Sevilla have completed the signing of defender Tanguy Nianzou from Bayern Munich for a reported fee of €20million.

Nianzou has signed a five-year deal with the Andalusian side.

The 20-year-old came through the youth setup at Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Bayern in July 2020.

He made 28 appearances in all competitions for the Bundesliga giants across two seasons, scoring his only goal for the club in a 4-0 win against Union Berlin in March.

Nianzou is the fourth arrival of the transfer window for Sevilla, joining Marcao, Isco and Alex Telles as head coach Julen Lopetegui looks to mount a challenge in LaLiga and the Champions League.

He could make his debut in Friday's LaLiga clash with Real Valladolid. 

LaLiga, home to the European champions, returns on Friday for another season.

Real Madrid ended the previous campaign by winning the Champions League, the prize they covet most, but it was also a successful year in domestic action.

Carlo Ancelotti's men eased to a record-extending 35th league title by 13 points – that is the gap Barcelona have sought to bridge in the transfer market during the close season. So, just how successfully have they done that?

Stats Perform AI has predicted the outcome of the coming campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and have thrown up some interesting results, with Barca seemingly left still with plenty to do.

MADRID MAINTAIN BUFFER TO BARCA

Given their 35 titles, given their 13-point gap, given their status as European champions, it is surely no surprise Madrid are considered the clear favourites to scoop Spanish football's top prize once again.

The data makes Ancelotti's side 58.75 per cent favourites to retain their crown.

Barca recovered from a dismal start last season to finish second, and they are forecast for the same result again after investing hugely in Robert Lewandowski and Co.

But there is only a 17.0 per cent chance of the title heading to Camp Nou, with Atletico Madrid a predictable third in the rankings and rated as a 12.3 per cent shot.

Those three clubs have accounted for the past 18 championships since Valencia finished top in 2003-04. Now, under Gennaro Gattuso, Valencia have a mere 0.08 per cent chance of returning to the summit, deemed ninth favourites among 11 teams with any hope at all.

Sevilla (4.74 per cent) and Villarreal (4.66 per cent) are the sides most likely to upset the established order.

 

PRECIOUS FOURTH PLACE UP FOR GRABS

There realistically remains only one of the four Champions League places on offer after taking into account Madrid (95.68 per cent), Barca (79.31 per cent) and Atletico (71.56 per cent). Last season, that belonged to Sevilla.

Yet despite Sevilla's high ceiling seeing them fourth favourites for the title, Stats Perform AI expects them to be pushed out of the top four.

After losing defensive duo Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos, Sevilla are given a 47.45 per cent of qualifying for the Champions League, just behind former coach Unai Emery's Villarreal (48.66 per cent), who were seventh last season but reached the semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition.

Real Sociedad (24.79 per cent) and Real Betis (20.39 per cent) are both firmly in the mix, too, although every team in the league have at least a 0.04 per cent hope of contending for Champions League glory.

Athletic Bilbao are expected to be on the outside looking in from eighth place (7.48 per cent for Champions League, 7.42 per cent for Europa League and 10.51 per cent for Europa Conference League).

 

NO ESCAPE THIS TIME FOR MALLORCA

The fight against the drop went right to the wire last term, with three teams still in the mix on the final day.

Granada were the surprise victims of a dramatic scrap, relegated just two weeks after winning 6-2 at Mallorca. Mallorca then earned seven points from their next three games to stay up alongside Cadiz at Granada's expense.

That late recovery may have rescued Mallorca for another year, but Stats Perform AI predicts their LaLiga stay will last no longer than that.

They are 41.27 per cent favourites to go down, even considered more likely for demotion than Girona (39.95), who were promoted via the play-offs.

Real Valladolid, another promoted side, are ranked as the third relegated team (32.74 per cent), yet there is very little to choose between a clutch of clubs, with Cadiz (31.8 per cent) again at risk alongside Elche (31.48 per cent), second-tier champions Almeria (28.86 per cent) and Rayo Vallecano (27.46 per cent).

Isco is determined to prove he is still capable of performing at an elite level after ending his spell in the Real Madrid wilderness by joining Sevilla.

The midfielder, a five-time Champions League winner who made 353 appearances during a nine-year spell with Los Blancos, fell out of favour following Carlo Ancelotti's return to the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

He left the Spanish capital following the expiration of his contract in June, having made just three starts during Madrid's double-winning 2021-22 campaign, playing just 406 minutes in all competitions.

