Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored twice as AC Milan took control of their Europa League play-off against Rennes with a 3-0 victory in the first leg at San Siro.

Stefano Pioli’s men finished third in their Champions League group, but continue to build momentum on the back of just one defeat in 13 games now through all competitions.

Former Chelsea midfielder Loftus-Cheek put Milan in front in the 32nd minute with a glancing header and nodded home another at the start of the second half before Rafael Leao swiftly fired in a third, leaving the Italian giants within touching distance of a place in the last 16.

The Rossoneri almost took an early lead when Leao’s close-range effort struck the crossbar before Theo Hernandez blazed over from the edge of the penalty area following a corner.

Loftus-Cheek then burst down the right and cut the ball back to Yunus Musah, who sent his shot wide.

After soaking up plenty of early pressure, Rennes went close in the 21st minute when captain Benjamin Bourigeaud’s long-range effort flew just off target.

Milan broke the deadlock just after the half-hour when England international midfielder Loftus-Cheek guided a cushioned header into the bottom corner from Alessandro Florenzi’s floated cross for his fourth goal in five appearances.

The hosts – currently third in Serie A, a point behind Juventus – continued to press as Olivier Giroud’s low drive from the edge of the area was clawed away by Rennes goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Rennes, who had been unbeaten in nine games, threatened on the counter when teenage winger Desire Doue drove forwards and drilled in a 20-yard effort, which was straight at Milan keeper Mike Maignan.

The French side fell further behind just two minutes into the second half when Loftus-Cheek nodded in from close range after Mandanda had palmed out a flicked header at the near post from Milan defender Simon Kjaer.

Before Rennes could look to regroup, Leao had fired in Milan’s third – his 50th goal for the club – after a neat exchange with Christian Pulisic down the right in the 53rd minute.

Rennes made a couple of changes to try to sharpen up the team and had a good spell of pressure heading into the final 20 minutes, with a low 22-yard drive from substitute Amine Gouiri testing Maignan.

Milan had a late chance to score a fourth when Pulisic broke down the left wing. The American’s shot was parried by Mandanda and then substitute Noah Okafor saw his follow-up hacked off the line by Rennes midfielder Azor Matusiwa.

Maignan saved again from Gouiri before Ludovic Blas fired over as Rennes were left with it all to do in next week’s second leg at Roazhon Park.

Teenager Chaka Traore scored his second goal in six days as AC Milan beat Serie A strugglers Empoli 3-0 at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

The 19-year-old Ivorian winger, who had opened his Milan account in Tuesday’s 4-1 Coppa Italia victory over Cagliari, came off the bench to notch a third for Stefano Pioli’s men in the 88th minute.

That added to Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s 11th-minute opener and an Olivier Giroud penalty just past the half-hour mark.

Third-placed Milan’s third win in four league games closed the gap to second-placed Juventus to four points ahead of the Turin giants’ match at Salernitana later on Sunday.

Aurelio Andreazzoli’s Empoli remain second bottom as their winless run in the league extends to a seventh match.

As the visitors sought to make an early breakthrough, Tijjani Reijnders drilled wide in the third minute and Davide Calabria produced a dangerous cross from the right that flashed across the face of goal without a finishing touch being applied.

Milan then moved in front when Rafael Leao got past Tyronne Ebuehi on the left and laid the ball to Loftus-Cheek, who slotted past Elia Caprile.

Caprile subsequently dealt with a shot from Theo Hernandez before Empoli were forced into a change, with Ebuehi having pulled up injured and replaced by Filippo Ranocchia.

Moments later, Loftus-Cheek’s acrobatic effort hit the hand of Youssef Maleh, a VAR check ensued and after referee Federico La Penna watched footage back pitchside the verdict was a penalty, which Giroud dispatched in emphatic fashion off the crossbar for his 10th club goal of the season in all competitions.

It was then Milan having to make an early substitution due to injury as Alessandro Florenzi came off for Alex Jimenez.

Empoli’s Nicolo Cambiaghi was unable to make the most of a decent chance in first-half stoppage time, shooting wide, and Tommaso Baldanzi then saw an attempt saved by Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan early in the second half.

Milan returned to the front foot with Loftus-Cheek striking wide from outside the box, Caprile tipping over a Christian Pulisic header and Leao curling into the stand.

Empoli’s continued efforts to hit back saw Cambiaghi put a couple of attempts wide, either side of Maignan blocking a Matteo Cancellieri shot and Francesco Caputo’s follow-up deflecting behind.

Milan then wrapped things up on the counter-attack in the closing stages as Pulisic burst forward and fed Traore, who sent a composed finish into the bottom corner.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s superb strike helped AC Milan to a 3-1 Serie A victory at struggling Cagliari.

