Man Utd star Paul Pogba in transfer talks with Juventus as Mino Raiola looks to seal deal

Manchester United star Paul Pogba could be on his way to Juventus with Mino Raiola in talks with the Serie A side over a possible transfer, according to reports. Real Madrid are also interested in making a swoop for the World Cup winner though.

Pogba has struggled with injury throughout this season and has made just seven Premier League appearances this campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also involved in a public spat with Raiola over the future of the 27-year-old.

Le10 Sport claim Juventus have opened talks with Pogba’s agent over a possible return to the Serie A champions.

The Turin side have been considering a move for over a year, according to the reports.

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Real Madrid are also monitoring things but there is a disagreement between Zinedine Zidane and Florentino Perez over their thoughts on the player.

The president of Los Blancos is not a major fan of Pogba and would prefer to avoid dealing with Raiola.

United have made no decision on the future of Pogba but with the performances of Bruno Fernandes since his arrival in January, they now have flexibility with whatever they choose to do.

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Juventus could be in need of a midfielder should they sell the likes of Adrien Rabiot and Miralem Pjanic.

Former United midfielder Paul Ince thinks the future of Pogba needs to be a priority for the club this summer.

“They’ve got to resolve the (Paul) Pogba situation,” Ince told Paddy Power.

“It has to be resolved. You can’t keep having what we’re having every six, seven, eight weeks. He’s going, he’s staying, the agent comes out. Pogba is not bigger than Manchester United, no player is bigger than Manchester United.

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“The way Ole is going, you don’t want any disruptions. He either knuckles down and starts performing the way he should be performing for the money he cost, or they sell him.

“The biggest thing is for Man United is (Bruno) Fernandes coming in. Before that you are saying, ‘We need Pogba in there’.

“Now because he’s been out injured and Fernandes has come in, all of a sudden, ‘Do we need Pogba in there?’

“Does he get in there? I know he (Solskjaer) likes (Scott) McTominay. (Nemanja) Matic has come in and started playing well. Does Pogba start every game?

“If Ole thinks he’s not going to, he might think he can cash in and bring one or two other players in. But the saga needs to be sorted out before the start of next season because next season is a big season for Ole. A big, big season.

“But I like the way they are going now, I like what I’m seeing. I can’t make judgement yet.

“They are not there yet where Liverpool and City are, but signs are good and that’s a good thing to say because I didn’t see those signs a year ago.

“I like what I’m seeing. I like the place and I like the players they are bringing in. You’ve got to give Ole time now to take them where they need to be, which is challenging for the league title.”

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Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho urged to sell ‘disrespectful’ first-team star

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has been urged to sell first-choice right-back Serge Aurier. Ivory Coast international Aurier, 27, has broken lockdown rules on three occasions in recent weeks. His latest indiscretion was uploading images to his Instagram account of him having his hair cut – something that is still banned in the United Kingdom due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports claim Tottenham are set to fine the defender the maximum two weeks’ wages – which totals £140,000.

Aurier has been Tottenham’s regular right-back this season, starting 22 of his 24 Premier League appearances.

But former Leeds and Coventry striker Noel Whelan believes it is time Aurier is moved on from the north London club.

Whelan has described Aurier’s actions as “disrespectful” and showing “arrogance”.

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“Absolutely, yeah [Tottenham should sell Aurier],” Whelan told Football Insider.

“That kid, to me, will not be fined, will not just be disciplined but I’d get shot.

“Is he caring about the club he’s playing for right now doing these things?

“Is he caring about anyone else and his teammates when they’re going back in for training? No.

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“This is an absolute disrespectful part of his make up. I don’t understand these people, I really don’t.

“You know you shouldn’t be getting a haircut, inviting people round – then posting it all to see as in look at me? That’s just arrogance.”

Meanwhile, former Tottenham midfielder Michael Brown can see the likes of Jan Vertonghen snubbing their current clubs by not extending their contracts until the end of the season.

Vertonghen’s Spurs contract is set to expire at the end of June but clubs have the option of extending deals until the campaign reaches a conclusion.

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“I think there may be players like [Vertonghen] who are reluctant because I thought what they might have done was try and change the end date from the end of June to the end of July,” Brown told Football Insider.

