Champions League Group Stage Draw: All 32 Teams Learn Their Fate

The group stage draw for the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League has been made, with holders Liverpool, 13-time winners Real Madrid, hopefuls Manchester City, perennial runners-up Juventus, Spanish champions Barcelona among the sides to have learned their fate.

Taking place in Monaco, the draw followed its usual format. The 32 competing teams were split into pots (1-4), with one side from each pot assigned to each of the eight groups (A-H).

Liverpool v Chelsea: UEFA Super Cup

​Liverpool are to meet Napoli in the group for the second year in a row, but will consider their path to the knockout stages a favourable one, with Red Bull Salzburg and Genk.

English champions ​Manchester City have been paired with Shakhtar Donetsk again, as well as Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb and Champions League debutants Atalanta.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will meet in two heavyweight clashes in Group A, but Galatasaray could threaten to make it tricky for either of them.

Group H promises to be a very competitive one, with Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia and Lille, with any in with a chance of qualifying. But this year’s ‘Group of Death’ is arguably F after Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter were drawn with Czech minnows Slavia Prague.

Lionel Messi

​2019/20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw
Group A – Paris Saint-Germain, ​Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray
Group B – ​Bayern Munich, ​Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiacos, Red Star Belgrade
​Group C – ​Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta
​Group D – ​Juventus, ​Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow
​Group E – ​Liverpool, ​Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg, Genk
Group F – ​Barcelona, ​Borussia Dortmund, ​Inter, Slavia Prague
​Group G – Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Olympique Lyonnais, RB Leipzig
Group H – ​Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

Matchday one will take place on 17/18 September and the round will conclude as usual with matchday six on 10/11 December. The first knockout draw will follow on 16 December.

This season’s final will be played at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on 30 May 2020.

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Tottenham Face Nervous Christian Eriksen Wait After Being Left in Dark Over Midfielder’s Intentions

Tottenham Hotspur are said to be in the dark over the immediate future of Christian Eriksen as a result of an alleged breakdown in the relationships between Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and the Danish star’s agent, Martin Schoots.

Eriksen is in the final year of his contract at Tottenham and looks unlikely to sign a new one as he angles for a new challenge after six years in north London so far.

Christian Eriksen

It has been reported already this week that Eriksen is ‘resigned’ to staying put for this season after an offer from Real Madrid or Barcelona has failed to materialise.

But The Guardian suggests that Spurs will still face an uncertain few days after being given little indication of the player’s intentions. That is because there have apparently been no talks between Levy and Schoots for ‘some time’.

Eriksen briefly drew interest from Manchester United in the final days before the Premier League transfer deadline, only for the Old Trafford club to withdraw from talks after being left unconvinced the 27-year-old playmaker wanted to join them.

His desire for a new challenge is thought to lie overseas. The aforementioned Real and Barça have been heavily linked, as have Juventus.

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The general belief is that clubs are more likely to wait until next summer to make their move when Eriksen is a free agent. Juventus in particular have developed a reputation for signing free midfielders – Paul Pogba, Sami Khedira, Emre Can, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot.

Eriksen’s uncertain future has seen him kept on the fringes by manager Mauricio Pochettino so far this season. The player didn’t start on the opening day against Aston Villa, but was crucial as a substitute in the comeback win, and similarly started on the bench in the Newcastle defeat.

Spurs have also been without Dele Alli so far this season, with the England midfielder missing though injury. He has returned to training, however, and could therefore be a welcome boost in the North London derby against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

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Transfer Rumours: Dybala Swap Deal, Schick to Leave Roma, Real Madrid Want Fernandes & More

​The Premier League transfer window might be closed, but many sides in leagues across Europe have until 2 September to get deals over the line.

Whispers about big-money moves this summer will continue to fly around before the deadline next week, so here’s a handful of the biggest and best rumours currently doing the rounds from across Europe.


Roma to Sell Patrik Schick After Agreement With Nikola Kalinić

Nikola Kalinic

Roma have reached an agreement to sign Nikola Kalinić from Atlético Madrid, paving the way for Czech Republic international Patrik Schick to join RB Leipzig.

Sky Italia (via Calciomercato) have confirmed that Roma have an agreement in place which will see Kalinić move to Italy for the second time in his career, four years after he initially joined Fiorentina before also going on to represent AC Milan.

As part of the move, Roma will offload Schick to RB Leipzig. He will initially join the club on loan but they will also have the option to sign him on a permanent basis for €28m.  


Sampdoria & Werder Bremen Want Andre Ayew on Loan

Andrew Ayew

Swansea City are looking to offload Ghana international Andre Ayew this summer as they can no longer afford to keep the player on their books, prompting interest from Sampdoria and Werder Bremen.

Both clubs have a serious interest in signing Ayew on loan, but The Daily Star warns a move could collapse unless Swansea weaken their position.

It’s claimed that both Bremen and Sampdoria are demanding that Swansea help to subsidise part of Ayew’s wage packet, something which is being rejected by the Welsh side.


Merih Demiral Could Leave Juventus Already

Merih Demiral

Less than two months after joining Juventus from Serie A rivals Sassuolo, Turkey international Merih Demiral could be forced to leave the club as the Bianconeri continue to struggle to sell Daniele Rugani.

