Is a blockbuster swap deal on the horizon?

Paul Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United, and Juventus are believed to be keen on re-signing the Frenchman.

Juve's Paulo Dybala could be used as a makeweight to prise Pogba back to Turin, where he played between 2012 and 2016.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA OUT, POGBA IN AT JUVE?

Juventus want to swap Paulo Dybala for wantaway Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to Tuttomercatoweb journalist Tancredi Palmeri.

Pogba appears set to leave United after his agent stated the star midfielder's time at Old Trafford was "over" prior to Tuesday's Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig.

The World Cup-winning France international has been heavily linked with a return to Juve, while LaLiga champions Real Madrid are long-term admirers.

But Juve – looking to re-sign Pogba without paying a transfer fee in January – hope to tempt United with attacker Dybala, who has also been linked to Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

 

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- Diario AS claims Madrid are set to choose between Pogba and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane prefers Pogba, while president Florentino Perez would rather Camavinga move to the Santiago Bernabeu due to the difference in salary demands. United and PSG are also believed to be eyeing Camavinga.

Juventus, Milan and Atletico Madrid are looking to sign Lazio's Joaquin Correa, reports Calciomercato. It will reportedly take between €50m-€55million to prise Correa away from the Italian capital.

- According to Calciomercato, Serie A duo Milan and Juve are battling Barcelona to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

Paulo Dybala could be set to leave Juventus – and the playmaker is eyeing the Premier League's big six.

Dybala is out of contract with the Serie A champions in 2022 but has reportedly been close to signing a new deal.

However, the Premier League could be awaiting the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA OFFERED TO PREMIER LEAGUE'S BIG SIX

Dybala's representatives have reached out to the big six in the Premier League ahead of a possible move from Juventus next year, according to 90min.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal may be looking at the playmaker.

Dybala has made 10 appearances in all competitions for Juve this season, scoring once.

 

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- Struggling in the Premier League, Arsenal could be making moves in January. The Daily Express reports the Premier League club could make a bid for Salzburg midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai in January due to Real Madrid's apparent interest in the Hungary international.

- United are monitoring Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier, according to The Telegraph.

- Premier League giants could be set for another transfer battle. Liverpool, United and Chelsea are keeping an eye on Cagliari defender Sebastian Walukiewicz, who recently re-signed until 2024, claims Corriere dello Sport.

- Krzysztof Piatek may return to Serie A. TodoFichajes reports Fiorentina want the Hertha Berlin striker, who has scored seven goals in 25 Bundesliga games for the club since joining from Milan in January.

- Travian Sousa is seemingly attracting interest. 90min reports United and Liverpool are interested in the American left-back, who left Hamburg in October.

A new deal for Bruno Fernandes already?

Manchester United brought Fernandes to Old Trafford in January, and he has taken the Premier League by storm.

With reported interest from Spain, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side want to reward Fernandes.

 

TOP STORY – FERNANDES SET FOR NEW DEAL

Manchester United are set to offer Bruno Fernandes a new bumper deal to fend off interest from Barcelona and LaLiga champions Real Madrid, according to the Mirror.

Fernandes has been a revelation since joining United from Portuguese giants Sporting CP in January – the star midfielder has been directly involved in 36 goals in 38 games across all competitions, five more than any other Premier league player in this period.

With Fernandes dominating, United are prepared to double the Portugal international's wages at Old Trafford.

 

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- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Manchester City could sign both Lionel Messi and Neymar. Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar wants to reunite with Messi, while the Barcelona superstar is unhappy at Camp Nou. PSG have also been linked to Messi and any move would impact the future of Kylian Mbappe, who is reportedly wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- Calciomercato claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will cost Juventus around €15million. Alaba is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea and City.

Milan are chasing Hellas Verona centre-back Matteo Lovato, says Calciomercato. Inter and Juve have also been credited with interest in the 20-year-old.

Frank Lampard does not care whether the 'spygate' saga changed Marcelo Bielsa as the Chelsea and Leeds United bosses prepare to revive their rivalry.

Almost two years have passed since Bielsa sent a Leeds employee to covertly watch Derby County – then managed by Lampard – in training.

That person was caught outside the Rams' training ground, and Leeds were fined £200,000 by the English Football League in February 2019.

