Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic says the club are "keeping all options open" with regards to January signings.

Reigning champions Bayern are third in Bundesliga at the midway stage, four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig after an indifferent first half to the campaign.

Hansi Flick has been placed in caretaker charge until the end of the season after replacing Niko Kovac in November and revealed last week he is after a new right-back.

Bayern set off for their training camp in Doha on Saturday, though injured stars Robert Lewandowski, Javi Martinez, Kingsley Coman and Niklas Sule were all missing.

And Salihamidzic intends to evaluate the squad before further discussing possible transfer targets with boss Flick.

"We keep all options open and see how the training camp is going, what the coach may need and then we will react accordingly or not," he told reporters.

Defender Jerome Boateng has been told by Flick he can leave this month should he wish, but the Germany international is part of Bayern's 26-man party in Doha.

Asked for an update on Boateng's future, Salihamidzic said: "He comes to the training camp like any other player and will train there normally."

Bayern won four successive matches heading into the mid-season break and return to action on January 19 with a trip to Hertha Berlin.

Salihamidzic, who is to be promoted to Bayern's executive board in July, insists that a domestic and European treble remains the target over the next five months.

"We have big goals," he said. "Our goal is always the Bundesliga and the Pokal. 

"We also want to fight our opponent in the Champions League and reach the next round. It will be difficult. But we now have enough time to prepare for Chelsea."

Bayern confirmed on Saturday that an agreement has been reached to sign goalkeeper Alexander Nubel once his Schalke contract expires at the end of the season.

Bayern Munich have confirmed an agreement has been reached to sign goalkeeper Alexander Nubel once his Schalke contract expires at the end of the season.

The 23-year-old informed Schalke last month he would not be renewing his deal amid links with a number of clubs, including Premier League side Tottenham.

Bundesliga champions Bayern announced on their official website on Saturday that Nubel has agreed to a five-year contract at Allianz Arena, starting from July 1.

Ex-Germany Under-21 international Nubel made the switch from Paderborn to Schalke in 2015 and has been dubbed in some quarters as the new Manuel Neuer.

He made headlines in December for an ugly challenge on Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Mijat Gacinovic, resulting in a four-match ban.

Schalke are fifth in the Bundesliga table and three points adrift of third-place Bayern, who recently placed Hansi Flick in caretaker charge until the end of the campaign.

Real Madrid are said to be close to signing yet another rising Brazilian star.

Zinedine Zidane's side have reportedly agreed a fee for Flamengo's Reinier, who could move to Spain this month.

Chelsea, meanwhile, may have to wait until after the season has finished until their top targets become available.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID TO SIGN REINIER FOR €30M

According to widespread reports, Real Madrid are close to finalising a deal to sign Flamengo's Reinier.

The 17-year-old could move to the Spanish capital in January and spend the rest of the season with Raul's Castilla team.

Reinier, who turns 18 on January 19 and will therefore become an easier deal to complete, will apparently cost €30m plus potential add-ons.

ROUND-UP

 - Chelsea want to sign Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner, but the Premier League club know they are likely to have to wait until the end of the season to complete the deals, according to Goal.

- Elsewhere in London, Sky Sports say West Ham have held talks with Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, a reported target for Manchester United. David Moyes said of the club's interest: "He is a name mentioned alongside many."

Inter are the latest team to be interested in Christian Eriksen, say Tuttomercatoweb. Directors Giuseppe Marotta and Piero Ausilio want to close the deal quickly but Tottenham's £30m asking price is a problem.

Nikola Kalinic has been offered to Newcastle United as he has struggled for football since joining Roma on loan from Atletico Madrid, say Marca.

- Still with Marca, Real Madrid have apparently earmarked three Lille players as potential signings for 2020: Boubakary Soumare, Victor Osimhen and Gabriel.

- Sky Sports claim Jan Vertonghen is now more likely to join Napoli from Tottenham this month, as Ajax have apparently cooled their interest in their former defender.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to appoint a new coach in the form of Anthony Pulis, the son of ex-Stoke City boss Tony. Pulis will work as assistant to Diego Alonso, say The Telegraph.

Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman and Javi Martinez will all miss Bayern Munich's training camp in Doha, which begins on Saturday.