Sevilla swooped to sign the 30-year-old on a free transfer on Monday, and Isco hopes the move will revitalise his career.

"I want to show the level that I have and that I have never lost. It's normal for there to be doubts, but I'll take care of dispelling them," he told the club's media channels after signing a two-year deal.

"It has been a difficult summer, different. I've had too many vacations, I've taken advantage of them to get in shape and now I can't wait to play again, which I haven't done for a while.

"I'm not complaining, I've been lucky because I've played for big clubs and I've won almost everything, but I don't like to think too much about the past but about what's to come."

Isco's arrival in Seville will see him reunited with a familiar face in Julen Lopetegui, who coached him at Madrid in 2018 and during a spell as Spain boss between 2016 and 2018. 

And the playmaker is excited to work with him at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, adding: "He has always trusted me and I like his football, what he proposes. It is a football that is more suitable for my style.

"I thank him for his confidence, which for a footballer is paramount. The confidence he has given me, it has always been the maximum. Now it's up to me to restore his confidence on the pitch and show him that he's not wrong."

Isco could make his Sevilla debut when they begin their LaLiga campaign at Osasuna on Friday. 

Sevilla have completed the signing of Isco on a free transfer after Spain midfielder left Real Madrid at the end of last season.

Isco spent nine years with Madrid, winning three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues in his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, having fallen out of favour, Isco left following the expiration of his contract and Sevilla on Sunday revealed they had reached an agreement in principle to sign the playmaker.

The LaLiga club on Monday confirmed Isco has passed his medical, and will be presented at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium at 9pm local time on Wednesday.

He becomes the club's third signing of the transfer window after Marcao joined from Galatasaray and Alex Telles arrived on loan from Manchester United.

Isco played under Julen Lopetegui briefly at Madrid, but particularly thrived under him with the national team, being involved in 11 goals in 14 games for Spain in all competitions while the Sevilla coach was in charge of La Roja (nine goals, two assists), only bettered by David Silva (17 – 11 goals, six assists).

Sevilla have announced an agreement in principle to sign Spain international Isco on a free transfer.

The 30-year-old brought an end to a nine-year stint with Real Madrid following the expiration of his contract in June, having fallen down the pecking order since Carlo Ancelotti's return to the club.

Isco departed the Spanish capital with a stacked trophy cabinet that includes three La Liga titles and five Champions League triumphs.

Capped 38 times by Spain, though his last call up was in 2019, Isco's move to Sevilla will see him reunite with former national team boss Julen Lopetegui – who also had a brief stint at Real Madrid.

Sevilla confirmed Isco would undergo medical tests on Monday ahead of signing a two-year deal with the club.

The club commence their 2022-23 season at Osasuna on Friday.

Manchester United have offloaded back-up left-back Alex Telles after agreeing to loan him to Sevilla for the season.

Brazil international Telles joined United from Porto in 2020 and, although he featured in only nine Premier League games during his first season, the competition he represented was initially seen as a contributing factor in Luke Shaw's improved form.

Shaw enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in the 2020-21 campaign and also impressed at the delayed Euro 2020 as England reached the final, during which the left-back scored.

The Southampton youth product's form dipped significantly for an underwhelming United last season, however, and as such Telles appeared more regularly, making 18 starts from 21 Premier League outings.

Despite the increased exposure to first-team football, Telles rarely looked entirely convincing, particularly on the defensive side of the game.

His days appeared to be numbered when United confirmed young Dutch left-back Tyrell Malacia as new manager Erik ten Hag's first new signing in early July, and Telles' subsequent pre-season performances in several roles have been unspectacular.

Sevilla had been on the hunt for a second left-back since letting Ludwig Augustinsson move to Aston Villa on loan with an option to buy after a solitary unremarkable campaign at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Telles will be expected to play back-up to Argentina left-back Marcos Acuna, who has marked himself out as a key player at the club after an impressive two seasons in Andalusia.

Sevilla, who will play in the Champions League this season, do not have an option to buy the 29-year-old.

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.

Jules Kounde has detailed the role Xavi played in bringing the defender to Barcelona from Sevilla, describing how "important" it was the coach was pushing for the deal.

The 23-year-old was long courted by Premier League outfit Chelsea, who were widely reported to be set to secure a deal before Barcelona moved to hijack the agreement.

It was the second time in the window a late Barca move had frustrated the English side, with the Blaugrana beating them to the signature of Raphinha from Leeds United, while they also signed Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from the Blues.

