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Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund scoping Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark; PSG is the leader to land Ajax’s Matthijs De Ligt; Manchester United out on Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale; Women’s World Cup coverage; and MORE!

The last of the Starks (at Hertha Berlin)?

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Stark’s release clause worrying Hertha (kicker)

Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark garnered some attention this season with his stellar play and now Die Alte Dame is a bit worried that too many other teams might have noticed that Stark is pretty darn good.

According to kicker, Stark has a release clause that can be activated through June 30th.

Hertha BSC wants to start the new season with Niklas Stark (24), but still has to worry: According to kicker information, the central defender has a release clause in his contract, which runs until 2022, for almost 25 million euros and it will remain in effect until June 30th.

Stark’s recent promotion to Germany’s senior team has made his stock rise even more. Given that exposure and his excellent performance in the Bundesliga during the season, Stark has reportedly opened the eyes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Stark can play as both a center-back and defensive midfielder, which would be another versatile option for Niko Kovac should Bayern seek to activate Stark’s release clause.

PSG storms to the lead of the De Ligt sweepstakes (Münchner Merkur)

At different points over the past six months FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich were each considered to be a frontrunner to land Ajax star center-back Matthijs de Ligt. Now, however, it is the free-spending, deep pockets of Paris Saint-Germain that might be closest to landing the 19-year-old phenom.

“Paris Saint-Germain does everything for de Ligt,” writes De Telegraaf. In addition to the Dutch daily, the French L’Équipe also reports on a meeting between De Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola and PSG officials, including Antero Henrique, who will soon be replaced by Leonardo. Raiola himself denies that there has been a meeting: “This is a classic case of fake news,” he told the Italian news agency ANSA.

However, two important women in the life of the Ajax star could be happy about moving to the French capital. According to De Telegraaf, de Ligt’s friend Annekee Molenaar and her mother Christiane have already visited the city. In order not to be recognized, they are said to have been in a car with darkened windows.

All this for a player that Manchester United once predicted would be too fat.

Bale no longer an option for United (Transfer Market Web)

One of the names that has been associated with Bayern is Gareth Bale, but there has been much more noise indicating that the 29-year-old is headed to the Premier League. Apparently, Manchester United will not be one of those destinations.

Real Madrid’s starlet, Gareth Bale (29) is no longer one of Manchester United’s transfer targets this summer, despite speculation linking the Welshman with a move to Old Trafford.

There have been reports that Real Madrid is seeking a nine-figure sum for the talented, but oft-injured Welshman. Perhaps those alleged demands have limited the market for Bale.

Women’s World Cup rundown (@FOXSoccer)

If you aren’t watching the Women’s World Cup, you are missing some great action. Here is yesterday’s recap:

If you didn’t like Australia’s effort, Sam Kerr has four words for you:

Barca and Premier League options for Havertz (Sport Bild)

Yesterday we covered the new of a “secret meeting” in Mainz between Bayern chief scout Marco Neppe and Hannes Winzer, the agent for Bayer Leverkusen phenom Kai Havertz. Today, Sport Bild confirmed the meeting, but also threw in the caveat that Bayern won’t be the only power club pursuing the 20-year-old star.

The Havertz side would have an alternative with FC Barcelona and the Premier League.

Juve closing in on Pogba? (Transfer Market Web)

Juventus is still looking to make a splash in the transfer market and is reportedly getting serious about Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

Juventus’ sporting director Fabio Paratici has travelled to the London offices of Manchester United for face-to-face talks over the potential transfer of France midfielder Paul Pogba, 26.

Kimmich was an iron man, but let’s give him a break at some point next season (@iMiaSanMia)

Joshua Kimmich’s desire — and ability — to be on the pitch as much as possible is an admirable trait at a time where so many players are limited by “load management.” Kimmich, however, will hopefully be able to take a non-suspension induced break next season with the arrival of versatile VfB Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard.

Watzke thinks Sane’s potential move to Bayern would be good for the league (

Oddly, you can count Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke as someone who wants Leroy Sane to move to Bayern Munich. captured a report from Bild where Watzke gave his rationale.

I think it would be very good if Bayern brings Leroy Sane back as a Germany international. Because that would further increase the appeal of the league.

Juve also scoping Rabiot (kicker)

Paris Saint-Germain malcontent Adrien Rabiot had a 2018-2019 season that was marred by off-the-field controversy as his relationship with the club deteriorated. Now, however, the talented midfielder might be looking for a move to Italy.

Where does Adrien Rabiot (24) end up? Since he announced months ago that he would not be renewing his contract with Paris St. Germain, the French midfielder has been “on the outs” with PSG. Now Rabiot himself confirmed in Corriere dello Sport talks with Juventus Turin, which has a penchant for free transfers (including Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Sami Khedira, Emre Can, Aaron Ramsey). But there will probably be many more interested parties for the strong, but not always easy, (ex-)national player, who refused to be on call for national coach Didier Deschamps before the 2018 World Cup.

Madrid fans overlook Hazard (Münchner Merkur)

On a day when former Chelsea star Eden Hazard was being showcased for the first time, Real Madrid fans got loud about wanting PSG’s Kylian Mbappe instead.

In front of 50,000 spectators, Eden Hazard has been officially launched at Real Madrid. However, it came to a scandal. Several fans called out loud: “Queremos Mbappé!” (“We want Mbappé!”). Instead of the 28-year-old Belgian, many fans of the Spanish record champion probably wanted the 20-year-old Frenchman’s commitment.

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