Bielsa, who said it had not been an isolated incident, later declared he paid the penalty personally.

The Argentinian said this week that he had learned from that incident, in terms of what was not acceptable in the English game.

His Leeds side went on to be eliminated by Derby in the 2018-19 Championship play-off semi-finals, with a 1-0 away victory for Bielsa's team following by a crushing 4-2 home defeat to Lampard's men.

Now Bielsa and Lampard will meet again, as Leeds travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Speaking in a news conference on Friday, Lampard said: "I'm absolutely not concerned about what lesson he’s learned or not.

"I'm not going to hang on it with this game. It's long gone. I respect him and I respect Leeds. I'm mainly concerned with us being right to try to win the match."

The Chelsea boss stressed: "It's in the past. It was a great news story, it had a lot to it, and it's gone.

"I look at him and how well he did. He brought Leeds up the year after, they were one of the strongest teams, probably the strongest team in the Championship, almost, the year that we played against them at Derby.

"So it was a very proud moment for us – for myself actually – to go against him and win that game, but it's a game long gone now.

"I go up against him with a team in great form. I just see the football side now."

Chelsea sit third in the Premier League after 10 rounds of matches and are unbeaten in eight, with Leeds 12th but catching the eye with a string of energetic performances.

The omens may not be great for Leeds, given Chelsea have only ever lost three times in home games against promoted teams during the Premier League era – to Nottingham Forest in January 1995, against Charlton in April 2001 and in a clash with Bournemouth in December 2015.

They have an 82 per cent win rate – 68 wins from 83 games – against such sides at home, and Lampard has an inside line of sorts on two of Leeds' best attackers, having played with Jack Harrison at New York City FC and had Patrick Bamford as a colleague at Chelsea.

Bamford, who could not make a first-team breakthrough at Chelsea, will fancy the occasion, given his form away from home with Leeds this season.

Only Son Heung-min and Jamie Vardy have scored more away Premier League goals than Bamford this season, with six of his seven strikes coming on the road.

"I like Patrick as a lad, he's playing very well and I'm really happy for him," Lampard said.

Asked about Harrison, Lampard said: "Jack is a million miles from the player he was in New York.

"I hope that doesn't sound negative in any way because he was a real developing player at that point.

"He's an absolutely lovely lad, I've got so much time for him and I keep in touch with him. I actually spoke to him the other day."

Neymar has sparked speculation over Lionel Messi's future.

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar enjoyed a successful period alongside Messi at Barcelona before leaving in a world-record deal in 2017.

Now, Neymar wants to team up with Messi again.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, MESSI IN?

Paris Saint-Germain will have to sell Kylian Mbappe if they sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Diario AS.

Messi has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 champions PSG after former Barca forward Neymar expressed his desire to reunite with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

If Manchester City target Messi arrives in the French capital, it could send Mbappe closer to LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

 

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- Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has not ruled leaving the Spanish giants, reports El Transistor. Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with PSG, Juventus, Milan and Manchester United.

Mauricio Pochettino has been contacted by Madrid to replace under-fire head coach Zinedine Zidane, claims Sport. Pochettino, who has been out of work since he was sacked as Tottenham boss last year, has also been linked to United.

- Diario AS says Atletico Madrid are lining up a January bid for Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik. The Poland international has been frozen out since making it clear he will not re-sign with the Serie A side. Tottenham, Everton and Roma have also emerged as possible destinations.

Romelu Lukaku is on Pep Guardiola's shortlist of forwards at City but Inter insist the Belgian star is non-transferable, according to Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea's plan to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice rests on the success of off-season recruit Ben Chilwell.

Is Zinedine Zidane's second spell in charge of Real Madrid coming to an end?

Zidane guided Madrid to three successive Champions League titles in his first stint, and last season's LaLiga crown after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2019.

But the Los Blancos great is under mounting pressure amid the club's struggles this season.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE IN DANGER

Mauricio Pochettino and Raul are waiting in the wings to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Madrid head coach Zidane is in danger of losing his job following Tuesday's Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Los Blancos have suffered back-to-back defeats and three in their past five outings across all competitions to be seven points adrift in LaLiga and on the cusp of Champions League elimination.

Thursday's Mundo Deportivo, Diario AS and Sport report former Tottenham boss Pochettino and Madrid Castilla coach Raul are eyeing the hot seat.

