With Neymar's future far from certain, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning for life without the star forward.

Neymar appears to covet a Barcelona reunion, after leaving the LaLiga champions two years ago.

Should Neymar's wish be granted, an African sensation lighting up Anfield is said to be on the agenda.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR OUT, MANE IN

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want Liverpool star Sadio Mane to replace Neymar, report France Football and Mundo Deportivo.

PSG star Neymar wanted to leave Paris during the previous transfer window, but a proposed return to Barcelona did not materialise.

Doubts remain over Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a €222million transfer in 2017 – and the French powerhouse are said to have identified Mane should the Brazilian depart the capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Napoli have agreed a deal for former Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso to replace head coach Carlo Ancelotti. It comes with Ancelotti on the brink amid a nine-match winless streak ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League clash against Genk.

Manchester City are set to rival Chelsea for Bournemouth's Nathan Ake, says Sky Sports. Chelsea want to bring Ake back to Stamford Bridge following his exit in 2017. However, Premier League champions City are reportedly interested amid their defensive woes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been offered an 18-month contract by Napoli, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The 38-year-old is a free agent after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy and he has been linked to Milan and Inter.

- Sport claims Inter want to sign either Ivan Rakitic or Arturo Vidal from Barcelona in January. Antonio Conte is determined to bolster his squad as Inter challenge for Scudetto honours and juggle Champions League commitments. Rakitic has also been linked to Serie A holders Juventus.

Everton hope to have Vitor Pereira installed as manager for Sunday's Premier League fixture at Manchester United, according to Sky Sports. After sacking Marco Silva, the Toffees are ready to offer the Shanghai SIPG coach a three-year deal. It comes as Sky Sports also reports former Arsenal boss Unai Emery was approached about the Everton job.

- The Mirror says Manchester United are ready to show their faith in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by backing him in moves for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez and Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland. The spotlight was on Solskjaer following a poor run of form and Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham exit. However, the Norwegian has overseen consecutive victories over Tottenham and Manchester City.

Bayern Munich and Manchester City are monitoring the progress of Rangers teenager Kai Kennedy, says the Daily Record.

Ander Herrera was one of 36 players cleared of sporting corruption by a Spanish court on Monday.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Herrera, along with Leganes coach Javier Aguirre and ex-Atletico Madrid captain Gabi, were investigated on suspicion of match-fixing in relation to a LaLiga meeting between Levante and Real Zaragoza in the 2010-11 campaign.

Zaragoza won the match to keep their place in the top flight, though they were then accused of paying Levante players €965,000 to lose the game.

However, all 41 people who stood trial have been cleared of the charges, with a Valencian court citing a lack of evidence, though two former Zaragoza officials were convicted of fraud.

Ex-president Agapito Iglesias and former financial director Javier Porquera were found guilty of using over €1.7million from Zaragoza's accounts to pay relegation bonuses.

The pair were each handed a 15-month prison sentence, though they are unlikely to serve time in jail due to Spain's rules over suspended sentences for first-time offenders.

Neymar has revealed Paris Saint-Germain's staff predicted he would score a free-kick against Montpellier on Saturday, with the Brazil international's set-piece goal helping to spark a come-from-behind win.

PSG were trailing to Leandro Paredes' own goal when Neymar won a set-piece 25 yards out in the final 20 minutes having been fouled by Pedro Mendes, who was sent off for picking up a second booking.

Brazil international Neymar stepped up and dispatched a brilliant strike into the top-right corner of the net to equalise, with Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi then on target in a 3-1 victory.

Neymar later revealed PSG's staff felt he would score a free-kick in the game, which helped imbue him with the confidence as he stood over the ball.

"It was a very tough match but our second half was better," he told PSG TV.

"It's an important victory for the team. Before the match I talked with the staff and we all felt that I will score a goal on a free-kick.

"I had confidence, so I try. It's a great goal to help the team to win."

Lets bora my bro @KMbappe pic.twitter.com/bWNDWfDzW7

— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) December 7, 2019

Neymar's compatriot and PSG captain Thiago Silva was able to celebrate his 300th appearance for the club with a victory.

"It's historical for me," the 35-year-old said.

"I never thought about playing such a long time with Paris Saint-Germain.

"I'm very happy and honoured but we have to continue, we have many matches to come.

