New West Ham signing Nayef Aguerd has undergone surgery after sustaining an ankle injury in a pre-season friendly. 

The Hammers spent a reported £30million to sign Aguerd from Rennes in June but he is now a doubt for the start of the new season after being forced off in the first half of last Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Rangers at Ibrox. 

West Ham did not give a time frame for the Morocco defender's return to action, with David Moyes' side entertaining Premier League champions Manchester City in their opening game of the season on August 7. 

Aguerd was signed after playing a role in 19 clean sheets in Ligue 1 over the previous two seasons with Rennes. The only defenders with more were Wout Faes (20), Marquinhos (26), Sven Botman (28) and Jose Fonte (29). 

Across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 Premier League campaigns, Aaron Creswell (18) was the West Ham defender with the most clean sheets.

At the other end of the pitch, the Hammers could well be boosted by the arrival of Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo. 

Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali confirmed at the weekend that a deal was in place, with the transfer believed to be worth £35.5m. 

Italy international Scamacca was reported to be set for a medical in London on Monday. 

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is hoping that summer arrivals Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria will have a beneficial impact on the squad's younger players.

Pogba and Di Maria both arrived on free transfers after their contracts ran out at Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.

France international Pogba is returning to the club where he previously played between 2012 and 2016, winning Serie A titles in all four of his seasons with the Turin outfit.

In 2016, he became the world's most expensive player after United paid a fee of £89million (€105m) to bring him to Manchester, but he is now back with the Italian side after a disappointing six-year spell in England.

Di Maria also had an unsuccessful period with United before signing for PSG, where he spent seven years until making the move to the Bianconeri earlier this month.

Speaking to Sky Sport on the new arrivals' potential influence, Szczesny said: "Two highly experienced players have joined us and many young players can only learn from them.

"In addition to this, they have an incredible quality and their contribution on the pitch will be important. I really hope they can give us a hand."

The Poland international was speaking from Juventus' pre-season training camp in the United States off the back of a 2-0 friendly win over Chivas Guadalajara.

Szczesny's side will take on Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid next as they prepare for the new campaign, where they will look to win their first Serie A title since the 2019-20 season.

The 32-year-old has been enthused by his team's pre-season so far, adding: "I'm having a lot of fun, we have been missing this experience in the last two-three years due to the pandemic.

"It's a great time to reunite with the group, work hard and have fun together.

"It will be a friendly match against Barcelona but it is always exciting to play against the best in the world.

"We have already played the first friendly in Las Vegas, now we have two games against Barcelona and Real Madrid and at this point it is nice to compete against the best teams."

Alessandro Florenzi has talked up Milan's plans to retain the Serie A title, with the club seeking a 20th league crown that would see them add a second star to their badge.

The San Siro side have had a single gold star on their crest since 1979, following their 10th Scudetti win, and last season's triumph took their overall tally to 19 – with only Juventus winning more.

Milan have won just two league titles since the turn of the millennia, however, and have not successfully retained the league since three consecutive title-winning seasons from 1991-92 to 1993-94.

Florenzi, who joined on loan from Roma last year before making his switch permanent in June, is keen for that to change as he outlined the club's plans to retain the title in the forthcoming campaign.

"So many teams have improved. We deservedly won last year and we want to repeat that. It won’t be easy – everyone will play at their best to beat the reigning champions," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We must not make predications, otherwise we won't get anywhere. We’ll start with Udinese, then think about one match at a time.

"In the league we want to try to earn the second star. We have to have big goals and dream big. 

"In the Champions League we want to improve on last year. Many weren't ready, not qualitatively but mentally."

Florenzi also highlighted what he felt was the key to Milan's success last season, where they pipped arch-rivals Inter to the crown on the final day of the season.

"There was team spirit, 26 players pushing on the same side," he explained. "We weren't the strongest but the strongest don't always win. Everything went right and we overcame adversity all together."

Victor Osimhen has quashed rumours of a move away from Napoli and praised boss Luciano Spalletti, after he was ejected from a training session on Sunday.

Spalletti was referee for a team scrimmage and was prompted to kick Osimhen out of the training session after the Nigeria international responded angrily to a challenge from Leo Ostigard.

The 23-year-old, who contributed to 24 goals in all competitions for the Partenopei last term, has been linked in the off season with Bayern Munich and Tottenham.

