David Silva has signed a one-year contract extension with Real Sociedad, the club announced on Friday. 

The veteran playmaker arrived in San Sebastian on a free transfer in August 2020 after leaving Manchester City, where he won 11 major titles – including four Premier League crowns. 

In April of last year, Silva helped La Real overcome local rivals Athletic Bilbao in the delayed 2019-20 Copa del Rey final and lift their first piece of major silverware since 1987. 

His contract was due to expire at the end of the season, but the 36-year-old World Cup winner has signed on for another campaign with the club. 

"I'm very happy. The truth is that I've been here for two very good years. Let's hope it ends up like last year with us getting into Europe," Silva said in a club interview. 

"We are playing great games and it's good to continue for another year. Before signing I knew the team was playing well and I was playing good football. 

"It is good the club is growing and being there every year to fight for Europe." 

Silva has scored three goals and supplied eight assists in 56 games across all competitions for La Real, with injuries limiting his playing time. 

La Real sit sixth in LaLiga, six points adrift of the top four with five games remaining.

A statement from La Real said: "He is necessary both on the field and in the dressing room and a role model for the younger players. 

"David Silva will continue to wear the txuri urdin colours that suit him so well. His control, dribbling, vision and assists will continue to amaze the Real Sociedad family. 

"His football and magic will continue for at least one more season." 

Dani Alves says Real Madrid are lucky they already hold a double-digit margin atop LaLiga following Barcelona's 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad on Thursday.

Barca have lost only two LaLiga games since Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman but they have been playing an almost impossible game of catch up, winning only four of the opening 12 games and allowing Real Madrid to streak ahead.

Madrid are 15 points up on second-placed Barcelona, who have a game in hand, but even with six games to go for the latter the title race is effectively over.

Claiming eight of their last 10 domestic games, including a 4-0 demolition of the soon-to-be champions at the Santiago Bernabeu, the 38-year-old believes Real Madrid are fortunate Barcelona did not get their act together earlier.

"Lucky for them [Real Madrid] we haven't arrived earlier," Alves told Movistar+ post-match. "We always plan to compete differently but in the end, life is like that. We arrived late and had to make a tremendous effort to take the advantage over them.

"We already knew it was very difficult due to the state of the rival and the situation, but I insist, lucky for them that we have not arrived earlier."

The Anoeta had been a traditionally tricky venue for Barcelona, but they have now not lost there in LaLiga since renovations on the stadium were completed in 2019.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal in the 11th minute ultimately proved the difference, but the Brazilian defender believes claiming the three points from San Sebastian was not a simple task.

"We knew it was going to be difficult, because it's always very difficult here," Alves said. "The stadium is very tight, we controlled a little more in the first half and then we lowered the intensity but you have to know how to suffer. In football it's hard to win, but you win.

"We wanted to balance the team a little more and the goal came and decided the game. You have to know how to suffer to win games."

Barcelona's victory over Real Sociedad at Reale Arena on Thursday was "crucial for the future of the club", according to coach Xavi. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the only goal of the game as Barca defeated La Real 1-0, moving up to second in LaLiga increasing their advantage over fifth-placed Real Betis to six points. 

It was the Blaugrana's only attempt on target across the entire game and they had 44.3 per cent possession – their second-lowest amount since 2005-06 – with poor finishing from Alexander Sorloth and Alexander Isak letting the visitors off the hook. 

Barca are now unbeaten in their past 13 LaLiga away games, which is their best such run since April 2019. 

Xavi was pleased with the fact their win came against a top-four rival, even if their performance was far from what he would have wanted. 

"I am satisfied with the three points. They are vital and crucial for the future to the team and the club. It's a golden victory," Xavi said. 

"But I'm not satisfied with the game. The first half, yes, but in the second half we suffered. We have to be honest and self-critical. We haven't been good. 

"We have to improve. This is not the way. It's not been our ideal game. These are three crucial points against a direct rival for the Champions League. 

"It's the game in which I've suffered the most, along with the one against Villarreal. We noticed the fatigue." 

Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba played on after appearing to sustain muscle injuries and signal for substitutions, while Ronald Araujo was withdrawn with a knee problem and Dani Alves also appeared to struggling with an issue. 

"Jordi, Ronald, Pique – we are suffering a lot. There's a lot of fatigue because the calendar is demanding," said Xavi. 

