Xavi insists he does not feel “alone” despite the pressure building on the Barcelona coach.

The Blaugrana have suffered back-to-back defeats heading into Saturday evening’s encounter with Valencia.

Xavi’s men sit fourth in the table having been beaten 4-2 at home by La Liga leaders Girona last Sunday, leading to speculation around the former playmaker’s long-term future at Camp Nou.

However, Xavi is confident he has the backing of the club’s leadership and rated the fans’ support for his team as a “perfect 10”.

“I never feel alone. I feel like I have support and strength and I feel that we can have a great season,” he said at his pre-match press conference in quotes reported by the club’s X account.

“The fans are behind the team, they are a perfect 10. They know that we will give everything.

“We have a fantastic relationship, with the president (Joan Laporta), with (sporting director) Deco, with (vice-president) Rafa Yuste… I believe more than ever in the project and in what we are doing.

“The club needs stability. We are a winning project. We are the defending La Liga and Super Cup champions.”

Barca had bounced back from home defeat in the ‘Clasico’ against Real Madrid with three wins and a draw from their next four league games before the Girona setback.

A team showing seven changes then also lost 3-2 away to Royal Antwerp on Wednesday night in the Champions League, but with qualification for the last 16 already assured.

Barca go into the match at the Mestalla seven points adrift of Girona, five behind Real and below Atletico Madrid on goal difference.

They remain without long-term injury victim Gavi, who is out with a cruciate ligament tear. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and defender Marcos Alonso, who are both suffering with back injuries, remain out of the squad heading into this weekend.

Valencia have not won any of their last four matches in La Liga, losing three and drawing one, but their striker Fran Perez was in bullish mood ahead of Barca’s visit to the Mestalla.

“We are working hard to hurt Barca and it’s going very well. We’re really looking forward to it,” he told the club’s in-house radio station.

“If we beat Atleti at home 3-0, why can’t we beat Barca at Mestalla? It’s going to be a very competitive game. The game is all about keeping a clean sheet and making the most of the chances we get. We can’t get distracted in any action.

“At Mestalla we are a very difficult team to beat. We have to be calm and compete well and I’m convinced that we’ll have a very good game.

“Our fans are very important and they are our 12th man. We are going to have a great game not only for us, but also for the fans, who deserve it.

“The tickets being practically sold out shows how the fans support us and we must respond with the highest possible level of demand. We must give everything for the club and for our fans.”

Valencia are 11th going into the weekend, with five wins, four draws and seven defeats from their 16 matches so far.

Xavi believes he is on the way to creating a “great Barcelona” side but he wants improvement as they close their Champions League group stage at Royal Antwerp.

Barca are already guaranteed a place in the last 16 and are virtually assured top spot in Group H, barring some unlikely results.

The Spanish club have not been at the top table of European football for a while, having last won the Champions League in 2015, but Xavi, who was a key player in the side that dominated the game a decade ago, can see progress.

“We want to end the group stage having done what we need to do,” he said on Barcelona’s website.

“We have to be much more effective. We create a lot of chances to win games earlier. We have to be better in front of goal, but also improve our defensive robustness.

“We have to show consistency to achieve targets and trophies. We are on the way to creating a great Barca side.

“The team is together and a close-knit group.”

The Belgian side have lost all five of their group games so far, but Xavi still respects the team managed by his former team-mate Mark van Bommel.

 

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“They are a good team and Van Bommel is doing a very good job, and he wants to leave a mark playing football based on teamwork,” Xavi added.

“We will decide which players will feature after training and prior to the game, but it is a good chance to give opportunities to young players and others who haven’t played that much.

“Logically we will make changes.”

Inaki Pena is almost certain to continue in goal after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had back surgery last week.

“The injury to Ter Stegen is not good news,” the goalkeeper said. “It makes me proud to be playing in this shirt.

“I have trained every day thinking that this day would come because you never know what can happen. At a club like Barca you can’t relax for a single day.

“I have been training for a long time with Ter Stegen and it is a pleasure to be able to learn from one of the best players in the world.

“Picking things up from him has made me a better goalkeeper.”

Barcelona will aim to close the gap to the top two in LaLiga when they take on neighbours Girona on Sunday.

Barca are not just four points behind big rivals Real Madrid but also their fellow Catalans, who have been the surprise package of the season so far under head coach Michel.

But Xavi’s men go into the clash boosted by last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid, with Joao Felix scoring the only goal against his parent club.

