Tinkler looking at Kammies and Sangweni

Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler and his technical team have handed a trial to both Thamsanqa Sangweni and Sirgio Kammies during pre-season preparations.

Sangweni spent part of last season at Richards Bay in the National First Division but has made it clear he is seeking a Premiership return sooner rather than later.

Bay management have said there is an agreement in place that the midfielder return to play for them in 2019/20 should he not secure a deal in the PSL.

Meanwhile, Kammies is a 21-year-old defender who was previously in the colours of Ajax Cape Town before being released after the Urban Warriors failed to secure promotion from the NFD.

The Team of Choice are currently attempting to beef up their squad following the exit of star attackers Fortune Makaringe and Siphesihle Ndlovu to Orlando Pirates.

As such, Kammies and Sangweni are being considered with the Pietermaritzburg-based outfit set to assess the duo during pre-season which is currently ongoing.

Baggies confirm Rondon will leave

West Bromwich Albion have confirmed they will sell Salomon Rondon with the Venezuelan striker being linked with Newcastle and Wolves.

Last week, reports suggested that Wolves were in the hunt to sign Rondon, who spent last season on loan at Newcastle.

West Brom failed to get promoted to the Premier League last season under Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan, while Newcastle have parted company with Rafael Benitez meaning Rondon is unlikely to return to St James’ Park.

Now, Wolves could steal a march on their rivals in their bid to boost their strike force, with Raul Jimenez the only recognised striker in the squad.

And, West Brom technical director Luke Dowling says Rondon will leave this summer, as the player has only one year left on his deal.

"We’re quite happy to say that we will sell Salomon," said Dowling.

"We don’t want a player that’s had a season like that staying around with us and walking away on a Bosman.

"Salomon has had the taste of Newcastle.

"He went back to a Premier League club and if he plays in England that’s where he wants to be."

Chiefs to face local and international teams in pre-season

Kaizer Chiefs returned for pre-season training on Wednesday with the club confirming matches are lined up against local and international sides.

Chiefs have started their pre-season slightly later than some other Premiership teams though the added rest could prove to be advantageous in the long term.

The Glamour Boys have to show massive improvement on the pitch in 2019/20 after a disappointing previous campaign which saw Ernst Middendorp's men finish ninth, as well as lose the Nedbank Cup to TS Galaxy.

The outfit from Naturena have already made a number of changes with the likes of Hendrick Ekstein, Bhongolethu Jayiya, Ryan Moon, Virgil Vries, Gustavo Paez, Khotso Malope, Brylon Petersen and Emmanuel Letlotlo being shipped out.

Meanwhile, Leo Castro has been transfer-listed whereas a new addition to the squad is Lazarous Kambole from Zesco United who will meet his new teammates at Naturena on Wednesday.

Chiefs' official website said: "Kaizer Chiefs' senior team will be returning to training on Wednesday, 26 June to commence with their preparation for the 2019/20 PSL season.

"The journey to prepare for the upcoming season will start in earnest in the absence of some of the international players.

"Amakhosi will hold testing and training session at home before heading for camp. As part of the camp, the team will embark on a few training matches with local and international teams."

Toffees sign Gomes on permanent deal

Everton have confirmed the permanent signing of Andre Gomes on a five-year deal from Barcelona after he spent the season on loan at the Toffees last season.

The 25-year-old Portugal international moves to Goodison Park for a £22million fee following a successful loan spell last season, and is delighted to have put pen-to-paper.

He told evertontv: "I’m really happy to sign the contract with Everton – it wasn’t hard to decide, it was an easy decision and I’m very happy to have made it.

"I know the club made a massive effort to sign me and I’m very happy and thankful to them.

"I said during the year that I felt part of a family and that is the most important thing to me.

"Last year was a really good experience for me.

"I just wanted to feel part of something special and I found it here.

"It was good for me in that moment and right now, after signing for Everton, it’s even better.

