Man United join race to sign Lille forward Nicolas Pepe

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Nicolas Pepe

Manchester United have reportedly joined the race for £60million-rated Lille forward Nicolas Pepe.

The Daily Express says United scouts have been sent to watch the Ivory Coast international as they plan for the potential departure of Romelu Lukaku.

The 23-year-old is also said to be a target for Liverpool, while he has reportedly caught the eye of the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Paris St Germain and Inter Milan.

Burnley could allow Joe Hart to leave on a free transfer this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

Several French clubs are said to be interested in landing the former England goalkeeper.

The paper says Burnley are considering allowing Hart to leave to save on wages, with the 32-year-old having been stuck on the bench since a 5-1 home defeat against Everton on Boxing Day.

Everton midfielder Tom Davies is set to sign a new contract that runs until 2023, the Daily Mail reports.

Boss Marco Silva is keen to retain the 20-year-old, who is highly regarded at Goodison Park despite a difficult season, the paper says.

Nicolas Otamendi of Manchester City celebrates

Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi will reportedly leave the club in the summer, with West Ham and Wolves said to be interested in his signature.

The Daily Star says reports in Argentina suggest the 31-year-old is looking for more game-time, having been out of Pep Guardiola’s first team recently.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has been identified as a potential replacement for Gennaro Gattuso at AC Milan, the Evening Standard reports.

With Gattuso’s job under threat amid poor form for AC, Sarri’s name has been added to the club’s wish-list, the paper claims.

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Real Madrid leading Manchester United and Juventus in race to sign Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix

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Joao Felix.

Real Madrid are at the front of the queue in the chase to sign Benfica midfielder Joao Felix, according to The Sun.

The Portugal star has been heavily linked with a summer move in recent months, with Madrid, Man City, Juventus, and Manchester United all said to be interested.

Benfica are looking to sign Felix to a new contract that will include a £130million release clause, though that may not ward off his suitors.

Madrid and Juventus are said to be the front-runners to sign the 19-year-old, with the former slight favourites as Zinedine Zidane looks to freshen up a side that has endured a poor season by their standards after seeing their run of three straight Champions League titles come to an end.

Meanwhile, Paulo Dybala has stagnated at Juventus and rumours have grown of an exit this summer. Felix would be a natural replacement for the Argentine – who himself has been linked with a move to United.

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The Manchester club are targeting Felix as part of a summer rebuild in which newly-appointed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is targeting several young stars, while City see the player as an heir to David Silva, with the Spaniard having turned 33 earlier this year.

Felix has caught the eye with an excellent season for Benfica, scoring 10 goals and adding four assists in the Premeira Liga this season.

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Real Madrid offer Chelsea option to extend Mateo Kovacic loan

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Mateo Kovacic.

Chelsea could extend Mateo Kovacic’s stay at the club despite the threat of a transfer ban looming over the upcoming transfer window.

The Croatian midfielder was signed on a one-year loan from Real Madrid last summer, with no option to make the transfer permanent at the end of the season.

However, according to the Mirror, Madrid have offered Maurizio Sarri’s side a lifeline by giving Chelsea the chance to extend Kovacic’s loan by another season – with a mandatory option to buy after the 2019-20 campaign.

The 24-year-old has made 44 appearances in his debut season in England, and though he has yet to score his first Chelsea goal he has been a combative presence in Sarri’s midfield as they push for a top-four finish in the Premier League and the Europa League trophy, having reached the semi-finals of that competition.

With Zinedine Zidane having returned as Madrid manager in March, it’s unlikely that Kovacic would want to go back to the Spanish capital, having struggled for playing time under the Frenchman.

The Croatian was keen to press his claim for first-choice status in the national team ahead of last summer’s World Cup, but found his route to more starts for his club side blocked by Madrid’s established midfield trio of compatriot Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos. Even after Zidane’s shock departure from the club last summer, Kovacic opted to leave in order to guarantee more regular starts.

Upon arriving in London last summer, the midfielder bid farewell to Madrid on Twitter, making it clear that he saw his future away from Spain.

But the transfer ban Chelsea are facing over alleged illegal signings of under-age players has muddied the waters, though the club has lodged an appeal. If that fails, the Blues will be banned from registering players for the next two transfer windows.

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