Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has controversially suggested the club will not sign African players unless they make agreements not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Last season, Napoli were without Cameroon international Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their participation in Africa’s showpiece tournament, the latter of whom went on to win the tournament and has since departed Naples for Chelsea.

Striker Victor Osimhen could have been another player to travel to the tournament in Cameroon to play for Nigeria, but an injury ruled him out.

The next AFCON is due to be played in the Ivory Coast in 2024, and De Laurentiis says the club would want some sort of commitment from any player joining Napoli that they would be willing to skip the tournament.

"I told them: lads, don't talk to me about Africans anymore," De Laurentiis told a streamed event in quotes reported by Football Italia.

"I love them, but either they sign something confirming they'll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!

"We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others."

De Laurentiis also revealed how he rebuked the advances of American investors in an offer worth $900million back in the 2017-18 season.

"In recent years these investment funds have become fashionable, they have to guarantee their investors a certain revenue within five years," the 73-year-old added.

"They saw that football is a great opportunity and they can double their investment by selling clubs to investment funds in future. That's what Milan and Inter have done, right?

"I am assailed by funds, I can't take it anymore. In 2017-18, an American fund offered me $900m to sell Napoli. But they don't realise I am this pure entrepreneur who enjoys playing the game, so let me keep playing."

The 2022-23 season is right around the corner, with plenty to keep an eye on across Europe.

Title battles in England, Spain and Italy could be too close to call, while France and Germany will see rivals trying to knock Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich off their respective perches – while there is even more set to occur in the fight for European qualification and to avoid the drop.

Central to these battles will be the players, both new signings and established members of the old guard, and here are 10 to watch in the year ahead.

 

Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona

Previously considered to be one of the biggest pieces of evidence on Barcelona's transfer failings in recent years, Dembele turned a corner in the second half of last season to finish the campaign as one of Xavi's most important players.

Dembele finished with 13 assists in LaLiga last term, the most in the competition, 11 of which came in the final 15 games of the season – with the tally being more in that run from February than he accumulated across all competitions combined in the previous two seasons.

Handed a fresh new contract, all eyes will be on Dembele to see whether he is back to his best or whether the former Borussia Dortmund winger, who now has Raphinha for competition, merely had a purple patch.

 

Matthijs de Ligt – Bayern Munich

It has now been three years since De Ligt shone with the Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals, where his performances made him one of the most coveted players in world football.

Stability was never quite found at Juventus, however, with shoulder injuries hampering his progress and the defender himself admitting the style was a "bit different" in Turin to what he experienced with Ajax.

Now at Bayern, De Ligt will look to return to the heights he was once at and is expected to form an exciting partnership with Dayot Upamecano.

Rafael Leao – Milan

In Milan's title-winning campaign last term, Leao was the team's joint-leading scorer in Serie A with 11 goals, alongside Olivier Giroud, but that was way off the pace in the overall charts as 15 players found the net more times.

Milan's total tally for goals in 2021-22 was 69, less than three of their rivals in the top five, and pressure is on Stefano Pioli's side to improve that return – with the signing of Divock Origi showing the desire to improve their return in the final third, with rivals Inter having strengthened by bringing Romelu Lukaku back to San Siro on loan.

It may all fall upon Leao, however, with the 23-year-old needing to show consistency in order to prove a significant venture into the market next year to replace veterans Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not required.

 

Djed Spence – Tottenham

Middlesbrough will likely wonder what might had been if they retained Spence's services, having loaned him to Championship rivals Nottingham Forest and seeing him play a key part in their promotion back to the big time.

From September, the only two games Spence missed during Forest's league campaign were the two clashes with his parent club and his displays, including those in the FA Cup against the likes of Arsenal, made him hot property.

Spurs ultimately signed the England U21 international, who could be a contender to break into Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad if he quickly finds his feet in north London. He is a right-back, after all...

Darwin Nunez – Liverpool

Liverpool's prowess in the transfer market is facing its biggest test under Jurgen Klopp, who is looking to rejuvenate what has been a brilliant attacking trio with Sadio Mane moving on and Roberto Firmino's future uncertain.

Having signed Luis Diaz in January, the Reds raided a Portuguese giant again – this time Benfica – for Nunez.

Nunez scored six Champions League goals in the 2021-22 season and plundered a further 26 in the league, averaging a goal every 76 minutes. Nunez certainly has the capability to fill Klopp's Mane-shaped void, even if his style is slightly different to the Senegal attacker.

