James Maddison's importance to Leicester City is of little debate, but the Foxes are considering selling the playmaker.

Though the 25-year-old's sole senior England cap came in 2019, he has provided 13 goals and eight assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this season.

However, Maddison's sale might be required to facilitate the Foxes strengthening in other areas.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON SALE TO FUND LEICESTER REVAMP

Leicester are weighing up the prospect of Maddison's sale in order to make new signings, the Daily Mail has reported.

Manager Brendan Rodgers wants three new additions to propel the Foxes up the Premier League following a season in which they have plateaued.

Leicester will reportedly back Rodgers, but the impact of coronavirus on their finances would likely mean outgoing as well as incoming transfers, and Maddison holds one of the higher market values at the club.

The 25-year-old's £50million price tag would provide serious flexibility in the transfer market, while the club also has to make decisions on Caglar Soyuncu and Youri Tielemans.

ROUND-UP

–  Barcelona want to confirm a contract extension for Ronald Araujo , who has received an offer from Manchester United, according to Sport, but the 23-year-old has viewed this club's pursuit of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen with caution.

–  Arsenal and Tottenham are keen to sign Lautaro Martinez , but Inter will only sell if they meet a transfer demand in excess of €80million (£67.3m), per Calciomercato.

– The Sun is reporting Newcastle are preparing a £20million offer for Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, while also showing interest in Watford's Ismaila Sarr.

–  Manchester United target Manuel Akanji wants to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season and is considering a move to the Premier League, according to Sport1.

Kylian Mbappe insisted there is no agreement to take him to Real Madrid after his majestic performance drove Paris Saint-Germain to a 5-1 victory over Lorient on Sunday.

The France international scored twice and assisted the other three PSG goals, with Neymar getting two and Lionel Messi the other, as Mauricio Pochettino's side maintained their 12-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit.

Uncertainty remains over where Mbappe will play next season, with Madrid leading the charge for the signature of the forward whose contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

Mbappe reiterated in the aftermath of the win against Lorient that a decision has yet to be taken, perhaps raising the possibility he could stay in Paris.

"No, no, no, I did not make my choice, everyone knows that I did not make my choice, I did not make my decision," he told Prime Video.

"I think because there are new elements, there are lots of things, lots of parameters and I don't want to be wrong, I want to make the right choice.

"I know that for the people, it's a little late, we talk about it every day. If I had made my decision I would say it, I don't have to report to anyone. It's a personal choice, if I made my decision, I come, I say it and I assume it.

"I think that, in the good things and the bad things that I have done, I have always assumed, I don't have to hide myself, I haven't killed anybody. It's just a choice, so I take my time and I want to make the best decision possible."

Neymar and Messi –,the latter ending a run of seven games without a goal – joined Mbappe on the scoresheet in the same game for the first time.

Brazilian star Neymar was delighted with the evening's work, with PSG showing positive signs after being jolted by last month's Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.

"I'm happy with the victory," Neymar told Prime Video. "We knew this championship was difficult. We have to keep winning and show that we want this 10th title.

"Losing is very difficult. What happened against Madrid, that gave us a lot of harm. We must continue to move forward. We wanted to go to the end of the Champions League, but unfortunately we were eliminated. It's difficult for the public to accept defeat, but for us too it was hard."

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has suggested out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku may have to leave Chelsea with the World Cup in Qatar on the horizon.

Chelsea forked out a club-record fee that was reported to be £97.5million (€115m) to take Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge from Inter last August.

Lukaku's second spell with Chelsea has not gone to plan so far, though, and the 28-year-old did not do himself any favours by telling Sky Sport Italia that he was unhappy with his situation with the European champions after losing his place in the side.

The former Everton and Manchester United frontman remains out of favour, having scored only 12 goals in 35 appearances this season under Thomas Tuchel.

