Per Mertesacker believes the signing of Gabriel Jesus is a statement of intent from Arsenal as the Gunners aim to return to the Champions League.

Jesus signed for Arsenal earlier in July, joining from Premier League champions Manchester City in a deal reportedly worth £45million.

With Erling Haaland's arrival at City, Jesus was deemed surplus to requirements and will instead lead the Gunners' attacking line as Mikel Arteta's team look to improve on last season's fifth-place finish.

Jesus has not been the only new arrival, with midfielder Fabio Vieira, winger Marquinhos and goalkeeper Matt Turner also joining.

Mertesacker, who manages Arsenal's academy, believes the club's transfer business has shown how determined they are to qualify for Europe's elite club competition.

He spoke to Sky Sports about the deal for Jesus, who scored twice in a 5-3 friendly win over Nurnberg on Friday.

"The way that we could convince him to come fairly early in the transfer window, not waiting too long, I think that we are proactive," Mertesacker said. "We are making our points clear to the players’ families and agents. We have got the right arguments and players are willing to come to us and bring us back to the Champions League and where we belong."

Two players returning to Arsenal's squad after spending parts of last season out on loan are Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Nelson helped Feyenoord reach the final of the Europa Conference League, where they lost to Roma, the Italian club where Maitland-Niles spent the back half of the campaign.

"To see them in the leagues of Europe, they went to Holland and Italy. Fantastic experience for them, hopefully they'll benefit from it," said Mertesacker of the returning loanees.

"Whether that's here with us or whether they need to go somewhere else, that's obviously the decision of [technical director] Edu and Mikel."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised the organisation of the Champions League final in May at the Stade de France.

The European showpiece at France's national stadium was twice delayed for what UEFA initially described as "security reasons" outside the ground due to crowd congestion.

The match started 36 minutes late, with Real Madrid eventually triumphing 1-0 over Klopp's men thanks to a second-half Vinicius Junior goal.

Initially, France's government insisted that between 30,000 and 40,000 fans had arrived without valid tickets, causing the delay, but this claim was questioned by the French senate in the days following the final.

Pepper spray and tear gas was used against supporters waiting to enter the stadium, and Madrid also called for explanations regarding the security breakdown, with reports suggesting their supporters were pickpocketed and assaulted outside the venue.

Speaking to ESPN ahead of Liverpool's first pre-season friendly against Manchester United in Bangkok as part of their preparations for the 2022-23 campaign, Klopp urged the authorities to learn lessons from the experience.

A French senate report into what happened is due to be released later this week, while UEFA have commissioned an independent inquiry to be led by Portuguese politician Dr Tiago Brandao Rodrigues.

"A lot of people have had to take back what they said before," Klopp said. 

"Our people are behind it [the inquiry] and want to make sure that we really get the full truth in the end. That will be really important for the future because people shouldn't be afraid of going to a Champions League final.

"In their minds, it should just be excitement and joy, looking forward to it. Not 'how can I get into the stadium?' That shouldn't be part of the preparation.

"We can't change it for this day anymore, but we can change it for all other days. It was a special situation because it was rather late that Paris knew it would host the final, but I think there was enough time.

"Saint-Denis, the stadium, they have a lot of events. It could have been better and they know it."

UEFA issued a formal apology to spectators in the days after the final, and Klopp said what he was being told by family of Liverpool's players and staff differed greatly from what was being alleged to have happened by the authorities.

"I think we are getting closer [to knowing what happened]," he added. "In the first week or so, when I was on holiday, the distance between what happened and what was delivered was quite big.

"You think, 'ok, because we were not outside, we didn't know', but we got information first-hand because our families were and they had to go exactly through that path. The owners had to go through this.

"If you haven't experienced it yourself, you listen to the people who know and they will tell you the truth. I know the truth, I know what happened.

"Why it happened? I think you can have a sense that it definitely was not perfectly organised.

"It's definitely true as well that we were all lucky that nothing else happened because when you have a situation like this, everything, anything can pretty much happen.