“If you’re out of contract, that’s one month’s severance pay anyway, I thought we might have had an extension on it because they could say: ‘We’re literally moving it back one month this year because we have lost that time’.

“However, it doesn’t look like that will be and players will be saying: ‘We’re contracted until the end of June and that’s all we’re going to do. Ultimately, we’re not prepared to do it.’

“How do you make people work without a contract? It’s so, so difficult because everyone’s circumstances are so, so difficult.”

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Newcastle offer to Mauricio Pochettino CONFIRMED as £300m takeover nears completion

Mauricio Pochettino has been offered a contract by Newcastle ahead of the £300million takeover. That is according to Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles who confirmed that Pochettino has held talks with the club who made him “a good offer”.

The former Tottenham boss has been out of a job ever since getting sacked by the north Londoners in November following a string of poor results even though he led them to the Champions League final last season.

Now the Argentine is the favourite to take over at Newcastle ahead of the imminent takeover led by Amanda Staveley and consisting of Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and the Rueben Brothers.

The switch may be finalised by next week and the 48-year-old could soon take over if the new owners decide against working with current manager Steve Bruce.

Ardiles told the Daily Mirror: “Mauricio is fine in England.

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“He is linked with Newcastle United and when he spoke directly to that club there were many first-rate people involved who made him a good offer.

“Mauricio had a [contractual] relationship with Tottenham, but last Tuesday his situation was unlocked and he is free to coach.

“In this way, he will hear offers again, but Newcastle is a firm possibility to work again.

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“He will take his time to think and wait a little for all this to happen.

“Mauricio is an absolutely top-level technician. He is one of the three best technicians in the world.

“He can manage wherever he wants. Here, or in Spain, in France or Italy.

“But he really likes managing in England. There are a few very large teams that can appoint him – and one of them is going to be chosen.

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“For now Pochettino is not going to manage in Argentina. He had an approach, there was talk at the time of the national team, but he was very happy at Tottenham.

“I don’t see it happening now. Maybe later in his career, yes, but not now. I would recommend Mauricio for any job in the world. He is an excellent person.”

Pochettino’s work at Tottenham has been recognised worldwide as he took the club to the next level even though he didn’t manage to win any silverware.

The former Southampton boss was also instrumental in the development of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Harry Winks and more.

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F1 delivered British Grand Prix blow as UK government make quarantine decision

There are fresh doubts over whether the British Grand Prix will now be able to take place following confirmation from Home Secretary Priti Patel that travellers into the UK will soon have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The government measures are expected to contain an exempt list but as it stands F1 is set to be snubbed.

With the coronavirus pandemic leading to the cancellation of several races, F1 officials are planning to start the season in Austria on July 5.

That would then be followed by back-to-back races at Silverstone on July 26 and August 5.

Earlier this week, Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, was in favour of F1 earning an exemption.

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But the government’s quarantine plans announced by Patel mean it will be difficult for the British Grand Prix to go ahead.

Talks between F1 chiefs and the government are ongoing with a spokesperson saying: “We have been working closely with government on the implications of the policy for Formula 1 and Silverstone.

“Those discussions are ongoing at this time with the aim of finding a solution with safety as our first priority.”

With several teams and drivers also based in the UK, the sport faces a battle to overcome the rising number of complications.

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Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports before Patel’s comments, Stuart Pringle, managing director at Silverstone, insisted he was hopeful F1 would be able to earn an exemption.

“It’s a very complex sport to get going because it’s a global championship with a huge logistical tail,” he said.

“So Formula 1 does need to know that it can set off on its global travel and be able to come in and out of its home base.

“I am very clear that the importance of the industry is understood by government. I remain very optimistic that they will find away.

“I’m very, very conscious that it’s extremely complicated drafting these things and working up against ever-moving deadlines – it’s not a task I’d wish to undertake.

“So I remain optimistic that a sensible and pragmatic solution, which puts the onus on the sport quite rightly to come up with the right solution, can be found.”

If Britain is unable to stage the races, Hockenheim is braced to step in and hold a double-header.

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Novak Djokovic launches star-studded tennis tournament amid season suspension

Novak Djokovic has organised a tennis tournament that will feature the likes of Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov in June.