Martinez hinted that the Red Devils' all-time leading scorer may have to seek pastures new if he is unable to force his way back into the Blues side, so he is firing on all cylinders in Qatar later this year.

"We are talking about players, like Romelu, who have got over 100 caps and are part of this group of players who know the national team inside out," the Spaniard told The Sun.

"I'm not going to judge or assess the condition of any player until after the summer because it is not a normal situation.

"It is still seven months to the World Cup and probably you will go into the details of how a player feels when it gets closer to it than now.

"But there will be a lot of players who change clubs or are going to feel in a different way in the summer.

"Romelu needs to be assessed on how he feels in September, the same way Eden Hazard does and some others.

"But he is one of the players for whom the summer could be a big moment for their careers."

Martinez, however, says Lukaku is ready to fight for his place in Tuchel's team.

He added: "We always speak. I have a very close relationship with all my players. I would never tell a player what to do but we always share thoughts.

"At the moment Romelu is in a good place. He is so committed.

"He was delighted to win the Club World Cup and the next step is to finish the season strong with Chelsea and make sure he can feel very important."

Chelsea's midfield targets in the upcoming transfer window have left a potential opening for Real Madrid in pursuit of N'Golo Kante.

The France international reportedly knocked back a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the January window, but midfield rejuvenation is a priority for Madrid.

While Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been mainstays in the middle at the Santiago Bernabeu, Kante would bring new energy to the Spanish giants.

TOP STORY – KANTE LINED UP AS REAL MADRID SOLUTION

The transfer market domino effect could lead Kante to Madrid, AS has reported.

While both Madrid and Chelsea are in the race to sign Aurelien Tchouameni, the Blues also have an interest in Declan Rice, which could open up the possibility of Kante leaving.

The 31-year-old is coming into the final year of his contract, leaving Madrid with potential leverage to force Chelsea's hand.

While Kante has seen extensive time on the sidelines this season, missing game time through a combination of COVID-19, groin and knee troubles, he could be Madrid's top target if they fail to land Tchouameni.

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona are keen to sign 30-year-old Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season, Sport reports.

– Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is confident the club will be able to keep Antonio Rudiger alongside Cesar Azpilicueta, who triggered a contract extension, per Goal.

– Bild is reporting Bayern Munich have commenced talks over a new deal for Thomas Muller, with his contract expiring at the end of next season.

– Erik ten Hag is the favourite to become the new Manchester United manager, with the Ajax coach seeing a move to the Premier League as a progression in his career, according to Sport1.

David Moyes says it would cost over £150million to prise Declan Rice away from West Ham but the England midfielder is not for sale.

Captain Rice has just over two years remaining on his Hammers contract, with the option of a further 12 months.

The 23-year-old has been consistently outstanding for club and country, attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and his former club Chelsea.

Asked if Rice would command a British record transfer fee of £150m, West Ham boss Moyes said: "If you are interested, well, it will be north of that.

"£100m was cheap last summer. £150m just now would be minimum but he is not for sale. What I do know is that it means there are only certain clubs that could even consider it.”

Moyes wants the Hammers to take a similar approach to the way London rivals Tottenham handled Manchester City's interest in England captain Harry Kane last year.

"I look at what Tottenham did with Harry Kane, albeit in a different way," said the Scot.

"They said, 'No, there is a price and if someone wants to pay the price, then we would probably do it. If they don't, then he's not going anywhere’ and they have kept him.

"There will be times when players have got the power but we have got Declan on the best part of a three-and-a-half-year contract.

"Just like Tottenham, they have got Kane on a contract and they control what happens."

Real Madrid have signed Brazilian teenager Vinicius Tobias on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk until the end of next season.

The 18-year-old only joined Shakhtar from Internacional in January and is on the move again without playing a competitive game for the Ukrainian club.

Vinicius was unable to make his Shakhtar debut due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The full-back was able to join the LaLiga leaders as UEFA altered transfer rules, enabling clubs to sign up to two players from either Ukrainian or Russian clubs ahead of an April 1 deadline.