Zito Luvumbo gave Claudio Ranieri’s winless side a shock lead but Noah Okafor and Fikayo Tomori turned things around before Loftus-Cheek’s first Milan goal secured the win.

Milan have now won back-to-back league games since their derby drubbing by city rivals Inter – their only dropped points of the season so far – while Cagliari remain in the bottom three with just two points from their opening six matches.

Stefano Pioli’s side started on the front foot against their out-of-form hosts, Tijjani Reijnders drifting an early opportunity wide before Loftus-Cheek wasted a chance due to a heavy first touch inside the area.

Much of the visitors’ threat was coming from Samuel Chukwueze down the right, with the Nigerian’s cross-shot floating wide.

The first big chance fell to striker Okafor, but his tame shot from 12 yards was easily held by Boris Radunovic.

Cagliari caught Milan out from a throw-in to score just their second goal of the season in the 29th minute, with Luvumbo – who got their first – smashing a left-footed strike into the roof of the net.

Ibrahim Sulemana shot straight at Marco Sportiello from distance as Cagliari pushed for another but Milan went straight down the other end to level after 40 minutes.

Christian Pulisic jinked past the full-back to cross low into the area and Radunovic spilled the ball into the path of Okafor, who finished from six yards.

Milan seized the initiative as Chukwueze fired over before Theo Hernandez’s shot required a fingertip save by Radunovic.

And the Rossoneri were ahead on the stroke of half-time as Reijnders’ cross along the six-yard line was bundled in by Tomori.

Cagliari threatened in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Luvumbo was denied by a last-ditch block and Gaetano Oristanio shot over from the edge of the box.

Loftus-Cheek’s goal came on the hour mark as he arrowed a superb strike from 25 yards low into the bottom corner.

The hosts carried little threat as Milan controlled the game, but Luvumbo capitalised on a slip from Tomori to create their best chance to reduce the arrears three minutes from time as Oristanio’s strike was beaten away by Sportiello.

Milan’s next game is at home to Lazio on Saturday while Cagliari face a trip to Fiorentina on Monday.

Liverpool are set for a busy off-season with suggestions that Jurgen Klopp and the club's management want a squad overhaul.

Among the key areas to address is their midfield options, leading to links to numerous players.

It was reported last week Liverpool have pulled out of the race for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.

TOP STORY – REDS TO RAMP UP MOUNT INTEREST

Liverpool will ramp up their efforts to sign Mason Mount, amid a lack of a breakthrough in negotiations between the midfielder and Chelsea, reports The Guardian.

The Reds have now moved on from Bellingham given Dortmund's asking price, with Mount in their sights given he is out of contract at the end of this season.

Mount has offered no signs that he will extend his Chelsea deal, with Liverpool eager to capitalise and lure the 24-year-old England international to Anfield.

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- Chelsea could look to join the race alongside Real Madrid for Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, according to Fichajes. Alvarez is reportedly unhappy with his lack of game-time on the pitch at City.

- Manchester City are interested in an off-season move for Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies along with Real Madrid, reports Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg. Davies' contract runs until 2024 and he has held talks with Bayern on a new deal.

- Man City are also willing to let defender Aymeric Laporte exit in the off-season if he pushes for a move, claims the Daily Mail. Laporte, who is contracted until 2025, has fallen out of favour at City.

- 90min reports Arsenal are tracking Borussia Monchengladbach's Florian Neuhaus, who is contracted until 2024.

- Sport Witness claims Inter's Joaquin Correa has interest from Premier League trio Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham.

- Ex-Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will take over at Roma next season, with Jose Mourinho tipped to move to Paris Saint-Germain, per Calciomercato.

Real Madrid are eager to rejuvenate their squad for coming seasons with investment set to come in the off season.

Los Blancos are set to finish second in the LaLiga title race to Barcelona who hold an 11-point lead with nine games to play.

The depth of the reigning European champions, who are in this season's quarter-finals, has been tested at times this term.

TOP STORY – MADRID BOSS TO SWOOP ON CHELSEA TALENT

Fichajes claims Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has identified Chelsea quartet Reece James, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic as potential targets.

The latter three are all out of contract in 2024, meaning Los Blancos could sign them for free if they do not re-sign.

Perez is plotting to capitalise on Chelsea's downfall this term, with the club to miss next season's Champions League.

Kovacic previously spent three seasons at Santiago Bernabeu, while Mount has attracted interest from several top clubs given his quality and contract status.

