Lucas Vazquez issues contract ultimatum to Real Madrid

Real Madrid utility man Lucas Vazquez has warned the club that he will not wait much longer for them to meet his demands over a new contract.

The 29-year-old, who is predominantly a winger but has spent more time as a backup right-back recently, will be out of contract in the summer, and talks over a new deal have been dragging on for what feels like an eternity.

Vazquez has been doing a job in defence recently
Vazquez has been doing a job in defence recently | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Vazquez remains a key part of Zinedine Zidane’s side, with 23 of his 26 appearances this season coming as a starter, and according to ABC, he wants a salary increase to reflect his importance to the team.

He wants a 15% increase on his salary, but Real are refusing to come anywhere close to that. Instead, they are pushing for Vazquez to decrease his wage by about ten percent – something they have asked everyone in the squad in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Real don’t see a way to agree to Vazquez’s demands after the likes of Luka Modric, Casemiro, Martin Odegaard and Luka Jovic have all agreed pay reductions already, so talks over a renewal have hit a wall.

Zidane has made it clear he wants to keep Vazquez
Zidane has made it clear he wants to keep Vazquez | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

The problem for Vazquez is he turns 30 in July and wants to ensure he picks up one more lucrative contract. He has warned Real that he wants his future sorted out in March, or else he is prepared to walk away from the Santiago Bernabéu after six years of loyal service.

There is expected to be no shortage of suitors for Vazquez if he does hit the free market. The earliest rumours came from Spanish outlet Cuatro, who touted Leeds United as potential leaders in the race for his signature.

However, Vazquez is also being monitored by Everton and AC Milan, both of whom are prepared to offer the Spaniard the kind of money he is looking for.

Interest from Tottenham Hotspur is also expected. Jose Mourinho was heavily linked with a cut-price move for Vazquez as he entered the final year of his contract last summer, and he may well reignite his interest if Vazquez becomes available for free.

Tottenham hold an interest in Vazquez
Tottenham hold an interest in Vazquez | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Speaking to The Guardian in 2020, Vazquez confessed that he could see himself in the Premier League at some point.

“The dream is to retire at Madrid but in football you don’t know,” he confessed. “When I was little, I always watched the Premier League with my brother. It was, it is, very attractive: a nice football to play, one that could fit my characteristics and personality well.”

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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Manchester United set their asking price for Jesse Lingard

Manchester United have settled on a £20m asking price for clubs who are interested in signing Jesse Lingard in the summer transfer window.

Lingard has rediscovered his best form since moving to West Ham on loan in January. And while the deal doesn’t include an option to buy, the Hammers are interested in keeping the 28-year-old around permanently following an impactful start.

90min revealed in January that frustrations were growing between the two clubs in negotiations over a deal for Lingard, with United not keen on West Ham holding a buy option or obligation.

Eurosport write that United will be looking to sell Lingard for around £20m come the summer.

Lingard’s revived form since joining West Ham has seen him chip in with three goals and two assists from five league games – not including a buy option in the deal has given the Red Devils more room to ask for a higher transfer fee when clubs look to sign him.

90min understands that United remain keen on Declan Rice, however, and could be prepared to offer some of their fringe players in order to keep the price down should they pursue a deal for the defensive midfielder. The players believed to be on the table are Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones, but West Ham will likely have their eye firmly on engineering a deal that involves Lingard staying in London.

Clubs are lining up for Rice
Clubs are lining up for Rice | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Rice is believed to be available for around £50m, thus a deal involving an exchange could benefit both United and West Ham, despite the Hammers losing one of their best players.

Lingard has been the icing on the cake in a fine season for David Moyes’ side, helping them maintain an unlikely push for Champions League qualification. They currently sit in fourth place and are only five points behind United, who sit in second on 50 points in an extremely open race for the top four.

