Europe's top five leagues have monopolised the Champions League knockout stage for the first time in the competition's history.

With Atalanta's 3-0 defeat of Shakhtar Donetsk, the Serie A side ensured only nations from Italy, England, France, Germany and Spain would complete the last-16 line up prior to the final group fixtures on Wednesday.

Atalanta's win left only one place in the last 16 to be decided, with Atletico Madrid's 2-0 triumph over Lokomotiv Moscow – combined with a 2-0 loss for Bayer Leverkusen at home to Juventus – enough to send Diego Simeone's men through.

It is the first time only teams from the top-tier nations in European football have been included in the draw for the knockout stage, which will take place on Monday.

England – Premier League: Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham

Chelsea and Liverpool had the biggest scares of the group stage when it came to the English sides, though both ultimately qualified.

Current holders Liverpool put in a clinical second-half display to dispatch Salzburg 2-0 in their final Group E match, with Frank Lampard's side progressing from Group H thanks to a 2-1 win over Lille – last season's semi-finalists Ajax dropping into the Europa League despite amassing 10 points

Tottenham were on the wrong end of a 7-2 hammering by Bayern Munich in October, but three successive victories sent them through prior to their second meeting with the German champions, while Manchester City qualified as Group C winners.

France – Ligue 1: Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain look like they mean business this season and, after ensuring their place in the next round with a 2-2 comeback draw away at Real Madrid, capped off their Group A campaign in style with a 5-0 thrashing of lowly Galatasaray.

Neymar starred on Wednesday, with Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani all scoring too – with their star-studded forward line in such form, Thomas Tuchel's side should be some force in the knockouts.

Memphis Depay was the hero for Lyon, meanwhile, as his 82nd-minute equaliser against RB Leipzig sent Rudi Garcia's side from bottom up to second.

Germany – Bundesliga: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig

Along with PSG, Bayern were the standout performers of the group stage – their haul of 18 points and a goal difference of +19 making them the best group winner in Champions League history.

Leipzig made history when they secured their first participation in the knockout stage thanks to Emil Forsberg's double against Benfica on matchday five in Group G, though Borussia Dortmund had to see off Slavia Prague 2-1 in their final Group F game – and rely on Barcelona to defeat Inter.

Italy – Serie A: Atalanta, Juventus, Napoli

Atalanta seemed on the brink after three straight defeats to start their Group C campaign, yet Gian Piero Gasperini's side battled back – a draw with City and wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar continuing their Champions League adventure, becoming the first side to go through after losing their opening three matches.

Juventus' tally of 16 points in Group D saw them equal their own record – set in 1996-97 and matched in 2004-05 – while Napoli hammered Genk 4-0 on Tuesday to book their last-16 berth, though it was not enough to keep Carlo Ancelotti in his job.

There will be no place in the last 16 for Serie A leaders Inter, though, with Antonio Conte's side dropping into the Europa League.

Spain – LaLiga: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia

LaLiga, like the Premier League, will have four representatives in the knockout stage. Barca were unconvincing at times in Group F, but had enough to seal their spot with a game to spare before ending Inter's hopes.

Atleti needed to overcome Lokomotiv on matchday six, but did so easily enough thanks to Joao Felix and Felipe – though Kieran Trippier missed an early penalty – and their city rivals Real Madrid ultimately easily progressed from Group A despite a chastening defeat to PSG in their opening match.

Valencia were involved in a mighty tussle with Chelsea and Ajax, who beat them 3-0 in their first home match, but eventually topped Group H thanks to a 1-0 win over the Eredivisie champions on Tuesday.

The race to sign Erling Haaland has taken another turn.

According to reports, the in-demand striker flew to Germany on Wednesday to hold talks with Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland has become one of Europe's hottest properties following a prolific run of form for Salzburg.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND MEETS WITH DORTMUND

Could talented teenager Haaland be the next bright young forward to join Bundesliga side Dortmund?