Everton manager Marco Silva was delighted to complete a deal to bring Gomes back to Merseyside, adding: "Andre was a really important player for us last season and I think we were really able to help him, too.

"It was a good decision to bring Andre to the club and we made it one of our priorities to get him back.

"I am delighted we have been able to do that as he is a quality player and we were so happy with what he gave us."

Doctor says Pirates players look good after testing

Orlando Pirates Doctor Lervasen Pillay says the players look in good condition after their medical testing was completed at the start of pre-season training.

Pirates are about to embark on preparations for the 2019/20 campaign as they look to be competitive on all fronts both domestically and on the African continent in the CAF Champions League.

With that said, Dr Pillay has confirmed that a bright start has been made with players returning to camp in excellent condition following their holiday break.

He said: "The pre-season medical assessment entails observing and examining the players from a medical perspective.

"[This includes] checking their hearts out, and all their systems, like the lungs, eyes and ears and also their musculoskeletal system, which is the most important because of their involvement in football.

"But our focus is more on picking up and identifying problems and having a plan of action in terms of improvement these [defects] during this pre-season.

"So far, nothing seems to be very concerning, and in fact the guys look much more prepared than the last season or two ago, when we did pre-season medicals.

"Some of the guys have lost a little bit of fitness, there's a little bit of strength that has been lost as well, and commonly we'll start picking up issues like muscle weaknesses in certain areas.

"This is because they haven't been doing as much as they normally do. Though we normally give them an off-season program, but which is minimal cardio and minimal weight training."

Khumalo surfaces at the Clever Boys

Bidvest Wits have reportedly handed a trial to former Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United left-back Sibusiso Khumalo who was at Ajax Cape Town last season.

Since impressing in 2009/10 for Morocco Swallows, the 29-year-old has had a career of mixed fortunes for the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs.

Despite being in the National First Division last season with the Urban Warriors, he made just six appearances three of which were starts.

Nonetheless, the defender, who is a Stars of Africa Academy development product, has the chance to rejuvenate his career with the Students.

He will no doubt be working his socks off to impress coach Gavin Hunt in a bid to win a contract for 2019/20.

If Khumalo does sign on the dotted line, he faces stiff competition from Sifiso Hlanti as the Bafana Bafana international is first choice at the club.

A source told Kickoff: "Sibusiso Khumalo, the left back is training with Wits."

Thabo Nodada returns for Cape Town City

Cape Town City have confirmed that key midfielder Thabo Nodada has returned to full training following injury and is working hard on reaching full fitness.

Nodada has been out since last February when he sustained a leg fracture in a Premiership clash against Highlands Park.

The timing of his injury was unfortunate as he was in fine form and had been included in the Bafana Bafana squad for some Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Such was his form he seemingly had every chance of being successful for the national team under the guidance of Stuart Baxter.

Nonetheless, City have confirmed the player's return and also added he could be at full fitness in three weeks time.

Another injured star expected to make a return in the near future is Austrian Roland Putsche, who was also ruled out for the remaineder of the season.

The pair will have some stiff competition in the middle of the park in 2019/20 from new signings Travis Graham as well as Abbubaker Mobara.

Sharp - 'Lads champing at the bit to express themselves'

Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp has urged his side to maintain their fearless attitude heading in to the Premier League season.

The Blades are back in England’s top division for the first time since being relegated after the 2006-2007 campaign and will hope to establish themselves as a top-flight side.

It will be tough, as the likes of West Brom, Fulham and Cardiff have found in recent years but there is always positivity as the new season approaches.

United have been placed among the favourites for relegation before a ball has been kicked but Sharp insists they are raring to go.

"There’s some incredible games, but every game is going to be brilliant for us and the football club," he told the club’s official website.

"It’s the first time we’ve been in the Premier League for 12 years, and obviously the majority of the lads have never played there so they’re champing at the bit to go and express themselves."

With clubs such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham among the best in Europe, the Bramall Lane outfit may be on the wrong end of a few drubbings but Sharp has made it clear they will not take a backward step and always look forward to the next fixture.

