The future of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still up in the air amid speculation of a mid-season managerial change at Old Trafford.

Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has been previously linked with the Red Devils' job and reports suggest that he could bring two familiar faces with him in Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic if appointed.

A switch to the red side of Manchester could be on the cards for both players, having fallen out of favour at the Serie A champions this season under Maurizio Sarri.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI TO SWOOP FOR JUVENTUS PAIR IF APPOINTED AT MANCHESTER UNITED

Allegri has been linked with a double raid on former club Juventus should he succeed Solskjaer at Manchester United, according to Tuttosport.

Can and Mandzukic have been on the fringe of the Serie A club's squad this season and would be trusted to make an impact in Manchester, given their lack of depth in midfield and up front.

Juventus could collect up to 60 million euros if their former boss is thrust into the hot seat at Old Trafford, and they dispose of the pair in January.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are also interested in Leicester's James Maddison and Lyon's Moussa Dembele, according to ESPN.

- According to Il Giornale, Inter are looking at Zenit St Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba as they aim to reinforce their front line, following a serious injury to Alexis Sanchez.

- CalcioMercato are reporting AC Milan are considering a move for Atletico Madrid forward Angel Correa in January.

- The Daily Mail say Liverpool and Chelsea are monitoring Bournemouth and England midfielder Lewis Cook.

- Bayern Munich have no intention of selling Javi Martinez in the upcoming transfer window, according to TZ, despite previous links with former club Athletic Bilbao. 

- Turkish news outlet Star claim Fenerbahce and Turkey midfield Ozan Tufan is a January target for Crystal Palace.

Uncertainty surrounds Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a woeful start to the season and he could find himself in danger of dismissal.

United have won only two of their first eight Premier League games of 2019-20 and head into Sunday's visit of Liverpool 15 points adrift of the pacesetters.

While Solskjaer insists he still has the board's backing, there have been suggestions the club has identified a replacement.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI 'VERY CLOSE' TO UNITED

Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is said to be a primary target for Manchester United.

Italian publication Tuttosport claims contact with Allegri – who left the Old Lady at the end of last season – has "intensified" in recent days.

They go as far as saying Allegri is "very close to United", with the contest against Liverpool seemingly crucial.

However, United are not the only club interested in Allegri. Tuttosport also believes Tottenham are keeping tabs on him.

Mauricio Pochettino is another man under pressure following a difficult few months, though the report suggests Spurs will have to make their minds up quickly if they are to gazump United.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail believes Solskjaer is relatively safe despite Allegri's lurking, however. It says United are looking to bolster the squad with six major signings over the next two transfer windows. Among the targets are Mario Mandzukic, Saul Niguez, Moussa Dembele and James Maddison.

- Mandzukic's wage demands could prevent a move to Old Trafford, however. Despite being 33 and entering the twilight of his career, the Croatian wants to be the club's fourth highest-paid player, according to the Sun.

- Arsenal's plan for the future, according to AS, involves persuading Real Madrid to sell Dani Ceballos, a deal that would result in Mesut Ozil being sold.

- Meanwhile, the Daily Mail also claims the Gunners also want to sign highly-rated Athletic Bilbao centre-back Unai Nunez, 22, with Everton set to rival them for the £30million-rated defender.

- Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of securing new deals for Juan Bernat and Marquinhos, L'Equipe believes.

- Roma are set to bid farewell to Javier Pastore in January, with the Serie A side telling him he is free to leave, as per Calciomercato. A move to China, Brazil or his native Argentina appears likely.

Kepa Arrizabalaga claims he would like to return to Athletic Bilbao one day.

The Spain international left the Basque club in 2018 to join Chelsea, which ended a 14-year spell with the club after he joined the youth ranks of at age nine.

Kepa, 25, commanded a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper at the time, and has since become first choice goalkeeper for Spain head coach Robert Moreno, but admits a return to the Rojiblancos is a possibility.

"Of course I would like to return to Athletic (Bilbao)," he told Spanish football show El Chiringuito.

"I don’t know when or how or what, but playing at Athletic obviously I’d like that. I have great memories."

The Chelsea stopper also reflected on the heavy speculation that saw him come close to joining Real Madrid in January 2018.

Kepa eventually re-signed with Bilbao in that window with the intention of staying at the club, before departing to Chelsea the following summer.

"For several months my grandma saw more of me in the newspapers than in the flesh," he said.

"There was a lot of talk about me. I was also injured for a while so it wasn't a good moment for me.

