A return to Barcelona could be on the cards for Adama Traore.

Wolves star Traore has taken the Premier League and Europe by storm with his performances this season.

Barcelona's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also reportedly interested.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND MADRID EYE TRAORE

Barcelona are plotting a move to bring Wolves star Adama Traore back to Camp Nou, according to the Daily Mail.

LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also interested in Spanish winger Traore, who left Barca in 2015.

Wolves are set to command a big transfer fee for Traore amid links to Manchester City and Liverpool, having signed the 24-year-old from Middlesbrough two years ago.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Manchester United are interested in trying to prise Lionel Messi from Barcelona. There are doubts over Messi's future following his row with sporting director Eric Abidal. City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been mentioned as possible destinations for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

United have given the green light to sell Paul Pogba, says The Sun. Linked to Madrid and Juventus, the Red Devils are ready to part with Pogba for £150million.

Juventus and Paulo Dybala are working on a contract extension, reports Tuttosport. Tied to Juve until 2022, the Serie A champions want to keep the in-form attacker until 2025.

- L'Equipe reports Thiago Silva wants to stay at PSG but the Ligue 1 champions want to offload the 35-year-old defender in an attempt to free up some of the wage budget.

United have been turned off by Lautaro Martinez's £94m (€110.7m) release clause, according to The Times. The Inter striker has been heavily linked to Barca as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

- The Telegraph says Leicester City are leading the race to sign Liverpool's Adam Lallana, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Tottenham, Arsenal and West Ham have also reportedly been tracking the England midfielder.

- According to Fotomac, Galatasaray striker Radamel Falcao is wanted by Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal. Falcao only moved to Istanbul at the start of the season.

Raheem Sterling will miss Manchester City's clash with West Ham on Sunday after it was confirmed the England forward has suffered a hamstring injury.

The blow to Sterling came about late in City's defeat to Tottenham last weekend, and the reigning Premier League champions have stated only that he will be absent for this weekend.

It remains to be seen whether Sterling recovers in time for the match against Leicester on February 22, or the Champions League last-16 first-leg tussle with Real Madrid four days later.

A statement on City's official website said: "Raheem Sterling will miss the visit of West Ham after scans revealed he has suffered damage to his left hamstring.

"The forward limped out of our game at Tottenham on Sunday with six minutes remaining and was assessed on Thursday at the CFA [City Football Academy].

"He will continue to be monitored during the winter break. Everyone at City wishes Raheem a full and speedy recovery."

City begin their short mid-season break after the match against lowly West Ham, with Pep Guardiola's side, who sit a distant second to Liverpool in the table, returning to action 13 days later against Leicester.

Sterling has scored 11 goals in 23 Premier League outings for City this season.

Premier League clubs have voted to push England's summer transfer window deadline back to September 1 for the 2020-21 season.

In 2017, clubs decided to support the closing of the transfer window the day before the Premier League season began, with many managers previously suggesting the uncertainty that accompanied a later deadline was not beneficial.

This measure was brought in ahead of the 2018-19 season and remained in place at the start of 2019-20, but decriers felt it left Premier League clubs at a major disadvantage to European teams, with the other major UEFA nations not bringing their deadline forward.

At a Premier League shareholders' meeting on Thursday, clubs voted in favour of pushing the deadline back again, thereby reducing the risk of teams losing players to European sides and being unable to sign a replacement.

The new deadline for England's summer transfer window will be 17:00 BST on September 1, 2020.

The Premier League also confirmed the 2020-21 season shall begin on Saturday, August 8.

David Luiz credited new Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta with bringing "fun" back to the club, suggesting the squad had become "sad" under his predecessor Unai Emery.

Arteta replaced Emery in December having spent a spell as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City, with the club becoming underwhelmed by the team's direction under the previous coach.

Although Arsenal have only won three of Arteta's nine matches in charge across all competitions, the 2-1 loss to Chelsea is their solitary defeat in that time – in the previous nine outings the Gunners were beaten four times.

