Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United will "pounce" in the transfer market if the right opportunity arises following reports of advanced discussions with Sporting CP for Bruno Fernandes.

United claimed a 4-0 Premier League win over Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday, four days on from a 3-1 EFL Cup defeat to Manchester City.

Although it was arguably the most coherent display United have enjoyed for a while, it remains clear they need to strengthen in order to challenge for honours.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay facing prolonged periods of absence, United have been heavily linked with a move for Portugal international midfielder Fernandes and officials from the two clubs are said to have been in talks on Friday.

And while Solskjaer claimed United are "working really well" in the transfer market, he avoided specifics.

"That's what it's like at Man United, there's always speculation and talk," Solskjaer told BBC Sport.

"I can only say we are working really well to improve the squad and when we find the right player for the right value, we'll pounce on it."

He added to Sky Sports: "I've really got the backing from the owners, from Ed [Woodward, executive vice-chairman].

"I know we have resources if the right player becomes available for the right money, and they've been so good to me.

"So, it might happen, it might not, it depends on if we find one for the right value, but the backing is there."

Napoli have completed the signing of midfielder Diego Demme from RB Leipzig in a reported €12million move.

The one-cap Germany international joined Leipzig in the third tier in 2014 and has been a regular in their ascent to the Champions League, playing 17 times in the Bundesliga this season.

But Demme, who has an Italian father and was named after Napoli legend Diego Maradona, has now departed for the Partenopei.

The Serie A giants, who have struggled this term and replaced coach Carlo Ancelotti with Gennaro Gattuso, confirmed the signing of the 28-year-old on Saturday.

Holding midfielder Demme has previously described Gattuso, along with former Milan team-mate Andrea Pirlo, as his "idol".

He could soon be joined by another midfield signing as Stanislav Lobotka reportedly nears a switch from Celta Vigo to Napoli.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is overjoyed at the impact Mauro Icardi has had since joining on loan from Inter.

Icardi left Inter under something of a cloud, as his relationship with the club was said to have become increasingly strained after a frustrating season in which he scored only 11 Serie A goals.

He was then frozen out by new coach Antonio Conte and the striker eventually secured an exit on September 1, joining PSG on an initial loan deal for the 2019-20 campaign.

Since moving to Paris, the 26-year-old has found his mojo once again, scoring nine times in 11 Ligue 1 matches, helping to form a formidable front four with compatriot Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

A hat-trick in the 6-1 Coupe de la Ligue win over Saint-Etienne on Wednesday was Icardi's most recent contribution, taking him to nine goals in his past 10 matches across all competitions, though Tuchel did not wish to discuss the purchase option that is reportedly set at €65million.

"I'm very impressed with Mauro Icardi," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 meeting with Monaco.

"I met him here for the first time. The guy is super reliable and very, very professional. He understands football tactically, works defensively and is very, very efficient.

"His work and his reliability for the team is very impressive, but I don't want to talk about the purchase option."

The attacking unit of Icardi, Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria has been dubbed the 'Fantastic Four', and Tuchel is impressed by their thirst for work, which he believes is vital for their tactical system to succeed.

"We are more reliable and beefier than in 2019," Tuchel said. "Our team has matured with the recruitment of the pre-season.

"There is a good frame of mind. We have a great team with healthy competition and I want to maintain this good level.

"We attack together and we defend together. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful things in football. A team cannot win with five players. The best level requires playing as a team.

"If you want to play 4-4-2, there are a lot of things to do and spaces to protect. Everyone has to do what is necessary and the players are doing it at the moment.

"With 4-4-2, the sides have to be more careful about defensive replacement than when playing in 4-3-3.

"I want players who are free to attack, but who also protect the spaces. I'm asking of my offensive players that they try to chase the ball in order to achieve a high pressure and recover the ball quickly.

"We have players capable of doing this counter-pressing. Neymar is smart enough to do it, Mauro Icardi or Angel Di Maria and Pablo Sarabia, too. We always find the best possible mix for us to keep this balance."

Xavi seems set to return to Barcelona as head coach, replacing Ernesto Valverde.

Valverde is under pressure again at the helm of the LaLiga giants after Thursday's Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid.

And, it seems Barca are wasting no time finding a replacement.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OFFER XAVI DEAL TO REPLACE VALVERDE

Barcelona have offered Al Sadd boss Xavi a two-and-a-half-year deal to replace Valverde, according to AS.