"It's not that we don't train well, it's the way the game is played. And the calendar is demanding. But the effort is spectacular. 

"[Pique] has been playing with discomfort for two or three months … at 35 years old, he is in shape. It's vital." 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on target again as Barcelona scored an important 1-0 victory over top-four rivals Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Thursday. 

A close-range header in the first half was Aubameyang's 11th goal in his past 14 games for Barca – as many as he scored in his 34 prior outings in all competitions. 

It proved to be enough to end La Real's seven-game unbeaten league run at Reale Arena, with Alexander Isak and Alexander Sorloth wasting the opportunities that came their way. 

Barca moved up to second while La Real were left six points adrift of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid with five games to play, casting doubt on their credentials for achieving Champions League qualification. 

La Real conceded their first goal at home in eight league matches in the 11th minute. Gavi kept the ball alive after Ousmane Dembele hit the post and picked out Ferran Torres, who lifted a cross for Aubameyang to nod home. 

Frenkie de Jong, Torres and Aubameyang all narrowly missed the target before Isak miscued when presented with a glorious chance to equalise on the stroke of half-time. 

Barca were again let off the hook within two minutes of the restart when Sorloth blazed over from inside the six-yard box after a wonderful delivery from Adnan Januzaj. 

There was a brief interruption due to objects being thrown in the direction of Gerard Pique from the stands, with the centre-back the subject of their ire after controversial audio clips of him negotiating a deal to move the Supercopa de Espana to Saudi Arabia were released. 

Pique played on after appearing to request a substitution in the first half but Barca lost Ronald Araujo to a knee injury in the 55th minute. 

Sorloth and Januzaj were kept at bay by Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Gavi missed a chance to put the game to bed, but Xavi's team were able to hold on for an important three points. 

What does it mean? Barca back on track 

Barca followed Europa League elimination at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt with a loss to Cadiz last weekend, but they got back to winning ways in San Sebastian. 

The Blaugrana are now undefeated in 12 LaLiga matches against La Real, while coach Imanol Alguacil has now faced them eight times without recording a win – he has not overseen more games without winning against any other opponent in the competition. 

De Jong pulls the strings

Barca's best moments came when they attacked at pace, and De Jong was key to ensuring they moved the ball quickly. No one on the pitch had more than his three key passes, while he also had the joint-most attempts on goal for the Blaugrana. 

One mix-up proves costly 

Joseba Zaldua and Mikel Merino were well-positioned to clear the ball after Dembele hit the post, but they hesitated and Gavi nipped in and fed Torres for the assist on the only goal of the game. 

What's next? 

Barca entertain Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, with La Real not in action until a meeting with the same side a week later. 

Xavi has full confidence that Gerard Pique will not let off-field matters impact his performances, as he suggested the Barcelona defender will be motivated by the criticism coming his way.

Pique has had to defend himself in recent days after it emerged he had negotiated a €24million commission when the Supercopa de Espana was moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020.

The 35-year-old's sports entertainment company Kosmos was behind the deal, and leaked audio recordings led El Confidencial to report they would benefit to the tune of €4m per tournament over the six-year agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), defended himself in a news conference on Wednesday, two days after Pique told a Twitch stream: "I have nothing to hide, everything we have done is legal."

Another leaked discussion between Pique and Rubiales surrounded the centre-back potentially going to the Tokyo Olympics as part of Spain's squad.

While Xavi conceded the situation is difficult, he insists he trusts Pique's intentions around the Supercopa, while claiming his former team-mate will be motivated to perform better by the controversy.

"He is outgoing and likes to be on people's lips," Xavi told a news conference ahead of Barca's LaLiga meeting with Real Sociedad.

"I am more diplomatic. I know him. If he wasn't focused, I would warn him, but it [attention] gives him fuel. It's adrenaline for him. It's like a drug, in a good sense of the word. He's focused.

"Pique's Twitch didn't bother me, it [would] bother me if he didn't give it his all or didn't follow the rules. It's Gerard and I know him. I know how to manage him and he needs it. He's doing well to compete, he needs this stimulus. 

"It's very difficult, my opinion doesn't change anything. There are two people involved. I know Rubiales well, he's a noble guy.

"I trust his honesty. He must explain himself, and [so must] Pique. I think they looked for the good of the great majority. I want to think that. If it is ethical or not? There are opinions of all kinds."

