Milan Skriniar’s Agent Talks Up Interest From Barcelona & Real Madrid Ahead of Possible Summer Move

?Milan Skriniar’s agent has told reporters his client has attracted strong interest from Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the duo set to battle it out over his signature this summer.

Skriniar has showed himself to be one of the game’s most accomplished central defenders since joining Inter from Sampdoria in 2017, making 76 appearances in just over a year and half with the ?Nerazzurri.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-AC MILAN-INTER

Speaking to ?AS, Halis, who is one of the partners at the agency which represents the Slovakian, revealed: “Real Madrid want to sign him, so do Barcelona; whoever can convince Inter to let him go will sign him this summer.”

Los Blancos are understood to see the 24-year-old as a potential replacement for rumoured wantaway centre back Raphael Varane.

And Halis continued: “Skriniar is a model professional. If Real Madrid want him, they could get him but there are other agents who have a vested interest in taking players where they want.”

He then claimed that the only complications that could arise in the transfer revolve around the possible intrusion of super-agent Mino Raiola, explaining: “Mino Raiola, who represents Ibrahimovic and Pogba, might try to mislead Skriniar, but the player is on the books at our company – we have a contract with him.

“?Inter paid Sampdoria €28m for Skriniar and six months later, Manchester City came in with an offer of €55m. Now he is valued at around €100m. Any deal would certainly be complicated by the interference of intermediaries.”


Halis is a compatriot of Skriniar, but largely specialises in Turkish football, and had some further revelations about another centre back Madrid have been rumoured to be looking at, VfB Stuttgart’s Ozan Kabak, whom he has known since his early academy days at Galatasaray.

However, this time Halis was charged with playing down said links, declaring: “Ozan Kabak is an exceptional talent, but he’s not ready to join a top level club like ?Real Madrid. 

“At the moment he is not on Madrid’s list of candidates. He needs to get a few seasons under his belt and improve his game at Stuttgart before he goes anywhere else. There are a lot of steps he must go for before being in a position to join a side like Madrid”.

Let’

Transfer Rumours: Hudson-Odoi to Liverpool, Spurs Eye Gomes, Barça Want ‘New Pogba’ & More

Did you really think the international break would stop the rumours train? Oh no. Nothing stops the rumours train. It’s like the train in that Denzel Washington film where the train doesn’t stop… except at the end, when it stops.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of the latest transfer rumours from around the web…


Liverpool Still Keeping an Eye on Callum Huson-Odoi

FBL-ENG-EUR-2020-TRAINING

Callum Hudson-Odoi is still a wanted man in Germany, with not only Bayern Munich but Borussia Dortmund keen on a summer move for the teenage prodigy.

While you may have heard that already, the new claim courtesy of ?SportBild (not to be confused with Bild) is that ?Liverpool too are keen on CHO.

The report focuses on the German clubs’ interest but throws in a teasing mention of the Premier League leaders, claiming they ‘have kept an eye on Hudson-Odoi’.

It’s a tantalising claim. However, links to Liverpool were previously shot down by Liverpool ITKs, while the likelihood of ?Chelsea (who are being obstinate enough with the Germans) selling to a domestic rival, while potentially under a transfer ban, seems next to nil.


Kieran Tierney Plays Down Links to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester

Brendan Rodgers,Kieran Tierney

Meanwhile Celtic full back Kieran Tierney insists he has not been in touch with former manager Brendan Rodgers over a summer move south of the border to ?Leicester City.

Rodgers took the likes of Joe Allen and (ahem) Fabio Borini with him from Swansea to Liverpool and Kolo Toure from Liverpool to Celtic, and he is already being tipped to bring some familiar faces to the King Power Stadium this summer.

However, 21-year-old Tierney – who has been linked with a whole host of Premier League clubs – told the ?Evening Times that he has had minimal contact with Rodgers since his departure.

“No, I’ve not seen him since. I had a few text messages just after he left but that’s it,” Tierney said. So there.


