While praising his side's win over Galatasaray in the Europa League, Barcelona coach Xavi says it can mean nothing with Sunday's El Clasico in mind.

The Blaugrana will have to back up quickly from Thursday's 2-1 win on aggregate, progressing to the quarter-finals in the process, with a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid awaiting. 

"Today was an important game, because we are playing for a European trophy," Xavi told reporters after the match. "We want to go far in this competition, and we are very happy to be in the quarter-finals, as we deserve to be there.

"Yes, we are in good form at the moment heading into El Clasico, but that means nothing.

"I have experienced everything about those games, playing badly and then winning or playing well and then they beat us. Sunday will be a different story, a very difficult and complex one."

Barcelona's win in Istanbul was partly clouded by injuries to Sergino Dest and Gerard Pique, who both had to come off in the second half.

With Barca already leading 2-1, Dest produced a desperate but perfectly-timed sliding tackle on Muhammed Aturkoglu in the 55th minute, injuring his hamstring in the process.

Dest’s injury comes at an inconvenient time for club, with Sunday’s Clasico awaiting, and country, with Gregg Berhalter announcing Dest in the United States national team’s latest squad only hours after the final whistle.

Gerard Pique was also a second-half substitute, aggravating a groin injury coming into the match and coming off for Clement Lenglet in the 81st minute.

"In the end he told me that it was difficult for him to sprint and we decided to make the change," Xavi told Movistar+ post-match.

"We weren’t there to give it away. We only won with one goal, and Pique has had discomfort for a month."

Though Dest's status is questionable for Sunday, it is as yet unclear whether Pique will be fit in time for Barcelona's clash against their fierce rivals.

Pedri says it is "crazy" to compare his goal against Galatasaray to one of the many scored by Lionel Messi after the young midfielder helped Barcelona overcome Galatasaray.

The 19-year-old levelled up in Thursday's Europa League last-16 second leg with an impressive goal before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck to earn Barca a 2-1 victory.

Pedri collected the ball in the opposition box, shimmied past both Marcao and Berkan Kutlu and then slotted past Barca loanee Inaki Pena.

It was a goal that had all the hallmarks of a trademark Messi goal in the famous Blaugrana colours, but Pedri could not see the comparisons.

"The truth is I can't really remember the goal, I'll have to see it repeated," he told Movistar+. 

"I know Ferran Torres gave it to me and I thought about shooting, but I faked the shot because I could see a leg, then I faked again until I could find a gap.

"I don't remember much about the play; these things happen on the pitch. But comparing one of my goals to Messi is crazy."

Pedri's goal arrived nine minutes after home skipper Marcao opened the scoring in the two-legged tie after getting in front of Ferran Torres to head in Alexandru Cicaldau's corner.

"Their goal helped us face up to the match better. It was difficult to come here at 0-0 and play on a pitch that is so tight – I haven't played on a pitch like that, it was crazy."

At the age of 19 years and 112 days, Pedri is the first player under 20 to score for Barcelona in the UEFA Cup or Europa League since Ivan De La Pena in April 1996.

Barca boss Xavi recently compared Pedri to club legend Andres Iniesta and reiterated after the Gala win that the sky is the limit for the Spain international.

"He is capable of this and so much more," Xavi said. "He has patience in his play and scored a great goal. He is a privilege to coach. 

"It was a spectacular goal, sublime. In addition, he generates moves with his individual actions.

Thanks to Pedri's strike and Aubameyang's second-half effort at a hostile NEF Stadyumu, Barca are now in the hat for Friday's quarter-final draw.

The LaLiga giants are unbeaten in 11 games since the tail end of January, making this their best-such run since January 2020 when Ernesto Valverde was in charge.

Xavi recently stated his side cannot be considered the favourites, despite their standing as one of Europe's most successful ever clubs, but Pedri disagrees.

"We are enjoying playing our football and that shows on the pitch," he said. "We have to go match-by-match but, yes, I think we are the favourites. We're going to go all out."

Barcelona have now progressed from eight of their past nine ties in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup and Europa League, their only elimination coming against Celtic in 2003-04.