Xavi told reporters: “It will be a great match. Michel is a great coach and has a philosophy similar to ours. They want the ball and are very dynamic.

“We are looking at the game through several different scenarios because it can play out in different ways. I don’t know which Girona we’ll see, but we’re looking for the win.”

Barca have some injury problems, with Gavi out for the season and now joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and defender Inigo Martinez.

Ter Stegen has sat out the last three games with a lower back problem and has now undergone surgery to correct the issue while Martinez suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up ahead of the Atletico game.

Fellow defender Ronald Araujo is set to play in a mask after suffering a fractured jaw in an accidental clash with the boot of Atletico’s Marcos Llorente.

“It’s a part of competing,” said Xavi. “Every year we talk about injuries but, yes, we are having bad luck. It’s because of the schedule and the demand it puts on the players.”

Girona have won all but three of their LaLiga matches so far, with their only defeat coming against Real Madrid, and defender Daley Blind insisted all the pressure is on Barcelona.

The former Manchester United and Ajax player told ESPN: “We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves to aim at something. Of course you talk in the dressing room to be as high as possible, that is what you want.

“I think if we continue like this, this already is a special season, but it can be something special as well at the end of the season.

“I think Girona is still a small club which is building, we are in a good build-up now. We take it game by game and the pressure is not on us.

“Barca are a great team, they have some great individual players. It will be a very difficult game, but these are the games you want to play as a kid against those teams.”

Blind’s sentiments were echoed by boss Michel, who said: “We’re going to enjoy our game. Our league is not Madrid, Barca and Atletico. We just want to keep this successful run going as long as possible.”

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has undergone successful surgery on his back, the LaLiga champions have announced.

The 31-year-old had the operation after sitting out Germany’s matches against Turkey and Austria last month and three subsequent Barca fixtures.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “First team player Marc ter Stegen has successfully undergone surgery for his lower back issues.

“The procedure was performed by Dr Amelie Leglise under the supervision of the club’s medical services, at Sports Clinic Bordeux Merignac. He is out and his recovery will determine his availability.”

Barcelona had revealed on Tuesday that Ter Stegen was set for surgery, at which point the former Borussia Monchengladbach player said in a post on social media: “After intensive conversations with the medical team of the club and various supporting experts, we decided to undergo a surgical procedure.

“The break obviously annoys me. It is the right and safe decision in order to come back in the best conditions for my club and national team.”

Julian Nagelsmann feels Germany’s rebuild ahead of hosting Euro 2024 cannot just be done from the back.

Germany face Turkey in a friendly on Saturday night in Berlin at the Olympiastadion, where the final of next summer’s showpiece tournament will be played.

Former boss Hansi Flick was sacked after an early exit at the World Cup was followed by a five-game winless run which ended with a 4-1 defeat by Japan in Wolfsburg.

 

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Nagelsmann took over Die Mannschaft ahead of the tour to the United States during October, with his side going on to beat the hosts 3-1 and draw 2-2 with Mexico.

The former RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich head coach accepts tightening up in defence will be key to hopes of making an impact on home soil next summer –  but stressed it must not be his squad’s only focus.

“We want to have good (defensive) stability. There are moments when we want to give up less space to the opponents. We want to defend highly, but also give less space for balls behind our line,” Nagelsmann said.

“With a view to the Euros, a good defence is important, but we will not seek our salvation only on the defensive.

“We want to become even more dominant in the game to reduce the time we have to defend.”

Nagelsmann confirmed goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen would be returning to Barcelona as he deals with “acute back pain”, so will also not be available for next week’s trip to Austria.

 

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Manuel Neuer is working his way back to full fitness with Bayern following almost a year in recovery after breaking his leg while skiing.

Nagelsmann feels the 37-year-old should be allowed all the time he needs to get fully match fit and not face any extra pressure of a swift recall back to the national team.

“Anyone who listened to the reasons explaining the decision (not to call him up) can answer the question itself, why it has made sense not to nominate him (for the current squad),” Nagelsmann told a press conference.

“There are reasons that he has stayed at home and that is why a call-up now makes no sense.

“Manu has played a top role since his return and he should be allowed to continue.

“Afterwards, then at the Euros, the players who perform will play.”

Mats Hummels, a World Cup winner in 2014, should be involved after the Borussia Dortmund defender returned to training following his own back issue.

Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan is set to face his parent’s home nation for the first time.