Local newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten and Radio 91.2 claim the Norwegian and his high-profile agent Mino Raiola arrived at Dortmund Airport and were met by a BVB official the day after Salzburg's Champions League loss to Liverpool.

Haaland played 75 minutes against the holders but was unable to add to his impressive eight-goal haul in Europe this season.

Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid are among the other heavyweights reportedly showing interest in the 19-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

- Salzburg could be about to part with more than one highly-rated attacker. The Telegraph says Premier League outfit Wolves are preparing to make a move for Hwang Hee-chan, who could cost around £21million (€25m).

- Roma will allow Alessandro Florenzi to leave for €25m in January, claims CalcioMercato. Inter are said to be his strongest suitors, with fellow Serie A sides Napoli and Fiorentina also in contention.

- Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara is unhappy with his reduced role under interim boss Hansi Flick and is thinking of returning to Spain, reports Bild.

- Spain Under-21 international Carles Alena is set to join Real Betis on loan from LaLiga leaders Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- ESPN reporter Julien Laurens believes this season will be Thomas Tuchel's last in charge of Paris Saint-Germain. Tuchel has been heavily linked to Bundesliga champions Bayern.

Dani Olmo is a top player with a bright future who can play at the highest level of European football, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Dinamo Zagreb forward Olmo has been linked with a move to City, while Roma and Milan have also been credited with an interest in his services.

Barcelona are thought to be keen on bringing Olmo back to the club, having signed him to their famed academy as a nine-year-old in 2007.

His time in the Barca youth set-up overlapped with Guardiola's glittering spell in charge of the Blaugrana, Spain international Olmo leaving for Dinamo in 2014.

Olmo was on target as he gave Dinamo the lead with a rasping close-range volley against City on Wednesday, only for the Premier League side to cruise to a 4-1 win, ending the Croatian club's hopes of progression from Champions League Group C.

Guardiola was asked in his post-match media conference if Olmo can be an expensive player in Europe, to which he replied: "He's a top player - he has a bright future, of course.

"His performance today shows it. About the transfer and the money he deserves, that is not the point. The point is he is an incredible player and I am pretty sure he is able to play in the strong leagues in Europe. Hopefully if Dinamo wants and he wants, it can happen."

City have now scored 500 goals under his stewardship, with Guardiola adding of that milestone: "It's nice - 500 times of joy. You know, when we score a goal, it's the best moment of this game, so we enjoy a lot.

"These four years together, overall we have had an incredible amount of fun moments, so it was nice. Hopefully we can score 500 more... in two months!"

Manchester City's hopes of winning a third Premier League title in succession are already over, says midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

City suffered a fourth defeat of the domestic season at home to local rivals Manchester United last weekend, leaving them 14 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool after 16 matches.

Gundogan was a key member of the side that edged out Jurgen Klopp's men in an unrelenting battle last time around but feels standards have clearly slipped this term.

Asked how far City are from their best form ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match at Dinamo Zagreb, Gundogan told BT Sport: "Quite far, to be honest.

"Obviously it's so far a difficult season for us. There's already a huge gap in the Premier League between Liverpool and us.

"We can't deny that the title race is already over for us, so we have to compete to qualify for the Champions League again next season.

"That's disappointing, to be honest. Also, this early in the season to have such a huge gap is something that we're not really used to."

Pep Guardiola's team won the Premier League with a record 100 points in 2017-18 and backed that up with haul of 98 last time around.

Gundogan does not feel there is any discernible difference in the atmosphere among the City squad, but conceded this could be interpreted as a sign of complacency or staleness.

"I don't feel like the dynamic in the group is worse than it was before. I think it's still similar," he said

"Maybe that's also a problem, that it's too similar. Maybe there needs to be a change.

"I don’t really know to be honest, I just think that the next weeks will show us and prove to us the right way to go.