For David Luiz, the changes implemented by Arteta have improved the mood of the players, while he also applauded the former Arsenal midfielder for the style of play he is attempting to impose.

"If you sleep four hours happy, you're going to sleep better than eight hours sad," the Brazilian wrote in a column on Arsenal's official website.

"It's like I said in that interview, and I stand by it. The result of people when they are happy is 10 times better than when they are sad. For me, you have to have fun not just in football, but in life. That's the most important thing – and Mikel Arteta has brought that back.

"Working with Mikel has been great since the first day. He's always working straight to the point and he has already shown us his ideas, his goals. He wants to try to bring the shine back to this club with a winning mentality and by working hard every single day.

"He's trying to do everything as well as possible to achieve that. For me, personally, I'm enjoying it a lot. I came from clubs that would always fight for titles and would always fight to win, and Mikel knows that as well.

"He had an opportunity to go to amazing places and different clubs, and he worked a lot as an assistant coach for Pep Guardiola. He learned in the best way, so I think for sure he will be one of the best soon.

"His philosophy is the way I love to play football and that makes it easy for me to adapt to. We try to dominate and control possession and try winning the ball back as soon as we lose it.

"This is the idea I really love when I play football. I think Mikel is just trying to organise us every single day in the details, to make the quality of our work even better.

"It doesn't matter if it's his first job as a coach or not. He knows football, he knows inside the pitch. He prepared himself outside the pitch and he's ready for that.

"I've had the opportunity to work with many, many coaches already in my career and I think he's more than prepared to do the job. The enthusiasm comes naturally when you love something. He loves football, he loves to work, so this enthusiasm is contagious for everybody."

After 25 matches, Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League, 10 points adrift of Chelsea in fourth.

Manchester City and West Ham are each struggling to match expectations as they prepare to do battle on Sunday, with the Premier League champions 22 points adrift of Liverpool as the Hammers toil in the relegation zone.

City suffered a sixth league defeat at Tottenham last week – matching the combined total number of losses from their previous two campaigns – while West Ham let a two-goal lead slip to draw with Brighton and Hove Albion at home.

Dropping points from winning positions has been a frustrating theme of West Ham's season – 19 is a league high – as they have failed to secure victory in eight of the 14 matches in which they have scored first.

A trip to City is not exactly what David Moyes needs right now either, as West Ham have a miserable record at the Etihad Stadium.


PEP PERFECT AGAINST HAMMERS

City have won the sides' past seven league meetings – scoring 23 and conceding three – and manager Pep Guardiola has beaten West Ham on each of the eight occasions he has faced them in all competitions.

That record matches his best 100 per cent return against any opponent, also beating Malaga and Watford eight times out of eight, and the former Barcelona coach will relish the opportunity to down West Ham once more.

The Hammers did win at the Etihad in September 2015, but they have collected just four of a possible 39 points at the stadium. Not since December 2001 – against Manchester United – have they won away at the Premier League champions.

Keeping it tight will be key for the visitors, as they have not won any of their past 16 league games in which they have conceded. However, West Ham's most recent clean sheet against City in the league came way back in November 2012.

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling will hope to use this game to get back on track. Although he has not scored since December, the England star has been involved in 11 goals in seven Premier League appearances against West Ham.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: DECLAN RICE V RODRI

Declan Rice's second season as a Premier League regular has not been quite as convincing as his first, but he has still played every minute for West Ham in the top flight this term, and the England international's battle against Rodri could be key this week.

West Ham have certainly kept Rice busy, the midfielder making 3.1 tackles and 2.0 interceptions per 90 minutes – 78 and 51 respectively in total.

Rodri has also been handed a prominent role in the middle for City, with Fernandinho often played in defence, but he enjoys far more time on the ball than Rice.

While only averaging 1.9 tackles and 0.96 interceptions per 90 minutes, the Spain international plays 86.9 passes – to Rice's 47.6 – and creates 1.3 chances.

