Gareth Bale has been given a rave review by Ryan Mason – but Tottenham's interim boss cannot say if the Wales winger will return to north London next season.

After losing his place at Real Madrid, Bale rejoined Tottenham last September on a season-long loan, but he is due to return to the Spanish capital once the Premier League campaign ends.

Asked whether Bale could stay with Spurs for 2021-22, Mason said: "I am not sure, I have not had those conversations.

"The club will have those conversations at the end of the season. After this game at the weekend he goes back to his parent club. He is a Real Madrid player.

"These conversations, these situations, I am not sure of. I just know hopefully he's going to help us at the weekend."

A report in Spanish newspaper AS on Friday claimed Bale is focused on spending next season with Madrid, before retiring afterwards when his lucrative contract expires.

There has been no indication from Bale that he intends to follow that path, and his playing prospects at Madrid could depend on who coaches the team next term, after the 31-year-old fell out of favour with Zinedine Zidane.

Mason has had no doubts about Bale's recent commitment to Tottenham, and he frowned on any suggestions the Wales international might be holding something back for Euro 2020.

"I completely disagree with that personally. I can only speak of my experience in this last five weeks with Gareth. He's scored four goals for this football club in that time. He's been excellent," Mason said, speaking ahead of Tottenham's season finale at Leicester City on Sunday.

Bale has not completed a full 90-minute game in the Premier League since embarking on his second spell at the club, but in 19 appearances, of which just 10 have been starts, he has scored nine goals in the competition, with only Harry Kane and Son Heung-min ahead of him at Spurs.

He has significantly exceeded his expected goals (xG) total of 4.8, and Kane (22 goals from xG of 16.76) and Son (17 from xG of 8.86) have done likewise.

Looking at Bale, and his performance in the 2-0 win against Wolves, Mason said:  "Last weekend I think was the most minutes he's played in the Premier League all season, pushing close to 90 minutes.

"I think if you were to look at Gareth in that moment he looked fit, he looked strong, he was brave, he added a different dimension for us and he has severe quality as well.

"In terms of him thinking about this summer, I don't believe so because he was out there the other night playing through some pain, playing through a problem he had, for me, for himself and for the football club.

"In terms of Gareth's commitment and Gareth's quality, I think his commitment has been fully there in this moment that I've been here and in terms of his quality, his quality is never going to leave him. I think you see that every time he's on the football pitch."

Ryan Mason understands why Harry Kane would want to play with Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne – hailing the Belgian as an "exceptional" talent.

Interim Tottenham boss Mason faced further questions on Friday about the future of striker Kane, who has dropped heavy hints he wants to leave Spurs at the end of the season.

Kane said in an interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap that De Bruyne's service to City's front players is "a striker's dream", and that has only fuelled speculation the England captain could be heading to the blue side of Manchester.

Mason, who counts Kane as a close friend, said he had not heard the interview.

"But I would love to play with Kevin De Bruyne as well," Mason said. "I think every footballer in the world, every footballer in the Premier League [would want to].

"He's an exceptional player and from what I know – I've spoke to him a few times – he's an exceptional person as well.

"If you ask any footballer in world football right now, if they'd like to play with Kevin De Bruyne, I think they'd say yes."

Kane could play for Tottenham for the last time on Sunday, when Mason's team visit Leicester City on the final day of the Premier League season.

Mason says that is where his focus must be, rather than on the future of Kane or any other member of his squad.

Kane also has a strong personal incentive to perform strongly, given he sits level with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah on 22 goals at the top of the league scoring charts.

"I've been out on the training pitch, preparing for a game that we need to win. Harry is going to be part of that," Mason said.

"I hope Harry scores a couple, I think his performances this season have warranted the Golden Boot.

"I think he's the best player in the Premier League. Hopefully from an individual point of view, he gets the Golden Boot as well and, in doing that, helps Tottenham get three points.