"My contract was due to expire and from January onwards I was able to start talking to other clubs.

"I couldn’t see myself joining [another] club. I ended up renewing my contract with the idea of staying, but six months later I left. That was the only contraction."

Spain continue their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign away in Norway on Saturday.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has accused TV producers of manipulating VAR images after Denis Cheryshev's goal was allowed to stand in Valencia's 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

VAR ruled that Maxi Gomez was onside when collecting a pass from Rodrigo Moreno in the build-up to Cheryshev's 27th-minute strike, which proved to be the winning goal at San Mames.

Confusion arose when lines added to the live television footage of Cheryshev's goal initially showed he was marginally offside, though the VAR officials had a different view of the incident and adjudged the goal should stand.

The official VAR line used by the officials did not appear on the TV footage until the second half of the match, doing little to clear up the uncertainty.

The RFEF has released a statement concerning the controversy.

"Against the most elementary rules of the ethical sporting code and the rules of national and international competition, the producer of the match has put up images of a hypothetical offside line that doesn't correspond to the [line] of VAR," the statement read.

"These images [are] without any sort of technical rigour and offer a distorted view of the play. [It's a] manoeuvre which creates a social alarm like a loss in confidence in the current VAR provider and in the skill of the Spanish referees.

"The RFEF wants to make it clear that there can be no confusion and will raise the relevant complaint to international judicial and football organisations to analyse the situation and apply the corresponding measures. 

"We are convinced that these irresponsible actions could lead to serious penalties. Therefore, we urge the LNFP [the Spanish football league) to articulate the necessary mechanisms to cease these types of activities so as not to damage and devalue the image of Spanish football."

Inaki Williams revealed he had contact from Manchester United before signing a new long-term contract with Athletic Bilbao.

Williams emerged as a target for United during the closing days of the Premier League transfer window, with Romelu Lukaku heading to Inter.

The 25-year-old Williams, though, remained at Athletic and signed a nine-year extension with a €135million release clause.

Reflecting on the August speculation, the Spain forward told Cadena Ser: "I had contact from Manchester United but I cannot tell you who it was.

"My number one option has always been to stay at Athletic Club and to retire here.

"Joining Real Sociedad? No, I could never go there – 100 per cent."

Williams made his Athletic debut in 2014 and he has since scored more than 45 goals in all competitions.

The one-cap Spain international enjoyed his best scoring season in LaLiga last term, netting 13 times in 38 matches.

Williams has already scored once this term for Athletic, who are unbeaten after three matches and two points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.

Athletic travel to newly promoted Mallorca following the international break on Friday.

The transfer window may be closed but the rumours do not stop!

Christian Eriksen was unable to secure a move away from Tottenham prior to Monday's deadline.

Since then, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Inter have been linked to the Spurs star.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO PREPARING JANUARY MOVE FOR ERIKSEN

Atletico Madrid are set to return for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, according to AS.

Eriksen was linked to the likes of Atletico, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United but a move did not materialise.

Now, Atletico, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation as Eriksen prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Mirror, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is set to be offered a chance to move to the Premier League. The Croatian veteran was linked to Manchester United but a move failed to transpire prior to the transfer window closing.

- LaLiga pair Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao are keeping tabs on Chelsea and Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, reports the Mirror. It comes amid concerns the Spaniard could lose his spot in the Chelsea XI to Reece James.

- Brazilian side Flamengo are interested in signing free agent Claudio Marchisio, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Juventus star Marchisio is without a club since leaving Zenit. Flamengo were also close to luring Mario Balotelli before he opted for Brescia.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new defender in January. The report comes after Aymeric Laporte's knee injury left City with just two fit centre-backs – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to TNT Sports. The expansion franchise – who are backed by the former Manchester United star and will enter MLS in 2020 – have also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

Luis Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in Barcelona's LaLiga loss to Athletic Bilbao on Friday, the club have confirmed.

The 32-year-old striker had to be replaced before half-time at San Mames after receiving treatment following a shot that hit the post.

Lionel Messi missed the match with a calf issue of his own suffered shortly before Barca travelled to the United States for two friendly matches against Napoli last week.

Their absences were felt as Ernesto Valverde's men succumbed to a stunning late winner from Athletic veteran Aritz Aduriz.

"Tests carried out on Saturday morning have confirmed Luis Suarez has an injured right calf," Barca said in a statement.

"His recovery will dictate his return to action."

Suarez's early withdrawal was the first time he has been substituted in the first half of a LaLiga game since he joined Barca from Liverpool in 2014.