Gianluca Di Marzio claims that AC Milan are eager to sign Demiral in a €35m deal as Juventus try to recoup some funds this summer – an offer which, as Sassuolo have a sell-on clause, just about gives Juve some financial benefit.

It’s been suggested elsewhere, however, that Juventus leaked the rumour themselves to put pressure on Rugani’s long-term suitors Roma after talks with the capital club went quiet.


Talks Start Over Paulo Dybala & Mauro Icardi Swap

Nicolas Otamendi,Mauro Icardi,Paulo Dybala

Sticking with Juventus, and sporting director Fabio Paratici held talks with Inter in the early stages of negotiations involving a swap deal between Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi.

Paratici spoke to Inter’s own sporting director Giuseppe Marotta, but La Gazetta dello Sport insists there hasn’t been any real progress over the deal, adding that the initial phone call was just a way of breaking the ice before negotiations really start.

There hasn’t been any suggestion if the two players would agree to the move, but Juventus have been trying to offload Dybala all summer and Inter’s Marotta is becoming increasingly frustrated with Icardi’s agent, Wanda Nara.


Bayern Munich Among Sides to Make Kai Havertz Contact

Kai Havertz

Bayer Leverkusen’s Rudi Völler has revealed that he’s been contacted by a number of clubs over the future of wonderkid Kai Havertz, although he’s already held talks with Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“It’s no secret that there were a few phone calls and big interest,” Völler said, quoted by Goal’s Ronan Murphy. “Then I had a friendly call with Rummenigge. But he totally understood that we won’t do that for now. And Bayern was not the only club who contacted about Havertz.”

It widely expected that Bayern Munich are best placed to sign Hazertz next summer, where they could also go in for RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner despite the 23-year-old signing a new contract this weekend.


Real Madrid in Talks for Bruno Fernandes

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Sporting CP are holding talks over the future of Bruno Fernandes with super-agent Jorge Mendes, who is acting as an intermediary for Real Madrid.

One of the most talked-about players throughout the summer transfer window, this latest rumour comes from Lisbon-based tabloid Correio da Manhã (via Mundo Deportivo) and adds that a deal worth €70m could be struck before 2 September.

How the Portuguese media covered Manchester United’s ‘interest’ in Fernandes has left a lot of fans not trusting reports coming from Europe, and this looks like it’s another one which should be taken with a pinch of salt.


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Neymar Tells PSG Sporting Director He Only Wants Barcelona Move

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has told the club’s sporting director Leonardo that he only has eyes for Barcelona, as the Brazilian’s transfer saga rolls on towards deadline day. 

Neymar looks all but set to finally get the departure out of the French capital he so covets after two difficult years, but the real question, alongside how, has always been who?

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And now, according to a report from Marca, the forward – who l​iked Instagram posts by Barcelona players following their victory over Real Betis – has now privately informed PSG’s sporting director that he is only after a return to Camp Nou, forcing both Real Madrid and Juventus to wait in the wings. 

It is understood that La Blaugrana are in the midst of preparing another bid for the wantaway star, and the Brazilian, knowing this as well as anyone, saw his chance to make this a ‘decisive moment’ in the saga. 

This offer will likely be proposed on Tuesday afternoon, with a Barça delegation flying out to Paris to meet Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Leonardo, where they are expected to submit a bid of €170m, alongside the probable inclusion of Ousmane Dembele in some capacity – Monday’s reports spoke of a possible loan deal. 

The French champions are understood to be keen on getting full back Nelson Semedo in the deal as well, but the Portuguese international is not keen on the move.


In any case, this news does firmly propel the La Liga champions to the top of the ​Neymar pursuit pile. 

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Juventus Offer Out-of-Favour Emre Can in Exchange for Equally Out of Favour Barcelona Midfielder

​Ivan Rakitic’s future at Barcelona is still in doubt after Juventus proposed a swap deal involving wantaway midfielder Emre Can.

The rumour mill has churned out countless stories suggesting the Croatian would join Paris Saint-Germain this summer as a makeweight for Neymar. The chances of that transfer occurring are now next to nil, though the possibility of Rakitic leaving Catalunya remains high as Juve look to lure him to Italy.

Emre Can

With Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey bolstering the ​Old Lady’s options in the middle of the park, Can has been trying to engineer a route out of the club. According to ​Tuttosport, the German may get his wish before the close of the European transfer window on 31 August, with Maurizio Sarri set to offer him in exchange for Rakitic.

Negotiations between Juve and ​Barça have been ongoing for several days as the Italians look to wrap up a deal in time for the deadline.

Rakitic was an unused substitute during La Blaugrana’s thrilling 5-2 victory over Real Betis on Sunday, their first win of the new ​La Liga season after an opening day loss to Athletic Club.

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The same scenario befell Can as the Bianconeri began their 2019/20 ​Serie A campaign with a slender 1-0 triumph at Parma, the ex-​Liverpool man watching on as Giorgio Chiellini grabbed the only goal of the game.

It is not yet clear whether any additional fee will be included should the two clubs agree a transfer. Rakitic is considered a better player than his counterpart, though the World Cup finalist is also six years Can’s senior.

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