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Chelsea would be foolish to sell Fikayo Tomori – let alone offer AC Milan a discount

To the surprise of very few Chelsea fans, Fikayo Tomori has been great since joining AC Milan on loan in January.

Having fallen well out of favour under Frank Lampard, who preferred the error-prone trio of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma far too often in 2019/20, Tomori joined the Rossoneri on a short-term deal to try to reignite his stalling career, and he has done exactly that.

While most were happy to see Tomori leave on loan for the good of his career, Chelsea’s decision to hand Milan the option to sign him permanently for around £26m raised a few eyebrows.

Tomori struggled for minutes at Chelsea
Tomori struggled for minutes at Chelsea | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Milan director Paolo Maldini recently confessed that he would be interested in signing Tomori permanently, but he hoped to sit down with Chelsea to talk about the fee because it is ‘very high’.

Good. So it should be.

You see, the way this ‘football’ thing works is that good players cost a little bit of money. That fee rises when that player is young and comes with impressive potential, and when you’re asking an English team to sell an England international with three years left on his contract, that fee goes up a little more.

Tomori should not come cheap and Chelsea should reject any attempts from Milan to lower his asking price. At this point, it’s £26m or nothing, but it shouldn’t have even made it this far anyway.

Tomori has been a hit in Milan
Tomori has been a hit in Milan | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Chelsea should never have put themselves in a position where losing Tomori is an option. Centre-back is still a weak spot in the Blues’ squad, and unless they can come up with an anti-ageing potion for Thiago Silva, it’s only going to get worse.

Christensen and Rudiger are both enjoying a recent resurgence under Thomas Tuchel, but doubts remain about both. As for Zouma, a summer exit looks likely after seeing him lose his place under the new boss.

Chelsea are clearly well aware of the need to improve at the back. Club officials are looking to sign a young centre-back with experience this summer, but they already have one of those shining at San Siro.

Granted, Tomori’s combined 21 appearances across the Premier League and Serie A doesn’t exactly match up to Ibrahima Konate’s 60 in the Bundesliga or Jose Gimenez’s 143 in La Liga, but ruling him out so early would just be ridiculous.

Chelsea are targeting a new centre-back
Chelsea are targeting a new centre-back | Pool/Getty Images

Tomori has quickly turned into a fan favourite at Milan, a club who know all about elite defenders, and he looks capable of blossoming into a real force of nature. Why let Milan enjoy that at your own expense?

He’s obviously not the finished article just yet. Poor positioning has often been named as a potential flaw in his game, and his much-heralded recovery tackle on Jordan Veretout in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Roma only came about because he was caught out of position in the first place. The flaws are there to see. Relying on recovery pace isn’t exactly ideal.

If you want to justify Chelsea’s openness to the idea of losing Tomori permanently, there’s your best argument, but giving up on such an exciting prospect after less than one season is an awful idea, and one Chelsea know about far too well.

Romelu Lukaku was given ten Premier League games before being binned. Mohamed Salah made it up to 13. Kevin De Bruyne managed three. These are three of the world’s best footballers who would have been starring for Chelsea if the Blues had shown them an ounce of patience.

Chelsea should give Tomori the chance to grow
Chelsea should give Tomori the chance to grow | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Tomori should be brought back to Stamford Bridge and given regular minutes in defence – an easier prospect if Tuchel continues to play with three defenders. When Silva goes and Cesar Azpilicueta starts to decline, the ready-made replacement is there.

If Tomori does have to leave this summer, it shouldn’t be for a penny less than £26m. Milan would be getting a bargain at that price, and anything else would be daylight robbery.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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How USMNT players performed in Europe’s top five leagues: 26-28 February

The United States men’s national team is overseeing a golden generation of players in the leadup to the 2026 World Cup on home soil, with more American players than ever before plying their club trade at teams in one of the Europe’s top five leagues.

Here’s a roundup of how USMNT players in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 got on in the latest round of matches (26 – 28 February).