It will be up to Rice to disrupt Rodri, yet the City star actually wins more aerial duels than this week's opponent – 2.4 versus 1.4 per 90 – and has conceded 1.6 fouls per 90, settling into the physicality of the English game seamlessly.

FORM GUIDE

City last suffered consecutive league losses in December 2018 and West Ham would need to end a five-match winless run in the top flight – their worst under Moyes – to inflict another defeat on Guardiola's men.

The Hammers have been beaten in each of their past three away league matches, yet their most recent two trips to 'big six' opposition yielded 1-0 victories at Tottenham and Chelsea.

Former manager Slaven Bilic oversaw a sequence of three straight away wins against 'big six' opponents in 2015, with City the third side West Ham defeated.

City's attack has remained a potent force at home, scoring 2.8 goals per game over a 32-match stretch in which only Wolves – 2-0 away winners this season – prevented the hosts from scoring.

However, City have kept a clean sheet in just 33 per cent of their league games at the Etihad this term.

HISTORY SAYS...

As well as collecting win after win against West Ham, City tend to hit plenty of goals too, scoring four or more times in four of their seven straight victories over the Hammers.

In fact, five of the most recent 16 occasions on which West Ham have conceded four or more have come against City.

City have scored in each of their past 17 games against West Ham in all competitions, tallying 50 to their opponents' 11 in total over that stretch.

And West Ham's return of just one victory at the Etihad in 13 games sees City's home rank alongside Liverpool's Anfield (23 matches) and Leeds United's Elland Road (10) as a stadium the London club have visited at least 10 times in the Premier League but only tasted victory at once.

Manchester City are reportedly lining up a move for Lionel Messi in a free transfer amid the star's troubles at Barcelona.

Messi, 32, has been involved in a public disagreement with the club's technical secretary Eric Abidal, leading to immediate questions over his future at Camp Nou.

City, and former boss Pep Guardiola, look ready to make their move.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY EYE MESSI FOR FREE AMID BARCELONA TROUBLES

Manchester City will swoop for Messi for free if the star cannot resolve his problems at Barcelona, according to The Sun.

While Messi is contracted until 2021, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed last year the Argentina international was free to leave after the 2019-20 season.

Messi worked with Guardiola at Barcelona, with the duo winning three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns among numerous other trophies at the club.

ROUND-UP

- There could be major changes coming at Arsenal. The Sun reports Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil are at risk with Arsenal perhaps prepared to sell their stars to finance a spending spree.

- Manchester United and Chelsea are set to go head-to-head in a bid to sign Lyon forward Moussa Dembele at the end of the season, according to The Mirror. Dembele, 23, has scored 12 Ligue 1 goals in 22 matches this season and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford previously.

- Staying in Manchester and City must wait until April to resolve the future of Leroy Sane after the attacker's switch of agent, according to The Telegraph and Bild. Sane is a reported target for Bayern Munich and Manchester City will have to wait to discuss the Germany international's future due to a clause in his deal with his previous agency.

- With Ousmane Dembele facing a long spell on the sidelines, Barcelona are eyeing Girona forward Cristhian Stuani, according to Deportes Cuatro, which reports the 33-year-old Uruguayan has a €20million release clause. Barca would need approval to complete the deal outside the transfer window.

- Could Liverpool have to search for a new back-up goalkeeper? Estadio Deportivo reports Real Betis are considering a move for their former shot-stopper Adrian, who is contracted to the European champions until 2021, with the club holding an option for a further year.

Pep Guardiola warned Barcelona they would need time to readjust when Lionel Messi leaves the club, after Real Madrid's struggles following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit.

Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus in July 2018 and the Spanish giants battled that season, winning only the Club World Cup and seeing three different coaches at the helm, including the return of Zinedine Zidane.

Manchester City manager Guardiola expects his former club Barca to endure a similar problem when Messi, another all-time great, departs Camp Nou.

"It is inevitable, these players are so transcendent," he told Post United in an interview conducted by Spanish YouTuber DjMariio, via Marca.

"When Messi leaves Barca it will take time to readjust. It is inevitable.

