Mamadou Sakho’s future is up in the air as Crystal Palace target alternatives


The 27-year-old is not in Jürgen Klopp’s plans, but with Liverpool not lowering their £30 million asking price, Crystal Palace are looking elsewhere, writes Sam May.

Frank De Boer has moved swiftly to secure the services of Bruno Martins Indi, who spent last season on-loan at Stoke City and has Ajax captain Joel Veltman and Jaïro Riedewald also on the radar.

Palace had been key to make Sakho’s loan move a permanent one and previously held discussions with the Frenchman – who had agreed personal terms. A fan favourite and key figure in the Palace dressing room, the centre back would have been hoping for a move away from Merseyside, having settled with his family in South London.

There was hope from chairman Steve Parish that the Merseysiders would soften their stance given the Frenchman’s desire to join them, coupled with the fact he does not feature in Klopp’s plans. Liverpool will not budge on the price for Sakho, just as they didn’t with the Eagles record signing Christian Benteke.

Palace fans maybe urging new manager De Boer to make a move for the out of favour Reds defender, but the Dutchman is keen to secure the services of other targets and look elsewhere.

Sakho is involved in rehab at Melwood and is training on his own, as he recovers from the knee injury, which brought an end to his loan spell at Crystal Palace.

He maybe given a lifeline from Klopp following the German’s recent comments of:  “First of all he needs to get 100% fit and then we will see.”

But, Liverpool may have to keep the Frenchman or lower their asking price, if they are keen for the player to depart this summer.


Who is Álvaro Odriozola? The classy Sociedad youngster targeted by Barcelona and Real Madrid


The Real Sociedad right-back has stood out for the San Sebastian side, and is a target for both LA Liga giants, writes Sam May.

Both clubs are currently working on their summer signings in order to improve ahead of the new season, and both are keen on the star. The 21-year-old, who is under contract until 2018, has €30 million release clause. It is understood he is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal as yet, following interest in him.

Barcelona are keen to fill their right-back position, with Aleix Vidal set to depart this summer and could make a move for the Odriozola, should they fail in their attempts to lure Héctor Bellerín to the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Danilo is reportedly set for a move away from the Real Madrid and Los Blancos could make a move to fill the void.

But who is he?

He is probably the biggest surprise in Spanish football this season. Despite playing just 13 games in the top flight, he has excelled making a major impact. Since making his debut in January, he has been very impressive and has similar attributes to Héctor Bellerín.

Being an attack minded player, he started out as a right winger in the Sociedad reserves side, but moving to the right-back position – and making it his own. He provided four assists last season and is an intelligent player.

The Spain Under-21 international is the jewel in the crown of Sociedad’s youth academy. In 2013, his name appeared for the first time in the media when the club played in the Champions League and he featured for the Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League. In a game against Manchester United at Salford, the visitors won 1-0 with the goal coming from the right-back.

In an interview with El Diario Vasco, his former manager Beñat San José admitted: “He is a dream come true for any manager, he is well-educated, smart inside and outside the pitch, a good teammate and tactically and technically very gifted, always with a smile.

“His speed and ability with the ball helped him to dribble past players easily. But he is also fast as well in the decision-making process during a game, that is why he anticipates to many situations during the matches.”

Under 18 manager Iñaki Sena added: “Apart from his speed, pace and stamina, it is impressive his ability to keep the ball close to his feet while he is running. He is physically very strong, his endurance is out of this world and since I first saw him I knew he was going to make it.”

Nicknamed the “Quiet Man”, he was set to sign a new deal, but the fact both clubs have expressed interest in him has changed things. In six months time he will become a free agent. If he makes the decision of signing for a European giant, his current club will have to accept a bid lower than his buyout clause. Otherwise, they face losing him in January on a free. That would be a tragedy.

Three Ajax players Frank De Boer could sign for Crystal Palace


After being appointed the new Eagles boss, the Dutchman will look to fine tune his team ahead of the new season, writes Sam May.

Here are three players the 47-year-old could target to bolster his squad…


Joël Veltman

The 25-year-old, who has a year left on his current contract, has also been a target for Tottenham. Having previously played under De Boer during his time with Ajax, De Boer gave Veltman his debut five years ago. Palace have cooled interest in Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho and could turn their attentions the Netherlands international, who is valued at £10 million.

Veltman, who played as a right-back in the Europa League Final defeat to Manchester United at the end of last season, is keen on moving to the Premier League. De Boer admitted after his unveiling as the new Eagles boss that Veltman would be an interesting option. “Joel Veltman could be an interesting option. I know him well, but I have not had any contact with him yet,” he previously said.