"That's the positive outcome of it, but apart from that, when you speak of the Champions League final that day, it should be 'how did we lose the game?' But nobody speaks about that.

"It is all about the circumstances around it. Yes, it might take time, but it's important that it is clarified."

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag insisted Cristiano Ronaldo is a part of his plans going forward, amid growing speculation of a departure.

Reports have linked the 37-year-old to a move away from Old Trafford, with the Portugal international's desire to play in and compete for the Champions League cited as a reason.

United finished sixth in the Premier League last season despite Ronaldo's 18 goals, ending the season way off the Champions League spots on 58 points – their lowest-ever total in the Premier League era.

Though United insisted the striker, signed from Juventus last year, was not for sale, Ronaldo added fuel to the fire when he failed to report for pre-season training last week.

Ten Hag, however, has reaffirmed the club's stance.

"So, he's not with us. That's due to personal issues," Ten Hag said in a news conference ahead of a meeting with rivals Liverpool in Bangkok.

"We are planning with Ronaldo for this season – that's it. I'm looking forward to working with him.

"He hasn't told me [he wants to leave]. I have read but as I say, Cristiano is not for sale, he's in our plans and we want to get success together.

"I spoke with him before this issue came up. I had a conversation with him and had a real good talk."

Meanwhile, United remain linked with a move for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, with the view of bolstering a weak point in midfield.

Ten Hag was unwilling to provide details on potential transfers, but said their search for reinforcements this off-season continues.

"We want to have the right player," Ten Hag added. "We have a really good squad, we're working on developing our way of play and if the opportunity is there, we will strike.

"Definitely, we are searching for players in the midfield and also in offence we are still looking for players. I never talk about players who are not under contract, players at different clubs. I cannot tell you anything about this issue."

After facing Liverpool on Tuesday, United head to Australia to take on Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in Australia.

Erling Haaland believes he can play a key role in delivering the Champions League title that Manchester City are craving.

The Etihad Stadium giants have scooped the Premier League title in four of the past five seasons, but they have yet to be crowned kings of Europe.

That rankles, as City believe they are ideally equipped to challenge the continent's best, and the arrival of a clinical striker of Haaland's ilk should only strengthen their hand.

By bringing in the 21-year-old from Borussia Dortmund, City have made a statement signing, landing a player the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have also admired.

When it was put to Haaland that he might be "a big piece in the jigsaw" when it comes to City's Champions League aspirations, Haaland gave a strong clue regarding his ambition on that front.

"What I'm going to say, and I've said it before, the Champions League is my favourite competition. So I think you have your answer there," he told a news conference.

"This is a big challenge, it's a new country, a new league, a new coach. But I know how it is to come to a new club. I've done it a couple of times before, so I'm really looking forward to it.

"[I will handle pressure] like I've been doing my whole career, trying to enjoy every single minute, every moment and trying not to think too much because overthinking is not a good thing for every human being. I try to relax when I can relax and enjoy every single moment I can and to work hard."

Haaland has gone from Bryne to Molde, to Salzburg, then on to Dortmund, and now he has switched to City. He believes the career trajectory, guided by his father Alf-Inge and his late agent Mino Raiola, has gone as well as anyone could have hoped.

"We've been doing every step perfectly now," Haaland said. "I have a good and small team around me that is focused a lot.

"I have really good friends from my home town, and I have people who push me when they should push me and stop me when they should stop me. I have a really good mix of people around me that make me better every day, and that's what I want."

Haaland said facing City in the Champions League with Dortmund in April 2021, when Pep Guardiola's side won 2-1 in each leg of the quarter-final, had been an eye-opener when it came to appreciating the team's quality.

"You see something on TV, and when you meet it, it's completely different," Haaland said. "I didn't touch the ball for 25 minutes in the game.

"It's a different level, I have to say, how they approach and play the game and how they create chances, and that's what I wanted to be a part of."

He put his decision to join City down to "the feeling in my stomach", convinced they are the right team for him.

