Barcelona produced arguably the most impressive performance of Xavi's tenure as the Blaugrana made something of a statement in their 4-2 defeat of Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone brought up Xavi's past criticism of Atletico's style of play in the build-up, though the latter had the last laugh at Camp Nou as Barca replaced Los Colchoneros in fourth.

The visitors did enjoy a promising start with Yannick Carrasco's well-worked opener eight minutes in, but Barca were soon ahead thanks to Jordi Alba's excellent volley and a Gavi header.

Ronald Araujo increased Barca's lead just before half-time and Dani Alves blasted in a fourth for his first goal since his return.

Luis Suarez pulled one back against his former club and Alves was dismissed, but Barca went on to claim a deserved win.

Atletico led in style as Suarez latched onto Koke's excellent pass and fed Carrasco into the box, with the Belgian sweeping his first-time finish into the bottom-left corner.

They were pegged back just two minutes later when Dani Alves crossed to the left and Jordi Alba met it with a spectacular sliced volley that spun high into the far corner of the net.

Another Barca cross proved decisive soon after as the hosts went in front, debutant Adama Traore seeing his pinpoint delivery nodded in by Gavi.

Araujo then made it 3-1 late in the half, smashing in from close range after Ferran Torres headed Alves' free-kick onto the crossbar.

Alves became the fourth-oldest player to score in LaLiga this century early in the second half, drilling home from Alba's cut-back.

Barca were made to suffer as Suarez headed in and Alves was sent off for scraping his studs down Carrasco's calf, but Atletico could not salvage a result.

 

What does it mean? Advantage Barcelona in top-four race

The title is all but out of reach for both Barca and Atletico, meaning securing Champions League football is the priority.

While it is not beyond the realms of possibility that both could finish in the top four, victory for Barca here is certainly a significant boost – and the opposite is true for Atletico, who drop to fifth.

In previous years, one might be inclined to back Atletico in such a race, but they have been so poor defensively that it is difficult to be so optimistic.

Traore makes a statement

Many were a bit surprised by Barca's desire to bring Traore back to the club given he was not even a starter at Wolves, but he did show just how much of an impact he can have. He had a role in Barca's first goal and then set up the second with an excellent cross. Beyond that, his carries caused problems in the Atletico defence, and such an explosive player could be invaluable for a Barca side that has often looked short of invention.

Alves' moment of madness

The veteran Brazilian right-back was excellent for much of the game, setting up Alba's volley and getting a lovely goal of his own, but his decision to scrape his studs down Carrasco's calf made no sense and was asking for a red card. That put Barca under pressure – luckily for him, they got the job done.

What's next?

Barca have the local derby with Espanyol to look forward to next Sunday. Atletico host nearby Getafe the day before.

Xavi hopes Atletico Madrid's Luis Suarez receives a standing ovation from Barcelona's supporters on Sunday, as he ranked the Uruguayan alongside Samuel Eto'o as "the best modern-day Barca centre forward".

Suarez left Barca – in frustrating circumstances for the former Liverpool star and his close friend Lionel Messi – in 2020, with then-coach Ronald Koeman having deemed him surplus to requirements.

Barca's decision backfired as Suarez went on to propel Atleti to their second LaLiga title under Diego Simeone, scoring 21 top-flight goals last season.

The 35-year-old scored 198 goals for Barca between 2014 and 2020, netting once every 120 minutes, and said he was "disrespected" by the club when they decided to ship him out.

Xavi played alongside Suarez in his first season at Camp Nou, and believes the forward must be categorised as a modern-day great at Barca.

"I think he deserves a standing ovation," Xavi said of Suarez in a news conference previewing Sunday's clash with Atleti.

"The best modern-day Barca centre forward, with Eto'o. He has been great. You have to welcome him with honour. 

"The pity is that he couldn't leave with a great tribute because of COVID."

 

Antoine Griezmann could well partner Suarez up top, with the France attacker returning to his parent club. 

Griezmann has played more LaLiga games for Atleti against Barcelona without scoring than any other opponent (11).

Xavi, meanwhile, is facing Atleti for the first time as a coach. As a player, he lost none of his last eight appearances against Los Rojiblancos in the competition (W6 D2).

Barca would move above Atleti should they win, though if Atleti triumph, Diego Simeone will surpass Slovakian Ferdinand Daucik (234) for the most LaLiga victories by a non-Spanish manager in the competition's history.