 

Away from Pique, Xavi has his own problems to think about. Barca have lost their last two games, suffering successive home defeats across all competitions for the first time since April 2003 after reverses in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt and LaLiga against Cadiz.

The latter defeat left Barca 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid, who can move 18 points clear with a win over Osasuna before the Blaugrana's meeting with La Real the following day.

"There was no anger, but I told them things clearly," Xavi said when asked what he told his players following the loss to Cadiz. "You have to be better, the game had to be won.

"I feel bad, I like to win, but I have to face reality. I will not change what I believe. In the league we had a good run until Cadiz."

Barca did have a good run, going unbeaten in 15 LaLiga matches before that 1-0 loss at Camp Nou on Monday.

They are level with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid on 60 points, but sit just five ahead of sixth-placed La Real.

Barca, though, are unbeaten in their last 11 league meetings with the Basque team and have not lost any of their last 12 LaLiga away games.

After a disappointing few seasons in LaLiga, Eden Hazard may be heading back to the Premier League next term.

Hazard has made 65 appearances for Real Madrid since arriving ahead of the 2019-20 season, but has not played more than 25 minutes in a league game since a late-January fixture against Elche.

Battling poor form and injury, Real Madrid are reportedly planning to loan the Belgian winger out for next season, and one Premier League club has jumped to the front of the line.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL HOPE TO LAND HAZARD ON LOAN

If Real Madrid are to loan out Hazard, Foot Mercato is reporting that Arsenal are the team most aggressively seeking his services.

According to the report, Real Madrid's plan is to loan the former Chelsea star for the 2022-23 season, with the goal of increasing his value enough to sell him ahead of the 2023-24 season, when one year remains on his deal.

Arsenal used a similar tactic to land Martin Odegaard last season, securing him on loan from the Meringues in January before signing him with a €35million transfer seven months later.

It is worth noting that the Foot Mercato report also stated that Hazard has no interest in leaving the Spanish side after this season, and may be willing to ride out the rest of his contract.

 

ROUND-UP

Newcastle United are set to challenge Manchester United for the signature of Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to i News.

Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund are reportedly interested in Real Sociedad star Mikel Merino, per Fichajes.

– El Nacional is reporting that Barcelona believe Ousmane Dembele will leave the club and head to Paris Saint-Germain if the French giants do not retain Kylian Mbappe.

– According to ESPN's report, Erling Haaland fears Manchester United would not be able to match his competitive ambitions on the pitch.

– Benfica's Darwin Nunez is signing with a new agent as Arsenal and Manchester United circle the striker who has five goals in nine Champions League games this campaign, per Metro.

Manchester City's search for a permanent striker appears to be ramping up, with a deal for Erling Haaland reportedly in the works.

City have not been able to properly replace Sergio Aguero despite leading the Premier League, and Haaland looks to be their primary target.

Details and discussion of the deal already appear to be in advanced stages, and City look to be best placed to sign the Norwegian.


TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR MAN CITY SWITCH

According to the Daily Mail, Haaland is set to move to Manchester City at the end of season, with personal terms already discussed and the framework for the deal already green-lit by City decision makers.

Haaland's father Alf-Inge played for the club but more importantly, City appear willing to meet Borussia Dortmund's release clause of £63million (€75.1million). 

The 21-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, would also be set to earn a significant portion of the transfer fee per reports, meaning the total outlay will reach nine figures.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have shown keen interest in the Norwegian striker, but the Premier League leaders look to be in pole position.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are looking at Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak as an alternative in the event they don't manage to sign Haaland from Dortmund . According to El Nacional, Xavi is an admirer of the 22-year-old Swedish striker, but they would face competition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal .

- Milan are set to make an offer for Mamadou Coulibaly from Monaco. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Rossoneri scout Geoffrey Moncada is particularly keen on the 17-year-old, who will be leaving Monaco at the end of the season.

- According to reports from Calciomercato, Napoli will look to begin talks with Sassuolo for talented attacker Hamed Junior Traore soon. Following the expiry of Juventus' right of first refusal clause, reports also say the Partenopei will want to move quickly.

- Real Madrid are close to confirming a contract extension for Luka Modric, per Marca reports, but are unwavering in their plans to offload Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain's latest quest to win the Champions League was ended by Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders squandered a 2-0 aggregate lead with just half an hour of the tie remaining, losing 3-1 in the second leg and 3-2 on aggregate thanks to Karim Benzema's hat-trick.

