Manchester City have become a shock suitor for disgruntled Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, with his contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Pogba, 29, has previously spoken about regretting his move to Old Trafford, and had been expected to leave the Premier League in the upcoming transfer window, being strongly linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

While the Frenchman has highlighted his desire to compete for trophies, he may not have to leave the city to get his wish, with a chance to insert himself into Manchester football folklore if he ditches the red for sky blue.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TO OFFER POGBA FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH FREE TRANSFER

The Daily Mail is reporting City have interest in bringing in Pogba on a free transfer, while the Guardian claims the French midfielder would like to work with Pep Guardiola, and that the club are willing to offer a four-year deal.

If he makes the move, Pogba would be arguably the biggest name to ever make the switch, rivalling Carlos Tevez, but the Guardian report notes he would be taking a pay cut in doing so.

It is not known if offers coming from Spain would be more lucrative financially, but arguably no team can offer a better chance at European and domestic success than City.

In 154 Premier League appearances since his arrival in 2016, Pogba has scored 29 goals and laid on 41 assists.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Telegraph is reporting Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter is considered the favourite to replace Antonio Conte at Tottenham if he is to leave at the end of the season. Brighton are said to be seeking compensation of £10million from Spurs in the agreement.

Manchester United are interested in 19-year-old French striker Hugo Ekitike from Reims, according to the Daily Mail.

– Football London is reporting Chelsea are considering a move for Torino defender Gleison Bremer.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Monaco will not accept less than €70m for Liverpool defender Aurelien Tchouameni.

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting Liverpool have agreed to a £7m deal for Fulham's 19-year-old Portuguese forward Marco Silva.

Julian Nagelsmann says Bayern Munich have held encouraging contract talks with Robert Lewandowski's agent amid reported interest from Barcelona.

Lewandowski is contracted to the Bundesliga champions until June 2023 and Barca have been linked with a move for the prolific striker.

Bayern's management have met Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski's agent, as the Bavarian giants endeavour to keep the 33-year-old.

Nagelsmann is hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

The Bayern head coach said: "I asked if it was a good conversation. And it seems that it was. But there is nothing to report, in any sense.

"My position has not changed, we want to keep it as it is and extend his contract."

 

Nagelsmann is prepared to wait for Lewandowski to come to a decision over his future.

He said: "You know that Pini likes to negotiate and so you need a little patience. But that's one of my great strengths."

Lewandowski last week became the first player to score at least 34 Bundesliga goals in three consecutive seasons.

The Poland captain has found the back of the net an astonishing 49 times in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign.

Romelu Lukaku remains a "big player" for Chelsea, according to Thomas Tuchel, and the striker could make a long-awaited Premier League start against Wolves on Saturday.

Lukaku has endured a miserable first season back in England after making a club record £97.5million (€115m) return to Stamford Bridge from Inter last July.

The striker has scored only 12 goals and declared in an interview with Sky Sport Italia in December that he was not happy with his role under Tuchel.

Lukaku has remained out in the cold and has not started a top-flight game since a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in February.

Belgium's all-time leading scorer has been linked with a return to Inter at the end of the season, but Tuchel says he has a future at Chelsea and may be in the side to take on Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

When asked about Lukaku's future, the Blues boss said: "Yes, I want him to be an important part of the squad.

"He is right now a very important part of the squad and, next season, there is no recruitment [due to sanctions imposed on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich] and no players are about to leave, because it's simply not possible.

"We signed a big player and he still is a big player. He has trained very well and maybe starts tomorrow."

Tuchel has stressed the importance of "trust and commitment" as Lukaku endeavours to prove his worth.

"I don't know what needs to happen. He needs to happen. Everyone needs to happen. It's the life of a professional football player at this kind of level," Tuchel added.

"Everybody does their very best and it is the same for every player. Of course, we do the very best to integrate him and it needs to happen. He needs to happen. We need to support him and trust in what we do.

"There is not one thing that we can provide to make this happen. It's about trust, it's about commitment, about the feeling for the game, a bit of luck, game momentum. That's it."

Third-placed Chelsea have work to do in order to secure a Champions League place next season after a 1-0 defeat to Everton and Tuchel expects a response from that loss at Goodison Park. 

He said: "We need another reaction. That's where we are, we had a week to prepare, which was nice but not nice, because we prefer to play [in the] Champions League.

"But it was nice to have the team, to have influence in training to set the focus on things we want to improve. We want to meet our standards and we demand a lot from ourselves.