 

Matteo Guendouzi – Marseille

Swiftly breaking onto the scene at Arsenal but just as quickly earning himself a bad-boy reputation, Guendouzi flourished in his loan spell with Marseille last season and has now made the switch permanent.

The France international featured in every game for Marseille in the 2021-22 season, starting in 35 of his 38 Ligue 1 appearances, and forced his way back into contention to make Didier Deschamps' squad on a regular basis ahead of Les Bleus' World Cup defence in Qatar.

Guendouzi's growing maturity saw him captain Marseille in a 2-0 defeat against Lille last season and the forthcoming campaign may continue his redemption arc.

Adam Hlozek – Bayer Leverkusen

A name that will be familiar to Football Manager enthusiasts, Hlozek has earned his big move to one of Europe's top leagues after leaving Sparta Prague in his homeland for Bayer Leverkusen and the challenges of the Bundesliga.

Capable of playing across the front line, Hlozek heads to Germany with a stellar record of 29 goals and 30 assists in 91 league appearances in the top-tier in the Czech Republic.

Add in the 24 goals that compatriot Patrik Schick netted for Leverkusen last season along with the creativity of Florian Wirtz from midfield and the result is one that could be extremely exciting.

Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid

A formidable season for Vinicius saw the Brazilian net 17 goals and contribute 10 assists during Real Madrid's La Liga title-winning campaign, only being outscored by team-mate Karim Benzema in the league.

Benzema, who was one of only two players to get more assists than Vinicius last season, is now in the twilight years of his career and will soon surely hand the mantle to the next star forward at the Santiago Bernabeu – with Vinicius near-certain to be that man now Kylian Mbappe has decided to remain in Paris for the time being.

In a World Cup year, Vinicius could enjoy a campaign that sees him take the leading man tag for both club and country come the end of the season.

 

Hugo Ekitike – Paris Saint-Germain

Arriving into an attacking that already boasts Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, it remains to be seen just how much football 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike will manage to play for Christophe Galtier's side.

Moving initially on loan, Ekitike, who was also a target for Newcastle United, is certainly one for the future.

With 10 goals and four assists for Reims last term, Ekitike has shown his prowess in the final third and could be a valuable asset in the hunt to end the elusive wait for a Champions League crown.

Samuele Ricci – Torino

Long touted as the next star in Italy's midfield, Samuele Ricci has moved on from Empoli but, to the surprise of some, did not take the leap to one of Serie A's big guns and instead continued his development by joining Torino in January.

Ricci featured 13 times for Torino, including nine starts in what was a stellar breakout year in Italy's top tier, with the 20-year-old having previously been crowned Serie B's best player in the 2020-21 season.

Breaking into Italy's squad in 2022, Ricci's meteoric rise should continue, and he may find himself coveted by some of the biggest clubs across Europe.

Chelsea are hoping to raid Leicester City for both Wesley Fofana and Jamie Vardy during this transfer period, with the former reportedly telling the club he wants out, while the latter's contract is set to expire in 12 months.

Fofana, 21, has emerged as one of the most valuable young defenders in the Premier League despite missing most of this past season with a broken leg. He has represented France's Under-21s, and appears on track to a long international career at the senior level.

Vardy, 35, has scored at least 13 goals in each Premier League season since 2014-15, and if he indicates he has no interest in signing a new contract to stay in Leicester, this transfer window will be their last opportunity to cash-in on the club legend.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA SET SIGHTS ON DYNAMIC LEICESTER DUO

While Vardy will likely have a significant say in his future due to his contract situation, the same cannot be said for Fofana, who recently signed an extension that ties him to the club through 2027.

90min reports both Chelsea and Manchester United are monitoring Vardy's situation, with the thought that he could potentially be a relatively cheap replacement option after Romelu Lukaku was shipped out on loan to Inter, as well as Timo Werner having one foot out the door.

There is no word about an asking price for Vardy, but according to ESPN, Leicester are adamant Fofana is not available at any price, despite previous rumours that they value him at £85million. 

Meanwhile, the Mirror claims that since the Stamford Bridge side's interest became clear, the centre-back has been actively pushing for the move to Chelsea, and he has removed any mention of Leicester from his social media pages.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports is reporting that Sampdoria have accepted Brentford's £16.7m bid for 22-year-old Danish midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard.