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- Calciomercato claims the race to sign Rennes and France sensation Eduardo Camavinga is down to Madrid and Manchester United. Serie A champions Juventus had also been linked, though there has been talk of Paul Pogba returning to Turin after leaving for Old Trafford in 2016.

- Bayern Munich star David Alaba is hoping to strike a January agreement with Chelsea, according to Fabrizio Romano's 'Here We Go Podcast'. Alaba is a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus have shown an interest in Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti, according to Calciomercato. Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic are also on the shortlist.

Madrid are eyeing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, reports Calciomercato. The Uruguay international has also caught the attention of LaLiga rivals Barca.

- What does the future hold for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? Heavily linked to United, Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and even Barca, Calciomercato says Juve are monitoring the Norwegian closely.

Real Madrid's dream of signing Kylian Mbappe may have to wait.

Mbappe, 21, has regularly been linked with LaLiga's champions after starring for Paris Saint-Germain.

But the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are seemingly set to hurt Madrid's chances of landing the star.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CAN'T AFFORD MBAPPE NEXT YEAR

Madrid cannot afford a deal to sign PSG star Mbappe next year, according to Le Parisien.

It comes with finances of clubs around the world hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mbappe, who is contracted until 2022, has scored nine goals in 11 games in all competitions this season.

 

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- Out of contract at the end of the season, David Alaba looks set to leave Bayern Munich. AS reports Chelsea believe they will be in pole position to sign the defender with their offer.

- Linked with a move to Manchester United, Hakan Calhanoglu could yet stay at Milan. CalcioMercato reports Milan remain hopeful of re-signing the midfielder, whose contract expires at season's end, and a decisive meeting between the parties is nearing.

- Barcelona want to sign a centre-back in January and Manchester City defender Eric Garcia remains a target, according to Mundo Deportivo. The report says Barca also have experienced targets if City do not want to sell Garcia.

- Staying at Barcelona and Sport reports the Catalan giants are interested in Hoffenheim defender Melayro Bogarde, whose uncle Winston played for the club from 1998 to 2000.

- Manchester City are reportedly close to landing a teenage attacker. Fabrizio Romano says the Premier League side are in advanced negotiations to sign Dario Sarmiento, 17, from Argentine club Estudiantes after an opening bid of £17million (€19m).

Chelsea and Tottenham failed to fully capitalise on Liverpool's slip-up as Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho oversaw a tightly contested 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.

With Liverpool pegged back by Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, Spurs could have moved two points clear of the Reds at the top of the Premier League. Chelsea – playing the 1,000th game of the Roman Abramovich era – were also vying for pole position.

Yet despite a bright start in Sunday's London derby, with Timo Werner having a goal disallowed, neither side could make the breakthrough in what was an encounter short of clear chances.

Looking to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since September 2019, Tammy Abraham missed three presentable opportunities as Chelsea had the better of the second half, with Olivier Giroud also fluffing his lines late on as the points were shared.

Hakim Ziyech sent a half-volley into Hugo Lloris' gloves in the opening minutes, but Spurs showed their threat on the counter when Harry Kane slipped in Steven Bergwijn, who drilled over.

Chelsea mounted a swift break of their own two minutes later – Werner finishing in stunning fashion off the right-hand upright – but the offside flag spared Spurs.

Edouard Mendy then made a fine save from Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier, though that strike was the second of just two attempts on target in what became a cagey first half.

Chelsea got behind Spurs' line in the 48th minute, with Reece James aiming a brilliant cross towards Abraham, who failed to make solid contact with his header.

Abraham missed a near-identical chance moments later, before he failed to tuck in from Werner's pinpoint delivery.

Mason Mount saw a long-range strike kept out with nine minutes to go, though Abraham's replacement Giroud had the best chance of the closing stages, only to lob a tame effort straight to French compatriot Lloris.

"Ridiculous" was a word used by Frank Lampard to sum up N'Golo Kante last week - and with good reason. 

The Chelsea midfielder is back fit, back in the side and more or less back to his best, having missed 16 Premier League matches last season. 

Kante's "quietly influential" form has helped Lampard's side to a strong start to the season that has left some to bill Sunday's derby clash with Tottenham as something of a title showdown – or at least a game that could well highlight which of the two has the best chance of dethroning Liverpool. 