"I hope I could play a lot more matches with Paris."

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar should show more respect according to Montpellier's Andy Delort, who criticised the forward's attitude.

Neymar scored a stunning free-kick as Ligue 1 champions PSG came from behind to beat 10-man Montpellier 3-1 on Saturday.

Montpellier forward Delort, however, was not impressed with Brazil international Neymar – the world's most expensive player.

After a post-match altercation with Neymar, Algerian Delort told Canal+: "Neymar is a great player, it is a shame that at the end, he goads everyone, that is what I said to him.

"That is not respect, but we must not have been brought up the same way. He is a little erratic, a little haughty with everyone.

"I said to him that he should respect people. When the entire world idolises you, you should show respect, good manners.

"His attitude has been well-documented since he has been in France… He goaded, spoke a fair bit, like normal."

Neymar – who eyed a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona during the previous transfer window after leaving Camp Nou in a €222million deal in 2017 – has scored six goals this season.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel believes star duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are starting to excel alongside one another on the field again.

PSG secured a 3-1 win over Montpellier on Saturday, with Brazil's Neymar and France's Mbappe each on target as they combined effectively for the Ligue 1 champions.

Both players have suffered with injury problems this season, restricting their playing time together, but Tuchel sees the pair getting back on track.

"It's not easy for them both," Tuchel told Canal+. "They have both been away and are only now starting to really play together this season. 

"It was hard for Kylian to play long minutes, while Neymar, who has more experience, responded very well in this difficult atmosphere. In the end, they made us win the match, right?"

Neymar's goal was a stunning free-kick, and the former Barcelona man revealed he had expected to find the net from a dead-ball opportunity.

"Before the match, I was told that I was going to score on a free-kick," Neymar said. "So I'm happy to have scored this nice goal, which was important for the team.

"It was a very complicated match. We had a good second half which allowed us to go for an important victory."

 

Victory strengthened PSG's grip on top spot in Ligue 1, moving eight points clear of second-placed Marseille ahead of their game against Bordeaux on Sunday.

Tuchel praised his players for handling an intimidating home support and difficult playing surface at Montpellier.

He added: "It was a great victory, a good game. It's really hard to win here on a horrible pitch in a very hostile atmosphere.

"They put in a lot of intensity, but we responded by showing quality. We also put in intensity for 90 minutes, and it was necessary because, at the end, it became difficult for them to run.

"We gave the answer with our quality and mentality. We remained calm. It was an extraordinary match, a great victory deserved, and congratulations to my team."

Neymar inspired a late Paris Saint-Germain comeback as the Ligue 1 leaders came from behind to defeat 10-man Montpellier 3-1 on Saturday.

PSG had lost on two of their previous three league trips to Stade de la Mosson, drawing the other, and looked set for another difficult outing following a poor first half that saw them lose two starters to injury prior to Leandro Paredes' own goal.

Montpellier beat PSG in April with a late turnaround but this time it was the visitors' turn to turn the tables in dramatic fashion.

Neymar won a set-piece that saw Pedro Mendes sent off and then sent the resulting 25-yard free-kick into the top-right corner with 16 minutes remaining.

Two minutes later, he set up Kylian Mbappe to finish impressively shortly before Mauro Icardi wrapped up the points to move PSG eight points clear of Marseille at the top.

There was an ugly end to the game, though, as PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas appeared to be hit by a bottle thrown from a section of the home supporters.

Paris Saint-Germain have hit out at "immature" criticism of Marquinhos after they allowed him to miss Saturday's match at Montpellier for the birth of his second child.

A discussion on programme L'Equipe du Soir involving host Olivier Menard and former Auxerre boss Guy Roux questioned why the Brazil international should miss the Ligue 1 game.

In one exchange, Roux, 81, said: "Are the men giving birth now? Is there is no doctor in Paris for this lady to give birth?"

Marquinhos, meanwhile, posted on social media to confirm Enrico had been born on Friday, describing his birth as a "blessing" while calling his wife Carol Cabrino "a warrior".

L'Equipe du Soir issued an apology on Saturday on behalf of Menard and his panellists, some of whom had laughed and joined in with the discussion, adding their congratulations to the player.

But that did not stop PSG from making clear their displeasure with the situation.