 

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Lionel Messi wants to return to Barcelona when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expire at the end of this season, reports Fichajes. Messi will overlook offers from Saudi Arabia and MLS club Inter Miami to return to his former club.

Manchester United are in pole position to sign French defender Axel Disasi from Monaco in the off season, claims Football Insider. Disasi is out of contract in 2025, with Chelsea and Manchester City also said to be interested.

Liverpool have turned to Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, claims The Times.

– Calciomercatoweb claims Arsenal are still in the race to sign Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic, despite stiff competition from Madrid and PSG .

Toni Kroos is set to accept a contract extension offer from Madrid and re-commit to the club for another 12 months, reports Marca.

Chelsea have met with ex-Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann as they look for their next permanent manager, according to The Times.

Bernardo Silva is one step closer to getting his desired move to Barcelona after it was reported that Manchester City have named a price for their wantaway midfielder.

Silva, 28, is in his sixth season with City, but after four Premier League titles and 51 goals for the club, he recently spoke about his wish for a new challenge following multiple transfer windows with heavy interest from Barcelona.

The Portugal international, who scored against Newcastle United on Saturday, has a contract that ties him to the club until 2025, but City might be set grant his wish at the end of the season and allow him to leave – for the right price.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SET ASKING PRICE FOR BARCELONA-BOUND BERNARDO

According to Sport, City have told Silva that they will accept any incoming bid that reaches their demand of £57.5million (€65m).

Barcelona are well aware of the latest development, and are said to be doing all they can in the coming months to ensure the financial rules allow them to make the move. However, Silva's contract demands could be a stumbling block for the Spanish giants.

Reports suggest City previously rejected Barcelona's £62m (€70m) approach during the January window.

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– Calciomercato is reporting Inter will seek a €40m fee for defender Denzel Dumfries.

– According to The Mirror, Manchester United and Liverpool are among the Premier League teams preparing to make a run at New England Revolution goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

City will pursue RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol if they sell Paris Saint-Germain target Aymeric Laporte, per the Daily Star.

– Football Insider is reporting Arsenal, City, United and Liverpool are all showing interest in Brighton and Hove Albion's World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister , who the Seagulls are expected to price at £70m.

– According to Calciomercato, Milan are targeting £22m-rated (€25m) Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Joao Felix has had a mixed start to his loan spell at Chelsea, but the Premier League club are eager to make his stay permanent.

The 23-year-old Portugal forward joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid in January, getting sent off on debut before scoring on his Premier League return against West Ham on Saturday.

Felix signed for Atletico from Benfica in 2019 on a seven-year contract for a transfer fee of €126 million and extended his deal until 2027 prior to the move to Stamford Bridge.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA WANT PERMANENT JOAO FELIX STAY

Chelsea want to make Joao Felix's stay at Stamford Bridge permanent, according to Relevo.

The Portuguese is on loan with the Blues for the rest of the season from Atletico Madrid, with Chelsea willing to pay €100 million (£88.3m) for his services.

The Spaniards were originally asking for more, believed to be around €130m-140m (£115m-£124m) but may be willing to accept a reduced fee.

Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic could be heading in the opposition direction with Atletico considering a cut-price bid for Chelsea's United States international, according to Fichajes.

 

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- Real Madrid are monitoring Tottenham forward Richarlison and Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, reports ESPN. Los Blancos are looking for long-term replacements for 35-year-old Karim Benzema.

- Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain is uncertain with the French champions to place him on their transfer list in the upcoming off-season, claims Foot Mercato. PSG paid a staggering €222m for Neymar in 2017 but are set to move on.

- Chelsea's pursuit of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice could lead them to sell Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to raise funds for the deal, claims Football Insider.

- Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka for a free transfer at the end of this season, claims German journalist Christopher Michel.

- Bayern Munich want to sign Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo for a reduced fee, rather than trigger the €70 million buy option, reports 90min. The report claims a fee around €60m is more realistic.

Premier League heavyweights Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United are reportedly preparing to target Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, who may leave the Serie A leaders at the end of the season.

Osimhen, 24, became Napoli's club-record signing when he arrived at the club for €70million in July 2020, and he has met all expectations.

After scoring 14 goals in 27 league appearances last season, Osimhen has raised the bar, finding the back of the net 12 times with four assists during his 14 league fixtures in 2022-23.

With Napoli nine points clear at the Serie A summit and seeking their first title since the 1989-90 season, a January sale is off the table, but talks are expected to heat up at the end of the campaign.

 

TOP STORY – NAPOLI SLAP €150M PRICE TAG ON PREMIER LEAGUE TARGET OSIMHEN

According to Il Mattino, Napoli believe that if Chelsea new-boy Mykhaylo Mudryk is worth €100m (£88.5m), then Osimhen is worth €150m (£133m).

