Could the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga be nearing a conclusion?

Long linked with Real Madrid, Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain's attempts to re-sign Mbappe have been fruitless up until this point and the Ligue 1 giants are reportedly willing to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE NEARING MADRID?

Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to accept an offer for Kylian Mbappe should one arrive from Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window, according to RMC.

PSG have been fighting to re-sign Mbappe, who is in the final year of his current deal in the French capital.

However, PSG have reportedly accepted defeat in their efforts to retain Mbappe beyond the 2021-22 season as Madrid look to lure the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Premier League pair Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror writes United are prepared to offer cash plus a player-swap – believed to be Jesse Lingard – to sign West Ham's Declan Rice.

- Atletico Madrid are closing in on a deal to sign Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, says Fabrizio Romano. LaLiga champions Atletico had been linked with Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic – also wanted by the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Inter and Arsenal – but have so far failed to reach an agreement.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Tottenham are preparing a £40million bid to reunite Nuno Espirito Santo with Wolves star Adama Traore.

Napoli are eyeing unwanted Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic, per Correire dello Sport. Pjanic had looked set to return to Juventus.

- Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira will move to Fiorentina after turning down Eintracht Frankfurt, according to Romano.

Chelsea are continuing to eye Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, claims Romano. The Frenchman is ready to swap Seville for London after agreeing personal terms on a deal until June 2026.

- Inter are monitoring Torino star Andrea Belotti as they seek to replace Romelu Lukaku, says Calciomercato. The Serie A champions have also been linked to Lazio forward Joaquin Correa.

Diego Simeone revealed Atletico Madrid remain in the market for a forward after defeating Elche 1-0 win on Sunday.

Angel Correa's third goal in two games at the start of the new season proved decisive as Atletico battled to back-to-back opening victories – the fourth time they have done so under Simeone.

The makeshift striker's 39th-minute finish marked his eighth goal in his last 10 games across all competitions, having previously scored seven in his last 63 for the LaLiga champions.

Luis Suarez appeared after the hour mark for the hosts, but Atletico are still trying to sign a forward, with a reported move for Dusan Vlahovic most recently falling through.

Asked for an update on the forward situation, Simeone responded: "When we prepare a squad we do it thinking of having two players per place.

"If in the end it cannot arrive, we will look for a solution as we have always done."

On the upturn of Correa's form, Simeone added: "First he is playing where he feels most comfortable.

"In the centre of the attack he is fast, he is dynamic, he turns better than anyone. And now he is having more forcefulness, that gives him peace of mind and confidence. That allows him to have more confidence."

 

Atletico Madrid made it two wins from two to start their LaLiga title defence as they beat Elche 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.

A stylish first-half finish from Angel Correa was all that separated the sides in a game of few clear-cut chances in the Spanish capital.

With temperatures still pushing 35 degrees Celcius in the second half, it was a relatively sedate contest, albeit one lit up by the display of new Atleti signing Rodrigo de Paul during the first hour.

It was the Argentina international's pass that led to the only goal via an error from Kiko Casilla and he could have had a second assist after the break had Yannick Carrasco been more clinical.

Atleti mustered little more than speculative efforts from Saul Niguez and Thomas Lemar in the opening half-hour, as the champions allowed Elche more of the ball but denied them any real openings.

The visitors ultimately gifted Atleti the lead 39 minutes in. Casilla raced off his line to clear De Paul's clever throughball and missed, allowing Correa to take his time before burying his fourth goal in three LaLiga games.

It was almost 2-0 a minute after half-time, Jose Gimenez's powerful header from a corner beaten away by Casilla, and Carrasco could not beat the Elche keeper after being picked out by De Paul.

Elche continued to have more of the ball, but Jan Oblak had largely hopeful shots from outside the box to deal with, while home substitute Luis Suarez could have done better from a Carrasco cut-back.

Suarez was booked for lashing the ball away after a tight offside call, but there was little to worry the home fans in the closing minutes.

What does it mean? Atleti keep up Elche expectations

Atletico have now won nine consecutive LaLiga games against Elche and kept clean sheets in six of them, while their unbeaten home run against Fran Escriba's side – already a club record – stands at 23 games in the top flight.

This was another controlled if not overly inspiring performance from the champions, who have started a season with back-to-back wins for the fourth time under Simeone.

