Sporting CP have announced the signing of striker Andraz Sporar, while talks with Manchester United over Bruno Fernandes have reportedly collapsed.

The Portuguese side were said to be eager to generate significant income this month, but a deal with United over midfielder Fernandes appears to have been stalling for some days.

According to the latest reports, United co-chairman Joel Glazer has stepped in to make it clear the Red Devils will not match Sporting's asking price of €80m.

Despite their need for funds, Sporting have still invested in Slovenia striker Sporar, who has signed a five-year contract with the club that contains a €60m release clause.

Reports in Portugal say the 25-year-old has joined in a €6m deal from Slovan Bratislava, having passed his medical after arriving in Lisbon late on Tuesday.

Sporar had been linked with Scottish champions Celtic and Turkish giants Besiktas.

Aston Villa have paid Barcelona €1million for 16-year-old English striker Louie Barry - predicting he could become "an outstanding number nine" with the club.

England Under-17 international Barry joined Barcelona from Villa's neighbours West Brom in July last year and was placed in the club's La Masia academy.

However, Barry is cutting his time short with the Camp Nou giants in favour of a chance at making the grade at Villa.

Barcelona announced in a statement: "Louie Barry is leaving FC Barcelona to join Aston Villa. The Villans will pay 1,048,000 euros to acquire the 16-year-old striker."

Barry made his debut for Barcelona's youth team in October and scored two goals in seven domestic league games, also appearing as a substitute in three UEFA Youth League matches.

Barcelona said he had demonstrated an "exemplary attitude" during his time at the club, while Villa were thrilled with their business.

Villa academy manager Mark Harrison said: "It sends a powerful message about the ambition of this football club.

"We're delighted - Louie is a local person and his family are all Villa fans, as is Louie.

"He is still a very young man but as he's developed, he's always been one player that you always recognise as having outstanding attributes."

Harrison told VillaTV: "He's got a fantastic mentality, he's desperate to do well for this football club.

"He's really driven, he's got great family support, but in terms of what he can achieve, we firmly believe that he can be an outstanding number nine for this football club."

Manchester United fans do not need telling that the team is in a rut. The thousands who left Old Trafford early during Wednesday's miserable 2-0 home defeat to Burnley made that abundantly clear.

The loss is United's second in a row in the Premier League – the first time that has happened since last April – and means they have won just twice in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded their performance was not up to scratch but, given their overall from since he took permanent charge, questions are being asked as to how much longer these defeats can be accepted as minor bumps on the road to a more promising future.

United have endured some difficult days since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but how does the current malaise stack up against those rotten moments under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho? And are there any signs of progress under Solskjaer?

We delve into Opta data to find out...

OLE'S AT THE WHEEL, BUT THE HANDBRAKE IS ON

Nobody can deny the impact Solskjaer had as interim manager. He lifted the gloom around Mourinho's final days in charge and led United to 14 wins and two draws from 17 matches, scoring 39 goals and conceding only 13. That's a win ratio of 82 per cent.

They also took 32 points from 12 league matches, which represents the best haul of any manager in his first 12 games in the competition at a single club.

Such was the lift felt by everyone at Old Trafford that Solskjaer was handed the job on a permanent basis on March 28, since when everything has turned rather sour.

From March 10 last year to January 23 of this year, United have played 48 games, won 18, drawn 12 and lost 18, giving them a win ratio of 37.5 per cent. They have scored 62 goals and conceded 58.

In the Premier League, United have lost more games (12) than they have won (11) since Solskjaer took permanent office – a truly damning statistic in an era of worrying numbers. In that time, eight teams have picked up more points than United (42), while league leaders Liverpool have amassed almost double (85) despite playing three fewer games.

 

THE WORST POST-FERGIE SEASON YET

United are fifth and somehow just six points off the top four, but that should come as scant comfort to supporters.

A return of 34 points from 24 games is their lowest since 1989-1990 (25 points), when they ended up finishing 13th. They have six points fewer after the same number of games than they did under David Moyes in 2013-14 and Louis van Gaal in 2015-16.

It means Solskjaer has the worst points-per-game ratio (1.64) than any of the other three permanent managers in the post-Fergie era, with Mourinho on 1.89, Van Gaal on 1.79 and Moyes on 1.68.

