Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri hailed Angel Di Maria as "extraordinary" after the new arrival impressed in the Bianconeri's 2-2 friendly draw with Barcelona.

Allegri also warned the Blaugrana are "back" and ready to compete for silverware after rebuilding their side during a busy transfer window under Xavi.

A brace each for Ousmane Dembele and Moise Kean saw Barca and Juve share an entertaining draw in Dallas, with Di Maria impressing, particularly in the first half.

After the match, Allegri said the Argentine – who won five Ligue 1 titles during a seven-year spell with Paris Saint-Germain before heading to Turin on a free transfer earlier this month – was a top signing for Juve.

"Di Maria is an extraordinary player. He is a champion, and it is a pleasure to see him play," Allegri said. 

"For us, it was a great acquisition."

Juventus were subjected to a tough test against Barcelona, who handed starts to new signings Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, as Xavi's team recorded 20 attempts and enjoyed 58 per cent of the possession in Texas.

And Allegri was pleased with how his side coped against elite opposition as he warned Barcelona will be back in contention for major honours after their recent spending spree.

"Tonight we had a good match against an important team," Allegri added.

"Without a doubt we could have done better on the two goals we conceded, but we had many scoring chances, I'm happy with how it went. We are working very well and tonight was a good test. 

"Attention, Barcelona are back... they have built an important team to return to win. This draw is worth a lot."

Juventus wrap up their tour of the United States against Real Madrid in Los Angeles on Sunday, before travelling to Israel to face Atletico Madrid in their final outing of pre-season.

The tense Frenkie de Jong transfer saga continues with uncertainty on his Barcelona future.

The 25-year-old Dutchman has two years to run on his Barcelona contract, having postponed part of his deal during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Jong is unwilling to accept another pay cut to remain at Camp Nou, though, amid the club's hefty off-season transfer spending.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG DECISION OVER ENGLISH SUITORS

Decisions will be made on Frenkie de Jong's future at Barcelona after their United States tour, with interest from Chelsea alongside Manchester United, reports Sport.

De Jong is reluctant to leave Camp Nou, particularly for a move to Old Trafford, despite ending last season out of favour.

However, the Dutchman is more open to Chelsea's advances, but the Blues are unwilling to pay as much as United, leaving the Blaugrana in a bind.

 

ROUND-UP

– Leicester City have placed a £70million asking price on Wesley Fofana, who is being courted by Chelsea, reports CBS Sports.

Newcastle United are considering a move for Chelsea's Germany international forward Timo Werner, claims Bild. Juventus are also interested in Werner according to Sky Sports.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that ex-Chelsea midfielder Oscar is pushing for a move from Shanghai SIPG to Flamengo, with talks ongoing.

– L'Equipe believes that Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has agreed to a deal with Ligue 1 club Nice, although Leicester City are yet to approve the move.

– Arsenal and Fulham are in talks over an £8m deal for goalkeeper Bernd Leno, claims Sky Sports.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho is trying to woo Manchester United defender Eric Bailly to the Italian capital, reports The Daily Mail.

West Ham have completed the signing of Gianluca Scamacca, with the Italy striker arriving from Sassuolo.

The Hammers have reportedly agreed to pay an initial £30.5million (€36m) plus £5m in add-ons for the 23-year-old, who scored 16 goals in 36 Serie A appearances last season and has signed a five-year contract at West Ham, with an option for a further year.

Only five players - Ciro Immobile (27), Dusan Vlahovic (24), Lautaro Martinez (21), Giovanni Simeone and Tammy Abraham (both 17) - bettered that return, with Scamacca averaging a goal every 134.63 minutes.

He also converted 70.59 per cent of his big chances last term, a figure only bettered by Gianluca Caprari (83.33) and Vlahovic (73.91) among players to hit double figures, and Scamacca will hope to aid West Ham's chances of breaking into the Premier League's top six.

"I am really excited to join West Ham. I've waited a long time for this moment – it's been a dream to play in the Premier League," Scamacca said in a club statement. 

"I feel like West Ham is the perfect team for me. They showed they really wanted me and when I spoke to the manager there was an instant understanding.  

"I can't wait to play and show the supporters what I can do in the West Ham shirt – I hope we will love each other." 

David Moyes' side ended another promising campaign in seventh last time out, also reaching the Europa League semi-finals one year on from a sixth-placed finish.

Scamacca, who has won seven caps for Italy since making his international bow last year, emerged as a hot property last campaign and was linked with a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain before West Ham made their move.

He will join a West Ham attack that scored 60 league goals last term, as Jarrod Bowen (12) and Michail Antonio 10) both reached double figures.