Atletico Enter Race for Juventus & Man Utd Target Ruben Dias

FBL-EUR-C3-BENFICA-GALATASARAY

?Atletico Madrid are the latest club to be named as interested in Benfica defender Ruben Dias.

The 21-year-old centre back has picked up a host of admirers this season as Benfica sit pretty at the top of the Portuguese league. Those admirers include the likes of Juventus and ?Manchester United (which defender isn’t linked with United currently?), as well as Atletico.

According to Madrid daily ?AS, Atleti officials have been following Dias with ‘great attention’.

The Portugal international reportedly has a release clause of €60m in his contract for any club wishing to bypass the tedious process of negotiation.


Barcelona Eye ‘New Paul Pogba’

Lucien Agoume,Pakia Ware

Ruben Dias isn’t the only target Juventus won’t have a free run at this summer, with ?Barcelona tipped to challenge the Old Lady for 17-year-old Lucien Agoume.

The Cameroon-born France youth international midfielder currently plays for FC Sochaux and has 13 Ligue 2 appearances this season, but you already knew that didn’t you… you hipster.

Most intriguingly, ?Calcio Mercato – who bring word of Barça’s supposed interest – claim that Agoume is considered the ‘new Pogba’. No pressure then.

Meanwhile, the ?old Pogba has waxed lyrical about Barça, calling them ‘a team I always watch’, ahead of Man Utd’s Champions League showdown.

Could we have an Old Pogba-New Pogba midfield double act at the Camp Nou in years to come?


Everton Face Competition for Andre Gomes

Ross Barkley,Andre Gomes

And finally, Everton may not get a clear run at Andre Gomes this summer with Premier League rivals Tottenham apparently ready to dust off the old chequebook and try to tempt the Portuguese midfielder to New White Hart Lane/Tottenham Hotspur Stadium/Insert Sponsor Name Here.

?The Sun reckon that while Barcelona are keen to sell, Gomes’ eye catching displays for the Toffees mean there could be a bidding war, which is probably the best kind of war.

Inter have also been tipped to make a move for the £20m-rated midfielder.


Let’

Spain vs Norway Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Spain welcome Norway to the Mestalla on Saturday night, as both sides get their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign underway.

La Roja will be aiming to reach their seventh consecutive European Championship, as they hope to continue their excellent record in the tournament. They will be eyeing up glory once again, hoping to win the tournament for the third time in the last four editions.

Meanwhile, Norway are aiming to reach the tournament for only the second time in their history. Their sole appearance came at EURO 2000, where they actually beat Spain in their first ever European Championship game.

Here is 90min’s preview of Saturday’s European qualifier.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 23 March
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:45 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Estadi de Mestalla, Valencia
                TV Channel/Live Stream?                                   Sky Sports Football                      
Referee? Andris Treimanis

Team News

After Spain’s squad was named last Friday, there has only been one change. They are now without Fabian Ruiz, who had to pull out of the squad through illness. The ?Napoli man has been replaced by ?Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez, who could ?soon be leaving for Manchester City.


Norway are not expected to have any fresh injuries, with Kristoffer Ajer recovering from a head injury in time to be available for Saturday’s trip to Valencia.


Predicted Lineups

?

Spain De Gea; Alba, Ramos, Martinez, Roberto; Saul, Busquets, Ceballos; Asensio, Morata, Rodrigo.
Norway Jarstein; Elabdellaoui, Nordtveit, Ajer, Rosted; Fossum, Henriksen, Selnaes, Elyounoussi; Kamara, King.

Head to Head Record

SPANIEN - NORWEGEN ( ESP - NOR ) 0:1

Spain and Norway have met six times before, with La Roja winning four of their meetings and Norway recording just one win. Their only victory came back at EURO 2000, as a Steffen Iversen goal secured a famous 1-0 win in their first ever European Championship game.

The last time these two sides met was in the EURO 2004 playoffs in November 2003, where Spain were victorious. The Spanish won 2-1 in the first leg, before prevailing 3-0 in the second leg to qualify for the upcoming tournament in Portugal.

