Julian Nagelsmann fired a warning to defences across Europe by claiming Robert Lewandowski has a long time left at the top level – insisting the Ballon d'Or should come his way this year.

Although Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski turned 33 in August, there is no indication age is catching up with the Poland international.

His record haul of 41 Bundesliga goals last season came at a rate of one every 60.07 minutes.

That was the fastest rate of scoring across a campaign, in terms of minutes per goal, for any player with 10 or more goals in a Bundesliga season since the league was founded in 1963.

After missing out on Ballon d'Or recognition last year, when the award was cancelled due to the pandemic's impact on the global game, there is little doubt Lewandowski is a serious contender this time.

Bayern did not match up to their 2019-20 treble-winning feats, but they carried off a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title and Lewandowski was their spearhead.

"He deserves the Ballon d'Or – and in my opinion he has to win the award, because he has played more consistently than anyone else over the past three years," Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said.

Speaking to Munich newspaper Abendzeitung, Nagelsmann predicted Lewandowski would continue to thrive at the highest level into his late thirties.

"If Robert Lewandowski's body stays like this, it is far from over," said Nagelsmann.

"He is extremely dynamic, has no injuries, he can train a lot: I definitely trust him to play at the top, top level for a few more years – also because he aligns everything in his life accordingly, to be in the best physical condition."

 

In Bayern's triumphant 2019-20 Champions League campaign, Lewandowski netted 15 times, scoring on average once every 59.13 minutes. This term, he has four goals already in that competition from just 169 minutes on the pitch.

Lewandowski has said it "would mean a lot" to scoop the individual honour, and after being shortlisted his chief rival appears to be six-time winner Lionel Messi, who helped Argentina to Copa America glory.

Nagelsmann, meanwhile, is sitting tight when it comes to the future of Bayern defender Niklas Sule, whose contract expires at the end of this season.

Sule has been linked with Chelsea and Newcastle United, and Nagelsmann is taking a wait-and-see approach to what comes next for the Germany international.

"It depends on his development and also on the market situation whether he wants to extend the contract or not," Nagelsmann said. "Then we'll see if it works for both sides.

"Niki still has to develop a little with his potential and then make the most of it as a very good central defender."

Bayern Munich could be set for a busy transfer window.

With Barcelona struggling financially, clubs are eyeing some of their talent.

Bayern are reportedly interested in a number of players at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG, TER STEGEN WANTED IN MUNICH

Bayern Munich are eyeing Barcelona quartet Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Pedri and Sergino Dest, according to Sport.

Barca are a club in crisis amid their financial woes, which led to the departure of superstar captain Lionel Messi on a free transfer at the start of the season.

Now, Bundesliga champions Bayern are looking to capitalise, having previously been linked with midfielders De Jong and Pedri, goalkeeper Ter Stegen and right-back Dest.

 

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Barca's move for Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is dependent on the future of Ousmane Dembele, says Sport. Dembele has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United previously.

- Calciomercato claims Milan will wait to sign wantaway Torino star Andrea Belotti on a free transfer at the end of the season. Monday's Tuttosport reports Serie A champions and city rivals Inter are also interested in the Italy international.

Bruno Fernandes' contract extension is a priority for United, according to Fabrizio Romano. United are also looking to re-sign Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba, who has been linked with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Newcastle United are eyeing a move for Ralf Rangnick as their sporting director following the club's huge takeover. Rangnick currently works for Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow.

Erling Haaland has his pick of Europe's elite.

The Borussia Dortmund and Norway star is wanted by the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.

But Premier League champions City are one particular club looking to prise Haaland from Germany if the rumours are to be believed.

 

TOP STORY – CITY HOPING TO CAPITALISE ON PUMA PARTNERSHIP

Manchester City are hoping their Puma sponsorship and a looming boot deal can help land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Star.

City's kits are manufactured by Puma, while Haaland is reportedly poised to sign a boot deal with the German giants.

Haaland has been linked with City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus.