For Elche, the wait for a first goal of the season goes on.

De Paul the pick of the bunch

This was a performance of real class from De Paul on his full debut in front of the Wanda Metropolitano crowd, showing what a good signing he could prove to be.

It was his outside-of-the-foot pass that led to Correa's opener, one of two chances created, while he led the way for opposition-half passes with 22 before being taken off 62 minutes in.

Suarez's welcome return

Atleti's title win in 2020-21 was built on the clinical form of Suarez in attack and the Uruguay striker was given a rapturous reception off the bench here.

Correa looks increasingly confident in attack, but Carrasco is not a long-term option as his strike partner. Keeping Suarez fit could be key to their season.

What's next?

Atleti are at home to Villarreal next Sunday, while next up for Elche is the visit of Sevilla in six days' time.

The transfer window is not even closed but attention is already turning to next season.

Kylian Mbappe is into the final year of his Paris Saint-Germain contract, while Erling Haaland's Borussia Dortmund deal has clubs queuing up.

Manchester United are reportedly set to pursue both.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE, HAALAND FUTURE RED DEVILS?

Manchester United have made Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe a target for next season, according to ESPN.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid and Saturday's Marca and Diario AS claim the LaLiga giants are still trying to sign the PSG star before the end of the transfer window.

Liverpool have also previously been linked with Mbappe, but United are keeping tabs on his situation, with the Frenchman out of contract at the end of 2021-22.

French journalist Julien Laurens, meanwhile, also suggests next year could be the perfect time for United to prise Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland has no shortage of suitors, linked with Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich as his release clause comes into force at season's end.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail says City are willing to sell defender Aymeric Laporte for £60million (€69m). The Spain international is reportedly wanted by Juventus and Madrid.

Chelsea remain interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, per The Telegraph. The Blues have also been linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who has also caught the attention of United and Liverpool.

- Diario AS says wantaway Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is eyeing a switch to Madrid, Barca or Bayern.

Real Sociedad are tracking PSG star Pablo Sarabia, according to Le Parisien. Sevilla could also reportedly rival Sociedad for the Spain international.

- Sky Sport Italia reports Juve are set to meet with Paulo Dybala's agent to discuss a new contract.

Erling Haaland is one of the most in-demand players in Europe.

Clubs from across the continent are queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund forward.

Real Madrid, however, are firmly placed to make a move for the Norwegian.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STILL EYEING HAALAND

Real Madrid believe a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could be done next year, according to the front page of Friday's Marca.

Kylian Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has dominated headlines as Madrid target the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

But Madrid have not forgotten about Haaland, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says Bernardo Silva has turned down a move to Tottenham as part of a potential deal that would help send Harry Kane to City. Atletico Madrid and Barca have also been linked with City's Silva.

Pedri could sign a new four-year deal with Barca by September, reports Sport. The 18-year-old has been a revelation at Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Milan are nearing a deal to sign Tiemoue Bakayoko from Chelsea. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Milan. Di Marzio, meanwhile, says Milan are interested in bringing Monaco's Pietro Pellegri to San Siro on loan.

- Staying in Milan and Tuttosport reports the Rossoneri are interested in Sassuolo and Italy star Domenico Berardi. Leicester City are also reportedly among his admirers.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is dreaming of a move to PSG, according to Le Parisien. United have also been linked with the France midfielder.

Atletico Madrid have signed Monaco goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte in a season-long loan deal.

The 30-year-old is set to provide back-up for Jan Oblak after joining the LaLiga champions on Thursday

Lecomte suffered an injury in pre-season and Alexander Nubel was installed as Monaco's first-choice keeper following his move from Bayern Munich.

Former Montpellier and Lorient number one Lecomte had made 60 appearances for Ligue 1 side Monaco, keeping 20 clean sheets.

He signed a five-year deal when arriving in the Principality from Montpellier in 2019.

Kylian Mbappe's future continues to dominate headlines.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward is out of contract at the end of 2021-22 and no closer to re-signing in the French capital.

Real Madrid are reportedly holding onto hope of securing his services before the end of the transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STILL DREAMING OF MBAPPE

Real Madrid have not given up on signing Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Mbappe is into the final year of his PSG contract and while he has been tipped to make the move to Madrid, he has reportedly told friends he will remain in Paris.