Kenny Tete

It is believed the new Palace boss is keen to bolster his defence and could move for the impressive young Tete. The 21-year-old is on the Eagles radar and only has 12 months remaining on his Ajax contract. The Dutch club recently accepted a bid of just £2.7million from Galatasaray for the right-back only for the move to fall through.

De Boer gave Tete his Ajax debut and is an admirer of the 21-year-old, who can play anywhere across the defence. Palace could face competition for Tete’s signature from French club Lyon, but will hope that Dutchman De Boer’s appointment will give them the edge.


Daley Sinkgraven

Sinkgraven, 21, would add that creativity in the middle of the park and could be available at a cut-price deal. A neat and tidy central midfielder turned highly intelligent full-back, Sinkgraven has made the left-back position his own under, offering balance, composure and probing passes in the transition between defence to attack. In fact, he has made every one of his 18 league starts at left-back.

If he made the move to South London, his former manager De Boer may opt to use him in his favoured midfield position as he looks for a young and creative playmaker to help feed his strikers next season. He is a risk worth taking and would be a perfect addition, should he make the move.

Who is Dani Ceballos? Spain’s revelation at the European Under-21 Championship’s


Spain beat Italy 3-1 to secure a place in the final of the Under-21 Championships on Tuesday evening.

Saúl Ñíguez’s sensational hatrick secure their place in the final round, but the spotlight was on one man, Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos, writes Sam May.

Ceballos, 20, has been attracting interest from clubs for a number of years and watching last night’s performance you could see why. The youngster was released by Sevilla 13 years-ago, having suffered bronchitis at the time.

Utrera later gave Cabellos a lifeline and he later joined Sevilla’s rivals Real Betis. He was given his first-team debut at 17-years-old. In August 2015, Liverpool, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Napoli were all interested in his signature.

Now, it is understood Real Madrid are interested in his signature and are prepared to meet his €15 million release clause and let him stay at his current club for the 2018-19 season.

Saúl made the headlines, but it was Cabellos who ran the show throughout, captivated the crowed and puzzled the Italians throughout. Spanish newspaper, Marca claimed: “three goals and a great performance from Ceballos” that had earned La Rojita their well deserved place in the final.

He showed he has the vision and the intelligence to drop his shoulder, having assisted Saúl for his opener – with a perfectly waited pass. Two areas were he showed class were when he nutmeged Roberto Gagliardini, with the Italian receiving a second yellow card after cropping Ceballos.

His run from the half way line moments later, also embarrassed the Italian players having gone past three effortlessly. After his performance in Kraków, Cabellos was linked with a move to Real Madrid and the player himself played this down, claiming he has three years left on his current Betis contract.

He wont be replacing Andres Iniesta as Barcelona’s No.8 despite praising Lionel Messi and former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola. But he could be Bernabeu bound before you know it. He will continue to impress and could be playing in the white of Los Blancos in the not too distant future.

Corentin Tolliso: Bayern Munich’s new Frenchman ready to take the Bundesliga by storm


The 22-year-old has broken Bayern Munich’s transfer record and is the one to watch out net season, writes Sam May.

Tolliso becomes the most expensive transfer in Bundesliga history after swapping hometown club Lyon for the Allianz Arena in a €41.5 million deal. Many clubs were interested in his signature and he was always going to seek a move away from the South of France this summer.

He was previously a target for both Napoli and Juventus, who had both expressed interest in the midfielder in previous transfer windows. He will be announced as Bayer Munich player on 1 July.

It was clear that Carlo Anchelotti’s side needed a player who was young and dynamic and that is what they are getting. Arturo Vidal, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry all in their 30s, and Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso are enjoying retirement.

As a 13-year-old, the Frenchman joined the Lyon Academy, having been with the club for 10 years previously. He has now become the biggest transfer fee, his former club has ever received. Despite not making a huge impact for France U21s during their 2015 European Championship campaign.

He impressed for Lyon and earned the captaincy for a couple of qualifiers for the U21s, but his team failed to qualify for the tournament. Tolisso made his Lyon debut in 2013 in a 4-0 victory over Nice and was used as a right back under former manager Rémi Garde. After Garde’s departure, the player was moved in centre midfield.

In 2015, Tolisso was instrumental in the middle, providing the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fékir to score goals and help his side to become one of the best Ligue 1 sides, only just loosing out to the title. Tolliso netted seven times during the campaign.