In all competitions, Solskjaer was won 49.2 per cent of games as United manager, which is the worst ratio of anyone in the Old Trafford dugout since Dave Sexton (40.3) between August 1977 and April 1981.

A SIGN OF HOPE?

It might not seem credible given their blunt display against Burnley, but Solskjaer has adopted a more attacking ethos than his predecessors.

Under the former striker, United have averaged 14.8 shots per game in the league, giving them an Expected Goals rating of 1.71 per match. Both of those figures are higher than under Moyes, Van Gaal or Mourinho.

Where Solskjaer's United fall down is in taking their chances. Their shot conversion rate of 10.8 per cent is the lowest since Ferguson's departure, and it means they average 1.6 league goals per game, with only Van Gaal managing worse (1.46).

United's 36 league goals this season is the sixth highest tally in the competition, while their 10.1 per cent shot conversion rate puts them at a lowly 14th. They have also converted only 38.5 per cent of certified 'Big Chances', which is 10th best in the league.

When you consider they are third for total shots (357), fifth for Expected Goals (40.25) and fifth for creating Big Chances (52), that underlines the problem: Solskjaer's United simply aren't clinical enough.

In other words, they need a ruthless goalscorer, which makes the decision to let Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez leave without signing replacements look all-the-more baffling, while Marcus Rashford's serious back injury means those numbers are not likely to improve quickly.

Inter have announced the signing of Victor Moses from Chelsea on a loan deal with an option to buy.

The 29-year-old moves to Serie A for the remainder of the campaign after spending the first half of this season with Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig.

Moses was a key player under Antonio Conte when Chelsea last won the Premier League title in 2016-17 and will reunite with his old boss at San Siro.

Inter did not confirm the details of the purchase option, but it has been reported they will need to pay €10million to sign the Nigeria international.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed Manchester United's dreadful defeat to Burnley was not "a fair reflection" of his players as they were "mentally" drained 10 days out from a mid-season break.

United are fifth in the Premier League but remain six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea after slumping to a shocking 2-0 loss to Burnley at Old Trafford.

Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez got the visitors' goals, while United, after passing up promising first-half chances, scarcely threatened a fightback.

Manager Solskjaer does not want United to wallow in the aftermath of the loss, yet he believes his players are struggling.

They face Watford or Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup on Sunday, before an EFL Cup semi-final second leg against rivals Manchester City - who lead 3-1 on aggregate - and a Premier League clash with Wolves.

United can then enjoy a mid-season break before returning to action at Chelsea on February 17.

"For us, we've just got to stick to our values, stick to our beliefs, knowing it's no use feeling sorry for yourself," Solskjaer told a news conference. "You know you've got to go out there tomorrow, the day after, getting ready for Sunday.

"We know we've had X amount of games since the beginning of December and they are very stretched. Some of these have probably played more than they should have and expected.

"More mentally than physically, I think, they need the mid-season break. So we just need to get over that line, get these three games not out of the way but look forward to Sunday.

"FA Cup against who knows who still. There's a chance then to get some belief back."

Solskjaer added United have sporadically been "fantastic" but the Burnley game was an indication of "where we're at" in terms of squad depth, with Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford all out.

"I wouldn't say today was a fair reflection on this group and the season they've been through," he said. "They've done fantastic at times.

"Of course, I can't sit here and do anything but hold my hands up and say that's not good enough for Manchester United.

"But that's where we're at at the moment in terms of players. It's not like we had 10 players on the bench we could have rotated. They've played and they've done fantastic."

Have Tottenham finally found an alternative to Harry Kane?

According to reports, Spurs are in talks to sign Real Sociedad's Willian Jose with just over a week to go until the transfer window closes.

But it could take in excess of £50million to finally end their search for a second out-and-out striker.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS TO DIG DEEP FOR SOCIEDAD STRIKER

Krzysztof Piatek, Islam Slimani and Fernando Llorente have all been linked but Tottenham have now set their sights on 28-year-old Willian Jose, reports the Guardian.

The Brazilian was left out of his side's Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol on Wednesday and could now be headed for north London.