"I think there are a lot of reasons why it is sometimes normal to drop in intensity and to drop in the level of effort, but as we are an elite sports team and sports club competing on a very, very high level of this sport, there is not much room for normal behaviour.

"We want elite behaviour and this includes me. We want to step up and show another reaction and show that we can play better, we can have more impact in the matches and start from there on tomorrow."

Midfield duo N'Golo Kante and Jorginho will miss the clash with Wolves due to injury.

Thomas Tuchel says the future of every Chelsea player is uncertain amid the ongoing takeover saga but the Blues boss is "confident" the club will soon be under new ownership.

Chelsea have been in limbo since Roman Abramovich confirmed two months ago that he had put the club up for sale.

Sanctions imposed on Abramovich by the United Kingdom government due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine left Chelsea unable to offer Antonio Rudiger an improved contract, so the defender will leave as a free agent at the end of the season.

The London club have their hands tied, as they will be unable to bring in fresh faces or tie existing players down to new deals in their current predicament.

Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly was last week reportedly chosen as the preferred bidder to take over the cub, before Abramovich on Thursday hit out at "entirely false" claims that he has asked for the £1.5billion debt he was owed by Chelsea to be repaid.

Blues boss Tuchel is optimistic there will be a resolution before long and says it is vital for a takeover to be completed, with the futures of all of his players up in the air in the meantime.

He said in a media conference on the eve of Saturday's Premier League clash with Wolves: "I have been told last week that we have a preferred bidder and things are going forward, so it's a pretty important week now for the club but I was not involved. I was fully focused on the pitch, but after what I heard I'm confident."

Holders Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid last month before losing to Arsenal and Everton in the Premier League.

Tuchel feels it is only normal they will suffer setbacks due to off-field issues at the club.

He said: "Clearance is always the best, because when the situation is clear you can take actions, you can make a judgement and act. Otherwise you are in a passive role and that is what we are. We try to make the smallest issue possible, but of course it is there.

"We prefer to have it in a clear and forward-thinking situation and this is what we are looking and hoping for, that we know what we deal with and we know what the circumstances are in improving the team, not react or even worse do nothing."

He added: "It surely affects the team, but I cannot tell you to which degree. The longer the situation goes, now it has a huge effect because Toni leaves us in the middle of the process where we are sanctioned and we could not even fight, could not do offer or be in negotiations.

"It clearly has an effect and it makes not so much sense to deny it, we lose one of our key players so it is proven it has this effect. This decision has an effect on the dressing room, because Toni is not isolated when he is here at Cobham and not talking to anyone.

"He is a huge part, he is a leader and of course the situation is like that and the situation regarding the future of every individual player is not that clear, because there are no talks for nobody at the moment.

"Of course we try to minimise that influence, I think it's most important to accept it and not to use it as an excuse so if there's a certain degree of distraction, a certain degree of uncertainty, okay we accept it but there is still another 100 per cent to reach and this is still our level."

With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Kylian Mbappe is reportedly going to sign a two-year extension with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 23, has established himself as one of the world's premier players, with 24 goals and 16 assists in his 32 Ligue 1 fixtures this season, and six goals with six assists in eight Champions League games.

In his four seasons since arriving in Paris in 2018, he has won three Ligue 1 titles with one runners-up finish, but has never won the Champions League. A disappointing exit in the first knockout stage this campaign was supposed to push the young star out the door, but that may not be the case.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE ON THE BRINK OF PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN EXTENSION

Mbappe has been strongly linked with Real Madrid – often referred to as his 'dream club' – but he may snub the Champions League finalists for a deal Le Parisien reports is worth £42.5million per year, with an £85m signing bonus.

If he does opt to stay in France, it will have a significant domino effect as it would likely take PSG out of the discussion for a number of the world's most expensive players in the coming transfer window, and vastly increase Madrid's spending power if they had budgeted for his arrival.

While it appears at this stage that a deal is likely, The Mirror is reporting Mbappe's mum saying "there is no agreement in principle with Paris Saint-Germain or any other club".

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Star is reporting Pep Guardiola will sign a contract extension to keep him at Manchester City until at least 2025.

– Everton are prepared to sell goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to fund a rebuild, according to Talksport. Tottenham and Newcastle United are said to be monitoring the England international's situation.

– Jose Mourinho wants to bring Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Roma, per The Sun.

– The Sun is reporting Man City will compete with United for the signature of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

– According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli striker Victor Osimhen would prefer to join Arsenal instead of Man United or Newcastle.

Kylian Mbappe has yet to agree a contract with Paris Saint-Germain or any other club, according to the French superstar's mother.

