Kylian Mbappe has been urged to consider leaving Paris Saint-Germain by Nicolas Anelka if he wants to have the same global impact as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The 22-year-old has spent the past four seasons in the French capital but is out of contract in 2022 and has been strongly linked with Real Madrid, while Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested.

Former Monaco forward Mbappe raised further questions over his future when revealing last month he is unsure whether the Parc des Princes is the best place for him.

Those comments were made on the back of a disappointing 2020-21 campaign for PSG in which they failed to defend their Ligue 1 title and exited the Champions League in the semi-finals, though they did win the Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions.

On an individual level, Mbappe was as prolific as ever with 42 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions last time out, averaging one every 86 minutes for the French giants.

In Europe's top five leagues, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (48) scored more goals in all competitions than Mbappe in 2020-21.

 

But former France international Anelka, who started his career with PSG before joining Arsenal in 1997, believes it is time for his compatriot to seek a new challenge elsewhere if he is to fulfil his career ambitions.

Writing a letter to Mbappe on The Athletic, Anelka said: "You have done so well since coming through at Monaco and taking it to a new level at Paris Saint-Germain. 

"You play at a team that has evolved into a big club capable of winning the Champions League. It seems you will stay for another year, then there is a big choice to make. 

"It is a bit more complicated for you than it was for me. You have at least two choices – stay in Paris or move to Real Madrid. Both of them can win the Champions League these days. When I was at PSG, that wasn't the case.

"That choice depends on what you want to achieve in football. If you want the biggest accolades, you will have to move from PSG at some point. 

"Whatever you do in Paris will be good, but somebody will always say, 'Well, you did great for PSG but it was only in France. The best leagues are in England and Spain, so you didn't compete with the best players in the best league.

"You will have to decide. If you want to win the Ballon d'Or, which is what you should be looking at to echo Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, you will have to compete with the best. 

"You can't say you compete with the best all the time when you are at PSG. The French league is not easy, don't get me wrong, but I think the toughest league is in England. 

"So, if you want to be one of the best, then do what you do in Paris but with Chelsea or United or Arsenal or Manchester City or Liverpool. Or go to Spain to Madrid or Barcelona. Or maybe Italy. Then we can speak about a more global impact."

 

Mbappe endured an underwhelming Euro 2020 campaign in which he failed to find the net in France's four matches before their shock last-16 exit at the hands of Switzerland, a game in which he missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

He failed to score in the tournament despite taking 14 shots. At the point of France's tournament exit, only Cristiano Ronaldo (five goals from 15 shots) and Alvaro Morata (two goals from 15 shots) had taken more goal attempts.

It is the first time France failed to make it to at least the quarter-finals of a major competition since 2010 but Anelka, who won the European Championship with Les Blues in 2000, does not think the blame should lie with the attacking players.

"Football is a magnificent sport that remains unpredictable," he said. "Even if France had the best team on paper with a team capable of winning again, something was missing in the collective. 

"They had difficulties in defence. This France team was able to score goals at any time but was also able to concede at any time so that's what stopped them from going further in this tournament.

"The World Cup in Qatar is next year so there will be matches for France to try to make the tactical and collective repairs to compete, to win again. 

"France won the World Cup three years ago but the page has turned. This European Championship is another page that has to turn. Some new players might be integrated and this is a new chapter. 

"Many teams want to be world champions but there are not many examples of a country winning the World Cup twice in a row. It is easy to say, not easy to do."

Kylian Mbappe's future continues to dominate headlines.

Mbappe is wanted by Real Madrid as Paris Saint-Germain try to retain the France international.

However, Liverpool are also believed to be circling…

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL POISED TO POUNCE

Liverpool are the leading contenders to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to RMC.

Mbappe is out of contract at the end of 2021-22 and he has been tipped to join LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

PSG remain determined to re-sign Mbappe but should the France international not renew in Paris, Liverpool are ready to pounce.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport claims Barcelona will not be afforded an increased salary cap to re-sign superstar Lionel Messi, who is out of contract at Camp Nou and linked with PSG and Manchester City. Barca must reduce their wage bill in order to keep the captain. It comes as Goal says Barca have offered to release Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti from their contracts to free up space in the club's budget. Pjanic has been linked to Juventus, Inter, MilanTottenham and Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes is pushing to extend the superstar's Juve deal until 2023, per Gazzetta dello Sport. The 36-year-old, who is contracted until 2022, has been linked with United and PSG.