However, LaLiga powerhouses Madrid – also linked with Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland – believe it is a strategy to secure a friendly exit from PSG.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are interested in Monaco defensive midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, say reporters Sacha Tavolieri and Jonathan Shrager. United have also been linked with Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, who is reportedly wanted by PSG and Madrid.

- RB Leipzig star Marcel Sabitzer is interested in a move to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich, claims Bild.

- Goal and widespread reports say Arsenal are close to signing Martin Odegaard from Madrid. Odegaard spent six months on loan at Arsenal last season.

Duvan Zapata is Inter's priority signing, according to Calciomercato. Despite signing Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries after Romelu Lukaku's, the Serie A champions are eyeing the Atlanta forward. Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram, Joaquin Correa of Lazio, Torino forward Andrea Belotti and Wolfsburg's Wout Weghorst are other options.

- Italian journalist Sara Meini reports Manchester City are stepping up their pursuit of Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic amid their struggle to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham. Atletico Madrid and Spurs have also been linked with Vlahovic.

Juventus are nearing a deal to re-sign Miralem Pjanic from Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo. Juve, according to Di Marzio, are also listening to offers for Weston McKennie.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente has signed a new deal to keep him with the reigning LaLiga champions until 2027.

The versatile midfielder's contract was previously due to expire in 2024, but Atletico confirmed on Wednesday that he has signed a three-year extension.

The standout memory of Llorente may be his Champions League brace against defending champions Liverpool in March 2020, but he has been an integral part of Diego Simeone's machine since joining from neighbours Real Madrid for a reported €40million fee in 2019.

Indeed, his 12 goals and 11 assists were vital in securing Atletico's first LaLiga title since 2013-14 last term, and only their third since 1996.

Only Jose Luis Morales (13) scored more goals than the 26-year-old during that campaign among midfielders, while his 11 assists, the most of any LaLiga player in his position, meant he recorded 23 goal involvements – again the most for a midfielder in Spain's top flight.

In the same season, Frenkie de Jong (48), Lucas Vasquez (44) and David Ferreiro (43) were the only players to create more chances from open play than Llorente, who has lost only 13 per cent of the 82 games he has played for Atletico.

 

Despite increasing speculation of a move away from the Spanish capital to Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain, Llorente's new deal quashed any rumours as Simeone's men set about retaining their title.

Atletico started their LaLiga defence in typical fashion, grinding out a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo, courtesy of an Angel Correa brace either side of Iago Aspas' penalty.

Is Kylian Mbappe's future nearing a resolution?

Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season and the Paris Saint-Germain forward is no closer to extending his contract in the
French capital.

Real Madrid are reportedly poised to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID NEARING MBAPPE DEAL?

Real Madrid are closing in on Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Monday's Marca.

Mbappe is in the final year of his PSG contract and he has reportedly made it clear he has no intention of re-signing in Paris.

Long touted to join Madrid, the LaLiga giants' pursuit of Mbappe is set to enter a decisive phase this week.

The Transfer Window podcast, however, claims Liverpool will attempt to sign Mbappe on a free transfer at the end of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Barcelona are monitoring Arsenal pair Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as they look to rebuild following Lionel Messi's departure to PSG.

- Inter are eyeing Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne but want a discount on the Italy star, claims Sky Sport Italia. Napoli value Insigne at around €25-30million with one year remaining on his contract. Lazio's Joaquin Correa, Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata and Fiorentina sensation Dusan Vlahovic have also been linked to Inter.

- Sport Italia says Tottenham are in talks with Fiorentina for centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, who has been linked with West Ham. Spurs are also keen on Fiorentina star Vlahovic, according to Sport Italia.

- According to Cadena SER, Antoine Griezmann is open to returning to Atletico Madrid this off-season. Griezmann swapped Atletico for Barca in 2019.

Luka Jovic has decided he wants to join Inter on loan, per Nerazzurri Siamo Noi. The Madrid outcast has also been linked with Eintracht Frankfurt, Sampdoria and Genoa.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are tracking Metz's 18-year-old midfielder Pape Matar Sarr, claims the Daily Mail.

Diego Simeone is confused by the rules for handball after Atletico Madrid were on the wrong end of a contentious penalty decision against Celta Vigo.

LaLiga champions Atleti began their title defence with a gritty 2-1 victory over Celta on Sunday – Angel Correa's double proving decisive.