Xavi's potential return to Camp Nou, where he won eight LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues in a glittering playing career, is dominating headlines in Spain.

The cover of Sport reads 'Earthquake Xavi', while Marca also reports that Barcelona have offered the job to the former midfielder.

ROUND-UP

- Bruno Fernandes. Manchester United. Here we go again. Record reports Sporting CP officials met with the Premier League club with a move potentially going ahead in January. The Daily Mail says United are considering a £55m (€64.6m) move for Fernandes, who they were reportedly interested in during the close season.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Sun reports Manchester United are eyeing a £40m move for West Ham defender Issa Diop, who is also apparently a target for Chelsea.

- Manchester United are at the centre of plenty of speculation this month, including a potential exit for Ashley Young. CalcioMercato reports Inter want the 34-year-old and the Serie A side are offering Young – who is out of contract at season's end – a deal until 2021.

- Gedson Fernandes is seemingly set for a move to London, but to which club remains to be seen. The Guardian reports West Ham fear they will miss out on the Benfica midfielder to Tottenham.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Hugo Vallejo appears set for a Malaga exit. AS reports Real Madrid are considering making a move for the forward this month before sending the 19-year-old out on loan until the end of 2019-20. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia are also reportedly interested in Vallejo.

- Meanwhile, Barca have had an offer of €6m for midfielder Matheus Fernandes rejected by Palmeiras, according to Globo Esporte.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard insisted he had no plans to sell Pedro despite the forward's lack of game time.

Pedro, 32, has made just five Premier League appearances this season and, with his contract expiring at the end of the campaign, has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

But Lampard, whose side host Burnley on Saturday, said he wanted the former Barcelona attacker to stay.

"He is part of my plans and I started the season and Pedro was in the team and unfortunately he got injured at Norwich before the game and I had to make a change to the starting line-up," he told a news conference on Friday.

"He was out for a while and I do have competition in that area so Peds has had some games here and there. I know he wants more games but he certainly has something he can contribute to us here in his experience and his ability to break lines and run behind people and maybe got those goals in and around the box.

"He's here, I know his contract is up at the end of the season but I'm not even looking that far ahead, he's here and I need everybody because football can change very quickly.

"There can be a period of games where you're on the bench, out of the squad, something changes and then that's the moment when you have to come in and produce and I've got no winners in this game, I want the club to be the winner.

"People come in and do well, they'll stay in the team."

Chelsea are fourth in the table – four points clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United – ahead of their clash with Burnley.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he was forthright with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward regarding transfers.

United, who are sixth in the Premier League, are expected to strengthen their squad in January as they face an injury crisis.

And Solskjaer said he was direct with Woodward when it came to United's approach in the transfer market

"Of course I am [forthright]. We have got open discussions and, of course, we're open and honest and we talk," he told UK newspapers.

"But I wouldn't say to you what I say to him. I would never say I need this and this player out of the club to you.

"We are building towards something and I'm almost getting bored myself talking about this, and the fans will definitely be bored listening to me talk about what we have as a vision and a plan, but it doesn't change from September 1 to now. It's impossible for that to change. Ask [Woodward] if I am.

"I am not going to protect myself. I am going to do what is best for the club, what I think and we feel is right for the club, and I will never put myself before the club. This is Man United and there is no 'I' in Manchester and, for me, there is no 'I' in this team and I could never, ever do that."

Solskjaer, whose side host Norwich City on Saturday, said he was happy with his squad despite the club potentially looking to make moves this month.

"I have those conversations with Ed all the time. And we are looking at how we are going to look in one month's time, five months' time, in the longer period," he said.

"He knows my feelings and we know our feelings. I am very happy with these players."

Patrick Cutrone has left Wolves and returned to Italy, signing for Fiorentina on loan.

Fiorentina stated the loan was for two years and included an obligation to buy, while a release from Wolves detailed it as an 18-month deal with a purchase option.

Wolves shelled out a reported £16million to sign Cutrone from Milan in July and the striker made 24 appearances in all competitions.

However, the Italy international started just nine games in all competitions and failed to complete the 90 minutes once.

Cutrone, who scored three goals for the club, was picked in Nuno Espirito Santo's starting line-up once in the past 15 matches and has opted to return to Serie A.

Fiorentina will hope Cutrone can rediscover his best form in familiar surroundings, with the club sitting 15th in Serie A, four points above the relegation zone.