"We've been looking to add more strength to our attacking options for a while, so we're delighted to have got Gianluca in," said Moyes. 

"He comes really well recommended – and we're looking forward to working with him. He's a young centre-forward with a really bright future ahead of him." 

West Ham begin their 2022-23 Premier League season at home to champions Manchester City on August 7.

Aaron Ramsey will become a free agent after Juventus announced his contract with the Italian club had been mutually terminated.

The Wales international joined the Bianconeri in 2019 after his Arsenal contract expired, but he fell out of favour last season and made just three Serie A appearances before joining Scottish side Rangers on loan.

He featured seven times for the Gers in the Scottish Premiership, but his time in Glasgow will be remembered for his crucial penalty shoot-out miss in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville, which Rangers ultimately went on to lose.

The 31-year-old returned to Turin after the loan spell with one year left on his contract, but it has been agreed between the two parties that they will part ways.

The midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to a couple of former clubs, with boyhood club Cardiff City reportedly interested as well as Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest, where he spent a short spell on loan in the 2010-11 season.

Ramsey will be keen to get some minutes under his belt to prepare for the World Cup with Wales in Qatar in November. 

Juventus meanwhile are reportedly interested in Paris Saint-Germain's Leandro Paredes, who spent last season on loan with Sporting Lisbon and could be a player that PSG would be happy to sell.

Christian Eriksen revealed Erik ten Hag's brand of football was a major factor behind his desire to join Manchester United, as he targets World Cup duty with Denmark.

Eriksen arrived at United on a three-year deal this month, having impressed during a short-term spell at Brentford as he made his comeback from suffering a cardiac arrest at the European Championship in June of last year.

Several sides expressed an interest in the midfielder – including his old club Tottenham – but Eriksen decided to link up with another former Ajax favourite in new United boss Ten Hag.

United have impressed in pre-season as Ten Hag bids to implement a more proactive style of play at Old Trafford, and the playmaker is relishing the prospect of turning out for the Dutchman's new-look team.

Asked how influential Ten Hag was in his decision to join United, Eriksen told the club's website: "Very. I want to come here to play football, I didn't come just for the logo itself.

"To speak with the manager, and hear his ideas and have conversations with him on football terms, was great for me to get the decision of coming to Manchester United.

"I think, with the idea of the manager coming in and the ideas he had, and also with my conversations with him, I could see myself playing football in Manchester.

"I think my style of play hopefully fits in his ideas, and it's hopefully something that will connect in a good and positive way. So of course, this style of football, I think it suits me.

"At the same time, it's a very, very big club – if not the biggest. It has a big history, and it's a nice feeling to be part of something that is that big in history.

"The only aim is to go as high as possible and see where it takes us, the aim is definitely to win something."

Eriksen scored one goal and added four assists in 11 Premier League appearances for Brentford, creating 30 chances after making his Bees debut in March, a tally bettered only by Martin Odegaard (38) and Kevin De Bruyne (42) throughout the division.

Meanwhile, since Eriksen made his Premier League bow for Tottenham in September 2013, only De Bruyne (85) has racked up more than his 66 assists in the competition – despite the Dane spending 18 months at Inter and a further half-season out of the game.

Having left Spurs for the Serie A giants in January 2020, Eriksen doubted whether he would return to the Premier League, but he remains grateful for Brentford's role in his comeback.

He said: "I think from my career path, before my incident in the Euros, I wasn't planning to go back to the UK at all. To sit here is definitely something I didn't expect.

"Back then, I wanted to try something new and left Spurs after more than seven years. I went to Italy and it started off tough but ended up being a very, very good place."

Asked about his time with Thomas Frank's Bees, Eriksen added: "I'm forever grateful for what they did. They showed they cared from day one, for wanting me back and being able to give me the stage to perform."

Eriksen also made an emotional return to international football in March, scoring with his first touch in Denmark's defeat to the Netherlands.

With Kasper Hjulmand's team preparing for a World Cup campaign in Qatar later this year, Eriksen says featuring at the tournament for a third time remains an ambition.

"From when I did my rehab last year, that was the aim. The dream was obviously to be back and in condition to go to the World Cup if I could," Eriksen said. "It's something I think we all dream about, playing in the World Cup. It's something that you keep with you forever."

Paulo Dybala began life as a Roma player by insisting he bore no ill feeling towards Inter once his expected switch to San Siro failed to materialise.

Argentine forward Dybala has joined Roma on a free transfer after his contract at Juventus was allowed to expire, with the 28-year-old confident the capital club are becoming an increasingly powerful force.