"That's the most important thing. I can't speak on transfer value. In football, things change so quickly. At the moment, Harry's a Tottenham player. He's going to be involved and hopefully he can win the Golden Boot."

Kane has scored seven goals across his career on the final matchday of Premier League seasons – only Andy Cole (nine), Les Ferdinand (nine) and Matt Le Tissier (eight) have scored more such goals in the competition.

He has also scored more Premier League goals against Leicester – a club he previously represented on loan – than he has past any other opponent, with his 14 goals in 11 games a striking record.

Seven of those goals have come in six games at the King Power Stadium, including a four-goal haul in May 2017. He followed that three days later with a hat-trick against Hull City in a breathtaking finish to a season that saw Kane score four Premier League hat-tricks.

Mason, who played with Kane at Tottenham, was forced to retire early from playing football due to a head injury, and the 29-year-old knows more than most the importance of snatching every great opportunity that arises in what can be a short career.

Kane's firm stance is that he wants to be in a team that wins trophies, and Tottenham have not unlocked the potential that looked to be there during much of Mauricio Pochettino's reign.

Post-career "regrets" are the sought-after striker's biggest fear, he told Neville.

"No player wants to end their career with regret, I don't think any human being likes having regrets," Mason said. "It's normal. If you speak to any player in the world, they'd probably say the same.

"My attention and every player's attention is on the weekend. At the moment, the only conversations I'm having are about the weekend, with not only Harry but also every other player in the squad."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called for two or three high-profile signings if Manchester United are going to challenge for Premier League glory next season.

United are second in the table, 12 points behind champions Manchester City going into Sunday's final match of the domestic season at Wolves.

Next week's Europa League final against Villarreal provides Solskjaer with the chance of his first piece of silverware after a season of progress.

But as United are linked to the likes of Raphael Varane, Pau Torres, Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho and Harry Kane, Solskjaer does not want the club hierarchy to make the mistake of thinking the last step to the top of the table will occur naturally.

"Of course we're planning as we normally do," Solskjaer said when asked about transfers. "That's an ongoing process.

"We're looking at the squad and I hope we're going to strengthen with the two or three players we definitely need to challenge higher up in the table. 

"We're still too far behind to think it's just going to come by itself.

"We've had a few players on loan that might come back in. There is interest in a few others going out – it's difficult to say, I can't see too many outgoings.

"You want to come out of the transfer window strengthened. We're not where we aimed to be. But we've got ambitions to move up one place.

"There's been steady improvement. Third last season, second this season, some more points. We've done really well away from home. 

"We know we had a difficult start to the season, losing three of the first six games and loads of them were home games, which put pressure on the team.

"The players have been very, very good."

Solskjaer confirmed Anthony Martial will not be available against Wolves or Villarreal, but Daniel James is in contention to feature in both matches.

Midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred "should be OK" for the continental final, though Harry Maguire is not expected to recover in time.

Changes are expected against Wolves ahead of the Villarreal clash in Gdansk.

United have lost just one of their past seven Premier League meetings with Wolves (W3 D3), going down 2-1 at Molineux in April 2019.

"Of course you want to go into the final with loads of energy," added Solskjaer. "We want to get minutes into a few who might need it going into the final, and to enjoy it.

"You want to go in with loads of energy but also confidence. 

"We'll make a few changes versus Wolves, freshen up a few, get minutes into legs of those who might need it."

If they avoid defeat, United will become just the fourth side to remain unbeaten away from home across an entire English top-flight campaign and the first since Arsenal's 'Invincibles' in 2003-04.

If selected, Marcus Rashford will be eyeing his 100th senior career goal (88 for Manchester United, 11 for England). 

Rashford has scored in two of his three starts against Wolves for the Red Devils.

Harry Kane says he would love to play with Kevin De Bruyne amid speculation linking the England captain to Manchester City.

Kane is reportedly keen to end a career-long association with Tottenham at the end of this season, with a desire to add silverware to his impressive individual numbers thought to be a prime motivation.