"If you don't know the feeling of frustration, of anger, of disappointment, I ask myself sometimes: 'What is it really worth to be successful? What is it worth to be happy?'.

"Obviously we need these emotions."

City are already through to the last-16 of the Champions League as Group C winners and Gundogan will start the dead rubber in Zagreb as part of a much-changed side featuring teenagers Phil Foden and Eric Garcia.

"No one says that if you are not successful in the Premier League you cannot be successful in the Champions League," he added. "In the Champions League, all chances are open."

Steven Gerrard has revealed he is on the brink of signing a contract extension with Rangers.

Rangers appointed Gerrard on a four-year deal in May 2018 and the former Liverpool midfielder led them to second in the Scottish Premiership in his first season in charge.

The 39-year-old missed out on a first piece of silverware in senior management after a controversial 1-0 loss to rivals Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday.

However, Gerrard remains committed to guiding the club back to their previous heights after they were relegated to the Third Division for the 2012-13 season.

"The club approached me probably a week, 10 days ago about a new deal and it's a pretty simple decision as far as I'm concerned," said the Liverpool legend.

"I'm happy here and I'm as hungry and determined to get the good days back here as I ever was, so talks have been pretty straightforward and positive.

"When it's signed and announced you'll have to wait and see."

Gerrard stated official confirmation of renewals for Allan McGregor and Steven Davis could arrive after Rangers take on Young Boys on Thursday with a place in the last 32 of the Europa League on the line. He also hopes to tie down Bournemouth loanee Jermain Defoe beyond this season.

"[Extensions for] Allan McGregor and Steven Davis are imminent. That'll be very close and will probably be announced after Thursday's game. But that's all agreed," said Gerrard.

"They're two players I want around for a year's extension on top of this year.

"Jermain's is a bit different because he's a Bournemouth player until the end of the season but it's a similar situation in the fact that we want him to stay around.

"We'll obviously deal with that as and when we need to."

A host of Napoli players have paid tribute to Carlo Ancelotti following his sacking, with the Italian lauded as a "special person" by Lorenzo Insigne and others.

Ancelotti was dismissed on Tuesday despite guiding Napoli to a 4-0 win over Genk earlier in the day, securing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

It has been a difficult first half of the season for Napoli, with underwhelming league form combining with tension between Ancelotti and the club's hierarchy.

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis was reported to have ordered Ancelotti and the players to attend a training retreat in early November, but the squad failed to show up in what was deemed by the Italian media to be an act of open rebellion.

Napoli threatened sanctions in the wake of that situation and Ancelotti's days seemed to be numbered from then, with Tuesday's win over Genk their first win in any competition in well over a month.

After Napoli confirmed Ancelotti had been dismissed following a meeting with De Laurentiis, it seems he has retained the respect of the players.

Club captain Insigne – who acknowledged an up-and-down relationship with Ancelotti in October – wrote on his Instagram account: "Thank you boss - it was an honour to have worked with you and your staff. In these two years I met a special person. I wish you the best!"

Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz has developed into an important player for Napoli and Spain under Ancelotti. He also saluted the three-time Champions League-winning coach.

"Boss, thanks for everything you did," he wrote. "You have been a special person for me, I wish you the best, wherever you go you deserve the best. A big hug and good luck."

Allan added: "You were a special person, much more than a coach... I thank you for everything you've done in almost two years together... I wish you and all the staff good luck."

Kostas Manolas, Arkadiusz Milik, Kalidou Koulibaly and Hirving Lozano were among the others to post their thanks to Ancelotti, who has been strongly linked with the vacant managerial positions at Premier League duo Arsenal and Everton.

Gennaro Gattuso is expected to be announced as Ancelotti's successor on Wednesday.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been rewarded for his brilliant display up against Raheem Sterling in the Manchester derby, earning inclusion in FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week.

Manchester United claimed a fine 2-1 win at the home of the champions on Saturday, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial getting the goals.

