Mauricio Pochettino has insisted Kylian Mbappe is a "fantastic guy" after the Paris Saint-Germain star came in for criticism following the midweek win over Metz. 

PSG won 2-1 on Wednesday thanks to Achraf Hakimi's last-gasp winner, after Metz captain Dylan Bronn had received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away to waste time, with coach Frederic Antonetti then seeing red for his protestations on the touchline. 

As PSG celebrated Hakimi scoring, Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja charged out to confront some of Pochettino's players, seemingly angered by the nature of their celebrations, with Mbappe the main target of his remonstrations.  

Speaking in his post-match news conference, Antonetti hit out at Mbappe, who he claimed needed to be humble in his behaviour on the field.

Pochettino, however, defended Mbappe on Friday, saying incidents within a match must be taken within that context. 

"I understand that the coach was angry. That is a natural reaction," said Pochettino. 

"You have to take the context into account, especially when considering after losing a game in the 95th minute, I can empathise with Fred for being angry about the situation. 

"Kylian Mbappe is a fantastic guy, he is a top competitor who wants to win, always. 

"These things happen on the pitch, but I don't think they need to be carried off the pitch as well in terms of the situations with him and some Metz players. 

"These incidents cannot be taken out of context, they have to be analysed within a match in which both teams want to win and many things happen, so that cannot be used out of context. 

"That doesn't reflect the reality of who Kylian is, but I can understand the frustration on their behalf." 

 

Mbappe had a game-leading three attempts, level with Neymar and Hakimi, while the 22-year-old also created four chances, more than any other player. 

He had 76 touches and came out on top in 63.6 per cent of his 11 duels, while also winning three fouls, another game high, though only Neymar (34) lost possession more times than the France forward (18). 

With Lionel Messi out injured, the onus will be on Neymar and Mbappe to spearhead PSG's attack against Montpellier on Saturday. 

Mbappe has been involved in 11 goals against Montpellier in Ligue 1 (eight goals, three assists), more than any other current team in the competition. 

After failing to be involved in either goal against Metz, however, he will be aiming to make sure he does not feature in successive league matches without scoring or assisting for the first time since February. 

Lionel Messi is set to miss a second game in a row for Paris Saint-Germain, with their Champions League blockbuster against Manchester City on the horizon.

Messi was absent for PSG's dramatic 2-1 Ligue 1 win over Metz because of a knee injury, that victory maintaining their 100 per cent record in the league.

They will be expected to continue that run when Montpellier visit the Parc des Princes on Sunday despite Messi again being unavailable.

Defeating City, who prevailed against PSG 4-1 on aggregate in last season's Champions League semi-finals, without Messi on Tuesday would be substantially more difficult.

In a medical update released on Friday, PSG said: "Leo Messi started running again today in line with his treatment protocol."

The club added that Messi will be re-evaluated on Sunday, meaning a potential reunion with Pep Guardiola, with whom he won three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns during their time together at Barcelona, remains in doubt.

PSG were held to a 1-1 draw by Club Brugge in their opening Group A encounter.

Messi has played just three games since his stunning departure from Barca and has yet to find the net for PSG.

 

Barcelona need to add some attacking options to their squad, particularly with the Lionel Messi era now over.

Ferran Torres is among those on their wish list. 

Will Manchester City let him go? 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA STILL COVET TORRES

Barcelona are not ready to give up on their pursuit of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, the Sun reports.  

After being rebuffed in a previous overture for the 21-year-old Spain international, Barca are ready to try again next year.  

Torres has done them no favours with his impressive showing for Spain at Euro 2020, plus his in-form start to this season for City. 

 

ROUND-UP

Xavi could be in line to replace Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, Marca reports. The Barca legend is head coach at Al Sadd after finishing his playing career with the Qatari club.  

Liverpool plan to renew their pursuit of West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, the Liverpool Echo reports, after they reportedly bid £20million for him during the previous transfer window.  

Alexandre Lacazette will have no shortage of suitors when the time comes for him to depart Arsenal. Atletico Madrid are interested in the France striker, says Le10 Sport, while West Ham and Crystal Palace may also bid for the 30-year-old, according to 90min. 

Kylian Mbappe must behave differently if he is to be universally adored, according to Metz coach Frederic Antonetti.

Paris Saint-Germain continued their 100 per cent record in Ligue 1 this season as Achraf Hakimi, who had also opened the scoring, netted a stoppage-time winner with the last kick of the game against Metz on Wednesday.

