Mason Mount revealed Chelsea's dressing room response to a blip in form following Wednesday's 3-0 win at Leeds United.

Coming off three games in the Premier League without a win, dropping points to Manchester United, Everton and Wolves, Chelsea responded strongly and got off to a fast start.

Mount was among the scorers for the Blues, getting on the scoresheet in only the fourth minute, before Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku added second-half goals against the 10-man hosts.

The 23-year-old divulged how a strong start at Elland Road was imperative following an honest dissection of recent performances, coming into Saturday's FA Cup final against Liverpool.

“We spoke about how big this week was at the beginning – it didn't start well obviously last Saturday,” Mount told Sky Sports.

“We needed a bounce back. We had a few days to get together and speak within the group, some truths that needed to be said and we got that out of our system.

“This was a game where we could get going, we know what’s coming up next. It’s a massive, massive game and this is a good step towards that."

Mount had only scored in two Premier League matches in 2022 coming into Wednesday's win, with one against Norwich in March and a brace at Southampton in April.

The England international also revealed how he reveled in the famously hostile atmosphere at Elland Road, asserting how his early goal allowed the collective to breathe against the relegation-threatened home side.

"It was a fun one," he said. "I do love playing here, it's obviously a stadium with a lot of history. The fans are brilliant, they don't like us too much so it was a good atmosphere. As soon as we got the goal we kind of quietened the stadium down, and then we could play our stuff.

"I was reading the program before the game and it said, 'Make this stadium as hard to play in as possible,' or something like that. So when you're coming here you know it's going to be tough.

"It was a massive game for both teams. It wasn't just them it was us as well. We needed a win after a few poor results, so it was a bounce-back game tonight, and then to Liverpool to Saturday."

Thomas Tuchel insists there are "zero problems" between himself and Christian Pulisic after the player's father tweeted about his recent lack of playing time.

United States star Pulisic featured as a substitute in the Blues' frustrating 1-0 Premier League defeat to Everton last Sunday, and though the former Borussia Dortmund man has made 34 appearances for Chelsea this season, only half have been starts. 

In a since-deleted tweet, Pulisic's father Mark lamented the "sad" situation the 23-year-old found himself in, sparking rumours of an exit for the attacker by saying there was a "big six months ahead".

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's home encounter with Wolves on Saturday, Tuchel brushed off suggestions that Pulisic was unhappy in west London.

"I'm not concerned if a father says a player loves me or not. I am not concerned about that, for sure," he said. "It's a normal thing.

"Every manager, we have our reasons to choose a line-up and have our reasons to go for players in the first 11. You will never see, in this kind of level of competition, happy faces from players that are not selected.

"Between Christian and me, there exists zero problems. He had a fantastic training week so far, he has a huge impact from the bench in some matches.

"I didn't even know [about] it [the tweet]. I don't want to get affected by it in my judgement, it has nothing to do with it.

"The players, in the end, are responsible to be and stay in the team. I will do my best to do the right judgement. Am I always right? For sure not. Is it always fair? For sure not.

"This is what you sign up for in a club like Chelsea. I haven't experienced the same reaction from Christian lately, it was actually the opposite – very strong, very positive in the last weeks."

After playing 1,866 minutes this season, Pulisic will be hoping to feature against Wolves as he looks to play his way into Tuchel's team for the FA Cup final against Liverpool on May 14, having scored in the Blues' 2-1 final defeat to Arsenal in 2020.

Chelsea have lost three of their last six Premier League matches (two wins, one draw), as many losses as they suffered in their first 28 league outings this season (17 wins, eight draws), and only 44 per cent of the Blues' Premier League points have come at home this campaign (29/66).

Only Watford (32 per cent) and Brighton and Hove Albion (36 per cent) have won a lower share of their points on their own grounds in the Premier League this season, although Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight home league games against Wolves (three draws, five losses), last losing to the midlands outfit at Stamford Bridge in March 1979.

After failing to qualify in 2018, the United States secured automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, despite a 2-0 loss away to Costa Rica.

Following their 5-1 win over Panama, the USA had a healthy enough goal difference to avert the inter-confederation playoff, with a three-point and 10-goal gap between them and Costa Rica coming into the final qualifier. 

In what was an intense start, Keylor Navas was on hand to deny the US in the eighth minute with a fantastic double save. Initially denying Miles Robinson with a reflex save from close range, the Paris Saint-Germain keeper then managed to stop the ball from trickling in following a USA corner.

