters: "A team is always stronger with great players, and Neymar is one.

"I know where Neymar can be comfortable, whether it's a little higher off the hook or in front of two midfielders.

"I will adapt to the squad I have. We have to reduce it, but I want it to be as good as possible.

"What I want, by having an obviously very strong eleven, is that this eleven is at least as strong with the five possible changes."

Galtier also commented on Kylian Mbappe, who himself looked to be on the move away from Paris until signing a new three-year contract in May.

The former Nice coach added: "We are not going to make him bear all the responsibility, he is a 23-year-old boy who has a certain mastery.

"He knows what people are going to expect from him but there are also other players around.

"Kylian knows what he wants, knows where he wants to go, what he wants to do with his career, so he has that pressure."

Christophe Galtier chose the example of Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea to justify his belief that Paris Saint-Germain can win the Champions League while he pulls the strings.

The former Saint-Etienne, Lille and Nice boss has stepped up by joining a club who not only expect to win Ligue 1 but also harbour a strong desire to be crowned kings of European football.

That is the clear objective for Galtier, and he considers PSG to be handsomely placed to challenge in the 2022-23 season.

Chelsea went through a string of big-name coaches, including Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink, before caretaker boss Di Matteo delivered the Champions League in the 2011-12 season.

Similarly, PSG have seen Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino fall short of the club's ultimate target.

Now Galtier gets his chance, and he sees no reason why he should not be the man who succeeds where previous illustrious names failed.

"Do you know who won the first Champions League with Chelsea? Di Matteo," Galtier said. "And would anyone have bet a centime on him?"

Galtier told L'Equipe: "I am very ambitious. I came to Paris to win. There are already three national titles: we have to win them. You have to break records. And in all modesty, I tell you: I came to Paris to win everything."

PSG beat second-tier side Quevilly-Rouen 2-0 in their first game under Galtier on Friday, as Sergio Ramos converted a penalty won by Lionel Messi before academy player Djeidi Gassama sealed the win.

The Ligue 1 champions will fly out to Japan ahead of fixtures with Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka.

Galtier will hope to last longer as PSG boss than Di Matteo managed with Chelsea. Appointed caretaker in March 2012, and subsequently handed the job permanently after FA Cup and Champions League triumphs, the former Blues midfielder was sacked in November of the same year after a string of disappointing results.

Lionel Messi won a penalty that Sergio Ramos converted as Paris Saint-Germain got a new era under Christophe Galtier off to a winning start on Friday.

The French champions, who appointed Galtier as Mauricio Pochettino's successor earlier in July, saw off second-tier side Quevilly-Rouen 2-0 in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

Galtier named a starting XI containing a mix of big names and younger players, with Messi partnering Mauro Icardi in attack, while Vitinha, signed from Porto, was given a debut in midfield.

Messi played a big part in PSG's opener as he was brought down in the box for a penalty, which Ramos stepped up to convert midway through the first half.

Without Kylian Mbappe and Neymar for their pre-season opener, PSG were rewarded with a second goal early in the second half through 18-year-old academy player Djeidi Gassama.

PSG, who changed their entire side for the second half, will now fly out to Japan ahead of fixtures with Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka.

Marco Verratti plans to seek French citizenship after falling in love with the country during his decade at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Italy midfielder joined PSG from Pescara in July 2012 and has won eight Ligue 1 titles, while also helping PSG reach the 2020 Champions League final.

Verratti was a Euro 2020 winner with the Azzurri, but the 29-year-old now feels such an allegiance to France that he wishes to become a fully fledged citizen of the country.

"Paris is a fantastic city and this country has given me a lot," Verratti told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I feel very French, while remaining Italian. One day, I'll request French nationality, given that my children were born here."

PSG were set to get their pre-season under way on Friday as they faced Quevilly-Rouen in a friendly, their first match since the appointment of head coach Christophe Galtier.

Barcelona's off-season has the potential to become even more complicated than what it already is.

Trying to balance their ambition with the economic realities of their situation is creating a tricky environment with the players to have departed and are still at the club this off-season.

According to reports, one player whose departure can ease the financial burden Barcelona have placed on themselves does not want to leave.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA INFORM DE JONG OF MANCHESTER UNITED MOVE

Frenkie de Jong has reportedly been told by Barcelona they want him to leave for Manchester United, according to The Athletic.