For Kounde, though, the key to his decision was the conversations he had with Xavi.

"I had some good conversations with Xavi, he always expressed desire for me to come here, and that was important for me," he told a news conference.

"This is an important moment in my career, and in the conversations, he asked me to continue to do what I was doing in Sevilla, to continue to be aggressive, bring the ball out from the back, distribute, those are some of my strengths. 

"Barcelona is a great club, very demanding as well, and that's something that Xavi talked to me about."

Kounde's arrival at Barcelona comes as part of a significant recruitment drive from Xavi's side, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Christensen and Franck Kessie fellow new arrivals.

However, the France international has an advantage due to his experience of playing in Spain and believes he will quickly settle into the club.

"My knowledge of the league is going to make it easier to adapt as soon as possible, to adapt to the Barcelona style as well," he explained.

"My coach is obviously going to ask me to know my team-mates as well, and that's going to take time, but it won't be a problem.

"There is lots of competition, I think it's very good for the team. It's good to have a lot of competition in each spot; there are lots of games, of course.

"What I have to do here is grow and learn. I'm very young still, and I'm here to help the team at any given moment, whatever the coach asks of me and my team-mates.

"It's good that there is competition, I'm really looking forward to playing, and when there's competition, it's a challenge and that's great."

Arsenal and Sevilla will observe a minute's applause in memory of Jose Antonio Reyes during Saturday's Emirates Cup clash. 

Reyes, who represented Sevilla and Arsenal during his playing career, died in a car accident in June 2019 at the age of 35. 

He lifted the Europa League three times with Sevilla and won two major honours with Arsenal. 

With two of his former clubs set to face off this weekend, Sevilla announced on Friday that a special tribute had been planned. 

Supporters inside Emirates Stadium were encouraged to applaud Reyes in the ninth minute, marking the number he wore on his shirt at Arsenal. 

There will also be a video tribute played on the big screens ahead of kick-off, while managers Mikel Arteta and Julen Lopetegui will exchange shirts before the match. 

Chelsea withdrew their offer to sign Jules Kounde, allowing Barcelona to pounce, according to Sevilla's director of football Monchi.

Barca confirmed on Thursday that they had struck a deal to sign France international Kounde from their LaLiga rivals.

The centre-back, who has been a standout performer since joining Sevilla in 2019, will reportedly cost up to €55million.

Yet only last week, the 23-year-old looked set to join Premier League club Chelsea, who agreed a fee with Sevilla.

Monchi, though, has claimed the Blues opted out of the arrangement after having "doubts".

"On Thursday [July 21] Kounde was 'sold' to Chelsea," Monchi told Sevilla's club media. "They began to have doubts and pulled out. Then Barcelona appeared. The first time [sporting director Mateu] Alemany got in contact was on Monday.

"We received an offer that was lower than what we had in mind, but we renegotiated with them and reached an agreement for a club-record sale."

Monchi added that Chelsea subsequently returned with another bid, but that did not match up to Barcelona's offer.

Kounde was previously linked with Manchester City in 2020, while Chelsea had an approach rebuffed last year, and Monchi explained that Sevilla believed it was the right time to let the player leave.

"This would have been the third time we'd have told him no," Monchi said. "He's a professional, but you have to consider the person as well."

Sevilla now head into the 2022-23 campaign having sold their regular starting centre-backs in Kounde and Diego Carlos, who has left for Aston Villa.

Julen Lopetegui's team looked capable of mounting a title challenge in LaLiga last season, but ultimately fell away and finished fourth as Real Madrid cruised to glory.

Jules Kounde will set himself "no limits" at Barcelona following his transfer from Sevilla, while revealing his famed goal celebration is a tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

The France international sealed a switch to Camp Nou on Thursday, having held out on a lengthy courtship from Chelsea, to become the latest big-name capture amid Xavi's squad revival.

Kounde joins the litany of players to arrive at the Catalan outfit this close season, following the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie through the door.

But despite the rarefied company the centre-back finds himself in, he intends to not allow himself to be limited in comparison and is determined to compete alongside the best to prove his place.

"I’m very proud, very thankful for this opportunity," he stated. "I’m very excited because I’m arriving at a great club with a great team.

"Sevilla is a great club but I think that Barca are the next step in my career at every level, personally and in terms of football, and I'm very excited about this.

"I want to compete in every competition to win, to try and win as much as possible in terms of trophies and games – that's why I'm here.