The match tightened up significantly after that and the dead ball was the likeliest avenue to goal for both teams. The home side eventually broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Juan Pablo Vargas, and doubled the margin eight minutes later from another set piece via Anthony Contreras.

Both sides finish the third round of CONCACAF qualifying on 25 points, but goal difference separates with the United States on +11 and Costa Rica on +5.

As a result, Los Ticos will face New Zealand in the inter-confederation playoff in June.

After failing to qualify for 2018, the United States secured automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, despite a 2-0 loss away to Costa Rica.

Following their 5-1 win over Panama, the USA had a healthy enough goal difference to avert the inter-confederation playoff, with a three-point and 10-goal gap between them and Costa Rica coming into the final qualifier. 

In what was an intense start, Keylor Navas was on hand to deny the US in the eighth minute with a fantastic double effort. Initially denying Miles Robinson with a reflex save from close range, the Paris Saint-Germain keeper then managed to stop the ball from trickling in following a US corner.

The match tightened up significantly and the dead ball was the likeliest avenue to goal for both teams. The home side eventually broke the deadlock in the 51st minute through Juan Pablo Vargas, and doubled the margin eight minutes later from another set piece via Anthony Contreras.

Both sides finish the third round of CONCACAF qualifying on 25 points, but goal difference separates with the United States on +11 and Costa Rica on +5.

As a result, Los Ticos will face New Zealand in the inter-confederation playoff in June.

Christian Pulisic scored a hat-trick as the United States thrashed Panama 5-1 on Sunday to all but secure their place at the 2022 World Cup.

While still not officially assured of a spot in Qatar, only an implausible six-goal midweek defeat to Costa Rica would prevent Gregg Berhalter's side from returning to the tournament after missing out four years ago.

Costa Rica's 2-1 win in El Salvador earlier in the day meant USA were unable to join Canada in making absolutely sure of their qualification, though they went about their business professionally in Orlando.

Pulisic opened the scoring in the 17th minute from the spot after Anibal Godoy was penalised for grappling with Walker Zimmerman, and soon after it was 2-0 as Paul Arriola headed in Antonee Robinson's delivery.

Jesus Ferreira made it 3-0 just before the half-hour mark with a close-range finish and Pulisic ensured they went into the break four up thanks to his second penalty of the day – Godoy was again the guilty party, fouling Miles Robinson.

Pulisic completed his hat-trick in style with 65 minutes played, producing a lovely touch to turn and then convert, though a late Godoy consolation prevented Zack Steffen keeping a clean sheet.

USA need only a point on Wednesday to ensure they are in Friday's World Cup draw, though in reality they could lose 5-0 to fourth-placed Costa Rica and still qualify due to their superior goal difference.

Mexico and the United States shared the points in a tense 0-0 draw in Thursday's CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Mexico City.

A victory for either side would have put them on the brink of qualification, but both will need to wait, with the result leaving United States and Mexico in second and third positions respectively with two matches remaining.

Costa Rica moved into fourth spot after their 1-0 win over CONCACAF leaders Canada - who missed out on sealing their spot for Qatar - with the Ticos now three points behind US and Mexico who are locked on 22 points.

In a game where Mexico had a lion's share of possession, it was the Americans creating the best of the chances, with Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa looking spry at 36 years young.

Ochoa was called upon in the 14th minute to deny Yunus Musah, and again in the 36th minute to thwart Christian Pulisic to keep things deadlocked heading into half-time.

Pulisic had another chance just minutes into the second half, but his sharp chance was kept out by Ochoa as he finished the match with four saves. Hirving Lozano had a pair of chances for Mexico in the second half, but sent one over in the 57th minute, and one into the crossbar in the 80th minute.

US's final game away to Costa Rica on Wednesday is shaping up to have plenty on the line. The top three CONCACAF qualifiers will move on to the World Cup, while fourth-placed side will need to go through a play-off.

Mexico and the United States shared the points in a tense 0-0 draw in Thursday's CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Mexico City.

A victory for either side would have put them on the brink of qualification, but both will need to wait, with the result leaving United States and Mexico in second and third positions respectively with two matches remaining.

Costa Rica moved into fourth spot after their 1-0 win over CONCACAF leaders Canada - who missed out on sealing their spot for Qatar - with the Ticos now three points behind US and Mexico who are locked on 22 points.

In a game where Mexico had a lion's share of possession, it was the Americans creating the best of the chances, with Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa looking spry at 36 years young.