Haaland wants to make an instant impact and pointed to how he hit the ground running with Dortmund in January 2020, helped by a player now at Manchester United.

"In Dortmund, it worked really well with Jadon Sancho," Haaland said. "In my debut, after one minute he assisted me, a really nice ball from him and a nice goal, and it's about getting to know each other to play with each other, so we can perform at the highest level.

"I've watched Manchester City ever since Pep Guardiola took over in 2016, so I think I know exactly how they play, and I think I know a lot about everything."

Erling Haaland is aiming to follow Sergio Aguero into the hearts of Manchester City supporters after drawing thousands to his presentation on Sunday.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker has joined as the spearhead of the latest incarnation of Pep Guardiola's City team.

After winning the Premier League title last season while often playing with a 'false nine' forward, City will put their faith in penalty box predator Haaland in the new campaign.

Haaland, who turns 22 on July 21, has joined a City side who have yet to win the Champions League, which is the big target now.

The new boy will be expected to contribute a flood of goals both domestically and in Europe, and he said: "I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be really nice. I'm sure we're going to have a good time together.

"The expectations for this season is to come into the new team, to get to know everyone of course now and get the connections and have fun. When I have fun, I score goals, I win games, so it's easy."

There is good reason for the high expectation that has surrounded Haaland's arrival. The Norwegian scored 86 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions during two and a half years at Dortmund, with only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games) from Europe's top five leagues scoring more in that time.

Last season, Haaland scored 29 goals in 30 games on all fronts at a rate of one goal every 3.6 attempts, and he put away 65.8 per cent of his big chances.

"It's an amazing team and we just have to continue and to get a little bit better," Haaland said of his City challenge. "It's not much to say, I'm just looking forward to everything."

Haaland's father, Alf-Inge, played for City and was present on Sunday for the presentation that took place outside the Etihad Stadium.

"It's going to be nice, my father played here for a couple of years," said Haaland. "It's always special when your father did something, and you get to do some the same things that he did, it's a bit special."

Asked about his idols as a boy, Haaland said: "Of course my dad, but in City I have many jerseys at home from Aguero, so of course him, so from City it was him.

"I love strikers because I've always been a striker myself. Aguero's a good example of scoring goals."

Argentinian Aguero is City's record scorer, leaving for Barcelona a year ago after netting 254 goals for the club in a 10-year spell. He has since retired.

City paraded Haaland along with fellow forward Julian Alvarez and new back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega on Sunday. They could make their first appearances on the upcoming pre-season trip to the United States.

Kalvin Phillips, acquired from Leeds United, was expected to join them at the presentation but was reportedly absent due to illness.

Asked which team he was most looking forward to facing, Haaland could not resist expressing his impatience for derby day. City are due to play Manchester United on October 1.

"I have to say I don't like to say the words, but Manchester United, yeah," Haaland said. "I think it's going to be a really good time together.

"Let's get this pre-season gone quick and good and I can't wait to get started with the important games, and games all the time."

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool will head into the 2022-23 season "as confident as possible" about the prospect of challenging on all fronts once again.

Liverpool fell short of an unprecedented quadruple last season, faltering in both the Champions League final and on the last day of the Premier League season after lifting the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

Liverpool relied on penalties in both of their cup successes as they failed to score in five and a half hours of football in major finals last season, which led to concerns over their ruthlessness in front of goal.

Darwin Nunez has since arrived at Anfield from Benfica in a deal reportedly worth £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m in potential add-ons, in a move that Klopp will hope provides greater reliability in attack.

Star forward Mohamed Salah has also penned a contract extension and, despite Sadio Mane leaving for Bayern Munich, Klopp remains convinced Liverpool can compete with Manchester City once more.

"As confident as possible. You never know obviously but I saw today on the plane a squad full of quality," he told reporters at Sunday's news conference in Thailand, where Liverpool are on a pre-season tour. 

