Although Cristiano Ronaldo's affection for Manchester United is without doubt, his return to Old Trafford has not gone as he might have planned.

Following Erik ten Hag's arrival, Ronaldo's reported concern over United's apparent lack of transfer activity has made other clubs explore possibilities to sign him.

Reports suggest that a couple of clubs have already made their interest indirectly known.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA, ROMA CIRCLING FOR RONALDO

Chelsea and Roma have expressed their interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, according to reports.

The Athletic has reported Chelsea, with Todd Boehly installing himself as interim sporting director after his consortium's takeover of the club, met with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the possibility of his transfer.

Ronaldo has a year left on his contract, and the possibility of him leaving after only one season has grown with Erik ten Hag's arrival.

Meanwhile, Retesport are reporting the Giallorossi are keen to sign the 37-year-old, with the Friedkin group looking to reunite him with former boss Jose Mourinho and build on the team's Conference League triumph.

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– In the background, United are increasingly confident they will be able to land Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong for a fee of £69million (€80.2m), Goal reports.

– Also, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has made contact with Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, according to the Telegraph.

– Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks over a deal for Neymar amid Chelsea's interest, per AS.

– Leeds United are preparing a £26million (€30.2m) bid for Club Brugge's Charles de Ketelaere, the Daily Mail reports.

Milan will start their Serie A title defence at home to Udinese, while Inter's attempts to reclaim the Scudetto will begin at newly promoted Lecce.

Stefano Pioli's side edged out Inter for the championship in the 2021-22 campaign, their first Scudetto in 11 years, and will again face stern competition from Juventus, Napoli and Simone Inzaghi's side next season.

Milan visit Atalanta on the second matchday, with the first Derby di Milano between Pioli's side and Inter coming on September 4, when Lazio host Napoli.

Dusan Vlahovic will return to Fiorentina with Juventus on the same weekend, while Milan host Napoli and Massimiliano Allegri's side in the space of two weeks between matchday seven and nine.

The first Derby di Roma will see Jose Mourinho's side host Lazio on matchday 13, with the return meeting scheduled for matchday 27.

Inter will meet Milan for their second clash in week 21, while Serie A will take a break between November 13 and January 4, owing to the World Cup in Qatar.

The weekend of May 7 could be influential in the title race, with Atalanta hosting Juventus, Lazio visiting Milan, Inter travelling to Roma and Napoli playing at home to Fiorentina.

Milan lifted the Scudetto on the final matchday in 2022 and should it go all the way again, Pioli's men host Hellas Verona, while Inter make the trip to Torino and Juventus are away at Udinese.

Former Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov has announced his retirement after leaving Inter.

Kolarov's contract at San Siro officially expires at the end of June, bringing an end to his two-season stay with the Italian giants.

The 36-year-old made just 15 appearances for Inter in all competitions, seven of those being starts, after joining from Serie A rivals Roma in September 2020.

He previously enjoyed a spell with Lazio in the Italian top flight prior to joining City in 2010 for a seven-year stint.

The 94-cap Serbia international won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two EFL Cups with City.

In a statement released to ANSA on Sunday announcing his retirement, left-back Kolarov said: "I always knew that sooner or later this moment will come.

"Although I am sorry that I am closing one chapter of my life, I am grateful that I managed to achieve what has always been my dream.

"I thank all the people who followed me in this first part of my career."

"First of all, to every team-mate in the clubs in which I played as well as in the football team of Serbia, my homeland, which I have always represented with great pride. 

"I thank the clubs, presidents, managers, coaches, technical staff, doctors, economists, physios and all those who helped in my career, and worked hard from the background."

Kolarov, who started his career with Serbian sides Cukaricki and OFK Beograd, intends to remain in football by taking up a new role.

"I am coming to the end of this phase in my life, feeling great satisfaction with what I have achieved," he said.

"Now I am already focused on my 'other' life in the world of football. I will soon start training as a sporting director and scout at the national football centre of the Italian Football Federation in Coverciano."