Vinicius will reportedly join Madrid's Castilla squad for the remainder of this season.

Shakhtar revealed that Los Blancos have the option to make the deal permanent.

The Ukrainian club announced on their website: "He will play on loan for the Madrid club until the end of the 2022-23 season. Under the agreement terms, Real Madrid also has the option to buy the player."

Thomas Tuchel says it is "good news" that Cesar Azpilicueta's contract extension has been triggered at Chelsea, and hopes the Blues captain will stay at least another year at Stamford Bridge.

The Spain defender's deal was due to come to a close at the end of the current campaign, but has automatically renewed for a further season after he hit a number of games this term.

It comes amid what is effectively a transfer embargo on the club due to outgoing owner Roman Abramovich's sanctions in relation to the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

With Azpilicueta able to walk as a free agent at the end of the campaign, Tuchel admitted he was happy to tie his captain down, though he could still leave if restrictions are lifted before next season.

"I knew it was going to happen because I knew the amount of games before it was going to happen," he stated. "It was so close.

"It’s a good thing, we were aware of it. It's good news for us. We have a contract, he's our captain, it's a very high possibility he will stay."

The same concerns linger for other out-of-contract players however, with defender Antonio Rudiger one of the biggest names linked with an exit.

Amid reports the Germany international's brother and agent met with Barcelona - who have also reportedly pursued Azpilicueta in recent weeks - Tuchel acknowledged he too would chase the former if he was available.

"I would try to meet him [Rudiger] if I were any other club," he added. "Still, he's our player and I still think we have a good chance he stays our player once things are solved for us.

"The situation is the situation at the moment. Our hands are tied, we cannot speak to him and offer him or negotiate or renegotiate with his agents.

"So it is fair enough if he listens to other offers. That is the way things go, but I'm still confident."

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho was prominent as Aston Villa went on a recent three-match winning streak in the Premier League.

Despite losses to West Ham and Arsenal coming into the international break, Villa have steadied since the November appointment of head coach Steven Gerrard, who took over from Dean Smith.

Villa are thought to remain interested in turning Coutinho's loan into a permanent arrangement, but another suitor could yet strike a deal, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE LINKED WITH COUTINHO RAID

Newcastle United are said to be ready to swoop for Coutinho if Villa, who have an option to buy, cannot piece together a long-term agreement for the Brazilian winger.

Villa signed Coutinho on loan in January and to take him off Barcelona's hands would reportedly cost around €40million (£33m).

The 29-year-old has immediately become an integral part of Gerrard's attack, providing four goals and three assists in 10 Premier League appearances since arriving.

However, the prospect of a permanent deal is based on Villa accounting for Coutinho's substantial wages, which Barcelona currently subsidise. With new ownership, Newcastle appear capable of finding such funds.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona have tried to exploit sanctions affecting Chelsea by attempting to sign three of the club's defenders in Antonio RudigerCesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, according to The Telegraph.

– RB Leipzig are set to conduct contract talks with Christopher Nkunku, but according to ESPN they are willing to listen to offers in excess of €75million.

Edinson Cavani is set for a move to Boca Juniors when his contract with Manchester United expires at the end of the season, claims Todofichajes.

– Bruno Fernandes has signed a new contract with Manchester United, extending his existing deal by one season but with a substantial wage increase, The Guardian reports.

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch is keen to continue developing the "fantastic" Raphinha while he is still with the club as reports circulate of a move to Barcelona.

The Brazil winger was linked with a big-money move to West Ham in January but has remained at Elland Road, with Leeds battling to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Raphinha, who left Rennes for Leeds in October 2020, has caught the eye of some of Europe's elite clubs, with Barca seemingly favourites to secure his signature.

Barca president Joan Laporta has confirmed an interest in the 25-year-old, having received positive reports from Raphinha's agent and ex-Blaugrana midfielder Deco.