A win for either side will move them top of the table after 10 games, but Kante's recent performances might just indicate Chelsea have the edge.

BACK WHERE HE BELONGS?

In 2018-19, Maurizio Sarri preferred Jorginho at the base of midfield, with Kante generally shifted to the right of a three. 

The system was hardly a failure: Chelsea returned to the Champions League, won the Europa League and only lost the EFL Cup final on penalties to Manchester City. Few, though, ever thought it brought the best out of Kante. 

Since taking charge last year, Lampard has shifted Kante back towards the middle and, as can be seen from his average touch maps, 2020-21 sees a full return for the France international as the midfield anchor.

N'Golo Kante's touch maps by season, from 2018-19 (L) to 2020-21. The shift from the right-hand side towards the base of midfield is clear.

He is averaging 82 touches per 90 minutes in the Premier League, the highest figure he has ever posted for Chelsea, five more than in his title-winning debut season in 2016-17. He is also averaging 67 passes per game, more than he ever has before for the club.

In other words, Kante is very much at the heart of Lampard's Chelsea.

He is also back to his exceptional defensive levels in 2020-21, averaging three interceptions per game – again the most in his Chelsea career – as well as three tackles, his highest figure under Lampard.

The caveat is his passes in the final third have dropped by an average of six per game compared to last season and by nine compared to 2018-19, but the creative talent at Lampard's disposal means the burden of attacking is no longer on Kante's shoulders.

HOJBJERG BATTLE AWAITS

If Chelsea's form is based in part on the performances of Kante, Tottenham's strong start to the season is very much built on the work of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Signed from Southampton for a reported £15million fee, the 25-year-old has established himself as Jose Mourinho's most important player behind the relentlessly brilliant Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Through nine rounds of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, Hojbjerg had managed more touches (809), attempted more passes (695) and completed more passes (619) than any other midfielder in the competition. He has also got stuck into 29 tackles, the third-highest number for midfielders this term and four more than Kante.

Hojbjerg might not be a player of the Kante mold, but the two have had remarkably similar influences on their teams. Each has one assist in nine league starts, their passing accuracy practically matches (88.5 per cent for Kante, 89.1 for Hojbjerg), and they have made exactly the same number of recoveries (64).

Effective as they are without the ball, so much of Chelsea and Spurs' good work with it also relies on these two.

Kante has started 139 open-play sequences this season, eclipsing Hojbjerg (111), but that is about as big a difference as you will find.

Of those sequences started by Kante, 13 have ended in a shot and two in a goal; for Hojbjerg, 11 have ended in a strike at goal and one has seen Spurs get on the scoresheet.

Indeed, in terms of involvements in open-play build-up, Kante has managed 423, only slightly up on Hojbjerg's 415. Of those tallies, each player has seen 31 of those involvements end in a shot; when it comes to resulting in a goal, Hojbjerg edges Kante eight to three.

On Sunday, the winner of the battle for midfield control between these two could well swing the match in his side's favour.

Arsenal are reportedly lining up a move for Isco in January, while Barcelona and Liverpool are also eyeing a defender.

Isco is seemingly getting close to a Real Madrid exit as he struggles for minutes with the LaLiga champions.

The playmaker's next move could see him in the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL WANT ISCO

Arsenal want to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco on loan in January before buying him ahead of 2021-22, according to Defensa Central.

Isco has been at Madrid since 2013, but is linked with a move as he seeks more game time.

Previously linked to Everton, Isco is wanted by Arsenal and the report says Mikel Arteta has already asked for the 28-year-old to be signed.

 

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- Facing injury problems in defence, Barcelona and Liverpool could be set to make signings in January. Sport reports former Valencia and Madrid defender Ezequiel Garay, a free agent, has been offered to both clubs.

- Impressing at Milan, Hakan Calhanoglu is out of contract at season's end. Sport Bild reports the midfielder is almost certain to join Manchester United ahead of next term.

- In red-hot form for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland's future continues to be a talking point. AS says the striker – who has scored 17 goals in 13 games this season – is considered a luxury item for Real Madrid, who will fight half of Europe to sign him. It says Haaland's value is growing and is already at €100million.