Hakimi's goal came four minutes after Metz captain Dylan Bronn had received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away to waste time, with Antonetti then seeing red for his protestations on the touchline, the furious coach even going as far as gesturing with two fists towards the referee after his dismissal.

As PSG celebrated Hakimi's winner moments later, Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja charged out to confront Mauricio Pochettino's players, seemingly angered by the nature of their celebrations.

Mbappe, who had in the 83rd minute inadvertently gone close to lobbing Oukidja with a return of possession after Metz had kicked the ball out of play for an injury, appeared to be the main target of the goalkeeper's remonstrations, which continued after the final whistle.

Speaking in his post-match news conference, Antonetti hit out at the PSG star, who he suggested had grown frustrated after a poor performance.

"Kylian Mbappe had better behave differently if he wants to be loved," Antonetti said.

"I love this player, he is very, very strong, but he would benefit from having a more humble behaviour.

"In the game he had been non-existent. It happens when he cannot find space."

The statistics from Wednesday's game would not wholly back up Antonetti's claim over Mbappe's display, however.

Mbappe had a game-leading three attempts, level with Neymar and Hakimi, while the 22-year-old also created four chances, more than any other player.

He had 76 touches and came out on top in 63.6 per cent of his 11 duels, while also winning three fouls, another game high, though only Neymar (34) lost possession more times than the France forward (18).

It was, however, the first time Mbappe had failed to score or assist a goal in a Ligue 1 appearance against Metz, in what was his sixth such match.

The former Monaco prodigy had managed one assist against Metz in October 2016, scored a hat-trick the following February, an assist and a goal in September 2017, a goal in March 2018 and a double in April this year.

Erling Haaland is the name on everyone's lips.

Europe's elite are reportedly queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund and Norway sensation.

If Haaland leaves Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit have a replacement in mind.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND OUT, CHIESA IN AT BVB?

Borussia Dortmund see Juventus forward Federico Chiesa as a replacement for in-demand star Erling Haaland, according to Calciomercato.

Haaland is tipped to leave Dortmund at the end of the season amid links with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barcelona, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

Should Haaland depart, Dortmund are eyeing Juve and Italy star Chiesa, who has previously caught the attention of Chelsea and Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Juve, Inter and Milan are interested in Madrid forward Luka Jovic, who has been linked with a January exit.

- A contract extension for Liverpool's Naby Keita is not as close as previously thought, claims Bild. It comes as Liverpool reportedly eye Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham.

Tottenham will make a January move for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato. The Serbia international forward has also been linked with City, Arsenal, Juve and Atletico Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino hailed Achraf Hakimi after his brace preserved the Ligue 1 giants' perfect start to the season on Wednesday.

Hakimi scored a last-gasp winner as Lionel Messi-less PSG maintained their 100 per cent record in a dramatic 2-1 victory at Metz midweek.

PSG full-back Hakimi had opened the scoring in the fifth minute, only for Pochettino's men to be pegged back by Kiki Kouyate's 39th-minute header.

Without superstar Messi due to a knee injury, PSG looked to have run out of ideas, but Dylan Bronn's dismissal for a second yellow card set up a thrilling finish.

Metz head coach Frederic Antonetti was sent off for his protestations and moments later Hakimi scored a 95th-minute winner as PSG made it seven victories from seven league fixtures.

"I am indeed happy with him, he's a great guy, he's a player who's really bringing a lot to us, not just the goals, but also his capacity on the sideline to play both defensively and offensively," Pochettino said during his post-match news conference.

"I am very happy with him, and today, scoring goals, it's been an important reward for the team and for him."

Hakimi – an off-season signing from Serie A champions Inter – has been involved in 13 league goals in 2021 (six goals and seven assists), no defender has done better in the top five European competitions.

This was Hakimi's second brace in the top five European leagues after December 2020, with Inter against Bologna.

Pochettino added: "Can I tell an anecdote on Hakimi? Yesterday [Tuesday], after the training, I asked him: 'How are you?' And he said: 'Very well, very well'. And then he replied: 'And you coach? How are you?'

"I was surprised by the question. 'Because no one ever asks you!'. 'You ask everyone, but no one ever asks you'. And look, today he scored goals. That's the reward for having good intentions."

Pochettino also praised PSG star Neymar, who set up Hakimi's stoppage-time winner away to Metz.

Neymar has been involved in 16 goals in his last 16 starts in Ligue 1 (10 goals and six assists).

"I am very happy with Ney and with his contribution to the team," Pochettino added. "For his attitude and mindset. I am very happy. What I believe is that creative players, players who the whole world hopes they show magic with every touch, those players spend extra energy that other players don't have.