"His wife was in the hospital for two days waiting to give birth, the club decided that Marqui stays with her," PSG's statement on Saturday read.

"The club also conveys all its congratulations and wishes of happiness to Marqui and his wife, who gave birth yesterday afternoon to their second child.

"It is with dismay that we heard the immature and hurtful remarks made yesterday in L'Equipe du Soir. 

"Coming from people who give us year-round lessons on the values of sport and life, we are surprised by the mediocrity of these remarks."

PSG added: "Very happy for you Marquinhos, as well as for the mother. Enjoy this new moment of happiness with your family."

Marquinhos, 25, also has a two-year-old daughter named Maria.

He has played in 13 of PSG's 15 league games this season, including Wednesday's 2-0 home win over Nantes.

Arsenal appear to be spiralling into a deeper mess as the days pass.

Just over a week on from sacking Unai Emery, the Gunners now reportedly have doubts over how long Freddie Ljungberg should be left in charge.

Misjudging the situation could have serious ramifications for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future.

 

TOP STORY – DOUBTS EMERGE OVER LJUNGBERG

Arsenal fear interim boss Ljungberg's lack of managerial experience will force them to make a full-time appointment before the end of the season, reports The Mirror.

Gunners chiefs seemed set to back the Swede when Emery was moved aside but a draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and the 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek have cast doubt over his capabilities.

Action could be taken sooner rather than later as the club mull over a list of potential targets, particularly as there are "growing concerns" about star striker Aubameyang .

The 30-year-old has reportedly stalled on contract talks and the lack of clarity over the head coaching position could end with Arsenal being forced to sell one of their strongest assets.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in their sights after their transfer ban was reduced on Friday, reports The Athletic.

- Juventus are considering a move for either Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic or Leandro Paredes of Paris Saint-Germain, claims Corriere Torino.

- Inter's interest in Arturo Vidal could aid Barca's bid to sign Lautaro Martinez from the Serie A side, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Steven Gerrard is on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Rangers that will see him remain as manager until 2024, says The Sun.

- Two Eredivisie stars could be headed for Portugal, reports A Bola. Belgian forward Cyriel Dessers of Heracles Almelo and exciting AZ prospect Myron Boadu are said to be in the sights of Primeira Liga heavyweights Sporting CP .

Thomas Tuchel concedes Paris Saint-Germain are not performing as he would hope and are lacking confidence, while he believes Marco Verratti's absence does not help.

PSG are five points clear of nearest challengers Marseille at the top of Ligue 1, with a game in hand, and they are through to the last 16 of the Champions League as Group A winners ahead of Real Madrid.

But Tuchel has not been enthused by his side's recent performances, even with comfortable 2-0 wins over Lille and Nantes sandwiching a gripping draw at Madrid.

Star midfielder Verratti played 90 minutes against Madrid on November 26 on his return from a knee injury, but he missed Wednesday's victory over Nantes with a thigh issue and will not feature again at Montpellier on Saturday.

Ander Herrera is out, too, with Idrissa Gueye also a doubt in a further blow to Tuchel's options in the centre of the pitch.

Tuchel said of Verratti's absence: "Of course, it changes things. He gives quality and personality to the team, he always gives 100 per cent, he has a lot of influence, and he's always a positive guy.

"It is clear we are missing him, but we must be careful with him. He played 90 very hard minutes against Madrid, but we expect him in the team against Galatasaray."

Tuchel preferred not to go into detail on the reasons for PSG's struggles, although he claimed their performances in training prove the quality is there.

"It's like this: we are in a phase where we are not playing our best football," he acknowledged.

"We want to talk about performances, not just results. It is up to us to analyse and we must admit that we are in a phase where everything is not easy.

"There are reasons, but I do not want to talk too much. This is something that has lasted for several weeks. We have ideas, and I said honestly [after Nantes] that we were not satisfied with the performances.

"But I remain totally positive and it is good that we play again tomorrow."

He added: "I am convinced that there is not just one reason. And why am I positive? Because I see my team every day in training.

"It's a little weird because we show a lot of quality and intensity during training. We have had 20 to 23 players for two or three weeks in training.

"We have gained intensity during the sessions but cannot necessarily show it during the matches. It's a little weird.