The Gelsenkirchen-born Barcelona midfielder said: “It will be a very special game for me, no question about it.

“My grandparents, parents and other relatives still live in Turkey in Izmir, and of course I also have many friends there.

“I am really looking forward to it and I hope for a great football festival.”

 

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Turkey have already qualified for next summer’s finals, sitting top of Group D and will head to Wales next week for their last fixture.

New head coach Vincenzo Montella will be without captain Hakan Calhanoglu, who is recovering from a respiratory infection while his wife is also about to give birth to their child.

Fenerbahce winger Cengiz Under is another who did not travel to Germany as he continues to manage various fitness issues.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen was described as Barcelona's "life insurance" as the German goalkeeper came to the rescue against Getafe.

Pedri's goal in the 35th minute was enough for Barcelona as they ground out a 1-0 victory at Camp Nou, preserving their three-point cushion over Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga.

Ter Stegen, a sturdy presence throughout, saved brilliantly from Borja Mayoral six minutes after the goal, standing up to the Getafe man and making himself big after Pedri almost undid his earlier good work with a dreadful backpass.

Grateful defender Eric Garcia said: "Marc is life insurance with us. Everything he brings us with his footwork and then his saves, he has shown it again. He is very important for us."

Germany international Ter Stegen said the points were "worth gold" after what he recognised was a sloppy performance from Barcelona, a week on from winning the Supercopa de Espana.

The hosts were without Robert Lewandowski due to the striker's suspension, and it showed, with Ansu Fati not posing the same threat and struggling to impress himself on the game.

Ter Stegen, with 13 clean sheets in 17 LaLiga games this season, said: "What I try to do is always be in the game. I was being attentive and at the right moment I was able to get closer and make it a little more difficult for them."

Quoted in Mundo Deportivo, he said: "I try to give 100 per cent, for myself and for the team. Victories like today's make us stronger.

"It's true that we had opportunities to close the game and we didn't. So you have to suffer until the end.

"Perhaps in some victories you have to suffer, but when we're 2-0 it always benefits you, and you finish the game earlier."

Xavi thanked goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for coming to Barcelona's rescue as they scrambled a 1-0 win over Getafe.

The German shot-stopper made a string of crunch interventions that meant Pedri's first-half strike was enough to bring three points on Sunday.

Barcelona stretched their league run at Camp Nou to nine games without defeat, but coach Xavi accepted the LaLiga leaders were well short of their best.

"We haven't known how to attack well, and in general we have been quite untidy," Xavi said. "We lacked aggressiveness and the knowledge of how to attack spaces better. We have won without playing well.

"There are times when you are untidy and things don't turn out as you expect, but even so the team believe, defend well, and all the players are generous in their collective work.

"We haven't been too sharp in attack, but we managed to keep a clean sheet again, so without having played well we got the three points."

For that, Xavi said Ter Stegen deserved rich plaudits, with the 30-year-old making three outright saves and commanding his penalty area expertly.

"We are seeing the best Ter Stegen that has been seen in a long time," Xavi said.

"In one-against-ones he has been spectacular. He is a leader for the squad, he is being decisive, and it is important that the goalkeeper also saves points."

Xavi is not overly concerned by his team's so-so performance, and he was thankful they found a way to win while playing beneath their usual level, even if Ter Stegen had to dig them out of trouble.

"I think that in 70 or 80 per cent of games we have been good, so I think that in general we are closer to a good Barca than to an untidy Barca," Xavi said.

"We will surely find ourselves with more games like today's, but there we must be more practical.

"Of course you want to play better, but the opponent also play and make it difficult for you, as happened today."

Germany boss Hansi Flick has told his players to be cautious about socialising ahead of the World Cup to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and missing games.

Midfielder Leon Goretzka and captain Manuel Neuer have been ruled out of the Nations League games against Hungary and England after testing positive.

Those results followed their visit, as members of the Bayern Munich squad, to Oktoberfest celebrations last weekend.

It is unclear whether that was where the players caught the coronavirus, but social occasions give Flick cause for concern, albeit he is adamant that "life should also go on".

The Qatar 2022 World Cup is coming up in November and December, and Flick wants everyone available.

"This can also affect us in Qatar," said Flick. "We have to react to it and deal with the situation as best we can.

"It's not quite as easy as [saying] you should behave. We in the coaching team are also on the road a lot. Such cases are always annoying, but it's also become a normal situation.