It means head coach Mauricio Pochettino could already be looking ahead to a change of scenery.

 

TOP STORY – POCHETTINO SET FOR PSG SACK AND COULD TURN TO MAN UTD

Mauricio Pochettino's job is "hanging by a thread" at PSG, according to the Telegraph.

It is claimed the Argentine can expect to leave the club at the end of the season following their Champions League collapse against Real Madrid.

Pochettino has long been linked with the Manchester United manager job and could now start to prepare for the prospect of taking over at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken with agent Jorge Mendes over his future at Manchester United, claims the Sun. Meanwhile, Bild reports the Red Devils are interested in signing Robert Lewandowski.

Paul Pogba is another who could be leaving Old Trafford this year, but Juventus are not yet certain whether to try to re-sign him on a free transfer or offer a new contract to Paulo Dybala, Tuttosport claims.

Barcelona are close to concluding an agreement with Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, according to Sport.

Arsenal want to sign two new strikers and a midfielder as part of a major squad overhaul, the Standard says. Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jonathan David and Darwin Nunez are among the forwards being tracked.

- A consortium led by British businessman Nick Candy is working on a £2.5billion bid to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich, the Guardian reports.

Carlo Ancelotti feels Real Madrid will have a great chance of beating Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League if they maintain the standard they set in a thrashing of Real Sociedad.

Los Blancos came from behind to thrash sixth-placed La Real 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and go eight points clear of Sevilla at the top of LaLiga.

Mikel Oyarzabal gave La Real an early lead from the penalty spot after Dani Carvajal upended David Silva, but sublime long-range strikes from Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric gave Madrid a half-time advantage.

Karim Benzema scored his 20th LaLiga goal of the season from the penalty spot after having two strikes ruled out for offside and Marco Asensio added a fourth 11 minutes from time.

Madrid now turn their attention to overturning a 1-0 deficit when they face PSG in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.

Ancelotti's side will have home advantage and the Italian wants to see the same tempo from his team when they take on the Ligue 1 leaders, who will come into the game on the back of a 1-0 loss to Nice.

He said: "We played really well from the beginning. The plan was to press up front, to stop Real Sociedad building attacks from the area. It worked.

"The physical effort was huge, we did well. If we play like this on Wednesday, we have a bigger chance of going through."

The Basques could not live with Madrid's intensity as they swept forward time and again at pace.

They zipped the ball around with great passing and movement in a dominant display, affording La Real just one shot, which gave Ancelotti great optimism heading into a huge European showdown against his former club.

"It was an important match because we had the opportunity to take advantage in LaLiga," he added, alluding to Sevilla's 0-0 draw with Deportivo Alaves on Friday. "The team has understood very well the importance of the match. It is a match that gives us great hope.

"This is the intensity that we have to have and that the fans like. It can be repeated on Wednesday against PSG.

"All of Madrid believes more after this game. The idea of ​​going out [to show their appreciation for the supporters] at the end of the game came from the players, because on Wednesday the help of the fans is essential."

Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric scored stunning long-range goals as ruthless Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad 4-1 to go eight points clear at the top of LaLiga.

Mikel Oyarzabal's early penalty put the sixth-placed Basques in front at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, but Madrid fought back to stay on course for the title.

Two brilliant strikes in the space of three minutes late in the first half from Camavinga and Modric put Carlo Ancelotti's side ahead.

Karim Benzema was on target from the penalty spot after having two goals disallowed and Marco Asensio added a fourth goal to cap a hugely impressive performance from Los Blancos.

Oyarzabal drilled La Real into a 10th-minute lead from the spot, firing into the bottom-right corner after Dani Carvajal had upended David Silva.

The leaders ramped up the pressure after that early setback and were level four minutes before half-time, when Camavinga let fly from 30 yards out with his left foot and gave Alex Remiro no chance with a thunderous drive.

Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside moments later, but Modric put Madrid in front by bending a sublime left-foot strike into the top-far corner after creating space for himself with his quick feet.

Los Blancos carried on where they left off after the break.

Benzema had another goal chalked off for offside but slotted home from the spot after a VAR check ruled Vinicius Junior had been fouled by Aritz Elustondo just inside the box.