The 22-year-old made his professional debut for Milan in May 2017 and went on to score 27 goals in 90 appearances.

Cutrone's only senior international cap came against Argentina in March 2018. He has more recently been part of the Under-21 set-up.

Pep Guardiola rejected any suggestion it has been strange dealing with Leroy Sane amid an apparent desire to leave Manchester City.

Sane appeared likely to move to Bayern Munich in the previous transfer window, but the Germany forward suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in City's Community Shield clash with Liverpool in August.

He has yet to sign a new contract with City, with his current deal expiring at the end of next season.

Bayern will not attempt to lure Sane to the Allianz Arena this month, and Guardiola is adamant talk of a move for the 23-year-old has not put any strain on their relationship.

Asked if it had been awkward or strange since Sane's injury ended the prospect of a move to Bayern before the season, Guardiola replied: "Not at all, it's awkward because I cannot see him on the pitch.

"He's in the gym and making recovery, that is awkward for all of us. He's a nice person, I know him quite well. I was the guy who pushed the club and convinced him to come here when he didn't play in Schalke regularly.

"No doubts about him and his quality, each one has his own family, desires, dreams, about that I cannot do anything else."

Pressed on whether the situation had been upsetting for him personally, Guardiola replied: "Absolutely not, where you are now is not the same as three years ago.

"I'm not the same guy I was when I arrived here, so for the players the same, they have dreams and after the dreams are accomplished they need another thing so I don't know.

"Now what I want is for him to come back. I said last week his knee looks really good and after that it's not my business. In terms of what the club, the player, his agent want to do with his own future, it's not in my hands."

Guardiola has not spoken with the club over how they would potentially replace Sane, adding: "I didn't think about that.

"We spoke a little bit about what happened this season, what positions we have to reinforce for next season, but more than that it's honestly not my job. I don't have time to think about that, I'm so busy."

Daniel Farke has insisted Norwich City have no intention of selling promising defender Max Aarons, who has been linked with Tottenham, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.

Aarons has made 19 Premier League appearances for Norwich this season, with the 20-year-old impressing despite the Canaries' struggles at the bottom of the table.

The full-back's performances have reportedly resulted in interest from Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton, while Bundesliga side Dortmund are the latest club to be linked.

However, Farke – who also confirmed Norwich's key man Teemu Pukki is to miss Saturday's clash with Manchester United due to a hamstring injury – is adamant Aarons will be going nowhere this month.

"I wouldn't spend too much energy listening to all these rumours. Max is a young guy and he still has four-and-a-half years of his contract left," Farke told a news conference.

"I think it's not the right time for him to even think about a move. I would also be doubtful when too many clubs are linked with him. 

"He is totally at the right place here, he's played nearly 20 Premier League games, now leave him alone and let him play some football."

Stefano Pioli would love to be able to "move the clock forward" but accepts the transfer window is something he has to live with amid speculation over the future of Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek. 

Premier League side Tottenham are reportedly in talks to sign Piatek, who has scored only four goals in 18 Serie A appearances this season.

The Poland international's hopes of being a regular starter for the Rossoneri have been dealt a blow with the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to San Siro and Rafael Leao's emergence.

Despite the speculation, Pioli has named Piatek in his squad to face Cagliari on Saturday and expects him to be completely focused on the match in Sardinia.

"If I could move the clock forward I would be happy," Pioli told a media conference. "We have to live with the transfer market but given our current position everyone has to be fully focused on games. Piatek is called up and will be available for tomorrow."

Ibrahimovic played 35 minutes in his first game since signing for a second spell as Milan were held to a goalless draw by Sampdoria.

Asked if the Swede is ready to play 90 minutes, Pioli replied: "No but I will choose whether to play him from the beginning [or from the bench].

"To play 90 minutes you need a few games, that's normal for those who have not played for some time."

Pioli believes Ibrahimovic could have a significant impact on Leao, who has not scored since opening his account for the club against Fiorentina in September.

"He [Leao] understood that something can be learned from the great champions," added Pioli. 

"Having a champion like Ibra next to him can grow quickly."

Jose Mourinho is hopeful Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy can provide a transfer "solution" as Spurs face a testing few months without star striker Harry Kane.

After a positive start as Spurs coach, Mourinho has seen results take a turn for the worse in recent weeks, with just one win in five across all competitions.