 

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- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juve are planning an approach to bring United midfielder Paul Pogba back to Turin. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and while United are keen for a renewal, the Frenchman has been linked with Madrid and PSG also.

- United captain and England defender Harry Maguire is poised for a new bumper contract at Old Trafford, reports the Mirror.

Liverpool are considering a move for Barca's Ousmane Dembele with Juve unwilling to part with Federico Chiesa, says Team Talk.

- According to Football Insider, Newcastle United have made star Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly a priority signing in January. It comes after Newcastle's blockbuster takeover.

PSG are targeting Napoli's soon-to-be free agent Lorenzo Insigne, per Le10 Sport. Insigne has also been linked with Inter and Milan.

- Manchester United outcast Donny van de Beek is wanted by Serie A powerhouse Juve, claims Corriere dello Sport. Van de Beek was in talks over an Everton switch during the previous window.

- Milan star Franck Kessie is among Barca's midfielder targets for the January window, says Diario Sport. Van de Beek, Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele and Marcelo Brozovic of Inter are also options.

Gavi has fast become the talk of Spanish football.

The 17-year-old is a regular for Barcelona and now an international for Luis Enrique's Spain.

His exploits have reportedly attracted interest from Europe's elite.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO CHASING GAVI

Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Manchester United are interested in Barcelona and Spain sensation Gavi, according to El Nacional.

Gavi has enjoyed a rapid rise at Camp Nou this season, while he earned his first international cap in Spain's Nations League semi-final success against Italy on Wednesday.

PSG, Liverpool and United are eyeing Gavi as Barca try to extend the 17-year-old's contract, claims Mundo Deportivo.

 

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- ABC claims Liverpool have set their sights on Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio, who is reportedly unhappy at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Juventus and Inter are eyeing Bayern Munich centre-back Niklas Sule, says Calciomercato. The Germany international, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has also been linked with Chelsea.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern are monitoring PSV winger Cody Gakpo. The 22-year-old is seen as an ideal replacement Kingsley Coman, who is reportedly wanted by the likes of Liverpool and United.

Valencia and Real Betis are battling to sign out-of-favour Inter forward Alexis Sanchez, per Calciomercato. The Chilean forward has also emerged as a target for Rayo Vallecano.

Mauro Icardi could swap PSG for Juve as the Serie A side view the former Inter captain as an alternative to Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Vlahovic is set to leave Fiorentina amid links with Manchester City, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Inter.

Julian Nagelsmann insists he is not getting carried away after receiving public praise from Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn regarding his positive start as the club's coach.

Nagelsmann took over from Hansi Flick in pre-season and has presided over nine wins from 10 matches across all competitions, with Borussia Monchengladbach the only team to avoid defeat to this new Bayern when they drew on matchday one of the 2021-22 Bundesliga campaign.

Bayern have amassed 16 points in their first six league games, their biggest total at this stage of a season since 2016-17 (also 16 points), while only Ottmar Hitzfeld (1998) and Otto Rehhagel (1995, both 18 points) have ever accumulated more from their first six Bundesliga matches with Die Roten.

On top of that, the champions have scored 23 times, more than any other Bayern coach in their first six league games in charge and a total bettered once (24, last season) in the club's history.

Kahn's praise came after Bayern battered Dynamo Kiev 5-0 in the Champions League, the former goalkeeper applauding Nagelsmann for making strides in his quest to make the team better defensively without impacting them negatively going forward.

"It's always nice to hear positive things, even better when it's internal," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Bundesliga clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"You have to classify things in order to understand them. I've taken on an outstanding team that does a lot of things right on its own.

 

"The influence of a coach is always smaller at such a large club. You try to bring in your own things, but we haven't turned everything around.

"I am neither surprised nor disappointed. Progress and a 'mark' should be visible quickly."

Marcel Sabitzer followed Nagelsmann to Bayern from RB Leipzig, though his impact in Bavaria has been significantly less spectacular, with the Austrian playing just 107 minutes across all competitions.

But Nagelsmann is calm about the situation, adamant Sabitzer had no expectations of walking straight into a regular role.