– According to 90min, if Tottenham cannot secure Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo, they will switch attention to Wolves winger Adama Traore.

– Football League World is reporting Sevilla and Wolves will battle it out for the signing of 23-year-old striker Ben Brereton-Diaz from Blackburn Rovers.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Sevilla are also interested in United full-back Alex Telles, who is said to be behind both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia in the club's pecking order. 

– The Guardian is reporting Chelsea are interested in Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters, and that an offer between £35m and £40m could get the deal done.

Paul Pogba has reportedly opted for therapy over surgery after meeting with a specialist to discuss his knee injury, and may even be back playing in just five weeks.

Having left Manchester United to return to Turin, Pogba was hoping for a fresh start, only to suffer a knee injury in the early weeks of his second spell with Juventus.

The France midfielder complained of his injury while with Juve on their pre-season tour of the United States, and initial checks led the Italian club to announce he had suffered a lesion of the lateral meniscus.

There were fears the 29-year-old could miss the rest of the calendar year if he opted for surgery.

However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Pogba consulted with world-renowned knee surgeon Professor Bertrand Sonnery-Cottet in Lyon and it was agreed he would undergo therapy over surgery, meaning he should be back in action in approximately five weeks.

Pogba was a key part of the France team that lifted the World Cup in 2018, and this news will be a boost to his chances of being fully fit to help defend the trophy in Qatar later this year.

Pogba spent four years at Juve between 2012 and 2016, winning four Serie A titles in that period before moving to United for a then world record fee of £89.3million (€105m).

The World Cup begins on November 21 in Qatar, and France boss Didier Deschamps would want 91-cap Pogba to have proven his fitness well in advance of the tournament getting under way.

Milan have announced the signing of promising attacker Charles De Ketelaere from Club Brugge.

The 21-year-old Belgium international has signed a five-year-deal with the Serie A champions and joins for a reported fee of €36million.

De Ketelaere – who scored 18 goals in all competitions last season and has won eight senior caps for Belgium since his 2020 debut – had also been strongly linked with Premier League side Leeds United.

At 19 years and 224 days old in October 2020, he became the second-youngest Belgian to score in the Champions League (behind Anthony Vanden Borre) when he netted for Brugge against Zenit St Petersburg.

De Ketelaere will wear the number 90 shirt, and joins fellow new arrivals at San Siro Divock Origi, Alessandro Florenzi and Junior Messias, with the latter two making their loan moves from last season permanent.

Timo Werner has only managed 23 goals in his first two seasons with Chelsea after joining from Leipzig in mid-2020.

The new Blues owners are open to allowing Werner, who signed on a five-year contract, to depart on loan.

The 26-year-old scored 95 goals in 159 appearances with Leipzig from 2016 to 2020.

TOP STORY – LEIPZIG LEAD RACE FOR CHELSEA'S WERNER

Leipzig are leading the race to sign Chelsea striker Werner ahead of Juventus, claims Fabrizio Romano.

The Bundesliga club met with Chelsea on Sunday, proposing a swap deal for Werner, who is Leipzig's main target.

Juventus and Newcastle United have also shown an interest in the Germany international. 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are considering a move for Leipzig defender Angelino should they miss out on Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso, claims Diario Sport.

Everton could make a move for forgotten Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi, according to talkSPORT. The Toffees lost Richarlison to Tottenham last month and will turn to Batshuayi, who scored 14 goals on loan at Besiktas last season.

– Portuguese forward Diogo Jota is set to be rewarded for his strong second season at Anfield, with Liverpool to offer him a lucrative pay rise as part of a new deal, despite having three years to run on his contract, claims The Telegraph.

Napoli and Chelsea are in talks on a loan deal for Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, according to Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Leicester City have informed Newcastle that midfielder James Maddison will cost them £60million as they circle for his signature.

– Leicester City are set to farewell goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel,  who is on the cusp of joining French Ligue 1 club Nice, reports the Mail.

Ronaldo has hailed Inter's capture of Romelu Lukaku and believes the partnership with Lautaro Martinez will be "almost perfect".

Belgian striker Lukaku returns to Inter following a disappointing season with Chelsea, where he fell down Thomas Tuchel's pecking order following an interview where he expressed his desire to rejoin the Nerazzurri.