Ochoa was called upon in the 14th minute to deny Yunus Musah, and again in the 36th minute to thwart Christian Pulisic to keep things deadlocked heading into half-time.

Pulisic had another chance just minutes into the second half, but his sharp chance was kept out by Ochoa as he finished the match with four saves. Hirving Lozano had a pair of chances for Mexico in the second half, but sent one over in the 57th minute, and one into the crossbar in the 80th minute.

US's final game away to Costa Rica on Wednesday is shaping up to have plenty on the line. The top three CONCACAF qualifiers will move on to the World Cup, while fourth-placed side will need to go through a play-off.

Cesar Azpilicueta scored the winner as Chelsea came from behind to beat Lille 2-1 and advance to the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday. 

Amid questions over Chelsea's ability to travel and play in Europe because of EU sanctions imposed on their owner Roman Abramovich, the Blues kept their continental campaign alive by seeing out a 4-1 aggregate success in the last-16 tie. 

Burak Yilmaz put Lille in front at Stade Pierre-Mauroy when he drilled home a spot-kick, but Christian Pulisic restored parity in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. 

Xeka hit the post for Lille in the second half but Azpilicueta ended their hopes of progression and ensured it was holders Chelsea who were in the hat for the quarter-final draw. 

Chelsea struggled to turn their dominance of possession in the opening half an hour into chances and saw Andreas Christensen hobble off injured in the 33rd minute. 

Lille were awarded a penalty when Jorginho was deemed to have handled the ball after referee Davide Massa reviewed the video footage, with Yilmaz firing home to halve the aggregate deficit. 

However, Chelsea restored their two-goal cushion in the tie before half-time when Pulisic guided Jorginho's excellent throughball into the bottom-left corner. 

Yilmaz angled a header wide shortly after the restart, while Antonio Rudiger bent a half-volley narrowly outside the post from the edge of the box on the hour mark. 

Xeka headed a cross from Yilmaz against the upright before Azpilicueta met Mason Mount's cross at the back post and steered the ball past Leo Jardim to clinch victory in the 71st minute.

What does it mean? History for Tuchel 

Thomas Tuchel was taking charge of his 50th Champions League game at Stade Pierre-Mauroy and he made history by beating Lille. 

It was his 32nd victory in the competition, which is the most by a manager upon reaching a half-century of games. He surpassed the mark set by Zinedine Zidane, who won 31 of his first 50 matches as a coach in the Champions League. 

Cesar's a lad you can count on 

Azpilicueta marked moving level with Didier Drogba on 74 major European appearances for Chelsea with a finish the iconic striker would have been proud of. Frank Lampard (115) and John Terry (121) are the only outfielders to have played more continental games for the Blues. 

Burak fights back 

Yilmaz was an unlikely hero in Lille's Ligue 1 title run last season and he did his best to help them pull off another shock against Chelsea. He became the third oldest player to score in the Champions League at 36 years and 244 days old – behind only Ryan Giggs (37 years, 148 days) and Paolo Maldini (36 years, 333 days). 

What's next? 

Chelsea have an FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough on Saturday, when Lille travel to Nantes in Ligue 1. 

Liverpool closed the gap on leaders Manchester City with victory over West Ham, while Chelsea tightened their grip on third place in Saturday's Premier League action.

The Blues saw off Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor, a scoreline that was matched by Aston Villa in their statement victory against Southampton.

Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Brentford also picked up wins, but it was a bad start to life under new management for Leeds in their early kick-off against Leicester City.

Following another eventful day of Premier League action, Stats Perform delves into the key Opta facts from each of the games.

Leeds United 0-1 Leicester City: New manager, same Leeds

Jesse Marsch's first game as Leeds boss ended in defeat to Leicester as United fell to a fifth successive league loss for the first time since April 2015, when they were in the Championship.

Leeds have failed to score in three straight league matches for the first time in a year, this despite registering 19 shots in their latest blank against Leicester.

United's expected goals (xG) return of 1.95 is their highest without scoring in a league game since June 2020, and the familiar failings were also on show at the other end.

Harvey Barnes' second-half winner means Leeds have gone 13 league games without a clean sheet, their longest-such run since 14 without a shutout ending in August 2016.

This was the fifth straight league game Barnes has scored against Leeds – four of those while playing for Leicester and one for West Brom, making them his favourite opponent.

 

Aston Villa 4-0 Southampton: Coutinho's home comforts

Villa are firmly back on track after registering back-to-back victories under Steven Gerrard for the first time since his opening two games in charge in November.