"We’re a group that have got something about us; we don’t fear anything.

"We know we’re not going to win every game, but we don’t fear," he added.

"When we do take a beating, we usually come back stronger and get a result, so (let’s hope) we can keep those qualities next season."

Derby give Lampard green light to talk to Chelsea

Frank Lampard has been given the green light by Derby Country to engage in talks with Chelsea about their managerial vacancy.

The Blues have been looking for a new coach since Maurizio Sarri left the club last week to join Serie A champions Juventus.

Chelsea are now set to pay up to £4million in compensation in order to prise Lampard away from Pride Park.

He is set to be joined by Jody Morris, his former Blues team-mate and current number two at Derby.

Lampard made 648 appearances for the west London outfit and he left in 2014 as the club’s all-time record goalscorer with 211 strikes.

The 41-year-old is now set to depart Derby after just one year in charge after he failed to secure promotion from the Championship.

The Rams were beaten by Aston Villa in the play-off final at Wembley, but Chelsea chiefs have been impressed with his work after helping Chelsea youngsters Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori during their loan spells in the Midlands.

Chelsea loaned out 43 players last season but Lampard is now set to assess the squad in the coming days after Derby allowed him to talk to his former club.

In a statement they said: ‘Derby County Football Club can confirm that they have granted permission for Chelsea Football Club to speak to Frank Lampard about the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge.

‘With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions.

‘The club will make no further comment until it is appropriate to do so.’

Bayern tracking Hammers target Kabak

Bayern Munich appear to be in a race with West Ham to secure the signing of Stuttgart youngster Ozan Kabak.

The 19-year-old was part of the Stuttgart side that failed to maintain their Bundesliga status and so will play in the second tier of German football next season.

A number of players are likely to leave the Mercedes-Benz Arena this summer, with Kabak among them, and the Turkey Under-18 star is not short of suitors.

West Ham United have been linked and it was thought the centre-back might be on his way to the London Stadium, but the Bavarians’ interest may well turn the head of a player valued at around £13.5million.

The Ankara-born starlet made just 15 top-flight appearances for Stuttgart last term but reports suggest he has done enough to catch the eye of Bayern scouts.

Ntshumayelo shown the door at Baroka

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo has departed Baroka after making just one appearance for the club.

Ntshumayelo has been attempting to re-build his career after making an earlier than expected return to the game after being previously banned for using cocaine.

He had been training with Bidvest Wits but was not offered a deal by coach Gavin Hunt, before making his way to Bakgaga on a short term deal.

However, he played just 35 minutes in a 2-1 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns last April and it seems his playing days could once again be coming to an end.

Baroka chairman club Khurishi Mphahlele confirmed the combative midfielder had left his side.

He told Kickoff in definitive fashion that the 29-year-old had parted ways with the team: "No! He is no longer with the team."

Lindelof wants transfers wrapped up before pre-season

Victor Lindelof has urged Manchester United to complete their transfer deals before pre-season starts so that the new signings can settle quicker.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is working hard to bring in new faces but, with just a week until the squad return for pre-season training, Daniel James remains the only piece of business the Red Devils have done.

A deal to bring in Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a rumoured £55million is said to be on the verge of completion, while the 20-time English champions are also looking at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi.

Sweden international Lindelof, who has been at Old Trafford since 2017 after arriving from Benfica, believes completing transfer business early is absolutely crucial for the season ahead.

"Pre-season is very important for the team," he was quoted as saying by the Express.

"New players come in and meet the group and I think it’s vital, especially this season, that we’re all together in the beginning and work through things we want to do, and the things we want to improve, so yeah I would say pre-season is very important.

"When I had just signed for the club [in June 2017], it was important for me to meet and bond with all the players and staff, see what kind of personalities there are and see how the club worked.

"I really enjoyed it."

Ceppitelli inks extension to Cagliari deal

Defender Luca Ceppitelli has agreed a new one-year deal to keep him at Cagliari until June 2021.