Correa opened the scoring with a brilliant strike in the first half, but Celta equalised before the hour after Marcos Llorente was adjudged to have handled from Iago Aspas' flick.

Jan Oblak had fumbled a cross to Aspas, who attempted to prod home. His effort struck Llorente's chest and rolled to his knee before bouncing onto the midfielder's arm and, to Atleti's fury, the referee pointed to the spot after checking with the VAR.

Correa swiftly restored Atletico's lead, and the champions held firm despite a late flurry – Aspas missing an open goal before Mario Hermoso and Hugo Mallo were sent off for violent conduct in stoppage time.

In his post-match news conference, Simeone revealed he is struggling to understand what the rules regarding handball are.

"The other day we were meeting with the referees and it is very difficult to understand what is handball and what is not," Simeone said.

"I still believe that VAR is very good and that the referees seek to decide what they see as the best."

Backing up Simeone's point, Celta striker Aspas – who converted the spot-kick – acknowledged he did not initially believe a penalty would be awarded.

"It is not clear to me about the handball. If I'm honest, at the time I thought it wasn't a penalty," the forward told Movistar+. 

"I didn't see it quite right. Marcos [Llorente] told me it was not and I trusted him until the referee decided it was a penalty."

Atleti are now unbeaten in their past 12 LaLiga openers, and Simeone was pleased with a typically battling performance – a 60.7 per cent duel success rate demonstrating their approach. 

"We played a very good game. We created many difficulties for a team that plays very well," Simeone said.

"In the second half after the penalty, a different dynamism is generated and the team responds very well with a goal.

"The pace with which it was played was very high. It makes me very happy. We talked about how to solve this very different preparation that all the teams had and we tried to make it a challenge and not a problem."

Atletico Madrid started the defence of their LaLiga title with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo, aided by Angel Correa's double and a dreadful miss from Iago Aspas.

Correa struck either side of Aspas' penalty before both teams had a player sent off in stoppage time, Mario Hermoso and Hugo Mallo seeing red after a confrontation between the pair.

Matters might have been a little easier for Atleti if not for a rather soft Celta spot-kick, Marcos Llorente harshly adjudged to have handled.

Correa – starting up top with Luis Suarez on the bench – ultimately settled the contest with a cool finish, though Aspas sliced wide of an open goal with 10 minutes remaining to let Diego Simeone's side off the hook.

The game's first shot on target led to the first goal. Thomas Lemar's fantastic run teed up Correa, who slammed a brilliant finish high into the net, leaving Matias Dituro flat-footed.

However, Celta had a lifeline 11 minutes into the second half. Jan Oblak flapped at a cross and Aspas was only able to divert it, from point-blank range, onto the chest of Llorente.

The ball bounced down onto the midfielder's knee and up to his forearm, yet despite there being little possibility of Llorente getting out of the way, referee Jose Luis Munuera Montero pointed to the spot after consulting the VAR.

Aspas rolled in a cool finish to send the limited-capacity crowd wild, though parity lasted just five minutes as Correa drilled in a fantastic second after he was found by Saul Niguez.

It was Correa's final act too, with Suarez, alongside new signing Rodrigo de Paul, immediately coming on.

Suarez skied a free-kick and Aspas should have made Atleti's profligacy pay, only to somehow miss the target with half of the goal to aim at.

There was more drama late in stoppage time following a foul by Mallo on Suarez, leading to him getting involved with Hermoso. Both were dismissed for violent conduct, but Atletico's 10 men held on.

Diego Costa will play senior football in Brazil for the first time after reaching an agreement to sign with Atletico Mineiro.

Costa has been a free agent since Atletico Madrid agreed to terminate his contract to end his second spell at the club.

He has come to terms on a deal until December next year to join a club fighting for both domestic and continental honours.

Having started his career at Barcelona Capela, Costa has never played professionally at club level in the country of his birth. He won two international caps for Brazil before switching his allegiance to Spain.

He will now change that with Atletico Mineiro, who are five points clear at the top of Brazil's Serie A and in the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores against River Plate.

Costa claimed 10 major honours across his spells with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, twice winning both LaLiga and the Premier League while also lifting the Copa del Rey, Europa League and the EFL Cup.

He scored 83 goals in 216 appearances for Atleti and showed he can still have a clinical touch in limited game time last season, scoring twice from five shots from an expected goals figure of 1.4 in LaLiga.