"They score 40-50 goals per season."

Guardiola has continued to enjoy coaching success since leaving Barcelona, a spell at Bayern Munich preceding his move to Manchester.

Already a two-time Premier League winner, Guardiola has another young star in his squad in highly rated midfielder Phil Foden.

Foden has only made two Premier League starts this season, but Guardiola talked up the 19-year-old's talent.

"He will be a bomb," he said.

"There are no clauses here, you have it raw, you have to negotiate with me."

Jorginho's agent has suggested his client could leave Chelsea at the end of the season, claiming a reunion with Maurizio Sarri at Juventus is a possibility.

Italy international Jorginho joined Chelsea in 2018, following Sarri to Stamford Bridge from Napoli.

He was a key figure under the Italian coach, starting in 37 Premier League games during his debut campaign in England.

The midfielder has also been a regular under Frank Lampard this season, scoring four goals in 23 league outings so far.

However, his representative – Joao Santos – is expecting offers for the player during the next transfer window, despite still having another three years to run on his contract.

"Why not?" Santos told Tuttomercatoweb when asked if Jorginho could leave Chelsea.

"I am sure that some important proposals will come, which we would obviously evaluate together with Chelsea."

However, Santos made clear Jorginho's main priority once he has completed domestic duties with Chelsea is representing Italy at Euro 2020.

"His goal is the European Championships with the national team," Santos said.

"There are many expectations around [Roberto] Mancini's team. The European Championship is also a good showcase.

"Even personally, he is doing very well at Chelsea, and I am sure that some important proposals will come because in his role there are not many high-level players like him around."

Serie A strikers Romelu Lukaku and Ciro Immobile lead the line in FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week.

Lukaku and Immobile are two of the form front men in European football, and the duo have earned recognition following their latest goalscoring exploits.

Inter striker Lukaku grabbed both goals in a 2-0 away win at Udinese on Sunday.

And Immobile matched that haul as Lazio thrashed SPAL 5-1, the Italy international's brace taking his 2019-20 league tally to 25 already.

The duo are far from the only big names in this week's selection, however, with Roberto Firmino, Jadon Sancho and Hugo Lloris also among the new in-form cards.

Find the full squad below.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) - 89

CB: Matthijs de Ligt (Piemonte Calcio/Juventus) - 87

LB: Alex Telles (Porto) - 87

CB: Yerry Mina (Everton) - 84

CM: Daniel Parejo (Valencia) - 88

RM: Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain) - 88

CAM: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) - 87

CM: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal) - 86

CF: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) - 88

ST: Ciro Immobile (Lazio) - 90

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Inter) - 88

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Steve Mandanda (Marseille) - 83

CB: Kaan Ayhan (Fortuna Dusseldorf) - 81

RM: Robert Snodgrass (West Ham) - 81

ST: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) - 84

RW: Daniel Ginczek (Wolfsburg) - 82

ST: Kasper Dolberg (Nice) - 81

LW: Oussama Idrissi (AZ) - 81

RESERVES

CM: Alexandru Maxim (Gaziantep) - 79

CM: Alexandru Cicaldau (Universitatea Craiova) - 78

LM: Ahmet Engin (Duisburg) - 76

LM: Nathan Thomas (Carlisle United) - 74

LW: Said Benrahma (Brentford) - 80

Odion Ighalo was happy to take a pay cut to help push through a deadline day move to Manchester United.

Nigeria striker Ighalo joined United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season on Friday, returning to the Premier League where he spent a previous spell with Watford.

Although United's interest in Ighalo came late, the player insists he had no hesitation in temporarily ending a lucrative spell in China to join a club he has always admired.

He told MUTV: "From 11pm there was paperwork, negotiating and all that, for the loan deal, so we are talking and other teams are calling them, wanting me. But I told my agent that this is what I want. I want to come here.

"He said: 'You’re going to get a pay cut to go to United.' I said: 'I don’t care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United. I don’t care how much is the pay cut, I know that, make it happen.'"