United are progressing in their pursuit to sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, according to Fabrizio Romano. A long-term target of United, the 18-year-old France international – who will become a free agent after 2021-22 – has also been linked with PSG, Madrid, Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

- Calciomercato reports Liverpool have enquired about Inter and Italy star Nicolo Barella. Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are eyeing a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, who joined PSG.

- Juve are due to meet with Sassuolo to discuss a move for Manuel Locatelli, says Calciomercato. The Italy international is also reportedly wanted by Arsenal among others.

Former Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici said the Serie A champions have never been close to re-signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba.

Pogba is entering the final year of his United contract and the France international's future remains uncertain amid links with Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 28-year-old, who left United for Juve in 2012 before returning to Old Trafford in 2016, has long been linked with the Bianconeri but Paratici played down the speculation.

"Paul Pogba back to Juventus? I think it is very difficult," Paratici, who is now managing director of football at Tottenham, told Sky Sport.

"There has never been a moment in which we have been close to taking him back."

Pogba was a standout performer at Euro 2020 before France's shock exit at the hands of Switzerland in the last 16.

He scored one and set up another in Les Bleus' four matches at the tournament, while also creating eight chances for his team-mates.

Pogba completed nine dribbles – a tally bettered by only eight others, some of whom have played a game more – while his 51 passes into the final third is the sixth-most of any player.

In 2020-21, Pogba scored three goals and supplied three assists as United finished second in the Premier League.

Across all competitions, Pogba netted six goals for United – who also reached the Europa League final but lost to Villarreal.

Tottenham have a new head coach and managing director of football, but they insist they are not looking to make a break with the club's most high-profile player – Harry Kane.

Rumours of Kane's impending exit have swirled for months, with Spurs reportedly rejecting a £100million bid from Premier League champions Manchester City last month as the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain also circle.

But former Juventus executive Fabio Paratici – now managing director of football at Tottenham – heaped praise on Kane, saying Spurs want the England captain to remain as Nuno Espirito Santo takes over in London.

"Keeping him is not just my goal, it's our goal as a club," Paratici told Sky Sports. 

"I can't wait to watch him play live, I've been really lucky in the past years because I've watched a lot of top players and strikers, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, and many more which now I forgot about.

"Right now, he's one of the best strikers in the world. He's a complete player, really special. His physique is that of a real number nine, a true poacher, but he also has an incredibly refined technique. ...

"He's a team player, but he's a finisher at the same time, so really I believe he is among the top three in the world."

All of those attributes of course make Kane among the most sought-after players in the transfer market as well. 

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy made clear in an interview posted to the team's official website last month that he believes his duty is to "protect the club," which he claims were hit harder than any other Premier League club in terms of lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Statements like that and Kane's reported desire to leave on the heels of a seventh-placed Premier League finish have made the 27-year-old a sought-after commodity even though three years remain on his deal. 

Kane was asked about his situation during a media conference at Euro 2020 and said his entire focus was on the tournament. 

Along those lines, Paratici confirmed he has not spoken with Kane since being appointed at Tottenham last month. 

"I haven't heard from him yet because I don't want to bother the players who are busy at the Euros, it doesn't seem fair to me," he said. "They're focused on their own goals with their national teams."

Atalanta defender Robin Gosens is unaware of any interest from Barcelona but suggested he is open to discussing a move now that Germany's Euro 2020 campaign is over.

The left wing-back produced one of the standout performances of the tournament with a goal and an assist in Germany's 4-2 victory over Portugal in the group stage.

He started all four of his nation's matches, including 87 minutes of the 2-0 loss to England that brought an end to their campaign at the last-16 stage.

Only Joakim Maehle, Thomas Meunier and Luke Shaw (all three) have played a direct part in more goals among defenders than Gosens so far at Euro 2020.

The two big chances created by the 26-year-old, meanwhile, is behind only Jordi Alba and Shaw (both four), which includes that assist for Kai Havertz's goal against Portugal.

 

Gosens only made his senior debut for Germany last September but soon nailed down a regular starting spot after starring for Atalanta in the 2020-21 campaign.