Konrad de la Fuente was with Barcelona B
Konrad de la Fuente was with Barcelona B | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Barcelona

Having been on the bench in La Liga more often than not this season, albeit without actually making his debut in the competition, Konrad de la Fuente wasn’t involved with the Barcelona first-team over the weekend.

Instead, the 19-year-old Florida-born talent was with Barcelona B and played 89 minutes of their 1-0 win against Lleida Esportiu.

Zack Steffen is Man City #2 behind Ederson
Zack Steffen is Man City #2 behind Ederson | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Manchester City

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who is among the supporters of Common Goal’s newly launched Anti-Racist Project, remains the primary back-up for Ederson at Manchester City and was on the bench for his club’s 2-1 Premier League over West Ham on Saturday.

Steffen has played in the Premier League this season, against Chelsea in early January, but the majority of his chances have come in the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

Tim Ream last played in the Premier League in October
Tim Ream last played in the Premier League in October | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Club: Fulham

Tim Ream is still yet to regain his place at Fulham and was an unused substitute for a 20th consecutive Premier League game as the Cottagers drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace.

Ream hasn’t played a league match since defeat to the same side in late October.

John Brooks is usually a starter but was supended
John Brooks is usually a starter but was supended | Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Club: Wolfsburg

John Brooks is usually a regular starter for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, but the 28-year-old was missing over the weekend for the club’s 2-0 win against Hertha Berlin through suspension.

He has otherwise started 20 Bundesliga games this season, with Wolfsburg in contention to finish in the top four and return to the Champions League.

Antonee Robinson came off the bench for Fulham
Antonee Robinson came off the bench for Fulham | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Position: Left-back

Club: Fulham

Antonee Robinson played the second half of Fulham’s 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace, having been brought off the bench at half-time.

The 23-year-old, who qualifies for the USMNT through his American father, has usually been a starter this season.

Yunus Musah was subbed early for Valencia
Yunus Musah was subbed early for Valencia | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Valencia

Yunus Musah returned to the Valencia starting XI in La Liga but only played 54 minutes of a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Getafe that left the club in 14th place.

The 19-year-old is no longer starting as regularly for Valencia as he was earlier in the season.

Chris Richards started again for Hoffenheim
Chris Richards started again for Hoffenheim | TOBIAS SCHWARZ/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Club: Hoffenheim

20-year-old centre-back Chris Richards is making the most of his opportunity since joining Hoffenheim on loan from Bayern Munich in January and started his third Bundesliga game for the club in their 1-1 draw with Union Berlin.

Richards had also started twice in the Europa League before Hoffenheim were knocked out.

Tyler Adams played 90 minutes of an RB Leipzig win
Tyler Adams played 90 minutes of an RB Leipzig win | Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Position: Centre midfield

Club: RB Leipzig

Tyler Adams played the full 90 minutes for RB Leipzig in a fifth consecutive Bundesliga win for the club that keeps them second behind only reigning champions Bayern Munich.

Leipzig came from two down to win 3-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Timothy Weah played nearly half an hour for Lille
Timothy Weah played nearly half an hour for Lille | John Berry/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Lille

Timothy Weah appeared as a substitute for the final half hour as Ligue 1 leaders Lille looked to rescue a home game against struggling Strasbourg.

Lille were trailing but eventually got back on level terms to draw 1-1 late on. It was still a setback, though, cutting their lead over champions Paris Saint-Germain to just two points.

Josh Sargent scored Werder Bremen's winner
Josh Sargent scored Werder Bremen’s winner | Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Position: Striker

Club: Werder Bremen

Josh Sargent scored the winner for Werder Bremen in their 2-1 comeback victory over Eintracht Frankfurt to kick off the Bundesliga’s weekend action on Friday night.

The win helped Bremen stay eight points clear of the relegation playoff, while Sargent has now started 20 of the club’s 22 league games season – a step on from last season when the Missouri-born forward was more of a rotational player.