Spain have managed to keep clean sheets in four of their six encounters with Norway, while Saturday’s visitors will be looking to beat La Roja for the first time in 19 years.


Recent Form

Norway v Bulgaria - UEFA Nations League C

?Both sides are returning to action for the first time in four months, having not played since their Nations League debuts. Spain finished second in Group A4 behind England, ending 2019 with back to back defeats to the Three Lions and World Cup finalists Croatia.

On the other hand, Norway earned promotion to League B as they topped Group C3. The Lovene are in strong form, as they are unbeaten in their last four matches and only lost one of their ten internationals last year.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

Spain Norway
  Spain 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina (18/11)  Cyprus 0-2 Norway (19/11)
Croatia 3-2 Spain (15/11)                 Slovenia 1-1 Norway (16/11)              
Spain 2-3 England (15/10) Norway 1-0 Bulgaria (16/10)
Wales 1-4 Spain (11/10) Norway 1-0 Slovenia (13/10)
Spain 6-0 Croatia (11/09) Bulgaria 1-0 Norway (09/09)

Prediction

While Spain look to be clear favourites, it won’t be an easy night in Valencia. Though Norway sit 39 places below Luis Enrique’s side in the world rankings, they will be eager to qualify for next year’s tournament and will hope to build on from their successful Nations League campaign.

However it seems that Spain’s experience, depth and overall strength will be too much for their Scandinavian visitors, as La Roja look likely to begin their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign with a win in Valencia.

Prediction: Spain 3-1 Norway

Let’

6 Potential Replacements for Philippe Coutinho if Barcelona Cut Their Losses This Summer

?Even as a youngster, it seemed it was Philippe Coutinho’s destiny to play for Barcelona. He achieved that dream in January 2018, but things have not gone to plan. Not at all.

The Brazilian looks a shell of the man who terrorised Premier League defences with Liverpool, and now there’s talk of the Blaugrana cutting their ties with a man who has hindered the team more often than he has helped.

His departure would likely create a fresh transfer merry-go-round, and here are six players who could replace Coutinho at Barcelona.


Ousmane Dembele

Why replace Coutinho when you already have a £136m man ready to take over? ?Ousmane Dembele has looked like the player ?Barcelona wished Coutinho was, but the Frenchman has been forced to rotate with Coutinho as Ernesto Valverde has given both every chance to impress.

Ousmane Dembele

The decision seems simple. Move on from Coutinho, and give Dembele twice as many starts to compensate. He already has 14 goals and eight assists this year and, at 21, the sky really is the limit for the former ?Borussia Dortmund man.

Malcom is a capable deputy, whilst ?Rafinha should be ready and fit to start the new season. However, if they do want to make another huge signing, there are no shortage of options…


Antoine Griezmann

?

No need to check your calendars, it is 2019 and Antoine Griezmann is once again nearing the exit door of the Wanda Metropolitano. The Frenchman put to bed any talk of a move to Barcelona by signing a new contract last summer, but that seems to mean little anymore.

Antoine Griezmann

The World Cup winner is still widely regarded as one of Europe’s top forwards, but it appears he has grown frustrated with life with ?Atletico Madrid and their failure to win regular silverware. A move to Barcelona would certainly give Griezmann what he wants.

Comfortable as both a central striker and in a wide or supporting role, Griezmann would offer Barcelona some much-needed versatility in attack. If he’s available (and it looks like he will be), they should move for him.


Paulo Dybala

The heir to ?Lionel Messi’s throne with the Argentina national team could also be the man to fill his shoes at the Camp Nou. At this stage of 2018, ?Paulo Dybala’s exit from the Allianz Stadium seemed unfathomable but, with the arrival of ?Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala’s future seems up in the air.

Paulo Dybala

He’s struggled to be at his best alongside the superstar forward, netting just four ?Serie A goals in 25 outings. As a result, he has found himself linked with a move away, with the likes of ?Liverpool and ?Inter said to be keen. However, unless they have an alternative lined up, there is simply no way Barcelona should allow him to pass them by.