The Villans put four unanswered goals past Southampton at Villa Park for their biggest Premier League win since thrashing Liverpool 7-2 in October 2020.

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho once again played a big part in the victory by scoring one and assisting another for Douglas Luiz.

Coutinho has now been directly involved in six goals in his first four home league games for Villa, scoring three of his own and setting up as many.

Ollie Watkins had earlier opened the scoring with his 21st Premier League strike since the start of the 2020-21 season, while Danny Ings added to his two assists with Villa's fourth goal.

 

Newcastle United 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Fraser helps end Magpies' duck against Seagulls

For a while things looked incredibly bleak for Newcastle, even after their big-money takeover, but they now find themselves seven points above the relegation zone.

The Magpies held off Brighton to make it eight Premier League games without defeat – no team is on a better such run – with five of those matches ending in victory.

Ryan Fraser opened the scoring to make it two goals in five Premier League outings, matching his tally from his previous 70 appearances, before setting up Fabian Schar.

That was the earliest United have scored twice in a Premier League home game since January 2007 and, despite Lewis Dunk's header, Eddie Howe's side saw out the win.

It marks the first time Newcastle have defeated Brighton in the Premier League in their 10th such encounter, having previously failed to so much as score against them at home.

 

Norwich City 1-3 Brentford: Bees buzzing thanks to Toney treble

After a run of eight Premier League games without a win, Brentford bolstered their survival ambitions with a well-earned victory away at bottom side Norwich.

Ivan Toney was the hero for the Bees with three goals, two of those from the penalty spot, making Brentford the 40th different team to boast a hat-trick scorer.

The Brentford striker now has nine Premier League goals for the season, each of those coming via his right foot.

Teemu Pukki scored a consolation but it was another miserable day for Norwich, whose goal difference of -42 is the worst at this stage since Derby County in 2007-08 (-44).

Not that it will matter a great deal in the grand scheme of things, but Brentford are the first team Pukki has scored home and away against in a single Premier League season.

 

Wolves 0-2 Crystal Palace: Shaky Wanderers lose again

Wolves' European hopes suffered another blow as they fell to a third successive Premier League defeat, as many as they lost in their previous 13.

Bruno Lage's out-of-form side have now conceded six goals in their last four league games, after shipping just five in 12 before that.

Jean-Philippe Mateta came up with the breakthrough from close range for his fourth goal in eight Premier League starts, and Wilfried Zaha doubled Palace's lead from the penalty spot.

Ivory Coast international Zaha has now been directly involved in 83 goals in the competition, the joint-ninth best total for an African player, level with Nwankwo Kanu.

With this latest loss, it is the first time Wolves have lost three games in a row against Palace in their entire league history.

 

Burnley 0-4 Chelsea: Blues cruise at Turf Moor

It was business as usual for Chelsea as they won for a third Premier League game running without conceding in what proved to be a straightforward victory at lowly Burnley.

The Blues scored all four of their goals in the second half as they enjoyed their biggest away league win since October 2018 when also beating Burnley by the same scoreline.

This was the biggest margin of victory for an away side in a game that was goalless at half-time since Tottenham beat Aston Villa 4-0 in December 2012.

Reece James started the scoring and in the process became the first defender from Europe's top five leagues to both score and assist five goals this term in all competitions.

Kai Havertz also netted twice before Christian Pulisic added some gloss to the scoreline – his fourth goal at Turf Moor, matching a record for an away player set by Tottenham's Harry Kane.

 

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Reds roll on thanks to Mane

Sadio Mane's first-half goal made it seven wins in a row for Liverpool in the Premier League, their best such streak since a run of 18 when they claimed the title two years ago.

That close-range finish was Mane's 12th of the season in the league, nine of those coming at Anfield – no player has scored more home goals in the division this season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold played the ball into the box for Mane's goal for his 16th assist in all competitions this term, more than he has ever registered in a single campaign.

Liverpool were not at their best and that was particularly true of Mohamed Salah, who failed to score from six shots – only against Stoke in April 2018 (seven) has he fared worse.

Incredibly, Virgil van Dijk has never been on the losing side for Liverpool in 60 Premier League home games at Anfield, setting a new record in that regard.

 

Kai Havertz netted twice as Chelsea cruised past Burnley at Turf Moor, with Reece James and Christian Pulisic also scoring in a comfortable 4-0 win for Thomas Tuchel's men.