"With a normal flu you also miss out. Covid is of course a bit more aggressive. Of course you have to reduce your contacts a little before the World Cup and consider, should I go there or not.

"You're on the road a lot. Life should also go on. We have to see that we keep it under control. But a certain normality with common sense, I think, is the right way."

Germany play Hungary on Friday and England on Monday, and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen will get a chance to impress in the Hungary game in the absence of Neuer.

"I don't need to keep a secret about the goalkeeper position, Marc will be in goal," Flick said in Thursday's press conference.

David de Gea is not a new problem for Manchester United. Of course, his backers – and that appears to include many people at the club – will always point to his shot-stopping ability, which has clearly been a strength over the course of his career in England.

We can't forget that legendary performance against Arsenal in a 3-1 away win for United in the 2017-18 season, when De Gea equalled a Premier League record by making 14 saves.

But if that kind of goalkeeper becomes less reliable at arguably the one thing they're good at, questions have to be asked. De Gea was, of course, culpable in United's 4-0 humiliation by Brentford on Saturday.

He let Josh Dasilva's tame long-range effort sneak into the bottom-right corner, and that opened the floodgates on what was one of United's worst days in Premier League history.

But that wasn't all. His needless pass to Christian Eriksen when the Dane was under pressure brought the second goal and further highlighted something De Gea's detractors have started to mention frequently in the past few years: he's not good enough with the ball to be relied upon in a team that wants to build from the back.

That's the style of play Erik ten Hag wants to impose, yet De Gea appears to be far from the ideal candidate. Granted, the need to make saves will always be important for a goalkeeper, and the Spaniard's record of 2.8 goals prevented last season was second only to Jose Sa (8.5) in the Premier League.

But goalkeepers have become more and more important in the implementation of possession-based football over the past decade, and the longer you have the ball, the fewer opportunities the opponent has to score – for example, the three teams with the greatest shares of possession last term also faced the fewest shots.

 

So, if De Gea – who last season only completed 69 per cent of his passes – is not suitable, which goalkeepers are? Stats Perform takes a look at the Opta data of the more realistic potential targets...

KEYLOR NAVAS

If United were able to sign Navas, there's lots to suggest it would be a very shrewd acquisition.

Although the Costa Rican is 35, stylistically the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper does appear to be a good fit for a team that wants to build from the back.

Over the past three seasons, Navas' 89.9 per cent pass completion rate last term is the highest by any goalkeeper (minimum 1,000 minutes played) in a single campaign across the top five leagues. He posted that figure as he and Gianluigi Donnarumma tussled for the starting role.

The season before he found a team-mate with 85.7 per cent of his passes, while in both campaigns he showed he was dependable when facing shots, recording 80.4 and 76.9 save percentages respectively – the former was the best such record of any keeper (min. 1,000 minutes played) over the past three campaigns.

When you consider PSG are seemingly willing to sell, with a move to Napoli apparently in the works, this could be a wonderful opportunity for United.

 

MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN

This might seem a slightly unrealistic option initially, but Ter Stegen certainly shouldn't be seen as unattainable.

While Ter Stegen has rarely been suggested as a likely option for Barcelona to raise funds, he does still retain reasonable value and his sale would ease salary limit concerns – let's not forget, the Frenkie de Jong saga may be murky, but the Blaugrana need money.

As for his suitability to Ten Hag's brand of football, Ter Stegen's essentially been playing that way throughout his time at Barcelona. In each of the past three seasons, he has recorded a pass completion percentage of over 85 per cent – no other goalkeeper across the big five leagues can match that.

 

The concern, however, is his shot-stopping capabilities. In the three seasons mentioned he has, Opta data says, conceded more goals than the average goalkeeper would have expected to based on the quality of chances faced, and his save percentage figures for the three campaigns (68.8, 69 and 70.4) aren't much better than the average for the keepers in question (67.4 per cent).

WOJCIECH SZCZESNY

Poland international Szczesny may not be remembered especially fondly in the Premier League as he failed to live up to early promise at Arsenal.

But in Serie A he's carved out a fine career for himself. First, he kept Alisson out of the Roma team, and then he went on to become Juventus' chosen one to replace Gianluigi Buffon.

He isn't perfect, but again he is a goalkeeper with decent passing stats. His accuracy (79.4 per cent) last season was, admittedly, his worst record out of the past three campaigns, but in 2020-21 he was at 89.1.