Osimhen poured cold water over those rumours, however, by asserting he wants to stay at Napoli.

"A transfer? I talked to ADL [Napoli owner Aurelio de Laurentiis], calm down. Spalletti's top," he told Corriere dello Sport.

"I am at Napoli, and I have great respect for my club. They are only rumours of the transfer market. I am fine here and I have never had such close relationships with everyone as at this moment.

"I have spoken with the president, he is the one who decides, and he reassured me by explaining the club's plans."

Scoring 14 goals in Serie A last term, Osimhen was a key figure for Napoli as they ended the season strongly, losing only three games before eventually finishing third behind Inter and champions Milan.

Although the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens have departed this window, the striker insisted he wants to keep working under Spalletti.

"He is a top coach," Osimhen said. "Every day he tries to motivate me and make me make the most of the potential I have. I think he is the ideal coach for me at this stage."

Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni has claimed he never considered leaving the Nerazzurri despite being linked with a Premier League move, as he professed his hope Milan Skriniar would also remain at San Siro.

Meanwhile, Bastoni claimed the loan signing of Romelu Lukaku can help Inter compete for silverware on both domestic and European fronts, but warned old rivals Juventus will put up a stern challenge next season.

Bastoni had been linked with both Tottenham and Chelsea after a fine 2021-22 season with the Serie A runners-up, making 31 league appearances as he nailed down a regular spot in Simone Inzaghi's backline.

In June, however, Bastoni's agent Tullio Tinti claimed he would "100 per cent" remain at San Siro, and the defender has now revealed a move never crossed his mind.

"I never had the slightest doubt of leaving Inter, here I have everything I need to feel good and express myself at my best," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I am great with my teammates, with the club, I love Milan and so why go elsewhere? For many years [I hope to be] with this shirt and, in the meantime, I hope to still win a lot.

"The fact that the club wants to keep me means a lot. Here I have everything to feel good, I never thought about leaving."

Bastoni's defensive partner Skriniar has also been liked with an exit, with Paris Saint-Germain rumoured to be interested in the Slovakia international.

But Bastoni believes the presence of Skriniar, as well as that of the returning Lukaku – who scored 24 goals as Inter won the Scudetto in 2020-21 – will be crucial in the Nerazzurri's pursuit of silverware.

"[I hope] my friend Skriniar stays here with us, it would be a shame if he left us," Bastoni added. "Lukaku? He is the same [as his previous spell], now let us win."

Inter are likely to face stern competition in their bid to regain the Serie A title, both from champions Milan and Massimiliano Allegri's Juve.

The Bianconeri have had a busy transfer window after finishing fourth last term, acquiring the likes of Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria and Gleison Bremer, and the 23-year-old expects Allegri's team to fare much better this time around.

"We have grown, but keep an eye on Juventus," he warned. "The Bianconeri are a battleship, but we are no less."

Despite winning LaLiga and the Champions League last season, Real Madrid want to secure a bright future to follow their trophy-laden present.

Having confirmed the signings of Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger this off-season, Madrid managed to bolster their squad in two areas of the pitch.

Meanwhile, they are on the verge of securing the long-term futures of three foundational pieces in those successes last term.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID TO SECURE BRAZILIAN TRIO

Real Madrid are all but set to confirm renewed contracts for their Brazilian trio of Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Despite tricky initiations for each, all three have now established themselves as vital players under Carlo Ancelotti, as evidenced by their new release clauses.

Militao and Rodrygo have reportedly extended to June 2028, with respective €500million and €1billion release clauses.

After a breakout season, culminating with his goal in May's Champions League final, Vinicius will reportedly extend to June 2027, along with a €1bn release clause.

 

ROUND-UP

– Manchester United are now considering a move for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as an alternative to Frenkie de Jong, Calciomercato is reporting.

– Juventus have made a €23m (£19.5m) move for Liverpool's Roberto Firmino as they finalise the termination of Aaron Ramsey's contract, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Jules Kounde's departure from Sevilla appears likelier with the defender close to agreeing personal terms with Barcelona, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Arsenal have confirmed their interest in Lucas Paqueta but are yet to make Lyon an offer, The Times has reported.

Sassuolo have agreed to sell Italy striker Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham, according to the Serie A club's chief executive Giovanni Carnevali.

