Categories
Soccer

Jadon Sancho sent Man Utd message, Paul Pogba transfer plan, Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea

Wednesday, April 1

  • Marcus Rashford wants Jadon Sancho at Manchester United
  • Philippe Coutinho could join Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham 
  • Paul Pogba is still determined to join Real Madrid 
  • Chelsea and Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez has had informal talks with clubs
  • Kylian Mbappe to Liverpool won’t happen for one reason

Rashford sends Sancho message

Marcus Rashford has sent a not-so-subtle transfer message to England team-mate Jadon Sancho telling him to join Manchester United.

The Red Devils are keen on the Borussia Dortmund winger, who is rated at in excess of £100million, and are expected to launch a pursuit once the transfer window reopens.

“It would be good [if Sancho joined United],” Rashford said on an Instagram Live. “Sancho is a great player.

“He’s like the new generation player.

“It’s definitely exciting to watch the player he’s becoming — hopefully we can all play together. That would be good.

“He plays off the cuff. He’s imaginative.

“I think in this generation, they’re the things you need to be world class.”

Coutinho Premier League return

Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham is “possible” because of the player’s agent, according to Sky Sports transfer expert Kaveh Solhekol.

Barcelona want to sell Coutinho but are keen to recoup a significant fee for the Brazilian, which has poured doubt on Premier League clubs trying to sign the playmaker.

But Solhekol said: “Barcelona want more than £100m for a player who will be 28 in the summer. That means there will be little resale value for any interested clubs.

“Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian has good contacts at Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs.

“A move to those clubs is possible, but Barcelona would have to drop their asking price dramatically or it would have to be a loan with an option to buy deal.

“Interested clubs know that Barcelona want to sell him this summer. They know that it was a big mistake for Barcelona to spend £142m on him. I can’t see how this is going to end well for Barcelona.”

Mbappe to Liverpool a no-go

Kylian Mbappe would “destroy” the Liverpool wage structure if he moved to Anfield, claims European football expert Guillem Balague. 

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Mbappe has been linked with a move away from the French capital with Real Madrid targeting the France international but Liverpool are also reportedly interested in signing him.

“No [Liverpool won’t sign Mbappe],” Balague said on his YouTube channel.

“Obviously they like Mbappe but he would destroy the wage structure of Liverpool now.

“They’d have to invest a lot in getting him, so forget that one.”

Paul Pogba’s Real Madrid plan

Paul Pogba remains determined to join Real Madrid when the summer window opens, per 90min.

The France midfielder has endured a difficult campaign with Manchester United with injuries restricting him to just a handful of appearances.

But Real Madrid and Juventus have retained their interest in the 26-year-old and Pogba wants to join the former.

Pogba reportedly remains determined to link up with Zinedine Zidane, one of his idols growing up.

Juve, PSG and Bayern Munich are all keeping tabs on his situation, with Pogba out of contract in the summer of 2021, although United have the option to trigger an extra year in his deal.

Ceballos on Arsenal future

Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos insists it would be “irresponsible” to discuss his future at the minute.

The Spaniard is on loan with the Gunners from Real Madrid but will expectedly see out the season although his contract with the north London club ends in June.

Beyond that, there is uncertainty as to whether the 23-year-old will remain in Madrid or move elsewhere on a permanent deal.

“I finish my contract on June 30 but I would have to [continue to] play for Arsenal [when football resumes]. I don’t know how,” Ceballos told TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones.

“It would be irresponsible from my side to talk about my future. The most important thing will be to be important for my new team.

“I came to Arsenal to be an important player but in the last month that all disappeared [due to the coronavirus].”

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Soccer

Chelsea want to beat Leicester to Philippe Coutinho but Foxes eye ‘big statement’

Chelsea are keen to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer and are leading the way, according to reports in Spain. Leicester, however, are also desperate to sign the Brazilian and view him as a “big statement”, according to Spanish outlet SPORT.

Coutinho’s future is currently up in the air.

The Brazilian is on loan at Bayern Munich, but the Bundesliga side will not pay to keep him permanently.

However, Barcelona are also said to have lost patience with their club-record signing.