With 11 goals and six assists, Gosens topped the Serie A charts for direct goal involvements among defenders, with Achraf Hakimi two back on a combined 15 goals and assists.

That form has led to rumours that the former Vitesse man is a target for Barcelona as a long-term replacement for ageing full-back Jordi Alba.

And while Gosens has yet to discuss his future with his agent, he has not ruled out a move away from Atlanta during the current transfer window.

"We'll have a look now. During the European Championship I told my dad [and agent] that he should just leave me alone with the topic," Gosens told Sport1.

"Now I'm back home again, I'll talk to him and see if something is on the program.

"I'm not lying when I say that I don't know anything about it at the moment. My entire focus was on the Euros. When something happens, let's see."

Asked if it would be special to play alongside Lionel Messi should the Barcelona forward sign a new deal, Gosens said: "That's the way it is. You can definitely record it that way."

Gosens joined Atalanta from Heracles in June 2017 and has another two years to run on his existing contract.

Donny van de Beek has been underwhelming since his £35million (€40m) move to Manchester United from Ajax.

The Netherlands international only scored once in 19 league appearances in 2020-21.

He only managed four Premier League starts and, if reports are to be believed, could be used as a pawn in United's transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – REAL WANTS DONNY IN VARANE DEAL

Real Madrid want  United flop Donny van de Beek as part of a deal for Raphael Varane, claim The Sun.

The Red Devils have chased the French defender this off-season and Los Blancos are open to a switch which could include midfielder Van de Beek joining Madrid on a season-long loan.

Madrid have reportedly asked for €50m ($42.9m) for Varane, after the two clubs held initial talks. The 28-year-old has 12 months left on his current deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez according to La Razon. The 26-year-old Spain international is understood to be keen on a Premier League move.

- The Reds have also looked into signing Lille's Renato Sanches, reports Onze Mondial. The midfielder is said to have admirers at Arsenal, too.

- The Star reports Arsenal are considering a move for West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, if they fail to land Sheffield United's Aaron Ramsdale .

- Corriere dello Sport claim Milan are keen on Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who they believe is more attainable than reported target James Rodriguez.

- After scoring four goals at Euro 2020, Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick has drawn interest from Milan, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Barcelona youngster Francisco Trincao has joined Premier League side Wolves on loan for the duration of the 2021-22 campaign.

Wolves have the option to sign the Portugal international permanently at the end of the season for a reported fee of £25million (€29.12m).

Trincao arrived at Barcelona from Braga 12 months ago in a €31m deal and made 42 appearances for the Catalan giants in his first season at Camp Nou.

He created six big chances in 28 LaLiga appearances – an average of 0.79 per 90 minutes, which was bettered only by Lionel Messi (0.83) and Phillippe Coutinho (0.96).

 

The 21-year-old scored three goals in all competitions and earned the first of his six caps for Portugal last September, though he was not included in their Euro 2020 squad. ​

Wolves confirmed the capture on their website on Sunday, with Trincao becoming their second close-season signing following the arrival of defender Yerson Mosquera.

Trincao previously scored or assisted 22 goals in his 48 games for Braga and has already played alongside as many as six of his new Wolves team-mates for Portugal.

Donny van de Beek has been underwhelming since his £35million (€40m) move to Manchester United from Ajax.

The Netherlands international only scored once in 19 league appearances in 2020-21.

He only managed four Premier League starts and, if reports are to be believed, could be used as a pawn in United's transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – REAL WANTS DONNY IN VARANE DEAL

Real Madrid want  United flop Donny van de Beek as part of a deal for Raphael Varane, claim The Sun.

The Red Devils have chased the French defender this off-season and Los Blancos are open to a switch which could include midfielder Van de Beek joining Madrid on a season-long loan.

Madrid have reportedly asked for €50m ($42.9m) for Varane, after the two clubs held initial talks. The 28-year-old has 12 months left on his current deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez according to La Razon. The 26-year-old Spain international is understood to be keen on a Premier League move.

- The Reds have also looked into signing Lille's Renato Sanches, reports Onze Mondial. The midfielder is said to have admirers at Arsenal, too.

- The Star reports Arsenal are considering a move for West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, if they fail to land Sheffield United's Aaron Ramsdale .