Giovanni Reyna started Dortmund's Bundesliga win
Giovanni Reyna started Dortmund’s Bundesliga win | INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images

Position: Attacking midfield

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Giovanni Reyna played just under 70 minutes of Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 Bundesliga win over Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.

It was his first start in any competition since mid-February and his team were already 2-0 up by the time the teenager was replaced by Thorgan Hazard.

Weston McKennie came off the bench for Juventus
Weston McKennie came off the bench for Juventus | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Position: Centre midfield

Club: Juventus

A goal in his last start against Crotone a week earlier wasn’t enough for Weston McKennie to keep his place in the Juventus XI on Saturday. Instead, the USMNT midfielder was a substitute and played the final 22 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona.

That result saw the champions fall a full 10 points behind leaders Inter, although Juve have still got a game in hand that could reduce the deficit.

Christian Pulisic was a substitute for Chelsea vs Man Utd
Christian Pulisic was a substitute for Chelsea vs Man Utd | Pool/Getty Images

Position: Winger

Club: Chelsea

Christian Pulisic made his first Premier League appearance since early February when he came off the bench for the final 25 minutes against Manchester United, having missed Chelsea’s previous three league matches.

Pulisic couldn’t make the difference and the game at Stamford Bridge finished 0-0.

Sergino Dest started Barcelona's win over Sevilla
Sergino Dest started Barcelona’s win over Sevilla | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Position: Right wing-back

Club: Barcelona

Sergino Dest was back in the Barcelona starting XI and played 90 minutes in a La Liga fixture for the first time since before Christmas.

Barça kept a clean sheet and won 2-0 in a vitally important away game against Sevilla in the race for a top four place.

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Willian could still prove to be a good bit of transfer business for Arsenal

Arsenal pulled off an impressive 3-1 victory over high-flying Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, and summer signing Willian was at the heart of many of the team’s best moments.

The Brazilian joined the Gunners on a free transfer having left Chelsea, with whom he spent seven years and departing after Arsenal beat them in the FA Cup final. But up until recently, his displays have been somewhat underwhelming.

Mikel Arteta’s side travelled to Greece and back during the week, keeping their Europa League hopes alive with a vital win over Benfica, and so the boss felt the need to make a number of changes at Leicester. He made six in total, and with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka rested, Willian started.

It was his pinpoint delivery that picked out David Luiz from a free-kick level the score at 1-1 six minutes before the break.

Willian also played a key role in Arsenal’s third goal when he was able to squeeze the ball through to Nicolas Pepe, who finished from close range to put the result beyond doubt.

Add to his performance at Leicester the fact he came only as a second-half substitute against Benfica but was seen by many to be the catalyst of what proved to be a vital comeback, it looks like Willian’s finally turned a corner in his Arsenal career.

The quality has always been there and although he never scored against the Gunners for his former club, those who’ve followed the Premier League in recent seasons will have been aware of what Willian’s capable of on his day.

The issue has been that since pulling on the famous red and white shirt, those days have been very few and far between. Although there were eyebrows raised regarding the length of his Arsenal contract (three years for a 32-year-old), given it was a free transfer, even if he were to make even just a handful more of vital contributions, it will have been a worthwhile piece of business.

The recent form of Saka, the improvement of Pepe and the acquisition of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid have seen Willian start less frequently than he did at the start of the campaign when Arsenal were struggling.

He would have been brought in to provide experienced cover in attack rather than be a key player, so the frequency with which he was selected to start matches at the beginning of the season when the. Gunners’ form wasn’t great will have contributed to supporters’ frustration towards him.

Granted, the 32-year-old still has a long way to go before he will have convinced the entire Arsenal fanbase he is worthy of playing regularly. But there have been signs of his form is improving and given the club’s league position and standing in the Europa League, it may only take one big moment to make himself a hero. Willian can still salvage what’s been a disappointing campaign so far.

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