Ighalo is likely to get the chance to impress at Old Trafford with a lack of attacking options exacerbated by an injury to Marcus Rashford.

He added: "I’m very happy. It’s just like a dream come true for me.

"People that know me, even back in Nigeria, and even when I was playing at Watford, my team-mates knew that I loved Man United, I support them.

"When I played against Man U, that emotion is there, because it is my dream.

"When we were young in Nigeria, we used to watch the Premier League when the likes of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke played...

"People supported Manchester United a lot so I developed a love because all my siblings are Man Utd fans.

"I never thought this [move] was going to happen but dreams come true. I am very happy to be here and it's going to be a big and good challenge in my career."

With the Premier League's winter break now under way, United's next game does not come until February 17 when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his side to Chelsea.

United are currently seventh in the table, six points adrift of the Londoners, who occupy fourth.

A 5-2 defeat to Merseyside rivals Liverpool on December 4 left Everton in the Premier League relegation zone and facing the realistic prospect of a fight for top-flight survival.

The loss at Anfield proved to be the final straw for Marco Silva, who has flattered to deceive with Watford and now Everton following a spell at Hull City that he was largely praised for, despite suffering relegation.

Ten games on, and with a helping hand from interim boss Duncan Ferguson along the way, Carlo Ancelotti has ninth-placed Everton eyeing Europa League football next season.

The Toffees have lost one of their past 10 league games - seven of those under Ancelotti - compared to eight defeats in Silva's final 11 matches.

Indeed, only Merseyside rivals Liverpool have won more points over that time than Everton's 19, suggesting the Italian coach is well on course to transforming their fortunes.

Ahead of Saturday's visit of Crystal Palace, a side they are unbeaten against in 10 league meetings, we used Opta data to look at what exactly has changed under Ancelotti.


 

CALVERT-LEWIN AND RICHARLISON LEADING THE WAY 

Everton have scored in all seven league games during Ancelotti's short time at the club, netting 11 times in total at an average of 1.6 goals per game. 

That is in comparison to 20 goals in 18 games prior to the veteran manager's arrival - 1.1 per match - which is a clear improvement. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been responsible for five of those 11 goals and Richarlison - absent for a couple of games with a knee injury - has also chipped in with two. 

Fellow attacker Moise Kean finally got off the mark in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle United, while Theo Walcott scored for the first time this season last time out. 

Many aspects of the Toffees' play has changed over the past six weeks, arguably none more so than the way they try to create opportunities for their attacking players. 

Everton's build-up attacks - an open play sequence containing 10 or more passes that either ends in a shot or at least one touch in the box - has increased from 1.2 per game to 2.3.

Direct attacks have dropped from 1.6 to 1.4 each match by comparison, meaning Ancelotti has got his side passing the ball more and - even more importantly - doing something with it at the end of attacking moves.

MORE CHANCES BEING CREATED 

Everton used a back five in Silva's final two games - defeats to Leicester City and Liverpool - but have since reverted to a 4-4-2, spearheaded by the ever-present Calvert-Lewin. 

Despite the shift in system and more emphasis on passing the ball around the pitch, there is still a reliance on set-pieces, counter-attacks and crosses into the box for their goals. 

That was highlighted in the dramatic win at Watford last weekend when Yerry Mina twice scored from a corner and Walcott rounded off a swift counter late on.

Many Evertonians will argue their side still lack a creator, which could be down to Ancelotti's reluctance to tweak his formation slightly. 

But as the Opta data shows, Everton are now creating significantly more big chances - from an average of 1.9 per game before Ancelotti to 2.9 in the seven games since. 

The Merseyside club's expected goals figure has also risen from 1.3 to 1.9 in seven games under the Italian, so improvements have been made in that regard as well.

LESS FOCUS ON PRESSING 

If Ancelotti has managed to get more out of his attack, the same is true at the opposite end of the field. In fact, it could be argued he has improved both aspects in equal measure. 

In perfect symmetry to the average goals-for stat, Everton have conceded 1.1 per game under Ancelotti compared to 1.6 before - a large number of those coming via set-pieces. 