City are expected to be in the market for a centre-forward, with their all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero leaving at the end of his contract next month.

Pep Guardiola has previously expressed his admiration for Kane and, speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap, the 27-year-old said playing with Belgium star De Bruyne would be "a striker's dream"

Asked which player in the Premier League would help him score more goals, he replied: "De Bruyne, for sure.

"When I watch De Bruyne play, he's a special, special player and some of the balls I see him put in for City are just a striker's dream if I'm honest.

"He's outstanding, you've seen him, he's an outstanding player with the ball, off the ball, pressing, but his delivery is as good as I’ve ever seen to be honest."

Kane's former manager Mauricio Pochettino, now head coach at Paris Saint-Germain, has also been linked with an interest, but the striker told Neville he has eyes on Alan Shearer's all-time record Premier League goals mark of 260.

On 165, he is currently 95 behind and seventh overall.

"I guess, for me, I think injuries would be the biggest thing [to stop him getting the Premier League record]," Kane said.

"Of course, there's always the option of maybe moving abroad one day but I don't think that really interests me in the near future.

"I feel like I've got a good seven or eight years at the top. When you look at the [Lionel] Messis, your [Cristiano] Ronaldos, your [Zlatan] Ibrahimovics – they are all kind of getting better as they reach their early 30s. I'm still 27 so I've still got hopefully a long way to go. So, I mean, yeah [the record is] definitely there.

"I'm still way off but you know I like to think consistently I've scored 20-plus goals in my injury-free seasons in the Premier League. So if I can do that for the next four or five years then I'll be there."

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is dominating headlines.

Milan want to re-sign the Italy international but time is running out.

A blockbuster move to LaLiga could be on the horizon…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA TO SPAIN?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been offered to Barcelona by his agent Mino Raiola, according to Diario AS.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with Milan.

He has been linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, Barca, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Donnarumma's arrival could force Barca to sell star number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Kylian Mbappe's proposed transfer to Real Madrid does not hinge on head coach Zinedine Zidane, who could leave at the end of the season. Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Madrid great Raul have emerged as the frontrunners should Zidane leave, but it will not impact Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe's future. Madrid have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

Sergio Aguero is set to accept a contract offer from Barca until June 2023, reports Fabrizio Romano. Aguero is poised to become a free agent once his deal with Manchester City expires. Lyon captain Memphis Depay is also on the verge of moving to Camp Nou on a free transfer.

- Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, Atalanta's Josip Ilicic and Roma attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan are potential replacements for Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, according to Tuttosport. Calhanoglu's contract is expiring at San Siro amid links with Juve, United and clubs in Qatar.

Monza are eyeing Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Monza – owned by former Milan president Silvio Berlusconi – are currently in Serie B and missed out on promotion via the playoffs. Monza also boast Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Buffon has already revealed he will leave Juve at the end of the season.

Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville shot down rumours claiming the MLS side are trying to sign Real Madrid star Marcelo.

Marcelo is out of contract in 2022 but the 33-year-old Madrid left-back is facing an uncertain future with the LaLiga giants due his form and advancing years.

Inter Miami, who are co-owned by former Madrid star David Beckham, have emerged as an option for Marcelo – ex-Los Blancos forward Gonzalo Higuain and World Cup-winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi headline the squad.

Current Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, is also reportedly on Inter Miami's radar.

However, Neville poured cold water over the speculation linking Brazilian veteran Marcelo with Inter Miami.

"I don't need another left-back," ex-Manchester United utility Neville told reporters. "I've got more left-backs than yellow taxis, you know what I mean. We could do with a few more positions but no. 

"I think it shows the level of the club and interest in the club, yes. But ultimately, I think what I want for us is pure stability. So when they have all these stars that are being linked with Inter Miami it's brilliant, shows that the people do want to come to Inter Miami. 