Asked for his thoughts on Simeone's style of play, Xavi said: "It wouldn't be Barca's style, it wouldn't fit in, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have merit and isn't competitive. 

"People wouldn't understand if we were defensive. They win and it's legal to play like that, but it's not my style. It doesn't mean I don't admire him. Cholo is a great coach, it's not a criticism."

Barca are well adrift of LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, and Xavi understands that his priority is securing Champions League qualification.

"At the moment I want to enter the Champions League and then I don't rule anything out knowing the difficulty," he said. "We are 15 points down with one game in hand. We have to be realists."

Xavi believes Ousmane Dembele can still be a useful player for Barcelona for the remainder of the season, despite the winger's refusal to agree a new deal.

Barca insisted last month that Dembele would be sold before the transfer window's deadline after the 24-year-old turned down the club's latest contract offer.

Dembele, signed from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in 2017 following Neymar's departure to Paris Saint-Germain, has struggled with injuries since his move to Camp Nou.

He has played just six times in LaLiga this season and in just over half of Barca's league games since his arrival four-and-a-half years ago.

Dembele has managed 31 goals and 22 assists in 129 appearances since his debut in September 2017, meaning he has been directly involved in 0.63 goals per 90 minutes. That puts him on a par with Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial among wingers from Europe's top five leagues, and just behind Liverpool star Sadio Mane (0.64).

In his sole season at Dortmund, Dembele created 100 chances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals.

 

Xavi made it clear upon his arrival as coach last year that he saw Dembele as a key player for the future of the club, but the France international is now into the last five months of his deal.

PSG seemed set to sign him late in the January window, but that move did not go ahead, while there is also rumoured interest from the Premier League.

However, Barca and Dembele have now decided to put their differences to one side and Xavi insisted it would be a foolish move to omit him from the squad.

"Well, we haven't found a solution for Dembele," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with reigning LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid, for which Dembele was included in the squad alongside new arrivals Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

"The situation is as it was a month ago, he hasn't signed a contract. We had a meeting with the president. We have all met and we have decided that he is part of the squad. We cannot shoot ourselves in the foot.

"He's a player for Barca. We have to use him, he can help us, he has been a good professional when he has been involved or not, so that's the club’s decision. We will use him. I think he can be useful, he's part of the team."

Asked if he is concerned about the reaction of the fans to Dembele, Xavi said: "I understand the fans if they are hurt, but we have to close ranks for the good of the team. He is training well.

"He is a club player and his commitment is clear. His commitment is impeccable."

Another Barca player in talks over a renewal is centre-back Ronald Araujo, and Xavi is eager to tie the 22-year-old down.

"Yes, it is a priority. It is a reality and it gives us a lot," he said. "A very popular person in the locker room. It is a priority operation."

Xavi also confirmed that both Traore, re-signed on loan from Wolves, and Aubameyang, who has joined essentially as a free agent after cutting ties with Arsenal, are in contention to face Atleti.

"Both of them have trained well. Probably Adama is in a better shape. Auba has had COVID-19, so he was working individually [before leaving Arsenal], so we will decide," Xavi said.

"They are excited and we also want to see them in the squad. Two great signings.

"We have reinforced ourselves well and let's see how far we get. There is a good atmosphere and a good group."

Erling Haaland remains tight-lipped on his plans for his future.

The 21-year-old Norway forward has drawn widespread interest after two outstanding years at Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland appears destined to exit BVB later this year but has a decision to make.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA LOOMS AS HAALAND'S PREFERRED MOVE

Haaland is holding off on a decision on his club future to see if Barcelona can raise the required €360million to put together a package for the striker, reports the Daily Star.

The report claims Borussia Dortmund representatives believe Barcelona is Haaland's preferred destination.

The 21-year-old also has interest from Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea .

 

ROUND-UP

- CBS Sports claims Saudi Arabia's  Al Nassr  have lodged a final bid for Arsenal outcast  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , with the deal matching his Gunners salary and including a break clause after 12 months that would allow him to return to Europe. Gerard Romero claims  Barcelona have reached an agreement with Arsenal to sign Aubameyang, although the Blaugrana must offload Ousmane Dembele  first.