Francesco Totti is surprised that Romelu Lukaku could return to Inter but thinks he "wanted to go back to where he was good."

Having only left Inter to join Chelsea in a reported £97.5million deal last August, Lukaku is reportedly keen to move back to the club where he won the Serie A title last year.

Inter's managing director Alessandro Antonello said earlier this week that the forward holds a "great desire" to return after scoring just eight Premier League goals during an underwhelming 2021-22 season at Stamford Bridge.

While Italy great Totti expected Lukaku to move elsewhere, he says the potential return of a man who scored 30 goals in his final season with Inter would be a huge boost for the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't have expected it," Totti told Sky Sports Italia. "I thought he was going to another club, but he wanted to go back to where he was good, he won [Serie A] and he wants to keep winning. 

"In Italy he moves a lot, on a physical level it's embarrassing!"

With Inter also reportedly targeting former Juventus man Paulo Dybala and hoping to keep hold of Lautaro Martinez, Totti said that level of depth would strike fear into their opponents.

"No one knows with which tandem they will play, Simone Inzaghi will be happy." the Roma legend said.

Totti welcomed the arrival of Nemanja Matic at Roma as Jose Mourinho strives to build on their Europa Conference League triumph.

"If Mourinho made this choice it means that he is flexible for the team. We are talking about a great player who has shown his worth in Europe," he said.

"To come to Rome you need the right mentality and he has always shown that he has it."

Lille's Zeki Celik and Sassuolo's Davide Frattesi i have also been linked with the Eternal City giants and Totti says the Giallorossi need more strength in depth in order to push for a Champions League spot. 

"To obtain results you always need great players. If these names are available to Mourinho, it will be a more competitive Roma, who wants to aim above all for a place in the Champions League," he added.

"Then he will have to buy other players to get what we have won in the past. As I've always said, you need champions to win."

Nicolo Zaniolo has apologised for Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar as he pledged to become a key part of Roberto Mancini's next Azzurri side.

Italy will miss a second successive World Cup this year after falling to a stunning play-off reverse to North Macedonia in March, and their misery was compounded this month when they were beaten 3-0 by Argentina at Wembley in the Finalissima.

They also won just one of their first four Nations League games, losing 5-2 to Germany last time out.

Zaniolo was absent as Mancini's men beat England on penalties to win the rearranged Euro 2020 tournament last July, and made just one appearance throughout Italy's unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign.

The creative midfielder is desperate to become a key part of Mancini's next side, and hailed the job the former Manchester City boss has done with the national team.

"I'm sorry, because we have to wait another four years," he told Sportweek. "But let's go on. I'm used to chasing. There will be other goals in between.

"The first time Mancini called me I was very young... He came there to talk to me, to make me feel immediately at ease. Great person, professional. I will do everything to convince Mancini."

Moving forward, Italy will be without defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini, who won his 117th and final international cap in the Argentina defeat – matching Daniele De Rossi as his nations' fourth-most capped player.

And Zaniolo thinks the former Juventus man will be difficult to replace.

"[Chiellini] has always been the most difficult to overcome," he said. "He is physically strong and off the pitch, he is an exceptional person."

At club level, Zaniolo enjoyed a successful campaign under Jose Mourinho at Roma, making 30 appearances in all competitions as the Giallorossi won the Europa Conference League, and scored the only goal of last month's final win over Feyenoord.

The 22-year-old says he has learnt a lot from playing under Mourinho.

"He's a winner," he said. "He taught me how to get into position in the defensive phase, where we had to improve and I still have to do it. 

"He helped me to manage certain situations, in the past I would have reacted badly or worse due to exclusion from games that were very significant for me. 

"He taught me to bite my tongue, [to be] mute and work more in the field."

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly assessing his options for next season as he does not feel he fits in the aggressive press-from-the-front system expected to be implemented by incoming manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old showed he is still more than capable of contributing at the highest level in 2021-22, scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances and six in seven in the Champions League.

With one year remaining on his contract, the Portugal icon would demand a fee, but there are reportedly some familiar faces interested in acquiring his services.