While Marsch acknowledged his star player is in demand, the American expressed his desire to make the most of having Raphinha for as long as he stays at Leeds.

"He is a massive talent and my challenge, despite all of the talk outside, is to have a relationship where we can focus on his development in helping the team while he is here," he told reporters on Thursday.

"I haven't had a word with him about Deco or Barcelona. It [Barca’s interest] should be out there because he is fantastic.

"I just want him to become the player I know he can be. Everyone here wants to enjoy the football he can play and of course we want him to stay as long as possible. He's a fantastic player and very good person."

Raphinha has been Leeds' standout performer in the Premier League, laying on 56 chances this season along with his nine goals and three assists – all team-leading figures.

In the English top flight only James Ward-Prowse (57), Bruno Fernandes (76) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (77) have created more opportunities than Raphinha, who Marsch says he has not discussed his future with past the end of the season.

Marsch will be hoping Raphinha, who missed the win over Wolves due to COVID-19, can boost Leeds' survival hopes when his side host Southampton on Saturday.

Everton have endured a nightmarish season and currently find themselves in the Premier League's relegation scramble.

The Toffees are sitting only three points above the relegation zone, despite two games in hand on 18th-placed Watford.

Just as pertinent is their financial situation, which will reportedly force them into having to sell one of their most valuable assets.

TOP STORY – EVERTON TO CHOOSE BETWEEN RICHARLISON AND CALVERT-LEWIN

The Sun is reporting Richarlison or Dominic Calvert-Lewin will have to leave Everton in order for the club to balance their books.

Their latest figures revealed a £121million loss in the last financial year, and one of the two strikers will now have to be sold.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are Everton's two highest goal scorers still at the club since the latter arrived in 2016. The Brazilian has scored 47 in 142 appearances in all competitions, while the former Sheffield United man has tallied 55 in 180 games.

Richarlison is a reported target for Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Arsenal apparently keeping a close eye on Calvert-Lewin's situation.

ROUND-UP

– England midfielder Kalvin Phillips has told Leeds United he wants to sign a new contract, potentially warding off interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle, per The Mirror.

– According to ESPN, Anthony Martial could be used to create a package deal from Manchester United for Tottenham's Harry Kane .

– Le Parisien report N'Golo Kante turned down an offer to leave Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain in January.

Milan have cooled on Real Madrid's Marco Asensio due to the 26-year-old's wage demands, as reported by Tuttosport.

Kylian Mbappe has been tipped by Ronaldinho to stay at Paris Saint-Germain beyond this season and continue his partnership with Lionel Messi and Neymar.

France international Mbappe is into the final three months of his PSG contract and is a target for Real Madrid, while Barcelona have also been linked. 

Speaking earlier this month, PSG sporting director Leonardo vowed to "try everything" to persuade the 23-year-old to agree fresh terms at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe has scored 26 goals for the Ligue 1 leaders this term, which is 19 more than the next-best Messi, who joined in a sensational move from Barcelona last August.

Neymar has netted just five times in all competitions, meanwhile, in what has been an underwhelming campaign for both the Brazil international and indeed PSG.

While 2021-22 has not gone to plan for the Parisians, who exited the Champions League and Coupe de France at the last-16 stage, Ronaldinho hopes their front three stay.

Asked if he believes Mbappe can be convinced to sign a new contract, Ronaldinho is quoted by Spanish outlet AS as saying: "Yes, I think he will stay.

"But hey, with football, a lot of things can happen quickly. But the three of them together can do something beautiful.

"I will not offer my advice to anyone. I just want to see all my friends happy, wherever they are. If all three stay, it would be fantastic for anyone who loves football.

"The three best players in the world together is what all football lovers want to see."

Mbappe is averaging 0.76 goals per 90 minutes this season, compared to 0.29 for Messi, who has endured a stop-start campaign in his first season away from Barcelona. 