- Corriere dello Sport claim Milan are keen on Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who they believe is more attainable than reported target James Rodriguez.

- After scoring four goals at Euro 2020, Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick has drawn interest from Milan, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson believes Manchester United will be completely convinced Jadon Sancho is poised to become one of football's biggest stars.

United and Borussia Dortmund have agreed a deal in principle for the transfer of Sancho, which is worth around £73million and expected to be completed after his involvement in Euro 2020.

Winger Sancho is reportedly poised to make his first start in the competition when England do battle against Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.

Leaked team news ahead of the quarter-final tie suggests Bukayo Saka is struggling through injury and that Sancho will get a chance to start on the right wing, with Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling completing the trio who will provide support to lone striker Harry Kane.

 

Sancho has featured for just six minutes in the tournament so far, despite scoring 50 goals and providing 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for Dortmund.

He became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three straight seasons in Europe's top-five leagues since former United star David Beckham, who achieved the feat between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

Indeed, only Thomas Muller (48) and Lionel Messi (43) have managed to provide more assists at that league level since the start of the 2018-19 campaign than Sancho (41).

Ex-Manchester City boss Eriksson is sure United would not have made such a big move in a transfer market that is seeing club finances impacted by the coronavirus pandemic without having certainty.

"He's 21 years old and he should have a great future," Eirksson told Stats Perform.

"The scouts and the coaches of Manchester United, they have will have looked at that 100 times. 

"They are sure that the this player will be the future, important in the future otherwise they wouldn't pay all that money. 

"So when he's coming back to England then there no doubts about it. 

"I don't see many games from German league but what I can understand is that he's a great talent and it is interesting to see him.

"There you have it with how important the Premier League is. They can take all the best players in the world and that is good for England."

 

Sterling, meanwhile, has scored in 13 matches for England and whenever he has done so the Three Lions have gone on to achieve victory.

A disappointing conclusion to his season individually for City meant many doubters were questioning his starting place for the Euros but he has responded emphatically with three goals.

Eriksson believes Sterling is primed to star further in the latter stages now that he has his confidence back.

"He is that kind of player who can create by himself, even when he is one against one with his speed and so on," added Eriksson. 

"But also, which is very important in these knockout games – so important – he has the confidence now. 

"He is sure he can create against any team – against anyone. So that means a lot when you go into this game against Ukraine. 

"And that's why I said also about Harry Kane – he was successful during [just] some minutes in the last game, but that was enough, because he scored. 

"Sterling, yes, he thinks he's the best in the world today. And maybe he is, but just that he thinks he is the best in the world is extremely important and he will create a lot of problems for Ukraine."

The rest of England's team will reportedly see Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice continue as a duo in central midfield, with a back four of Luke Shaw, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker in front of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

That would mean Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish has to settle for a place among the substitutes.

Lionel Messi is out of contract but tipped to re-sign with Barcelona.

However, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly not prepared to give up on prising Messi to Paris.

Messi's future could become clearer after the Copa America.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STILL DREAMING OF MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are trying to trump Barcelona's offer to Lionel Messi, according to Diario AS.

Messi is officially a free agent following the expiration of his Barcelona contract and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with PSG and Manchester City.

While Messi has been tipped to re-sign at Camp Nou, PSG are reportedly refusing to give up hope on signing the Argentina superstar.

Amid uncertainty over Real Madrid and Liverpool target Kylian Mbappe, PSG have also been eyeing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Manchester United are considering a swap deal involving Paul Pogba and Madrid defender Raphael Varane. The Red Devils are interested in signing Varane to bolster their defence, while Pogba has long been linked with Madrid and Juve.

Barca are stepping up their interest in Sampdoria and Denmark star Mikkel Damsgaard, claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Ajax star Dusan Tadic has emerged as a target for Milan following the departure of Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato.

Eduardo Camavinga's Rennes departure is inevitable, according to Le Parisien. The France sensation has been linked with Madrid, PSG, United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich among others.

- The Transfer Window Podcast says free agent Sergio Ramos has been offered to Chelsea. After leaving Madrid, Ramos is reportedly poised to join PSG. At Stamford Bridge, Champions League holders Chelsea are eyeing Borussia Dortmund's in-demand forward Erling Haaland.