- Atletico Madrid are unwilling to allow Alvaro Morata to join rivals Barcelona ,   claims Sport. Morata is on loan at Juventus from Atletico amid talk of a switch to the Blaugrana, with Arsenal , Newcastle United and Tottenham also linked to the Spain striker.

Dejan Kulusevski  is set to be loaned from Juventus to  Tottenham ,   with the two clubs in advanced talks on a deal, according to Fabrizio Romano. The deal would include an option to buy.

- The Daily Star reports likely new Everton manager Frank Lampard will block  Dominic Calvert-Lewin 's proposed move to  Arsenal .

- Goal claims top-four hopefuls  West Ham  have made dual bids for Leeds United pair  Kalvin Phillips  and  Raphinha . The Sun claims the Hammers' bid for Phillips is worth £50m.

Atletico Madrid have confirmed the signing of utility player Daniel Wass from fellow LaLiga side Valencia on an 18-month contract.

The Denmark international, who was due to become a free agent at the end of the season, is reported to have cost Atletico €2.7million plus add-ons.

Diego Simeone's side confirmed the transfer on their official website on Thursday, making the Brondby youth product their first signing of the January window.

Wass is comfortable playing in a number of positions, including at right-back, where Atleti have been looking to recruit following Kieran Trippier's move to Newcastle United.

After three years at Celta Vigo, Wass made the switch to Valencia in July 2018 and featured 152 times – at least 12 times more than any other player for the club over that time.

Used predominantly in central midfield this term, the 32-year-old scored one goal and assisted another in 19 LaLiga starts for Los Che.

Wass has also been capped 41 times by his national side and played in five of Denmark's six matches en route to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last year.

Kieran Trippier has confirmed he attracted "strong interest" from Manchester United last year before returning to the Premier League with Newcastle United.

Trippier swapped a LaLiga title defence with Atletico Madrid for a relegation battle with Newcastle this month, with the England full-back joining Eddie Howe's side for a reported fee of £12million.

The 31-year-old spent two-and-a-half seasons at Atleti after leaving Tottenham in 2019, helping Diego Simeone's side clinch a LaLiga title last year.

There were reports since early in 2021 that Trippier wished to return to England, and United were heavily linked.

Trippier has now confirmed that United and Atleti held discussions before the 2021-22 season, after England's run to the final of Euro 2020, but the potential move broke down over the Spanish club's demand that his release clause, reported at around £50m (€60m), was met.

"After the Euros, there was really strong interest," Trippier told Newcastle great Alan Shearer in an interview with The Athletic.

"I've got to be careful what I say because I don't want to get into trouble, but yeah, there was interest. We had conversations, but Atletico Madrid just wanted my release clause and it was a lot of money for a 30-year-old, so I understand why Man United didn't do that.

"There were other clubs interested too. Anyway, it's gone now, so it doesn't bother me."

Trippier hopes Simeone, who has established himself as one of world football's leading coaches during his decade-long stint at Atleti, follows him from LaLiga to the Premier League.

"I'd love to see him working in England. I know he was learning English about a year ago, and his partner speaks English," Trippier said.

"The thing about Simeone is that because he's so passionate when he's talking in the dressing room, I think it would get to him if he wasn't completely fluent. But I would love to see him in the Premier League. I think everyone would."

 

Simeone's pragmatic approach has sometimes come in for criticism, but there can be no doubting its success.

"It's a bit unfair, because Simeone has been so successful. He's won eight trophies," Trippier added, before referring to a comment Jurgen Klopp made about Atleti not playing "proper football" after Liverpool's defeat to Los Colchoneros in the 2019-20 Champions League knockout stage.

"I understand where Klopp is coming from, but if you're playing at Anfield you can't go toe-to-toe with [Liverpool] because you'll get punished.

"Everybody has their own system or set-up and Simeone's is different. It's worked for him."

Trippier's decision to leave Tottenham came after Mauricio Pochettino's side had reached the 2019 Champions League final, losing to Liverpool - ironically, at Atleti's Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

The former Burnley defender enjoyed a fine 2018 World Cup, but felt his form dropped off slightly afterwards. However, he also hit out at Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who he claims was engineering a sale while the season was ongoing.

"f you look back to the last few months of my Tottenham career, I admit that I wasn't at the levels that I was at the World Cup and there's no excuse," he said.

"After the Champions League final, it felt like the right time to move on.

"What annoyed me, I know 100 per cent for a fact – and this is what I was most angry about – that two months before the end of the season, Daniel was offering me to other clubs.