"You always need a little bit of luck, how we all know, if you want to win a trophy. But to play a good season you need first and foremost consistency, that's what it's all about and that's what we will try.

"I have no doubt about the quality of the boys. We brought in new players – yes, we lost a few players – but we brought in new players; if you want, fresh blood, really helpful.

"There are no places already sorted, who will play where. The boys will make pressure, which is important.

"We have five subs from now on in the Premier League as well – we have to get used to that, we have to adapt to that. I'm really looking forward to it.

"There are no guarantees in football but there's a good chance that we play another good season, I would say."

Liverpool face fierce rivals Manchester United in Bangkok on Tuesday in what will be Erik ten Hag's first game in charge of the Red Devils.

The Reds hammered United by an aggregate scoreline of 9-0 in the Premier League last season, and Klopp insists there will be no such thing as a friendly between the two teams.

"Manchester United, a new manager, trained a little bit longer than us so might be, I'm not sure, in a better situation in the moment," he added.

"But we see it as an important test because it's against United and we don't play friendlies, obviously both teams don't play friendlies against each other, so we will see what we can do.

"We never prepare for one match, we prepare for a full season. That means the boys who started Monday last week had a proper start so far, we could train in the way we wanted.

"We had now a full week already and we are now here to play two games in Asia, first this one and then in Singapore against Crystal Palace. So, we have to see.

"We have to train and we have to play, it means the games are actually like a session as well but the boys have to go really hard.

"Let's see where we stand in this specific moment and then we can go home to England and then we go from there to Austria for another camp."

Juventus must challenge for both the Champions League and Serie A crowns this coming season after recruiting Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria.

That is according to Juve and Italy great Gianluca Zambrotta, who also told Stats Perform he expects Inter to be a stronger force with Romelu Lukaku back at the club.

Juve confirmed the signing of former Paris Saint-Germain forward Di Maria on Friday, with fellow free agent Pogba also set to join following his departure from Manchester United.

Pogba knows the Turin giants well having already spent four seasons at the Allianz Stadium, winning the Scudetto in each of those and making 178 appearances in total.

Fellow former United player Di Maria is playing in Italy for the first time, meanwhile, with this the Argentina international's sixth different club in as many countries.

And having brought in players boasting plenty of pedigree, Zambrotta says challenging for Serie A alone – after back-to-back fourth-place finishes – will not be enough for Juve.

"Juventus will certainly have to play a different championship because they must return to be competitive not only in Italy but also in Europe," he said. 

"And they have to do that right away and not just a little bit because they cannot think to wait any more."

Pogba and Di Maria join a squad already boasting the likes of January recruit Dusan Vlahovic and winger Federico Chiesa, who is closing in on a return from a long-term lay-off.

That will be a welcome headache for Massimiliano Allegri, while fierce rivals Inter must also find a way to slot Lukaku back into the side following his return on loan from Chelsea.

"Juve could play with Di Maria on one side, Chiesa on the other side and Vlahovic in the middle," said 2006 World Cup winner Zambrotta, who spent seven years with Juve.

"It is clear that it becomes an important attack, very, very technical and very dynamic on the wings. 

"At Inter, Lukaku is a player who [Simone] Inzaghi did not want to leave anyway, then he left but Inter did very well anyway. 

"So he is a player who certainly can be important for Inter and that the coach clearly values, and he will certainly do well paired with Lautaro Martinez. 

"Then there are many attackers who are possibly leaving. Nobody knows who will come out and who will arrive again. But Lukaku and Martinez are already well tested."

A return to Real Madrid would be the best move for Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Portugal team-mate Jose Fonte.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has reportedly asked for a move away from Manchester United, just one season after returning to Old Trafford from Juventus.

Despite scoring 24 goals during the 2021-22 campaign, Ronaldo could only help United to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League, thus missing out on qualification for the Champions League.

Having been due to return to training on Monday before he was granted extra time off due to a family issue, Ronaldo is set to miss the club's pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, with the squad set to depart on Friday.