"He hardly trained in preparation because he had problems in the adductor area. First he has to find his way around. This is completely normal," Nagelsmann said.

"He will get his working times, right from the start [of matches]. We have a very stable construction. He's an excellent player, but he didn't come here with the expectation to play every game from the start."

Frankfurt are yet to win a league game under new boss Oliver Glasner, while they have suffered more top-flight defeats to and conceded more goals against Bayern than any other team, though Nagelsmann believes history counts for nothing.

"Basically, I am not interested, I read it briefly," he said. "You can never buy anything from the past. It's about expanding the statistics tomorrow and not thinking too much about the past."

Erling Haaland is the name on everyone's lips.

Europe's elite are reportedly queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund and Norway sensation.

If Haaland leaves Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit have a replacement in mind.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND OUT, CHIESA IN AT BVB?

Borussia Dortmund see Juventus forward Federico Chiesa as a replacement for in-demand star Erling Haaland, according to Calciomercato.

Haaland is tipped to leave Dortmund at the end of the season amid links with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barcelona, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

Should Haaland depart, Dortmund are eyeing Juve and Italy star Chiesa, who has previously caught the attention of Chelsea and Liverpool.

 

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- Calciomercato reports Juve, Inter and Milan are interested in Madrid forward Luka Jovic, who has been linked with a January exit.

- A contract extension for Liverpool's Naby Keita is not as close as previously thought, claims Bild. It comes as Liverpool reportedly eye Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham.

Tottenham will make a January move for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato. The Serbia international forward has also been linked with City, Arsenal, Juve and Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski believes he can continue improving with age and does not feel the need to prove himself in another league outside of the Bundesliga.

The Poland international was speaking on Tuesday after collecting the European Golden Shoe award as the continent's top-scoring player in the 2020-21 campaign.

Lewandowski scored an incredible 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games to surpass Gerd Muller's record for the most goals scored in a single German top-flight season.

That was 11 goals more than Lionel Messi managed in his final LaLiga season with Barcelona and 12 more than Cristiano Ronaldo scored in Serie A for then-club Juventus.

Reigning UEFA and FIFA Player of the Year Lewandowski only failed to score in four of his 29 top-flight outings and found the net more than once on 10 occasions.

He has picked up from where he left off last season by scoring 14 goals in 10 appearances for club and country, including a goal in every game Bayern have played.

Indeed, the 33-year-old has now scored in 15 successive Bundesliga games stretching back to last season, one short of another long-standing record held by the late Muller.

The former Borussia Dortmund man was linked with Real Madrid and Chelsea during the most recent transfer window, but he is in no rush to depart the Allianz Arena.

"I don't have to prove myself in another league," he said when collecting his latest award. "I can compete with the best from other leagues in the Champions League.

"I am 100 per cent focused on Bayern Munich. I don't think about anything else but my team."

 

Lewandowski may face competition from rising star Erling Haaland to finish as the Bundesliga's top scorer this term, with the latter having also scored five goals in seven games.

But Bayern's prolific striker has warned Haaland, who has been touted as Lewandowski's successor in Bavaria, that he may not have even reached his peak.

"I am still here – and I will be here for a long time," he said. "Age is just a number. I feel very good and I have the best stats I've ever had. 

"I know that with my body I can play at the top level for years to come. I'm like a good wine and I hope to get even better."

Could a Premier League switch be on the cards for Kingsley Coman?

Coman is reportedly disgruntled at Bayern Munich amid talks over a new contract.

Liverpool and Chelsea are believed to be ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – COMAN WANTED IN ENGLAND

Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea are monitoring Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman, according to The Mirror.

Coman is contracted to Bundesliga champions Bayern until 2023 but the Frenchman has been previously linked with Manchester United.

The 25-year-old is tipped to leave Bayern as clubs reportedly queue up.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are dreaming of signing RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and United midfielder Paul Pogba, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Haaland has been linked with United, Bayern, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Pogba is also reportedly wanted by PSG, Madrid and Juve.