The 23-year-old forward has been strongly linked with a move away from Sassuolo throughout the transfer window, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly among the clubs interested.

Carnevali insisted earlier this month that Sassuolo were in no rush to sell their prized asset, adamant they would only let him leave on their terms.

And despite the apparent interest of PSG, West Ham are seemingly close to securing the striker's arrival.

Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Carnevali said: "€36million plus €6m in bonuses and 10 per cent on any resale for Scamacca. A good deal, isn't it? Also, because West Ham is a selling club.

"Scamacca is the present and future of Italy, a complete striker. He's improved a lot in the last year, and he still has unexpressed potential.

"He has physical and technical strengths – he has to learn to play more with his team-mates, [but] he's an exceptional lad, very good."

Scamacca enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, scoring 16 goals in 36 appearances in Serie A.

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 to score 15 or more goals in Europe's top five leagues.

Scamacca will expect to play a prominent role at West Ham should the deal go through, as the club lack depth in his position, with Michail Antonio the only recognised striker in their squad following last year's sale of Sebastien Haller.

Atletico Madrid are reportedly set to fund a bid for Cristiano Ronaldo by putting Antoine Griezmann up for sale, with the club hoping to bring the Portugal superstar back to La Liga.

Ronaldo has sat out Manchester United's pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia amid reports he has requested an exit from Old Trafford if a suitable bid is lodged.

The veteran forward signed a two-year deal in a spectacular homecoming last season, but could not help United avoid missing out on a top-four finish, leaving him without Champions League football this term as things stand.

 

TOP STORY - ATLETICO SEEK TO SELL GRIEZMANN TO LAUNCH RONALDO MOVE

Widely considered one of the greatest players in the modern game, Ronaldo is likely to accept only a move to a club that can offer him a shot at major European glory once again, limiting his pool of options.

Though linked with a host of European heavyweights, the funds required to cover his wage bill also present a major stumbling block - which is why Atletico are looking to push Griezmann off their books, says The Times.

Having left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019, the France international and World Cup winner returned to Wanda Metropolitano last year after a dismal stay at Camp Nou, pushing to recapture his best form.

He is halfway through a two-season loan with a permanent transfer set to come into force at the end of that deal, with Diego Simeone's side looking to move him on early.

Prospective buyers, such as Paris Saint-Germain, are not interested in taking Griezmann however, suggesting Neymar will remain at the Parc des Princes despite talk of an exit.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to the Mirror, United would let Ronaldo leave on a season-long loan deal - providing he triggered a one-year extension that would ensure his Old Trafford return in 2023.

– Sport believes that Barcelona hope to successfully hijack Chelsea's move for Jules Kounde by offering a lump sum payment to Sevilla, rather than the instalments favoured by the Blues.

– Newcastle are weighing up a move for Leicester winger Harvey Barnes, but the Foxes' £50m price tag is throwing a wrench in the Magpies' plans, says The Sun.

Brighton will not take a penny under their asking price for Marc Cucurella, with the Seagulls refusing to drop from their £50m valuation after Manchester City's £30m offer, per The Athletic.

– Timo Werner is eyeing an exit from Chelsea in this window as the Germany international is concerned over his game-time ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Barcelona could not compete financially with Chelsea for the signing of centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Chelsea confirmed the signing of Koulibaly last weekend in a deal worth a reported £33.8million (€40m), bringing an end to the defender's eight-year stay in Naples.

LaLiga heavyweights Barca, whose financial problems have been well documented over the past year, also had an interest in the Senegal international.

However, De Laurentiis claims the Catalan club could not meet Napoli's valuation for Koulibaly, who was into the final year of his contract at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

"Barcelona had come in, but they didn't have the money because they are in debt," he told Radio Kiss Kiss. "Then Chelsea came forward and we couldn't say no."

Koulibaly helped Napoli to three second-place finishes in Serie A and to Coppa Italia glory in 2020, as well as winning the Supercoppa Italiana shortly after he arrived in Italy.

Since joining the club in 2014, no defender in the Italian top flight has won more tackles than Koulibaly (344), or made more successful passes (14,528).

De Laurentiis revealed Napoli offered the 31-year-old an improved contract in an attempt to fend off Chelsea.

"I let Koulibaly go because he asked me to. I tried in every possible way to keep him, offering €6million per season net," De Laurentiis said.