It is widely believed that the Blaugrana will look to offload him during the summer window.

JUST IN: UEFA to issue Champions League and Europa League demand in crunch meeting

A host of Premier League teams are interested, though former side Liverpool have no intention of bringing him back.

The midfield maestro is said to regret leaving the Reds, and views the Premier League to be his ideal landing spot.

And he could have an unlikely destination, with Leicester apparently interested.

Brendan Rodgers managed Coutinho at Anfield and wants to work with him again, but knows it will be difficult.

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The Foxes were third in the Premier League table before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season.

And it seems inevitable that they will play in the Champions League next season.

According to SPORT, Leicester want Coutinho to be a “big statement” signing for their return to the competition.

Leicester have only played once in the Champions League, when they were beaten in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid.

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But they will more than likely feature next season, and hope to have Coutinho as the spearhead of their attack.

Chelsea are still keen to sign him, however.

The same report from SPORT claims that Frank Lampard’s side are leading the way for his signature.

The Blues are still on the hunt for a new attacker to replace Eden Hazard, and Coutinho could be the perfect like-for-like replacement.

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Soccer

UEFA to issue Champions League and Europa League demand in crunch meeting

UEFA will tell its members today that they want the Champions League and Europa League finals to be settled by the end of August. European football’s governing body will host a video conference on Wednesday with the 55 member associations, to try to settle how both its’ major competitions will be settled this season.

Despite the fact that most of Europe is on lockdown with the coronavirus, UEFA are determined to finish both competitions this season, and will resist calls for them to be scrapped.

They are determined that both the Champions League – which still has some last-16 round ties to be settled, and the Europa League, still at the same stage – will be completed.

Originally, UEFA had wanted their season finished by June 30, but earlier this month they put back that date.

The decision will mean a truncated 2020-21 season, which was inevitable anyway, but Uefa will suggest several options to make the calendar more flexible, such as axing possibly as many as two of the early preliminary rounds of the Europa League, cutting out winter breaks in leagues that currently have them, and a cut in the number of group games in next terms Champions League.

UEFA’s working group have already drawn up several options for finishing this seasons’ competitions, including playing games behind closed doors, and playing at weekends.

There are options for the quarter-finals stages of each competition to be played over one leg, with the venue decided on the toss of a coin.

And for the semi-finals and finals there are proposals that each be played as a four-team tournament over four days at the current venues of Istanbul and Gdansk, with the semi-finals and finals both over one leg only.

The Champions League final was originally scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkey on May 30.

While the Europa League final was intended to be held on Mary 27 at the Stadion Energa Gdansk in Poland.

Liverpool, the defending Champions League winners, were dumped out of the competition in the final round of action before the coronavirus outbreak ground professional football to a halt.

The game controversially went ahead despite the World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 a pandemic.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti recently revealed that Jurgen Klopp felt the match should not have gone ahead.

“I spoke with Klopp a few days ago, he told me that the decision to play Liverpool-Atletico was a criminal act and I think he’s right,” Ancelotti said.

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Fighting

WWE Network ‘could crash’ during Wrestlemania 36 due to fans logging on at same time

The WWE Network ‘could crash’ this weekend when Wrestlemania 36 is on, because clamouring to watch the event could flog to the site at once and impact the speed at which the service runs. Wrestlemania will take place at the WWE performance centre over two nights.

The decision to go ahead with the mega-event was a controversial one, but no fans will be in attendance.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has swept the globe, continues to postpone and threaten sporting events, but WWE have continued with their programming behind closed doors.

And they’ll do the same for Wrestlemania for the very first time.

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The event will also take place on April 4 and April 5, which has also never been done before.

But there are fears the WWE network may not hold up, with at least 70,000 extra fans set to watch the event on the streaming service.

The network has been slowed during previous Wrestlemanias and the same problem could arise in just a few days’ time.

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Wrestlemania 36 was originally scheduled to take place at Raymond Jones Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

But with that plan scrapped, fans who were looking to attend the event will now attempt to watch on the WWE Network.

But PWInsider’s Mike Johnson sees some problems with that, noting that WWE have had their problems with the streaming service before.