"But ultimately, I want us to have stability here, I want players to be here for a long time. You think about every time somebody gets mentioned, somebody in this football club, somebody in this team, in my team will feel, even if it's point one percent unnerved by it, that's not good for us, it is not good for the player.

"What I would say is, and me and Chris Henderson talk about this all the time, is that the most successful teams, you think about the Seattle team, Chris Scott first and experienced of it, stability is the key. The great team that I played in Manchester United, you had the core of a team that was together for four or five years before Sir Alex [Ferguson] rebuilt it.

"Yes, you sprinkle around the edges and you tweak here and there you introduce new players around the edges, but you're gonna have eight, nine players that are going to be here for the next three or four years to get that stability and I'm talking about the DP [designated] players as well they need stability. You know the worst thing that can happen is them reading the newspaper every single day thinking about who's coming to the club.

"We believe in the players that we've got, we've, the ownership have invested so much money in this football team. And now I think stability is the only way we'll get success that's what the best team in this league have had that's what the best teams in football, have had success on, stability.

"We're never going to stop you guys speculating and, you know, an agent's putting in players because this is a place that a lot of players will want to come, but ultimately I'm happy with the squad that I've got, I want stability around this place."

Marcelo has called Madrid home since 2007, winning five LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies among other honours.

Meanwhile, Inter Miami – into their second MLS season and first under Neville – have won two of their opening six matches to sit seventh in the 14-team Eastern Conference.

Manchester City great Francis Lee said a move for Harry Kane would be "very difficult" as he questioned whether the England captain would be a long-term option.

Kane has given his strongest indication yet that he wants to leave Tottenham at the end of the season, stating his desire to play for a trophy-winning side.

Premier League champions City would fit that bill, while Kane has also been linked with the likes of Chelsea and neighbours Manchester United.

Kane, who will turn 28 in July, is level with Mohamed Salah at the top of the Premier League scoring charts heading into the final weekend of the season.

That suggests he remains in the very top bracket of Europe's top strikers, but Lee needs convincing that Kane would be capable of being a force for City for longer than a handful of seasons.

"There's three or four players who would suit us down to the ground and another three or four others who could slot into the team and probably be a sensation as well," Lee told Stats Perform.

He pointed to reports linking 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish with City, before adding Kane's name to the list of possible candidates for a close-season move.

"It'd be very difficult for Harry Kane to move to Manchester City because it would be big money for ... not a short period but maybe two or three years, something like that," Lee said.

Lee, who starred as a City forward from 1967 to 1974 and had a spell as the club's chairman from 1994 to 1998, knows there are plenty of prolific strikers who could potentially step into the City squad and replace Sergio Aguero, the record scorer who will leave on a free transfer at the end of this campaign.

Whether they are the right age and have the right qualities is a question for City manager Pep Guardiola, with Lee suggesting Romelu Lukaku, the 28-year-old former Manchester United and Everton forward, now at Inter, may have what it takes.

"There's a lot of players, there's quite a few players who would fit the bill," Lee said.

"Lukaku would fit the bill. But he didn't fit the bill when he played in the Premier League before. With Pep, a lot of it is attitude. If your attitude is right, and your training is right, and your fitness is right, everything is going on within the Pep plan, you get there."

Since Kane became a Tottenham regular in the 2014-15 season, he has scored 162 goals in 230 Premier League games, with Aguero managing 130 in 187 appearances over the same period.

Kane has managed a marginally better conversion rate when presented with what Opta defines as 'big chances', scoring from 54.77 per cent of such openings, compared to 51.48 per cent by Argentine frontman Aguero.

Aguero's minutes-per-goal record is better though, with one every 105.78 minutes to Kane's one every 120.83 minutes.

But ostensibly, they are well matched, in both being highly prolific. Their total shot conversion rate over the last seven league seasons is almost identical, with Kane netting 18.39 per cent of his efforts on goal and Aguero sticking away 18.34 per cent of his attempts.