Paulo Dybala is close to signing a new contract at Serie A giants Juventus, reports TyC Sports.

- Tuttomercatoweb claims Roma are trying to prise Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

- Jaime Ojeda claims Bayern are among the teams interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi.

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka says the side "just love playing football" after hammering Bochum 7-0 in the German Bundesliga on Saturday.

The German champions turned on the style with a stunning display, with Joshua Kimmich netting a double, while four others scored along with a Vasilios Lampropoulos own goal.

Bayern raced to a 4-0 half-time lead with first-half strikes from Leroy Sane, Kimmich and Serge Gnabry before the Lampropoulos own goal.

Robert Lewandowski added a fifth on the hour, before Kimmich and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting rounded out a comprehensive performance as Bayern dominated with 24-5 shots including 15 on target to Bochum's none.

"We just love playing football," said Goretzka who got the assist for Kimmich's second goal.

"We want to develop more, from game to game, and absorb our new coach's philosophy more and more.

"Today was a lot of fun for us, but not so much for Bochum. Of course, I'm always a bit sorry about that from a personal standpoint.

"We didn't give Bochum any breathing space. The first 10 minutes were a bit hectic. That's when they got into playing the game they wanted to play - long balls, a lot of fighting for the second ball.

"But then we gradually found our structure and defended very well. That's just how we dominated."

Bayern have enjoyed an excellent start to life under new head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who replaced Hansi Flick in the off-season.

The Bavarians are top of the Bundesliga with 13 points from five games, while they have won their past seven games in all competitions.

Nagelsmann said he was happy with the way his side played and offered praise to Sane, who opened the scoring with a fine free-kick.

"I see [Sane] developing very positively," Nagelsmann said. "He was highly committed but he was also a full throttle in the games before the international break.

"He is fully committed in situations which don’t have anything to do with talent. He rewards himself by getting in these situations.

"I remember a situation in which he kept on defending for 30 metres and won the ball before his own box. He showed the same with the national team and scored today. Offensively he is always in a good position.

"Everyone tries to limit him to the wing but he has now played for the fourth time as a bit of an attacking midfielder. He finds spaces where he can use his qualities."

Former Manchester City attacker Sane has scored two goals and provided two assists from five Bundesliga games this term.

Leroy Sane "just wants to keep going" after he continued his impressive form for Bayern Munich with a goal and an assist in a 7-0 rout of Bochum. 

Sane opened the scoring on Saturday with a fine free-kick, with the Germany winger then turning provider for Joshua Kimmich to double Bayern's lead. 

Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski – who scored in a record-setting 13th successive Bundesliga home match – Kimmich and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting all scored again for Bayern, with Vasilios Lampropoulos also turning into his own net. 

Sane hopes to maintain his strong start to the season under Julian Nagelsmann after a difficult campaign last year. 

"I always try to do my best," he told Bayern's official website. 

"At the moment things are going very, very well. I just want to keep going. I played a good game today.  

"Sure, there are still a few things that can be improved. The coach speaks about them and I will try to implement it in the next games." 

Sane had five attempts, level with Gnabry for the most by any player in the game, with three of those ending up on target. 

It was an emphatic triumph for Bayern, who have moved to the top of the Bundesliga table with 13 points from their five matches. 

"I am satisfied with the result, but also with the way it was done," Nagelsmann said. 

"In the first ten minutes we still had a few problems. After that we got along very well. We had a good structure with the ball, we created a lot of opportunities.  

"In the second half there was a point that we didn't get a goal, and we showed the greed as if we had zero. Overall it was a very good performance. We are happy with the result." 

Bayern Munich continued their storming start to the Bundesliga campaign with a thumping 7-0 rout of promoted Bochum at the Allianz Arena.

Leroy Sane's brilliant free-kick opened the floodgates on Saturday and Julian Nagelsmann's side did not look back as they cruised to a seventh straight win in all competitions.

Vasilios Lampropoulos' own goal capped off a torrid first half for Bochum, with Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry having previously netted.