Everton are tackling less and intercepting at an almost identical rate, yet they have two clean sheets in seven games, compared to two in their previous 10 outings.

One tweak that could explain this relative improvement is the number of pressed sequences, defined as an opposition move of three or fewer passes that ends within 40 metres of their own goal. That figure stood at 15.4 under Silva and Ferguson but has since dropped to 11.9. 

Combine that with the decline in high turnovers and it seems clear Ancelotti has told his players to focus less on pressing and more on keeping their shape.

The performances may have been mixed on the face of it, but Ancelotti is slowly transforming this Everton side and could have them aiming higher than the Europa League with more time and investment.

Christian Eriksen felt like "the black sheep" during his final months at Tottenham after admitting he wanted to leave.

Eriksen spoke of his desire for a new challenge last June but did not get his wish until the January transfer window when, with just five months remaining on his contract, he moved to Inter for £16.9million.

The intervening period saw Spurs struggle to match the progress of previous seasons, culminating in the sacking of manager Mauricio Pochettino in November.

Eriksen believes he was an easy target for frustrated supporters mystified at the club's poor form and says he paid the price for his honesty.

The Denmark midfielder told the BBC: "If you have a short contract, you will be the black sheep.

"Of course, I did the interview. I was very honest. I felt I had to be honest. I didn't want to hide like a lot of players do. Everyone is different. I was honest. I wanted to say it out loud.

"I did get the blame for a lot of stuff, for being the bad guy. I read I was the bad person in the changing room, that ever since I said I wanted to leave, it was no good me being there.

"To be honest, over the last few years, if anything came up, any player would think about leaving but I was the guy who said it publicly."

Pochettino was replaced by Jose Mourinho, who used Eriksen sparingly, although the former Ajax man can understand why.

He added: "I think Mourinho did well. He could have said 'he wants to leave, so he is not going to play any more'. He didn't do that.

"After I told him where my feelings were and what I would like to do, he told me just to be happy and if I was needed I would play.

"I was needed in a few games where I did make a difference. It was more as an extra rather than in the starting XI of course."

Eriksen had been regularly linked with Manchester United and, although talks were held with the Old Trafford club, he is happy with his decision to join Antonio Conte's Inter.

"We did speak to them [United], of course, and we did hear what was possible and what wasn't possible. But, in the end, me personally, I wanted a new challenge. To stay in the Premier League would have been an easy solution," he said.

"Of course, staying at Tottenham would also have been a solution but, for me, it just came down to wanting to try a new challenge in a new country. Once Inter came up it really wasn't a difficult choice.

"In my head and for my body, it is good that I am in a new place and I can start again."

Eric Abidal's interview tipped Lionel Messi over the edge.

Normally quiet, especially on social media, Messi used Instagram to hit out at Barcelona director of football Abidal, who had earlier suggested some players were not working hard enough prior to Ernesto Valverde's sacking.

Barca superstar Messi is reportedly unhappy with how things are unfolding at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI TIRED OF BEING BARCA SCAPEGOAT

Lionel Messi is tired of being held responsible for everything that happens at Barcelona amid doubts over his future, according to COPE and Marca.

Contracted until 2021, captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi snapped back at Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal for bad-mouthing players at the club as he discussed Ernesto Valverde's exit.

It comes amid discontent towards the board and Barca's struggles on the pitch.

Clubs in China, the United States and the Middle East would all be interested should the Argentine opt for a change of scenery.

 

ROUND-UP

- Has Paul Pogba played his last game for Manchester United? The Red Devils are resigned to losing Pogba at the end of the season, reports The Mirror. Linked to Real Madrid and former club Juventus, Pogba has not featured since December due to an ongoing ankle problem.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United will prioritise signing Aston Villa star Jack Grealish as fellow midfield target James Maddison nears a new deal with Leicester City.