- Linked with Chelsea and Manchester City, Nicolas Tagliafico has agreed to extend his contract with Ajax until 2023, according to De Telegraaf. The report says the defender will finish the season with the Eredivisie giants and he can then pursue his dream of playing for a top club.

- Yet to make a Premier League start this season, Christian Benteke is out of contract at Crystal Palace at the end of the campaign. But the Evening Standard reports the striker has been offered a contract extension at Selhurst Park.

Jose Mourinho has many happy memories at Stamford Bridge, but very few of them have come from the visiting dugout.

The Tottenham coach takes his side to Chelsea on Sunday looking to preserve top spot in the Premier League against hosts who can themselves reach the summit with a win.

For Mourinho, it is also a return to his first club in English football.

The Portuguese won consecutive league titles with Chelsea following his arrival in 2004 and added a third after returning to the Blues in 2013.

However, since leaving the Bridge for the first time in 2007, Mourinho has won away at Chelsea only once.

That success came on his first trip back in 2010 when the idea of Mourinho ever enduring misery in SW6 seemed quite improbable.

Mourinho's Inter won 1-0 courtesy of Samuel Eto'o's goal to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals. The Nerazzurri had triumphed over Carlo Ancelotti's men in the home leg, too, and would claim the treble.

Yet those were Mourinho's only back-to-back victories against Chelsea and there have been just two subsequent wins in 10 attempts in all competitions - both in the Premier League at Old Trafford as Manchester United manager. Antonio Conte oversaw each reverse.

A third success did follow in September of this year but only courtesy of a penalty shoot-out as Chelsea were knocked out of the EFL Cup.

That was a third meeting with Frank Lampard, a star midfielder in Mourinho's first spell, and the master is yet to get the better of his apprentice outside of spot-kicks.

Indeed, Lampard did the double over Mourinho in the league last season.

Were the former England international to secure another victory this weekend, he would become the first Premier League coach to win three in a row against Mourinho in the competition. Chelsea would also become the first club to enjoy a trio of consecutive successes.

The Blues should not be lacking motivation this week, but the potential to make history against their former boss adds just a little more spice.


Mourinho's full record against Chelsea (Premier League unless stated):

Inter 2-1 Chelsea (Champions League) - 2010
Chelsea 0-1 Inter (Champions League) - 2010

Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United - 2016
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (FA Cup) - 2017
Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea - 2017
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United - 2017
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea - 2018
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (FA Cup final) - 2018
Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United - 2018
Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea - 2019
Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham - 2020
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea (EFL Cup, 5-4 pens) - 2020

Is Donny van de Beek already heading for an Old Trafford exit?

Van de Beek made the move from Ajax to Manchester United at the start of the season.

But he is reportedly wanted by Juventus in Italy.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DE BEEK WANTED IN TURIN

Juventus are plotting a move for Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to Calciomercato.

Van de Beek only swapped Eredivisie powerhouse Ajax for United at the start of the season, but he has struggled to cement a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's XI.

Serie A champions are reportedly trying to reunite Van de Beek with former Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt in Turin.

 

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- Corriere dello Sport report Liverpool have submitted a bid for Ajax centre-back Perr Schuurs. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are injured at Anfield.

Chelsea are eyeing a move for Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez ahead of a 2021 transfer, says the Here We Go Podcast.

- TodoFichajes claims Marseille star Florian Thauvin has agreed to join Milan on a free transfer.

United have joined Premier League champions Liverpool in the race for Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, according to La Razon. The 21-year-old has also impressed Chelsea.

- Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu wants to join United, reports Bild journalist Christian Falk. The Turkey international is out of contract at the end of the season. Juve, Atletico and Inter have all been linked.

- Football Insider says Arsenal are interested in signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai on loan in January and loaning him back to the Austrian champions.

Is a Manchester United reunion on the cards for Cristiano Ronaldo?

Ronaldo's future at Juventus has dominated headlines this season.

But returning to Old Trafford is reportedly not in the pipeline.

 

TOP STORY – NO UNITED REUNION FOR RONALDO

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will not be returning to Manchester United, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

A report earlier this month claimed United were looking to re-sign Ronaldo, who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League in six years at Old Trafford before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

But Romano says United are focusing on different players and not Ronaldo – also a reported target for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

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Barcelona are monitoring Hoffenheim centre-back Melayro Bogarde, claims Sky Italia. The 18-year-old has also captured the attention of Milan.