Striker Lewandowski had groin surgery last month and will stay in Germany to continue his recovery, despite having initially planned to be part of the group heading for warm-weather training.

Coman, who has a torn capsule in his left knee, and Martinez, who has a muscle problem, will also miss the trip.

So too does Niklas Sule, who is continuing his recovery from a knee ligament tear sustained in October.

The Bayern squad comprises the available senior players and six youngsters: Joshua Zirkzee, Sarpreet Singh, Leon Dajaku, Oliver Batista-Meier, Chris Richards and Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi.

The Bundesliga champions will spend a week at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, with interim head coach Hansi Flick promising "an intensive, tough training camp" before they return for a friendly against Nurnberg on July 11.

Their season resumes with a league trip to Hertha Berlin on January 19.

Manchester City have cut short Lukas Nmecha's season-long loan to Wolfsburg, instead sending the striker to Middlesbrough after he failed to score in Germany.

The 21-year-old, who has played for both England and Germany at youth level, joined Wolfsburg at the start of the season but struggled to make an impact.

Nmecha made 12 appearances for his loan club in all competitions but started only once and did not find the net.

City recalled the striker on Friday and loaned him back out to Championship side Boro, where he joins Patrick Roberts - a team-mate in Manchester who endured a similarly tough stretch at Norwich City.

Nmecha spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Preston North End, having appeared three times for City in the previous campaign.

"We're delighted to bring Lukas to the club," said Boro head coach Jonathan Woodgate. "He is a terrific young player who has the benefit of a year's experience of Championship football.

"He is another young, hungry player of real quality, and it's great that we've been able to get him.

"In Lukas and Patrick, we have signed two very good players, and we've been able to bring them in early in the transfer window, which is a real bonus."

Julian Nagelsmann does not believe RB Leipzig are yet good enough to win the Bundesliga, adding their results against title rivals must improve.

Leipzig lead the table at the mid-season break, but an intense tussle for the championship seems likely, with Borussia Monchengladbach, champions Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all within seven points.

Head coach Nagelsmann is certainly not getting carried away, insisting there is still work to do before the team can think about staying top until the end of the campaign and winning a first title.

"We have to develop," he told Bild. "At the moment, we are not good enough to become champions."

There is one clear area of improvement Nagelsmann has identified, believing Leipzig need to do more work to check fellow contenders' progress in head-to-head meetings.

Leipzig defeated Gladbach in the third week of the season and drew with Bayern the following week.

But a humbling home defeat to Schalke followed later in September, while they could only claim a point from a gripping back-and-forth at Dortmund shortly before the break.

"We always talk about weakening Bayern and Dortmund," Nagelsmann said. "But it would also be advisable if we won against them - otherwise, it would just be difficult at the end of the season."

Manchester United have identified James Maddison or Jack Grealish as their top January transfer targets.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay injured, United have concerns in midfield to begin 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said United were looking at "one or two" January additions, and it appears their targets are also Premier League players.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD IDENTIFY MADDISON, GREALISH AS JANUARY TARGETS

Manchester United are prioritising a move for Leicester City's Maddison or Aston Villa's Grealish, according to the Independent.

United are looking to find greater consistency in the second half of the Premier League season, although they sit fifth in the table.

Grealish has provided five assists in the Premier League this campaign, while netting six times. Maddison also has six goals.

ROUND-UP

- Thomas Lemar is attracting interest from Tottenham. AS reports that if the midfielder joins Spurs from Atletico Madrid, the LaLiga club would be able to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

- Tottenham may have more pressing concerns in January. Harry Kane could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury as Spurs await the results of a second scan, according to The Telegraph.

- Benfica are prepared to let 20-year-old midfielder Gedson Fernandes leave. A Bola reports the club are ready to negotiate for the Portugal international, who has been linked to Manchester United, Lyon and Milan.

- Arsenal are aiming to strengthen their defence with the signing of Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng, according to Sky Sports. Calum Chambers is set for a long spell on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, and Boateng could be set for a return to the Premier League.

- Jean-Clair Todibo is expected to leave Barcelona in January and a surprise potential destination has emerged. Bild reports Schalke are thinking about a loan move for the 20-year-old defender.