With Mbappe's contract in the French capital due to expire in June, the 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Champions League finalists Real Madrid.

Mbappe has scored 35 goals and provided 19 assists for Mauricio Pochettino's team in all competitions this term, both club-high figures. PSG won the Ligue 1 title in dominant fashion but fell short against Madrid in the Champions League in March.

French newspaper Le Parisien reported on its website on Thursday that Mbappe was close to reaching an agreement in principle to extend his stay in Paris until June 2024.

Fayza Lamary, the 2018 World Cup winner's mother, later moved to refute suggestions Mbappe has decided anything about his future.

"There is no agreement in principle with Paris Saint-Germain [or any other club]," she wrote on Twitter.

"Discussions around Kylian's future are continuing in a climate of great serenity to allow him to make the best choice, with respect for all parties."

Mbappe scored his 130th and 131st Ligue 1 career goals on his last outing as PSG drew 3-3 with Strasbourg, making him the second highest goalscorer in the competition this century after Edinson Cavani, who scored 138 times in the league for the Paris outfit.

The forward has also scored 26 goals following a fast break in Ligue 1 since making his PSG debut in September 2017, more than double the amount recorded by any other player in the top five European leagues during that time. Mohamed Salah has 12 for Liverpool.

Antonio Conte has strongly hinted Tottenham will be triggering their option to purchase Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus after an encouraging start to his loan spell.

Kulusevski joined Spurs at the end of the January transfer window, with the club reportedly paying Juve €10million (£8.3m) to take him on loan until June 2023.

That deal included a purchase option, which is reportedly set at €30m (£24.9m) for the upcoming transfer window. If Spurs do not trigger that agreement, a mandatory €35m clause could come into effect next year if Kulusevski plays at least 45 minutes in 50 per cent of their Premier League games and the club qualifies for the Champions League, according to the Guardian.

And judging from Conte's response when asked about his future, Spurs are already considering Kulusevski as one of their own.

Asked if the club is taking up the purchase option on the winger, Conte told reporters: "Yeah, I think he's on loan but it's like a deal ended.

"He's a Tottenham player, 100 per cent in every aspect. Not officially, but he's 100 per cent a Tottenham player."

Kulusevski has made a strong impact after a slow first few weeks at the club, with his creativity and ability on the ball making him a valuable asset alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in Spurs' attack.

Since his Premier League debut on February 9, Kulusevski's eight assists is a Premier League high, with Kane (six) the only other player to register more than four.

The Sweden international has also scored three times over that period, making him just one of five players to reach double figures for goal involvements, alongside Son (15), Kane (14), Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo (both 10).

Kulusevski's ball-carrying ability has also been a weapon for Spurs. He has totalled 18 shot involvements (shots taken and chances created) at the end of a carry, a figure bettered by only six players.

Similarly, five of his goal involvements have come after carries, with no Premier League player managing more over the same period.

But while Kulusevski seems a certainty to stick around at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Conte insists he is not getting ahead of himself by planning transfer talks with chairman Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici.

"No, no, no," he laughed. "We're totally focused on this season.

"Also, because I repeat, we're finishing this season with only 15 players and at the moment, it's not convenient to give them a list, because the list it would be very, very, very big!

"You understand? It's not a good moment to give them the list."

Freiburg have confirmed the signing of Germany defender Matthias Ginter, who will join from Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of the season.

Ginter came through the Freiburg academy and made his Bundesliga bow for the club at the age of 18 in January 2012, scoring the winner against Augsburg.

He went on to make 81 appearances for Freiburg before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2014 and played 102 times across three seasons, helping them to a DFB-Pokal triumph in 2017.

Ginter switched to Gladbach ahead of the 2017-18 season and established himself as a key player in defence, and has made 46 appearances for Germany.

However, it was confirmed earlier in the season that the 28-year-old would not be signing a new deal with Gladbach, and Freiburg announced on Wednesday that he will be making a return to his first club.

 

"I wanted to do something special in my career, and there's nothing more meaningful to me than a return to my home," Ginter said.

"The development the club has undergone, as well as the potential in the team and the discussions with the club over the last weeks have been great. To find something like that in my hometown, especially nowadays, is extremely rare. It was just a perfect fit all round."

Ginter could well be playing in the Champions League next season, with Freiburg sitting in fourth place after a superb season.

They have won three of their last four Bundesliga games – drawing the other one against Gladbach – and hold a one-point advantage over RB Leipzig and a three-point lead over sixth-placed Cologne, while they are three behind Bayer Leverkusen, who they face in a potentially huge clash in the final game of the league season after a contest with seventh-placed Union Berlin on Saturday.

