Rumour Has It: Sancho 'really close' to Man Utd switch, Madrid scouting Leipzig's Olmo

By Sports Desk June 26, 2021

Is one of football's biggest transfer sagas coming to an end?

Manchester United wanted Jadon Sancho at the start of 2020-21 but a deal with Borussia Dortmund did not materialise.

However, Premier League giants United appear to be closing in on the England international ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD

Jadon Sancho will join Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund, according to Fabrizio Romano.

United have long been interested in Sancho, who had previously attracted attention from Liverpool and Chelsea.

But Romano says an agreement is "really close", with "final details expected to be completed in the next few days".

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport Bild reports Real Madrid are scouting RB Leipzig and Spain star Dani Olmo during Euro 2020. Madrid continue to be linked with Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, however, Cadena Ser claims Los Blancos have ruled out an off-season move due to their financial situation.

United are confident of signing Raphael Varane from Madrid but the France defender's salary expectations are a stumbling block, says The Independent. It comes as ESPN reports Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek could be sold as part of a revamp of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.

- According to Foot Mercato, former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has made PSG his priority. The veteran has also been linked with United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Tottenham are interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde as they edge closer to appointing former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, says Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio. Kounde is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, linked with Chelsea, United and Madrid.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are eyeing Valencia captain Jose Gaya and Chelsea's Marcos Alonso if Inter target Jordi Alba leaves and Junior Firpo joins Milan.

Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri wants to reunite with Arthur in Rome and could send Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Juventus, per Il Bianconero.

- Alfredo Pedulla claims PSG are leading the race to sign Lazio star Joaquin Correa. Arsenal and Tottenham are also eyeing the forward.

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    Paulo Dybala will miss Juventus' Serie A meeting with Roma on Sunday and he is a doubt to face reigning champions Inter next weekend. 

    A thigh injury has sidelined Dybala since the 3-2 victory over Sampdoria on September 26, though he was still called up to the Argentina squad. 

    The 27-year-old did not meet up with the squad after being assessed by Argentina and it was reported he would be fit for the visit of Roma to the Allianz Stadium this weekend. 

    However, Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri insisted that is not the case and suggested Dybala could yet miss the Derby d'Italia against Inter at San Siro a week on Sunday. 

    "During the week I was reading that maybe Dybala could play against Roma – maybe the return match! I think he will be available in a week, or 10 days at most," Allegri said in a news conference. 

    "There's no problem with his recovery, he's on schedule. It was thought that maybe he'd need a few days less, but these things happen. 

    "With muscle injuries you think one thing and believe you can do less. It always depends on the evolution of the situation." 

    Roma have gained four more points from seven matches this season than Juve and will be out to avoid suffering a 10th away loss in Serie A in the calendar year - something that has not happened to them since 2012.

    The match will see Jose Mourinho in the dugout at the Allianz Stadium for the first time since November 2018, when he celebrated leading Manchester United to victory over Juventus by cupping his ear to the crowd. 

    Allegri has only won seven of his 20 Serie A games against Roma as a coach - a win percentage of 35 that is his worst against teams he has faced at least three times.

    "Mourinho is a coach who has won a lot and I respect him a lot," said Allegri. 

    "It's in his character to, every now and then, do something like he did with Manchester United a few years ago. 

    "It pleases me to have a coach of his standing back in Italy." 

    Mourinho is hopeful of having Tammy Abraham available for the game after the striker limped off during England's 1-1 draw with Hungary on Tuesday. 

    "He will travel with us. We'll decide tomorrow whether he'll be on the pitch, the bench or in the stands. He's improving," said Mourinho. 

    Juve have won three straight Serie A games to climb up the table after a woeful start and will be seeking to make it four in succession for the first time since July 2020.

    Mourinho believes the depth in Juve's squad means that – despite them already being 10 points adrift of unbeaten leaders Napoli – they remain strong contenders for the Scudetto. 

    "They're a very strong team and they always play to win games and the league. It's not a team of 11 good players, they have more than 20 good players with experience," said Mourinho. 

    "The coach also has a lot of experience. Juve are a strong candidate [for the title]." 

  • Dani Alves opens door for sensational Barcelona return - 'If they need me, they just have to call' Dani Alves opens door for sensational Barcelona return - 'If they need me, they just have to call'

    Dani Alves has revealed he wants to return to Barcelona, claiming his experience can make him a perfect foil for the talented youngsters emerging at Camp Nou.

    The Brazilian right-back hopes to push for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but is without a club after leaving Sao Paulo in September.

