Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier hinted further arrivals are imminent after his side wrapped up their pre-season tour of Japan by thrashing Gamba Osaka 6-2.

Meanwhile, despite star trio Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar all netting during Monday's rout, Galtier was frustrated by his team's defending, insisting they must improve after conceding "two goals too many".

With Messi starting alongside Neymar and Pablo Sarabia in a 3-4-3 shape, PSG eased to a 4-1 half-time lead as each of the front three joined Nuno Mendes on the scoresheet.

Neymar grabbed his second after the break before Mbappe came on to convert a late penalty, ensuring PSG finished their tour of Japan with three wins from three outings.

Having already signed creative midfielder Vitinha, PSG are expected to carry out further recruitment ahead of their Ligue 1 campaign starting on August 6. 

It was revealed on Monday that RB Leipzig's Nordi Mukiele would miss the German team's DFL-Supercup meeting with Bayern Munich while he finalises a move to Paris, and Galtier is hoping for more new arrivals to follow the defender.

"The club is working to improve and make this squad stronger," he told a post-match news conference.

"We're going to fly, we're going to take a long 12-hour journey, we're going to sleep and when we land we might have one or two, even three more players… We'll see what happens this week."

PSG produced a scintillating attacking performance in their final pre-season outing, only slightly outperforming their 5.65 expected goals (xG) and recording 17 attempts on target, but Galtier was left unimpressed by their two concessions.

Galtier coached Nice to Ligue 1's joint-best defensive record last term (36 goals conceded, level with PSG), while his title-winning Lille side of 2020-21 conceded only 23 goals and kept a league-high 21 clean sheets.

Having built a reputation for his strong defensive organisation, Galtier stressed PSG must improve off the ball.

"I'm happy with the first half, the second we were tired. We conceded two goals, two goals too many," Galtier added. "Even if we have a big goal difference, I would like us to be hard to beat. It's a major line of work.

"Annoyed? That's not the term. On the second goal, we have to be more structured and not disorderly. We weren't in the right timing, we couldn't manage to get back on track. This is an important line of work, we have to show a tougher face for future matches.

"[But] even if we don't want to concede too many chances and concede goals, my players' DNA is to play, take risks and attack as much as possible. We're not going to change that."

Nordi Mukiele has been left out of RB Leipzig's squad for their DFL-Supercup clash against Bayern Munich on Saturday, with the defender in talks over a move to Paris Saint-Germain. 

PSG are in the market for defensive reinforcements after struggling to mount a serious challenge for the Champions League last season, with new boss Christophe Galtier keen to employ a three-man defence at the Parc des Princes.

Inter's Milan Skriniar was initially linked with the French giants, but versatile Leipzig star Mukiele appears close to becoming the first new defender through the door in Paris this window.

With reports suggesting one-cap France international Mukiele is on the verge of agreeing a five-year contract with PSG, his current club revealed he will not be available for their season curtain-raiser.

On Monday, the club announced on Twitter that the defender "has been granted absence due to ongoing contract discussions".

Mukiele made 28 appearances, 21 of them starts, as Leipzig finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season.

No German top-flight team conceded fewer than their 37 goals across the 2021-22 campaign, while only Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg (both 11) bettered their tally of 10 clean sheets.

Sassuolo have agreed to sell Italy striker Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham, according to the Serie A club's chief executive Giovanni Carnevali.

The 23-year-old forward has been strongly linked with a move away from Sassuolo throughout the transfer window, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly among the clubs interested.

Carnevali insisted earlier this month that Sassuolo were in no rush to sell their prized asset, adamant they would only let him leave on their terms.

And despite the apparent interest of PSG, West Ham are seemingly close to securing the striker's arrival.

Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Carnevali said: "€36million plus €6m in bonuses and 10 per cent on any resale for Scamacca. A good deal, isn't it? Also, because West Ham is a selling club.

"Scamacca is the present and future of Italy, a complete striker. He's improved a lot in the last year, and he still has unexpressed potential.