But arguably just as vital was the performance of Wan-Bissaka at right-back, as the England Under-21 international played an integral role in nullifying Sterling, one of the Premier League's form players.

Wan-Bissaka completed a match-high five tackles – one a last-ditch challenge to deny Sterling what looked set to be a certain goal – and also made seven clearances.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane is back in the TOTW for the second time, while Serie A's chief creator Luis Alberto lines up in midfield having set up another two goals in Lazio's 3-1 win over Juventus, taking his campaign tally to 11, five more than anyone else in the competition.

Unsurprisingly there is also a place in the team for Real Betis' Joaquin after he became the oldest player in LaLiga history to score a hat-trick, while Memphis Depay and Marco Reus lead the line.

Below, we take a look at the latest squad in full.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United) – 83

CB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) – 82

CB: Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 83

CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – 86

LM: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – 90

CDM: Charles Aranguiz (Bayer Leverkusen) – 85

CDM: Luis Alberto (Lazio) – 87

CM: Morgan Sanson (Marseille) – 82

RM: Joaquin (Real Betis) – 83

CF: Memphis Depay (Lyon) – 86

CF: Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) – 89

SUBSTITUTES:

GK: Luigi Sepe (Parma) – 81

CB: Guillermo Maripan (Monaco) – 82

LM: Cristian Ansaldi (Torino) – 82

CAM: Matheus Pereira (West Brom) – 81

ST: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – 84

ST: Cristhian Stuani (Girona) – 82

RF: Lukas Podolski (Vissel Kobe) – 81

RESERVES:

CM: Cristian Battocchio (Brest) – 78

CM: Carlos Sierra (America de Cali) – 73

ST: Vinicius (Benfica) – 79

ST: Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC) – 78

ST: Josh Maja (Bordeaux) – 75

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham would relish the challenge of playing a team like Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Abraham opened the scoring as Chelsea finished their Group H campaign with a 2-1 victory over Lille at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, but Valencia's 1-0 win at Ajax meant the Blues had to settle for second place.

Frank Lampard's side will consequently take on a team that topped their section in the first knockout round.

England international Abraham is keen to test himself somewhere new, with Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barca and RB Leipzig their potential opponents in the last 16.

"This is exciting, very exciting. We're never ones to back down from a challenge. We want to play against the best teams in the world and play in the best stadiums in the world," said Abraham.

"No fear. We're ready for anyone. I would love it if it is playing at the Nou Camp or somewhere I've never played before."

He added: "From our first game in the competition we realised how big it was. It's a massive achievement for us to be through to the last 16.

"And it means the world to me: it's a dream come true to have watched the Champions League as a young kid growing up and now to be playing in it myself.

"But now it's also about knuckling down and focusing on the Premier League until the new year."

Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League, five points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United and 17 adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Arsenal have confirmed Kieran Tierney dislocated his shoulder in Monday's 3-1 win over West Ham, as a lengthy absence beckons.

Scotland international Tierney signed from Celtic in August for a reported £25million to bolster the left side of their defence, but his impact has been minimal due to injuries.

He joined the club during rehabilitation for a pelvic injury, limiting him to 11 appearances across all competitions.

The 22-year-old started each of Arsenal's two most recent matches, but he lasted only 29 minutes at West Ham after falling awkwardly in his own penalty area.

After receiving medical attention, Tierney gingerly walked off the pitch using his jersey as a makeshift sling. Arsenal announced the nature of his injury in a short bulletin on Wednesday.

A timescale for his return has not been provided, but he will not play again this year and is a doubt to feature in January.

Hector Bellerin sustained a hamstring injury during the warm-up before the West Ham win and is being monitored ahead of Sunday's visit of Manchester City, with the match against Standard Liege on Thursday coming too soon for him.

Nicolas Pepe, who scored only his second Premier League goal on Monday, will also miss Thursday's Europa League clash due to a bruised knee, though he has not been ruled out of the City match.