Talks are underway, the Guardian states, although Spurs could be forced to contemplate meeting Willian Jose's €70million (£59m) release clause as Sociedad seek adequate compensation.

The one-time Real Madrid man has scored eight LaLiga goals this term after reaching double figures in each of the previous three seasons.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Ceballos has asked Real Madrid to terminate his Arsenal loan and find him a move elsewhere, according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

- The Gunners are set to suffer another blow as Ligue 1 outfit Lyon prepare to confirm the €25million signing of rumoured Atletico Madrid target Bruno Guimaraes, reports L'Equipe.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will allow Philippe Coutinho to return to Barcelona at the end of his loan spell if, as desired, the Bundesliga giants land Leroy Sane and Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, reports Bild.

- After sealing a deal for Reinier Jesus, Madrid could return to raid Flamengo for 19-year-old forward Lincoln, says Mundo Deportivo.

- Leicester City plan to bolster their Champions League ambitions by splashing £15million on Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, according to The Sun.

- Serie A side Milan have submitted an 18-month loan offer for Manchester City-linked Florentino Luis, claims CalcioMercato. The 20-year-old defensive midfielder plays for Benfica.

Rio Ferdinand slammed Manchester United's direction following the "embarrassing" Premier League loss to Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Goals from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez condemned a woeful United side to a deflating 2-0 home defeat in Marcus Rashford's absence.

The result left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and some 30 points behind leaders Liverpool, who beat them 2-0 at Anfield three days earlier.

Ferdinand, a vocal supporter when Solskjaer was named manager on a full-time basis in March, admitted the Norwegian deserves scrutiny and was scathing in his assessment of the club's transfer market moves since Alex Ferguson's retirement.

"I have played with Ole, he is an ex-team-mate of mine, but the results have not been good enough," the former Red Devils defender told BT Sport.

"He has had some key players get injured but, with the big amount of money spent on this squad, you would expect more in reserve.

"You look at some of the players that have come in – [Marcos] Rojo, [Radamel] Falcao, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Morgan] Schneiderlin, [Memphis] Depay – were these players ever Manchester United players, really?

"Who is buying these players? The manager coming in who wanted them for now, or the club buying for now but also future-proofing?

"£600m roughly has been spent on this squad and the most impressive players this season have been the homegrown talent. That speaks volumes about the recruitment. It tells you how shoddy it has been.

"Look at Liverpool, they buy the best players to fit in their system. It is not a short-term fix. Total opposite end of the scale here."

United have now won just two of their past seven matches in all competitions, and the mood at Old Trafford was summed up by the sight of supporters pouring through the exits before full-time.

"I'm embarrassed. It's embarrassing to be here," Ferdinand continued.

"Not just about the team performing, I don't see what's coming next, I don't see a pathway, I don't see a target being set on the wall and saying we're going to get to that and this is how we're going to get there."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have started a "clear out" and are "looking to improve" by adding new players this month following a chastening 2-0 home defeat to Burnley.

United produced an abject display against Sean Dyche's men on Wednesday as they lacked a cutting edge in attack without the injured Marcus Rashford, who could be out until April with a back problem.

Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez got the goals for Burnley, who ultimately had little difficulty hanging on to the victory.

United have been strongly linked with Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes, though media reports continue to suggest the two clubs are well apart in their valuation of the Portugal international.

Solskjaer is adamant United are looking to bolster the squad, though he failed to answer whether he feels appropriately backed by the club's board.

He told BT Sport: "We are looking to improve, we have got our targets. Days like this highlight how well some of them [the young players in United's squad] have done so far this season – some of the results and performances have been fantastic.

"This is our second defeat at home and first since August. I thought we had turned that corner, winning games like this, but we haven't, clearly.

"[Transfers] are always going to be the talk at the moment. We have started a clear out and get-players-in job, now it's the transfer window so I'm going to be answering these questions until it closes. We are working on things.

"For me the most important thing is we have to perform on the pitch. Today wasn't good enough for a Manchester United team."

The defeat left United six points adrift of Chelsea in fifth, level with Tottenham and Wolves on 34 points.

Jose Mourinho said Tottenham's shortage of strikers is forcing him to "think, think, think" but said he remains calm over the club's activity in the transfer market.