That will not be the last match of Freiburg's campaign, however, as they also have a DFB-Pokal final against Leipzig to look forward to on May 21. It will be their first appearance in the final of the competition.

Barcelona's financial volatility has necessitated a cut of overall wage spend, and Philippe Coutinho has long been viewed as dispensable.

Since his big-money signing from Liverpool, the incompatibility the Brazil international has represented has only been reinforced with loan spells at Bayern Munich and Aston Villa.

However, in need of funds, the Blaugrana have reportedly set the Birmingham club a timeframe for confirming his permanent signing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE ASTON VILLA COUTINHO ULTIMATUM

Barcelona have given Aston Villa until the end of the month to confirm whether they will sign Coutinho on a permanent deal, Sport is reporting.

The cash-strapped Catalan giants loaned Coutinho to Villa in January with a €40million (£33.7m) purchase option, but Villa have now been given until the end of May to finalise the deal.

Barcelona have reportedly insisted that the finances be resolved by the end of June, as it would help balance their accounts for the season. 

The 29-year-old has played erratically despite four goals and three assists in 14 appearances, not directly contributing to a league goal since early March against Leeds.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku has no intention of joining Milan or Newcastle United despite frustration over a lack of opportunities, according to the Evening Standard.

- Chelsea want to sign 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Goal reports.

- Football Insider reports Inter Milan are looking to sell Stefan de Vrij, with Tottenham and Aston Villa among the clubs interested.

- Lazio are willing to lower their asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to around €80million, per Calciomercato.

Thomas Muller has extended his deal with Bayern Munich until the end of the 2023-24 campaign, the Bundesliga champions have announced.

The Germany international, who has spent his entire 14-season senior career with Bayern, was due to be out of contract at the end of the next campaign.

However, after playing a vital part in the Bavarian giants' 10th successive league triumph this season, Muller and Bayern have agreed to fresh terms.

"I'm delighted to have extended my contact with FC Bayern Munich until 2024," Muller told the club's official website on Tuesday.

"The journey we've been on since I joined the FCB academy in 2000 has been a fantastic success story up to now.

"It gives me immense pleasure to hold up the red colours year after year, on and off the pitch – even if the wind blows in your face from time to time. Let's keep going together."

 

Muller has won 11 Bundesliga titles with Bayern in total, with his latest triumph seeing him overtake David Alaba (10) as the competition's outright most successful player.

He has made 624 first-team appearances in total and has also lifted two Champions Leagues, the Club World Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and six DFB-Pokal crowns.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn said: "Thomas Muller is an icon who wears the club badge on his heart. 

"FC Bayern has always been characterised by continuity, and therefore we're pleased that we've managed to extend the contract of this important player. 

"He's someone who assumes leadership and is also an important character in the dressing room with his personality."

Muller has been as important as ever for Bayern this term, having registered 17 Bundesliga assists – four more than next-best Christopher Nkunku – and scored seven times.

Indeed, those 24 direct goal involvements is a tally bettered only by Erling Haaland (28), Nkunku (31) and team-mate Robert Lewandowski (36).

The 32-year-old still has some way to go to beat the Bundesliga record for assists in a single campaign that he set in 2019-20 when setting up 21 goals.

After tying down 2014 World Cup winner Muller for the next two years, Bayern are reportedly hopeful of agreeing fresh terms with compatriot Manuel Neuer in the coming weeks.

Cristiano Ronaldo will still be at Manchester United next season "as far as I know", says outgoing interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Big changes are anticipated at Old Trafford in the offseason as new boss Erik ten Hag replaces Rangnick, who is taking on a dual role as United consultant and Austria coach.

Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani all made their final home appearances as United players in Monday's 3-0 defeat of Brentford.

And there has also been widespread speculation around Ronaldo and how he will fare under Ten Hag – or whether he could even move on a year after his return to the club.

But Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in just 29 Premier League games this season, and Rangnick does not foresee United's number seven leaving.

Speaking to Stadium Astro after the Brentford game, Rangnick said of Ronaldo's response to the crowd at full-time: "I don't think why it should be a wave of goodbye.

"He has another year of contract, and as far as I know, he will be here next season again."

Meanwhile, Ronaldo posted on his Instagram page: "Once again, great support from the stands.

"Let's take this opportunity of our last game of the season at Old Trafford to thank our amazing supporters, who endured a difficult season by our side and never abandoned us.