That suggests it would be a near like-for-like replacement operation if Kane – five years younger than Aguero – came in from Spurs.

Lee is certain that City must replace Aguero. Although they have had success without him in their starting XI lately, and when deploying a 'false nine' system, Lee, 77, has no doubt Guardiola has to bring in a recognised goal-getter.

Lee said: "I think with the retirement of Sergio, that we definitely need one big striker. I'm not talking in size, I'm talking in reputation and ability. But who could it be? Because if you can't play in this team, you can't play in any team."

Tottenham star Harry Kane wants talks with chairman Daniel Levy after admitting he is considering his future with the club.

Reports emerged in England this week that Kane was considering a move away from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after the club's deeply disappointing season.

Spurs are seventh in the Premier League after Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Aston Villa and could find themselves without European football next season should they lose to Leicester City on the final day.

Tottenham were Champions League finalists two years ago under Mauricio Pochettino but will spend another season out of the competition in 2021-22, while they again failed to win a trophy this term, losing the EFL Cup final to Manchester City in April.

Their poor performances have been in spite of Kane's best efforts. The England striker is joint-top of the league's golden boot standings with 22, level with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, and has provided a league-high 13 assists.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest in Kane and the 27-year-old has now confirmed he is questioning whether Spurs can match his ambitions.

After agreeing he had reached a "crossroads" in his career, Kane told former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville on The Overlap: "I think there's definitely a conversation to be had with the club. I want to be playing in the biggest games, biggest moments.

"This season, I'm watching the Champions League, the English teams in there doing amazing and they're the games I want to be involved in.

"It's a moment in my career where I have to reflect and see where I'm at and have a good, honest conversation with the chairman. I hope we can have that conversation.

"I'm sure he'll want to set out the plan of where he sees it but, ultimately, it's going to be down to me, how I feel and what's going to be the best for me in my career.

"He's always rewarded me with contracts. He's been fair with me, never just held me to a contract, so we've always had a good relationship.

"I don't know how that conversation is going to go, to be honest. He might want to sell me! He might be thinking, 'If I get 100million for you, why not?'. I'm not going to be worth that for the next two, three years.

"I've been there 16 years of my life, so I hope we can have a good, honest conversation."

Kane has lost three finals with Spurs, who were Premier League runners-up in 2016-17, but he has yet to win a trophy with the club he joined back in 2004.

While he admits "it's hard to hear" suggestions Spurs too often lose their nerve in big games, Kane does not wish to look back on a career of near misses.

"We've been so close and things could've been a lot different, but I understand we haven't got over the line as a club," he said. "We haven't won things, we haven't been dominant when you could say we've had the best team we've had for a very long time.

"For sure, you hear those comments and they eat at you a little bit inside. They almost get you going a little bit, trying to prove people wrong, and that's been my whole career in all aspects, really, getting called a one-season wonder and all stuff like that.

"When you hear stuff about your club, it's never easy. I know what it's like working day in, day out with the players, working hard in training, in the gym to try and win trophies. It hasn't happened but it doesn't mean we're not working as hard as everyone else.

"There have been some amazing moments, some amazing years for the club, so there are some positives there, but my profession is about winning. I want to win.

"I don't want to come to the end of my career and have regrets. I want to be the best I can be. I'd never say I'd stay at Spurs for the rest of my career; I'd never say I'd leave Spurs.

"People might look at it and say, 'He's desperate for trophies'. I still feel I've got almost another career to play. I'm not rushing anything; I'm not desperate to do anything.

"I feel like I can be even better, produce better numbers than I'm producing at the moment. I'm not afraid to say I want to be the best, to try to get on the level [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi got to. That's my aim: winning trophies, scoring 50, 60, 70 goals season in, season out. That's the standard I want to set myself."

Harry Kane looks set to be the centre of rumours and speculation this off-season after reportedly informing Tottenham he wants to leave the club.

