Rumour Has It: Nice in shock move for Parker with Pochettino not interested in job

By Sports Desk September 23, 2022

Big-spending French club Nice have struggled to start the new Ligue 1 season, with only eight points from eight games.

Ambitious Nice are sitting 13th in the table, leading to pressure on head coach Lucien Favre.

The Ligue 1 outfit finished fifth last term and have recently signed Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley, Alexis Beka Beka and Kasper Schmeichel.

TOP STORY – NICE KEEN ON PARKER WITH POCHETTINO NOT INTERESTED

Nice are interested in a surprise move for ex-Fulham and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker, claims Foot Mercato.

Favre is under pressure, with ex-Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino reportedly their first choice to replace him.

The Evening Standard claims Pochettino is not interested in the Nice role and instead will wait for a head coaching position with a top club in England, Spain or Italy. 

ROUND-UP

– 90min reports Manchester United will offer fresh deals to Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot. The pair's contracts are both due to expire in mid-2023, albeit with the option of one-year extensions, but United want to lock them down beyond that.

– Erik ten Hag will decide on Donny van de Beek's future at United in October, according to the Manchester Evening News. The Dutchman has only managed three appearances this term.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Tottenham target Kim Min-Jae has a release clause in his Napoli contract after joining the Italian club from Fenerbahce in July, but it cannot be triggered in January. Napoli are happy with the centre-back's impact and are not interested in letting him go.

Chelsea target Anthony Gordon is in the midst of contract talks with Everton that are "progressing well", claims inews. Gordon is set for a substantial pay rise.

Leicester City are set to offer manager Brendan Rodgers more time to turn around the side's poor start to the new season, although the reception of fans towards him at their next home game will be a factor for key decision makers, reports The Athletic.

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    Matthijs de Ligt has no issues with being left out of Louis van Gaal's starting line-up for the Netherlands' past three games as he "expected to play nothing" at this World Cup.

    De Ligt came on as a 93rd-minute substitute in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over the United States in Saturday's last-16 encounter.

    That marked the 23-year-old's first appearance for the Oranje since starting in their World Cup opener, the 2-0 win over Senegal, having been demoted to the bench by Van Gaal for the ensuing three games.

    "It's not so frustrating, honestly," De Ligt told The Athletic. "Every player wants to play but we are a group of 26 players.

    "Honestly, I have played more than I expected to play at this World Cup. I expected to play nothing. I'm quite okay. We won together and we are in a quarter-final."

    The defender, who has established himself at Bayern Munich since his off-season switch from Juventus, has seen Ajax 21-year-old Jurrien Timber take his place alongside Nathan Ake and Virgil van Dijk in Van Gaal's back three.

    "No, it's just the way of playing," De Ligt replied when asked if injury was behind his non-selection. "Maybe the coach doesn't put me in the team and I am okay with that. I expected it.

    "So for me it's fine. I know my role and I train hard every day to be important for the team."

    Meanwhile, Van Dijk backed 23-year-old Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo to take the next step in his career.

    Gakpo, who scored in all three of the Dutch's World Cup group-stage wins, has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

    "Are Manchester United and Real Madrid the same level at this moment? No disrespect, not at all," Liverpool defender Van Dijk told The Athletic.

    "I think he definitely has a next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen. Whether it happens in the winter or next year, time will tell.

    "But he's a great boy. Works hard, is very talented and there's definitely more in him. We are very pleased he's doing so well and long may it continue."

    Gakpo would not be drawn on his future after the win over USA, while United defender Tyrell Malacia backed him to step up should an opportunity arise.

    "He's good enough for the top, there's no doubt," Malacia said.

  • Southgate has no qualms over Saka, Rashford in penalty shootout Southgate has no qualms over Saka, Rashford in penalty shootout

    Gareth Southgate has no concern about calling upon Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka to take a penalty in a shootout at the World Cup.

    The pair were among a trio of players to miss from the spot in the European Championship final defeat to Italy last year, along with Jadon Sancho, who was not selected for the tournament in Qatar.

    Rashford has been a fine performer for Southgate's side, scoring a trio of goals to sit joint-top of the scoring charts, while Saka netted a brace in the demolition of Iran in the opening group match.

    Now into the knockout stage, with a round of 16 tie against Senegal on the horizon, the prospect of penalties continues to be a talking point – particularly regarding who could be called upon.

    Asked if he had any reservations about either Rashford or Saka stepping up in a shootout, Southgate said: "None at all.

    "Marcus' stats would be among the best in the world on penalty taking, and Bukayo is now taking them more regularly with his club. They're both in a good space with that."

    In the World Cup in Russia, Southgate introduced players, including Rashford, off the bench in order to take penalties but was criticised for the same approach against Italy – with Rashford and Sancho both missing after their late introductions.

    Southgate defended that tactic and hinted that similar moves could be made in the future, if required.

    "In terms of the changes, Marcus came on as a sub in Moscow and took a penalty four or five minutes earlier than we put him on at Wembley," he added.

    "I've seen lots of teams do that and scored, and it's the right thing. If you don't then it's wrong.

    "We've got to stick with our processes, give ourselves the best percentages of winning, and we feel we are very well prepared.

    "We've won two, we've lost the last one. We've refined some of those things we didn't think were quite right. We feel that the process is good."

  • Argentina 'born to play these games' – Scaloni lauds Albiceleste mentality as Messi vanquishes Socceroos Argentina 'born to play these games' – Scaloni lauds Albiceleste mentality as Messi vanquishes Socceroos

    Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said his players were born to handle high-pressure World Cup contests after Lionel Messi led them to a 2-1 win over Australia in the last 16.

    Messi scored his ninth World Cup goal – and his first in a knockout tie – as Argentina edged out Australia at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, with Julian Alvarez also getting on the scoresheet following a mistake from Mathew Ryan.

    Argentina will now face the Netherlands for a semi-final place on Friday, a prospect which appeared unlikely when they began their campaign with a stunning defeat to Saudi Arabia 11 days ago.

    Asked how the Albiceleste had managed to turn their tournament around, Scaloni said: "What I said before the Mexico match was that these guys were born to play these games.

    "Argentina have played three games which were very intense, where being knocked out was a reality. But these players are capable. Sometimes the urgency and anxiety makes you feel different.

    "Even if things happen like the Saudi Arabia game or the Australia goal today, we have to keep believing in our football. 

    "There is no pressure in football, that's how I see it. Pressure is something else.

    "If you've watched Argentina today, these are memories which will stay with you forever. You've seen these young players, and also Leo, playing beautifully."

    The next hurdle for Argentina to overcome will be a heavyweight tussle with the nation they beat in both the 1978 World Cup final and the 2014 semi-finals.

    While Scaloni acknowledges the Oranje's current crop may not be as easy on the eye as some of their predecessors, he expects a tough test against Louis van Gaal's men.

    Asked about Van Gaal's qualities, Scaloni said: "I was a young player at Deportivo La Coruna when he was coaching at Barcelona. He's a great coach and many have to try to take a page from his book. It's a pleasure to face him at a World Cup.

    "Today we saw the Netherlands match. They probably don't play as beautifully as some older Dutch teams, but they have very strong points that they will try to use.

    "It will be a beautiful game between two historic national teams, and one will be knocked out, unfortunately."

    Argentina are hopeful of receiving a fitness boost ahead of Friday, with Scaloni revealing Angel Di Maria – who was an unused substitute on Saturday after suffering a thigh injury – could return.

    "I didn't think we were going to help anyone by bringing him on today," he said of Di Maria. "We hope that in the next few days he keeps evolving and he can make it for the next match."

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