Barcelona recovered from a goal behind to see off Galatasaray 2-1 on aggregate and advance to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The visitors wasted plenty of opportunities in last week's goalless first leg and fell behind in the tie when Marcao headed Galatasaray ahead after 28 minutes on Thursday.

However, Pedri fired Barca back on level terms before half-time and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his good form by putting his side ahead for the first time.

Xavi's side saw out the victory at a hostile NEF Stadyumu to make it 11 games unbeaten in all competitions and take their place in Friday's draw for the next round.

Jordi Alba blocked a goal-bound Bafetimbi Gomis shot and Frenkie de Jong shot wide from a one-on-one as both sides pushed for an early opener.

The breakthrough in the tie arrived just before the half-hour mark when home skipper Marcao got in front of Ferran Torres to guide in Alexandru Cicaldau's corner.

But that lead lasted for all of nine minutes as Pedri was played in by De Jong, skipped past two players and coolly tucked past Barcelona loanee Inaki Pena.

Aubameyang then sent a looping header against the top of the bar but tucked into an empty net four minutes into the second half after Sergio Busquets' initial shot was saved.

Galatasaray could not muster any further clear-cut opportunities and the frustration of home fans told late on when missiles were thrown onto the field.

Alba kicked the ball into the stands in response and was issued a yellow card but he was smiling minutes later when, after Torres wasted a chance to add a third when firing against the bar, the full-time whistle sounded.

Xavi insisted Barcelona will focus on winning the Europa League as a means to qualify the Champions League, while declaring the clash with Galatasaray on Thursday as a "final".

Barca were held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash with Galatasaray, setting up a winner-takes-all decider in Istanbul.

The Blaugrana have progressed from seven of their last eight ties in the UEFA Cup and Europa League last 16, with their only elimination at this stage coming in 2003-04 (1-0 on aggregate versus Celtic).

Turkish side Gala have also only won one of their previous nine meetings with Barcelona across all competitions (D3 L5), with that lone victory coming in November 1994 in the Champions League (2-1).

Barca head coach Xavi sees the competition as a perfect chance to qualify for the Champions League, despite his side being likely to qualify via finishing in Spain's top four - currently sitting third in the league.

"For us the main objective is to be in the Champions League," he told reporters at Wednesday's pre-match news conference. 

"Now we are in the Europa League, which if we win it would give us access to the Champions League. We are very excited, even if it is the Europa League, we are really looking forward to it.

"For us it's a final [against Galatasaray], it's heads or tails. The first part of the first leg was not good, we didn't come out with intensity.

"The example should be the [4-0 win] over Osasuna, where we were intense and we soon managed to get ahead.

"This is a final, in a stadium where they cheer and shout more. We have to try to do what we already did [at Napoli]."

Barca face a decisive week, with the trip to Galatasaray preceding El Clasico in LaLiga as they battle Real Madrid on Sunday, but Xavi feels he is capable of handling the pressure.

"I take the pressure naturally, I like it. I'm very competitive, I'm a winner and we like to experience these situations," he added. 

"We didn't have the best result in the first leg, but I see it as an opportunity. We're in the same situation of the game in Naples and from there we came out very strong.

"This is Europe and nobody is going to give you anything. The fitness issues, above all, are the inconvenience [this week]. We try to make a specific plan so that the players who play can recover in time for Sunday."

Barca are reportedly pursuing Erling Haaland, who Xavi was said to have met in Munich, but the Norwegian could end up at Real Madrid, as well as Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.

Asked how he would respond to the attacking stars heading to the Spanish capital, Xavi responded: "We're working on the present - we want to win and go through to the next round.

"The club is working on the future team, but the team is still more important than individual players. If they add to the team and make us better, that will be great but the team will always prevail."

Xavi insisted his side must remain humble after their goalless home draw with Galatasaray on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League’s last-16.

Barcelona characteristically dominated possession but failed to break down Galatasaray, who are currently 12th in the Turkish Super Lig.

Having won the Champions League three times as a player, Xavi hinted his side has to be mentally stronger, despite being the better of the two teams. This comes amid the uncommon scenario of Barcelona playing in Europe’s second-tier club competition, after being knocked out of the Champions League earlier this season.

"I already said that this is Europe and teams are here on merit. It [the Europa League] is a difficult, complicated competition and we have to continue to work hard, and with humility," he said.