"Thanks, guys. Your support means the world to us and our goal is to become better everyday, so that we can achieve what we all want: glory for Man. United!"

Along with veterans Matic, Mata and Cavani, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are set to depart United, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been linked with a return to Crystal Palace.

Thomas Frank believes Brentford have a "very good chance" of keeping midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Former Tottenham playmaker Eriksen resumed his career by making a sensational return to the Premier League in January, joining the Bees on a deal until the end of the season.

It is only last June that the 30-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 game against Finland and was brought back to life on the pitch.

Eriksen was released by Inter, as he would have been unable to play in Italy after having a cardioverter defibrillator fitted.

Inter's loss has been very much Brentford's gain, as the former Ajax midfield maestro has pulled the strings for the London club and also scored two goals in as many games against Serbia and the Netherlands back on the international stage.

Eriksen has been linked with a return to Spurs, while other clubs are reportedly keen to sign him as a free agent at the end of the season, but Brentford boss Frank is hopeful he will sign a new deal with the Bees.

When asked about keeping his compatriot, Frank told BBC Sport: "I am always positive. I always believe we have a very good chance.

"I know he is happy here, he is enjoying his football. It is a decision that will be taken at the end of the season."

He added on Sky Sports: "The key is he performs consistently at a high level ... It's no secret we would like to do everything we can to keep him."

Brentford have won five of the eight league games Eriksen has featured in, while he has provided two assists and scored a goal himself. The Dane has created 16 chances, with 11 of those coming from set-pieces.

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed they have reached an agreement to sign Germany international centre-back Nico Schlotterbeck from fellow Bundesliga side Freiburg.

The 22-year-old has featured 53 times for Freiburg in all competitions, including 35 outings this campaign, and will remain with the club until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Schlotterbeck, who had a spell on loan with Union Berlin last season, has signed a long-term deal with Dortmund that runs through until July 2027.

He is the second new defensive addition for BVB ahead of the transfer window officially opening, with Niklas Sule also set to join from rivals Bayern Munich.

Dortmund confirmed the imminent arrival of Schlotterbeck, who has featured twice for Germany at senior level, on their official website on Monday.

"After consultation with all parties involved, I have today decided to announce my move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022," Schlotterbeck said. 

"In doing so, I want to provide clarity for SC Freiburg, Borussia Dortmund and myself personally.

"It is important for me to be able to fully concentrate on the remaining three games in the season run-in with SC Freiburg, which we hope will be successful. 

"After that, I'm looking forward to the new responsibilities with Borussia Dortmund."

Freiburg occupy the final Champions League qualification spot in the Bundesliga with two games to go and also face RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal final on May 21.

Memphis Depay is determined to be a key player for Barcelona for "several more years" despite speculation over his future.

The Netherlands forward was signed by Ronald Koeman on a two-year deal as a free agent last June after his Lyon contract expired.

Depay is Barca's leading scorer in his first season at Camp Nou with 12 goals in all competitions, but has only started two LaLiga games since the turn of the year, with Xavi bringing Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the club in January.

The 28-year-old has been hampered by injuries, but found the back of the net with a clinical finish in a 2-1 win over Real Mallorca on Sunday.

With Ansu Fati back from injury and the Blaugrana expected to strengthen ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, Depay's future has been called into question, but he is eager to stay put.

The former Manchester United attacker told ESPN: "I came here wanting to play for the team. I want to be important for the team next year and several more years,"

He added: "It's normal that I have a lot of competition at Barca. I play for the best club in the world."

Head coach Xavi also suggested Depay has a part to play beyond this season.

"Memphis trains very well and that's why he plays. We want this type of player, with this attitude," he said after Sunday's win.

"Surely I've been unfair to him, but if he performs like this he has to play."

Valencia have denied reports that Carlos Soler is set to join LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

It was claimed in the Spanish media on Monday that Soler, who is under contract until June 2023, will make the move to Barca for a fee of €20million.

Valencia reacted by tweeting "don't lie" and revealed they are in talks with the midfielder over a new deal.

A club statement said: "In response to a story published this Monday in Spanish newspaper Diario AS, Valencia CF deny the existence of any agreement – or any ongoing negotiation – with FC Barcelona for the transfer of Carlos Soler.

 

"The club are currently in an open negotiation process with the player and his agents to extend his contract with Valencia CF."

Soler has scored 12 goals and provided five assists for Valencia this season. Seven of the 25-year-old's strikes have come from the penalty spot.

Talk of Soler moving to Camp Nou comes amid speculation over the future of Frenkie de Jong, who has been linked with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

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