Rumour Has It: Former Man City boss Mancini emerges as shock Man Utd contender

By Sports Desk December 01, 2021

Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues, with Mauricio Pochettino the favourite.

Ralf Rangnick has been appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Michael Carrick is set to preside over a third game as caretaker manager on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month after a poor run of results at the end of a trophy-less tenure.

 

TOP STORY – MANCINI EMERGES AS SHOCK MAN UTD CONTENDER

Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as a contender for the vacant Man Utd managerial role, claims The Telegraph.

The current Italy head coach, who led the Azzurri to the Euro 2020 title, is under "careful consideration" by United chiefs, according to the report.

Mancini is contracted with Italy until 2026 on a lucrative deal but may potentially be available to take over from Rangnick pending Italy's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

 

ROUND-UP

Milan want to sign Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as soon as possible and will make a move for him in January rather than wait for him to become a free agent at the season's end, according to Sport Italia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Man Utd have been offered the opportunity to sign Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona, reports Sport.

- Sport also claims Barcelona have a "total agreement" to sign Man City's Spanish forward Ferran Torres, although they want the English champions to lower their asking price of £60million.

Ajax are looking to do a deal with Tottenham to sign Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on loan, according to De Telegraaf.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus have pulled out of the race to sign Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, with Chelsea leading the contenders.

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  • Barella: Give World Cup spots to Euros and Copa America winners Barella: Give World Cup spots to Euros and Copa America winners

    Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella claims the Azzurri should have been at the World Cup "by right" after being crowned European champions.

    A stunning 1-0 defeat to North Macedonia in a play-off qualification game in March eliminated Italy, who were almost totally dominant but conceded the game's only goal in second-half stoppage time.

    It meant four-time winners Italy have failed to qualify for two consecutive World Cups, unprecedented in their history, and Inter star Barella has felt unable to watch the tournament due to his gripe that he should be involved.

    In fact, he suggested the latest winners of the European and South American championships should always be granted automatic places at the World Cup. Such a move would be unlikely to go down well with confederations from other continents, unless they were also cut in on such an arrangement.

    Italy, who won the delayed Euro 2020 finals last year, remain devastated by their World Cup qualifying stumble.

    "I haven't seen half a match of the World Cup yet, I can't understand the feeling I feel," Barella said.

    "They say that the pitch is always right, but for me in this case it gave an unfair response. Today it was our turn, maybe tomorrow it will be the turn of others: whoever wins a European Championship or a Copa America deserves to go to a World Cup by right."

    Barella's suggestion is similar to one from Roberto Mancini, the Italy head coach, last month. Mancini also said the champions of every continent should be awarded an automatic spot at the World Cup.

    Barella hopes to go to the 2026 tournament, which will be co-hosted by Mexico, Canada and the United States, and can see him remaining an Inter player through to that time.

    A host of teams, including Chelsea and Liverpool from the Premier League, have been linked as possible suitors for Barella, who has a contract with Inter that runs through to 2026.

    "We have to get there first," he said of the next World Cup, "but yeah, I see myself on the pitch in 2026 still as an Inter player."

    Whether Milan Skriniar remains at Inter for so long must be in major doubt.

    Paris Saint-Germain wanted him in the last transfer window and may come back in January, and the 27-year-old Slovakian centre-back is due to lapse out of contract at the end of the season.

    Barella will let Skriniar make his own decisions about the future, insisting others should not play any part.

    "I will never allow myself to give him advice," Barella said. "Everyone makes their choices. Then, at the end of his career, we will see if they were right or wrong. I hope he stays because in addition to being incredibly strong, he is a brother."

  • Diaz faces injury tests as Liverpool winger suffers setback in training Diaz faces injury tests as Liverpool winger suffers setback in training

    Liverpool winger Luis Diaz will undergo tests after suffering a setback in his bid to return from a knee injury, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.

    Diaz has been absent since sustaining the injury in Liverpool's 3-2 defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal in October, but he was named in their squad for a training camp in Dubai earlier this week.

    The Colombia winger – who has recorded four goals and two assists in 12 appearances for Liverpool this term – was initially expected to play a full part in team training ahead of the Premier League's resumption later this month.

    However, a statement released by Liverpool on Friday revealed Diaz had been forced to miss two training sessions, while he will also sit out the Reds' friendly against Lyon on Sunday.

    As the club confirmed Diaz's injury would require further assessment, reports said the 25-year-old would return to England after experiencing discomfort in the same knee.

    "It's all good with the boys who are here," manager Jurgen Klopp said. "What's not good is we have to see with Lucho.

    "He felt something and we need to have further assessment there, but apart from that they all look really, really good."

    Liverpool will face Lyon and Milan in friendlies before resuming competitive action with an EFL Cup last-16 tie against Manchester City on December 22.

    The Reds sit sixth in the Premier League, seven points adrift of the Champions League places, ahead of their next top-flight fixture against Aston Villa on December 26.

  • Regragui proving Arab coaches are 'worthy' of top jobs like Barcelona Regragui proving Arab coaches are 'worthy' of top jobs like Barcelona

    Walid Regragui hopes Morocco's performance at the World Cup is showing why Arab coaches should get top jobs in Europe, which is "impossible" right now.

    Regragui was only appointed as Morocco head coach at the end of August.

    Since then, the Atlas Lions are unbeaten, conceding only an own goal against Canada and reaching the quarter-finals at Qatar 2022.

    Regragui's short stint has included an upset win over Belgium and a penalty shoot-out success against highly-fancied Spain in the last 16.

    Morocco are the first Arab team and fourth African side to make the last eight at a World Cup, prompting discussion of interest in Regragui's services.

    But the coach explained the battle he had faced just to get this job, let alone taking over at Manchester City or Barcelona.

    "This question is probably best asked to European clubs: why don't they hire Arab coaches? Maybe it's a cultural question, maybe it's a mentality aspect," he said.

    "Today I think it's impossible Manchester City or Barcelona bring an Arab coach. They don't think about it, as if we're not worthy, as if we're not capable.

    "But there's moments in history that make people change their mind. It's on us, the Arab and African people, to show we are ready."

    Having spent much of his coaching career with clubs in Morocco, Regragui added: "Ten years I am a coach, nobody looked at me. 'No, it is impossible, he does not have the experience. Let's look at somebody else'.

    "I'm in the quarter-final. Explain this miracle.

    "Experience doesn't matter. It's skills. It doesn't matter your background, where you're from; skills matter. If you're not worthy, you don't have the skills, you can leave."

    Perhaps Morocco's style of play could be an obstacle to Regragui's progress, with only Costa Rica (30.2 per cent) having a smaller average share of possession at the tournament than their 32.3 per cent.

    But Regragui made no apologies for Morocco's approach as they stifled Spain, who dominated 76.8 per cent of the play in the previous round but had only one shot on target in 120 minutes.

    Highlighting other examples of Spain – with the highest possession share at the finals (77.0 per cent) – bossing proceedings against elite sides, Regragui wondered if critics would rather Morocco had bravely lost.

    He asked: "Why do Morocco need to keep the ball? Why do African teams need to play very well and lose after and cry?"

    But now, against Portugal in Saturday's quarter-final, Regragui feels huge support for his side.

    "We want to show Africa deserves to be here, Morocco deserves to be here, football is global," he said.

    "We have a federation behind us, a whole people behind us, a whole continent behind us. We have the Arab world. That's a lot of people. That's what we're going to draw from."

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