Another record fell to Robert Lewandowski in the second half, as he became the first player in Bundesliga history to net in 13 consecutive home matches, and Kimmich helped himself to a second before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got in on the act to complete the scoring.

The signs were ominous from the first whistle and the only surprise was it taking until the 17th minute for Bayern to hit the front.

Sane made the breakthrough, curling a superb 25-yard free-kick beyond the wall and into the left-hand corner.

Gnabry was denied a wonderful goal by a clearance off the line soon after, though Kimmich swiftly made it 2-0 as his shot on the turn deflected over the helpless Manuel Riemann.

It was 3-0 with just over half an hour played, Gnabry sliding a crisp finish across Riemann, while Armel Bella Kotchap was fortunate not to slice into his own net.

Lampropoulos was not so lucky, panicking under pressure from Lewandowski and skewing into Bochum's goal just before half-time.

Having just failed to turn in a close-range rebound, Lewandowski had no such trouble moments later when he nudged home from a yard out after Sane's cutback was diverted into his path.

Bochum substitute Silvere Ganvoula thought he had snatched a consolation, only for the offside flag to cut short his celebrations. Bayern went down the other end and added a sixth, Kimmich's touch from Leon Goretzka's header clipping in off the upright.

There was time for another, substitute Choupo-Moting converting at the third attempt after a fine double save from Riemann to cap off an emphatic win, with Thomas Muller having a late goal disallowed by VAR.

What does it mean? Bayern purring under Nagelsmann

Since the 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach to start his tenure, Nagelsmann has seen his Bayern side win seven games in a row across all competitions, and just this past week they have beaten both his former side RB Leipzig and Barcelona.

Saturday's win was their largest margin of victory in the Bundesliga under the new coach, and Bayern sit pretty at the top of the table, though they could be overtaken by Wolfsburg should they beat Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

Lewy keeps in the hunt

Lewandowski has now scored in 15 successive Bundesliga matches. Only one player – the late, great Gerd Muller – has ever netted in more consecutive games in Germany's top tier (16).

The Poland star also set a record here, overtaking Muller and Jupp Heynckes by scoring in a 13th straight home match in the league.

Bochum suffer another Bayern defeat

Bayern have now lost only one of the past 28 Bundesliga games against Bochum (W20 D7); 0-1 away from home in February 2004. At home, the Bavarians have lost only one of the 35 top-flight matches against Bochum – a 0-2 loss back in August 1991.

Indeed, Bayern have now won each of their previous seven competitive matches against Bochum. Only between 1978 to 1982 have they embarked on a longer winning run against them (eight).

What's next?

Another promoted side, Greuther Furth, come next for Bayern in six days' time, while Bochum host Stuttgart next Sunday.

Could Jurgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski be set to work together again?

The pair enjoyed a successful partnership at Borussia Dortmund.

Now, Klopp is reportedly trying to lure the Bayern Munich forward to Liverpool.

 

TOP STORY – KLOPP WANTS LEWANDOWSKI REUNION

Liverpool are targeting Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, according to Fichajes.

Lewandowski worked with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund before joining Bundesliga rivals Bayern in 2014.

There has been talk Lewandowski could be ready for a new challenge amid links to Real Madrid and Manchester City, though Klopp is reportedly determined to reunite with the Poland international.

 

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- Bild claims Dortmund have identified Chelsea forward Timo Werner as a possible option to replace Erling Haaland. Club are queueing up to sign Haaland, with City, Manchester United, Bayern, Liverpool, Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested. Should Haaland leave Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit reportedly see former RB Leipzig star Werner as a potential successor.

- Fabrizio Romano says Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is nearing a contract extension at San Siro. He has reportedly turned down offers from Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.

Bayern, Inter, Real Madrid and Tottenham are interested in Borussia Monchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter, reports Calciomercato.

Chelsea are looking to sign Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to new contracts, according to Romano.

Harry Kane's attempt to leave Tottenham did not go according to plan before the transfer window closed.

Despite interest from Manchester City, Kane remains in London with Spurs.