RB Leipzig signed star forward Andre Silva from Bundesliga rivals Eintracht Frankfurt, it was announced on Friday.

Silva enjoyed a stellar 2020-21 campaign and the Portugal international joins Bundesliga runners-up Leipzig on a five-year contract until 2026.

The 25-year-old, who sealed a permanent move to Eintracht from Serie A side Milan in September having initially joined on loan in 2019, scored 28 Bundesliga goals last season – only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (41) managed more.

"I'm really excited for the new challenge at RB Leipzig," Silva said. "The club have big goals and ambitions and I want to help them achieve those, ideally by scoring as many goals as possible. I want to play at the highest level and that is Champions League football – I have the chance to do that on a regular basis at RB Leipzig.

"It didn't take long for the club's management to convince me of their vision and above all their footballing philosophy. Even though I've still got some time off to enjoy, I'm already buzzing to get going in the new season with RB Leipzig."

"I would like to sincerely thank Eintracht Frankfurt. I had two amazing and successful years there and was able to really develop as a player."

Silva scored 40 goals and supplied 12 assists in 57 Bundesliga matches for Eintracht in Frankfurt.

He netted 45 goals across all competitions for Eintracht as he reportedly attracted interest from the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Barcelona.

"Capturing Andre Silva on a long-term deal is a special transfer," said commercial director for sport Florian Scholz. "We not only get an immensely quality footballer, but we do so in a very lucrative deal financially, with his transfer fee well below his current market value.

"Andre made it clear to us early on that RB Leipzig was his preferred destination and we're absolutely delighted to have completed the transfer, particularly for the fee involved. "

Leipzig technical director Christopher Vivell added: "Andre Silva is one of the best forwards in the Bundesliga and has already proven his quality on the international stage. He is a good fit for our team and our style of football both as a person and as a player.

"Andre is a proper goal-getter, something his tally of 28 goals from last season demonstrates. He is a complete forward as well though - he can finish with both feet, he's strong in the air and he's technically gifted. We have therefore been able to add a different type of player to our squad who makes us more versatile in attack, makes us less predictable and also carries a serious goal threat.
 
"At 25 years old, his development is anything but finished either. He will be able to take the next step with us and become a key player for RB Leipzig over the coming years. We're delighted to have him as part of our squad."

Leicester City have confirmed the signing of midfielder Boubakary Soumare from Ligue 1 champions Lille for a reported fee of £17million.

Soumare has signed a five-year deal with Leicester, who finished fifth in the 2020-21 Premier League season and won the FA Cup.

The midfielder, who has been capped by France at Under-19, 20 and 21 level, played 32 times in Ligue 1 as Lille won the title for the first time in a decade.

Only five players made more appearances across all competitions for Lille in 2020-21 than Soumare, whose solitary goal for the club came in the 2018-19 campaign.

A combative player in the centre of the park, Soumare attempted 63 tackles last season, with a success rate of 61.9 per cent – ranking him fourth in Lille's squad.

Of Lille midfielders, only Benjamin Andre (2,310) attempted more passes than the 22-year-old, who found a team-mate with 1,778 (86.69 per cent) of his 2,051 attempts.

 

Only Renato Sanches, who impressed for Portugal at Euro 2020, had a better passing accuracy when delivering into the final third than Soumare (75.24 per cent), though Leicester may well see him as a folly – and potential successor to – Wilfred Ndidi, who enjoyed another superb campaign for the Foxes.

"I'm really proud to come to the Premier League and a big club like Leicester," Soumare told LCFC.com.

"It's going to help me to develop my game and progress as a player. I feel like it's the right step for me.

"Leicester is a very ambitious club. When they spoke to me about their plans and what they wanted from me, I knew straight away I wanted to come here.

"Brendan Rodgers is one of the main factors that made me want to come to the club. He's really good at developing young players, he knows them well and gives them their chance. I've spoken to him already and it went well."

Soumare is Leicester's second addition of the close season, following the signing of forward Patson Daka from Salzburg.

Chelsea prospect Billy Gilmour has joined newly promoted Norwich City on a season-long loan.

Gilmour joined Chelsea from Rangers aged 16 and made his first-team debut two years later under Frank Lampard in August 2019.

The midfielder quickly impressed but has struggled to hold down a regular starting role.