To make matters worse, Spurs have lost Kane and Moussa Sissoko to serious injuries, while Tanguy NDombele continues to struggle with niggling fitness problems.

The club have been linked with making January moves in the transfer market, with Gedson Fernandes of Benfica and Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek rumoured to be key targets.

Spurs chairman Levy has garnered a reputation as a frugal spender in the transfer market, but Mourinho is optimistic the club can capitalise on the right opportunities should they arise.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with pacesetters Liverpool, Mourinho said: "Even the coaches without injuries, without problems in the squad, the coaches with the best squads – let's say Jurgen [Klopp, Liverpool manager], with the best team, with amazing players and an amazing squad, he was happy to get a new player [Takumi Minamino].

"We [managers] are all the same, but the reality is when I came here two months ago, I knew the situation.

"I didn't know that of course I was going to be without Kane and Moussa for so long, but I knew that the situation was about trying to get the best out of the players we have, and that doesn't change, so I'm focused on the work, the game.

"If the boss [Levy] arrives with a solution that can help us to face these difficult months that we are going to have ahead of us, so be it, that's welcome, but if we don't find the right solution, right opportunity, then we are going to wait for the next summer to make the right decisions for the evolution of the team.

"January is a strange market, it's not an easy market to be in. It's a market of opportunity, a market where an opportunity arises and you have the conditions to do it or you do not do it. We have to be calm and not think about the market – let the market think about us."

Kane is not expected to be back in training again until April, meaning he is likely to miss much of the remainder of the season, and although Piatek has been mentioned as a potential short-term replacement, Mourinho says no one can replace his captain.

"Kane is important, irreplaceable," he said. "There's no player who can replace him, and Moussa was playing so well since I arrived, one of our best performers.

"The bad news is that it's not just a couple of weeks then they're back, it's surgery and a long, long time [out].

"If you allow me, I would like to not speak about Kane and Moussa until they are back, so let's try talking about everything to do with them today.

"It's normal everyone wants to speak about Harry, but I don't want to speak too much because then I'll get depressed and then you are going to say I'm miserable and depressed and in a bad mood, so it's better to talk about things that make me laugh."

Cenk Tosun has joined Crystal Palace on loan from Everton until the end of the season, the Eagles have confirmed.

The Turkey striker moved to Goodison Park in January 2018 and has scored nine goals in 44 Premier League appearances.

However, the 28-year-old has found game time hard to come by at Goodison Park this term, starting just twice in the top flight.

Tosun will aim to kick-start his career in England's top flight with an Eagles side that have scored just 19 goals this term, the second lowest in the Premier League.

Speaking at a news conference, manager Roy Hodgson said Tosun could face Arsenal on Saturday.

He said: "He is in contention to be in tomorrow's squad. I'm very grateful for Everton to allow this to be done in time. It's important as we still have eight players missing.

"Cenk has been heavily scouted by the club. We're very pleased to have him with us and know the qualities he can bring to the squad."

Born in Germany, Tosun came through the youth ranks at Eintracht Frankfurt before enjoying spells in Turkey with Gaziantepspor and Besiktas.

The Toffees forked out a reported £20million for his signature two years ago.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested he is yet to discuss Inter's reported interest in Ashley Young with his captain and does not expect much transfer activity at Old Trafford this month.

Inter are said to have agreed a deal to sign Young when his contract expires at the end of the season, with the Red Devils apparently reluctant to sanction a sale during the January transfer window due to a mounting injury list.

It is claimed United have offered the 34-year-old a new contract, but Solskjaer was giving little away when addressing the media ahead of Saturday's visit of Norwich City.

"He's one of our players," Solskjaer told reporters on Friday when asked for an update on Young's future. "He's our captain.

"There's loads of speculation and we've just got to handle it - we're getting used to that in the club - and Ashley's been very professional and focused, so I don't think that's going to change.

"That [Young's future] is a discussion that me and Ash will have if something comes up. We haven't got too many players fit and ready, so we need the ones we have.

"Ashley's been very, very good for this club, he's been a very good captain this season, so let's see where we are in June and see where we are in February as well."

United's injury problems in midfield have resulted in talk over potential new arrivals.

One of those linked with a switch, despite having recently signed a new contract, is Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes, though Solskjaer says United will not be very busy this month.

"We go back to speculations," he said when asked about Fernandes. "We do go and watch games all the time, but where I've been is irrelevant, that’s another player in a different club I can't speak about.