"I knew for certain that was happening, so I knew my time there must be up. I was playing for my team-mates and the supporters, but I also knew I wasn't wanted."

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez "cannot understand" why players are being forced to play so many fixtures in such a congested period.

South American nations are playing two World Cup qualifiers over the coming days, after FIFA inserted an extra international break into the calendar.

European countries are not in action, but CONMEBOL are attempting to catch up on fixtures missed due to the coronavirus pandemic and last year's Copa America.

Uruguay are one of five teams separated by just two points in the qualification standings, but have lost their past four games by an aggregate of 11-1.

They travel to Paraguay on Thursday, before hosting Venezuela on February 1. However, that second game comes just two days before a crucial Copa del Rey tie for Real Madrid, and Federico Valverde is set to travel back to Spain for that match.

Three other players, Getafe trio Mathias Olivera, Damian Suarez and Mauro Arambarri, could well have to be involved in a LaLiga match on February 4, while Suarez's Atletico Madrid are in action against his former club Barcelona on February 6.

It is a situation that leaves Suarez frustrated.

"I have to speak about the physical part of being a human being as well as a sportsman," he told reporters.

"We cannot understand how it is that we will compete in a World Cup qualifier next Tuesday and that Pajarito [Valverde] in this case, will have to compete in a Copa del Rey match.

"That my colleagues from Getafe, Mauro, Damian and Mati, will have to play that Friday in a LaLiga match. The schedule is quite tight, but we have to adapt to it.

"We are professionals and will do our job on the pitch because that is demanded from us, but sometimes the players are not in other people's thoughts.

"It happened before when we played three qualifiers in 10 days, with long trips of more than 12-15 hours, and obviously fatigue then has an influence."

Suarez, however, insists the squad's full focus is on arresting their dismal form and pushing on to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this year.

He said: "There are players who go through different stages of both winning and losing streaks. But when you come into the national team, the games that you have been playing suddenly do not matter.

"What matters is the hunger to compete, the wish to live and feel what I feel with this shirt on and to keep demonstrating that I am prevailing and that I want to keep competing and have the burning ambition to make it to the World Cup.

"I've been lucky enough to have played in three World Cups already and now, at 35 years old, I want to continue with that same ambition and I wish to keep playing World Cups and to have the chance to play at my fourth World Cup. Because of that, I am here."

Atletico Madrid have announced that goalkeeper Jan Oblak has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Slovenia international, Atletico's most used player this season, will now serve a period of self-isolation.

However, with a 12-day gap until Atleti travel to Barcelona for their next LaLiga outing, the 29-year-old is not expected to miss any matches.

A statement on the Spanish side's official website on Tuesday read: "Jan Oblak has tested positive for COVID-19. 

"Our goalkeeper remains isolated, strictly complying with the recommendations of the health authorities."

Oblak's 30 starts in all competitions this term is bettered by only two others – Jose Fonte and Antonio Rudiger (both 31) – among players from Europe's top five leagues.

He has conceded 26 goals in 21 LaLiga games this season from an expected goals (xG) against return of 18.46, with that negative 7.54 differential the worst in the division.

The 38 goals Oblak has conceded in all competitions this term across his 30 appearances is two more than he shipped in 46 games last time out.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone lavished praise on his side for their fighting performance after netting two stoppage-time goals to win 3-2 over Valencia on Saturday.

Simeone's side appeared destined for a third consecutive defeat in all competitions after Yunus Musah and Hugo Duro had put the visitors two goals up at the interval.

Matheus Cunha reduced the deficit in the 64th minute, before added-time strikes from Angel Correa and Mario Hermoso secured a remarkable victory.

“At half time I spoke to the players, I told them what I felt and I have transmitted in recent years, 'if we have to lose we lose with pride'," Simeone told reporters.

“The team left their soul out there, they left their lives on the pitch. There are nights that remain with you and this one is going to stay with us."

He added: "It was a fantastic second half. We were ourselves. Watching that second half, I felt: this is us."

Atleti had collected just four points from the previous 18 available in LaLiga, with the win boosting their lagging top-four aspirations.

Simeone was almost reduced to tears on the touchline after Hermoso's winner as the Spanish champions firmed up fourth spot, three points clear of fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

"What did I feel? That it's marvellous, this place I'm in," Simeone said. "Whenever it feels like it might be going, I want to hold on even tighter. In the first half, my heart hurt."