That has further fuelled widespread speculation the 37-year-old's second spell with the Red Devils is nearing its end.

The Portugal skipper was linked with a move to Bayern Munich, though chief executive Oliver Kahn has ruled out an approach from the Bundesliga champions.

But international team-mate Fonte believes a return to Madrid would be the best outcome for Ronaldo, who won four Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles with Los Blancos between 2009 and 2018, as well as becoming the club's all-time leading scorer with 450 goals.

Lille defender Fonte, who along with Ronaldo was part of the Portugal squad that won Euro 2016, told talkSPORT: "What I do know is that the man loves the Champions League. 

"He believes it is the best competition in the world and knows how he has to perform [in it] to win Ballons d'Or.

"He needs to be winning trophies and competing for trophies for the Ballon d'Or. He is a serial winner, as everyone knows.

"He might be looking at the [United] squad and thinking, 'Am I going to be able to win some trophies this year?' Maybe he doesn't believe it. I don't know. Only he can say.

"Would he go back to Madrid? That would be, for him, the best. If they want him back or not, that's a different question."

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Ajax striker Sebastien Haller on a four-year deal worth a reported €36million.

The 28-year-old joins the Bundesliga side following the sale of Erling Haaland to Manchester City, with Dortmund also landing exciting forward Karim Adeyemi from RB Salzburg earlier in the transfer window.

After a disappointing stint in the Premier League with West Ham, Haller excelled in Holland with Ajax during a prolific 18-month spell that included 11 goals in just eight Champions League appearances in the 2021-22 season.

That included a four-goal haul in Ajax's first group-stage match against Sporting, as well as goals in both of their fixtures against Dortmund. All in all, he scored in all but one of Ajax's Champions League matches – the exception being a 1-0 defeat to Besiktas in the second leg of the Round of 16.

 

Haller also finished top of the Eredivisie scoring charts with 21 goals last term and has history in Germany, where he scored 33 goals and registered 19 assists during a two-season stint with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Dortmund confirmed Haller's arrival on their official website on Wednesday, with the Ivory Coast international to take Haaland's number nine shirt from this coming season.

"We are very pleased that we were able to sign Sebastien Haller, a seasoned center-forward who recently caused a sensation in the Champions League, but who also knows the Bundesliga in particular and has already proven his class and high finishing quality there," Dortmund's new sports director Sebastian Kehl said. 

"The overall package is very promising. Sebastien has a high level of physical presence and is also very resilient physically. With his experience, he can give our young players support and stability on the offensive. In the talks with us, he made it clear that he would like to achieve something with BVB."

Dortmund begin the new season with a DFB-Pokal clash against 1860 Munich on July 26, with their Bundesliga campaign starting at home against Bayer Leverkusen on August 6.

Vinicius Junior says he faces "a long road" to compete for the Ballon d'Or, as he tipped team-mate Karim Benzema to be named the world's best player this year.

Vinicius scored the only goal of the game as Real Madrid beat Liverpool to win their 14th Champions League title in May, having also played a key role in Los Blancos' dominant La Liga triumph.

The Brazilian scored 22 goals and recorded 16 assists in all competitions during the 2021-22 season, the latter figure representing a team-high total and one bettered only by Thomas Muller (22), Kylian Mbappe (21) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (18) among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Brazil's 2002 World Cup winner Rivaldo recently tipped Vinicius to challenge for the title of the world's best as early as next year, but the winger believes the examples set by fellow Madrid stars Benzema and Luka Modric show he has a long way to go.  

"It's [the Ballon d'Or] something that has to come naturally," Vinicius told YouTube channel Que Papinho. 

"Karim is 35 years old and now he will win it, Modric won it at 33 [in 2018].

"I have many years to evolve, a very long road for me if God wants me to win it one day."

Benzema's total of 59 goal contributions (44 goals, 15 assists) was only bettered by Mbappe (39 goals, 21 assists) in Europe's top five leagues last term, and Vinicius says his fellow Blancos attacker is the perfect role model. 