"He has physical and technical strengths – he has to learn to play more with his team-mates, [but] he's an exceptional lad, very good."

Scamacca enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, scoring 16 goals in 36 appearances in Serie A.

His tally was only bettered by five players – Giovanni Simeone, Tammy Abraham (both 17), Lautaro Martinez (21), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Ciro Immobile (27) – in the Italian top flight.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland, Vinicius Junior and Vlahovic were the only players younger than Scamacca to score 15 or more goals in Europe's top five leagues.

Scamacca will expect to play a prominent role at West Ham should the deal go through, as the club lack depth in his position, with Michail Antonio the only recognised striker in their squad following last year's sale of Sebastien Haller.

Lionel Messi could return to Barcelona one day, according to club president Joan Laporta, who feels "indebted" to the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Messi's 21-year association with Barcelona, 16 of those spent as part of the senior squad, came to an end last August when he signed for PSG as a free agent.

The Argentina international won every trophy available with Barca and departed as the club's all-time record scorer with 672 goals across 778 appearances.

Last year's departure came as a huge shock at the time, with the Catalan giants' financial situation meaning they could not agree fresh terms that adhered to LaLiga's salary cap rules.

Messi has another year to run on his PSG deal, which will take him through to the age of 36, though that contract contains the option of a third season in Paris.

But Laporta, who was re-elected as president in March 2021, has opened the door for the club great to return to Catalonia one day.

"For Barca, he has possibly been the best player in history, the most efficient, only comparable to Johan Cruyff in the history of Barca," Laporta told ESPN.

"But it had to happen one day. We had to make a decision as a consequence of the legacy we had received, the institution is above players and coaches.

"I don't believe Messi's chapter at Barcelona is over. And I believe it is our responsibility to make sure that chapter is still open, that it hasn't closed.

"To have a moment to do it how it should have been done so that he may have a much more splendid ending than what he had."

 

Messi was directly involved in 937 goals for Barcelona, with his most prolific season coming in 2011-12 when scoring 73 goals in all competitions and assisting a further 28.

That is in stark contrast to the 11 goals and 14 assists managed in 34 games across all competitions during his first season at the Parc des Princes.

As the poster boy of the most successful period in Barca's history, Laporta feels a sense of gratitude towards the superstar forward.

"Do I feel indebted to him? Yes. Morally, as president of Barca, I did what I had to do," Laporta said. "But also as president of Barca and on a personal level, I think I owe him."

New Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier has admitted he is uncertain about Neymar's future, despite the forward's desire to stay at the club.

The 30-year-old Brazil international is reportedly free to leave the French capital, though the former Barcelona man is not pushing for an exit.

Neymar has three years remaining on his PSG contract and stated on Saturday that he is happy to remain with the Ligue 1 champions.

Galtier revealed he is not sure if Neymar will be part of his squad for the 2022-23 season.

"Neymar is happy, he has been working well since the beginning of the pre-season," he said after the 3-0 win against Urawa Red Diamonds.

"What will happen in the near future when the transfer window closes, I don't know.

"We announce he's leaving, we announce he's staying - I haven't spoken to Ney about this. But he doesn't seem to be bothered about what is said about him and his situation at the club."

Neymar scored 13 Ligue 1 goals for PSG last season as they reclaimed the title but has not scored in the knockout stages of the Champions League since March 2020, when he was on target against Borussia Dortmund. 

Neymar has declared that his desire is to stay at Paris Saint-Germain amid reports he could be on the move.

The Brazil international has been linked with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Neymar came on just before the hour mark in PSG's 3-0 friendly win over Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds in Saitama on Saturday and spoke of his wish to remain with the Ligue 1 champions after the match.

The former Barcelona forward, who has three years remaining on his contract, told reporters: "I want to stay in Paris.

"I don't know about the club since they haven't told me anything. I have a multi-year contract here. So far, I haven't been told anything."

Neymar was in the PSG team that crumbled at the Bernabeu last season, when a Karim Benzema hat-trick saw PSG let a 2-0 second-leg lead slip against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.