TOP STORY – RONALDO SHUNS TEN HAG, WANTS OUT OF OLD TRAFFORD

Jose Mourinho is said to be enquiring about the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to Roma, with the Italian club hoping the legendary coach can move the needle and convince him to return to Serie A, according to La Repubblica.

Mourinho will reportedly have to compete with the nostalgia factor as Sporting CP have also thrown their hat in the ring, with the thought Ronaldo may want to finish his career where it began at the Primeira Liga club he called home before he was first picked up by United in 2003.

If the five-time Ballon d'Or winner truly decides his time with United is up, as the report from the Italian outlet claims, there will undoubtedly be a bevy of suitors willing to bring in one of the game's most marketable superstars.

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Arsenal are said to be "cautiously optimistic" of signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, although Sky Sports is reporting the club are hoping to pay closer to £30million, rather than the £50m asking price.

– According to The Athletic, Arsenal are also targeting Leeds United winger Raphinha and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.

– ESPN is reporting Chelsea are investigating whether it is possible to replace Romelu Lukaku with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

United are expecting Barcelona to lower their asking price for Frenkie de Jong due to their financial problems, according to the Guardian.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Everton view Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis as a potential replacement for Richarlison if he leaves during this transfer window.

Jose Mourinho will return to Camp Nou in August to face Barcelona with his Roma side in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

The Gamper acts as the curtain-raiser for Barcelona's season, with the Blaugrana taking on Juventus in last year's edition, which was the first to involve both the men's and women's teams.

Barcelona announced on Wednesday that Roma are the chosen opposition for this year's version, with the games set to take place on August 6.

Mourinho will head back to the Camp Nou, where he was Louis van Gaal's assistant for three seasons until 2000, on the back of lifting the Europa Conference League with Roma.

The Portuguese coach is a largely unpopular figure among Blaugrana supporters after managing fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Mourinho guided Madrid to a LaLiga title, Copa del Rey crown and the Supercopa de Espana in his three seasons with Los Blancos.

It will not be the first appearance for Roma in the Gamper either, after the Serie A side were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the 2015 edition.

Nemanja Matic has reunited with Jose Mourinho at Roma following his departure from Manchester United, signing on a free transfer with the Serie A side. 

The 33-year-old has penned a one-year deal in the Italian capital, joining former United team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan and ex-Chelsea colleague Tammy Abraham at the Stadio Olimpico. 

The Serbia international confirmed last season that it would be his last at Old Trafford, having spent five years in Manchester, and has been signed by Mourinho for the third time in his career. 

"I am pleased and honoured to be joining this club and I cannot wait to start the new season with my team-mates," Matic said.

"Roma is a big club, with amazing fans and a coach, Jose Mourinho, who is well known to everyone – making the decision to come here very straightforward.

"I hope that by working together we are able to achieve some great things."

In 2014, following three years in Portugal, Matic re-signed for Chelsea during Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge and, three years later, followed the Portuguese boss to United and was a regular fixture in the first team throughout the managerial spells of Louis van Gaal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

There has not been a lot of movement among Inter's defensive stocks in recent years, with Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni providing continuity in front of Samir Handanovic.

Skriniar appears set to leave this off-season, however, after five years at the club.

The Nerazzurri are reportedly well-prepared in what looks set to be an active transfer window for them.

 

TOP STORY – INTER PLAN FOR SKRINIAR EXIT AS PSG MOVE NEARS

Inter have identified who they would want to replace Skriniar in the event he departs for PSG, according to Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport.

Gleison Bremer and Nikola Milenkovic are viewed as possible replacements for the 27-year-old Slovakia international, as his move to Ligue 1 appears increasingly likely.

Skriniar's priority is to remain with Inter, where he has been since 2017 after signing from Sampdoria, but would not stand against a move to PSG if it helped Inter financially.

Bremer has reportedly already agreed personal terms with the Nerazzurri, while Milenkovic's agent met with club representatives this week.