"We were better than Galatasaray, the result isn’t good and perhaps a little unfair. Perhaps we were too euphoric and expectant, and winning is hard. Nothing was gained, but nothing lost. We expected to win the match, but they made it very difficult for us."

Xavi, who this week welcomed three months in charge of the embattled Catalan giants, was evidently unhappy with the first half. Barcelona held 66.9 percent possession over the opening 45 minutes, but only had as many shots as their opponents in the penalty area, with two for the half.

Frenkie de Jong was notably shifted from the deepest midfield position, with Sergio Busquets coming on straight after the interval, along with Ousmane Dembele and Gerard Pique in a triple substitution.

Further introductions for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Luuk de Jong failed to break the stalemate, but the threat Barcelona created in the second half was still relatively encouraging for the 42-year-old.

"It’s not a good result, playing at home and dominating the game in that way. It’s true we didn’t reach recent levels," he said. "We were a bit dense, especially in the first half, but we were better in the second. We generated more.

"We need to attack better and be clearer with the final ball…Galatasaray were phenomenal, they didn’t let us finish phases. It’s a shame because we generated less than in other games but we did enough to win this game."

Barcelona host Osasuna on Sunday in LaLiga, before travelling to Istanbul for the second leg with Galatasaray next Thursday.

Inaki Pena was the standout Barcelona player in Thursday's Europa League draw with Galatasaray – unfortunately for Xavi, he was playing in the opposition goal.

Goalkeeper Pena is on loan at Galatasaray from Barca, and so their unexpected meeting in European competition has provided the 23-year-old an opportunity to impress.

He did exactly that as Galatasaray returned from Camp Nou with a goalless draw, leaving the last-16 tie in the balance heading back to Turkey for the second leg.

Pena, who has never played for Barca's first team, made four saves and prevented 1.1 goals, according to expected goals on target data.

Memphis Depay was denied twice, while there were further stops from Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong on a frustrating evening for the Blaugrana.

"Inaki Pena has been spectacular," said Xavi, although he was not the only Galatasaray player worthy of praise.

The Barca coach added: "Their central defenders were phenomenal and they didn't allow us to finish our moves off. It's a shame because we dominated.

"Although we created fewer chances than normal, we created enough to score."

Pena was unsurprisingly asked how his performance might have helped his chances of a long-term Barca future, but he remains focused on the task at hand.

"I played a good game and I'm very happy with my performance," he said. "I needed minutes and here I am getting them.

"I am focused on Galatasaray. I am very clear that I have a contract with Barca and I have to return in June."

Barcelona were frustrated by Galatasaray as Xavi's team could only manage a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Europa League tussle.

These teams will try again in Istanbul next week, with a quarter-final place at stake, and Barcelona could rue the opportunities they missed in this contest.

Xavi was an unused substitute when these teams last met, in the 2002-03 Champions League, but here he was orchestrating from the bench as head coach.

Barcelona almost snatched the lead with a freakish goal, when an overhead kick from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was going well wide before Frenkie de Jong instinctively flung out a leg and volleyed against the left post, but it was not to be their night.

The hosts wanted an early penalty when Adama Traore's cross hit the arm of Kerem Akturkoglu but had to settle for a corner. Memphis Depay then tested Galatasaray goalkeeper Inaki Pena – on loan from Barcelona – with a fiercely struck free-kick from 22 yards in the 27th minute, the first shot on target in the contest.

This incarnation of Galatasaray sit only 12th in the Turkish Super Lig, a pale shadow of their great teams, but they almost had a goal to rank among their finest in Europe.

A slaloming, bustling run down the left by Akturkoglu, starting deep inside his own half, ended with a dart into the penalty area and a shot from 15 yards being deflected inches over for a corner by Eric Garcia.

Barcelona made three changes for the start of the second half, Xavi looking to jolt his team as he withdrew Ronald Araujo, Nico and Ferran Torres, bringing on Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele.

Busquets had a header tipped over and home captain Jordi Alba cracked a powerful right-footed volley a foot wide of the left post, before De Jong almost put away Aubameyang's wayward effort.

Galatasaray thought they had snatched a winner against the run of play through Bafetimbi Gomis, as the striker smashed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but he had strayed offside.

