Barcelona lost further ground at the top of LaLiga as Valencia fought back to draw 1-1 at the Mestalla.

Joao Felix had put Barca ahead early in the second half, but Hugo Guillamon fired the hosts level with 20 minutes left.

The draw left Barca in third, but having played a match more than both Real Madrid and leaders Girona as the pressure continues to increase on manager Xavi.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Valencia CF ?? (@valenciacf)

 

Valencia, who had lost three of their last four league matches, created an early chance when Roman Yaremchuk spun to fire goalwards, but Barca keeper Inaki Pena made a smart save down to his left.

At the other end, Robert Lewandowski – without a goal in his last three away LaLiga games – had a shot deflected wide, although the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.

Pena was again called into action in the 16th minute as he got down to clear Cristhian Mosquera’s close-range header.

Valencia keeper Giorgi Mamardashvili saved Lewandowski’s drive from the edge of the penalty area in a lively spell.

The Mestalla crowd were soon calling for a penalty when Pepelu went down under a clumsy challenge from behind by Raphinha, but the referee was not interested.

Mamardashvili had to be alert to parry away an acrobatic effort from Lewandowski before Pedri flashed a rising drive over from the edge of the Valencia box.

Valencia winger Fran Perez hit a low ball through the Barcelona six-yard box which just needed a touch to turn it into the net.

Barcelona, beaten 4-2 at home by Girona last weekend, looked to step up the tempo at the start of the second half, with Ilkay Gundogan sending a first-time shot wide before the deadlock was broken in the 55th minute.

Frenkie De Jong chipped a ball down the right for Raphinha, who cut a pass back through the six-yard box for Felix to tap in at the far post.

Tempers threatened to boil over just after the hour mark when Perez flew into a challenge on Gundogan, and was swiftly shown a yellow card.

Mamardashvili produced a fine low reaction save at his near post after Raphinha had pulled the ball back from the goalline to rifle in an angled drive.

Valencia were back on level terms with 20 minutes left.

Guillamon fired a shot into the top-right corner after Barcelona had failed to clear a high ball into the penalty area from Perez, who was ruled onside following a VAR review.

Mamardashvili made another reflex stop when Barca substitute Ferran Torres latched onto an angled ball in from De Jong.

Barcelona pushed for a winner, but Raphinha was denied at the far post by a brilliant block from Yarek Gasiorowski on the line after Mamardashvili had saved the Brazilian’s initial effort.

Justin Kluivert has "great memories" from his time at Roma, but believes he made the right decision by leaving the Italian giants in search of first-team football.

Kluivert joined Bournemouth earlier this transfer window for a reported £9.6million, ending a five-year stint as a Roma player.

However, the winger had spent the last three seasons out on loan, at RB Leipzig, Nice and Valencia respectively. Kluivert had been close to joining Fulham prior to his switch to Spain.

The 24-year-old joined Roma from Ajax in 2018, but never quite managed to live up to his potential in Serie A.

Asked if he was disappointed at how his move to Roma played out, Kluivert told Stats Perform: "I came from Ajax as a young kid, very young.

"I came to a new environment that was very different, I came from Amsterdam where I lived with my mother, my brothers and to move to a big city like Rome, [to play] in a big team that now plays Champions League – that is very difficult.

"Also, the coach and [technical staff] that brought me there, they left in six months. So there was a new coach, a new director, who have their own plan, and that was also something I had never been through in my football career.

"At Ajax everything was good there, everything was nice. I played, I felt good and then, woah, you sit on the bench four or five games, how do you recover from that?

"That was something I had to learn, but I have a lot of great memories from Roma, and [I had] some great games.

"Especially in the second season, I ended it with seven goals. That was not bad, but just the end of the season - it was not how I hoped [it would be], and I think [for Roma] also.

"It was also in the coronavirus time. And that was not a good time for me, because I was doing well and I was selected for the national team [for Euro 2020], but that got cancelled because of coronavirus, and after that it was not so good.

"I just want to play. I love the sport, so if I don't play four games in a row, or I come in for 50 minutes, I'm not happy with that and I'm still young, so I want to play I want to show my qualities and that's why I chose to go on loan."

One of those loan spells saw Kluivert play alongside Edinson Cavani at Valencia.