The result saw Atletico become just the second LaLiga team in the 21st century to come from behind to win a game with two goals in added time, after Betis did so – also against Valencia - in December 2011.

Atletico Madrid struck twice in stoppage time to seal a dramatic 3-2 LaLiga win over Valencia at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

Diego Simeone's side looked like they were on their way to a third consecutive defeat in all competitions after Yunus Musah and Hugo Duro had put the visitors two goals up at the interval.

Matheus Cunha reduced the deficit in the 64th minute, setting the stage for Angel Correa and Mario Hermoso to secure the most remarkable victory with strikes in added time.

Atleti remained in fourth place, four points behind Real Betis with a game in hand, while Valencia stayed in ninth.

Diego Simeone has confirmed that Luis Suarez will play for Atletico Madrid against Valencia on Saturday, despite a lack of form and apparent recent falling out between the pair.

The Uruguay international is Los Rojiblancos' top scorer in all competitions this season with nine goals, but has only found the net once in his last 11 club matches.

Suarez made his frustration known when he was substituted during last month's 2-1 defeat at Sevilla, appearing to direct expletives towards his manager.

The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a Premier League reunion with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, but Simeone insisted at a news conference ahead of the weekend's clash at the Wanda Metropolitano that he has spoken to Suarez and intends to play him.

Atletico have been on a poor run of late, winning just one of their last six LaLiga games and being eliminated from both the Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey in their last two outings.

"Luis Suarez will play," the Argentine coach confirmed. "I have no doubt that these moments make us stronger, because we have been in difficult moments and very good ones during my ten years at the club [as a coach].

"This moment is something we've never experienced before and it is like life itself, we need to defend ourselves continuously. What you did yesterday doesn't count, it counts what you do today and I love it like this because this is what happens in life itself.

"I've already talked to Luis and with the club. With all the people I've needed to, we've talked already. They know what I think, and I'm [currently] thinking about the match against Valencia.”

 

Suarez has scored 30 goals across all competitions since his arrival at Atletico from Barcelona in September 2020. Karim Benzema (54) and Gerard Moreno (41) are the only players currently based in Spain to have scored more often during that time.

Additionally, only Lionel Messi (231) has more than Suarez's 175 LaLiga goals since the Uruguayan joined Barcelona from Liverpool in July 2014.

Cristiano Ronaldo's dream homecoming to Manchester United has not gone quite to plan so far.

While Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in 22 games – double the amount of any other United player – his team have otherwise struggled this term.

And with United in a serious battle to qualify for next season's Champions League, an early parting of the ways could be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO'S TOP-FOUR ULTIMATUM

Ronaldo's representatives have informed United that the superstar forward will leave if the club miss out on a top-four finish in the Premier League, according to The Sun.

The Portugal international, who penned a two-year contract in August with the option of a further year, is said to be concerned by the direction in which United are heading.

Ralf Rangnick's side beat Brentford 3-1 on Tuesday but still remain seventh, albeit now just two points off fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.

Serial winner Ronaldo last week questioned the attitude of some of his United team-mates and then reacted angrily to being substituted off during the win at Brentford.


ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich will consider selling Robert Lewandowski at the end of the season if their talisman turns down the offer of a new deal, according to Bild. Lewandowski, who received The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year on Monday, is out of contract at the end of 2022-23.

– Goal reports that Atletico Madrid have no intention of allowing Luis Suarez to complete a sensational return to the Premier League this month. The former Liverpool striker had been touted as a target for Aston Villa, who are now under the management of his old team-mate Steven Gerrard.

Chelsea have set their sights on a trio of Barcelona players, reports El Nacional. Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is said to be particularly keen on Frenkie de Jong, while full-back Sergino Dest and youngster Gavi are also targets.

– Meanwhile, Sport say that Barca are interested in Chelsea's Andreas Christensen. Barca are hoping to reach a pre-contract agreement with the defender this month.

Newcastle United must fend off competition from another Premier League club for the signing of Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos, claims Sky Sports. The Magpies are also reported to be interested in Jesse Lingard.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the subject of a loan bid, with an obligation to buy, from Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. The Gabon international is out of the picture under Mikel Arteta and may be granted permission to leave for the rest of 2021-22. Goal are reporting that story.