He was booed in PSG's next home game after that collapse, and there has been talk of that reaction leading to the 30-year-old wanting to seek pastures new.

Yet Neymar says he is looking forward to the new season with Christophe Galtier in charge following Mauricio Pochettino's departure.

He added: "I feel good, in good shape, after the holidays at home. For everyone, we have to train a lot to improve as a team. The truth is that everything is fine.

"I have nothing to prove to anyone. I like to play football, I'm happy."

Pablo Sarabia has called on Paris Saint-Germain to "leave aside individualities" ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

The midfielder spent last season on loan at Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, where he scored 15 goals in 29 league appearances.

But Sarabia is now back at PSG and preparing to fight for a place in the squad amid the departures of key personnel such as Angel Di Maria and Xavi Simons.

PSG won Ligue 1 last season, their fourth title in five years, but failed once more to bring their first Champions League trophy back to Paris.

They brought in Lionel Messi to try and help them achieve that goal, but a dramatic collapse to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the last 16 meant their ultimate goal went unfulfilled again.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino was sacked at the end of the season, with former Nice boss Christophe Galtier brought in to replace him.

Sarabia has been impressed by the discipline Galtier has brought to the team and wants the whole squad to form a united front.

"I think in any job, discipline and rules are important," Sarabia told AFP.

"It is necessary for a good cohabitation and to form a good group. I think it will be good for everyone.

"You have to build a good group, leave aside individualities because the most important thing is the collective.

"We see it every year, the teams that are the most united are those that end up winning titles."

Sarabia also commented on his own personal performance, and what he can bring to Galtier's team.

The former Sevilla midfielder added: "Right now, I feel that I am in the best period of my career, with a lot of confidence.

"The most important thing for a team is to have 15, 16, 17 players ready to play, at the same level, because there are a lot of matches.

"Everyone is going to be needed, so I'll be ready for that. I think I can bring work, enthusiasm, goals and assists."

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

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

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

 

TOP STORY – WERNER, KEPA STAYING PUT AT CHELSEA

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

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

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

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

 

ROUND-UP

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

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

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

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

Bernardo Silva has vowed to shut out speculation about his future and commit to Manchester City until the time comes to leave the Premier League champions.

That could be several seasons away, or a matter of weeks if potential suitors put together a package that appeals to City.

Silva has been linked in the close season with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, with that level of interest underlining his status as one of Europe's leading attacking midfielders.

The Portugal international has spent five fruitful seasons at City, since joining from Monaco, and his contract runs through to the end of the 2024-25 season.

Manager Pep Guardiola is clearly not rushing to offload the 27-year-old, who is with City on their pre-season tour in the United States and played 76 minutes of Wednesday's friendly against Club America.

Addressing his future, Silva said on Sky Sports News: "What is really important is that I am preparing my season as well as possible.

"For as long as I play for City, I will always give my best. The relationship with the club, with the fans and my team-mates is fantastic, and I will always respect that."

Guardiola this week dismissed a report in French newspaper Le Parisien that claimed PSG had offered Neymar to City as part of a swap deal that would have seen Silva go the other way.

Barcelona appeared to be strongly interested earlier in pre-season but have since shifted their focus, bringing in Raphinha from Leeds United as an attacking midfield option while completing the signing of Franck Kessie on a free transfer from Milan.

Christophe Galtier says Paris Saint-Germain have plenty of work to do as they adapt to a new system after starting their tour with a win over Kawasaki Frontale.

Goals from Lionel Messi and Arnaud Kalimuendo gave the Ligue 1 champions a 2-1 victory over the champions of Japan at the National Stadium in front of a crowd of over 60,000 on Wednesday.

Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino as PSG head coach this month, started with Sergio Ramos, Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos in a back three.

The former Lille and Nice boss felt PSG were fortunate to only concede once in their tour opener, but knows it will take time for them to adapt to a different formation.