Kane could be prepared to sign another contract at Tottenham…

 

TOP STORY – NEW DEAL FOR KANE?

Tottenham star Harry Kane is open to a contract extension if the offer includes a release clause, according to Eurosport.

Kane wanted to leave Tottenham in the off-season, but a move did not materialise, despite interest from Premier League champions Manchester City.

The England striker, though, could be willing to re-sign on one condition.

Paris Saint-Germain, JuventusReal Madrid and Barcelona have previously been linked with Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

Juventus could face competition from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for City forward Gabriel Jesus, reports Calciomercato. Juve are keen to bolster their attack following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit but face a battle should Robert Lewandowski leave Bayern. Lewandowski has been linked with the likes of City and Madrid.

- Fabrizio Romano claims United are planning to offer Luke Shaw a new contract at Old Trafford. However, United are prioritising new deals for Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Liverpool are among the contenders to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, says 90min. Haaland has been linked with United, City, Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Juve and PSG but 90min claims Liverpool have held talks with his agent Mino Raiola.

Bernd Leno's future at Emirates Stadium is up in the air.

Aaron Ramsdale's arrival, on a deal that could reach a reported £30million, put Leno's first-choice position in jeopardy.

The 29-year-old German joined Arsenal in 2018 and has been number one since.

TOP STORY - ARSENAL CONSIDERS LENO SALE

Arsenal are contemplating selling German goalkeeper Leno next year following Ramsdale's arrival, claims the Daily Mail.

Ramsdale was selected ahead of Leno in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday after the German had an indifferent start to the season

The report claims there is little chance Arsenal will sell Leno in January but that the Gunners signed Ramsdale believing he may usurp the German by the end of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- As Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid circle, Paul Pogba is leaning towards extending his stay with Manchester United claims The Athletic. The report cites Cristiano Ronaldo's impact at United on Pogba's thinking.

- West Ham United have placed a £100 million price tag on in-demand Declan Rice with  Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all jostling for his signature according to Football.London.

- French midfielder Thomas Lemar is expendable following Antoine Griezmann's arrival and could be sold by Spanish champions Atletico Madrid claims Todo Fichajes. Atletico wants to raise transfer funds to bolster their squad.

- Football Insider claims that Bayern Munich are already working on signing Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner next year, with a January move not ruled out.

- Chelsea will open talks with England international midfielder Mason Mount on a new long-term deal according to 90min.

- Arsenal target Houssem Aouar will not leave Olympique Lyon mid-season reports Todo Fichajes.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann admits Tuesday's Champions League opponent Barcelona will miss Lionel Messi's "extravagance" but believes they are not much weaker without him.

Messi left Barcelona in the off-season to join Paris Saint-Germain after a glittering career at Camp Nou.

The Catalans have started life domestically without Messi with seven points from three games in LaLiga, while they will commence their Champions League campaign on Tuesday against Nagelsmann's Bayern in Barcelona.

"Barcelona definitely don't have the extravagance of a Messi any more. But they also have other players who can play a very important role if you take Frenkie de Jong and Pedri for example," Nagelsmann said at the pre-game news conference.

"We are ready for anything. I don't believe they are much weaker. The future will show if they are any better. But we definitely want to take three points."

Barcelona have a variety of selection issues with injuries to Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite and Sergio Aguero, while Nagelsmann was coy on Serge Gnabry's availability.

Gnabry was substituted with a back problem in Saturday's 4-1 Bundesliga win over RB Leipzig, along with Robert Lewandowski for "precautionary" reasons with a groin complaint.

"We'll have to make a late decision on that one," Nagelsmann said about Gnabry.

"Gnabry will travel. [Corentin] Tolisso will not. [Kingsley] Coman is in the squad but not an option to start. It's looking good for Lewandowski again though."

Bayern thrashed Barcelona 8-2 in the 2020 Champions League quarter-final played as a one-off in Lisbon, adding further spice to their opening Group E fixture.

"Being the favourites or not the favourites is always more of a subject for the media," he said. "Two world-class clubs face each other."

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