That move materialised in the current window, with Lukaku arriving on loan, having struck 30 goals across all competitions during Inter's Serie A title-winning 2020-21 campaign.

Ronaldo believes Inter would have defended their title if Lukaku had remained at the club last season, when Milan narrowly pipped them to the crown, and rates him as a "guarantee" to shine in the upcoming campaign.

"It will be a good fight between Inter and Juve. I don't see Milan as the favourite, even if whoever wins the Scudetto can never be considered out of the race. Inter could have won last year, Juve can't afford another wrong year," Brazil great Ronaldo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Lukaku and Lautaro can be an almost perfect pairing. A lot of feeling, a lot of goals: things that are good for a team."

"Inter lost the Scudetto by losing the derby and mishandling the only two months of difficulty of the season. It's in those moments that you need courage, to win complicated games instead of drawing them. You need to cling to someone: clinging to someone as big as Lukaku is easier."

Ronaldo, who played for Inter from 1997 to 2002, also shared his thoughts on the situation with Paulo Dybala, who was heavily linked to the Nerazzurri following the end of his contract with Juventus but eventually joined Roma.

"In football you can't always do what you want, and maybe you want a certain thing, but you set yourself limits," Ronaldo said.

Inter's rejuvenation of their attack is set to continue with the departure of Alexis Sanchez, who is widely reported to have agreed to terminate his contract at San Siro.

A move to French outfit Marseille has been mooted for the former Arsenal and Manchester United forward.

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie must miss the opening weeks of the Serie A season after joining Paul Pogba on the injured list.

The United States international had been relishing the prospect of teaming up with new recruit Pogba in the new campaign, but that may not materialise for a long time.

Pogba could be sidelined for several months after suffering a knee injury, and Juventus have yet to decide whether he should undergo an operation.

They would have hoped to have McKennie available while Pogba recovers, but, like the Frenchman, he returned hurt from the team's pre-season US tour, damaging his left shoulder.

Juventus said in a statement on Monday: "Weston McKennie underwent radiological examinations at J Medical [the club's medical centre] this morning, which revealed a capsular lesion of the left shoulder. The player will begin rehabilitation, three weeks' differentiated work will be required."

McKennie sat out the final game of the Juventus tour, a 2-0 loss to Real Madrid at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday.

The Turin giants begin their Serie A campaign against Sassuolo on August 15, with further games against Sampdoria, Roma and Spezia to come before the end of the month.

If McKennie is to be carrying out rehab and solo fitness work for three weeks, he appears unlikely to feature in any of the August fixtures.

 

Pogba looks to be a certain absentee too, and reports in Italy have suggested he may not play again until early 2023 should the former Manchester United man require surgery.

Having made just 21 Serie A appearances for Juventus last season, McKennie was touted for a potential move away, with a number of Premier League clubs suggested as possible destinations.

However, head coach Massimiliano Allegri declared in July the club had no intention of selling the 23-year-old former Schalke player.

Sassuolo managing director Giovanni Carnevali says Juventus are still competing with Napoli to try and sign Giacomo Raspadori and "anything can happen" before the transfer window closes.

Napoli are reported to have emerged as the favourites to sign the Italy forward, who has just under two years remaining on his contract.

Juve are said to have cooled their interest in the 22-year-old, who was part of the Azzurri squad that won Euro 2020 last year.

Sassuolo sold striker Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham last week for a fee £30.5million (€36m) plus £5m in add-ons and look set to lose another prized asset.

Carnevali said in an interview with Il Giornale: "For Giacomo there are the eyes of Napoli and Juventus.

"It is clear that the transfer market is still long and anything can still happen, but it is equally true that our idea is to end the negotiations within a few days to concentrate on the championship.

"The goal is to enhance youngsters, just like Gianluca Scamacca and his arrival in the Premier League is a fantastic recognition."

Raspadori scored 10 goals and provided five assists for Sassuolo in Serie A last season.

Chelsea are showing they still have plenty of business to take care of during this transfer period, with reports they will make significant bids for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and Leicester City's Wesley Fofana.