Asensio put the icing on the cake, tucking in after the marauding Carvajal cut the ball back into his path as La Real were swept aside.

Carlo Ancelotti has no doubt over the motivation of his Real Madrid side as he stressed Los Blancos are "where they want to be".

LaLiga leaders Madrid sat six points clear of second-placed Sevilla at the time of Ancelotti's news conference on Friday, though the Andalusian team might have narrowed that gap down to three before Los Blancos take on Real Sociedad on Saturday.

After seven consecutive wins over Sociedad in LaLiga between 2015 and 2018, Madrid have won just three of their past seven meetings with the Basque side in the top flight and Ancelotti is expecting a tough test.

However, the Italian insisted he is happy with the progress Madrid have made so far during his second spell in charge. While they are out of the Copa del Rey, Madrid are still favourites for the title and are in with a chance of Champions League progression, albeit they must overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their last-16 tie when they face Paris Saint-Germain next week.

"We have done really good things this season. It could have been better, but could have been worse as well," Ancelotti said.

"I'm honestly happy with the work we've done, the job we've done throughout the season.

"I think we've handled quite well the situations and now we are where we wanted to be in a very important moment of the season.

"It's true we are disappointed about being eliminated in the Copa del Rey when we didn't have Karim [Benzema] but we are six points clear of Sevilla, we have to fight until the end and we can also overcome PSG, so we are motivated to do it.

"I'd like to highlight it's four [league] games in a row that we didn't concede a goal and that's solidity."

Madrid have won 18, drawn six and lost two of their LaLiga matches this season and sit on 64 points. 

With just 12 games remaining, Ancelotti agreed with the suggestion that a relatively low points tally might be enough to secure the title this season, though he does not believe that is a reflection of LaLiga's declining quality – in fact, he mused that it means quite the opposite.

"It's true that now you don't have to reach that high of an amount of points but you can see from two different sides," he said.

"You can think the biggest teams have reached a level but you could also think that the rest of the teams had an upgrade. Right now there are really good coaches, really good players.

"This just means that LaLiga is better than the previous period."

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will be missing against Sociedad, though Ancelotti expects both to return in time to face PSG.

"Valverde will be available to play against PSG and I think also Kroos will be available, it's a small problem, I think both will be available and fit for that game," he said.

"It's not a problem, it's a bit of bad luck. We need to live with these type of things, it's normal at this part of the season. Kroos probably will have to stop for five, six days.

"At this moment of the season, these kinds of injuries means that we have managed the squad and also the physical condition [of the players] quite well."

Romelu Lukaku has not had the desired impact since his move from Inter to Chelsea in August.

The Belgium international has scored 10 goals in all competitions but appears unsettled.

As a result, Lukaku has been linked with a move away from the European champions.

TOP STORY - LUKAKU KEEN FOR INTER RETURN

Chelsea forward Lukaku is open to the idea of taking a pay cut to facilitate a proposed move back to Inter , according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Lukaku dropped a bombshell in December, revealing his regret at leaving Inter for Chelsea and has come under fire recently after managing only seven touches in a Premier League game.

The report claims that the Belgian forward has contacted the Italian champions to persuade them to bid for him, although they may not be able to afford a deal.

ROUND-UP

- Eden Hazard is interested in a return to Chelsea after an unhappy time with Real Madrid, claims Fichajes. The Belgian made a €100 million (£84m) move to Madrid in 2019 but has underwhelmed, with the Blues open to a short-term deal.

- SPORT claims that Arsenal will make a fresh approach to sign Real Sociedad's Swedish forward Alexander Isak . The striker has an €80m (£67m) release clause in his contract and has been linked with Barcelona .

- Manchester United have tabled an offer for Borussia Dortmund's Manuel Akanji ,   reports BILD. The Red Devils will offer the defender, who is contracted until 2023, a four-year deal worth €15m (£13m) per season.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Madrid are angling to sign Fabian Ruiz after contract extension talks with Napoli stalled. The 25-year-old is understood to want to return to Spain.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that Barcelona will back head coach Xavi in the off-season as they push on with plans to lure Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta .

- Newcastle United are considering an off-season move for Lyon defender Jason Denayer , claims The Mirror. Denayer's contract expires in June.

Chelsea have been crowned European and world champions since Thomas Tuchel's appointment just over 12 months ago.

The Blues, however, finished fourth in the Premier League last season.