It was Chelsea's first Premier League game since owner Roman Abramovich confirmed he had put the club up for sale, though there were no signs of distraction among the players.

They did struggle to create chances before half-time but then netted three goals in eight minutes to take the game away from Burnley soon after the break, before Pulisic added some gloss a little later.

Chelsea's first opening saw Charlie Taylor block from James, before Thiago Silva made a vital goal-line clearance from Wout Weghorst's shot at the other end.

Nathan Collins headed over as Sean Dyche's men enjoyed the better of the first period, before Dwight McNeil somehow missed with the goal gaping after Edouard Mendy's mistake.

The visitors needed less than two minutes to break the deadlock once the action resumed, with James twisting and turning before firing a superb opener into the bottom-left corner.

That strike looked to have given Tuchel's men greater purpose, and Havertz doubled the advantage just five minutes later, nodding home Pulisic's cross at the back post.

The Germany forward was then on hand to put the result beyond all doubt a few moments later, tapping home James' delivery. 

Things went from bad to worse for Burnley in the 69th minute, as James Tarkowski's error allowed Pulisic to score a fourth, wrapping up a comfortable Blues victory.

Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic put Chelsea in control of their Champions League last-16 tie against Lille with a 2-0 win, but Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech went off injured. 

Despite Romelu Lukaku being dropped to the bench after a dismal showing against Crystal Palace on Saturday, Chelsea needed just eight minutes to find the net through Havertz. 

The reigning champions saw in-form duo Kovacic and Ziyech hobble off before the hour mark, casting doubt over their chances of featuring in the EFL Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday. 

Pulisic finished off a quick break after 63 minutes to secure a strong first-leg lead for Thomas Tuchel's side, with the return leg to come in France next month.

Havertz wasted little time in making his mark as the central striker, nodding home from Ziyech's corner after failing to take a couple of early chances. 

Antonio Rudiger almost turned a Renato Sanches cross into his own net and Lille threatened with a flurry of chances from the resulting corner as they started to get a foothold in the game. 

Chelsea were dealt a blow when they lost Kovacic and Ziyech in quick succession early in the second half, but they doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute. 

N'Golo Kante surged forward from inside the Chelsea half and fed Pulisic for a delightful dink over the onrushing Leo Jardim and into the bottom-right corner. 

Lille tried to reduce the arrears with a push for a late goal, but Edouard Mendy was never really tested and Chelsea remained in charge of the tie. 

What does it mean? Advantage Chelsea 

The Blues were always going to be the favourites in this match-up and they got the win that was expected of them despite being far from dominant. 

Chelsea have a good record when winning the first leg of a Champions League tie; in the 11 occasions they have won the opening encounter, they have reached the next round nine times. 

However, the two exits followed first-leg victories at Stamford Bridge against Barcelona in 1999-2000 and Liverpool in 2006-07. 

No room for Romelu 

Lukaku was dropped after having just seven touches across 90 minutes at the weekend. Havertz needed just five to have three attempts on goal and find the net with the last of them, showing he is more than capable of being a potent threat through the middle. 

Sanches shines in defeat 

Sanches proved he has come a long way as he returned to the ground where he infamously passed to a logo on an advertising board, which he had mistaken for a team-mate during an underwhelming loan spell at Swansea City in 2017. He bossed the midfield in the first half and played some lovely passes.  

What's next? 

Chelsea face Liverpool in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, when Lille travel to Lyon in Ligue 1. 

The United States took a big stride towards 2022 World Cup qualification with three set-piece goals in a 3-0 victory over already-eliminated Honduras in freezing Minnesota on Wednesday.

Weston McKennie, Walker Zimmerman and substitute Christian Pulisic netted the goals as USA moved to 21 points from 11 games, rebounding from their 2-0 loss to Canada last time out as they chase qualification for Qatar 2022 after missing out four years ago.

The victory was crucial for second-placed USA to move clear of the chasing pack, with third-placed Mexico to host fourth-placed Panama later on Wednesday.

The temperature dropped to minus 18 degrees in the first half with players from both sides permitted to wear full overhead balaclavas and hand warmers.

Juventus midfielder McKennie opened the scoring with an eighth-minute near-post header from Kellyn Acosta's free-kick, before Nashville defender Zimmerman bundled home a second in the 37th minute from a set piece.

McKennie and Timothy Weah almost combined for a third in the 50th minute only to be thwarted by substitute Honduras goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar.