The 29-year-old, who joined the Isolani from Parma in a 1.5million euro deal in 2014 and has since scored seven goals in 126 appearances, was approaching the final year of his contract.

And, despite injury and suspension issues restricting Ceppitelli to 24 starts last term, the Serie A outfit made him captain in January and have now released a statement to confirm that he has agreed to add another 12 months to his deal.

Just one PSL team interested in Pule Ekstein

The agent to former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Pule Ekstein has confirmed that just Cape Town City have expressed an interest in his services.

Ekstein left Chiefs towards the end of 2018/19 after failing to agree terms on a new contract.

The 28-year-old was asking for a bumper deal whereas the Glamour Boys were not willing to pay the earth to retain him.

Palesa Mkhize told TimesLive that talks were underway with City but no other suitors had come forward to make a bid to sign him.

He said: "So far, City are the only club that has approached us formally for Pule's services but nothing has been signed yet.

"He wasn't there (when Pirates unveiled their new players on Monday) for sure.

"But it was no surprise to us because we've never agreed anything with Pirates despite all the stories linking Ekstein with them.

"The team that we have tabled our demands to in terms of the salary package and everything, is City. We are now awaiting for their response."

City coach Benni McCarthy is said to be a big admirer of Ekstein though it is unclear whether club boss John Comitis will pay the money to land the midfielder.

Arias refutes Toffees links

Atletico Madrid left-back Santiago Arias has denied rumours that he is in talks with Everton over a possible move to the Merseyside club.

The 27-year-old Colombia international has been identified as a possible target for Toffees’ boss Marco Silva this summer given that Brands signed the player from Sporting Lisbon when he was in a similar role at PSV Eindhoven.

Arias has been valued at around £11million and would be an ideal signing given that Jonjoe Kenny is now on loan at Schalke 04 and Seamus Coleman has struggled with injury problems.

However, Arias, who only moved to Spain from PSV last summer in a £11m deal, is adamant that he has not spoken to Brands and he has no plans to leave the Wanda Metropolitano this summer.

He told Algemeen Dagblad: "I didn’t talk to Brands.

"I am focused on the Copa America with my country.

"We will see what the future holds.

"I still have a contract with Atletico, so my future is there right now."

Arias added: "It’s an honour to have played 33 matches this season with Atletico Madrid in Spain.

"Obviously I want to play more, but we will go step by step.

"I want to play here in Copa America and give what I can.

"Later we will see what will happen with Atletico Madrid.

"Now I have a contract with Atletico and I have to wait to see what the club says."

Rondon sings departing Benitez praises

Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon has hailed Rafael Benitez after it was confirmed that the Spanish tactician would be leaving Tyneside.

It was confirmed on Monday that the Spanish tactician’s 27-month spell as Magpies chief will come to an end next month as the club could not agree new terms with the 59-year-old.

It leaves the Tynesiders in search of a new manager ahead of next season and already a number of names have been linked.

Reaction to the news has been swift, with plenty of negativity towards the club’s owner Mike Ashley, who continues to stay tight-lipped over a potential takeover at St James’ Park.

Rondon became a cult hero at the north-east outfit while on loan last season, bagging 11 top-flight goals from 32 appearances, and it seemed as though Benitez was keen to sign him on a permanent basis.

All deals will now be on hold until a new manager is in place and Venezuela international Rondon took to Twitter to express his feelings on the matter.

"I must say that @rafabenitezweb deserves huge credit for what our team achieved last season, and I’m sure he’ll have success in his career," he tweeted.

Punters looking to use a free bet might see Benitez’s departure as terminal to the club’s hopes of staying up next term and they kick off proceedings against Arsenal on August 11.

Mpengesi confirms Masalesa's arrival at Chippa

Chippa United boss Chippa Mpengesi has confirmed the arrival of former Orlando Pirates midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa on a two-year deal.

Recent reports had suggested the move was all but done after the player decided not to continue with his previous team Black Leopards.