He is quoted saying in L'Equipe: "It was a very fast-paced game against a team that is in the middle of its championship, so physically, tactically and technically ready.

"Concerning us, there were good offensive combinations. I liked the way my players put pressure on the pitch loud and clear, which allowed us to be dangerous and create a lot of situations for ourselves.

"We are evolving in a new system, in 3-4-1-2, so we have to assimilate it. We experienced a lot of imbalances and thus conceded far too many situations on our goal.

"It's a big line of work for the coming weeks. We want to be able to have a lot of people [involved] offensively and at the same time to be able to keep a fair balance.

"You have to try to quickly find adjustments and compensations to avoid being caught in transition situations."

The Parisian giants will take on Urawa Red Diamonds in their next match on Saturday.

Lille midfielder Renato Sanches will join either Paris Saint-Germain or Milan, according to Les Dogues president Oliver Letang.

Sanches has been heavily linked with a move to the French capital as he enters the final 12 months of his contract, but Letang insisted at the end of June that the Ligue 1 champions had made no contact.

Milan are the other European side interested in the 24-year-old, with reports suggesting the Rossoneri have a €15million deal in place with Lille should they fail to agree a transfer with PSG.

Letang, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday to welcome Guinea forward Mohamed Bayo to Lille, confirmed Sanches will leave, though he remains unsure to which club yet.

"Renato has two very good possibilities, two very big clubs," he told reporters. "If he is still with us, it is because we have not reached an agreement with the clubs concerned.

"Renato is going to leave, to which club I don't know. I will keep the nature of these discussions confidential. It will be Paris or Milan."

PSG have already brought in Hugo Ekitike and Vitinha as the first signings of former Lille coach Christophe Galtier's tenure.

Sanches would provide another creative presence in midfield for Galtier's side, having created the most chances of any Lille player during his three league campaigns at the club (88 – since 2019-20).

Last season, the Portugal international also led the Lille charts for assists (five – level with Burak Yilmaz) and ranked third for successful passes in the opposition half (724).

Sanches will be hoping a move to either Milan or PSG will boost his hopes of featuring at the World Cup in Qatar for Portugal in November.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has rubbished rumours linking the English champions with a swap deal for Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

French outlet Le Parisien reported that PSG had offered Neymar to City as part of a swap deal earlier in the off-season that would have seen Bernardo Silva go the other way.

According to the report City declined the proposal but Guardiola clarified the story was not accurate.

"I am so sorry for Le Parisien, but it is not true," Guardiola told reporters in Houston ahead of their pre-season game against Club America on Wednesday.

"I am sorry for them because the information they have received is false.

"Neymar is an incredible player and by my information, he is a nice guy. Let him express himself at Paris.

"Manchester City bought 150 players every summer, and it is not true. I am sorry for Neymar, of course."

It has been reported this off-season that PSG have put 30-year-old Neymar on the market, while Guardiola reiterated his belief that Bernardo would stay at City last month amid links with Barcelona.

City have landed several key players this off-season, with new signings Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Julian Alvarez and Stefan Ortega Moreno, while Bernardo has established himself a pivotal player in City's midfield.

The English champions won the race to land 21-year-old Norwegian forward Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, with expectations high for his impact at a club which appeared to lack an out-and-out striker last term.

"We cannot put too much pressure on these players," Guardiola said.

"We need to get them houses, apartments in Manchester, and in the sessions what we want them to do will increase.

"The first impressions of Julian, Kalvin, Erling, and Stefan were really good – they seem like good people.

"Having good vibes in the locker room is more important than tactics."

Guardiola also did not close the door on further signings, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko – who is set to join Arsenal – all departing.

"We will see about signing, [Manchester City director of football] Txiki [Begiristain] and his department are scouting, he’ll know what is best for the team," he said.

Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

Barcelona are looking to strengthen their defence in the transfer market after club president Joan Laporta claimed they had seen off competition from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain for Robert Lewandowski.