Xavi is confident that Barcelona will land their transfer targets in the next window but was unwilling to confirm whether Erling Haaland is one of those his side are chasing.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported on Wednesday that Barcelona are growing increasingly confident of winning the race for in-demand Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland.

The 21-year-old has been linked with an array of Europe's elite clubs, including Barca's rivals Real Madrid, after scoring 80 goals in 79 games for Dortmund in all competitions.

That is a tally bettered only by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (115 goals in 97 matches) among players from Europe's top five leagues since January 2020.

Haaland has a reported €75million release clause that kicks in at the end of the season, although Barca's well-documented financial issues over the past year would make any deal difficult.

While falling short of confirming whether his side are looking to recruit Haaland, Xavi insisted Camp Nou is a lure for any player, despite Barca's relative recent plight.

"You say I have met with Haaland – I didn't know that!" Xavi said at a pre-match news conference previewing Thursday's Europa League match with Galatasaray.

"It's always a good time to come to Barca for any footballer. There isn't a footballer who has said no to Barca since I've been here.

"The player we want to sign, when we can talk to him, we talk to him about the game model, about the training sessions.

"If you will touch 20 balls at another club, here you will touch 40. The club, the city that is wonderful, the history of Barca...

"I will try to convince any player that coming to Barca is a golden opportunity."

 

Speculation regarding Haaland's future will likely rumble on for a number of months yet, but Barca are hopeful of completing some transfer business of sorts before then.

Gavi and Ronald Araujo are both set to be out of contract next year, though the club are working to tie both players down to fresh terms.

"They are two very important players," Xavi said. "The club's working very well and they are a priority for us. 

"It is a process. Sometimes the negotiations take a long time. We hope for the good of the club that there is an agreement."

Barca host Galatasaray on Wednesday for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie boasting an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

While the Catalans are considered the favourites of many to lift the trophy in May, Xavi believes perennial winners Sevilla are the team to beat.

"I don't see us as one of the favourites. We have never won the competition," he said. "Sevilla are more favourites than us. 

"We are one of the candidates and we have to prove it on the pitch. There is enthusiasm in Barcelona. Every game at Barca is an exam, but we haven't done anything yet."

Barca have faced Galatasaray eight times previously, winning each of the past three meetings, the most recent of those a 3-1 win in the 2002-03 Champions League group stage.

Frenkie de Jong has insisted that missing out on Europa League glory this season would not be considered a failure for Barcelona.

The Catalan giants are more accustomed to challenging in the Champions League, but they missed out on a place in the knockout stages for the first time since 2003-04.

Barca passed their first test in UEFA's secondary club competition by overcoming Serie A title contenders Napoli 5-3 on aggregate last month to reach the last 16.

Xavi's side face Galatasaray next, with the first leg to take place at Camp Nou on Thursday, and are considered favourites to go all the way and lift the trophy in May.

However, De Jong does not believe there is any extra pressure on his side to live up to their billing as competition favourites, even if it is their last hope of silverware this term.

"We want to be in the Champions League but that's not the case at the moment," he said at a pre-match news conference on Wednesday. 

"Now we want to win the Europa League. But it wouldn't be a failure to miss out on the title, because there are good teams, though of course the goal is to win the competition.

"Normally we push for all the titles and if we reinforce ourselves well, I'm sure that next season we'll fight for everything."

Barca have lost just two of their last 35 home matches in the knockout rounds of major European competitions and have only been beaten in one of their previous eight meetings with Gala.

They enter the tie in great form thanks to a run of eight games without defeat in all competitions, winning six of those – including each of the last four.

"I think we've been doing very well lately, creating a lot of chances," De Jong said. "We want to improve and continue in this dynamic.

"I feel good. We are in a good moment. I feel comfortable and I want to continue and improve."

De Jong has featured 33 times in all competitions for Barca this season, a tally bettered only by Marc-Andre ter Stegen (34) and Sergio Busquets (36).

The Netherlands international has come in for criticism at times, but he has found some form with two goals and an assist in his last four appearances.

"I don't know if it's my best version, you can always improve," De Jong said when asked about his recent displays.