The Argentina star has 10 assists but only two goals to his name in Ligue 1 – not since 2005-06, in his early days at Camp Nou, has he failed to register at least double figures.

 

PSG fans made their frustration known when they jeered Messi and Neymar during their recent 3-0 win over Bordeaux, four days on from the club's Champions League exit.

Ronaldinho, who played alongside Messi at Barcelona following a two-season spell of his own in Paris, was shocked by the reaction his former team-mate received.

"I didn't understand that," he said. "If you whistle Messi, there is nothing left. If you whistle the best in the world, who are you going to applaud? I don't get it.

"This is not a Messi or Neymar problem. The fans were not happy about exiting the Champions League. 

"They are the two biggest names at PSG so it's normal the jeers were stronger against them. But I think the fans are unhappy with all the players, not just those two.

"This is football and normality will return. I hope now that Neymar doesn't get injured because every year he wins something, either with the national team or with PSG.

"I hope that with Messi's adaption that the three of them can write a great story."

Manchester City have not yet made an approach for Erling Haaland, though Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke knows that any offer the Premier League champions did make would be unmatchable for the Bundesliga club.

Haaland is reportedly City's priority target ahead of next season, as Pep Guardiola looks to bring in a top-class striker.

The 21-year-old has had a stop-start campaign with Dortmund due to injuries, but has still scored 23 times in as many matches, averaging a goal every 77 minutes across all competitions.

Haaland has been a sensation since signing for Dortmund in the middle of the 2019-20 season, though seems likely to leave the club at the end of the campaign when a €75million buy-out clause in his contract reportedly kicks in.

City, along with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, have been heavily linked. Watzke, however, insisted no official approach has yet been made by any club.

Dortmund's chief executive is under no illusion, though, that the club would be unable to compete financially should City make an offer. But he is confident that BVB's model of investing in new talent after losing star players will continue to prove fruitful.

Speaking to Sport Bild, Watzke said: "I've given up judging media rumours. Otherwise, my day would have to have 36 hours.

 

"We don't currently know anything specific from the player side, nor has anyone approached us. However, we cannot keep up financially if Manchester City comes in [for Haaland].

"We've seen it a few times: we lost [Robert] Lewandowski to Bayern in 2014 and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang to Arsenal in 2018.

"We've always created a new star. If Haaland leaves, we will find another new talent and develop it into a star, and that will also do the Bundesliga good."

Watzke would not comment on any potential targets for Dortmund, though.

Haaland scored twice in Norway's 9-0 hammering of Armenia on Tuesday, having previously netted for his country in last week's 2-0 win over Slovakia.

Now, the striker's immediate focus will be on helping Dortmund push Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race, with Marco Rose's team – who face RB Leipzig in a huge game on Saturday – trailing the league leaders by six points.

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale will wait until after Wales' World Cup qualifying play-off final in June before deciding on his future, agent Jonathan Barnett has said.

Bale is out of contract at the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season and is widely expected to depart after spending nine years in the Spanish capital.

The 32-year-old has won 14 trophies during his time with Madrid, including four Champions Leagues, but he has been accused of often prioritising Wales over his club side.

Indeed, Bale has played in just five of Los Blancos' 42 matches in all competitions this term, totalling 270 minutes on the field – the equivalent of just three games.

Bale has played over 330 minutes for Wales this season, however, scoring five goals across six matches.

While the former Tottenham star's future is a hot topic of debate, he has yet to decide on his future at club level beyond the end of the season.

"We have not discussed anything yet," agent Barnett told BBC Sport. "Once we know Wales' situation with the World Cup, we will discuss it then."

 

Bale scored twice in Wales' 2-1 win over Austria in last week's qualifying play-off semi-final, leaving his country one game away from a first World Cup appearance since 1958.

That took his tally in a Wales shirt to 38 goals in 102 caps, making him his country's record goalscorer, while only Chris Gunter (107) has earned more caps.