"I'm only 21 years old. I want to follow players like Karim, Modric, Marcelo, who won five Champions League titles," he added.

"I want to get as close to them as possible. That's when someone can call me that [a role model].

"Benzema repays the affection I have for him. He was a player I followed for a long time. I'm a big fan and being able to play with him today is incredible.

"He recently in an interview put me in his top five in the world, so I'm really happy."

Mauricio Pochettino expressed his pride at ending his Paris Saint-Germain tenure as a Ligue 1 champion after his departure was confirmed.

PSG confirmed Pochettino's long-expected exit on Tuesday, appointing former Lille and Nice coach Christophe Galtier as his replacement on a two-year contract.

Despite PSG winning their 10th Ligue 1 title in dominant fashion last season, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Pochettino since a spectacular collapse in a 3-2 aggregate Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in March.

That represented PSG's fourth last-16 Champions League elimination in the last six seasons, while the former Tottenham boss also missed out on the Ligue 1 title to Lille – coached by Galtier – in his first half-season in France.

Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) acquired the club in 2011, meanwhile, only Carlo Ancelotti (63.6) has recorded a lower win percentage as PSG boss than Pochettino (65.5).

But writing on Instagram, Pochettino chose to focus on his successes and expressed his gratitude at being given the chance to lead the club, for whom he made 95 appearances as a player.

"I want to wish everyone at PSG the very best for the future – the owners, the board, the players, all the staff and the supporters," Pochettino wrote.

"To Nasser [Al-Khelaifi, PSG president] – I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the PSG family again.

"We enjoyed some amazing moments and big wins all together and, as a coaching staff, with every experience we always take learnings to advance our evolution for the future.

"We are proud to finish as league champions at a club that has meant so much to me and my family, from my time here as a player and a captain, and now as a coach."

Well that was all a bit forgettable, wasn't it?

Mauricio Pochettino is no longer Paris Saint-Germain head coach after the two parties agreed to part ways.

The club confirmed their parting on Tuesday, with former Lyon and Nice coach Christophe Galtier expected to come in as his replacement.

It was an appointment that excited many and seemed to promise much, given the fine job the Argentine had previously done at Tottenham.

But as it transpired, Pochettino simply became the latest in a succession of top-class coaches to fall short of PSG's ultimate goal: winning the Champions League.

Frankly, when rumours of Pochettino's departure began to swirl in June, few would have been surprised. In reality, he's looked close to the brink for most of his 18 months in charge – some might even suggest he's lucky to have lasted this long.
 

Success tempered by failure

Let's not forget, the mighty PSG were pipped to the Ligue 1 title by Lille in the 2020-21 campaign, a few months into Pochettino's reign. His brief time in charge clearly wasn't seen as much of an excuse given there were reports claiming his job was already under threat by April 2021.

Talk of a potential return to Tottenham surfaced and then evaporated as PSG seemingly opted to stand by him, with the fact he got them to the Champions League semi-finals potentially showing there was a reason for optimism.

And then there was the connection with fellow Rosario-native and boyhood Newell's Old Boys fan Lionel Messi. Keeping Pochettino around surely couldn't do any harm with respect to helping the six-time Ballon d'Or winner settle in Paris.

While Pochettino can't solely be blamed for Messi not hitting similar heights to his Barcelona days, it's fair to say their connection has proven only anecdotal.

Of course, Pochettino does depart having won three trophies, including this season's Ligue 1 title. But at PSG, that is not even the bare minimum these days if good progress isn't made in Europe.

Were it not for Karim Benzema's almost superhuman exploits in the Champions League this season, who knows how far PSG would have gone?

They were 2-0 up on aggregate thanks to Kylian Mbappe's brilliance, but then Benzema took over. His 17-minute hat-trick in the second half of the second leg turned the tie on its head, and Madrid went on to enjoy similarly great escapes against Chelsea and Manchester City before beating Liverpool in the final.