 

Szczesny's save percentages over the period in question range from 68 to 74.4, which are reasonable without being spectacular, though he prevented 5.1 goals in 2019-20 and 2.3 last term. Both are fine records.

ILLAN MESLIER

Obviously, a goalkeeper's statistics are very often a reflection of the team they play in and the players around them. Just because a keeper has an excellent passing accuracy in one side doesn't mean they will in another, or vice versa.

Meslier is a keeper United are said to have been long-term admirers of, and in the data search that identified Navas, Szczesny and Ter Stegen as suitable, the Frenchman is one of precious few under the age of 23 who could fit the bill long term.

The 22-year-old hasn't played behind an especially effective defence since coming into the Premier League with Leeds United, but in the 2020-21 season he recorded a 72.6 save percentage and a reasonable passing accuracy of 77.1 per cent.

 

Granted, both were significantly poorer in 2021-22 and he endured a disappointing season individually – letting in 15.8 goals more than expected, the fifth-worst in Europe's top league – that will have raised some doubts, but he has shown potential in a Leeds team that is known for being chaotic.

He'd be a gamble, but at this point it could be argued United need as much change as possible.

Juventus have been targeting a deal for Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, hoping he can be acquired for around £20million.

Firmino, 30, has spent the past seven seasons with Liverpool, playing a major role in winning the 2019-20 Premier League and 2018-19 Champions League, but in the past season a series of injuries limited him to his fewest league appearances (20) and league goals (five) since arriving at Anfield.

Corriere dello Sport claims the Brazilian was not Juventus' first choice when weighing up the striker market, but interest grew as it became increasingly unlikely they would be able to bring Alvaro Morata back to the club from Atletico Madrid.


TOP STORY – WITH MORATA UNLIKELY TO RETURN, JUVENTUS PIVOT TO FIRMINO

Darwin Nunez's arrival has given Liverpool an abundance of options up front, and instead of letting Firmino operate as a back-up as his value continues to diminish, the club could elect to cash in, if the price is right.

The report from Italy claims Juventus have also been investigating the possibility of acquiring Chelsea's Timo Werner or Manchester United's Anthony Martial, but securing Firmino would put an end to those pursuits.

Reports from England have indicated Liverpool are not interested in selling for the fee Juventus have so far proposed.

Meanwhile, Marca is reporting that Juventus are also in the hunt for Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo, with Manchester City and Newcastle United their main competition.


ROUND-UP

– Spanish publication Cadena Ser claims Frenkie de Jong has told team-mates he has no plans to leave Barcelona in the current transfer period, despite strong interest from Manchester United.

– Cadena Ser is also reporting that Barcelona will look to sell highly paid goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for financial relief if they can not convince De Jong to leave.

– According to The Athletic, Bournemouth are set to sign 23-year-old Middlesbrough winger Marcus Tavernier for £10million.

Roma are reportedly in the final stages of securing Georginio Wijnaldum on a loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain, with negotiations said to be continuing about the percentage of salary the French club will cover during his stay in Italy.

– The Daily Mail is reporting that Ajax have raised their asking price for Manchester United target Antony to £84million, likely indicating they have no intention of parting ways with the 22-year-old Brazil international.

Barcelona missed the chance to go third in LaLiga as Antonio Puertas' last-gasp strike salvaged a 1-1 draw for Granada on Saturday.

After Barca had struggled to create first-half chances, Sevilla loanee Luuk de Jong rose to head a Dani Alves cross past a helpless Luis Maximiano to put Barca in front in the second half.

Gavi's late sending off put Xavi's side under pressure and with time running out, Puertas volleyed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to deny Barca all three points.

While the Catalan giants have lost just once in 10 La Liga games, they sit only sixth in the table in the battle to secure a Champions League spot.

Barcelona are in disarray – out of Champions League and out of money.

Funds are limited at Camp Nou and it is forcing the embattled LaLiga giants to make some tough decisions.

Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be sold.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG AND TER STEGEN TO LEAVE CAMP NOU?

Barcelona are willing to sell Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter Stegen due to the club's finances, according to Diario AS.

Eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage, Barca are in the midst of a financial crisis, having been forced to part with superstar captain Lionel Messi at the start of the season.

Barca head coach Xavi faces a rebuilding job but needs to raise funds, and star midfielder De Jong and goalkeeper Ter Stegen could be sacrificed.