The Dragons will now face either Scotland or Ukraine in a one-legged final at Cardiff City Stadium, with that fixture expected to be staged in June.

At club level, Bale's relationship with Madrid supporters and the Spanish press has continued to deteriorate after being labelled a "parasite" by daily sports newspaper Marca.

A third spell with Tottenham has been mooted once Bale departs Madrid, while a switch to MLS is also reportedly a possibility, as is a move to home club Cardiff City.

Despite inking a new sponsorship deal with Spotify, improving on Barcelona's rejuvenation under Xavi will not force the club to spend unsustainably.

Xavi's side have made positive strides, finding form and re-establishing the club's identity, creating scope for Barcelona to become a destination for players.

The front three seems likely to transform under Xavi coming into next season, with the respective statuses of Memphis Depay, Ousmane Dembele, Adama Traore and Antoine Griezmann uncertain. However, the question of cost lingers.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA RENEW RAPHINHA OFFER

Barcelona's interest in Raphinha is being translated into offers for the Brazilian winger, but Sport reports the Premier League do not at present have a financial need to sell.

According to the Barcelona sports daily, Leeds turned down an initial offer of €35million (£30m), prompting the Blaugrana to increase to €40million (£34m) plus €10m (£8m) in options.

If Leeds suffer relegation, however, the release clause for the 25-year-old would be reduced to €25m (£21m).

It is also reported Barca would not necessarily be in a hurry, with Leeds currently 16th in the Premier League, while they could lean on Raphinha's agent and former Champions League winner, Deco.

ROUND-UP

– Paul Pogba will need to take a significant pay cut if he wants to join Juventus from Manchester United, per Calciomercato.

Real Madrid have identified Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham , despite his links with a move to Liverpool, according to reports in Bild.

– The Times have reported Brentford want to extend the six-month deal for 30-year-old Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen.

– If Erik ten Hag takes over as Manchester United manager, he is keen on signing Brazilian winger Antony from Ajax, per The Telegraph.

Angel Di Maria should continue playing in Europe for another one or two seasons despite his uncertain future with Paris Saint-Germain.

That is the view of Di Maria's father Miguel as the winger reviews his career options.

Di Maria is expected to leave PSG when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United player has only started four times in Ligue 1 since the start of 2022 and his importance to the team appears to be diminishing.

Di Maria has three goals and three assists from 20 league appearances this season, but his father Miguel believes he still has more to do in Europe and should remain there with the World Cup approaching.

"I would like him to play one or two more years in Europe and then come back [to Argentina]," Miguel said to Radio La Red. 

"He is just 34 years old and he still has a career [at the highest level]. 

"He takes great care of himself, so he has to continue playing [in Europe]." 

Di Maria has had a successful seven seasons with PSG since arriving from Old Trafford in 2015 after a disappointing campaign in the Premier League.

He is closing in on a fifth Ligue 1 title with Mauricio Pochettino's men, but is now deciding on his next move as he nears the end of the one-year contract extension he signed in 2021.

Di Maria has also been pondering his future at international level.

The veteran said after scoring once and creating another goal in the 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela at La Bombonera on Friday that he had likely played for Argentina on home soil for the last time.

He thanked supporters and confirmed he would consider retiring from Argentina duty after the World Cup in Qatar at the end of this year.

"We talked later [that night] – I was very happy and he was very proud," added Miguel.

"It's on his mind and it all depends on him.

"I wish he could continue but from what he said that was his last game in Argentina and then it's Qatar and it's over, he's not going to play for Argentina anymore." 

Miguel added that when the time comes to return home, Di Maria still plans to do so with boyhood club Rosario Central.

"His idea is to come to Central for what remains in his career and finish the race – that's it for now," he said.

"He has already said retiring with Central [is his goal]. Hopefully he can achieve it. That is what he is lacking so far because he left here very young and could not enjoy anything."

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