As such, the talented playmaker will now ply his trade in the colours of the Chilli Boys in 2019/20.

Masalesa will begin training with the Clinton Larsen-coached outfit this week as pre-season preparations get underway.

Mpengesi said: "This is part of the club's plan to bolster our squad for the new season and make sure we assemble a very competitive team and make sure the club does well in the league this coming season.

"Masalesa brings with him a wealth of experience after playing in both CAF [club competitions] and overseas, and we hope his leadership qualities will also help guide the youngsters in the team moving forward."

Why Sundowns misfit Silva spoke to Paul Pogba

Former Mamelodi Sundowns winger Toni Silva says he once spoke to Paul Pogba as he wanted help to make a return to European football.

Silva left Sundowns under a cloud to join Egypt's Al Ittihad as he left a parting message to coach Pitso Mosimane accusing the mentor of not treating him fairly.

The Guinea-Bissau international, who is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations, was on the junior books of the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea but didn't reach the senior level.

He told BBC Sport of his interaction with the Manchester United star: "I used to speak with Paul Pogba when he was at Juventus and he was trying to help put me in touch with a better agent and with some clubs.

"But it didn't work out. The problem is I have never had someone in my life to help me, to guide me, to give me direction and show me the way. Agents have taken advantage of me and I've had some terrible moves because agents were chasing money, not looking after me.

"I'm just trying to play football to support my family but I'm not sure how much longer I can take it. I really want to play in England again and this is keeping me going. I miss it so much and would do anything to play there.

"I think I am still playing now because of what English football taught me. To be tough, to be strong, and to fight. I try to remember this.

"It is normal to get frustrated but I will keep trying. Still, maybe just two or three years more may be enough for me.

"I feel I let myself down somehow but I honestly don't know what more I could have done. I get frustrated because I thought I deserved a chance and if I had got that opportunity, who knows where I could be now?

"I loved playing for Liverpool but now when I watch Suarez play at Barca, Sterling at City and even Conor Coady at Wolves, I sometimes feel like I just want to give it all up.

"When people are texting me saying 'that could have been you', it makes me want to leave football. It makes me feel so down, so sad. I always have this in my mind."

Former Chiefs striker glad for Team of Choice interest

Soon to be former Kaizer Chiefs striker Ryan Moon says he is pleased that Maritzburg United are interested in his services but was not sure his next port of call.

Moon's contract with the Glamour Boys concludes at the end of June and he won't be offered a new deal at Naturena.

The forward struggled to make his mark over three seasons managing just five league goals.

Recently, Team of Choice boss Farook Kadodia admitted interest in taking Moon back to the club where he started his career though the player would have to take a pay-cut.

The 22-year-old told Kickoff: "I'm still weighing up my options as there are clubs that have shown interest in me.

"About Maritzburg United, it's always good to know the chairman is interested in you even though they haven't spoken to me directly, so I wouldn't like to comment on that.

"I'm grateful to every team I've played for, I've learned a lot from them. For now I will focus on deciding which club should I join, probably in two weeks I will know."

Cornet - 'Liverpool links are flattering'

Lyon's Ivory Coast international forward Maxwel Cornet has hinted he would welcome a move to Liverpool after being linked with the European champions.

Cornet has emerged as a surprise target for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp after enjoying a solid if unspectacular 2018-19 campaign in Ligue 1.

Cornet scored seven goals in 27 league appearances for Les Gones last term although he only started 12 of those matches.

However, that has not stopped Liverpool being linked with the 22-year-old, who has now indicated he may be interested in a move to Anfield after his negotiations over signing a new contract with Lyon broke down earlier this year.

"I did not say I wanted to leave.

"We met the president [Jean-Michel Aulas] in January and I said I wanted to extend [my contract] but talks were not successful," Cornet told beIN Sports.

"Liverpool are a big club, any links are flattering.

"I’m under contract until 2021 but you never know in football, so we’ll see."