Chelsea star Pulisic was introduced in the 64th minute and scored three minutes later, volleyed home a loose ball from a corner after Zimmerman's knockdown. Pulisic also had a late goal disallowed for offside.

Mateo Kovacic scored one of the goals of the season as Chelsea fought back to draw 2-2 with Liverpool in a pulsating Premier League encounter.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah had given the Reds a two-goal lead at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in their final game before departing for Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Chelsea were not lacking firepower in the absence of dropped record signing Romelu Lukaku as they roared back with two goals in quick succession late in the first half, Kovacic reducing the deficit with a sumptuous volley and Christian Pulisic equalising.

Both sides had their chances to come out on top in the battle between second and third, but it was leaders Manchester City who were the big winners as they hold a 10-point advantage at the summit.

Mane may have been fortunate to only be shown a yellow card when he caught Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with his arm just six seconds into a game that saw the introduction of safe standing at Stamford Bridge.

Pulisic wasted a great chance to open the scoring early on, rounding Caoimhin Kelleher – starting with Alisson out due to a positive COVID-19 test – after Trent Alexander-Arnold's attempted clearance struck Mason Mount and left the United States forward with only the Reds' stand-in goalkeeper to beat.

Mane made no mistake in the ninth minute, capitalising on a bad mistake from Trevoh Chalobah by rounding Edouard Mendy and finishing with his left foot.

Salah then struck against his former club 26 minutes in, exquisitely controlling a brilliant pass from Alexander-Arnold and beating Mendy at his near post with a clinical finish after darting beyond Marcos Alonso in the penalty area.

Chelsea stormed back with two goals in the space of four minutes to go in at the break on level terms, Kovacic's sublime 20-yard volley going in off the right post before Pulisic raced clear and coolly tucked home in stoppage time.

The two title hopefuls continued to pose a huge threat going forward following the interval and Mendy had to dive at full stretch palm away out Salah's lob when he spotted the Blues keeper off his line.

Kelleher showed sharp reflexes to keep out Pulisic's half-volley and Mount tested the Irishman from long range, but both sides had to settle for a point.

Newcastle United are set to flex their financial muscles during the January transfer window.

The Magpies are struggling in the Premier League drop zone even after claiming a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

But following a change of ownership they have funds available to bolster their squad.
 

TOP STORY - MAGPIES KEEN ON BARCELONA'S UMTITI

Cashed-up Newcastle are considering a move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti according to The Sun.

The 2018 World Cup winner has fallen out of favour at Barcelona, who are looking to offload players due to their financial issues.

Eddie Howe's side have conceded a league-high 42 goals and want to shore up their backline to aid their case to avoid relegation.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have ramped up their bid to sign Leeds United's Raphinha, claims The Sun. Leeds remain hopeful of keeping the Brazil international.

- Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Raphinha according to the Express, who also claim they will allow Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech to depart.

- Tottenham are leading the way to secure the signature of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie with the two parties in advanced talks, reports the Express.

- Ex-Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho's preferred new home is Arsenal,  with Barcelona keen to offload the Brazil international according to Sport.

- Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina are all on high alert with Torino's Italy international striker Andrea Belotti set to exit the club when his contract expires at season's end, reports Calciomercato.

Paul Pogba's club future continues to be a major topic of speculation.

The 28-year-old is into the final year of his Manchester United contract.

Pogba has flirted with the idea of an extension but has been stalling on a decision.

 

TOP STORY – REAL AND PSG HOME IN ON POGBA

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are both ready to ramp up the race to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, claims Marca.

Pogba is running down his United contract, meaning he will be a free agent in mid-2022.

Real and PSG will rekindle their interest after new United interim manager Ralf Rangnick said Pogba should not need to be convinced to stay.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani has offered his services to Juventus, according to Calciomercato. The Uruguayan veteran has also been linked with Barcelona.

- Barcelona are plotting moves for Chelsea's trio Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Antonio Rudiger, reports Mundo Deportivo.

- Milan are circling to sign Liverpool's super-sub Divock Origi as they seek a long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claims Tuttomercato. Atalanta are also interested.

- Calciomercato reports that Roma are considering a move for Spezia midfielder Jiulio Maggiore. The 23-year-old is out of contract in 2023 and valued at €8m (£6.8m).

- Roma are also interested in a move for Norwich City's Max Aarons, according to Corriere dello Sport. Tottenham and Everton are also in the race.

- Lyon are interested in a move for Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma, claims Todofichajes. Manchester United and Barcelona are also tracking the ex-Bournemouth winger.

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