The Nigerian international's contract ties him to the Italian side until 2025, giving I Partenopei enough leverage to hold firm at what they believe is a fair valuation, but they will be forced to listen to offers at the end of the season if he shows no indication of signing an extension.

The report states Arsenal, United and Newcastle have already made their interest clear, although Arsenal specifically appear to be weighing up a number of expensive options after opting against meeting Mudryk's asking price.

 

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– The Times is reporting Arsenal have made 24-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice their top priority in the post-season transfer window, and the England international could cost £80m.

– According to The Telegraph, Newcastle have enquired about Chelsea trio Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hakim Ziyech.

Newcastle have also reportedly joined Leicester City in the pursuit of 24-year-old Fiorentina forward Nico Gonzalez, who will cost at least €45m (£40m), per TuttoMercatoWeb.

– 90min is reporting Leeds United have increased their bid for 22-year-old Angers midfielder and Morocco standout Azzedine Ounahi to £22.2m (€25m).

– The agent of 25-year-old Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma has reached out to Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham in an effort to organise a move to the Premier League this month, per Relevo.

Harry Kane's future at Tottenham is at a curious stage, having become more settled during Antonio Conte's tenure.

Kane has scored 10 goals in all competitions this term, including nine in the Premier League with Spurs starting strongly to sit third.

The England international had pushed to move to Manchester City in mid-2021 but ultimately was convinced to stay.

TOP STORY – SPURS PUSH TO OPEN KANE CONTRACT TALKS

Tottenham are eager to commence talks with Harry Kane on a new deal, but the England forward is holding off, claims Football Insider.

Antonio Conte's future at Spurs is a factor for Kane, with the Italian out of contract at the end of this season.

Bayern Munich have been linked with Kane who signed a six-year deal with Spurs in June 2018, tying him down until 2024.

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– Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool are not considering a move for Barcelona's unsettled midfielder Frenkie de Jong, following reports to the contrary.

Napoli are weighing up a potential move for Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele who is on loan with the Italian club, reports Inside Futebol. The Frenchman's release clause is €30 million, which Napoli are willing to trigger.

– Calciomercato claims Denis Zakaria is set to return to Juventus in January with Chelsea planning to terminate his loan deal, having failed to play a minute of first-team football since joining on deadline day.

– Italian champions Milan may make a move for Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek in January, reports Calciomercato.

Thomas Tuchel expressed his delight with a "controlled and serious" performance that guided Chelsea into the FA Cup final.

Chelsea reached a third successive FA Cup final, matching the feat achieved by Arsenal between 2000-01 and 2002-03, with a 2-0 triumph over Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace at Wembley.

Substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring in the 65th minute with his first goal in any competition since November 2020, before Mason Mount sealed semi-final success with 14 minutes remaining.

The 2021-22 campaign now marks Mount's new-best scoring season, with his 12th strike this term surpassing his 11-goal haul for Championship side Derby County in 2018-19.

Tuchel, who has progressed from each of the 11 semi-final ties in his managerial career, congratulated his players for their efforts amid a hectic schedule, with Chelsea having slipped out of the Champions League after going to extra-time against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

"It was not easy because we played three games in three different competitions," Tuchel told ITV Sport. 

"It is not always easy, very challenging physically, we are the team with the most minutes in Europe I think, it is also challenging mentally.

"I thought the performance was very controlled and very serious, we took care of their counter-attacks. It was hard, the opponent changed system twice, you cannot lose focus for a minute."

Tuchel also reserved special praise for Loftus-Cheek, who scored his first Chelsea goal since May 2019, when he netted in a Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

"He [Ruben Loftus-Cheek] was very, very strong in matches against Southampton and Real Madrid, he would have deserved to start," said Tuchel.

"We knew Ruben would have a big impact off the bench. I am very happy.

"He hid his talent and potential for a long time in his career. He is capable of producing performances that everyone sees on the pitch. For him, it is step by step that he continues to grow in his confidence."

 

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool stand in the way of Chelsea in the final, and it will be the second time the same two sides have competed in the EFL Cup and FA Cup showpiece events in the same season, after Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday met in both competitions in 1992-93.

Tuchel, though, cannot wait to renew his battle with the quadruple-hunting Liverpool, who ran out penalty shoot-out victors in the EFL Cup in late February and defeated Premier League title rivals Manchester City in Saturday's semi-final.

"I am happy to be part of it again, I cannot be more excited and more proud because it is a huge competition. We will be ready," he added.