"We've still got the same thoughts we had a month ago, got the players we have, working with the ones we have and if something happens we'll tell you.

"I can't say yes or no, but wouldn't expect many ins and outs, no."

Marco Reus lavished praise on his new Borussia Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland, convinced the club has not had a player like him since Robert Lewandowski.

Dortmund reportedly saw off competition from a host of major European clubs to land the young Norwegian striker, who joined at the start of this month after his move was confirmed in December.

Haaland emerged as one of Europe's most sought-after players after starring for Salzburg, scoring 28 goals in 22 matches this season.

Manchester United, Juventus and RB Leipzig were among the clubs said to be interested in the 19-year-old before BVB reported paid a relatively modest fee of €20million.

Reus says the teenager must be given time to settle in, but is adamant he has not seen a forward of Haaland's ilk at the club since Lewandowski left for Bayern Munich in 2014.

"He's very open-minded and it's important to get to know everyone first - a training camp like this is ideal," Reus told Sky Deutschland during Dortmund's mid-season break in Marbella.

"Now it's about getting really fit, arriving properly. It will take time, we'll give it to him. He just gives us another input, another way we can play.

"I don't think we have had this type of player since Lewy [Lewandowski]. He gives us the opportunity to be more flexible and able to react to different scores.

"It makes us feel good. Now he has to get well and get to know everyone properly - we have to, too. We have to go with him and his strengths, but that will all happen over time.

"Paco [Alcacer] really boomed at the beginning, then he was injured longer. Then the coach decided differently.

"As I said, Haaland gives us many opportunities to play football, but ultimately the coach has to decide who will be used.

"For me and other players, we have new options with Haaland, sometimes long balls. In football it's important to be flexible and we have achieved that.

"We have now got a very good striker and with it new options, so we're well positioned."

A common criticism of Dortmund in recent years has been the perceived lack of bite in the team, that they are too nice – but Reus does not agree, insisting having "an absolute b*****d" in the team is not necessary.

"No, I don't think so," he said when asked if Dortmund were missing a "dirtbag" player. "We had the discussion last year, too.

"The squad is put together in the way that the responsible persons had imagined it, how the coach imagined it. We have enough quality in the squad.

"We don't need someone who's an absolute b*****d. We'll solve it our way, even if it's not always right.

"So, we don't have to worry about it. We'll have to improve our games, we know that, but we don't necessarily need a 'dirtbag' for that."

Tottenham appear close to landing a replacement for Harry Kane, while Thomas Lemar could also be set for the Premier League.

Kane needs surgery on his left hamstring and is not expected to return to training for Spurs until April.

It seems the Premier League club are nearing a move for Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek, although there are contrasting reports over the status of the deal.

And, Atletico Madrid midfielder Lemar could also be heading to London.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS CLOSE TO LANDING PIATEK AS KANE REPLACEMENT

Tottenham have agreed a deal worth £28million (€32.95m) for Piatek, according to The Sun.

However, the Mirror reports Spurs have had a loan bid for the 24-year-old Poland international rejected, although talks are continuing.

After netting 11 times in 21 games for Milan last season following a January move from Genoa, Piatek has four goals in 18 this campaign.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea and Tottenham are both trying to sign Atletico's Lemar on loan until the end of the season, according to The Telegraph. Lemar is linked with an Atletico exit after just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- While Christian Eriksen's possible Spurs exit will dominate headlines this month, it appears the midfielder will not be heading to Old Trafford. Sky Sports reports Manchester United have ruled out making a bid for the Denmark international this month.

- Searching for a right-back, Tottenham are keen on signing Barcelona's Nelson Semedo, according to the Mirror. The position has been a problem for Spurs since Kieran Trippier's off-season move to Atletico.

- Javier Hernandez's stay at Sevilla could be coming to an end. Marca reports the club could let the forward, who has one goal in nine LaLiga games this season, leave amid apparent interest from LA Galaxy.

- Leicester City are trying to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, according to the Mirror. Manchester City and Everton are also reportedly interested in the Turkey international.

- Piatek aside, there may be other moves at Milan. La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira says Roma are interested in Suso and Cengiz Under could be heading to San Siro, while Milan are still eyeing Inter's Matteo Politano.

- Could David Moyes and Marouane Fellaini reunite for a third time? Sky Sports reports Moyes' West Ham are interested in signing the Shandong Luneng midfielder, who played under the Scot at Everton and Manchester United.

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