"The team has a good state of mind every day. Yesterday again, they were extraordinary. The guys who did not play a lot were great. The guys are disappointed they did not play but they give everything, they are together.

"We have to show it during the matches, but we must not force it. We may be lacking a little bit of confidence, but we do not lack quality."

Bayern Munich interim head coach Hansi Flick has suggested Thomas Tuchel's football philosophy would fit the Bundesliga club.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel has been among those linked with the Bayern job following the dismissal of Niko Kovac at the start of November.

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and previous Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri have all been mentioned as candidates for the position.

Tuchel, who was in charge of Borussia Dortmund between 2015 and 2017, is under contract with PSG until 2021.

"All the names linked with Bayern are great coaches," Flick said at a news conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.

"Thomas is one of the great German coaches. The way he wants his team to play and approach football is good.

"My private connection with him will stay private. I am just concentrating on this job right now."

Flick was coy when asked whether he envisaged working in a coaching set-up at Bayern with Tuchel.

"I have said so many times I can imagine many different situations," he added.

"It doesn't change the agreement I have. We are waiting to see what happens.

"We have a couple of games in 2019 and after the last game against Wolfsburg see what happens."

Flick has largely got Bayern back on track, leading them to four straight victories before last weekend's surprise 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.

The 54-year-old revealed the club's players are eager to make amends for that result when they face Bundesliga leaders Gladbach.

"They were angry after the Leverkusen game because we had so many chances but lost 2-1," Flick said.

"It's the quality of the team to keep pushing. We have confidence despite the defeat that we can beat any opponent.

"Bayern Munich wants to be a champion every year, and the squad has that quality. But there are more teams this year that have tremendous quality, which makes the league exciting."

Flick claimed his players have nothing to fear about facing Gladbach, who are four points above them at the top of the table.

"Gladbach are in the lead, we are fourth, but we are traveling with confidence," Flick said.

"The way they interpret football may be different than last year, but they've been playing good football too. They're attacking very dynamically and with a lot of speed.

"But the game against Leverkusen has shown that we are on the right track, we created a lot of chances, we showed good football and we've worked on some other things this week in training."

Chelsea are seemingly eager to sign Jadon Sancho, but they may have to wait until the end of the season.

The Borussia Dortmund star, 19, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club, with numerous Premier League sides reportedly interested.

And Chelsea could be ready to spend big to land the England international.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA READY TO BREAK TRANSFER RECORD FOR SANCHO

Chelsea are prepared to break their transfer record to land Sancho, according to Goal.com.

Sancho has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City after impressing at Dortmund.

Chelsea broke their own transfer record last year, when they paid Athletic Bilbao a reported £71.6million (€80m) for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Premier League club are appealing their transfer ban, at this stage unable to buy players in January.

That may not be such a problem when it comes to Sancho, though, with Sport Bild reporting the attacker may not want a January move.

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is struggling for game time at Paris Saint-Germain and the 32-year-old forward could be set for a move. AS reports the Uruguay international likes the idea of a switch to Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at the Wanda Metropolitano and Athletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 22, will join Atletico in a €30m transfer next year, according to Marca.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears safe for now at Manchester United, but The Sun reports the Premier League club could turn to England manager Gareth Southgate if they decide to make a change at the end of the season.

- Carlo Ancelotti remains under pressure at Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will wait until the Champions League clash against Genk on December 10 before considering a change. Napoli are winless in eight matches and sit seventh in Serie A.

- Metz and France youth international defender Lenny Lacroix, 16, is attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- With Everton in the Premier League relegation zone after their Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool, Marco Silva could be sacked. The Sun reports Silva said goodbye to his Everton players after the loss at Anfield.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane deserved to at least finish in the top three for the Ballon d'Or, according to Senegal team-mate Idrissa Gueye.

As Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, Mane finished fourth behind the Barcelona forward, Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Paris Saint-Germain and Senegal midfielder Gueye believes Mane deserved more after his stellar year.

"He deserved to be on the podium," Gueye said after PSG's 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Nantes on Wednesday.

"For me, he deserved the Ballon d'Or or at least the podium. Unfortunately, he is fourth and that's a shame. I feel sad for him.

"It is a source of pride for all of Senegal. With what he did last season, he really deserved better."

Mane again showed his class for Liverpool on Wednesday, scoring once and providing two assists in a 5-2 Merseyside derby win over Everton at Anfield.