"When people criticise me it doesn't hurt, but many people aren't watching the games, and that's why they talk. People believe journalists who say things, and that's the problem."

Barcelona will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xavi's side were 4-2 winners on aggregate over Napoli in the round of 32 after dropping into the competition from the Champions League.

They will now meet the Turkish Super Lig giants, with the first leg at Camp Nou to be played on March 10.

Sevilla, winners of a record six trophies, will face David Moyes' West Ham, while rivals Real Betis will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers, who shocked Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, take on Red Star and RB Leipzig will play Spartak Moscow. Spartak's home leg must be played at a neutral venue due to the military invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The first legs will be played on March 10, with the exception of Porto versus Lyon and Betis' game with Frankfurt, which will be held a day earlier. The second legs are a week later.

Europa League last 16:

Rangers v Red Star
Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt

There may still be three months of the 2021-22 campaign to play, but Manchester United will already have one eye on next season.

Not only is there a question mark over who will be in charge, but United must also freshen up a squad that has once again underperformed this time around.

If reports are accurate, it may well be that two of United's long-term targets end up reuniting at Old Trafford.
 

TOP STORY – POCHETTINO WANTS KANE TO JOIN HIM AT UNITED

Mauricio Pochettino has long been considered the favourite to take over from Ralf Rangnick should the interim manager, as expected, step aside at the end of the season.

According to the Telegraph, Pochettino wants assurances that he will be financially backed if he leaves Paris Saint-Germain, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane reported to be on his radar.

Kane and Pochettino previously worked together for five and a half years at Tottenham and are said to still remain in contact.

However, Spurs resisted big-money interest from Manchester City for their star player last year and are not expected to budge too much on their valuation in the next window.


ROUND-UP

- Gareth Bale looks increasingly likely to leave Real Madrid when his contract expires later this year. According to one report, from Tuttomercatoweb, the Wales international has reached an agreement to return to Tottenham, where he spent last season on loan.

- Sport claims that Frenkie de Jong has no intention of leaving Barcelona in the next transfer window. The Ajax academy product is rumoured to be a target for Liverpool and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Real Madrid have added Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney to their list of transfer targets, Spanish outlet El Espanol reports. Los Blancos are seeking a replacement for Marcelo, who turns 34 in May and is soon to become a free agent.

- According to transfer expert Ekrem Konur, Brazilian side Flamengo remain in talks to sign Neto from Barcelona on a free contract. The once-capped Brazil international has played second-fiddle to Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the past three seasons.

- Inter midfielder Arturo Vidal is a man in demand ahead of becoming a free agent in July. Calciomercato suggests that Premier League sides Aston Villa and Tottenham, as well as Marseille and Galatasaray, are set to battle it out for his signature.

Newcastle United have been eager to make some big moves in January, as their wealthy owners look to splash the cash in order to secure Premier League survival.

They have already brought in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, though a move for Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos appears to have hit an impasse.

However, Eddie Howe also wants more attacking reinforcements and Tottenham's out-of-favour Dele Alli is the latest name to be linked with a move to the north east.

 

TOP STORY – ALLI TO SWITCH SPURS FOR ST JAMES' PARK?

Alli was omitted from Spurs' squad for Sunday's defeat to Chelsea and it seems that the England midfielder is surplus to requirements under Antonio Conte.

Once a bona fide star under Mauricio Pochettino, it has been a stark fall from grace for Alli, though at 25 he will still no doubt feel he has much to offer.

The Athletic reported on Sunday that Alli would be allowed to leave Tottenham on loan before the end of the window, and the Daily Mail have now claimed that Newcastle want to add him to their squad. 

 

ROUND UP

- Newcastle  are now being rivalled by Serie A giants Milan in the race to sign Diego Carlos from Sevilla, who have put a high valuation on the defender. The Athletic reported last week that another Premier League club were also interested in the Brazilian.

- Fabrizio Romano says that Gedson Fernandes, who spent an unsuccessful loan spell at Spurs last season, is to join Galatasaray from Benfica.

- Romano has also reported that Christian Eriksen is in advanced talks with Brentford over signing a short-term deal with the Bees. The Denmark playmaker, who had a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, left Inter last year.