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Roma and Lazio are both keen to sign Napoli forward Dries Mertens, whose contract expires this off-season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Denzel Dumfries is open to leaving Inter in order to join Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, the Daily Mail reports.

– Meanwhile, the Nerazzurri are set to sign Paulo Dybala on a three-year deal with his contract at Juventus expiring, per Goal.

– Bild claims that Jonjoe Kenny has committed to joining Hertha Berlin on a free transfer from Everton.

Brazil great Cafu has backed Darwin Nunez to succeed should he join Liverpool, given the Reds' recent purchasing history and coaching ability of Jurgen Klopp.

Sadio Mane has been subject of repeated interest from Bayern Munich, with the Bundesliga champions attempting to secure the services of the Senegal international.

Julian Nagelsmann's side are reported to have had a second bid for the Liverpool forward rejected earlier this week, but Bayern are expected to persist with their advances.

Mane's exit would open the door for Liverpool to sign Nunez, who has been heavily linked with a big-money move to Anfield that could be worth up to €100million (£85m).

Nunez has scored 48 goals in 85 games for Benfica in all competitions and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.

The 22-year-old managed 34 goals in 41 games in all competitions last campaign, including six Champions League strikes against Barcelona, Bayern, Ajax and Liverpool.

After the success of signings such as Mohamed Salah, Mane and Alisson, along with more recent transfers such as Thiago and Luis Diaz, Cafu believes Liverpool rarely get things wrong in the transfer market.

"Look, every time Liverpool acquires a player, it's a spot-on purchase," Cafu told Stats Perform at a media day ahead of his participation in Sunday's Soccer Aid charity match.

"Klopp is a very, very smart coach, very good, he's been doing well at Liverpool for many years, if he wants to get this player it's because Liverpool really wants to bet a lot on him."

Cafu also discussed the success of his former side Roma, who lifted their first major European trophy with Europa Conference League success under Jose Mourinho this term.

That was the Giallorossi's first title in any competition since the Coppa Italia in 2008 and Cafu, who won the Scudetto with Roma in 2001, expressed his delight to see his former team triumphing.

"Yes, it's difficult but not impossible [winning trophies in Rome]. We won, we celebrated, we've been celebrating until today," he added. 

"Congratulations to Mourinho and the whole team, which has a great season this year, getting to win the Conference League, and let's hope they can continue this way.

"It's a place where, when they win, they celebrate for a long time. I hope they're very happy of this season."

However, Cafu refused to make comparisons between Mourinho's winning team and the Roma side he played in.

"It's not that we were stronger, you just can't compare," he continued. "It was a team that won the Scudetto, we won a lot of great things, this team won as well, but you can't compare a winning team."

Liverpool's Champions League final loss seemingly signalled the end for Sadio Mane at Anfield.

Luis Diaz's January transfer, along with fresh links for Raphinha to Anfield, all lead to Mane's eventual departure. 

However, the Reds are not willing to let him go for the wrong price, in what is becoming a tricky leverage play.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL REJECT BAYERN BID FOR MANE

Liverpool have rejected Bayern Munich's opening €29.1million (£25m) bid for  Sadio Mane, according to the Times.

The offer was reportedly submitted at the end of last week and the sum is inclusive of add-ons, which depend on Bayern's performances next season, such as winning the Champions League.

Liverpool officials did not consider the offer, which is perceived a gross undervaluing of the 30-year-old attacker.

Although Bayern want to move quickly on securing the Senegal international, Liverpool have yet to relay a price at which they would be willing to sell. 

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– Meanwhile, the Reds will not look to further pursue Barcelona midfielder Gavi, according to Sport.

– Nemanja Matic will join Roma once his contract at Manchester United expires at the end of the month, per Sky Sports.

– Benfica are hoping to reach an agreement with PSV over Mario Gotze, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Talks are in progress for Inter's Stefano Sensi to join newly promoted Monza on a €15m permanent deal, per Nicolo Schira.

Following their Champions League final loss, Liverpool's inevitable need for squad rejuvenation has been accelerated.