The Catalan giants have made several additions as Xavi bids to better last season's second-placed league finish, acquiring Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, Leeds United's Raphinha and Bayern Munich great Lewandowski.

Barca finished some 13 points behind rivals Real Madrid last season, although that represented an achievement of sorts with the Catalan giants having sat ninth in LaLiga when Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman.

In an interview with Hristo Stoichkov for TUDN during Barca's pre-season tour of the United States, Laporta said their business is not yet complete.

"Now we are going to work on the defence," Laporta said. "Xavi has us oriented with a series of players and I hope that the Catalans will have new joys, because the Catalans like Lewandowski.

"This team gives you a guarantee of work, it gives you a guarantee that the players have a profile that is hungry, and we are trying to ensure that they have a better environment. 

"Xavi knows what the fans want, so that when we go to the stadium we have a good time and see that genuine style, playing football with maximum expression and also with goals. 

"Verticality, pressure, possession, control of the ball, all this Xavi wants to implement at its maximum expression."

Barcelona have been strongly linked with moves for Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso after boasting just the sixth-strongest defensive record in LaLiga last season, conceding 38 goals (more than Sevilla, Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Villarreal).

Meanwhile, 12 teams in the Spanish top flight bettered Barca's tally of 11 clean sheets last season.

The signing of Lewandowski, who scored 50 goals in all competitions during his final season with Bundesliga champions Bayern, represents the biggest coup of the transfer window for Barcelona, and Laporta claims they were not the only party pushing hard to sign him.

"We made a first offer and it ended at 45 [million euros], plus five. It's within our possibilities, the player has also adjusted his salary to be within our possibilities and the Catalans are now very happy", Laporta added. 

"We have competed with teams like PSG and Chelsea, and the player wanted to come to Barca. This is what I like.

"As Johan [Cruyff] said, 'I want players who want to come to Barca', and we have to thank him because he has been earning less and enduring great pressure from Bayern, for whom I have great respect.

"Barca needs, like any great team, a goalscoring striker. He is a goalscoring machine gun. 

 

"This player has been awarded the golden boot several times, if you look at his record he guarantees a goal, and every great team needs a striker who guarantees you goals.

"I think that Johan would like Lewandowski – he is a goalscoring striker, different from others we have had.

"Also, with [Ousmane] Dembele, Raphinha, Ferran Torres, who for me is a player who has a goal and has a lot of potential, all of them and Ansu [Fati], [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang - it's going well, it's progressing very well, we have a forward [line] with guarantees of putting on a show and scoring goals.

"I want Barca to become a world reference again. In the economic sphere, we are recovering the club, we are achieving it, although we have to work more. 

"But the football side of things does not wait and I think we are doing a good job."

Inter Miami hope to be able to sign Lionel Messi and establish themselves as "the benchmark of soccer in the United States", co-owner Jorge Mas has reiterated.

The MLS outfit are owned by a group including former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England great David Beckham, so they are no strangers to big names.

But the arrival of seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi in the United States would likely represent a landmark transfer in the sport's history.

For now, Messi, who had spent his entire club career with Barcelona until last year, is under contract at Paris Saint-Germain for another season, while there is the option for a further 12 months, too.

However, Inter are not giving up hope of recruiting the 35-year-old before he calls time on a legendary career.

The club's chief business officer Xavier Asensi hinted at interest in Messi earlier this week, and Mas doubled down on their transfer market ambition in an interview with Sport as Barca visit Miami in pre-season.

 

Mas, a co-owner alongside Beckham, said: "Well, look, both David Beckham and I aspire to bring the best players in the world here to Miami.

"[It is] not only because of the project we are creating, because we want to be the benchmark of soccer in the United States, but when you talk about the best players in the world, Leo is obviously the best player on the planet.

"Hopefully the conditions will be for him being there, playing in the shirt of Inter Miami of the United States. We aspire to that. Hopefully the circumstances will arise.

"We have nothing guaranteed, there is no agreement, but I am a very optimistic man, and hopefully in the future Leo Messi can be part of our project."

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