"Of course, you learn a lot from somebody like that because the career he has had is unbelievable," Kluivert said of the former Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United striker.

"The goals he scored - it's unbelievable how many - and I learned a lot. It's just the small details, or how he works in the gym.

"It's the small things that make you think 'This is what a top player does', and it's good to learn from these people that have achieved things that you want to achieve.

"So I'm very happy that I've played with him and I learned some great stuff from him."

Espanyol were relegated from LaLiga after a dramatic draw with fellow strugglers Valencia on Sunday.

Luis Garcia's side will not be playing top-flight football next term after Samuel Lino's 93rd-minute goal snatched a 2-2 draw for Valencia, sending Espanyol down.

The White and Blues will join already relegated Elche in dropping down to the Segunda Division, while a host of other teams, including Real Valladolid, Celta Vigo, Almeria and Valencia, remain in danger.

Valladolid are in 18th place with one game remaining, one point behind Celta and Almeria, and two points adrift of Valencia, Getafe and Cadiz in a congested battle for survival.

LaLiga's handling of the "absolutely disgraceful" instances of racist abuse towards Vinicius Junior has been "completely inadequate".

That was the message from Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari after Vinicius was subjected to more abuse by sections of the crowd at Valencia's win over Real Madrid last Sunday.

Valencia's punishments for the incident were reduced on appeal, with the partial closure of Mestalla Stadium cut from five matches to three and their financial penalty also sliced.

Bhandari, chair of the organisation aiming to eradicate racism from football, says the Spanish Football Federation and LaLiga president Javier Tebas have failed to support Vinicius.

"I think the treatment we've seen of Vinicius has been absolutely disgraceful," Bhandari told Stats Perform at the Football Business Awards.

"It's 10 or 11 games, it's not just this last weekend, it's been happening over the course of the last two seasons.

"The response of the Spanish authorities has been completely inadequate and it's actually been worse than inadequate because it's made the matter worse.

"The way Javier Tebas, who runs LaLiga, responded trying to blame Vinicius and treating him as if he's a problem when actually he's the victim… it's really sort of going back 30 or 40 years."

Tebas was a vocal critic after Vinicius labelled LaLiga racist, the league's president criticising the 22-year-old for "not informing himself properly" before subsequently apologising for those comments.

The incident – and Tebas' reaction to it – sparked widespread condemnation of LaLiga and Spanish football's relationship with race, with Bhandari calling for further action on the issues.

He added: "They need to get on with taking more concrete steps to kick discrimination out of Spanish football, it's not acceptable to have whole stands of fans doing monkey chants.

"Making monkey noises and shouting monkey to Vinicius, that's totally unacceptable and there shouldn't be any deflection and making excuses for that kind of behaviour, which is what we have seen.

"They need to get on it and if that means closing the stand, that's a good step. We welcome that and fines are a move in the right direction.

"But if it doesn't stop that should move to points deductions and further sanctions."

Valencia have had their partial stadium closure reduced to three matches and their fine cut to 27,000 euros following the racist abuse of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior by fans.

The Spanish Football Federation appeals committee said that it had decided to “partially uphold” Valencia’s appeal.

It means the partial closure of the Mestalla Stadium has come down from five matches, with an initial 45,000 euros (£39,000) punishment reduced by 18,000 euros.

Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Real Madrid’s LaLiga match against Valencia on Sunday after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd and Madrid, who said the abuse constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

Valencia had 10 working days to file an appeal to the appeals committee.

LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday’s match.

Before Tuesday night’s games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind banners which read “Racism, out of football”.

Vinicius was set to serve a two or three-match ban after being sent off at Valencia, but Spain’s competition committee – a body formed by one member from LaLiga, one from the Spanish Sports Council (CSD) and one from RFEF (Spanish FA) – has rescinded that red card.

LaLiga, meanwhile, said it would request greater jurisdiction to punish clubs whose fans were guilty of racist abuse after feeling “powerless” at the lack of current sanctions in the wake of the latest Vinicius incident.

According to the country’s law, LaLiga can currently only identify and report incidents, and punishment is rarely handed out.

Four people were arrested in Spain on Tuesday under suspicion of hanging an effigy of Vinicius off a bridge in January.