Maybe that could have been PSG, but instead they were dumped out in the round of 16 for the fourth time in six seasons. The writing was on the wall for Pochettino.
 

A risk-free move or thankless task?

Joining Manchester United seemed to make sense as they stepped up their search for a permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Erik ten Hag was ultimately the chosen one, robbing PSG of an easy solution to their problem.

It might be going too far to suggest Pochettino's reputation hasn't been damaged by a lack of (European) success and finishing second in Ligue 1 last season. After all, he has arguably underachieved – but in the context of PSG since the takeover, which coaches haven't?

Former PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti has now won the Champions League twice since leaving the Parisians. Unai Emery took Villarreal to the semi-finals this season. Thomas Tuchel won the competition with Chelsea just a few months after being shown the exit.

While the point isn't necessarily that PSG were wrong to let Ancelotti leave or get rid of Emery and Tuchel when they did. Rather, Pochettino's inability to end the club's Champions League wait needn't define him or colour his reputation.

Pochettino will likely still be sought after the next time one of Europe's biggest clubs is on the look-out for a new head coach, because to succeed at PSG is arguably one of the toughest tasks in football.

Sure, they sit on a pit of money and it seems like they enjoy a clean sweep of the domestic trophies most years, but the gulf to the rest of Ligue 1 is generally so massive that there's a degree of PSG almost being underprepared when heading into European competition.

Perhaps Pochettino was wrong to take the job in the first place. Given their tendency to throw money around with little regard, placing greatest importance on big-reputation signings, there was always likely to be an element of the club being mismatched with a coach whose teams are typically hard-working. But he'd have seen it almost as a free pass.

Ironically, PSG have now insisted they are looking to change their ways, and move away from "bling-bling" signings. Even the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo potentially becoming available is reportedly not interesting them. We'll see how long that lasts, though.

PSG is a poisoned chalice, but as Pochettino's predecessors have shown, failure at the Parc des Princes needn't be his ruin. It's Galtier's problem now.

Gian Piero Gasperini has revealed he was ready to leave Atalanta at the end of last season, but decided to remain in Bergamo due to his respect for the club's owners and love for the fans.

Gasperini took charge of Atalanta in 2016, with the club having posted five consecutive bottom-half Serie A finishes.

The former Inter boss immediately oversaw a dramatic transformation in the club's fortunes, implementing a relentless attacking style while securing fourth place in his first season at the helm, before leading them to three consecutive third-place finishes between 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Atalanta scored a staggering 188 league goals across the latter two of those campaigns, also reaching the Champions League knockout stages in both seasons.

But their momentum stalled last season as they finished eighth in Serie A, leading to speculation 64-year-old Gasperini could depart.

Gasperini said he was unsure of his future in May, but has now confirmed his desire to remain in Bergamo and build a new "young and strong" team.

"With [Atalanta president Antonio] Percassi there is a relationship of esteem and gratitude. I told him, 'maybe I'm the one who has to go away', but he absolutely didn't want it," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now the momentum to start again is with us. If I am still here, it is because of the strong bond with the city. 

"I perceived the demand of the people strongly and this conditioned me, because I was really ready to leave, if the club had wanted me to. 

"Atalanta will be young and strong. I stayed for the people. There is a desire for revenge. 

"We are not big, we are working to become big. In the meantime, we will fight, we will have fun."

Gasperini's men were hampered by the unavailability of strike duo Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic for long periods last season, as the two forwards hit just 13 league goals between them and managed only 1,732 and 836 minutes of Serie A football respectively. 

And he believes the club's failure to invest heavily in the transfer market after benefiting from Champions League revenue exacerbated their issues. 

"New energies would have helped us," he added.  "We have had some important sales, substantial revenues from the Champions League, but we have remained very static, especially up front. 

"In the last two years, with the resources available, it was the right time to introduce a new champion like [now-Sevilla attacker Alejandro] Gomez and Ilicic. Other profiles have arrived.

"What I asked for was not done and we found ourselves on the edge."