Granit Xhaka is out of both upcoming matches, however, after he sustained concussion at West Ham.

Sergio Romero still feels he is living the dream at Manchester United despite acknowledging frustration over being a permanent back-up.

Romero, 32, joined United from Sampdoria in 2015, allowing him to link up once again with his former AZ coach Louis van Gaal.

Although the Dutchman did not last at United, Romero has continued to be a valuable asset to the club, with predecessor Jose Mourinho and his successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeping him on as the back-up to David de Gea.

Throughout Romero's time at United he has had to contend with being second choice, though under Mourinho the Argentina international featured prominently in the victorious Europa League campaign of 2016-17, even playing the final.

Although he has not played a Premier League game since May 2018, Romero has made three European appearances this season – but he could not hide his frustration at not being a regular starter.

"It's not easy, but I work every day for this, for this possibility," Romero said on Wednesday ahead of facing his former team AZ this Thursday.

"When I have my chance in the squad to play, I am ready for this moment. I think in the last four years I have been in a difficult situation because I have played for the national team for years.

"But I am ready, I work every day for my chance and when I have my chance I try to do my best.

"When you have David in front [of you] – in the last years David is the best goalkeeper in the world – this is difficult.

"But I work, I am happy, I am in the best club in the world. I tell about another time when I was young, I saw Man United [play] many times and I say, 'one day I want to play in this club'.

"I am here, I am happy, I work, and when I have my chance, I do my best.

"When I got the chance to come to United I knew I accepted that I would be playing a few games, but when you get the chance to wear this shirt it's a dream come true. It's never intention to be second choice."

Manchester United will have no trouble attracting star signings as they remain "the biggest and best club in the world", manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says.

With the transfer window opening in three weeks' time, the Red Devils have been tipped to bolster a squad that has at times been stretched to breaking point this season.

Strikers including Erling Haland and Mario Mandzukic have been linked with moves to Old Trafford, while Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, Leicester City playmaker James Maddison and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez are rumoured longer-term options.

With United fifth in the Premier League and far from certain to return to the Champions League this season, it has been suggested they could struggle to land their priority targets, although recent victories over Tottenham and Manchester City have assuaged some doubts about their progress this season.

It was put to Solskjaer on Thursday that some agents have expressed concern over players joining the United project, but the manager has no such fears.

"You said agents, but I'm sure players would want to be here," he told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash with AZ.

"I don't speak to too many agents. Man United is the biggest and best club in the world and I'm sure there are so many players who would want to be part of the rebuild of Man United. We want to play the type of football our fans and players enjoy."

United had failed to win against Sheffield United, Astana and Aston Villa prior to their impressive victories over Spurs and City, and Solskjaer is now keen for consistency from his young side.

The former striker says it is important for his players to learn how to deliver "when they don't feel like it" if they want to win silverware.

"Consistency is vital in football if you want to win trophies," he said. "This young team need to learn how to put performances in maybe when they don't feel like it, when they don't feel great.

"We've had some games this year where we've not been able to perform as well as we'd like, but that's a learning curve. I'm sure they'll improve on that over the next couple of years and the rest of the season because we've come through a sticky patch."

United face AZ at Old Trafford knowing a draw will be enough to secure top spot in Group L.

Nemanja Matic is expected to return from injury, but Paul Pogba and Diogo Dalot remain unavailable, while Jesse Lingard is a doubt after missing Wednesday's training session with a knock sustained against City.

Alisson has challenged Liverpool to sustain the defensive focus that has helped them secure back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since September.

The Champions League holders reached the last 16 on Tuesday thanks to a 2-0 win away to Salzburg, with Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah scoring the goals.

It was also Liverpool's second clean sheet in a row, following last Saturday's 3-0 Premier League win at Bournemouth, a result that leaves the Reds eight points clear at the top of the table.