In the absence of the injured Harry Kane, it was Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min who scored Spurs' goals as they beat Norwich City 2-1 at home on Wednesday, although the Premier League's basement club created enough chances to have claimed at least a draw.

Mourinho suffered another blow to his squad when Harry Winks limped off with an injury and admitted he had no options on the bench to shake up his attack late in the game after Norwich drew level in the 70th minute through Teemu Pukki's penalty.

"It is a very important victory for us against a difficult opponent," Mourinho told BBC Sport. "We suffered in the second half and we only have ourselves to blame.

"We are in a situation when I have to think, think, think. I look to the bench and we don't have attacking players. I had to take off Erik Lamela because of fatigue but we showed an incredible reaction to score a second goal.

"When Chelsea want to win, they bring on Michy Batshuayi. When Manchester City want to change Gabriel Jesus, they bring in Sergio Aguero.

"We are so, so unlucky with injuries. We get back Hugo Lloris and we lose Harry Winks. It's incredible."

Spurs have been linked with moves for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani during the January transfer window, with Kane out until March at the earliest.

Gedson Fernandes, who joined the club on loan from Benfica, made his home debut as a second-half substitute, but Mourinho indicated he is in no rush to see new faces arrive at the club.

"Everyone at the club wants to give the best conditions to the team but we think every day and communicate every day," he said. "We have to be calm."

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers was relieved the injury that forced Jamie Vardy to hobble out of Wednesday's clash with West Ham was not a hamstring issue.

Premier League top scorer Vardy lasted 43 minutes of Leicester's 4-1 victory at the King Power Stadium before coming off in pain.

Fears that his problem could be hamstring-related were dispelled by manager Rodgers, however, meaning Vardy may soon be back in action.

"He just felt a twinge in his glute, so we'll just have to wait and see on that over the next day or so," Rodgers said in his post-match news conference.

"Thankfully, he said his hamstring was fine, he just felt the pain on his glute, so we'll assess that over the next couple of days."

Vardy has scored 17 goals for Leicester in the English top flight this season, helping them to reach third place, three points behind second-placed champions Manchester City.

Leicester's next match is an FA Cup fourth-round trip to Brentford on Saturday.

They face Aston Villa in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final next Tuesday, before returning to Premier League duty on February 1 when Chelsea visit the King Power Stadium.

Goals from Burnley's Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez inflicted an embarrassing 2-0 defeat on Manchester United at Old Trafford, a loss that will surely bring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's position into question once again.

It was Solskjaer's first home league match as United manager without Marcus Rashford - who is set for a long absence with a back injury - and his absence was telling, as the Red Devils showed little cutting edge in the final third against a Burnley side that was typically set up to frustrate.

Although United dominated much of the first half, the chances they created were wasted and Burnley were far more clinical, going into the break with a one-goal lead thanks to Wood despite having just three shots to the hosts' 11.

United were arguably even worse after the interval. The opportunities they had been crafting dried up and a phenomenal strike from Rodriguez ultimately gave them too much to do, meaning fourth-placed Chelsea remain six points clear of Solskjaer's men.

United were most threatening down the right in the first half, and Wan-Bissaka - routinely given freedom by Burnley - picked out Anthony Martial in the 15th minute, but the Frenchman could not get enough contact with the ball.

Wan-Bissaka again caused trouble in the 28th minute as his low delivery found Juan Mata, only for the midfielder to completely miss his kick as the ball struck his standing leg.

Two more chances soon went begging, with Daniel James' header forcing a save and Martial spurning a decent opening, and Burnley capitalised just before half-time - Wood steering past David de Gea at the near post after Ben Mee's flick-on.

Solskjaer introduced Mason Greenwood for the abject Andreas Pereira at half-time, though it made little difference and United soon found themselves 2-0 down as Rodriguez peeled away from Harry Maguire and lashed a scorching effort in off the crossbar from just inside the box.

United thought Charlie Taylor should have been shown a red card after he hauled Greenwood down on the edge of the box when the substitute would have only had Nick Pope to beat, but referee Jon Moss and the VAR did not agree.

Burnley had little trouble holding on to move to within just four points of their hosts, whose late goal by Luke Shaw was chalked off for a foul on Jeff Hendrick.