“I could see so many trying to log onto the Network at the same time or trying to get to the Network at the same time that it could crash,” he said.

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“It wasn’t all that long ago that everyone switching from NXT on the USA Network to the WWE Network to get that second hour crashed the Network late last year.”

Brock Lesnar will face Drew McIntyre at the event, with the Scot hoping to win the WWE world title.

The Universal title is also on the line but champion Goldberg has no-one to defend against as of yet.

Roman Reigns pulled out of the bout because of how the coronavirus may impact his previous battle with leukaemia.

Edge and Randy Orton are also in action as they face off in a last man standing match.

John Cena makes his return to the huge event and will face Bray Wyatt, who he fought six years who at Wrestlemania 30. 

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Soccer

Chelsea ready to offer Gianluigi Donnarumma five-year contract worth £35m to replace Kepa

Chelsea are ready to make a bumper contract offer to Gianluigi Donnarumma in an attempt to sign the AC Milan star during the summer transfer window, according to reports. The Blues are on the hunt for a new goalkeeper with Kepa Arrizabalaga out of favour at Stamford Bridge and have been linked with a host of high-profile replacements.

Donnarumma is the subject of much speculation in Italy with his contract at the San Siro expiring in 2021 and a new deal yet to be agreed.

Chelsea are one of several clubs believed to be interested in his services, with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid also supposedly monitoring the 21-year-old.

Express Sport understands the Blues have already made contact with Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola over a potential move and now reports from Italy suggest the Premier League club have gone one step further.

SportItalia journalist Alesssandro Jacobone claims Chelsea are ready to test the water by offering Donnarumma a five-year contract worth €8million-a-year (£7m) plus bonuses.

This comes to €40m (£35.4m) over the course of the deal and over £130,000-a-week as they look to tempt the stopper away from his boyhood club, although it is not clear how much the Blues would be prepared to pay in transfer fees.

AC Milan are hopeful of tying Donnarumma down on a long term deal while the player himself is believed to want to stay at the club, but only if the situation is right.

And Calciomercato claim Milan have not yet secured a renewal because Raiola wants clarification over the direction of the club.

There is also supposedly a disparity between the two parties over the valuation of Donnarumma, with Milan wanting at least €70m (£62.5m) for their prized asset.

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However, Raiola does not put his client’s price tag beyond €35m (£31m) due to his current contract status.

This makes the signing of Donnarumma more attractive to potential suitors, while Raiola himself will reportedly receive a bigger commission after any transfer.

Chelsea are keen on signing a replacement for Kepa after a series of poor displays saw him dropped by Frank Lampard earlier this season.

The Spaniard became the world’s most expensive stopper when he joined the Blues from Athletic Bilbao for £72million in 2018, but he could be on his way out after just two seasons.

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Jan Oblak, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Andre Onana, Nick Pope, Dean Henderson and Juan Musso have all been touted as potential replacements this summer, while Manuel Neuer is another possibility as contract negotiations with Bayern Munich stall.

As for Donnarumma, he recently suggested he wants to stay in Milan by telling the club website: “The Rossoneri colours mean a lot to me, because I grew up here. I have always been a Milan fan and I can’t help but give my best for this shirt.

“The first goal is the one I share with the club and the one we have set ourselves at the beginning of the season.

“The personal goal is to always give my best and try to concede as few goals as possible.”

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Soccer

Man Utd backed for £230m double transfer, Chelsea agent talks, Liverpool eye Barcelona ace

Tuesday, March 31

  • Manchester United have been in contact with the agent of Jadon Sancho
  • Chelsea have reportedly approached defender Samuel Umtiti’s agent
  • Jurgen Klopp would be interested in signing forward Ousmane Dembele
  • United should sign Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho

Thomas Lemar interest

Manchester United are a potential destination for Atletico Madrid flop Thomas Lemar.

Lemar, 24, joined Atletico from Monaco for £52.7million in June 2018 but he’s failed to deliver on a consistent basis for Diego Simeone.

The 22-capped France international, whose contract contains a £168million release clause, has managed just three goals and six assists in 67 appearances for the club.