Atletico Madrid will consider Mauricio Pochettino as their next head coach if they move on from Diego Simeone, reports the Telegraph. Pochettino continues to be linked with United, who are struggling under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

- Standard Sport claims Chelsea will sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele at the end of the season after failing to land the Frenchman in January.

- Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is a target for Arsenal, reports The Sun. Arsenal enquired about the 22-year-old Brazilian's availability last month.

Milan snubbed the chance to sign Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic in January, says Calciomercato. Matic is out of contract at season's end but is open to extending his time in Manchester.

Jose Mourinho believes Harry Kane will not return to action for Tottenham until at least May, in a blow for both club and country.

Spurs striker Kane sustained a hamstring injury on New Year's Day in a defeat to Southampton and has been out of action since, having undergone surgery.

Initially, it was expected Kane would be out until April and the 26-year-old has already begun his rehabilitation process.

However, Mourinho has cast doubt on that prognosis, revealing he does not expect England captain Kane to be able to play again until at least May 9-10, with Spurs scheduled to face Leicester City in their penultimate match of the season, with Crystal Palace their final league opponents on May 17.

"The Leicester match," said Mourinho, whose side face Southampton in an FA Cup replay on Wednesday, when he was asked about Kane's return.

"Maybe we need that match for something. To be fourth, to be fifth, to be sixth. Maybe he can help us in this match. I hope. Is that the best-case scenario at the moment? Yes, I think so."

If Mourinho's prediction proves correct, it means Kane will only be able to play in two league fixtures prior to joining up with Gareth Southgate's England squad for Euro 2020.

England are in action in two warm-up fixtures in early June - against Austria and Romania respectively - before facing Croatia in their opening Euro 2020 fixture on June 14.

The national team's issues are of little concern to Mourinho, however.

"It's a problem for [Gareth] Southgate and for [the England assistant manager] Steve Holland, not for me," he added. "How would I feel if I were England manager? I don't know. I'm not."

Manchester United must resist the urge to place too much importance on Mason Greenwood so early in his career because to do so could have lasting negative results similar to those suffered by Michael Owen, according to Rio Ferdinand.

Greenwood broke into the United first-team squad last season and made three appearances, including a debut start in the defeat to Cardiff City on the final day.

His role in the squad unsurprisingly increased this term after the departure of Romelu Lukaku, with the 18-year-old making 32 appearances across all competitions.

A recent injury to Marcus Rashford means he could find himself a more regular starter in the final months of the season, but former United captain Ferdinand is concerned over-reliance on Greenwood too early could see him suffering a decline like Owen.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and United striker Owen came through the academy at Anfield in the 1990s and became a superstar as a teenager, then winning the Ballon d'Or in 2001, but he was ravaged by injuries and fitness issues later in his career.

Speaking at the launch of BT's 4-3-3 Home Nations campaign, Ferdinand said: "The kid [Greenwood] is a fantastic goal-scorer.

"All through the youth levels as a kid, he's always found it easy scoring goals. He plays off both feet – he's a fantastic talent, but he needs to be nurtured correctly.

"You can't expect him to come in and play every game just because there's an injury to Marcus and then put it all on his shoulders.

"A good yardstick is to look at someone like Michael Owen. He came through as a 'boy wonder', huge expectations [on him] and he played far too many games from a young age.

"I think that was a big factor in him having big injuries later on in his career, slowing him down. That's something to look at, to make sure we don't have the same mistake with Mason - nurture him the right way."

Ferdinand is also concerned about Greenwood potentially being under too much pressure at United, particularly if he does take on a more important role with Rashford injured and Anthony Martial failing to convince in a central role.

"It [coping with the pressure] is difficult if he's got no one around him with the experience to guide him," Ferdinand continued.

"You just hope he's got players or staff in there that can help him and guide him through that period and allow him to understand the pressure isn't [on] him. He's too young.

"There's other players in there that can take on that pressure on their shoulders and are experienced enough to do that. It's up to other people to do that."

 

BT's 4-3-3 Home Nations strategy will use the power of football and technology to release the potential of para and disability, grassroots, and women's football communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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