Diego Simeone has demanded his players give their all to get Atletico Madrid's season back on track but admitted they are "competing well and have the desire" after being knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Sociedad on Wednesday.

Goals in each half from Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Sorloth were enough to consign the Rojiblancos to a 2-0 defeat at Reale Arena, their seventh loss in their last 12 games in all competitions.

It means that it has been four seasons since Atletico reached the quarter-finals of the Copa dey Rey, having not done so since the 2017-18 campaign.

It is the second time in six days that Atletico have been eliminated from a cup competition, having lost 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in the semi-final of the Supercopa de Espana last week in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking after the game in San Sebastian, Simeone urged his players to rescue their season. They are due to play Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League, and sit in fourth place in LaLiga, though a sizeable 16 points behind leaders Real Madrid.

"We must put our heart, our head, and our shoulders in the face of what is happening to us," he insisted. "We need to contribute together starting with the game on Saturday [at home to Valencia].

"It's a shame because the team is competing well and has the desire to get out of this uncomfortable situation.

"We're in a phase wherein, like many say, the dynamic is not good. We need to think about the positives. I'm optimistic and I believe in my players.

"Football is decisive in both penalty boxes and the more decisive you are, the closer you get to winning. Hopefully, we can again find the clean sheets that were once criticised but that now hold more weight. With stability, everything else becomes easier.

"It's a problem of football, of life. Every day is not the same. Last season was magnificent and this one is being very difficult.

"The opportunities are there, we have the league and the Champions League. I will not stay still, that's for sure."

Simeone was also asked about an incident prior to the game at Reale Arena when La Real fans were seen to throw objects at the Atletico bus as it pulled towards the stadium.

"We were on a path surrounded by Real Sociedad fans, who I understand are always there, but they were protected by the people who should have dealt with the situation. Suddenly, there was no protection and everyone saw that."

Luis Suarez's future at Atletico Madrid is unclear with his contract to expire at the end of the season.

Suarez helped Atleti win LaLiga last term with 21 goals.

The Uruguayan joined Atletico from top-flight rivals Barcelona in 2020 on a two-year deal.

TOP STORY – SUAREZ WANTS GERRARD REUNION AT VILLA

Suarez wants a reunion with former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, reports Gerard Romero.

The Atletico Madrid forward's contract expires at the end of this season and has been sounded out by numerous Brazilian clubs.

Suarez has had offers from Palmeiras, Corinthians and Atletico Mineiro but wants to link up with Gerrard who took over at Villa in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN claims Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks with Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Milan's Franck Kessie, as part of their effort to convince Kylian Mbappe to stay in the French capital amid interest from Real Madrid.

- Juventus have made an enquiry for Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria according to 90min as they prepare for Arthur Melo to join Arsenal .

- Arsenal's bid to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic looks to have hit a roadblock with the Serbian only interested in joining Juventus, reports the Mail.

- Milan want to bolster their backline and are interested in a loan deal for Tottenham's Japhet Tanganga, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Leicester City and Newcastle United may rival Brentford to sign Inter's Christian Eriksen, reports the Times.

Diego Simeone has opened up about conversations with Luis Suarez as Atletico Madrid attempt to get the former Barcelona striker back to form.

The Uruguay international is Atletico's top scorer in all competitions this season, albeit with just nine goals from 27 appearances.

The 34-year-old, whose contract at Wanda Metropolitano expires at the end of the campaign, has only found the net once in his last 11 club matches.

Suarez's frustration was evident when he was substituted during last month's defeat at Sevilla, with the former Liverpool striker appearing to direct expletives towards coach Simeone.

With the striker's sharp shooting deserting him and his future uncertain, the Atleti boss said there have been discussions between the pair in recent times.

Ahead of Atletico's Copa del Rey clash with Real Sociedad on Wednesday, Simeone said: "We have spoken with Luis for two months about what I think of him, of how important he is for us.

"What I think of him, he knows it and I didn't speak to him after Sevilla, I have spoken to him for two months."

 

Suarez has scored 30 goals across all competitions since his September 2020 transfer from Barcelona – more than any other Atletico team-mate. Karim Benzema (54) and Gerard Moreno (41) are the only players currently based in Spain to have scored more often during that time.

Additionally, only Messi (231) betters Suarez's tally of 175 LaLiga goals since the Uruguayan joined Barcelona from Liverpool in July 2014.

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