The 27-year-old has scored 13 goals and provided four assists in 21 games in all competitions this season.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said he is saddened by Edinson Cavani's situation as the out-of-favour forward struggles for game time.

Cavani – out of contract at the end of the season – came off the bench in PSG's 2-0 Ligue 1 victory against Nantes on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old, who has been linked to MLS outfit LA Galaxy, David Beckham's Inter Miami, Serie A champions Juventus and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, was an 87th-minute substitute in Paris midweek.

Cavani has only started four Ligue 1 fixtures this season and five across all competitions in 2019-20.

Asked about the Uruguay international, Tuchel told reporters: "I spoke with him. We both know it's very difficult for him. It's not only a difficult decision for me, it's also sad.

"We played a lot of games with three strikers including one number nine. Cavani was injured at the beginning of the season, it's not his fault. Mauro [Icardi] played very well during that period, he scored a lot.

"If we play in 4-3-3, we have three extraordinary players for a position in front [as number nine], Kylian [Mbappe], Mauro and him. I'm sad because I don't have a solution [to include him in the line-up] right now.

"He doesn't deserve that, he's very professional, in a good state of mind in the locker room, he gives a good energy to the team. But right now I don't have much playing time to give him."

Cavani, who arrived from Napoli in 2013-14, has scored twice for Tuchel's French champions this term.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said he could not explain his side's laboured performance in their 2-0 win against Nantes, admitting he noticed a lack of confidence among his players.

Kylian Mbappe scored after 52 minutes to give the Ligue 1 champions the lead at Parc des Princes and Neymar converted an 85th-minute penalty to make sure of the result, but Nantes missed numerous opportunities to get back on level terms.

PSG had Keylor Navas to thank for a string of fine saves on Wednesday that ensured the league leaders extended the gap at the top of Ligue 1 to five points over second-placed Marseille.

However, Tuchel was asked afterwards to explain why PSG's performance was not more convincing midweek.

"I do not know," he told Canal Plus. "It's a good question.

"I am convinced that we have desire but it is hard. It was hard today and we feel like it's hard for us for a few games now. My team has desire but it's hard for us.

"We lost four balls in the first four minutes - easy balls! This is not possible if you want to control a match, play offensively and be the team that has possession."

Boasting a five-point cushion over Marseille and a game in hand, PSG travel to Montpellier on Saturday with no reason to panic about the state of their title campaign.

But Tuchel, who must prepare his players for the visit of Galatasaray in the Champions League on December 11, said he would analyse the performance against Nantes to ascertain why performance levels have dipped.

He said: "We show desire but we lose confidence. We make bad decisions right now, we do not play free.

"I do not know, maybe it's not the only reason, but I'll watch the game again tomorrow [Thursday]."

Leon Goretzka praised Hansi Flick following reports Bayern Munich are looking to unite him with Thomas Tuchel in a new coaching team.

German publication Bild suggested interim boss Flick could be kept on as an assistant at Allianz Arena if the Bundesliga side succeed in prising Tuchel from Paris Saint-Germain.

Flick took charge in a caretaker capacity following Niko Kovac's departure in November and has overseen four wins and a defeat in all competitions.

Chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reaffirmed his support for the 54-year-old following the weekend loss to Bayer Leverkusen, a result midfielder Goretzka insisted was not Flick's fault.

"He told us what we did well and what we did badly," the Germany international told news portal T-Online.

"We knew how we wanted to defend the counter-attack, but in the moment we did not do it well. But that will be different in the next games."

Goretzka added: "He's doing a very good job.

"The coach question is not for me to decide, that's what others do. But he definitely recommended himself [through Bayern's results] in the last few weeks."

Goretzka made his second Bundesliga start of the season in the Leverkusen encounter and will hope for further opportunities to press his case for Euro 2020 selection with Germany.

Joachim Low's men have been dealt a tough draw for the tournament, with holders Portugal and World Cup winners France joining them in Group F.

"What is difficult for me to understand is how such a group can come about," Goretzka said.

"I don't think we will go in as favourites, as we would normally expect at a European Championship.

"Nevertheless, we always have the claim to progress. I do not see any problem either. They are big challenges.

"We will try to spark euphoria in the country with the fans behind us and then continue on our way."

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