The tennis season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic but it is hoped the campaign can get back underway in August.

Players on the ATP and WTA Tour have gradually begun pracitising again after several weeks in isolation.

Djokovic has been spotted at a tennis club in Marbella, Spain getting back to work while Thiem has been training in Austria.

Some players in America and Germany have also been involved in exhibition matches with strict health and safety guidelines.

And Djokovic has created a new tennis tournament – the Adria Tour – which will be played between June 13-July 5 in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia.

The world No 1 will be joined by Thiem and Dimitrov in the event and the money raised will be used to aid regional humanitarian projects.

Djokovic will also face Damir Dzumhur in an exhibition match in Sarajevo, Serbia on July 5.

Meanwhile, Toni Nadal, uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal, has been opening up on the struggle they faced trying to prepare for matches against Djokovic.

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The Serbian holds a 29-26 winning head-to-head record over Nadal and since the start of 2014 he’s lost just four times to the Spaniard.

Speaking in an interview with Eurosport, Nadal explained they preferred to face Roger Federer over Djokovic.

“For us, it was always more difficult to play against Djokovic,” he said.

“Because it’s not about who of them is better. For us, when we play against Federer, we have a way to beat him.

“In my mind, before going on court, I know what we have to do.

“When we play against Djokovic, many times we didn’t know exactly what we had to do.

“This is more difficult, for me. I prefer to play against Federer.”

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Rugby set for a coronavirus shake-up with Six Nations changes and new a European league

Rugby union could be set for a major post-pandemic shake-up with the Six Nations moving to April and the launch of a new European League. Talks between the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship nations over an alignment of the northern and southern hemisphere seasons have made long overdue progress while the prospect of big changes at club level has grown after CVC bought a stake in the Pro14.

The £115m deal means the venture capitalists now own minority shareholdings in both the Premiership and the Pro14 which gives them the leverage to merge the leagues into one with wider appeal to broadcasters.

Both developments could be highly significant for the future shape of the game when it is eventually able to restart.

The Six Nations and the southern hemisphere SANZAAR nations issued a joint statement yesterday committing to pushing on with negotiations that would see the Six Nations move from its current winter slot into March and April. The northern hemisphere summer tours could also be switched to the autumn.

“A further consultation process will commence as all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative,” read the statement.

“The Nations, together with other key stakeholders, remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path.”

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CVC’s attempt to buy a £300m stake in the Six Nations is currently on hold because of the crisis but the company have managed to sign off their purchase of a 28 per stake in the Pro14.

In the short term their investment will help to alleviate financial problems caused by the shutdown in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy who become members of Celtic Rugby as part of the deal. South Africa, who also have two provinces in Pro14, will not benefit from the arrangement.

“CVC’s belief in our sport is clear, their commitment is hugely encouraging and this investment is great news for our teams and for Welsh rugby as a whole, although we are under no illusions that COVID has and will continue to have a significant impact on our organisation for some time,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

The end game for the notoriously opaque CVC remains unclear even to the Unions and clubs themselves – a five-year plan due to be presented to the Premiership before the pandemic has not yet arrived.

However the addition of the Pro14 to their portfolio would appear to bring an expanded joint league a step closer.

The mothballed Pro14 season will return behind closed doors on the weekend of August 22/23 with derby matches in each country.

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Man Utd handed Erling Haaland transfer development as release clause emerges

Manchester United may have to wait until 2022 to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. The Red Devils were heavily linked with a move for the 19-year-old at the end of last year.

However, Haaland opted to join Bundesliga giants Dortmund despite holding talks with United.

Haaland’s Dortmund contract includes a clause which allows him to leave the German side for £67m.

Both United and Real Madrid are chasing the Norway international – and they would be willing to pay his release clause.

However, according to the Evening Standard, the clause doesn’t kick in until 2022.

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They say Dortmund are under no pressure to sell Haaland, who has netted 13 goals since joining the German side.

The Standard add that Dortmund could be willing to reach a compromise before the clause activates to avoid losing Haaland for a nominal fee considering his rise to stardom.

Haaland snubbed a move to United before opting to join Dortmund earlier this season.

The striker has been vocal on his decision, with Haaland admitting Dortmund told him what he wanted to hear.