The Blaugrana are trying to convince De Jong that while they believe he is a talented footballer, they must sell him in order to balance their excessive wage bill.

The clubs have reportedly agreed on a guaranteed transfer fee of £63million (€75m) but the 25-year-old has no apparent desire to leave club, given Barcelona still owe him a deferred salary payment.

Meanwhile, the arrivals of Raphinha and Franck Kessie this off-season complicate the club's pitch of De Jong's transfer being economically necessary, as opposed to the sale being a purely sporting decision.

 

ROUND-UP

– Juventus have approached Arsenal over signing Gabriel Magalhaes as they eye a potential replacement for Matthijs de Ligt, The Independent reports.

– Meanwhile, the Gunners are working on a deal to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City, per The Athletic

– Leeds United are close to agreeing terms with PSG over 20-year-old striker Arnaud Kalimuendo, Sport is reporting.

– At the same time, PSG have been joined by West Ham in the race to sign Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca, according to Fabrizio Romano.

 

Sassuolo are in no rush to sell prized asset Gianluca Scamacca amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and West Ham.

That is the message from Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali, who discussed the ongoing negotiations for the striker with Sky Sport Italia on Thursday.

Scamacca has emerged a hot property this transfer window, having scored 16 goals in 36 appearances in the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.

His tally was only bettered by five players – Giovanni Simeone, Tammy Abraham (both 17), Lautaro Martinez (21), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Ciro Immobile (27) – in the Italian top flight.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland, Vinicius Junior and Vlahovic were the only players younger than Scamacca, 23, to score 15 or more goals in Europe's top five leagues.

Despite having Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi Neymar and Mauro Icardi to call on, new PSG coach Christophe Galtier is reportedly interested in Scamacca, who earned his first Italy caps last season.

Europa League semi-finalists West Ham are also said to be interested, and Carnevali suggested David Moyes' side are rumoured to have offered more money for the forward, who may prefer the project at PSG.

Pressed on an update on where Scamacca could be heading, Carnevali responded: "I think it's normal at this time that there are market rumours about some players. 

"There is difficulty but I strongly believe in the players' professionalism, we see them constantly and they work waiting to see what will happen. There is certainly nothing yet."

When it was suggested West Ham had bid more than PSG, Carnevali added: "Yes, there are some bonuses of difference and there is a discourse that is not only linked to the economic aspect but can also be linked to the player's own aspect, to the technical aspect. 

"One thing is certain, we do not need to sell right now. We have to listen to the player's needs and see the bids that are made and that can arrive from one day to the next."

Sassuolo could also lose another star attacker this transfer window, with Juventus and Milan attempting to sign Italy international Domenico Berardi, who has posted doubles figures for goals in Serie A for his last three seasons.

After last season's disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal, Bayern Munich are on the verge of transforming their team in one transfer window.

Sadio Mane and Ryan Gravenberch are potentially transformative signings for Bayern, and they apparently are not done just yet.

According to reports, Gravenberch's international team-mate is doing to what he can to force a move to Sabener Strasse.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT BAYERN'S TOP TARGET

Bayern Munich are reportedly edging closer to securing the signature of wantaway Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Bild.

De Ligt is reportedly willing to lower his wage demands in order to help force through a move, after a gap in expectations between the two clubs over the initial offer.

Bayern's proposal to the Bianconeri was reportedly €70million with an extra €10m in bonuses, with the latter looking at €80m as a base to any package.

De Ligt's move to lower wage expectations gives the reigning Bundesliga champions added leverage over Juventus, who after Paulo Dybala's departure, would not want to see another star run down their contract.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are now targeting PSG centre-back Presnel Kimpembe after almost securing Kalidou Koulibaly's signature, The Guardian reports.

– Meanwhile, Mason Mount is seeking to begin negotiations with the Blues over a new long-term deal, per The Athletic

– Ousmane Dembele is set to sign a new two-year contract with Barcelona after his previous deal expired, Sport is reporting.

– Charles de Ketelaere prefers a move to Milan despite interest from Leeds United for the Club Brugge striker, according to Fabrizio Romano.

 

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