The England international forward, who has scored 22 league goals this season, is contracted for another three years at Tottenham.

However Kane has not hidden his desire to win silverware, which has gone unfulfilled at Spurs.

 

TOP STORY – SKY BLUE PREFERENCE FOR KANE

Harry Kane has nominated Manchester City as his preferred destination and believes he has a verbal agreement with Tottenham to allow him to leave, claims The Times.

It is understood that Kane was convinced to remain with Spurs last year but as part of that he struck an agreement with chairman Daniel Levy to allow him to depart upon interest from City.

Kane will make renewed efforts to convince Levy and the Tottenham hierarchy to sell him this off-season. Spurs lost 2-1 to Aston Villa on Wednesday, and they may well miss out on Europe altogether.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are willing to offer up Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard as part of a move for Kane , claims Football Insider.

- The Red Devils are also ready to make a move for Southampton forward Danny Ings as they look to strength their front line reports The Telegraph.

- Another United target, Jadon Sancho , is being pursued by Chelsea , who have launched an £80m bid for the Borussia Dortmund talent according to The Sun.

- The list of suitors for United goalkeeper Dean Henderson is long according to Sky Sports, with Tottenham, Chelsea, Dortmund and Milan among those interested.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports that veteran Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud could be set to link up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan .

- Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu has attracted interest from Qatari club Al Duhail according to Sky Sport Italia.

Harry Kane's future was the topic on everyone's lips after Tottenham's loss to Aston Villa, although Ryan Mason was more concerned with a result that put a dent in Spurs' hopes of qualifying for Europe.

Star forward Kane has been linked with a move away and signed off this season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a 2-1 defeat, leaving Spurs vulnerable to dropping out of the Premier League's top seven with one game to go.

The 10,000 fans inside the ground will hope Kane's lap of the pitch after the full-time whistle did not constitute a final farewell, but for interim boss Mason it was not the time to comment on speculation.

"I don't think at the moment it's time to answer questions on Harry Kane," he told the BBC's Match of the Day.

"Right now we've just lost a game in the Premier League. I will speak about the game all day long but not about individuals."

Reflecting on a match in which Spurs led early on through Steven Bergwijn's stunning strike, Mason lamented errors and slack defending as Sergio Reguilon put through his own net and Ollie Watkins completed the turnaround before the break.

"We started the game brightly, unfortunate circumstances for their first goal and they didn't have to earn the second one either," he said.

"I didn't think there was much in the game, just those moments. When you make an unfortunate mistake as we did it gives them a good feeling. We tried to break them down but didn't take those crucial moments.

"It was just about trying to keep our discipline. We lost our shape at times. It was about trying to stay patient and calm. They had pace on the counter and were always a threat. It is a disappointing evening."

Spurs conclude their season at FA Cup winners Leicester City on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo would welcome Antoine Griezmann back to the club, though he does not expect Barcelona to sell a player who has not hit the expected heights at Camp Nou.

Griezmann joined Barca from their LaLiga rivals in July 2019, a year after a heavily rumoured move had initially appeared set to happen.

Instead, the France international decided to remain in Madrid for one more season, during which he scored 15 league goals. It was his lowest output for a top-flight campaign while at Atleti, who had signed him from Real Sociedad in 2014.

However, linking up with Lionel Messi at Barca has not quite panned out as hoped.

In two years at Barca, the 30-year-old has managed 34 goals in 98 appearances in all competitions. His second season has seen an improvement (19 scored, compared to 15 in the previous term), but he is still more of a peripheral figure than the focal point he once was at his previous club.

While he has started 44 games under Ronald Koeman in 2020-21, Griezmann has been substituted in 27 of them. His conversion rate on chances deemed ‘big’ by Opta (where a player is expected to score) has dipped slightly, yet his 11 open-play goals in LaLiga is actually in line with an xG of 10.5.

 

Cerezo, however, is in no doubt about the forward’s qualities, even if a return to the Wanda Metropolitano appears highly unlikely.