Spanish publication AS claim Lemar is ‘not an essential player’ for Simeone with Old Trafford and Arsenal ‘possible destinations’ for the player.

Jadon Sancho latest

Manchester United have been in contact with the agent of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

However, the 13-time Premier League champions have NOT submitted an official offer for the England international.

That’s according to journalist Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Bundesliga outfit will not change their asking price amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

“BVB message to all the clubs who asked for Sancho: we don’t change the price after Coronavirus crisis and we’ll not sell him for less than €110M,” Romano tweeted. “Man United are in contact with his agent, but BVB have not received any official bid yet. It won’t be a quick deal.”

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Ousmane Dembele to Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp would be interested in signing Ousmane Dembele IF Barcelona lowered their asking price.

That’s according to Spanish journalist Francesc Aguilar, who also claims the Liverpool manager has zero interest in re-signing Philippe Coutinho despite being offered his signature.

“Philippe Coutinho is not included in Jurgen Klopp’s plans. The player’s agent has offered it to Liverpool, but the German coach is not for the job,” Aguilar tweeted. “He prefers one more player in the style of Ousmane Dembele or the Barca player himself if they lower their rating.”

Recent reports claim Barcelona are happy to offload the France international, but want to recoup most of their £93million investment.

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Samuel Umtiti to Chelsea

Chelsea have reportedly approached Samuel Umtiti’s agent as they step up their pursuit of the Barcelona centre-back ahead of the summer transfer window.

Knee problems have prevented Umtiti from reaching his full potential over the past two seasons in Spain, meaning he has lost his starting berth to compatriot Clement Lenglet.

And Barcelona are now open to selling the centre-back this summer in order to balance their books, according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira.

The La Liga champions have set a price tag of €50m (£44.5m) on Umtiti, who joined from Lyon for just €25m (£22.3m) in 2016.

Arsenal were interested in signing the defender last summer but Umtiti chose to stay put and fight for his place.

Things may be different this time around with Chelsea entering the fight and reportedly asking for information about the player’s situation from his agent Arturo Canales.

Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho

Manchester United should sign Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

That’s according to club legend Rio Ferdinand, who says the club should pay whatever it takes to bring the pair to Old Trafford for the 2020/2021 campaign.

“Harry has always been coy and held back but he’s dropped a couple of bombs,” Ferdinand said on Instagram. “I think that statement means Harry is off, he wants to win trophies and that will alert clubs.

“I know Manchester United will be in for him because that type of player is perfect for them. I’m sure Juventus will be in and will Real Madrid come in? He will go for massive dough, at least £130m in today’s market.”

Discussing Sancho, Ferdinand added: “I want Jadon to go to a team where he will play, improve and get trophies. He’s been linked with United, Chelsea, PSG but I think United is the place for him to go because I’m biased.

“He’s flying and one of the best young kids in the world at the moment. He’s a player with huge potential and will go for over £100m.”

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Racing

F1 hailed over Project Pitlane as Mercedes, Red Bull and rivals help NHS fight coronavirus

F1 pundits Martin Brundle, Karun Chandhok and Jenson Button have hailed the efforts of the seven UK-based teams working to provide solutions to the coronavirus crisis. Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Williams, Racing Point and Haas have come together as part of Project Pitlane to develop and manufacturer medical equipment for the NHS.

Mercedes announced on Thursday that a breakthrough with University College London (UCL) and clinicians at UCL Hospital had seen them produced the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device.

The reigning champions’ rivals are plugging away with their efforts, with F1 engineering expert Pat Symonds co-ordinating the project.

The F1 teams’ have now been praised, with former Benetton, Williams and McLaren driver Brundle believing the work is further proof of the sport’s innovative power.

“I’m really proud of F1, with what they’re doing,” Brundle told Sky Sports F1. “Having watched the whole saga in China and South Korea, I’m surprised we haven’t been asked to engage a few weeks before this.

“But it’s the whole essence of motorsport and Formula 1 in particular. The have a problem, a technical problem on a Sunday in a race [situation], have a solution by lunchtime on Monday.

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“You don’t convene meetings for later in the week. Get on to it and then have it in production by Wednesday because we have an absolute deadline at all times. And that’s the next time the start lights go out.