"But if a player wants a new experience at a prestigious club, in the biggest league in the world, you have to recognise what he's given you and not put up walls."

Koulibaly made 236 Serie A appearances for Napoli, including 27 as the Partenopei finished third last season.

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi insisted his team are "on the right track" in their preparations for the new season, despite suffering a surprise 1-0 friendly defeat to Lens.

Saturday's friendly in France was a cagey affair, ultimately decided by a 91st-minute winner for the hosts when Lois Openda flicked on a corner at the near post, which looped into the far corner of the net.

Lens, who finished seventh in Ligue 1 last season, provided a stern test for their Serie A opponents, who fielded several of their new faces - including Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as second-half substitutes.

They were unable to make a difference though, with Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba - recently signed from Premier League side Nottingham Forest - making several important saves.

Inzaghi felt it was a good exercise for Inter, who will be striving to regain the Serie A title next season after being dethroned by city rivals Milan.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed Dries Mertens' nine-year stay with the club is officially over after the forward rejected the offer of a new contract.

The Belgium international's previous deal expired at the end of last month, but the Serie A side had been hoping to persuade him to agree fresh terms.

However, De Laurentiis says Mertens was not willing to accept the offer tabled by the club and he is now on the lookout for a new team.

"I feel the love for the club, but I must never forget that football is also an industry as well as pure passion," he told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"Unfortunately, that means sometimes going against what the fans want. 

"When a supporter asks me, 'why don't you keep Mertens?' I can only reply that he offered himself to us for another year, because he knows that he's 35 and then has to retire.

"If he makes it a matter of cold, hard cash, then I have to say no. If I have to pay a disproportionate salary to Mertens, that would take money away from next season's budget."

Napoli have already waved goodbye to Lorenzo Insigne, David Ospina, Kalidou Koulibaly and Arkadiusz Milik during this transfer window.

 

Mertens departs Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, where he arrived in 2013 from PSV, as the club's all-time record scorer with 148 goals.

The 35-year-old scored 11 goals in 30 Serie A outings last season, with his 126 minutes per goal the fourth-best return of any player in Serie A to have netted at least 10 times.

He made 397 appearances for Napoli, placing him behind Insigne (434), Antonio Juliano (505), Giuseppe Bruscolotti (511) and Marek Hamsik (520).

Providing further details on the contract offered to the club legend, De Laurentiis said: "I presented him with €4million per season gross and he refused. 

"So I said thank you very much to you, your son Ciro, your wife, for everything you've done here and the extraordinary goals scored, but we cannot go beyond our capabilities.

"I need to have money to buy young players who can represent Napoli in future seasons. 

"When we changed all the older players to bring in those like Mertens and Koulibaly, the fans were doubtful, but they became champions here."

Leonardo Bonnuci feels Matthijs de Ligt's comments on his desire to depart Juventus showed a lack of respect to the Bianconeri, after the latter completed his move to Bayern Munich.

The Netherlands international sealed his switch to the Bundesliga champions from Turin earlier this month, ending his three-year stint at the Allianz Stadium.

De Ligt made no secret of his desire to move away from Juve, particularly after missing out on the Scudetto in each of the last two seasons.

But while Bonucci wishes his former defensive partner the best, he admits he had to address some of his words before he departed.

"De Ligt’s exit didn’t surprise me because certain comments made it clear he didn’t want to stay at Juventus," the Italy international stated after the Bianconeri beat Guadalajara 2-0 in a pre-season friendly in Las Vegas.

"But I think at the end of the day, you need to be respectful. The group he was with for three years helped him grow, and the club invested in him.

"I wish him the best, but certain comments he made on international duty were not very nice. We spoke about it after our holidays, and he understood.

"Bayern are a great club, but just being at a top club doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to win."

Bonucci, meanwhile, has not given up hope of completing his club trophy cabinet.with Juventus, despite their recent drop in form.

A multiple Serie A and Coppa Italia winner during his time in Turin - along with a Euro 2020 triumph with the Azzurri - the Champions League remains the last major club honour to elude him, having been a beaten finalist on two occasions.

"When I joined, my dream was to have a great career and win everything," he added. "I’ve almost achieved it; I’m 90 per cent there. I’m just missing that tiny piece, which hurts us Juve fans.

"Let’s hope that over the next two years of my contract we can find stability in Europe again. Winning is always difficult. The first step is to reach the quarter-finals, then you need luck.