"He is a magnificent player, but I don't think Barca wants to sell Griezmann,” the Atleti president said while appearing on the El Larguero show on Cadena SER.

"I think any team would be crazy to have Griezmann.

"He had magnificent seasons with us and I think he became a football player at Atletico Madrid.”

A sensational swap deal involving Joao Felix has been rumoured, though Cerezo was quick to shut down the possibility of the Portuguese youngster, who has had his own issues living up to expectations in Madrid, moving on in the next transfer window.

"There's no way he leaves," he said. "He has to adapt, but when he takes off, he'll be one of the most important players on the planet."

So what next for Griezmann? His focus will soon switch to France’s bid for Euro 2020 glory, but is he certain to stay at Barca?

The LaLiga club have been linked with Erling Haaland and soon-to-be free agent Memphis Depay, suggesting a focus on adding attacking options for a new board determined to turn around the team’s fortunes on and off the pitch.

"A cycle has finished and we are working to carry out a renovation," Barca president Joan Laporta said at the Festa de l'Esport Catala on Tuesday.

"We have been eliminated from the Champions League very early and the league has been lost in an incomprehensible way.

"I'm talking about the end of the cycle and renewal because that's what I think needs to be done.”

Heading back to Atleti seems highly unlikely – Barca will not want to make the same mistake twice, having let Luis Suarez head there on the cheap – but Griezmann must wait to see if he will be brushed to one side amid potentially sweeping changes in Barcelona.

Robert Lewandowski may be contracted to Bayern Munich until 2023 but speculation is mounting about his future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Poland international, particularly if the Parisians lose Kylian Mbappe.

The agent of the Bundesliga record-breaker is reportedly putting pressure on Bayern to re-negotiate his current deal, fuelling the rumours of a switch.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA MAKE LEWANDOWSKI ENQUIRY

Chelsea have reached out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to discuss a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, according to Sky Sport Germany.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea would face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, in the event Lewandowski decides to leave Munich, where he has been based since 2014.

Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, showcasing their financial strength which could be switched to Lewandowski should they miss out on the Norwegian.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane reports the Daily Mail. Kane has reportedly asked to leave Spurs amid links with City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, claims The Sun. Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix is also a target for the Blues, reports Sky Germany.

- The Sun says David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami are pursuing Arsenal attacker Willian, who is reportedly keen on the opportunity.

Frank Lampard is on Crystal Palace's radar as they plan for Roy Hodgson's successor, according to Talksport. Hodgson will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.  

- Corriere dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso is ready to leave Napoli as Fiorentina circle and he wants club captain Lorenzo Insigne to join him.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to rule out signing another striker amid links to Tottenham star Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

United re-signed Edinson Cavani for another season and the veteran forward was on target in Tuesday's disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw against relegated Fulham.

Despite Cavani's renewal, Solskjaer is open to further bolstering his attack as speculation mounts over Kane, who reportedly wants to leave Tottenham in the offseason.

"Yes Edi [Cavani] signs but how many good strikers have we had at this club," Solskjaer said during his post-match news conference.

"I can't say that we're not signing a striker. Of course not, because we're building, we're working towards a better squad. We're top three two years on the bounce, but still nowhere where we want to be. 

"So hopefully we will end up with the strongest squad when we start next season and be more consistent than the ones in front of us."

Cavani's stunning 15th-minute opener was cancelled out by Joe Bryan with 14 minutes remaining as a capped crowd returned to Old Trafford amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Cavani became only the third United player to reach 10-plus goals in a single Premier League season while aged 33 or over at the start of that campaign, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17.

Cavani also became the 25th different player to score 10 or more goals in a single Premier League season for the Red Devils – more than any other team in the competition's history.

"You know, we've already voted on the goal of the season, but if that was in the vote, I think it might have had a chance to win it," said Solskjaer. "It was composed.