De Jong has been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, who have also eyed Ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Football Insider says Real Madrid are weighing up a move for former superstar Cristiano Ronaldo if he does not fit into the system of United interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

- ESPN claims Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara and Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United are key targets for Manchester United. Erling Haaland is also a long-term target of United.

Chelsea are eyeing Leicester City's Wesley Fofana as a replacement for soon-to-be free agent Antonio Rudiger, per Goal. Rudiger has been linked with Real Madrid and Bayern on a free transfer. Preparing for life after Rudiger, Chelsea have also been linked to Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to move on Mauro Icardi, Rafinha and Abdou Diallo, says L'Equipe. Icardi has been linked with Juventus, Milan, Newcastle United and Tottenham.

Another day, another Kylian Mbappe rumour.

The Paris Saint-Germain and France forward has long been linked with Real Madrid.

Madrid's high-profile chase could be reaching a conclusion.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID'S MBAPPE PLAN

Real Madrid's plan to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe has been revealed, according to the front page of Saturday's Marca.

Mbappe is Madrid's top transfer target, with the PSG forward out of contract at the end of the season and both parties have made no secret of their admiration.

The recent report claims the offer is "unrejectable" as Madrid's interest dates back to Mbappe's time at Monaco in 2017.

Marca also reports Madrid are set for a busy January amid interest in other soon-to-be free agents – Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are negotiating a move for Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, though the Premier League champions are not interested in selling the Spaniard.

Bayern Munich could look to sign Barca goalkeeper and Germany international Marc-Andre ter Stegen in 2023, per El Nacional.

- Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo is wanted by Serie A rivals Juventus and Antonio Conte's Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

Juve are eyeing Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic as an alternative should they miss out on in-demand Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic, according to Todofichajes. Vlahovic has been linked with City, United, Madrid, Barca, Bayern, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Inter and Tottenham.

- The Star says Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips will turn down a move to Old Trafford. Phillips has attracted interest from rivals Manchester United but the England international midfielder is unwilling to spark backlash from fans.

It appears Raheem Sterling's future is away from Manchester City.

Down the pecking order, Sterling has been linked with Barcelona.

City, however, are believed to want a player as part of any deal.

 

TOP STORY – STERLING OUT, TER STEGEN IN?

Manchester City are interested in a swap deal that could see Raheem Sterling move to Barcelona in exchange for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to El Nacional.

Barca are reportedly trying to bring Sterling to Camp Nou, with the England international struggling for regular game time at the Premier League champions.

Pep Guardiola had previously tried to bring Frenkie de Jong to Manchester but Barca were not keen, though the City manager is now interested in goalkeeper Ter Stegen – who has been linked with Bayern Munich in the past.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid plan to extend Luka Modric's contract for one more season, reports Marca. The 36-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season. He has previously been linked with Milan and Inter.

- Diario AS claims Barcelona are eyeing a move for Spain and Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta. The 32-year-old is out of contract at season's end.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are accelerating their efforts to sign Lille and Portugal star Renato Sanches. It comes amid uncertainty over soon-to-be free agent Franck Kessie, who is tipped to leave Milan following reported interest from the likes of Manchester UnitedBarcaParis Saint-GermainTottenham and Inter. Sanches has also been suggested as a target for Liverpool and Wolves.

- Calciomercato claims CityLiverpoolJuventus and Roma are targeting Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.

- Serie A champions Inter are pushing to sign Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic, per Gazzetta dello sport. Inter tried to prise the winger from Eintracht at the start of the season.

Is a move to London on the cards for Kingsley Coman?

Coman and Bayern Munich have so far been unable to reach an agreement over a new deal.

Chelsea are reportedly ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGETING COMAN

Chelsea are monitoring Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman, according to Bild.

Coman has been in negotiations with Bundesliga champions Bayern regarding a new contract, but up until now, the Frenchman has been unwilling to re-sign.

Champions League holders Chelsea are keeping tabs on Coman, who has also been linked with Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

- It is set to be a busy time at St James' Park. Sky Sports reports Eddie Howe has agreed to become Newcastle United's manager, while El Nacional claims the Magpies have made Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen a transfer priority.

Barcelona are prioritising a January move for RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo, per Diario AS. Should they fail in their pursuit, out-of-favour Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is the alternative.

- Sport1 claims the agent of Salzburg sensation Karim Adeyemi has met with LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid. The 19-year-old has also been linked with Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG and Bayern are eyeing Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic on a free transfer, says Calciomercato. United and Barca are also reportedly interested.

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