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    Napoli prepare for Osimhen transfer bidding war after Man Utd ‘tried to leapfrog Chelsea into pole position in January’

    NAPOLI are reportedly bracing themselves for a fight to keep star striker Victor Osimhen. The striker, 24, scored twice in the Serie A leaders’ 3-0 win over Spezia on Sunday to continue his hot streak.
    Victor Osimhen continued his hot streak against Spezia last weekendCredit: Rex
    Here’s how he has performed so far this season
    Napoli have surged 13 points clear at the top of the Italian top division and face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League last-16.
    But they know they face losing Osimhen in a huge summer bidding war.

    Manchester United and Chelsea are leading a host of European heavyweights ready to fight for him.
    And, according to Naples-based newspaper Il Mattino, United have already made contact in an effort to get ahead in the race.
    They report that United made contact with Napoli in January in order to get “in pole position” by striking a deal in winter.
    It is unclear whether the nature of the deal was designed for a January move or a pre-emptive agreement for the summer, but Napoli turned down the move regardless.
    Given their pursuit of a first title since 1990, it makes sense for them not to want to distract their star man ahead of the run in.
    Osimhen has now scored 16 goals in 17 Serie A appearances, also adding four assists to the tally.
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    Il Mattino’s report suggests that Napoli have set a £133million price tag on his head.
    It comes following another report which said United were eyeing a deal of £107m as they looked for an alternative to Harry Kane.
    The England skipper refused to commit his future to Tottenham after breaking Jimmy Greaves’ goalscoring record for the club, though Spurs remain unwilling to lose their star man. More

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    Diogo Dalot arrives at Man Utd training in stunning £250,000 Ferrari as he closes in on bumper new contract

    MANCHESTER UNITED star Diogo Dalot was spotted arriving for training in a mega £250,000 Ferrari as he closes in on a new contract.The Portuguese defender is enjoying his best season at Old Trafford so far and was thriving under Erik ten Hag until injury struck.
    Diogo Dalot rocked up for Man Utd training in a stunning FerrariCredit: Eamonn and James Clarke
    The black Ferrari FF has a price tag of around £250,000Credit: Eamonn and James Clarke
    The 23-year-old was a regular starter before the World Cup and kept Aaron Wan-Bissaka out of the team.
    But Dalot’s season has been hampered by injury in recent weeks after he limped off with a knock in a Carabao Cup clash with Charlton last month.
    However, the star did return to the bench in the weekend win over Crystal Palace.
    And now he looks ready to get back in the fast lane when called upon by Ten Hag as he rocked up to the club’s HQ in his new motor.
    Dalor appeared to be driving a black Ferrari FF, which has a price tag of around £250,000 and a top speed of 208 mph.
    It also accelerates from nought to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds due to its 650 bhp 6.25litre V12 engine and his former team-mate Nemanja Matic also previously owned one.
    And the star may just have forked out and treated himself early as he celebrates his new contract with United.
    We reported earlier how Dalot is set to sign a new deal after Barcelona lost hope of landing the full-back.
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    Dalot, who may return to the line-up to face Leeds in the Premier League tomorrow, initially had a one year extension clause in his contract triggered in December, meaning his agreement runs until the summer of 2024.
    But the Red Devils are now looking towards the long-term and now hope they have tied down the ace.
    Dalot arrived at Man United in 2018 but initially struggled to cement the right-back spot permanently and spent a season on-loan at AC Milan.
    But he has gone from strength to strength this term and regularly plays alongside Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw in what appears to be ten Hag’s first-choice back four.
    Diogo Dalot returned to the United squad after injury last weekendCredit: Getty More

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    Nicolo Zaniolo closing in on £18m Galatasaray transfer after missing out on January move to Tottenham

    ROMA star Nicolo Zaniolo is close to signing for Galatasaray after missing out on a move to Tottenham in January, according to reports.The 23-year-old looks set to join the Turkish giants for a fee of £18million.
    Nicolo Zaniolo looks ready to finally leave RomaCredit: Getty
    Zaniolo is set to fly to Istanbul today to complete his medical and agree a deal that will contain a £31million release clause, claims journalist Fabrizio Romano.
    The attacking midfielder has been desperate to leave Roma and was linked with both Spurs and Bournemouth in recent weeks.
    The Cherries sent chiefs out to Italy to discuss a £26million deal only for the player to refuse to meet the executives.
    Zaniolo handed in a transfer request as he wanted out of Jose Mourinho’s side, which led to fans reacting angrily.
    He was confronted outside his home by fuming supporters and was reportedly forced to call the police.
    Rumours suggest the man capped 11 times by the Italian national side could sue Roma after being frozen out after the public spat.
    Mourinho previously slammed him to the press when it appeared he would be staying at the club: “Zaniolo has been saying for a month that he wants to leave.
    “When a player tells you, the club and his team-mates: ‘I don’t want to wear the Roma jersey, I don’t want to play, I don’t want to go back to training…’ I have to say unfortunately.
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    “The ideal situation is for the player to be happy.
    “I said that I expected him to stay, but as things stand today, I have to add unfortunately to that sentence.”
    Zaniolo has played 17 times in all competitions this season, scoring two goals and assisting a further three.
    Overall, he has featured 129 times for Roma, netting on 24 occasions while helping them win the Conference League last term.
    Galatasaray sit top of the Turkish Super Lig, nine points clear of closest rival Fenerbahce. More