"He had a chance like that earlier on in the season in the Champions League and he didn't score. And the way he took this chance was just amazing. So, very pleased for him very pleased for the Stretford Enders that they experienced that in their first meeting between them, between them and Edi."

United – second behind champions Manchester City – have dropped 10 points from winning positions at home this season, their highest ever such total at Old Trafford in a Premier League season.

Solskjaer's United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more on home soil in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38).

As United prepare for the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26 amid a three-match winless run, Solskjaer added: "We need to play better against Villarreal than what we've done in the last three games. But I think you've seen so many times this season when we've been backed into the corner, when we've lost, when we've been criticised, we've always come back stuck together.

"I think it might be a wake-up call because we tried to do the fanciest of the flicks, the extraordinary things like the things that please the fans. That's not what we're about. We should be more efficient. Have a look at Cavani. Have a look at how he plays the game. Just every single one of us just look at him. The back tackles, the runs, he scores. There is no fluff. And we cannot have fluff in a game of football."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on speculation linking the Premier League champions with Tottenham star Harry Kane.

Kane has reportedly told Tottenham he wants to leave, sparking apparent interest from City, neighbours Manchester United and Chelsea.

Speaking after City's 3-2 Premier League defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday, Guardiola declined to fuel the rumours.

"Next question," Guardiola said during his post-match news conference. "He's a Tottenham Hotspurs player. Please."

Kane's future is unclear given his ambition to win trophies which has been unfulfilled at boyhood club Spurs.

City are in the market for a new forward with free agent Sergio Aguero exiting this off-season, although the club have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Meanwhile, Guardiola insisted he was not concerned by City's recent form ahead of the Champions League final against Premier League rivals Chelsea on May 29.

Guardiola's City have lost two of their past three matches, conceding eight goals in the process.

City have lost six Premier League games having led by two or more goals – only Tottenham (eight) have suffered more such defeats in the competition's history.

Against Brighton, City's possession figure was just 37 per cent, the lowest recorded by a side managed by Guardiola in a single top-flight match.

"On Sunday, with our people, we are going to lift the trophy," Guardiola said. "And after we are going to go for the final of the Champions League.

"I am concerned because this is the final of the Champions League, because the opponent is so tough. I saw incredible things today in the pitch with 11 against 10 for 80 minutes in the Premier League.

"We are fortunate to lift the [Premier League] trophy and we did it ourselves. Nobody gave us absolutely anything; nothing.

"That's why I am so proud of the team; it means how difficult is the Premier League again, and now we're going to prepare as best as possible for the final of the Champions League."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said a cycle has finished for the LaLiga giants and he wants to "carry out a renovation" after an underwhelming 2020-21 campaign.

Barca have fallen off the pace late in the LaLiga title race and will likely finish third in Ronald Koeman's first season as head coach at Camp Nou.

Koeman's Barca lifted the Copa del Rey title last month but crashed out of the Champions League in the round of 16 at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

Laporta, who assumed office for his second tenure as Barca president in March, said he is seeking an off-season shake-up amid links with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, Lyon captain Memphis Depay, Manchester City star Sergio Aguero and defender Eric Garcia, and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum.

"A cycle has finished and we are working to carry out a renovation," Laporta said at the Festa de l'Esport Catala

"We have been eliminated from the Champions League very early and the league has been lost in an incomprehensible way.

"I'm talking about the end of the cycle and renewal because that's what I think needs to be done.

"Starting next week we are going to make a series of decisions and at that time we will comment.

"Now what we have to do is work hard and effectively to have a very competitive team to win the Champions League and to win the league.

"I already said that when the season is over, I would evaluate the results, the game, the attitude, the mentality and the ambition."

Barcelona last won LaLiga in 2018-19 while they have only reached the Champions League semi-finals once since last lifting the European crown in 2015.

Barca's 2020-21 last-16 exit was their worst Champions League result since the 2006-07 season.

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