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Haaland said: “Dortmund just went direct and said we need you up the front.

“They told me they like my playing style and said, ‘We want to have you here’. I liked the way they spoke to me then and that was what ­triggered the move.

“I spent a few days ­looking around the club and speaking to senior people and I just felt that me and Dortmund were a good match.

“I spoke to other clubs, big clubs, but ­no one gave me the feeling I had at Dortmund.

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“During my visit, I had several intense conversations with the club management team, in particular, Dortmund’s chief ­executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, sporting director Michael Zorc and coach Lucien Favre.

“They were all really keen for me to join and from the very start I knew I wanted to move here.”

United face competition from Real Madrid for Haaland.

The Spanish giants have identified the Dortmund star and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe as their top targets.

Real will go all out for Mbappe with club president Florentino Perez willing to wait for Haaland if needs be.

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Chelsea learn price tag of Serie A prospect amid concrete interest, Arsenal and Lazio keen

Chelsea have stepped up their interest in Hellas Verona ace Marash Kumbulla, according to reports. The Blues are one of several top European clubs monitoring the Serie A prospect and have now been credited with showing concrete interest in the 20-year-old.

Kumbulla is highly regarded in Italy, having made 18 league appearances for eighth-placed Hellas this term.

And Corriere dello Sport report that Chelsea have made a move towards signing the Albania international as they look to get the jump on the competition.

Inter Milan have previously been credited as favourites in the race for Kumbulla’s signature, although Lazio are now thought to be the Blues’ main competition.

Reports from Italy earlier this month also suggested that Arsenal, Everton and RB Leipzig were in contention for the defender who has been compared to a ‘young Giorgio Chiellini’.

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Corriere dello Sport also throw Borussia Dortmund into the mix but claim Lazio believe a move to the Stadio Olimpico makes most sense for Kumbulla.

Le Aquile are trying to sell the young defender an idea of a project where he can continue his development while playing a key role in a senior side.

But if it comes down to money, Chelsea are thought to be in the driving seat with Kumbulla reportedly set to cost at least €20million (£18m).

FCInterNews even went so far as to value the youngster at €30m (£27m) earlier this month.

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Guaranteed game time may be harder to come by at Chelsea, where there is fierce competition for places in central defence.

Frank Lampard appears to have settled on Antonio Rudiger as his first-choice centre-back but Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have all rotated so far this season.

However, Kumbulla may fancy himself to make an impact at Stamford Bridge where the latest generation of youth talent has been given a chance to impress under the latest regime.

Former Juventus and Italy defender Federico Balzaretti has praised the Hellas ace for his mentality and commitment to defending, first and foremost.

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“In the last few years, defenders are formed who are good at building the play but have problems in the defensive phase,” Balzaretti told Goal.

“Kumbulla, on the other hand, is a ‘defender’ defender. The first thing he thinks of is defending his goal and not conceding. Kumbulla reminds me a little of a young Giorgio Chiellini.”

Chelsea will need to move fast if they are to snap up Kumbulla before the opposition, but any deal is unlikely to be the only business taking place at Stamford Bridge this summer.

Lampard is looking to make the most of the club’s recent transfer ban being lifted and overhaul his squad in the transfer window.

A £33m deal for Hakim Ziyech was already agreed in February, with the Moroccan winger set to join Chelsea at the end of the current campaign.

Meanwhile, a new striker is required with Moussa Dembele identified as a priority target and Jadon Sancho has been heavily linked with a move to west London.

Ben Chilwell is first choice to replace either Emerson Palmieri or Marcos Alonso while Willian and Pedro are both out of contract and Michy Batshuayi, Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko are all expected to move on.

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Newcastle tipped to axe one player after £300m takeover and spending spree

Newcastle could let Matty Longstaff leave this summer as their £300m takeover edges closer, former Premier League ace Alan Hutton claims. Toon owner Mike Ashley has agreed to sell the club to PCP Capital Partners, an organisation backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

It’s claimed the deal could be announced this week.

Newcastle are expected to spend big in the summer transfer window when the takeover eventually through.

Numerous world-class stars from Philippe Coutinho to Gareth Bale have been linked with moves to St James’ Park.