Chelsea secured their place in a third successive FA Cup final after second-half goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount clinched the 2-0 defeat of Crystal Palace at Wembley on Sunday.

The Blues have made something of a habit of reaching the FA Cup showpiece in recent years, contesting four of the past five, and while this semi-final win was by means vintage, Thomas Tuchel's side looked comfortable once they found the breakthrough.

Neither side showed much inspiration in attack during a cagey opening 45 minutes and there were few signs of improvement initially after the interval.

But a couple of kind deflections helped substitute Loftus-Cheek break the deadlock just past the hour for his first Chelsea goal since May 2019, and Mount's finish soon after ensured the Blues will face Liverpool for the trophy.

It took 35 minutes for a dull first half to come to life as Edouard Mendy did brilliantly to save a goal-bound volley from his Senegal team-mate Cheikhou Kouyate down to his left.

Kai Havertz attempted to win a penalty with a dive at the other end a few moments later, but referee Anthony Taylor saw through his deception and brandished a yellow card.

Kouyate went close again early in the second half when a header flew agonisingly off target and Chelsea capitalised in the 65th minute.

Havertz's cutback was diverted into Loftus-Cheek's path and another touch off a Palace defender took the midfielder's powerful strike out of Jack Butland's reach.

Mount wrapped things up 14 minutes from time, tucking a neat finish into the bottom-right corner after good work from Timo Werner, with Romelu Lukaku's dreadful late miss proving irrelevant.

Reece James was a surprise inclusion in Chelsea's squad for the Club World Cup, travelling to Abu Dhabi on Sunday despite Thomas Tuchel saying he would miss the tournament.

A 23-man Chelsea party headed to the finals after Saturday's nervy 2-1 FA Cup win over Plymouth Argyle.

James was not expected to be among them as he recovers from a hamstring injury, with coach Tuchel saying before the Plymouth game the wing-back required "a couple of weeks" before even returning to training.

The Chelsea boss said James would not travel.

With Edouard Mendy to join his club-mates after playing for Senegal in Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final, the Blues are missing only two first-team players.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is dealing with a minor injury, has not made the journey, while Ben Chilwell's season has been curtailed by a serious knee issue.

For now, however, Chelsea are without Tuchel, who tested positive for coronavirus and intends to link up with his team at a later date.

Dusan Vlahovic is believed to be Juventus' number one transfer target.

However, Juve are not the only club interested in the Serbia international, who is unwilling to re-sign at Fiorentina.

Juve are keeping their options open as they try to reinforced a stuttering squad.

 

TOP STORY – MARTIAL AND ICARDI EMERGE AS JUVE OPTIONS

Anthony Martial and Mauro Icardi are among the alternatives should Juventus miss out on Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato.

Juve are interested in Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Tottenham and Arsenal.

With competition high, United forward Martial, Paris Saint-Germain's Icardi, Benfica star Darwin Nunez, Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal and Sassuolo's Gianluca Scamacca are also being considered by Juve.

 

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- El Nacional reports Real Madrid are targeting Juve star Federico Chiesa. The Italy international signed from Fiorentina on an initial two-year loan deal and Juve are desperate to make it permanent amid interest from Liverpool.

Manchester United are in no rush to sack embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, per Manchester Evening News. Solskjaer is under pressure following humbling defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City. Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Zinedine Zidane have been linked.

- Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks are among Roma's transfer targets, says Calciomercato. Roma are also determined to sign Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

After their lucrative takeover, Newcastle United are set to make a transfer splash in January.

The Magpies are winless and second last in the Premier League table this season.

Newcastle remain without a manager, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a fortnight ago.

 

TOP STORY – MAGPIES IN FOR COUTINHO LOAN DEAL

Newcastle United look set to make a move for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Financially embattled LaLiga giants Barca are said to be keen to offload the former Liverpool forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from the Reds in 2018.

Barcelona are reportedly ready to accept a loan deal that includes a mandatory option to buy with Newcastle.

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Barcelona are bullish about signing up Ousmane Dembele to a fresh three-year deal with the option for a further season, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dembele has been linked with LiverpoolManchester United and Juventus.

- Barca are also considering a move to sign Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on loan, reports Sport. Ndombele has made nine appearances this season.

- Brazilian club Palmeiras have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Edinson Cavani, claims the Daily Express. The Uruguayan signed a one-year contract extension in May.

- Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Roma, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports reports ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is still interested in the vacant Newcastle managerial role. Fonseca nearly took over at Tottenham in the off-season. Magpies candidate Unai Emery announced he was staying with Villarreal on Wednesday.

- La Nazione says Tottenham are firmly in the race to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Inter, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juve.

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