- Borussia Dortmund have set their price for forward Paco Alcacer. The Bundesliga club want €40million for the Spaniard, who has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid.

Benfica have completed the €20million signing of Julian Weigl from Borussia Dortmund on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

The two clubs confirmed a fee had been agreed on December 31, with the deal now complete following Benfica's announcement to Portugal's Securities Market Commission.

Weigl, 24, joined Dortmund from 1860 Munich in 2015 and initially settled well, spending most of his first three seasons in the starting XI.

During that time he was reported to have become a target for many of Europe's biggest clubs, with Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain said to have been enamoured of his eye-catching style of play and passing ability.

He fell somewhat out of favour last season and, although he started 12 of Dortmund's 17 Bundesliga games this term, sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed Weigl asked to leave.

The Germany international has signed on until 2024 and Benfica confirmed his contract contains a €100m release clause.

Benfica sit top of the Primeira Liga with 39 points from 14 matches

With the January transfer window open across Europe, clubs will be checking their budgets to see if they can make additions for the second half of the campaign.

January is traditionally a tough time to do business with teams generally unwilling to allow stars to leave but Erling Haaland's switch from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund shows major deals are possible.

Unsettled players around the continent may push for a chance at a new club as squads get shuffled, but who are some of the big-name stars who could be on the move this month?

We have picked out 10 players who have been strongly linked with switching teams during the January transfer window.


PAUL POGBA (Manchester United)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's recent insistence that Pogba would not leave United this month has been undermined by the latest twist in the midfielder's ongoing saga. After he was surprisingly left out of the squad for a New Year's Day loss at Arsenal, Solskjaer indicated Pogba would be undergoing surgery in a bid to solve his injury issues. An operation could make it less likely Pogba leaves Old Trafford in January, but the links to Real Madrid will not go away. For what it is worth, Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has said his client is staying at United - for now at least.


EMRE CAN (Juventus) 

Pogba's continued absence has left a hole in United's midfield, especially with Scott McTominay also out of action. Can is among the players being linked with a switch to Old Trafford after failing to make an impact at Juventus. The Serie A champions, who are reportedly interested in bringing Pogba back, are also said to be ready to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Daniele Rugani with both players not regular starters under Maurizio Sarri this season.


JADON SANCHO (Borussia Dortmund) 

The biggest move of the January transfer window could involve Sancho leaving Dortmund with the England international having struggled with off-the-field issues despite fine form on the pitch during the first half of the season. Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea, who signed Christian Pulisic from BVB last year, are reportedly leading the race for Sancho, but he would likely cost in excess of £100million. Dortmund, having beaten off competition from various top clubs to land Haaland, are said to be willing to listen to offers for Paco Alcacer too.


EDINSON CAVANI (Paris Saint-Germain)

Another elite forward potentially on the move this month is Cavani, with PSG's all-time leading goalscorer struggling to get into the team after the successful signing of Mauro Icardi on loan from Inter. At 32, Cavani likely has one more big deal left in him with Atletico Madrid said to be keen - a swap deal involving France winger Thomas Lemar has been mooted. PSG are also reportedly ready to cut their losses on Leandro Paredes, who has made little impact since joining from Zenit.


JAMES RODRIGUEZ (Real Madrid)

Colombia star James has been on the fringes at Madrid since returning from a loan spell with Bayern Munich, making only four starts in LaLiga this season. Arsenal, Inter and PSG have all been linked with James, who has also emerged as a shock target for Everton. New Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti coached the 28-year-old playmaker at both Madrid and Bayern.


ARTURO VIDAL (Barcelona)

Another South American midfielder who could leave LaLiga this month is Vidal, who has complained about allegedly unpaid bonuses at Barca and hinted he might be open to a return to Serie A. League leaders Inter are said to be keen with Antonio Conte having worked with Vidal at Juve, where the Chile international previously won four successive Serie A titles.


JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City)

Right-back Cancelo only joined City last August but, after failing to usurp Kyle Walker as first choice in his position, the 25-year-old could be on the move again with former club Valencia and Bayern Munich both linked. Cancelo's departure would leave City even shorter of defensive options but if they can sell the Portugal international it could allow the defending Premier League champions to bring in another body elsewhere, though Pep Guardiola has ruled out signings.


CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Tottenham)

Denmark midfielder Eriksen is out of contract at the end of the season and has previously made it clear he is ready for a new challenge. Eriksen has found himself on the fringes under new boss Jose Mourinho and the club's notorious negotiator Daniel Levy may opt to cash in on the 27-year-old rather than watch him leave for nothing. Spurs, though, surprisingly persuaded Toby Alderweireld to commit to a new deal and it is not impossible Eriksen follows suit if the right club does not make an offer. Inter, PSG, Juve and United have all been linked and it has even been suggested Eriksen could be included in a deal to take Gareth Bale back to Spurs from Madrid.


DANI OLMO (Dinamo Zagreb)

One of Europe's most in-demand young players, Olmo will surely leave Dinamo sooner rather than later. The 21-year-old midfielder, who has already been capped by Spain, says he has an offer from Barca but the LaLiga champions face strong competition for his signature. Olmo is one of a raft of players being linked to Chelsea after their transfer ban was reduced on appeal, while Manchester United and Manchester City are among the other clubs reportedly interested.


WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Another potential Chelsea target is Zaha, who was said to be close to leaving Palace during the last transfer window only for an £80million price tag to seemingly scare off suitors. Arsenal and Everton were reportedly interested in the Ivory Coast forward, with Roy Hodgson accepting Palace would have to consider "serious" offers for the 27-year-old this month. Blues boss Frank Lampard has denied Zaha is on his radar, however.

Marcel Schmelzer plans to leave Borussia Dortmund for "something exotic" if he does not play an increased role in the first team before the end of the season.

Former captain Schmelzer has made two late substitute appearances under Lucien Favre this term, when thigh and calf injuries have limited his availability.

However, having featured just nine times in the Bundesliga during 2018-19, the 31-year-old is ready to end his career-long association with BVB at the conclusion of 2019-20 if required.

"If nothing has changed in my situation at Dortmund by then, I would like to go abroad and do something exotic," Schmelzer told Kicker.

The experienced left-back revealed he almost left Signal Iduna Park in the close season but, due to his contract running until 2021, Dortmund were unwilling to let him go.

"From my side, everything was sorted with a club from abroad, which would have also enabled me to work as a coach alongside playing," said Schmelzer.

"That was almost the most important point in the discussions for me at the time because I want to work in this area after my career. It was an extremely exciting package and fit.

"I had to accept that [Dortmund would not release him], even though I was very disappointed. I already felt back then I would hardly get any chances, and that's what come about."

Hertha Berlin have signed Argentina international midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from 2. Bundesliga club Stuttgart on "a long-term deal".

The 22-year-old, who earned the most recent of his three Argentina caps in November 2018, becomes Hertha's first signing since Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Ante Covic.

Ascacibar previously played two seasons of Bundesliga football for Stuttgart prior to their relegation last year and featured 13 times in the second tier this term.

He will join the rest of the squad for their mid-season training camp in Orlando and is in contention to make his debut when Bayern Munich visit the Olympiastadion on January 19.

"I'm happy that the transfer has been completed in the winter break," Ascacibar told his new side's official website.

"After holding talks with [sporting director] Michael Preetz and Jurgen Klinsmann, I believe I can continue to develop as a player here and that we can achieve a lot together. 

"I'm really looking forward to that and can hardly wait to get to know my new team-mates. We'll do everything we can to keep climbing up the table in the second half of the season."

Hertha, 12th in the Bundesliga after collecting eight points from Klinsmann's opening five matches, are also in the running to sign Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.

Borussia Dortmund have agreed to sell midfielder Julian Weigl to Benfica ahead of the January transfer window.

The Germany international, who joined Dortmund from 1860 Munich in 2015, will complete a reported €20million move following a medical.

Weigl started 12 times in the Bundesliga in the first half of the season but requested the move, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc revealed.

"Julian came to us with this wish and we agreed - also because of his services to the club," Zorc said. "We wish him all the best for his future."

The 24-year-old Weigl said on Dortmund's website: "I would like to thank my team-mates, BVB employees and all fans of this great club for a great time, and I will always carry Borussia Dortmund in my heart."