Longstaff, meanwhile, is out of contract next month.

The Premier League have confirmed that deals can be extended until the end of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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With Newcastle expecting to splash the cash in the summer, it remains to be seen whether Longstaff would get game time at St James’ Park.

And former Premier League ace Hutton says Newcastle could let Longstaff walk away for free this summer with new talent likely to arrive.

When asked whether Newcastle should give Longstaff a short-term deal, Hutton told Football Insider: “I think that’s the ideal situation for Newcastle.

“We don’t exactly know what’s going to happen with the takeover.

“If it does happen, you’re probably looking at them trying to bring people in so they’ll probably let him go but otherwise if it doesn’t they’ll need him.

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“I think the smart option is to sign him up at the moment and then look to the future once you know the takeover’s going to happen.

“If it was me, I’d want to keep him at least until this season ends, whenever that might be.”

Longstaff, 20, broke onto the scene earlier this season, with the midfielder netting three goals in 10 starts in all competitions under Steve Bruce.

A lot has been made of Newcastle’s transfer plans following the takeover, with ex-Toon goalkeeper Shay Given saying their squad will be overhauled.

“It’s possibly harder now compared to City with the financial fair play,” Given said. “I think they’ve tightened up since Man City have come in.

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“But Newcastle have a decent team as it is. If they add four, five, six really good players to that they could be in the top six or seven. Then if they add another six or seven players, they can get up there eventually.

“Newcastle already have the stadium. The city would be buzzing and the fans would be queueing out the gate to get in.

“It’s a small world now with planes, trains and helicopters. It’s not that difficult to get to Newcastle.

“Once you get one or two big names in the door, then there’s a few more thinking, ‘If he’s joining, I want to go as well’.

“It’s exciting hearing about some of the players maybe coming to the club.

“Gareth Bale got a mention the other day, Kalidou Koulibaly too.”

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Bundesliga boss was ‘afraid’ of facing Arsenal target Moussa Diaby

Freiburg manager Christian Streich previously admitted he was “afraid” of facing Arsenal target Moussa Diaby. Reports suggest the Gunners have contacted Diaby’s agent as Mikel Arteta is determined to strengthen his attack amid all the uncertainty surrounding the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

The winger is enjoying an impressive debut season at Bayer Leverkusen where he has recorded five goals and eight assists in 27 appearances across all competitions this season.

The 20-year-old created two goals on Monday when the Bundesliga restarted and helped Leverkusen beat Werder Bremen 4-1 at the Weser-Stadion.

According to Leverkusen’s official website, the young Frenchman has left such an everlasting impression in the league that Freiburg boss Streich admitted that he didn’t want him on the pitch against his team when they faced off in November.

The German manager’s team picked up a 1-1 draw against Leverkusen at the BayArena but Diaby had posed as a serious threat following his exploits against Wolfsburg two weeks prior.

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Streich said: “I was afraid he would play against us as he made a positive impression when he came on at Wolfsburg the week before.”

Freiburg striker Nils Petersen added that Diaby posed a constant danger during their match as he continuously created problems for the away side.

Petersen said: “He was incredibly dangerous and difficult to stop and he kept on posing problems.”

Diaby joined Leverkusen last year from Paris Saint-Germain and has proven to be versatile as he can play on both wings in attack.

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The club’s sporting director Simon Rolfes described the youngster as one of France’s most talented prospects when he put pen to paper last summer.

Rolfes said: “Moussa is an extremely quick, technically gifted attacker whose qualities are perfectly suited to our playing style.

“He made 34 competitive appearances last season, which is a remarkable amount at a top club like PSG.

“He’s one of France’s most talented players and he’s got the ideal conditions here in Leverkusen to develop into an absolutely top-class player.”

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Diaby decided to join Leverkusen because he was attracted by the challenge to play and learn in one of the best competitions in the world.

The France Under-21 international also wanted to play in the Champions League, which was an opportunity he struggled to get at PSG.

Diaby said after signing with the club: “Taking this step abroad to one of the best and most balanced leagues in Europe is really exciting.

“I’m very curious about Germany, especially the football and the amazing stadiums. And obviously, it’s great to be in the Champions League with Leverkusen too.”

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