Since losing the Community Shield on penalties in August, Klopp's side have only lost once in all competitions - a 2-0 defeat to Napoli in September - but their defence has nonetheless come under scrutiny following a run of 13 matches in which they conceded at least one goal.

However, with the Reds having now recorded consecutive clean sheets for the first time since victories over MK Dons and Sheffield United almost three months ago, Alisson - who played in neither of those September games - is eager to keep that run going.

"It was just a matter of time and of focus," the goalkeeper told Liverpoolfc.com when asked how their defence has improved.

"The last two games, we were focused for the full game. Even if they had chances we were there, the defenders were there, and I was there to help the team.

"We just need to keep going with this focus because we know our quality and we know what we can do on the pitch when we put in our whole intensity.

"You need to do that for 90 minutes – it's hard, we know, but I think we showed we can do this."

Alisson had to make a string of saves in the first half to keep Salzburg at bay before two goals in quick succession after the interval put Liverpool in control.

"In the first half they made our job more difficult with their intensity they put in," he said. "They had chances, of course, but we neutralised them in the chances, I could make the saves.

"I'm happy with the result and happy with what we did on the pitch.

"It was a difficult game for us, but we did very well, everybody playing together and moving together, defending in a good way and attacking in a good way.

"I'm glad about the score, I'm glad about the clean sheet – but the three points were the most important thing we needed."

Manchester United claimed the derby bragging rights with a 2-1 victory over Premier League champions Manchester City last Saturday – concluding a validatory week for their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A blistering first-half performance on the counter-attack saw Anthony Martial score what proved to be the winner after Marcus Rashford netted from the penalty spot.

The result came after Solskjaer claimed midweek victory over predecessor Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham side by the same scoreline, handing a huge boost to an Old Trafford reign that was attracting mounting scrutiny.

United have also beaten Chelsea and Leicester City this season, while they remain the only side to take points off runaway leaders Liverpool.

However, Everton sitting 14th in the table ahead of Sunday's match suggests they could spell trouble.

Hitting the 'big six' for six

Although no longer the fixture they were under Alex Ferguson when it comes to the biggest prizes in the game, United certainly have it in them to rise to the big occasion against teams aspiring to those heights.

When facing sides who have started the game in the Premier League's top six, Solskjaer has won four, drawn three and lost two of nine matches after the success at the Etihad Stadium last time out.

That amounts to a win percentage of 44.4 per cent, a number greater than the 40.7 per cent Mourinho enjoyed over the course of 27 games during his United tenure.

Solksjaer's numbers are even more impressive when considering games against fellow members of the widely regarded 'big six' – City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea – and Leicester, the 2015-16 champions currently riding high in second.

In 12 games against those opponents since succeeding Mourinho, Solskjaer has won half and drawn four, losing only twice – 2-0 at home to City last April, having done likewise away to Arsenal a month earlier.

Mourinho only succeeded nine times in 22 of those games, a win percentage of 40.9, losing eight.

Overrun by the also-rans

Sitting alongside those wins over City, Chelsea, Leicester and Tottenham this season are Premier League losses to Crystal Palace, West Ham. Newcastle United and Bournemouth.

Of that quartet, only 10th-placed Palace reside in the top half of the table.

In games facing opponents in the bottom six on matchdays under Solskjaer, United have won six, drawn four and lost three, giving him a win percentage of 46.2.

Mourinho was far more successful in such presumed straightforward encounters, winning 60.7 per cent (W17 D7 L4).

Pogba to pick the lock?

The sight of Martial, Rashford, Daniel James and Jesse Lingard tearing into the big spaces behind City's midfield at the Etihad did much to explain the unusual trend in United's results.

That quartet in tandem amount to a formidable, livewire threat on the counter attack. However, operating in the small spaces afforded by deep-lying defences is a different proposition entirely.

Paul Pogba is closing in on a return from an ankle injury and, whatever the France star might lack in tenacity, his added creativity and guile could prove a significant asset.