"In a season so unique, anything can happen, so why not believe in Juve’s future in Europe?"

Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado believes "a very strong Juve is being born" ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

The Colombia international was speaking after a 2-0 friendly win over Mexican side Guadalajara in Las Vegas; Marco Da Graca and Mattia Compagnon on target at the Allegiant Stadium.

Juventus struggled at the beginning of last season, but they soon picked up under head coach Massimiliano Allegri and finished fourth in Serie A to ensure Champions League qualification.

While they have lost key defender Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich, the Bianconceri have brought in the likes of Angel Di Maria and the returning Paul Pogba on free transfers, as well as Bremer from Torino.

Cuadrado was positive about both the Guadalajara win and the future of Juventus, telling the club's official channels: "[It was] a beautiful evening, even if it was a friendly match.

"For us, it is always important to seek victory, and we have. Chivas are a good team, but we now want to also do well in the next matches.

"A very strong Juve is being born, with many quality players, great new arrivals."

And it is clear that head coach Allegri is putting the players to work ahead of the forthcoming Serie A campaign.

When asked what the boss was asking of them in pre-season, Cuadrado replied: "Run, run, run."

Bayern Munich have reportedly enquired with Tottenham about the availability of star England striker Harry Kane – and it is said that the Premier League side have not made him untouchable.

The Bundesliga champions are on the hunt for a replacement up front after losing club legend Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona, and the report from BILD claims they view the 28-year-old as a viable option long-term.

Kane has two years remaining on his contract, but if negotiations over an extension begin to trend in a direction that indicates he may leave, the club could have no choice but to cash in before potentially losing him for free.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN VIEW KANE AS IDEAL LEWANDWOSKI REPLACEMENT

Kane has emerged as England's best striker in recent years, racking up 50 international goals from 73 senior caps, while also putting together eight straight seasons with at least 24 goals in club competitions.

Tottenham's number nine would undoubtedly command a monstrous transfer fee – likely upwards of £100million – but with Antonio Conte's side competing in the Champions League this season, and with aspirations of conquering the Premier League, they may decide they prefer the player over the money.

What Bayern's interest does is increase Kane's leverage for his contract negotiations, with it now clear the top teams in the world value him as one of the game's great goalscorers.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal are offering Bukayo Saka a contract that would double his salary in an effort to fend off interest from rival clubs, including Manchester City.

– According to The Athletic, Chelsea and Tottenham have both made enquiries about Newcastle United forward Allan Saint-Maximin.

West Ham have agreed to a £30.5m deal for in-demand 23-year-old Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca, according to The Guardian, after Paris Saint-Germain also signalled their interest in the Italian recently.

– Free agent Andrea Belotti desires a move to the Premier League now that his seven-year stint at Torino has come to an end, with The Sun reporting Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham are potential landing spots.  

– Express is reporting Leeds United are reaching advanced stages in their £17m chase of 20-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward Arnaud Kalimuendo.

Giuseppe Marotta says Inter did not need Paulo Dybala and offered no guarantees Milan Skriniar will stay at San Siro.

Dybala was strongly linked with a move to the Nerazzurri, but this week joined Serie A rivals Roma as a free agent after his Juventus contract expired.

Inter have added firepower by bringing Romelu Lukaku back to the club on loan from Chelsea and playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan also signed after leaving Roma.

With Lautaro Martínez, Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa among the other frontmen in Simone Inzaghi's squad, Inter managing director Marotta believes it would have made no sense to snap Dybala up.

He told DAZN: "There has been a lot of talk, I can simply say that he is a serious guy and a great professional, but we have an offensive department of great value.

"There was no space, not because he was not good, but because there was no need."

 

Skriniar has less than a year remaining on his Inter contract and the centre-back is reportedly a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

Marotta says the club will not keep the Slovakia international at all costs. 

He added: "We had this meeting with the fans and we came out even more strengthened, we took great passion from them. There is a faith in our colours which is a dogma, it was not a protest but they were clarifications.

"We told them that on the one hand we have to build a competitive team and on the other we have to keep an eye on the economic-financial balance.

"Skriniar is a very strong player, he doesn't necessarily have to be put on the market. We had some contacts and everything will be evaluated: the fans, however, must remain calm because the team will always be competitive."

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