- Goal are reporting that Spurs are also open to letting Giovani Lo Celso leave the club. The Argentina midfielder was also left out of their squad on Sunday.

- Multiple sources are reporting that Aston Villa are in talks with Juventus over midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

- The Times and Tuttosport have both suggested Juve will look to use funds from the sale of Bentancur to push on with a deal for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic

Former Turkey and Galatasaray defender Ahmet Calik has died in a car accident at the age of 27.

The news of his death was announced by Super Lig club Konyaspor, for whom Calik had been playing this season.

Calik joined Konyaspor from Galatasaray in 2020 and wore the number six shirt for the top-flight team.

Newspaper Hurriyet reported Calik's car came off the road between Ankara and Nigde.

Turkish media broadcast footage of a car said to have been the one driven by Calik, lying in a crumpled state in a field.

Konyaspor said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our football player Ahmet Calık, who has won the love of our fans and our city since the first day he came to Konyaspor.

"Condolences to all of us, especially to the family of our football player Ahmet Calık."

The club said Calik's burial would take place later on Tuesday after funeral prayers at the Elmadag Sungur Mosque.

He had signed a three-year contract extension in November, after making a positive impact since arriving.

The Turkish Football Federation announced Calik "passed away as a result of a traffic accident".

"May Allah have mercy on the deceased; Our condolences to his family, relatives, Ittifak Holding Konyaspor Club and the Turkish football community," the federation said.

Galatasaray expressed their sorrow, saying it was news that caused "deep sadness".

Arsenal could look to offload Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer window.

The 26-year-old has not lived up to his billing after being signed in 2019.

Pepe has scored once in nine appearances for the Gunners this season.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN SET FOR JANUARY PEPE SWOOP

Italian giants Milan are interested in signing Arsenal's Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe, claims Il Milanista.

Pepe has more than two years to run on his Gunners deal, having joined on a five-year contract from Lille in 2019 for a club-record fee of £72 million (€79m).

Arsenal may be willing to let Pepe go for a little as £25m in January.

ROUND-UP 

- Chelsea's Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta is on Barcelona's transfer radar, according to SPORT. The 32-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season.

- Tottenham have joined Inter in having an interest in signing Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, claims Kicker. Tolisso is out of contract at the end of this season.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that talks between Gavi and Barcelona on a five-year contract extension are progressing amid interest in the Spanish teenager from Chelsea.

- Jose Mourinho's Roma are considering a move to sign Atletico Madrid's Mexico international midfielder Hector Herrera in January, claims Calciomercato. Atletico are willing to cash in on Herrera, who is out of contract in mid-2022.

- Manchester City target Theo Hernandez is close to completing a contract renewal with Milan, according to Rudy Galetti. The Rossoneri have reached an agreement with him until 2026.

- FotoMac claims Mohamed Elneny's agent has reached an agreement with Arsenal for the Egyptian to leave in January. He was previously linked with Galatasaray.

- Lens midfielder Seko Fofana has been added to Newcastle United's shortlist of transfer targets, claims Foot Mercato.

Borussia Dortmund's England international Jude Bellingham has been in Germany more than 12 months.

He has regularly been linked with moves back to England, having impressed in the Bundesliga.

Liverpool had a quiet transfer period, with only French defender Ibrahima Konate signed.

TOP STORY - LIVERPOOL TO LAUNCH RECORD BELLINGHAM DEAL

Liverpool will launch a record £80million (€93m) deal to secure central midfielder Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund claims the Daily Star.

The report says the England international is Reds manager Jurgen Klopp's top transfer target.

Theproposed deal would make 18-year-old Bellingham the club's most expensive ever signing.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid have joined Manchester United and Barcelona in the race to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans according to AS. The current contract of the 24-year-old Belgium international expires in 2023.

- Leicester City's Senegal midfielder Nampalys Mendy will join Istanbul giants Galatasaray on loan before the Turkish transfer window closes, reports Foot Mercato. Mendy, who has been on international duty, will rush to Turkey to complete the deal.

- Le10Sport reports that veteran Brazilian free agent David Luiz is set to ignore options with Marseille and Salernitana and instead return to his homeland.

- Roma will make another move for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria in January after missing out on him during the most recent transfer window reports Corriere dello Sport.

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