Atletico Mineiro will hope he can roll back the years and help them to success on several fronts. Holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg, they host River in the second leg of their quarter-final on Thursday.

Manchester City's interest in signing Tottenham forward Harry Kane is well known.

The two sides will meet on Sunday in the Premier League with the situation adding spice.

Spurs have held out on City's interest although the matter will develop as the conclusion of the transfer window approaches.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS HOLDING FIRM ON KANE

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is refusing to budge as Manchester City attempt to sign Harry Kane, reports The Telegraph.

Levy will come face to face with City officials in Sunday's Premier League meeting between the two sides.

The report claims the Spurs chairman is unwavering in his plan to retain his best player despite Kane expressing his desire to leave.

ROUND-UP

- Despite that, Tottenham continue to be linked with big-money moves, hinting they are expecting funds in their pockets soon, with Villarreal's Pau Torres firmly in their sights for £55m (€65m) according to The Mirror.

- Tammy Abraham's proposed switch from Chelsea to Roma is imminent according to The Athletic. The fee is reportedly worth €40m (£34m) with a buy-back clause after his second season.

- Calciomercato claims that Bayern Munich are willing to accept Hector Bellerin as part of a straight swap with Arsenal for Corentin Tolisso .

- Despite heavy speculation, Liverpool are yet to formally lodge a bid for Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez claims AS.

- Former Atletico Madrid and Chelsea striker Diego Costa is set to complete his move to join Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro until December next year reports Fabrizio Romano.

Diego Simeone has included his son Giuliano in the Atletico Madrid squad for the first match of their LaLiga title defence.

Atletico, who won their second league crown under Simeone last term, start away to Celta Vigo on Sunday.

They were linked with centre-forwards for much of the off-season, but their inability to bring in significant reinforcements in that department has seen Simeone's second son get a chance.

Giuliano, 18, started all five of Atletico's pre-season friendlies and in doing so earmarked himself as a potential alternative in attack.

Nominally a left-winger, Giuliano has enjoyed encouraging performances while featuring in a more central berth in pre-season.

Prior to July, Giuliano had never featured for Atletico's senior team, but now he could make his competitive debut at Balaidos on Sunday.

New signing Rodrigo De Paul is also in the selection following arrival from Udinese for a reported €35million.

He joined having earned himself a stellar reputation in Serie A, his 82 key passes in 2020-21 bettered by only Hakan Calhanoglu (98).

 

Only five players got more assists than his nine, but all of them massively out-performed their modest expected assists records, which ranged from 3.4 to 6.7. De Paul topped the charts for expected assists with 10.3 xA, evidence that his assists reflected the quality of his service rather than him getting lucky or benefiting from unusually good finishing by team-mates.

Yet the area that highlights a particular compatibility with Atleti is the fact he won more duels (294) than anyone else in Serie A in 2020-21.

Combine that with his league-leading completed dribbles (122) and it paints a picture of a hard-working player who also possesses the quality to get his team on the front foot.

Atletico Madrid did not speak with Lionel Messi about the possibility of reuniting him with Luis Suarez at the club, according to coach Diego Simeone.

After Barca's financial difficulties forced a tearful Messi to announce his exit from the club last week, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain on Monday.

Messi is now poised to form a frightening front three with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar and France star Kylian Mbappe.

There had been talk of him linking up with the other former member of Barca's fabled MSN forward line and signing for LaLiga champions Atletico.

But Simeone denied there had been any communication between the club and the Argentina international.

Simeone told a media conference ahead of Atletico's LaLiga opener at Celta Vigo: "[Messi] is a really important departure for LaLiga and for Barcelona.

"We weren't talking with him. We didn't have the slightest chance."

On the impact of Messi's exit on LaLiga, Simeone added: "I understand that not even the Premier League has Messi or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, and it's a very competitive league.

"It will depend on the growth of all the teams to be able to make a competitive league without having either of [those players], as England have done."

Messi's departure would appear to be a significant boost to Atletico's hopes of fending off both Barca and Real Madrid once more and retaining the title.

But Simeone clearly has little interest in talk of Atletico being title favourites.

"We will not change our path, which is game by game, to understand what the league is like," he said. 

"There is no better way to compete than how we have been doing so in the last nine and a half years."

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