The on-field relationship between Dybala and Messi has come into question in the past, but the two are both supremely talented footballers. They can certainly make it work, and the results could be stunning.


Sadio Mane

Perhaps Barcelona signed the wrong ?Liverpool star? ?Sadio Mane has been in breathtaking form for Liverpool this season, helping to draw attention away from ?Mohamed Salah. He already has 20 goals this season, which is the kind of form that could get him a move to the Camp Nou.

Sadio Mane

Mane is a left-sided player, and would feel right at home on that side of Barcelona’s lineup. He is also comfortable both centrally and on the right, which will only make him more appealing to the Blaugrana.

Whilst a potential Mane-Coutinho swap deal is unlikely, it will always be rumoured until the day it is no longer physically possible. The Senegal international is the kind of star Barcelona need, and they should look to lure him away from Anfield.


Son Heung-min

Few players know how to make an impact from the left wing quite like ?Son Heung-min. The ?Tottenham Hotspur man has been in typically excellent form this season, but is again facing the prospect of finishing a season without any silverware.

Son Heung-Min

Nobody at the club seems safe from an exit, from Mauricio Pochettino to ?Harry Kane. There is a growing fear amongst supporters that something simply is not right at the club. They have been trending in the right direction, but have again failed to answer the majority of their critics.

A big-money move to the Camp Nou could be too good to turn down for Son, who could leap at the opportunity to join a side who know what it takes to win trophy after trophy.


Felipe Anderson

Felipe Anderson spent many years starring on the right of Lazio’s attack, but looks to be a completely new animal as ?West Ham United’s left winger. The 25-year-old has been in excellent form all season, racking up nine goals and five assists all season, but the Hammers remain lost in mid-table obscurity.

Felipe Anderson

Despite his obvious talent, Anderson is yet to experience life in the ?Champions League.? He is unlikely to achieve that with West Ham, who look to be struggling to qualify for the Europa League this year, but he certainly looks like a player who should be featuring on Europe’s grandest stage.

His speed and creativity would fit seamlessly into Barcelona’s forward line, and Valverde should recognise that. If they lodged a sizeable offer, West Ham would likely be powerless to prevent Anderson pursuing the move.

Let’

Barcelona Oppose Radical Champions League Remodel to Avoid ‘Killing’ La Liga

Barcelona have joined forces with the top Premier League clubs in opposing UEFA’s new proposed Champions League revamp, fearing that European matches on weekends would ‘kill’ domestic football.

UEFA met with representatives from Europe’s major clubs in Nyon, Switzerland, on Tuesday for a brainstorming session on potential Champions League alterations following the 2024 season.

The new ideas include replacing the current qualification process with a simpler promotion and relegation format as well as playing matches on weekends, at least from the quarter-final stage onwards.

Premier League sides present at the meetings were said to be decidedly unhappy with these proposals, fearing that the format changes would compromise the lucrative television contracts that have funded the league’s growing wealth.

FBL-EUR-C1-DRAW

According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have now aligned themselves with the Premier League clubs as they look to protect their own domestic interests.

Despite the immediate negative reception, talks still appear to be at a very early stage with a Barcelona spokesperson saying: “This is the first of a series of meetings between the parties in the coming months, to allow for a detailed and adequate consultation with the objective of elaborating concrete proposals that can be considered and analysed properly before making any decision.”

Resistance against the proposed Champions League changes has thus far formalised into a document of condemnation submitted to UEFA, and signed by members of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga.

Lionel Messi

However, UEFA’s new plans are already threatening to spark an extensive and wide-ranging European football conflict as other top clubs including Juventus and PSG support the format changes due to the lack of competition and global interest in their domestic campaigns.

Barcelona, who last won the Champions League in 2015, are still hoping to emerge victorious from this year’s competition as they face Manchester United in the quarter-finals after defeating Lyon 5-1 on aggregate in the round of 16.

Let’