Since returning to Old Trafford for a then-world record £89.3million from Juventus in 2016, Pogba has scored 24 goals in 97 Premier League games.

He has also contributed 25 assists and has created 164 chances – one every 50 minutes.

Lingard, who would probably be most vulnerable to a returning Pogba in Solskjaer's current XI, as Fred and Scott McTominay have thrived at the base of the midfield, has 22 goal involvements compared to Pogba's 49 over the same period.

That breaks down into 13 goals and nine assists. He has created 87 chances, a little more than half Pogba's overall amount.

Although the feelgood factor has returned to United in Pogba's absence, he could yet be the man to make it grow into something more sustainable under Solskjaer.

Everton are set to make the first move for Carlo Ancelotti.

The Toffees will reportedly begin talks with the Italian following his departure from Napoli on Tuesday.

Ancelotti was sacked three hours after a 4-0 win over Genk, which confirmed the Serie A club's place in the Champions League knockout rounds.

 

TOP STORY – EVERTON TO RIVAL ARSENAL FOR ANCELOTTI

Everton will waste no time in opening contract talks with free agent Ancelotti in the wake of his Napoli exit, according to Sky Sports.

Managerless Arsenal are also said to be considering the 60-year-old former Chelsea, Milan and Real Madrid boss as a possible replacement for Unai Emery.

But the Toffees could get the jump on their Premier League rivals after Shanghai SIPG's Vitor Pereira pulled out of the race to succeed Marco Silva, although David Moyes reportedly remains an option to take charge on an interim basis.

Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a coach and secured league titles in England, France, Germany and Italy.

ROUND-UP

- Napoli could announce the appointment of Gennaro Gattuso on a short-term contract as soon as Wednesday, according to CalcioMercato.

- Ex-Everton manager Moyes and former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton are in line to replace Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham if the Hammers lose to Southampton on Saturday, says The Mirror.

- Manchester United are considering Ajax's Donny van de Beek and Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid as they prepare for Paul Pogba's end-of-season exit, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily Mail also claims Leicester City have opened contract talks with rumoured Manchester City target Caglar Soyuncu, who has been in good form this season.

- Barcelona have cooled their interest in Lautaro Martinez due to Inter's demand for €100million, according to ESPN.

Frank Lampard has indicated Chelsea will look to sign at least one new attacker in January after having their transfer ban halved.

An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport brought an early end to the original two-window embargo last week, enabling the Blues to become active participants in the transfer market.

An inexperienced squad reached the Champions League last 16 with Tuesday's 2-1 home win over Lille and could now be reinforced.

Chelsea scored 11 times in their six Group H games and have notched a further 31 goals in the Premier League, but head coach Lampard outlined plans to seek a replacement for Eden Hazard.

"I think it will be a bit fluid," Lampard told BT Sport after beating Lille at Stamford Bridge.

"There will be discussions that go on from now about where we can strengthen, because of course with Eden leaving we lost a lot of goals, a lot of creation in his particular position.

"What I'm talking about today is that we missed some chances and I think we can probably look at strengthening and pushing and getting maybe more competition in those areas."

First-half goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta confirmed the club's progression in Europe, although the result was made narrower than it should have been by Loic Remy's belated response in the 78th minute.

The Blues, who finished second in the group behind Valencia, would have slipped into the Europa League had Lille pinched a late equaliser.

Lampard said: "With the youth, we understand those bumps in the road will come, whether individually or collectively.

"I push them a lot, I'm quite tough with them, and I want them to work and improve. But at the same time, you do have to be a bit patient. That's where the balance of the team and the squad is important – the older, more experienced players do help them.

"We have got a good balance but I think today was a strong sign of how much work we have to do. It should have been a game that was finished much earlier.

"It's been a little bit the story of our season at times and that's the biggest thing, for me, we need to improve."

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