    He would love to make the leap back into LaLiga, in what would be a startling move for a 38-year-old who left Barcelona five years ago.

    Now it remains to be seen whether head coach Ronald Koeman thinks there is a place in his squad for the six-time LaLiga winner.

    "I always said that I left because I saw that things were not the way I thought they should be," he told Spanish newspaper Sport.

    With Joan Laporta back for a new stint as president, Alves believes Barcelona can move in the right direction.

    "If left saying that when Barca needed me and wanted me, I would be at their disposal regardless of where I was," he said. "The affection, love and respect that I have for this club is too much. If Barca think they need me, they just have to call. I still think that I can contribute anywhere, but more at Barca because of the number of youngsters they have now.

    "In every place I have been, I have always thought that the perfect mix is ​experience with youth. There will come a time when youth will mature and the older ones will leave. It is a natural cycle, but in football mistakes have been made and this process has accelerated. Processes cannot be sped up. The mix is ​​essential."

    Alves played for Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona, winning league titles with both, before returning to Brazilian club football.

    A three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, he joined in 2008 from Sevilla and left eight years later. In 247 LaLiga games for Barcelona, he helped the team to 95 clean sheets, had 78 goal involvements (64 assists, 14 goals) and created 377 chances. The latter total across the eight-year period was beaten by only five players, two of whom were Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Alves said there was a subconscious "thorn" in his mind regarding the World Cup, and the fact he did not go to the 2018 tournament due to a knee injury. Winning a gold medal with Brazil at the Tokyo Olympic Games was rated by Alves as his greatest achievement in the game.

    "Many times you stop playing not because of the physical element but because you have been mentally destroyed. And this is one of the things that I have the strongest: I decide when I start and I decide when I finish. And along the way you have to live it intensely, which is what I do," he said. "I know that if I am going to compete in a team, that is what will take me to the World Cup."

    He scotched any thought of him lacking the physical wherewithal to compete at the highest level.

    "There came a time in Sao Paulo that we played every other day," Alves said. "I am reaping what I have sown all my life, which is respect for the profession, discipline and care that one has to have ... it is what allowed me to compete in the Olympic Games with boys of 18 or 20 years old and have a good performance.

    "I don't believe myself to be better than anyone, but I trust my work, my dedication and my preparation to face all my challenges. This is the basis of my entire career."

  • Who is better at the moment? - Liverpool boss Klopp insists it is 'clear' Salah is the best in the world Who is better at the moment? - Liverpool boss Klopp insists it is 'clear' Salah is the best in the world

    Jurgen Klopp has insisted Mohamed Salah is the best player in the world right now following another outstanding performance from the Egyptian in Liverpool's 5-0 win over Watford.

    Salah moved level with Didier Drogba as the highest-scoring African player in Premier League history with a superb solo goal, whilst also producing a fabulous pass for Sadio Mane to net the opener.

    The incisive showing is a continuation of Salah's blistering form so far this season, with the winger managing 10 goals and four assists from just 10 appearances across all competitions, including another stunning goal and assist in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City before the international break.

    Reds boss Klopp feels the evidence is overwhelming in support of his argument that Salah stands on his own right at the top of the game right now.

    "[Salah's] performance was massive today," Klopp told BT Sport. "It was absolutely outstanding. The first goal, super pass, but then his goal was absolutely exceptional.

    "He was in the mood to try it in the box. He tried it a couple of times, no problem, strikers can do that. He did it. He scored the goal. Long may it continue. We obviously need the boys in this kind of shape to achieve what we are dreaming of.

    "[He ranks] top. We all see it. Who is better at the moment than him? We don't have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and how long they were really dominant.

    "But in the moment, I think it's clear there's nobody better than him. It's not only since yesterday, he has been in this shape for a while, but he's young enough to keep this shape a while longer." 

    Salah, who leads Liverpool in all competitions for both goals and assists, was keen to stress the importance of the collective, rather than focusing on his own achievements.

    "I think we didn't want to start like the City game so we talked in the dressing room about starting the game well and that's what we did," Salah said. 

    "All the goals were very important. Bobby [Firmino] did a great job scoring a hat-trick so congratulations to him and Sadio also scored a nice goal.

    "Every time I'm in the box I'm trying to give the ball to someone to score or score by myself, so it's always about the team and playing for the team. The most important thing is we scored good goals, and all of us up front scored, so hopefully, we can carry on like that.

    "I don't know [if I'm in the best form of my career]. Sometimes I don't have the luck to score goals but every time I am always trying 100 per cent to help the team. I am confident at the moment, I feel like I'm scoring goals and helping the team win points which is the most important thing." 

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