De Jong has been a central figure in transfer news since the season ended, locked in an ongoing saga with Manchester United after they finally met Barcelona's asking price, only for the 25-year-old Dutch international to reveal he has no interest in heading to a club outside of the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have been outgoing about their desire for another quality centre back to bring in along with Kalidou Koulibaly, and after Barcelona swooped in at the 11th hour to land Blues target Jules Kounde, Fofana is the new hot name in their hunt for a long-term solution in the middle of defence.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PREPARE BIG-MONEY BIDS FOR DE JONG AND FOFANA

In the immediate aftermath of Barcelona securing Kounde, reports came out that Chelsea were then unwilling to do further business with the Spanish giants, withholding Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.

However, that seems to have changed as Sport is reporting the Stamford Bridge side will make a bid for De Jong, who Barcelona value at €80million, and if a deal can be made, Barca will then immediately use some of those funds to sign Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva.

For the 21-year-old Fofana, who has represented France at the under-21 level, Leicester reportedly value him at £85m after recently locking him down on a five-year contract expiring in 2027. Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in the Foxes' defender.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Athletic are reporting Chelsea have also put out a feeler for 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, while Sport Italia's Rudy Galetti claims they are also discussing Milan Skriniar.

– According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle United have turned their attention to Leicester winger Harvey Barnes after having their bid for James Maddison turned down.

Manchester United are reportedly weighing up moves for 25-year-old Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic and RB Salzburg 19-year-old Benjamin Sesko, with the latter said to be valued at over £50m.

– ESPN are reporting that if Manchester City cannot land Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, then they will pivot to Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro, who has 56 international caps for Portugal.

– Ekrem Konur has revealed that Aston Villa face stiff competition in their pursuit of Bodo/Glimt right-back Alfons Sampsted, with the 24-year-old Iceland international also drawing interest from Bayer Leverkusen, Lyon and Lazio.

It is becoming increasingly likely that Chelsea striker Timo Werner will be on his way out of Stamford Bridge with reports he has been offered to Real Madrid, while Newcastle United are also investigating a possible loan.

The two new teams linked with Werner come after Bild reported recently he was willing to take a 50 per cent pay-cut to return to former club RB Leipzig, indicating the Blues are well and truly shopping him around.

The 26-year-old scored only four Premier League goals in 21 appearances last season, though also recorded four goals and two assists in his five Champions League contests.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA'S WERNER ON THE WAY OUT

Chelsea and Madrid have been in recent contact about the Spanish side's interest in 20-year-old Armando Broja – who Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan of – though El Larguero is reporting that the London club put Werner on the table instead.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror claims Newcastle have also touched base about a potential loan deal, and the report states they are currently a more likely landing spot than his former club Leipzig.

His reported weekly wage of £270,000 per week would need to be significantly reduced to accommodate a move to either Leipzig or Newcastle, and that could be where Madrid come into the equation.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Athletic is reporting that Brighton have put their foot down on a £50million asking price for 24-year-old left-back Marc Cucurella, who Manchester City is aggressively chasing.

Newcastle have had a £40m bid for Leicester City's James Maddison rejected, with his price-tag said to be at least £50m, according to the Times.

– Sport is reporting that Barcelona still have the intention of signing Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso from Chelsea, despite the English club marking them off-limits after being beaten to the signing of Jules Kounde by Barca.

Milan have agreed to a £26.9m deal for exciting 21-year-old Club Brugge midfielder Charles de Ketelaere, according to Calciomercato.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting that Stoke City are in advanced discussions to secure young Man City midfielder Liam Delap on loan.

Real Madrid are the latest side to enquire about the availability of 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, but the Premier League club are maintaining that he is not for sale.

The Albania international has been the subject of significant interest after a successful loan spell at Southampton last season, netting nine goals in 38 appearances.

Chelsea reportedly turned down a £30million offer from West Ham for Broja, and although Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan, Madrid are eager to land the youngster.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA'S RISING ALBANIAN DRAWS REAL MADRID'S INTEREST

Since Romelu Lukaku departed from Chelsea on a season-long loan to Inter, questions have been asked about what the London club's plans are to bolster their attack.

The Evening Standard's report claims Carlo Ancelotti is on the hunt for young strikers to find a potential successor to 35-year-old Karim Benzema, although with Timo Werner potentially on his way back to RB Leipzig, Chelsea may have simply decided that Broja must stay.

West Ham have also reportedly not been driven away yet and remain interested, as do Everton and Newcastle United.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Bild, Bayern Munich full-back Benjamin Pavard would be willing to join Chelsea if they make a serious offer.

– The Telegraph is reporting RB Salzburg want £55m for 19-year-old Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko, who is a Manchester United target, according to Manchester Evening News.