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    Chelsea could land Denzel Dumfries in swap transfer with Inter Milan as they target Trevoh Chalobah

    CHELSEA could land Denzel Dumfries as part of a swap transfer with Trevoh Chalobah, according to reports.Inter Milan are desperate to bring in a new centre-back at the end of the season.
    Denzel Dumfries could be on his way to Chelsea as part of a swap transferCredit: Getty
    Trevoh Chalobah is on the list of Inter Milan centre-back targetsCredit: Getty
    Milan Skriniar, who has been stripped of the captaincy, has agreed a pre-contract arrangement to join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
    And so Simone Inzaghi is scouting for a defender to replace the departing Slovakian.
    According to Juve News’ Niccolo Ceccarini, Chalobah is on their list of possible options.
    The Blues ace, 23, has progressed through the academy to become a first-team regular.
    He has made 18 appearances this term, starting 11 Premier League matches.
    However, the arrivals of Benoit Badiashile and Wesley Fofana this season may have hindered Chalobah’s long-term opportunities at Stamford Bridge.
    So Inter may try and scoop to bring in the former England Under-21 international, whose pal Fikayo Tomori made a similar switch from Chelsea to Milan.
    And to sweeten the deal, the Nerazzurri could use Dumfries in the exchange.
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    Holland ace Dumfries, 26, has been linked with Chelsea in the last two transfer windows.
    But the Blues may be less keen for the wing-back after securing Malo Gusto in January for £35million before sending him straight back to Lyon on loan.
    Another player being considered by Inter is Chris Smalling.
    The former Manchester United man’s contract at Roma expires this summer and he is stalling over accepting the two-year offer on the table.
    So Inter, who missed out on Harry Maguire on loan last month, would be keen to pounce and land him on a free transfer should he decide against extending his stay at the Stadio Olimpico.
    It is understood Atalanta defender Giorgio Scalvini and Merih Demiral remain Inter’s preferred targets.
    The San Siro giants are also interested in Rodrigo Becao, whose Udinese deal runs out in 2024, and Fiorentina ace Nikola Milenkovic. More

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    Man Utd ‘ready to launch £107m Victor Osimhen transfer bid with Napoli striker seen as Harry Kane alternative’

    MANCHESTER UNITED are reportedly ready to launch a £107million bid for Victor Osimhen.That’s as they look for striker alternatives to Harry Kane this summer.
    Man Utd are chasing a £107m deal for Victor OsimhenCredit: Reuters
    The Napoli striker is seen as an alternative to Spurs star Harry KaneCredit: Getty
    Erik ten Hag is keen on boosting his attacking options once he has money to spend.
    And the Mail claims Osimhen has emerged as a top target following a barnstorming season with Napoli.
    The Nigeria international has 16 goals in 17 league games, sending his side 13 points clear at the top of the table.
    Osimhen, who is also wanted by Chelsea, is believed to have a £107m release clause in his contract.
    And United are apparently willing to meet it as Ten Hag looks to build a squad capable of challenging on all fronts.
    Should a deal go through, it would match the Premier League record fee set by Chelsea on deadline day for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez.
    But, despite their interest in Osimhen, United still remain keen on Tottenham star and England captain Kane.
    The striker refused to commit his future to the Londoners after breaking Jimmy Greaves’ scoring record against Man City.
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    And United would love to bring Kane to the Theatre of Dreams as his contract dwindles down.
    But Spurs are reportedly unwilling to sell their key player, especially to a rival.
    Yet that could open the door for a free transfer switch in 2024 when Kane’s Tottenham deal finally comes to an end. More

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    Ronaldinho’s son Joao Mendes, 17, signs for Barcelona as he follows in legendary dad’s footsteps