"Therefore it would be unfair to have a player like Ney play every three days hoping that every ball he touches he makes the play of the year. I am very happy with Ney and I think today he did a massive job, like last Sunday. Playing every three day, especially for a players who's got to create constantly, is not easy. Because of that, I am very happy with his performance. Very happy of it."

PSG have won their first seven Ligue 1 games in 2021-22. Only four teams have managed such a performance at this stage previously in the top flight – Lille in 1936-37, Lille in 1949-50, Monaco in 1960-61 and PSG in 2018-19.

Achraf Hakimi scored a last-gasp winner as Paris Saint-Germain maintained their 100 per cent record in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 vitory at Metz.

Hakimi had opened the scoring in the fifth minute, only for PSG to pegged back by Kiki Kouyate's 39th-minute header.

Deprived of Lionel Messi's services because of a knee injury, PSG looked to have run out of ideas, but Dylan Bronn's dismissal for a second yellow card set in motion a thrilling and fractious finish.

Metz coach Frederic Antonetti was sent off for his protestations and moments later Hakimi lashed the winner into the bottom corner in the 95th minute, prompting a furious response from Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja as PSG made it seven wins from seven.

A long evening appeared to be in store for Metz when PSG broke the deadlock in impressive fashion. Mauro Icardi's delicate chip was cleared off the line by Matthieu Udol, who could not repeat the feat to prevent Hakimi's follow-up from crossing the line.

Yet PSG failed to make the most of their first-half dominance. The visitors enjoyed three-quarters of the possession in the opening period but were pegged back from a set-piece as Kouyate met Lamine Gueye's corner with a powerful header that proved too strong for Keylor Navas.

Gueye could have completed the turnaround on the stroke of half-time, but he failed to find a way past Navas when sent through on goal by Ibrahima Niane.

Neymar fizzed an effort past the near post as PSG sought to regain their lead and the Brazil star was to the fore again when Hakimi blazed high across the face of goal from his clever lofted pass.

Kylian Mbappe almost caught Oukidja off his line with a long-range free-kick, and that should have been Metz's last scare. But there was a twist in the tale as captain Bronn received a second caution for time-wasting having kicked the ball away, with Hakimi cutting in and converting from another superb Neymar pass after Antonetti had seen red.

Lionel Messi was like a "tyrant" in training and helped to "disguise everything" wrong at Barcelona in recent years, according to head coach Ronald Koeman.

Barca were left without their talisman in August when Messi departed for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after they were unable to fulfil a new contract that had been agreed with the superstar forward.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 672 goals and assisted 265 more across 778 appearances during a trophy-laden 17-season spell at Camp Nou.

Koeman's side have made a slow start to the post-Messi era, having dropped points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their first four LaLiga games and lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

And with his job reportedly under threat amid speculation Barca are ready to move for Roberto Martinez, Koeman accepts Messi's performances papered over the cracks for too long.

"Lionel Messi disguised everything. He was so good and he won," Koeman told Voetbal International. "Of course he had good players around him, but he made the difference.

"Everyone seems better than they are because of him. This is not a criticism, but an observation. I knew how good he is, but it's still nice to see it up close every day.

"Everything you would like to teach a football player, in recognising situations, in taking the ball under pressure, in ball speed, in finishing; with Messi everything is a 10. Not normal, not normal!

 

"When we did a finishing practice during training, there were sometimes players who started to hit easy balls, a bit of fooling around. But with Messi everything was: boom, boom, boom, boom.

"Never frills, everything functional. And he always wanted to win everything. We always play a rondo before training. If the ball goes around 20 times, then the players in the middle must have an extra turn.

"If that happens three times in a row, the players will form two lines and the two who were in the middle then walk through and get taps on their heads and such.

"I asked Messi if it had happened to him once. 'Yes, once,' he said. In all those years. With him, the older players never lost an exercise against the young. It happened once and Messi was seriously angry about that for a week. Really, a tyrant."

Messi failed in an attempt to force through a move away from Barcelona last year and went on to score 38 goals in 47 games last season – 18 goals more than Barca's next-highest scorer Antoine Griezmann, who has also departed the club.

That includes 30 goals in LaLiga, which was an increase on the 25 managed in the season before Koeman arrived.

Koeman fears Messi's departure could have a major knock-on effect, with the standards of some players – fellow academy graduate Ansu Fati among them – slipping since Messi signed for PSG.