Thomas Tuchel, who replaced Lampard earlier this year, can also call on N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in that position and oversaw a Champions League final triumph against Manchester City.

Chelsea have therefore agreed to send Gilmour to Norwich in order to gain experience of top-flight football.

'EXCITED TO BE HERE'

"I'm very excited to be here," Gilmour said. "I can't wait for the season ahead.

"I've been looking forward to coming here, playing as much as possible and helping Norwich City compete in the Premier League.

"I spoke to the head coach here. He called me and we had a nice talk about how he wants to play and how he sees me fitting in.

"Everything he said was what I want to do on the pitch, get the ball down and play nice football. He spoke really highly of his team and I wanted to come join here and help."

SKIPP REPLACEMENT

The Canaries last season had Oliver Skipp on loan from Tottenham in the centre of their midfield as they won the Championship.

Skipp had only one goal and one assist in 47 Norwich appearances in all competitions but completed 88.1 per cent of his passes, won 55.9 per cent of his duels and recovered possession 5.6 times per 90 minutes.

In 22 career games for Chelsea, Gilmour is yet to register a goal involvement, although his passing accuracy is a favourable 89.0 per cent.

While the 20-year-old's duel success rate is down (47.8), a comparable 5.8 recoveries per 90 should see him fit into Daniel Farke's side.

SCOTLAND STANDOUT

Gilmour's transfer had been anticipated since he excelled for Scotland at Euro 2020.

The Chelsea man was limited to only one 76-minute outing against England due to a subsequent positive coronavirus test but impressed on his full international debut.

Gilmour completed 90.9 of his team-high 44 passes, also leading Scotland with 24 in the opposition half.

Although he won just two of 11 duels and conceded two fouls, Gilmour made a pair of tackles and recovered possession eight times en route to scooping UEFA's Star of the Match award.

England goalkeeper Tom Heaton has joined Manchester United on a two-year contract.

Heaton, who won the last of his three international caps in 2017, was available on a free transfer after his contract expired at Aston Villa.

The 35-year-old began his career at Old Trafford, graduating through the youth ranks and spending 13 years on the club's books.

He did not make a first-team appearance and embarked upon several loan spells before joining Cardiff City in 2010.

He arrived at Burnley via Bristol City, with his career taking off under Sean Dyche. Heaton played 188 league games for the Clarets and earned all his England caps while at Turf Moor.

A serious shoulder injury saw him lose his place for club and country to Nick Pope, while Heaton's injury curse struck again midway through his first season at Villa in 2019-20 when he suffered anterior crucial ligament damage.

"For me to have the opportunity to come back after spending 13 great years here as a kid, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m really, really excited to get started.

“I'm just seeing it as a fantastic opportunity as I still feel I’ve got an awful lot to give and I’ve got the bit between my teeth.

“I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running. I feel in great shape and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers."

Heaton is likely to begin the season as third choice, with David de Gea and Dean Henderson vying for the number one spot under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Sergio Romero's departure

Of goalkeepers to have played 100 or more Premier League games since the start of the 2013-14 season, Heaton has the seventh-best save percentage at 70.7. De Gea is fifth on the list (71.6 per cent), with Pope (73.9 per cent) top.

Juan Mata has agreed a new one-year contract with Manchester United after his previous deal at Old Trafford expired.

Mata, who joined United from Chelsea in January 2014, had just become a free agent, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed talks were planned at the end of the 2020-21 season.

A fresh agreement will keep the 33-year-old at Old Trafford for another 12 months.

Mata has scored 51 goals and supplied 41 assists for United in 273 matches in all competitions.

The former Spain international was restricted to only 18 appearances, 10 starts and 860 minutes last term, although he was absent from United's matchday squad for seven and a half weeks following the death of his mother in March.

Mata returned for the run-in and scored United's winner on the final day of the Premier League campaign at Wolves.

The midfielder created 2.2 chances per 90 minutes for the Red Devils last season, trailing only Bruno Fernandes (2.69) and Luke Shaw (2.23) among players to feature five times or more for United.

United's statement on Friday described Mata as "a magician on the pitch and a gentleman off it" and "one of the most popular players in recent United history".

The club have already announced a deal in principle to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while a move for Real Madrid's Raphael Varane is also mooted.

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