"I have objectives of course but I set myself no limits. I want to progress at a team level, and individually I want to grow and learn.

"This is a club with great players. Many of them have won trophies before, so I'm going to listen and learn and do the best I can."

Kounde also expanded upon his recognisable goal celebration, and revealed it stems from his love for basketball, in particular the late Los Angeles Lakers star Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020.

"That celebration is because I love basketball and especially Kobe Bryant," the Frenchman added. "It’s the 'black mamba' and it's a tribute to him."

Barcelona have announced they have reached an agreement to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with the Blaugrana seeing off competition from Chelsea.

Kounde, who has starred for Sevilla since arriving from Bordeaux in 2019, seemed set to join Chelsea after also being heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge throughout the 2021 transfer window.

However, despite Barcelona reportedly failing to match Chelsea's offer of £55million (€65m) for the 23-year-old, the Blaugrana had been touted as Kounde's preferred destination.

On Thursday, they announced a deal is now in place with Sevilla for the transfer of the France international, with the move subject to a medical.

 

Kounde ranked first in duels won (169), second in blocks (17) and second in headed clearances (56) among Sevilla players in LaLiga last season.

His arrival represents another major coup for Barca, who have already strengthened their backline by signing Andreas Christensen, as well as completing marquee deals for Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, after bringing in free agent Franck Kessie.

Meanwhile, missing out on Kounde's signature will be another source of frustration for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, with the Blues struggling throughout a pre-season tour of the United States and also being turned down by Raphinha, who favoured a move to Camp Nou.

Chelsea defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso continue to be strongly linked with moves to Barca.

Sevilla sporting director Monchi has seemingly confirmed the imminent sale of Jules Kounde to Barcelona, saying the club "feel good" despite significant departures.

The LaLiga side have already sold Diego Carlos to Premier League side Aston Villa for £26million and Kounde is set to follow his former defensive partner in moving away from Andalusia.

Kounde was also highly touted for a move to Chelsea, but Barca have reportedly swooped in late to land the centre-back - and Monchi appears to have confirmed the exit of the France international.

"When the two best players leave a team, the challenge to replace them is not easy, but we feel good about this," he told the Daily Mail.

"We really trust [Julen] Lopetegui, our manager, because we sell players, but we are sure the players we sign will be better."

Barcelona's deal to sign Kounde is understood to be worth around €55m, giving Sevilla significant funds to land replacements - and they have already signed Brazilian Marcao from Galatasaray.

Sevilla's hunt for further additions will see them continue to utilise a data-led approach that has previously seen them recruit the likes of Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic and Jesus Navas but they have had to adapt their ways in recent years, with other clubs following their lead.

"Many years ago, we started to do things differently, but other teams started to do them, too. We wanted to do something different again and data gives us two main things. It reduces the error factor and the time for decision-making [in recruitment]," he explained.

"In the past, what we had to do was look at 300 players, but today with data, maybe that is reduced to 30 with the right characteristics and you can watch them all. You reduce the time and you reduce the error."

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.

The revolving door at Stamford Bridge could face a potential slow down with the growing wage disparity between the Premier League and the rest of Europe's top five leagues.

Premier League clubs dominate lists of the highest wage spenders in European football and since Roman Abramovich's takeover, Chelsea have long been a prominent figure in that regard.

In a changing marketplace, however, moving players this season has become a trickier task.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER, KEPA STAYING PUT AT CHELSEA

Chelsea are struggling to move Timo Werner and Kepa Arrizabalaga among other players due to wage demands, according to The Telegraph.

The Blues are also finding it tricky to move Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley, despite the club's desire to accommodate potential signings.

Werner has seen the Blues search for attackers this off-season and could potentially be joining Romelu Lukaku out the door, while Kepa has notably been Edouard Mendy's understudy.

Finding a suitable club for the two has the potential to be difficult, however, with both being brought in on lucrative wages.

 

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona will make a final attempt to sign Sevilla's Jules Kounde amid likelier interest from Chelsea, Sport is reporting.

Manchester City have had a £30million bid for Marc Cucurella rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion, who value him around £50m, according to The Athletic.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to offload Georginio Wijnaldum and Roma have emerged as a potential destination for the Netherlands midfielder, Corriere dello Sport reports.

– Juventus are considering the termination of Aaron Ramsey's contract in an attempt to cut heavy wage spending, per Fabrizio Romano.

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