"He delivered 50 goals last year: 30 goals, 20 assists. He was an example for others," Koeman said. "When we won the cup, Messi had won so many trophies, bigger than this one, but you saw that the Copa del Rey really did something for him this time. 

"With those young players in there, he saw the future of the club. All those guys wanted to take a picture with him, I've never seen anything like it. That's how big he was and is. It was a shock to the whole town that he's not here now."

 

Koeman added: "The performance with Messi is perfect. We now sometimes do a pass and kick practices, where you had to shoot the ball into a small goal, around a post. 

"The other day I saw Ansu Fati shoot three metres wide, simply due to lack of concentration. But he wouldn't have done that if Messi had still been there. Then, he got set right, Messi became furious. That never happened to [Messi].

"I have never met anyone except Johan Cruyff with his football intelligence. Alfred [Schreuder, Koeman's assistant] sometimes explained the exercises in English and Messi does not speak that very well. But after a few seconds he knew it."

Despite his job being under threat ahead of Thursday's trip to Cadiz, Koeman stands by his decision to step down as Netherlands boss in August 2020 to take over at Camp Nou.

"I do not regret signing for Barcelona and leaving the Dutch team," he said. "It's in situations like these that I get the best out of myself and my team."

Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 trip to Metz on Wednesday with a knee injury that also renders him doubtful for a reunion with Pep Guardiola next week.

The Argentina international sustained the problem during PSG's late 2-1 win against Lyon on Sunday as they made it six wins from six to begin their new league campaign.

Messi made his home debut in that match but was substituted off with the scores level, meaning he has yet to score in three appearances since joining from Barcelona last month.

PSG will not have Messi in their squad to face Metz at Stade Saint-Symphorien, with that game coming six days before a Champions League trip to Guardiola's Manchester City.

The French giants confirmed the injury blow in an injury update posted on their official website on Tuesday.

"Messi, following the blow received on his left knee, underwent an MRI which confirms the signs of bone contusion," the update read. "A new test will be carried out in 48 hours."

PSG also confirmed that Marco Verratti returned to training on Tuesday, while Sergio Ramos – yet to feature since joining from Real Madrid – is continuing to train individually.

Pochettino's decision to bring on Achraf Hakimi for Messi with his side chasing a goal against Lyon dominated all the talk after last weekend's contest.

Messi was involved in six shots (four attempts, two chances created) – only Kylian Mbappe against Clermont (seven) has managed better in a league game for PSG this term.

Pochettino insisted there were "no issues" with Messi when speaking after the game and has once again defended his decision to bring off the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I understand the situation and accept it as it is," Pochettino said at a news conference on Tuesday previewing the clash with Metz.

"The priority is always the players and their well-being. We thought the best decision was to take him off. But of course, all champions want to be on the pitch all the time."

Asked to elaborate on Messi's injury, Pochettino said: "The club have already communicated that. During the match we saw he was checking his knee after being struck.

"When we saw that we made a decision. We were happy with his performance and I am happy with his commitment. He didn't score but was otherwise very good."

Mbappe had a quiet game against Lyon before assisting Mauro Icardi's late winner as he touched the ball just five times in the opposition box and failed to get a shot on target.

The Frenchman spearheaded a 4-2-3-1 formation that also included Messi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria in attack and Pochettino insists it will take time for system to work.

"We have to create these connections in training over time, not just in matches," Pochettino said. "We used a 4-2-3-1 against Lyon and that's not the same as we've used before.

"That's why I was happy with the team's performance. We were also organised in defence and recovered balls high up the pitch.

"Leo, Neymar and Di Maria know each other well and have already built a connection. Now we have to integrate Kylian into the side and that will take a while."

Mbappe is expected to start against Metz on Wednesday, an opponent he has either scored or assisted against in all five previous Ligue 1 encounters.

PSG also have a great record against Metz, having defeated them in 10 successive league fixtures in a run stretching back to August 2007.

Could a Premier League switch be on the cards for Kingsley Coman?

Coman is reportedly disgruntled at Bayern Munich amid talks over a new contract.

Liverpool and Chelsea are believed to be ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – COMAN WANTED IN ENGLAND

Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea are monitoring Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman, according to The Mirror.

Coman is contracted to Bundesliga champions Bayern until 2023 but the Frenchman has been previously linked with Manchester United.

The 25-year-old is tipped to leave Bayern as clubs reportedly queue up.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are dreaming of signing RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and United midfielder Paul Pogba, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Haaland has been linked with United, Bayern, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Pogba is also reportedly wanted by PSG, Madrid and Juve.