“So the can do, must do, will do sort of attitude. And I think applying that, as indeed companies like Williams and McLaren have done for years now anyway – applied technologies for transport and healthcare and all sorts of things that contribute to society.

“So it’s a perfect spot for Formula 1 to drop into and make things happen at the rate we are so used to them happening.”

Chandhok, who raced with HRT and Lotus in F1, says the teams’ efforts are being recognised as far afield as India.

“As Martin said, this is the amazing thing about Formula 1,” Chandhok said. “Delivering design and manufacturing within such a finite amount of time, sometimes between races.

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“You spot something on a competitor’s car and you’ve got to design it, manufacture it, validate it and then put it on to your car in three races’ time. We’ve seen that happen time and again on the track, so it’s great to see some of the most brilliant minds on the planet, [who] I believe work in our sport and we’re very lucky.

“It’s really important right now, because of the sheer scale, we need something like 30,000 ventilators in this country alone, it’s not the rest of the world that we’re looking at. So any solution they can come up with – Mercedes have gone down one path, Red Bull are looking for the next one along.

“I had a phone call this morning with a company in India who literally called me up to say: ‘Look, can you get in touch with F1? I’m willing to underwrite mass producing this in India. We’ve got 1.2billion people here. This is going to be a massive problem’.

“This is where F1 can help because we are a global sport. Yes, there are seven teams based in the UK and it’s a very UK-centric hub in terms of the engineering. But Formula 1’s a worldwide sport and I think we can help the world at large.”

2009 F1 champion Button, who now lives in California, has hailed the work and picked out Mercedes’ plans to produce 1000 devices a day as “unreal”.

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“It’s fantastic to see,” said Button. “There are some real brains in our sport. We also have the technology. We have the machines to build. And it’s really good to see them being used to help the millions out there.

“We’ve been entertaining millions for years and now we’re actually doing some proper good, which is really good. And I think it’s nice to see the whole community come together.

“And, churning out a thousand a day, that is unreal. There are not many companies around the world who can do that.

“Looking at what is needed in the States, in New York they’re hoping to have 140,000 ventilators. They’re nowhere that now, I think they’re at about 40,000. But our sport can do some real good here and I’m very proud of what Formula 1 is doing and what they can achieve.”

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Tennis

Roger Federer commits to Swiss Indoors but end of season fears persist

Roger Federer has been confirmed to play at the Swiss Indoors Basel in October. The 38-year-old, who grew up nearby, won a record-extending 10th title in 2019 when he beat Alex de Minaur.

This year’s event is the 50th anniversary of the tournament and is scheduled to be played from October 24th to November 1st.

But that is far from certain as tennis officials assess their options amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The tennis season is currently suspended until June as a result of the outbreak and it looks set to be extended into the summer.

On Wednesday, Wimbledon is set to announce the Grand Slam has been cancelled meaning the grass-court season won’t take place.

It means the next target for resuming play will be the summer hard court season in North America but that could also be in doubt with the rising number of positive cases of the virus.

Nevertheless, Federer and his compatriot Stan Wawrinka are the first names to be announced as featuring in Basel.

A short statement read: “If everything goes according to plan, however, the 50th-anniversary ceremony will take place as part of Super Monday on 26 October 2020.

“Ten-time Swiss Indoors champion Roger Federer will play his opening match on Tuesday, 27 October 2020. “And he’s not the only homegrown talent taking part: three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka will also be competing at St. Jakobshalle in Basel. His starting game, as well as all further program sequences, will be announced at a later date.”

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Meanwhile, John Millman, who Federer beat in five sets at the Australian Open in January, raised the prospect of no more tennis taking place this year.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told AAP.

“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).

“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s where the problems lie.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.

“But I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in.

“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.

“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me. When we’re talking about someone’s health as well, it’s pretty serious, and that’s when it puts it into perspective.”

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Soccer

Harry Kane backed to join Liverpool over Man Utd for one reason

Harry Kane would be stupid to turn down any offers from Liverpool or Manchester City, pundit Chris Sutton claims. The Tottenham star revealed last week he will leave Spurs if they don’t match his ambition. There would be many suitors for Kane, with Manchester United said to be eyeing the England international.