The following season saw Lyon eliminated from the Champions League, finish bottom of their group. Tolisso picked up a thigh injury and was used in a more orthodox 4-3-3 in a defensive midfield role.

He is in the air, but lacks the upper-body strength and physicality needed to operate effectively in a midfield duo and sometimes dwindled in this deeper role. Tolisso has previously featured as a right-sided wing-back, a second striker and a No10. He did score 14 goals during the 2016-17 campaign.

Last season, he played a pivotal role in his side. He was given the captains armband when Maxime Gonalons was suspended and Tolisso helped his side to a whisker of reaching the Europa League final, only loosing out to Ajax. He made his senior France debut against Spain last March.

He will take the Bundesliga by storm next season and he has become a remarkable talent in the past few seasons. The spotlight has been primarily on Kylian Mbappé and Oussama Dembélé – but its time to turn your attentions to Corentin Tolliso.

Who is Henry Onyekuru?


A number of clubs have expressed interest in Henry Onyekuru, and the player looks destined for a move away from Belgium this summer.

Who is he? Sam May gives you the rundown of all you need to know about the player…



Name: Henry Onyekuru

Born: Onitsha, Nigeria

Position: Forward

Club: KAS Eupen

International identification: Made his first-call up on May 22 for Nigeria


How good is the player?

The 19-year-old had an impressive in the Juniper Pro League, last season. Onyekuru scored 10 goals in 10 games, ending the campaign on a high and alerting a number of teams in the Premier League.

Despite scoring 12 goals throughout the campaign, he missed out on the ‘Golden Bull’ to RSC Anderlecht striker Łukasz Teodorczyk, who scored more away goals than the teenager.

He scored a stunning 24 goals in 41 games and of somebody of such a young age, proves he has what it takes to make the step up. The player also scored twice in the Belgium Cup.

Onyekuru put the frustrations of 2015-16 behind him and kicked-on, scoring six goals and helping Eupen en route to promotion to the top tier. He was a candidate for Belgium’s Young Player of the Year, but lost out to winner Youri Tielemans and fell short of second place to Landry Dimata of Oostende.


Who did he come about?

The Nigerian moved from his homeland to Senegal in 2010 to join the Aspire Academy. The organisation is aimed at unearthing the next ‘footballing wonderkid’ and generation of talents from across a number of developing countries and is Qatari-based.

His current club Eupen have been a big part of the Academy over the years and have previously been owned by ASPIRE Zone Federation, which helps to nuture players, who are hopeful of following in the footsteps of Europe’s greatest, and have a dream of playing amongst Europe’s elite.


Who is interested in his services?

Liverpool, Celtic, RB Leipzig, Southampton, Everton, Arsenal, West Ham and Birmingham City have all expressed interest in Onyekuru. The Gunners however, have emerged as favourites for the strikers signature.

He was previously a target for both Club Brugge and Anderlecht, but the player himself has stated that his future lies in the Premier League and away from Belgium.

But we are yet to discover where he will by plying his trade next season.

Werder Bremen chairman Klaus Filbry criticises Serge Gnabry for leaving the club


Gnabry, 21, has joined Bayern Munich and the Werder Bremen chairman, claims the player “opted for the easiest way”, writes Sam May.

The departure of the Germany international has left Filbry disappointed, with the player activating an exit clause in the contract.

Gnabry joined Alexander Nouri‘s side from Arsenal, and impressed in the Bundesliga last season despite missing part of the campaign. He had an impressive campaign scoring 11 goals from 27 games, which brought him to the attention of the Bundesliga champions.

”I would have hoped for some more perseverance from Serge,” Filbry told Werderstube. “Maybe he opted for the easiest way. I think it’s a pity, but I wish him all the best.

“I was hoping that he could imagine a longer stay at Bremen — and the talks we had also suggested that was an option.”

“He did not really get going again after his injury. Maybe that made him change his mind,” Filbry said. “The decision made by the coach [to drop Gnabry] were absolutely understandable. We were successful and won.”

It is understood Bremen will not make a profit from Gnabry, who was who was top scorer at the Rio Olympics last summer. They will however replacement in mind ahead of next season.

“He did not really get going again after his injury. Maybe that made him change his mind,” Filbry said. “The decision made by the coach [to drop Gnabry] were absolutely understandable. We were successful and won.”

The move will go through on July 1, and Gnabry will be up against the likes of Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and exciting French prospect Kingsley Coman, but will be an extra option for Carlo Ancelotti.