Paulo Dybala is close to signing a new contract at Serie A giants Juventus, reports TyC Sports.

- Tuttomercatoweb claims Roma are trying to prise Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

- Jaime Ojeda claims Bayern are among the teams interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi.

Neymar revelled in Paris Saint-Germain's late victory against Lyon as the Ligue 1 giants preserved their perfect start to the season.

Lionel Messi made his home debut in PSG's 2-1 win over Lyon, who succumbed to Mauro Icardi's 93rd-minute goal on Sunday.

Neymar had restored parity with his 66th-minute penalty, cancelling out Lucas Paqueta's second-half opener, before Icardi came off the bench to secure PSG's sixth league win from six matches.

PSG star Neymar has scored 71 per cent of his Ligue 1 goals in 2021 from the penalty spot – the highest ratio among all players with five-plus goals in the top-flight over the period.

Since his first season with PSG in 2017-18, this is the sixth time the Brazilian won and scored a penalty in the same Ligue 1 game, more than any other player over the period.

"It was a difficult game! We knew we were facing a great team," Neymar said post-game.

"It’s always hard to chase after the score when you're behind, have to run twice as much but everyone deserves congratulations for the sacrifices they made.

"Really happy to come back with a win at a packed Parc des Princes in front of our supporters. I'm really pleased."

PSG have won their first six Ligue 1 games of a season for the third time after 2017-18 and 2018-19. In the 21st century, only Marseille did that (in 2012-13) among all other top-flight sides.

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG have won each of their last six home games in Ligue 1, their longest streak in the top-flight under the same head coach since Thomas Tuchel's first 15 games at Parc des Princes in the league between August 2018 and March 2019.

Mauricio Pochettino insisted there are "no issues" with Lionel Messi after the Paris Saint-Germain superstar's reaction to being substituted during Sunday's 2-1 win over Ligue 1 rivals Lyon.

Messi had a puzzled look on his face as he walked past PSG head coach Pochettino, having been replaced by full-back Achraf Hakimi in the 76th minute of the league clash.

Pochettino and Messi briefly exchanged words before the latter, who was making his home debut at the Parc des Princes following his blockbuster arrival from Barcelona, sat on the bench next to surprised team-mates.

Messi was involved in six shots (four attempts, two chances created) against Lyon and only Kylian Mbappe against Clermont (seven) has managed better in a league game so far this season for PSG.

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi also had 65 touches and made 48 passes with an accuracy of 83.3 per cent.

Pochettino told a post-match media conference: "I think everyone knows that we have many great players, with a 35-man squad. 

"We have to make choices, within the matchday squad and then during the game, keeping in mind what's best for the team and every player. 

"Sometimes the decisions are positive, or not, but that's what managers are there to do on the sidelines, to make decisions. It can please people or not. 

"I asked him how he was and he said he was fine, no issues."

PSG secured victory over Lyon following a dramatic injury-time header from substitute Mauro Icardi from Mbappe's cross after Neymar's penalty had earlier cancelled out Lucas Paqueta's opening goal.

Pochettino's PSG are now five points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 after six wins from six games.

PSG have achieved a flawless start from their first six games for the third time after 2017-18 and 2018-19 – on both those occasions they went on to be crowned champions.

"It's very positive for us," Pochettino said of their start to the Ligue 1 campaign. "After the difficult game [against Club Brugge in the Champions League], this was important for us. Lyon are a very good team that play well. 

"We conceded that goal in the second half. The team needed to show some character. 

"We're in a period where we're trying a lot of things. We have to work on it in training, but it's difficult because we have a game every three days, and the priority is that the players recover. 

"We can only do video sessions. It's not an excuse, we need to improve."

Lionel Messi's home debut for Paris Saint-Germain ended in victory, the Ligue 1 leaders rallying for a 2-1 win over Lyon thanks to Neymar's penalty and a late goal from Mauro Icardi. 

Lyon took the lead nine minutes after the break when Karl Toko Ekambi's teasing cross was met by a first-time finish from Lucas Paqueta. 

PSG got themselves back on level terms with a 66th-minute penalty, Neymar converting from the spot after he was deemed to have been fouled in the box by Malo Gusto. 

Substitute Icardi then popped up in added time at Parc des Princes to secure the points for the home side with a brilliant header from Kylian Mbappe's cross. 

In a fervent atmosphere generated by the PSG supporters – the air thick with smoke from pyrotechnics prior to kick-off – Messi's early touches were roared by the home fans. 