Kane, 26, has also been linked with Real Madrid and Juventus in recent weeks.

However, Sutton says Kane should join Liverpool or City if he has ambitions of winning the Premier League.

“I can understand the predicament he is in,” Sutton said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“But if he wants to win the Premier League, then he should move on and go to a club who have better chance of winning it than Spurs do.

“We all understand he wants to win something. So if he wants to win something, I wouldn’t begrudge him a move.

“Spurs are a brilliant club, but at this moment in time they are way behind the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

“If one of those clubs came in for him, if you were Harry Kane you would be be stupid not to go.”

A lot has been made of Kane possibly leaving Spurs this summer, however, Arsenal hero Ian Wright says the England ace will stick it out for another season in north London.

“Now they have a manager who is a notorious winner of trophies,” said Wright.

“Kane did say ‘next year will be the first chance the gaffer will have to bed his values into the team’.

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“That says to me he is somebody who is already thinking of next year, so he’s not going anywhere.

“I’d give this manager a chance with his pre-season, do next season and see where it goes. Because from when he made his debut up to now, I think he has given them everything he can.

“If nothing happens and Harry Kane decides to leave then you have you have to say ‘well, he’s under Mourinho, nothing has changed’. He wants to win medals.

“You can’t have that kind of ability, that kind of goalscorer who is able to win matches, and not win anything. You can’t.”

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Soccer

Dani Ceballos open to Real Madrid transfer exit but is keen to join one club over Arsenal

On-loan Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos is open to leaving Real Madrid this summer – but the Gunners are not his first-choice destination according to reports. Ceballos has made 24 appearances in central midfield for the north London club, with only a muscle injury preventing him from building on that tally.

The 23-year-old has been impressive in the second half of the season both in and out of possession.

But there is no option for Arsenal to sign Ceballos permanently in the deal that took him to the Emirates for 12 months.

Mikel Arteta would no doubt love to try and recruit the midfielder permanently with the Spaniard having become a permanent fixture under him since his return from injury.

Ceballos initially moved to the Premier League for 12 months in order to play himself into Zinedine Zidane’s plans.

But Estadio Deportivo claim that while Ceballos wants to be a success in Madrid, he is aware he needs to be playing regularly in 2020-21.

With Real open to selling him as they look to fund their summer transfer plans, Ceballos’ ideal destination would be a return to Real Betis.

There will be extra competition in midfield at the Bernabeu with Martin Odegaard and Oscar Rodriguez, both also currently out on loan, potentially playing a role next term.

But Real also want to sign new players, with Zinedine Zidane keen on Paul Pogba while Fabian Ruiz and Donny Van de Beek are others strongly linked with Los Blancos.

And according to Estadio Deportivo, Ceballos is acutely aware of how important a season it will be.

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That’s with the coronavirus pandemic having pushed Euro 2020 back by 12 months, along with the Olympic Games.

Ceballos had spoken last year about his desire to play in both tournaments, insisting it was his “dream” to represent his country in their bid for a gold medal in Tokyo.

The box-to-box midfielder would therefore prefer to return to Real Betis, where he spent six seasons of his career before a move to Real in July 2017.

Ceballos made 105 appearances for Los Verdiblancos’ first-team, scoring seven times and producing nine assists.

He was a key player in the Segunda Division title-winning team of 2014-15.

And a return to the Benito Villamarin Stadium would be Ceballos’ preferred next move, presumably in the thinking that he would be a regular starter there under manager Rubi.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are keeping tabs on Betis attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir as they look at possible replacements for Ceballos according to the Daily Star.

Fekir has seven goals and six assists in just 22 La Liga appearances since joining Betis for less than £18m last summer, having been in line to complete a £53m switch to Liverpool two years ago.

The France international, capable of playing out wide on either flank as well as a No 10, has emerged as a target again.

The Star claim Arsenal were offered the chance to sign the 26-year-old from Lyon 12 months ago but passed up on the opportunity.

But they’ve scouted the attacker, capped 23 times by his country, throughout the season and could look to snap him from Betis if Ceballos heads back to Seville.

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