– Sky Sports Italia claims Juventus would like to acquire Barcelona forward Memphis Depay on loan, however the Catalan giants wants to make it a permanent deal.

– 90min say Everton are in advanced discussions with Chelsea to bring Ross Barkley back to the club, and they also have interest in Michy Batshuayi and Billy Gilmour.

– According to Talksport, West Ham are willing to meet the £17.5m release clause for 25-year-old Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet.

Milan have confirmed Daniel Maldini has joined Spezia on a season-long loan, leaving San Siro for the first time.

The 20-year-old is a third-generation footballer with the club, having followed in the footsteps of his father, modern legend Paolo Maldini, and grandfather, club icon Cesare Maldini, in playing for Milan.

Cesare started his Serie A career at Triestina and ended his playing days at Torino, but Paolo stayed with Milan throughout.

This now represents Daniel's first move away from the club, having made 15 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri across three seasons. However, those outings have only amounted 194 minutes.

At Spezia, the 20-year-old will get the opportunity to establish himself in the top flight.

Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon believes Paulo Dybala will benefit from joining Roma over Serie A rivals Inter.

Dybala had been strongly linked with a switch to San Siro after his contract with Juve, where he had spent the past seven seasons, expired.

However, Inter instead re-signed Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, and the Argentina international then had a choice between Napoli and Roma, eventually opting for the latter on a three-year deal.

Buffon, who spent five seasons playing in the same side as Dybala in Turin, feels his former colleague made the right decision.

"Paulo had the right to choose after his exit from Juventus on a free transfer," Parma goalkeeper Buffon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"In the past few weeks, Dybala could have gone to Inter, Roma or Napoli and I hoped he would have chosen either of the latter two. I hoped it for his career.

"Paulo needed an emotional shock and I was certain that only Roma and Napoli could have given that to him. I wrote it to him in a message and I am happy to see him at Roma."

 

Dybala has scored 103 goals in 299 outings in his decade in Serie A with Palermo and Juve, with the 22 goals he managed in the 2017-18 campaign his best single-season return.

The 28-year-old joins a Roma side that finished sixth last season but lifted the Europa Conference League trophy in Jose Mourinho's first year at the helm.

That made Roma the first Italian side to win a major European competition since Inter triumphed in the Champions League in 2010, also under Mourinho.

Dybala adds further depth to a squad that already contains the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham, who is delighted with the transfer coup.

"I think it's a privilege to have added a player that good to our team. It means a lot to the fans, who have received him very well," Abraham said.

"The message appears clear to me: the club is creating a great project and the results are clear."

Tottenham have reportedly entered the race for 23-year-old Roma attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, with Juventus also heavily linked to the Italy international.

Zaniolo missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering the second torn ACL of his career, but he made a successful return this past campaign, totalling 42 club appearances, including five goals and four assists in 10 Conference League fixtures.

The man with nine senior international caps has been linked with Juventus for some time now, but with the club yet to make any breakthrough, they could face competition from the Premier League.

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM LOOK TO SWOOP IN FOR JUVENTUS TARGET

According to Tuttosport, Juventus and Roma have been holding discussions about different constructions of a deal for Zaniolo, including an iteration that would make it a loan this season with an option to buy after. The report mentions his price tag is believed to be between £30million and £40million.

With Tottenham set to play Roma in a friendly on Saturday, it is said to be an opportunity for the two clubs to sit down and discuss the possibility of a move.

Reports have claimed Spurs are willing to include Giovani Lo Celso in their bid, with the English club said to value the Argentinian at £17million.


ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe is reporting that Marseille are investigating a potential move for Inter's Alexis Sanchez.

– Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea have yet to receive an acceptable offer for 20-year-old striker Armando Broja after turning down a £30million bid from West Ham, and that he may be competing for first-team minutes this season.

– Fabrizio Romano is also reporting that Everton have approached Paris Saint-Germain about bringing 32-year-old Idrissa Gueye back to the club after he left in 2019.

– According to 90min, West Ham are in talks with Eintracht Frankfurt about 29-year-old wing-back Filip Kostic after having their first bid turned down.

Ajax, Newcastle United and Bayer Leverkusen are tracking 18-year-old forward Giovani, playing for Palmeiras in the Brazilian top division, according to ESPN Brasil.

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