Gasperini's seventh Serie A season with Atalanta will begin with a trip to Sampdoria on August 13, before they host champions Milan eight days later.

Mohamed Salah landed a bumper new contract through to 2025 and vowed to repay Liverpool's belief in him by firing Jurgen Klopp's Reds to more trophies.

Uncertainty over the Egyptian forward's future had lingered for months, with no clear sign of a breakthrough in negotiations between the club and the player's representatives until a deal was announced on Friday.

With Sadio Mane being allowed to leave for Bayern Munich since the end of last season, the importance of securing Salah was ramped up, and now the 30-year-old has confirmed he will stay at Anfield.

He could have walked away at the end of the 2022-23 season on a free transfer, had he not agreed to new terms, but that worrying prospect has been quashed.

With at least three years more to come of his Anfield career, Salah is convinced he and Liverpool can enjoy huge success in that time.

They threatened a quadruple last term before just missing out to Manchester City in the Premier League title race and losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, having already pouched the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

Salah said of his new deal: "It takes a little bit of time, I think, to renew, but now everything is done so we just need to focus on what’s next.

"I think you can see in the last five or six years the team was always going [upwards]. Last season we were close to winning four, but unfortunately in the last week of the season we lost two trophies.

"I think we are in a good position to fight for everything. We have new signings as well. We just need to keep working hard, have a good vision, be positive and go for everything again."

In an interview for Liverpool's official website, Salah spoke of the departure of Mane to the Bundesliga and the arrival of Uruguayan frontman Darwin Nunez from Benfica, as manager Jurgen Klopp shuffles his pack.

"I'm so excited, I want to play with him," Salah said of Nunez. "He had a good season last season and played well against us home and away [in the Champions League].

"Sadio's leaving, and I'm going to miss him, he had great seasons with the club, so I wish him all the best, and I wish Darwin also all the best to score many goals for us."

Salah had a stellar 2021-22 campaign, finishing level with Tottenham's Son Heung-min in the race to be the Premier League's top scorer, while also managing the most assists in the competition, racking up 13 to finish one ahead of team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold.

It was the third time that Salah has won the Premier League's Golden Boot, having also been top scorer in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.

He won the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players' Player of the Year awards, and taking all competitions into account finished the campaign with 31 goals and 15 assists in 51 appearances, creating 87 scoring chances.

Across his five-season Liverpool career to date, Salah has managed 118 Premier League goals, at an average of one every 126 minutes, a league-best for players who have played at least 100 games in that time.

Salah had been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but Friday's announcement means the former Roma and Chelsea forward's stint with Liverpool is far from over, as he prepares for a sixth season with the Reds.

In a message to supporters, Salah said Liverpool would "try to win all the trophies" in the new campaign.

Sadio Mane insists Robert Lewandowski is "one of the best" strikers in the world, but does not want to be involved in discussions over his future at Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, with the striker after a new challenge following eight seasons at Sabenerstrasse, and 12 in total in the Bundesliga.

Mane arrives this off-season at Bayern in similar circumstances, seeking a departure from Liverpool with a year left on his deal after six seasons at the club, helping them win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, while also winning the African Cup of Nations with Senegal in 2021.

Speaking in an interview with BILD, Mane did not want to get caught up in any unnecessary drama with that in mind.

"Clearly, Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world," Mane said. "But I'm not the right person to talk about his future or to say what the club should do now."

The 30-year-old revealed he was following Bayern Munich during the past season, expressing lament over their Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal despite dominating play, likening it to Liverpool's own exit in the 2019-20 season.

Mane also insisted with his help, this upcoming season in Europe will be improved for the reigning Bundesliga champions.

"Of course I saw the games. Bayern tried everything, but they couldn't perform at their best" he said.

"I know that feeling all too well, that's how we felt at Liverpool against Atletico Madrid. But I assure you, next season will be different. I'm here now and we'll give everything.

"We have to be convinced that we can do anything. And when I look at the quality of this team, I think it's one of the best in Europe."

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