His first real chance came with an angled run into the area when unchecked and he was picked out by Ander Herrera, but Jason Denayer was able to get in a vital block. 

PSG needed a goal-line header from Herrera moments later to keep out a fierce drive from Gusto as Lyon threatened at the other end. 

Messi had his head in his hands just after the half-hour mark when he latched on to a backheel from Neymar inside the box, only for goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to save his clipped effort with his legs. 

The Argentina international then struck the corner of the crossbar with a curling free-kick shortly afterwards as Lopes stood on his line motionless.  

However, it was Lyon who went ahead early in the second half when Paqueta found space between Nuno Mendes and Marquinhos to crisply strike the ball beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

Neymar went down after he tussled with Gusto inside the area and then confidently sent Lopes the wrong way from the resulting penalty kick to level the score. 

Messi saw an angled drive whistle just past the post before being replaced by Achraf Hakimi with 14 minutes left, but it was another sub in Icardi who made the biggest impact, nodding in during the dying moments. 

Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all pursued Erling Haaland in the recent transfer window.

The 21-year-old Norway forward opted to stay with Borussia Dortmund.

But the race will heat up again at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA INTERESTED IN STERLING

Manchester United still want to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and will make a move next European summer, reports the Express.

United made a major transfer splash when they landed Cristiano Ronaldo last month but remain in the Haaland race.

The Red Devils are looking to end their trophy drought and added Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho along with Ronaldo for this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- United are leading the way in the chase to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, according to The Sun. The 18-year-old is being pursued by Chelsea and Manchester City too.

- The Sun reports that United are planning a clear-out at the end of this season, including Donny van de Beek , Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to free up funds.

- Calciomercato reports that Juventus have identified Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic as a transfer target in the January window on loan.

- Ligue 1 club Lens could make a bid for Liverpool's Belgium international forward Divock Origi , claims Fichajes.

- Crystal Palace are interested in signing US international forward Daryl Dike from Orlando City, reports The Sun. Dike is set to command a £18m fee.

- Transfer expert Ekrem Konur claims that Flamengo have tabled an offer to sign Brazilian veteran Dani Alves.

French football authorities will demand answers from Lens after home fans invaded the pitch and confronted rival supporters at half-time in their Ligue 1 derby against Lille. 

Lens general manager Arnaud Pouille is certain the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) will begin disciplinary proceedings against his club, following the ugly scenes at their Stade Bollaert-Delelis home. 

Lille may also be summoned as league chiefs unpick the unsavoury scenes that saw fans from each club contribute to a volatile atmosphere. 

Tension spilled over at the interval as scores of Lens supporters raced across the pitch towards those who had travelled to support Lille. 

Pouille said the north-east derby trouble was bad news for the clubs because it would be "the image of the region that is affected". 

"I have a clear idea of what happened," he said, according to L'Equipe. "But I don't want to influence anyone by speaking out. It is not under our authority. 

"There were a few actions that ignited the powder and a reaction that is damaging. But in these cases, speaking out is complicated because whatever you say, you make it feel like you want to influence. 

"We condemn any act of violence. There are proceedings that are ongoing. At the level of the LFP, at the level of justice, there will be complaints filed by the club, and by the opposing club also from what I understood." 

Lille announced on Twitter at half-time that the game was under threat, stating: "Following a pitch invasion from the home end of the stadium, an emergency meeting is taking place to decide whether the match will be continued or abandoned." 

Pouille said he had spoken to Lille president Olivier Letang at half-time, as the trouble occurred. 

The recent abandonment of the match between Nice and Marseille due to supporter violence was followed by Nice receiving a two-point penalty, one of which was suspended. 

According to Pouille, the trouble at Saturday's match could not be compared to the mayhem in that fixture. 

"It is not at all the same circumstances," Pouille said. "No players in the [Lens-Lille] game were affected, the main events took place at half-time. 

"Yes, there will certainly be a summons from the disciplinary committee, we will discuss with them at that time." 

Lens went on to win 1-0 against last season's champions, who have made a rocky start to their title defence. 

Lille head coach Jocelyn Gourvennec said he had been unaware of the precise circumstances behind the trouble. The game was held up, with 40 minutes between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. 

"Half-time incidents? We had already returned to the locker room. I don't really know what happened," Gourvennec said. "We were informed by the delegates and Mr Millot [referee Benoit Millot] who spoke to the coaches and captains. 

"It was just a bit long, it lengthened the half-time, we had to do a warm-up again, it was not ideal. I do not know more. I hope there were no injuries."

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