 

What does it mean? Reinforcements a necessity for United

Although it has been fairly obvious for a while, it now seems absolutely vital that United make some meaningful purchases in the January transfer window.

Their lack of depth was plain to see without Rashford, and those in midfield were generally hopeless from a creative perspective. Without reinforcements, Solskjaer needs a miracle to get this bunch into the Champions League.

Wood gets the better of United

There are not many strikers in the Premier League more predictable than Wood in some senses - but that does not mean you are guaranteed to stop him. The burly frontman kept United's defence occupied throughout and he proved very effective, as highlighted by his goal and then his assist for Rodriguez.

Pereira not the answer

While there are not many United players who could have avoided criticism on Wednesday, Pereira was - once again - simply not up to scratch. The midfielder saw a lot of the ball but did precious little with it, his four shots causing Pope no issues. He was unsurprisingly withdrawn at half-time.

What's next?

It is back to the FA Cup for these two at the weekend. United go to either Watford or Tranmere Rovers on Sunday, with Burnley hosting fellow Premier League side Norwich City the day before.

Jamie Vardy gave Leicester City an injury scare before Ayoze Perez proved himself a capable deputy in Wednesday's 4-1 win over West Ham.

Harvey Barnes tapped in Ricardo Pereira's cross to give Leicester a 24th-minute lead, but the Foxes suffered a potentially major blow shortly before half-time when Premier League top scorer Vardy went off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

There was time for a second Leicester goal prior to the break, with Barnes darting in from the left and teeing up Pereira, returning the earlier favour and allowing his team-mate to thunder a shot beyond Darren Randolph.

Mark Noble slotted in a 50th-minute penalty to revive West Ham's hopes after Wilfred Ndidi fouled Sebastien Haller.

However, when Angelo Ogbonna caught Kelechi Iheanacho Leicester were awarded a spot-kick of their own and Perez fired the ball high and emphatically into the net to make the home win a certainty.

Perez rifled in a clinical late fourth for Brendan Rodgers' third-placed hosts, who coped admirably without Vardy but will nevertheless hope his absence is brief.

Son Heung-min came to Tottenham's rescue in a 2-1 victory over bottom side Norwich City, as Jose Mourinho's men ended a four-game winless Premier League run on Wednesday.

This was no vintage performance from Spurs, who scored their first top-flight goal since December when Dele Alli turned Serge Aurier's cross into the net from close range seven minutes before half-time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The hosts rode their luck as Norwich passed up numerous opportunities to get back on level terms, before Canaries striker Teemu Pukki equalised from the penalty spot following Ryan Sessegnon's foul on Max Aarons.

A point was the most Spurs deserved but they were up against the side with the joint-worst defensive record in the division and Son's winner arrived 11 minutes from time to move his side up to sixth, six points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea.

 

FIFA has revealed a record amount was spent on transfers in 2019, with deals for Eden Hazard, Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix topping the bill.

A report issued by world football's governing body on Wednesday revealed $7.35billion (£5.6billion) was spent by clubs in the transfer market in 2019, an increase of 5.8 per cent on the previous year.

The study also confirmed that English clubs spent the most, though the total figure of $1.52billion (£1.14billion) was a 22.1 per cent decrease from 2018.

Joao Felix's €126million transfer from Benfica to Atletico Madrid – who sold Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona for €120m – was the biggest deal of 2019, while Hazard left Chelsea for Real Madrid in a deal reportedly worth €100m.

Harry Maguire became the world's most expensive defender with a reported £80m switch from Leicester City to Manchester United, while Ajax sold young stars Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to Juventus and Barcelona respectively for an initial €75m each.

There was also a rise of 16.3 per cent in spending in the women's game, with over 800 transfers made in total.

Willian Jose withdrew from Real Sociedad's squad for Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol amid reports he is set to join Tottenham.

Sociedad striker Willian Jose was initially named in Imanol Alguacil's squad, but the Brazilian pulled out of contention after asking the club to be left out until his situation is resolved.

It comes amid rumours the 28-year-old is a target for Premier League side Tottenham, who are set to be without Harry Kane until at least April after the England forward sustained a hamstring injury.

Willian Jose, who joined Sociedad in 2016, has scored eight goals in 20 LaLiga appearances this season.

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