- Calciomercato reports Milan want to sign Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez at the end of the season. Vazquez is out of contract following the 2020-21 campaign.

Everton are in pole position to sign Juventus outcast Sami Khedira, says Calciomercato. The German midfielder looks set to leave the Serie A champions. Carlo Ancelotti's Everton have also been linked with Madrid midfielder Isco. It comes as Football Insider claims the Toffees are eyeing Tottenham trio Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Paulo Gazzaniga.

- The Express reports Liverpool could sell duo Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri in January. Origi and Shaqiri have struggled for regular game time at Anfield, where the Reds are desperate to bolster their defence amid an injury crisis. Liverpool have been linked with Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak and Ajax's Perr Schuurs.

- Estadio Deportivo claims Real Betis are eyeing Madrid winger Takefusa Kubo, who has struggled for game time on loan at Villarreal.

Milan are a "serious candidate" to sign Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe, reports Milan Live. The Rossoneri are considering an initial loan offer.

Manchester City are preparing long-term plans for Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, is coming out of contract at Barcelona at the end of the season and is linked with a move, having sensationally requested a transfer ahead of 2020-21.

Strongly linked with Messi, City are making long-term plans for the Argentina star.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY PREPARE 10-YEAR PLAN FOR MESSI

Manchester City are preparing a 10-year plan for Barcelona star Messi, according to The Times.

The report says the Premier League club are expected to launch another attempt to sign the superstar at the beginning of 2021 and will offer him opportunities with the City Football Group (CFG) after he plays for City.

Messi has scored six goals in 11 games for Barcelona this season.

ROUND-UP

- Amid an injury crisis in defence, Barcelona's priorities have changed. Goal reports the LaLiga giants are focusing on Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and not Lyon star Memphis Depay, following the knee injury suffered by Gerard Pique.

- Thiago Silva has made quite an impression at Chelsea. The defender signed a one-year deal ahead of this season and Tuttomercatoweb reports there have already been initial contacts to extend his contract until 2022.

- The news is a little different for Jerome Boateng. Sport Bild reports Bayern Munich have already decided not to extend the defender's contract, which expires at the end of the season.

- Valencia's 17-year-old midfielder Yunus Musah appears to be catching the eye. 90min reports Arsenal are among the Premier League sides monitoring the teenager. The two-time United States international came through Arsenal's academy before joining Valencia in 2019.

Olivier Giroud is worried about his lack of playing time at Chelsea and admits he will have to make a decision over his future in January if the situation does not change. 

Striker Giroud has yet to start a Premier League game for Frank Lampard's side this season, instead restricted to four substitute appearances in the competition. 

The France international was also on the periphery of the first team in the previous campaign, though did become more involved when the action resumed following the coronavirus-enforced break. 

However, the signing of Timo Werner – coupled with the continued presence of Tammy Abraham in the squad – has increased the competition at Chelsea, leaving the 34-year-old facing a dilemma. 

Giroud still believes he can contribute but, looking ahead to the delayed Euro 2020 tournament next year, has raised concerns over his lack of playing time. 

"Even if some people talk about my age, I still feel very good physically. I have a lot of desire and freshness, and what makes a career last is also the head," Giroud said in an interview with Telefoot. 

"We would like things to be a little easier, but we are built in adversity. And as my buddy [Laurent] Koscielny often says, 'I am the best when I am back against the wall'.

"It's worrying. I thought I still had a role to play at Chelsea, but my playing time is getting reduced a lot. It's going to have to change, or else make a decision.

"I am clear-headed about my situation - I will have to make a decision in January. I hope to make the right one, as I have always done" 

Giroud has played just 36 minutes in the league so far in the 2020-21 campaign, during which his only start came in the EFL Cup defeat away to Tottenham in September. 

He still remains a key component for the world champions under Didier Deschamps, scoring twice in last week's 4-2 victory over Sweden in the final round of Nations League fixtures. 

Deschamps discussed the former Arsenal frontman's future during the November international break, telling RTL: "Olivier Giroud knows it - the situation he's in today cannot drag on forever. Before March he will have to find another situation than this one."

David Beckham's Inter Miami have been linked with a move for Giroud, while Inter were rumoured to be interested in bringing him to Serie A back in January.

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