Chelsea are third this term but 16 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, and it seems recruitment is in the offing.

TOP STORY – BLUES SET TO SPLASH THE CASH

Chelsea are set for an off-season transfer splash as they prepare to back Tuchel fresh from their Club World Cup triumph, according to The Telegraph, 

The Blues have their sights firmly set on signing long-term target Jules Kounde from Sevilla as a priority in the upcoming off-season.

Chelsea are also interested in West Ham United's England international Declan Rice and Monaco's 22-year-old French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.


ROUND-UP

- Football London reports Arsenal are plotting a move for Chelsea forward Armando Broja, who is currently on loan at Southampton. The Gunners are short on attacking options after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's exit and with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah running down contracts.

- Fichajes also claims that Arsenal are interested in Milan forward Rafael Leao, along with Newcastle United.

Barcelona are trying to agree new deals with star young pair Gavi and Ronald Araujo amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester United, reports ESPN.

Juventus are willing to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Alex Sandro according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fichajes claims that West Ham want to sign Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan and Real Sociedad centre-back Robin Le Normand.

Sweden striker Alexander Isak's reputation continues to grow at Real Sociedad.

The 22-year-old has netted eight goals in all competitions this season after 17 strikes in LaLiga last term.

Isak is contracted with Sociedad until 2026, meaning they are under no pressure to cash him in.

However, there appears to be plenty of interest among clubs who want to test La Real's resolve to keep him.

TOP STORY – BLUES AND RED DEVILS ENTER ISAK RACE

Chelsea and Manchester United have both joined the race to sign Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak, according to The Mirror.

Arsenal have been keen on the 22-year-old Sweden international, who has a £75million buyout clause in his contract.

United are said to view Isak as an ideal replacement for veteran forward Cristiano Ronaldo whose future at Old Trafford is unclear.

 

ROUND-UP

Juventus are bullish that they can beat Tottenham in the race to sign Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Bianconeri view Zaniolo as a replacement for Paulo Dybala, whose contract is running down.

Manchester United and Liverpool have joined Real Madrid and Barcelona in keeping tabs on Serge Gnabry's contract situation at Bayern Munich, reports The Mirror. According to Sky Germany, Bayern and Gnabry are having a stand-off in discussions over an extension.

Liverpool's deal to land Fulham's Fabio Carvalho is not dead, says Football Insider, with the two parties set for new talks with a view to an off-season switch. Calciomercato claims that Milan have also reached out to Carvalho's representatives.

- The Sun reports that Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea are monitoring 16-year-old Blackburn Rovers defender Ashley Phillips, with Everton and Tottenham also keeping tabs on the teenager.

Reaching the Copa del Rey semi-finals cannot be "the most important night" for Real Betis, insists Manuel Pellegrini. 

Betis booked their place in the final four with a 4-0 hammering of Real Sociedad at Reale Arena on Thursday, with Juanmi netting a double before Willian Jose and Aitor Ruibal struck in the closing stages.  

Pellegrini's side have scored four in each of their past three games, with the victory over La Real their biggest in the Copa against top-flight opponents. 

The Chilean was pleased his side have improved upon their run to the quarter-finals last season but urged his team to demand more, particularly with none of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in the final four this term.

"I am very happy to be in the semi-finals of the Copa," said Pellegrini. 

"When you win, you have to celebrate things with the appropriate moderation. I don't think going to the semi-finals is the most important night. We have to keep working. 

"It is already an achievement compared to last season, when we were eliminated on penalties in the quarter-finals. 

"The dynamic is positive. We have scored four goals in each of the past three games, generating chances, but the team has been consistent since January of last year." 

La Real boss Imanol Alguacil was frustrated by the decision to disallow a first-half goal by Adnan Januzaj for a questionable offside decision against Mikel Oyarzabal in the build-up. 

Imanol also expressed his displeasure at Alexander Isak being incorrectly called offside moments before Juanmi scored his 16th goal in all competitions this season – the best haul in a single campaign in his career. 

"We didn't play our best game, but someone has to explain what happened. Things happened off the pitch that didn't help us at all and made the difference," he said. 

"I don't understand why Januzaj's goal wasn't allowed. I think before their second goal, Isak wasn't offside. It was clear. 

"Betis deserved to win but I would have liked it to have been under normal and equal conditions. It wasn't like that today." 

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