Luis Diaz's January transfer provided a fresh element to Liverpool's play under Jurgen Klopp, while Sadio Mane's departure looms. 

Meanwhile, a replacement for Mane at Anfield has reportedly emerged.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL JOIN RACE FOR RAPHINHA

With Sadio Mane's departure imminent, Liverpool are ramping up their interest in Leeds United winger Raphinha , according to the Mirror.

The Brazil international has long been linked with Barcelona, but their much-publicised financial troubles require them to sell assets first.

Takumi Minamino  could be used as part of a package to sign the 25-year-old, who contributed 11 and three assists as Leeds secured Premier League safety.

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch is reportedly a fan of the Japan international, leaving Liverpool with potential leverage over a deal. 

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Arsenal are willing to offer Manchester City striker  Gabriel Jesus a weekly wage of £190,000 to secure his transfer, according to the Sun.

Manchester United are keen to secure the signature of Christian Eriksen on a free transfer with his short-term deal at Brentford expiring, per the Mirror.

Roma boss Jose Mourinho has emerged as an alternative to Zinedine Zidane in replacing Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain , the Daily Mail reports.

– Chelsea are in the race to sign Ousmane Dembele , who is available on a free transfer this off-season, per Talksport.

Aston Villa have announced the permanent signing of goalkeeper Robin Olsen from Roma for an undisclosed fee.

Olsen spent the second half of the 2021-22 season on loan at Villa Park, making just one appearance, the 3-2 defeat on the final day at Manchester City.

The Sweden international joined Roma from FC Copenhagen in 2018 as the replacement for Alisson, who left for Liverpool, though he was unable to properly establish himself at the Giallorossi, also being loaned out to Cagliari, Everton and Sheffield United.

He becomes the latest signing for Steven Gerrard's Villa, who have also agreed deals to add Boubacar Kamara from Marseille and Diego Carlos from Sevilla in recent weeks, as well as making Philippe Coutinho's loan move from Barcelona permanent.

Jose Mourinho declared a year in Rome has changed him as a man, saying: "I have become a much less egocentric person."

The Roma head coach delivered a trophy in his first season when the Giallorossi beat Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final on May 25.

Mourinho will turn 60 next January and says his priorities are shifting. The self-declared 'Special One' retains a desire to be successful, but he claims he no longer worries about climbing the coaching ladder, which was once an obsession.

Having made his name as a Champions League winner with Porto, the Portuguese bossed Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham before ending up at Roma.

Speaking on Friday at the Faculty of Human Kinetics, a part of Lisbon University, Mourinho told Portuguese reporters his debut season with Roma gave him a fresh perspective.

He made a point, when Roma triumphed 1-0 in the Tirana final, of holding up five fingers to signal his five European trophy successes: Porto's UEFA Cup and Champions League, Inter's Champions League, Manchester United's Europa League and Roma's cherished success.

Mourinho said he marked the occasion in such a way because he wanted to serve a reminder of his achievements down the years.

"The way I celebrated has only one reason: I'm not what I was, I'm not the young man worried about his ascent, growth and having to prove on a daily basis what he was," he said.

"I have become a much less egocentric person, who lives more for others than for himself and who is in a club that has no history of winning, with incredibly passionate fans."

He said the European victory for Roma "was our Champions League".

"Possibly my emotion at the end of the game was not only their joy, but also my taking a deep breath, because for two months I had been hearing every day, 'Please bring the cup, please bring the cup'," Mourinho said, quoted widely in the Portuguese media.

"I was happy as ever because the club is huge. But winning there is a sad story. Great players and coaches passed through Roma, but winning there became culturally difficult."

Mourinho spoke of how mentor figure Manuel Sergio, a former visiting professor in Lisbon, helped to shape his understanding of coaching.

"In 20 years of my career, Professor Manuel Sergio was always by my side and on the other end of the phone," Mourinho said. "He once told me that I did not coach football players and that doesn't exist, but that I used to train young people and men who play football.

"It may seem trivial, but it's great. This made me become a better person and a better coach. They'll have to put up with me for a few more years."

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

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– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

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