The champions suddenly look light on forwards, with Philippe Coutinho set to join Bayern Munich on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

Antoine Griezmann debuted against Athletic, but Suarez's injury and Coutinho's departure could see Barca ramp up their interest in former player Neymar, who looks increasingly likely to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Antoine Griezmann said LaLiga champions Barcelona will improve as the season is long following Friday's shock loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Barca opened their title defence with a late 1-0 defeat away to Athletic at San Mames, where the holders succumbed to Aritz Aduriz's dramatic acrobatics.

Aduriz came off the bench and scored a stunning 89th-minute overhead kick to condemn Griezmann to a losing league debut for Barca.

"We have time," Griezmann, who arrived from Atletico Madrid, said after the match.

"The season is long and we have to work towards the next game.

"We have to work because that's the only way we'll improve."

Griezmann underwhelmed in his LaLiga bow for Barca – the €120million signing struggled to make an impact in the absence of injured captain Lionel Messi.

"We lacked what costs the most in football," the France star added.  "That last pass, that cross or that overlap."

Barca's defeat was compounded by an injury to veteran forward Luis Suarez, who was forced to leave the match in the first half.

Suarez suffered a muscle injury just after the half-hour mark, and Griezmann said: "Let's just see how he is and if he can play against [Real] Betis.

Barca – seeking a third consecutive LaLiga title – will travel to Real Betis on August 25.

 

Aritz Aduriz said he will always be available to help Athletic Bilbao until the last day after his stunning bicycle kick downed Barcelona 1-0 in the LaLiga opener.

Aduriz plans to retire at season's end but the 38-year-old Bilbao star showed he still has plenty of football left in the tank thanks to his unforgettable 89th-minute winner on Friday.

The club great scored within a minute of his introduction via a spectacular overhead kick against the LaLiga champions at San Mames.

Aduriz's goal saw him match a Lionel Messi scoring feat, having now scored in 15 consecutive seasons in Spain's top flight, and the veteran striker revelled in the result.

"The team has been amazing," Aduriz told reporters. "There is no better way to start than by adding three points against Barca. 

"I said I was going to be there to help Athletic until the last day and today I have been able to prove it.

"The atmosphere of San Mames is always insurmountable, but it is true that today people have taken this game even more eagerly. 

"Athletic's base is young people. You have to give them confidence and go slowly with them. They will help us a lot throughout the year."

"Dedicated to my family and everyone who supports me," Aduriz said of the goal. "These kind of things make football so beautiful."

"Everything in life has a start and a finish. I'm grateful to be able to choose to end things where I'm happiest," he continued.

Inaki Williams, who signed a nine-year contract extension with Bilbao following links to Manchester United, added: "I am very happy for Adu. 

"It's his last season and I want him to say goodbye with as many goals as possible."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said Antoine Griezmann has to come into play more following his underwhelming league bow for the LaLiga champions.

Griezmann made his first LaLiga appearance for Barca, who suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in their opening fixture Friday.

A €120million signing from Atletico Madrid, all eyes were on Griezmann, but he struggled to make an impact in absence of captain Lionel Messi, while Luis Suarez's first-half injury left him isolated.

"If he's near the area, he is decisive and moves well, but you have to dominate the game for that to happen," Valverde told reporters.

"Putting him on the left side, we know that you are going to focus on the goal, but we have a side and players that can hold the game.

"Of course, he is aware that we all expect a lot from many players and have to seek to get more into the game."

Suarez left San Mames just after the half-hour mark due to an apparent calf injury away to Athletic.

The Uruguayan veteran had to be substituted moments after hitting the post, which would have given two-time reigning champions Barca the lead.

Valverde added: "He has a muscular problem and we have to wait for the tests. In the second half, when we were around Athletic's area, we missed him."

Barca eventually succumbed to Athletic, who triumphed thanks to veteran Aritz Aduriz's stunning overhead kick in the 89th minute.

The 38-year-old made an immediate impact off the bench, meeting Ander Capa's cross in sensational fashion to seal all three points.

"With Aduriz, any ball in the air is a danger and he got his goal," former Athletic boss Valverde said.

"That move is dominant, and he's scored similar goals. When I saw him line it up... I wasn't surprised with the execution at all."

Gerard Pique conceded Barcelona were deservedly beaten by Athletic Bilbao, saying the defending LaLiga champions were "put in our place" at San Mames.