Inter appeared to be the option that Dybala would choose after his Juve exit, but Nerazzurri managing director Giuseppe Marotta last week said the club had "no space" and "no need" to do that deal. They have brought in Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan during the close season.

"I didn't feel betrayed," Dybala said at a presentation media conference. "Since ending my contract with Juve I spoke to some teams more than others. I have a good relationship with Marotta."

Dybala said Roma general manager Tiago Pinto swayed him towards the Giallorossi, and he expects last season's Europa Conference League trophy triumph to prove a stepping stone to more success.

He said he would not celebrate if he scored in games against Juventus, and refused to speak of a Serie A title challenge – quite justifiably. Roma came home sixth in the league last season and finished 23 points behind champions Milan.

"Roma have won a very important trophy and want to have ambition for the future," Dybala said. "Roma have grown with the coach and the players. Our goal is winning game by game, then later we'll see where we are. Right now there are teams ahead of us for the Scudetto, we have to work to do well.

"I know there is a great desire, but it's too early to talk about it. But I like to win."

So does Jose Mourinho, the Roma head coach who will expect big things from Dybala.

Dybala scored 15 goals and added six assists in 38 games across all competitions last season, a big step in the right direction after a disappointing 2020-21 effort (five goals, three assists in 26 games).

His shot conversion rate of 12.4 per cent was nothing to crow about, however, compared to new Roma team-mate Tammy Abraham, whose rate of 18.18 per cent led to an 18-goal haul.

Now Dybala must put his playmaking attacking skills to work.

"Both Mou and the company showed me seriousness, enthusiasm, awareness," Dybala said at his presentation on Tuesday. "Knowing how Roma are building, I didn't have many doubts about choosing.

"It's up to the coach to decide where I play, wherever is best for the good of the team. I am ready to play wherever he thinks is best. Speaking with Mourinho before moving here was a great pleasure, all the conversations we had were very productive."

Newcastle United are planning a move for out-of-favour Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler, with the Germany international's price tag believed to be in the range of £25million (€29.5m).

Draxler, 28, has spent the past six seasons with the French giants, but his last campaign was mostly from a bench role, with 13 of his 18 Ligue 1 appearances coming as a substitute.

He also had two separate injuries that forced him to miss over a month each time, but with 58 senior caps for Germany and a World Cup right around the corner, he could be a savvy purchase for a club desperate for a marquee signing.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE ENQUIRE ABOUT VERY AVAILABLE DRAXLER

According to French publication Le 10 Sport, Draxler is on Paris Saint-Germain director of football Luis Campos' "blacklist" of players who have no future at the club.

The report says he has been asked to find a way out, and with a relatively low price tag – around half the £40m demanded by Lyon in Newcastle's reported pursuit of Lucas Paqueta – the stars could be aligning for the Magpies to land an established international on a cheaper deal.

Draxler was left out of PSG's pre-season squad for the recent tour of Japan, indicating he already has one foot out the door, but it remains to be seen if Newcastle will be his landing spot.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea are reportedly willing to part ways with Timo Werner, with Foot Mercato claiming the forward was included in an offer to former club RB Leipzig  in exchange for defender Nordi Mukiele, who appears to be PSG-bound.

– Sport believes Chelsea will block Barcelona moves for Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso due to the Spanish club's chase of Blues target Jules Kounde.

– The Guardian is reporting that Gianluca Scamacca will have his medical this week before confirming a £35.5m move from Sassuolo to West Ham.

– According to Calciomercato, Milan have increased their bid for Club Brugge midfielder Charles de Ketelaere to €32m, and are also trying to secure a move for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech.

Barcelona have told Memphis Depay to find a new club after Robert Lewandowski's arrival, according to AS.

New Juventus signing Paul Pogba has suffered a knee injury and will not be part of the team that travels to Dallas to take on Barcelona in a friendly on Tuesday.

The France international recently returned to the club where he previously spent four years between 2012 and 2016, winning four Serie A titles in that period.

But it now appears that Pogba will be spending time on the sidelines, after Juventus released a statement updating fans on the status of the 29-year-old.

The statement on the club's official website said: "Following complaining of pain in his right knee, Paul Pogba underwent radiological examinations that revealed a lesion of the lateral meniscus.

"In the next few hours he will undergo a specialist orthopedic consultation.

"Therefore, in order to continue treatment, he is not taking part in the trip to Dallas."

Pogba's previous spell with the Bianconeri came to an end when Manchester United paid a then-world-record fee of £89.3million (€105m) to take the midfielder back to Old Trafford, where he had spent time as a youngster.

However, after an ultimately underwhelming six-year spell in Manchester, Pogba rejoined Juventus following the expiration of his United contract.

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.

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