An inflatable doll dressed in a Vinicius shirt was hung from the railings with a banner that read ‘Madrid hates Real Madrid’ ahead of Real’s Copa del Rey game with city rivals Atletico at the start of the year.

And Spanish police confirmed on Tuesday that four suspects had been apprehended.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has apologised for suggesting Vinicius Junior was being “manipulated” when the Real Madrid winger called out racism he has suffered in Spain.

The Brazil international took to social media to speak out after being abused in Sunday’s game at Valencia, saying it was a problem he had endured throughout the league.

Tebas’ response on Twitter, in which he said “Before you criticise and insult LaLiga, you need to inform yourself well, Vini Jr. Don’t let yourself be manipulated”, was roundly criticised for not addressing the issue and the LaLiga boss has now said sorry.


“I think that the message, and the intention I had, was not understood by a significant number (of people), especially in Brazil,” he told ESPN Brazil.

 

“I did not want to attack Vinicius, but if most people understood it that way, I need to apologise. It was not my intention, I expressed myself badly, at a bad time.

“But I had no intention of attacking Vinicius, but rather clarifying a situation, because Vinicius had recorded a video supporting LaLiga’s actions.”

Tebas, in defending the league’s approach – especially in relation to Vinicius – added: “If I hurt someone, they thought I was racist, it’s far from reality.

“I feel sorry for what happened, and that’s why we denounced it. And we didn’t just denounce it, we took special actions at his games.

“We spoke to the clubs, so that they could provide more security, identify fans. LaLiga takes care of Vinicius. And, if they misunderstood what happened I have to apologise.”

Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half at the Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants and Real, who said the incident constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

Valencia were given a partial stadium ban for five matches and fined 45,000 euros (£39,000) – a punishment the club called “totally disproportionate” as they confirmed they would lodge an appeal, while head coach Ruben Baraja vowed to fight back against “smears”.

England manager Gareth Southgate has led calls for stricter punishment since his side came close to walking off the field after players were subjected to racial abuse during a match in Bulgaria in 2019.

“It is a disgusting situation. I think it is so bad that it looks like it is going to force change. I am hoping there will be something positive to come from it,” Southgate said on Wednesday.

“If anyone suggests to me we don’t have a problem in society with racism then there is another example of what we are dealing with, and more examples of people burying their heads in the sand, quite frankly.

“Hopefully it is a story that doesn’t just disappear in 24-48 hours without there being some significant change.”

Vinicius, whose red card against Valencia on Sunday was rescinded, missed Real’s game at home to Rayo Vallecano with a minor knee complaint but was at the ground to see his team-mates wear shirts with his number and name on the back before kick-off.

Valencia head coach Ruben Baraja has said his club will fight back against “smears” after they were handed a five-game partial stadium closure and hefty fine following the racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

Speaking at a press conference, Baraja stressed he was “absolutely against racism”, but echoed Valencia’s earlier claim that the sanction was “unfair and disproportionate”, and added: “I am not going to allow the Valencia CF fans and Mestalla to be smeared with labels that do not represent us.

“Just as a player rightly fights back against insults and I support that with all my might, we as a club and a fanbase rebel against those who, during the days since the game, have accused us of being what we are not.”

Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday’s LaLiga match at the Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd and Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

In response, Valencia have been ordered to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, where the alleged abuse happened, for five matches and have also been fined 45,000 euros (£39,000) by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Reacting to that sanction, Valencia said in a strongly worded statement on Tuesday evening: “Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games.

“Valencia CF wants to publicly denounce that in this resolution of the RFEF competition committee they show evidence that contradicts what the national police and LaLiga say.

“In addition, this sanction is based on evidence that the club has not been able to see and without giving us a hearing.

“Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence. These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.

“For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday.

“In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour.

“For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight.

“The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices.

“Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club. Valencia CF asks for the utmost respect and rigour for our institution and fans.”

In announcing the punishment against Valencia, the RFEF said in a statement: “The competition committee has sanctioned Valencia CF with the partial closure of the Mestalla stadium for five matches, more specifically the Mario Kempes south stand, following the events that occurred during the league match between the local team and Real Madrid CF.

“It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, a Real Madrid CF player, during the aforementioned match, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.”

LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday’s match.

Before Tuesday night’s games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind banners which read ‘Racism, out of football’.

LaLiga shared a pre-match clip from the Celta-Girona game on its official Twitter account with the hashtag #JUNTOSContraElRacismo (#TOGETHERagainstRacism).

The footage also showed a supporter holding up a placard with ‘No Al Racismo’ (No to Racism) written on it.

There were similar sentiments at the Valladolid-Barcelona game as fans showed their support for Brazil international Vinicius.

Barcelona forward Raphinha removed his shirt when substituted to show a message which read: “As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war.”

Vinicius was not included in Real’s 23-man squad for Wednesday night’s LaLiga match against Rayo Vallecano at the Bernabeu.

The forward’s red card against Valencia had been rescinded by the RFEF but the 22-year-old did not train on Tuesday, with Real coach Carlo Ancelotti saying the winger had some discomfort in his knee.

Valencia will appeal against their five-game partial stadium closure and hefty fine following the racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, calling the sanction “unfair and disproportionate”.

Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday’s LaLiga match at the Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd and Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

In response, the club have been ordered to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, where the alleged abuse happened, for five matches and have also been fined 45,000 euros (£39,000) by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Valencia said in a strongly worded statement: “Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games.

“Valencia CF wants to publicly denounce that in this resolution of the RFEF competition committee they show evidence that contradicts what the national police and LaLiga say.

“In addition, this sanction is based on evidence that the club has not been able to see and without giving us a hearing.

“Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence. These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.

“For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday.

“In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour.

“For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight.

“The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices.

“Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club. Valencia CF asks for the utmost respect and rigour for our institution and fans.”

An RFEF statement on Tuesday night read: “The competition committee has sanctioned Valencia CF with the partial closure of the Mestalla stadium for five matches, more specifically the Mario Kempes south stand, following the events that occurred during the league match between the local team and Real Madrid CF.

“It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, a Real Madrid CF player, during the aforementioned match, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.

“In addition, an economic sanction of 45,000 euros (£39,000) is imposed on Valencia.”

LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday’s match.

Before Tuesday night’s games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind banners which read ‘Racism, out of football’.

LaLiga shared a pre-match clip from the Celta-Girona game on its official Twitter account with the hashtag #JUNTOSContraElRacismo (#TOGETHERagainstRacism).

The footage also showed a supporter holding up a placard with ‘No Al Racismo’ (No to Racism) written on it.

There were similar sentiments at the Valladolid-Barcelona game as fans showed their support for Brazil international Vinicius.

Barcelona forward Raphinha removed his shirt when substituted to show a message which read: “As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war.”

Real Madrid say racism directed at Vinicius Junior constitutes a ‘hate crime’ and have filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

Brazil forward Vinicius was the subject of an alleged racist attack during Real’s 1-0 LaLiga defeat at Valencia on Sunday.

The game was paused after the break as Vinicius pointed out to the referee those who were allegedly abusing him in the stands at the Mestalla – and the 22-year-old later took to social media to say racism is ‘normal’ in LaLiga.

“Real Madrid CF shows its strongest revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior,” the club said in a strongly-worded statement on Monday.

“These facts constitute a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law.

“Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, for which reason it has filed the corresponding complaint with the state attorney general’s office, specifically with the prosecutor’s office against hate crimes and discrimination, so that the facts can be investigated and clear responsibilities.

“Article 124 of the Spanish constitution establishes the functions of the public prosecutor’s office to promote the action of justice in defence of legality and the rights of citizens and the public interest.

“For this reason, and given the seriousness of the events that occurred, Real Madrid has turned to the sate attorney general’s office, without prejudice to its appearance as a private prosecution in the proceedings that are being initiated.”

In a statement on Instagram, Vinicius – who was sent off for violent conduct in added time of Real’s defeat following an altercation with striker Hugo Duro – said: “It wasn’t the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga.

“The competition thinks it’s normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry.

“The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi, today belongs to the racists.

“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and I love, but which accepted to export the image to the world from a racist country.

“Sorry for the Spaniards who do not agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.

“And unfortunately with everything that happens on a weekly basis, I have no way to defend. I agree. But I’m strong and will go to the end against the racists. Even though it’s far from here.”

LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius’ post on Sunday by accusing the forward for “criticising and insulting” the league.

In another tweet on Monday, Tebas said: “Neither Spain nor @LaLiga are racist. It is very unfair to say this.

“How @LaLiga we denounce and fight racism with all rigidity within our competences. This season there were 9 cases of racist insults (8 of them for insults against @vinijr)

“We always identify the violators and take the complaint to the legislating bodies. It doesn’t matter that they are few, they are relentless.

“We cannot allow the image of a competition that is about the symbol of peoples union to be tarnished, where more than 200 players are of black origin in 42 clubs that receive in each round the respect and affection of the fans, being the racism an extremely specific case (9 complaints) that we are going to eliminate.”

Valencia released a statement on their club website condemning what happened and confirming they will investigate what happened.

Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand took to Instagram in support of Vinicius and questioned player protection.

“Bro you need protecting….who is protecting Vinicius Junior in Spain??” Ferdinand posted. “He receives a red card after being choked and receiving racial abuse during the game… wtf.

“How many times do we need to see this young man subjected to this s**t?? I see pain, I see disgust, I see him needing help… and the authorities don’t do s**t to help him.

“People need to stand together and demand more from the authorities that run our game.

“No one deserves this, yet you are allowing it. There needs to be a unified approach to this otherwise it will be swept under the carpet AGAIN.”

Vinicius Junior was sent off amid a late brawl as Real Madrid fell to a 1-0 loss against Valencia in an ill-tempered LaLiga encounter.

The Brazil winger had already been at the centre of another flashpoint earlier in the game, following a bizarre incident involving two balls on the pitch at Mestalla.

Diego Lopez's lone goal helped Los Che continue their resurgent form as they seek to secure top-flight safety in the final weeks of the season.

But for Carlo Ancelotti's visitors - fresh from a chastening Champions League exit against Manchester City - it marked a miserable return to domestic duty.

Lionel Messi's club future remains uncertain, with his Paris Saint-Germain contract at the end of this season.

The two parties have not reached any agreement on a new deal, while there has been speculation linking the 35-year-old with a return to Barcelona.

Messi has also been linked with big-money moves to clubs in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

TOP STORY – PSG WILLING TO MOVE ON FROM MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are willing to let Lionel Messi exit on a free transfer in the upcoming off-season, reports the Sunday Mirror.

Contract talks between Messi and PSG have stalled in the months following Argentina's World Cup triumph, having reportedly been close to penning an extension.

The report claims PSG are "in no rush" to extend Messi's deal as interest, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi looking to run the club in a more sustainable way, relying less on star power.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich's number one striker target in the off-season remains Napoli's Victor Osimhen following talks with officials and new boss Thomas Tuchel, claims BILD. The German champions are also keen on Tottenham's Harry Kane, Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani.

Barcelona are considering off-season moves for Chelsea duo N'Golo Kante and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , reports The Mirror.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Liverpool and Manchester United will both hold talks with Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister will take place "very soon".

– Brentford’s David Raya, Porto’s Diogo Costa and Valencia’s Giorgi Mamardashvili are all on Manchester United's goalkeeper shortlist to replace David De Gea, according to GiveMeSport.

– Football Insider claims Aston Villa are readying a £55m combined bid for Manchester City pair Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips.

– Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is on Chelsea's shortlist to be their new permanent manager, reports The Guardian.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly prepared to submit a €150million bid for star Napoli striker Victor Osimhen in the upcoming transfer window.

Osimhen, 24, is in his third season with Napoli after arriving in a club-record €70m move from Lille, and this time around he has put together one of the best goalscoring campaigns in Europe.

With 21 goals in 24 Serie A appearances, and five goals in six Champions League outings, the Nigeria international has been unstoppable.

Now, the world's best clubs have taken notice.
 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARED TO MEET MASSIVE ASKING PRICE

While there is also said to be strong interest in Osimhen coming from the deep pockets of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain are trying to wrap things up early with a serious bid.

Football Insider is reporting the French giants are ready to meet Napoli's enormous €150m asking price, with the hope they can blow Chelsea out of the water as they consider a £100m (€112m) bid of their own.