    THE son of Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has followed in his father’s footsteps and signed for the club. Joao de Assis Moreira, known as Joao Mendes, has joined the Catalan giants after being on trial since January.
    Joao Mendes has joined Barcelona, where his father Ronaldinho starredCredit: Instagram
    Ronaldinho’s son is a strikerCredit: Instagram
    Ronaldinho is a legend at Barca and says he’ll now be ‘more present than ever’Credit: AP:Associated Press
    The 17-year-old was previously at Brazilian side Cruzerio before his contract was terminated.
    He supposedly possesses some of the same silky skills his dad was famous for, but he is a striker rather than an attacking midfielder.
    On his son’s move, Ronaldinho said via Marca: “Yes he is coming now.
    “I’m never out of the club. Barcelona is part of life. Wherever I go I take Barcelona with me.
    “With the arrival of my son at Barca I’ll be more present than ever.”
    Mendes will now join the iconic La Masia academy, which is responsible for nurturing talent like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Gavi and current manager Xavi.
    Ronaldinho currently works as an ambassador for the club
    The 42-year-old has legendary status at the Nou Camp after an incredible five season stay.
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    Ronaldinho played 207 times, netting 94 goals and registering 70 assists.
    The Brazil icon helped the team win two LaLiga titles and one Champions League trophy.
    He was also crowned the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner while at Barca. More

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    Man City to IGNORE relegation fears and continue transfer and contract plans in months ahead as rivals eye their stars

    MANCHESTER CITY are set to press ahead with summer transfer plans despite the looming threat of relegation, according to reports. The Premier League charged Pep Guardiola’s outfit with more than 100 breaches relating to the club’s finances stretching from 2009 to 2018.
    Pep Guardiola has been given a massive headache from the alleged financial breachesCredit: PA

    Sanctions the Prem could now impose if the allegations are proven range from as minuscule as a reprimand to as high as expulsion or relegation from the league.
    League titles in the period could even be stripped, while other sanctions could see the Cityzens deducted points.
    However, according to The Athletic, City chiefs plan to keep calm and carry on.
    They have been here before, given the Uefa accusations they were cleared of by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in 2020.
    The report stipulates a case of this magnitude could take years to come to a conclusion.
    This means that come the summer, City’s transfer and contract plans are expected to be in full swing.
    The club have been linked with the likes of Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham in the next transfer window.
    But player representatives are said to have noted that negotiations could prove “difficult” given the circumstances.
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    Ilkay Gundogan and Scott Carson will see their contracts expire this summer.
    Others such as Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte are due for renewal given the club’s usual contract policy to renew players who have two years left.
    Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva are other senior stars whose contracts expire in 2025, while Kyle Walker will also see his deal expire in 2024.
    Indeed, boss Guardiola previously declared he would QUIT the club if they had lied to him about their finances.
    This all came after Kane subjected Guardiola’s side to a 1-0 defeat to see them lose more ground in the pursuit of Arsenal. More

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    Arsenal could cash in on Folarin Balogun in summer transfer as they are faced with dilemma for on-loan striker

    ARSENAL could cash in on Folarin Balogun in the summer despite the striker currently outshining Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in France.Balogun, 21, is the leading scorer in Ligue 1 with 14 goals for Stade de Reims.
    Folarin Balogun has been sensational for Reims so far this seasonCredit: Getty
    The young forward could permanently leave Arsenal in the summerCredit: Getty
    And no-one has been more surprised by his success than Arsenal, who didn’t anticipate him being so prolific when they agreed to loan him to the French minnows for the season.
    But Reims’ English boss Will Still has been so impressed with the New York-born target man he describes as “a super complete striker” that he asked if they could sign Balogun on a permanent deal in the recent transfer window.
    That request was rejected by Arsenal, who have still not decided what to do with Balogun or whether he plays a part in Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans.
    But with only 18 months remaining on his Emirates contract, they will either have to hand Balogun a lengthy new deal at the end of the season or sell him for maximum profit.
    And they certainly won’t be short of offers for a player who didn’t exactly set the Championship alight when he was loaned out to Middlesbrough for the second half of last season.
    Now Arteta must determine if there is a realistic chance of Balogun forcing his way in front of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah to lead the Arsenal attack.

    The most likely scenario at the moment is that they will keep him at the club for the first half of the season to see if he is ready to play at Premier League and Champions League level.
    And if he is unable to pin down a regular place in the team, he would then be sent out on loan again to gain more regular first team football.
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    But that cannot happen if he is in the final year of his contract and eligible to leave as a free agent in 2025.
    And Arsenal’s concern is that if they do keep him next season and he fails to maintain the form he is currently showing, his market value will drop.
    England Under-21 international Balogun, who is also eligible to play for the USA and Nigeria, recently insisted: “Arsenal is my family.
    “But I’ve spent my whole career in England and I knew it was going to be a different test when I came to Reims.
    “I didn’t know the language and I’m still trying to learn, but it was important for me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
    “That’s the reason I’m here and hopefully it’s a decision that will pay off for me.
    “I’ve already reached my target for the start of the season and now I want to do even better and I’m hoping to score 20 goals.”
    If he succeeds in that ambition, it will be hard for Arteta to ignore the clamour for Arsenal to keep Balogun and make him a part of their plans.
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    But the feeling within the club is that it takes a lot more to shine in the Premier League than it does in France.
    And until Balogun has shown that he can succeed against the best teams in England the jury remains out. More