A stunning overhead kick from veteran substitute striker Aritz Aduriz in the 89th minute snatched all three points for the home side in the opening LaLiga match of 2019-20.

Barca hit the post through Luis Suarez - who went off injured in the first half with a muscle injury - and replacement Rafinha struck the crossbar, but they were largely lacklustre in attack without captain Lionel Messi, who is sidelined with a calf problem.

The result is likely to see pressure again begin to mount on head coach Ernesto Valverde, who came under fire at the end of last season for Barca's Champions League capitulation against Liverpool, as well as the Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia, although they retained the league title.

While he accepted the defeat, Pique did not believe Barca were especially poor and stressed losing at this stage of the season could in fact prove to be useful.

"San Mames is always very difficult and today the competition put us in our place," he told Movistar.

"We weren't ourselves. From the start, they pressed us a lot and physically they were better, although in the second half they dropped off a little.

"In the end, winning or losing comes down to details, and we leave with a defeat that will be good for us, because it's better to lose now than at the end of the season.

"We came from pre-season, there are new people... sometimes, you prepare for a game in one way and it doesn't happen as you expected.

"In the first half, they had one clear chance, [Inaki] Williams' one, and we had Luis hit the post.

"We played more in our own half, but that's what you expect at San Mames. In the second half, we played more in their half, but details are details and one killed us in the end."

Athletic Bilbao veteran Aritz Aduriz matched a Lionel Messi goalscoring feat with his sensational winner against Barcelona on Friday.

Aduriz came off the bench in the 88th minute at San Mames and scored a spectacular overhead kick barely 60 seconds later to seal a 1-0 win over the champions.

It means the 38-year-old, who plans to retire at the end of this campaign, has now scored in 15 consecutive seasons in Spain's top flight, something only Messi has achieved before.

The Barca captain was missing from this match while he recovers from a calf problem.

Barca's defeat marked the first time since 2008-09 that the reigning LaLiga champions have lost their opening match of the new season. Back then, Real Madrid lost 2-1 to Deportivo La Coruna.

It was also Athletic's first victory over Barca in their last 12 meetings, although Ernesto Valverde has now lost five of his six LaLiga away games against his previous club.

Barcelona lost Luis Suarez to injury as a stunning late goal from Aritz Aduriz secured a 1-0 win for Athletic Bilbao in Friday's LaLiga opener.

With Lionel Messi missing with a calf problem and Philippe Coutinho left out amid talks with Bayern Munich over a loan move, the Catalans were found wanting in attack against coach Ernesto Valverde's old club.

Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong made their league debuts for the champions, but there was little for them to celebrate as the 2019-20 season got off to a lacklustre start at San Mames.

The loss of Suarez to a first-half muscle problem only compounded what proved a frustrating outing for the visitors, who twice hit the woodwork before Aduriz's 89th-minute overhead kick secured all three points.

 

Luis Suarez went off injured in the first half of Barcelona's opening LaLiga match of the season against Athletic Bilbao.

The striker appeared to hurt his calf muscle shortly before taking a shot that hit the post just after the half-hour mark at San Mames.

Uruguay international Suarez was given treatment but had to be withdrawn, being replaced by Rafinha.

It is the first time he has been substituted in the first half of a LaLiga game since he joined Barca from Liverpool in 2014. 

Lionel Messi was missing from the match due to a calf injury suffered shortly before Barca travelled to the United States for two friendly matches against Napoli last week.

Philippe Coutinho was left out of the squad, with Barca confirming he is in talks with Bayern Munich over a loan move to the Bundesliga champions.

Ernesto Valverde's return to San Mames was goalless at half-time, with Rafinha having also been denied by the woodwork after replacing Suarez.

Antoine Griezmann will make his LaLiga debut for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao on Friday, but Philippe Coutinho is not involved.

The France international, who joined from Atletico Madrid for €120million in the close season, starts in attack alongside Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele at San Mames.

There is no place in the squad for Coutinho, who continues to be linked with a move away from Barca.

The latest reports in Spain suggest the Brazil international, also said to have been offered to Paris Saint-Germain as a makeweight in a possible deal for Neymar, could be preparing to travel to Germany to finalise a loan move to Bayern Munich.

Frenkie de Jong makes his first league outing for Barca and lines up alongside Sergi Roberto and Carles Alena in midfield, while Sergio Busquets, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic are named among the substitutes.

Lionel Messi will not feature due to a calf injury that kept the club captain out of Barca's friendly matches against Napoli in the United States last week.

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