Osimhen's contract ties him to the club for two more seasons after this one, but with his value at an all-time high, and with Napoli being able to offer the chance at league titles and deep Champions League runs, the Serie A leaders can demand a substantial windfall.


ROUND-UP

– According to GiveMeSport, Manchester United view Valencia's 22-year-old goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili – who is priced around £45m (€50m) – as a potential long-term replacement for David de Gea.

United are also showing interest in 19-year-old Benfica centre-back Antonio Silva, although they face competition from Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Real Madrid, Juventus and Liverpool, per Ekrem Konur.

– Football Insider is reporting Liverpool and Tottenham are the two teams 23-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka will choose between when his contract expires in a few months.

– According to the Daily Mail, 31-year-old Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino will join Barcelona on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Arsenal sent scouts to Spain to get a closer look at the Real Sociedad duo of 24-year-old midfielder Martin Zubimendi and 26-year-old defender Robin Le Normand, per the Daily Mail.

Alessandro Bastoni, 23, is a player on the rise at Inter, having made his Italy debut in 2020 and winning the Scudetto in 2021.

But the central defender's future with the Nerazzurri is uncertain amid an inability to come to an agreement with the club on a new contract.

Bastoni's contract expires in 2024 and he has been in talks with Inter on a new deal, but two of European football's giants are reportedly circling.

TOP STORY – BASTONI IN PSG AND CITY'S SIGHTS

Powerhouse clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City will both attempt to sign Alessandro Bastoni from Inter in the off-season, reports Tuttosport.

The report claims Bastoni has been offered an improved deal by Inter but it does not meet his salary expectations, meaning no agreement has been reached.

PSG and City are both known to have endless pockets and could swoop to sign the talented Italian defender.

ROUND-UP

Karim Benzema has turned down an offer from Saudi Arabia and instead wants to stay with Real Madrid for at least one more season, according to Marca.

Juventus are weighing up a move for Valencia skipper Jose Gaya, reports Calciomercato. Gaya extended his contract with Los Che until 2027 last October.

– Football Insider claims Tottenham have registered their interest in signing Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech.

– Calciomercato reports Milan are tracking Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who has impressed this season on loan with French club Reims.

– Ex-Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has opted against taking up Leicester City's offer to become their new boss, claims The Telegraph.

Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have all reportedly met with the agent of 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong about a potential transfer.

Frimpong has exploded onto the scene this season as a weapon going forward, scoring eight league goals in 26 Bundesliga fixtures after just a single goal in his first 18 months in Germany.

Having previously represented the Netherlands at youth levels, his sparkling form was rewarded as he was included in their World Cup squad, although he did not get to make his senior debut.

He is viewed as one of Leverkusen's most valuable assets, and the club are expecting Champions League teams to come calling.

TOP STORY – UNITED LEAD THE CHARGE FOR GOAL-SCORING RIGHT-BACK

According to Sport Bild, United and boss Erik ten Hag have been in contact with Leverkusen "for weeks" trying to sort out the framework of a deal, with the German side reportedly starting the bidding at £44million (€50m).

The report states that asking price is not seen as a significant hurdle, and Leverkusen have already begun the process of replacing Frimpong with the signing of 20-year-old Brazilian Arthur from America MG in recent days.

Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano adds Bayern and Barcelona have also had "direct meetings" with Frimpong's agent, although a decision on the future of Joao Cancelo remains the priority for Bayern, and Barcelona's finances make their situation unclear.

ROUND-UP

– Roma coach Jose Mourinho is in high demand, with Relevo reporting Chelsea have enquired about bringing him back for a third stint, while Corriere dello Sport claims he has received an offer from the Saudi Pro League that would pay him €120m over the next two seasons.

– Spanish publication COPE is reporting Chelsea, United and Tottenham are all investigating a potential move for 22-year-old Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, despite his gaudy £87m (€100m) release clause.

– According to Calciomercato, Newcastle United have been impressed with 21-year-old Feyenoord striker Santiago Gimenez, with the Mexican having starred in his first season in the Eredivisie.

Inter are trying to fend off interest from Manchester City by signing 23-year-old centre-back Alessandro Bastoni to a new long-term contract, per Calciomercato.

Page 1 of 9
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.