Weigl was part of the Dortmund team that won the 2016-17 DFB-Pokal and 2019 DFL-Supercup.

He leaves the club fourth in the Bundesliga table - seven points off the top - just days after they completed the first high-profile capture of the window in Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland.

Benfica are top of the Primeira Liga and face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League, having dropped out of the Champions League.

Manchester United must evaluate why Erling Haaland chose to join Borussia Dortmund over them instead of attempting to blame other parties, according to agent Mino Raiola.

Highly rated striker Haaland, who scored 28 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions for Salzburg this season, signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Dortmund on Sunday.

United, RB Leipzig and Juventus were also understood to be interested, with reports suggesting Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward held talks with Salzburg and Haaland's representatives – including his father Alf Inge Haaland and Raiola – before pulling out of the deal.

United were thought to be unhappy with Raiola's demands during negotiations, but the agent, who also represents Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among other star names, refuted those suggestions.

"I do not know if Manchester United are briefing this but if they are then they are covering their own loss and that I find strange and disappointing," Raiola told The Telegraph.

"There was no fall-out between me and Woodward. It was just a normal negotiation and the player has chosen a different path.

"If they want to blame someone then, fine, blame me, but the player is happy. He has made his choice and we went through a normal process.

"The club that had the most direct contact with him was Manchester United. They spoke to him the most. Everybody had the chance to talk to him in person. We let that happen especially when he knows Ole.

"Clearly [Haaland] felt that at this moment it was not the right step in his career. There is nothing against Manchester United or Ole.

"He chose Borussia Dortmund ahead of them and other clubs and I'm very happy because he is going to the club he wanted to go to and that is best for him right now. If he wanted to go to Manchester United I would have been obliged to take him to Manchester United but he did not."

Raiola also claimed Haaland's decision proved his client is prioritising regular playing time over money.

"When you are 19 then maybe you prefer not to go to the Premier League," said Raiola. 

"The offer from Manchester United was good. It was not about the economics. It is just the player chose Borussia Dortmund at this stage of his career."

Hansi Flick says defender Jerome Boateng will have the final say over his own future after falling out of favour at Bayern Munich.

Boateng has started eight of Bayern's 17 Bundesliga matches this term and has been strongly linked with an exit in the January transfer window.

Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been tipped to move for the Germany international, while Arsenal are rumoured to have already made an approach.

And stand-in boss Flick will let Boateng, who is out of contract at the end of next season, decide whether he stays on at the Allianz Arena or finds a new challenge elsewhere.

"I get along with him and we talk openly," Flick told German sports magazine Kicker. 

"Against Wolfsburg he came into the side and had some problems, but then he showed he has the quality to play for Bayern. 

"Jerome has to make the decision about his future because it's about his career."

Regardless of Boateng's future, Flick has set his sights on bringing in a new right-back in the coming weeks.

"Benjamin Pavard does well in every position but especially well at centre-back," he said. "Therefore an addition at right-back would be helpful.

"Winter transfers always bring something to a team if they help immediately - and this is difficult to find. I am in exchange with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hasan Salihamidzic."

Bayern are third in the Bundesliga at the midway stage, four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig after an indifferent first half to the campaign that saw Flick replace Niko Kovac in November.

Flick has overseen eight wins from 10 games in all competitions and will remain in charge of the German champions until the end of the campaign.

He previously worked as assistant to Germany coach Joachim Low for eight years before linking up with Kovac earlier this year, but that is no longer a role that appeals to him.

"I can imagine a lot of things, but I can't imagine that at the moment," he said.

"It's been a lot of fun, especially working with this coaching team and this squad. 

"We've found a really good team spirit. Bayern Munich is a club with a lot of power, so I really like this job. The idea of always wanting to be successful suits me perfectly.

"I feel a lot of trust. There's nothing to stop us from continuing if we're successful. Let's just assume that our matches and results will remain satisfying. And if not, the club will have plenty of time to look for another coach."

Erling Haaland's decision to join Borussia Dortmund brought an end to one of Europe's most fascinating transfer stories.

Manchester United had been in the frame for his signature but were reportedly put off by a key demand from the striker's representatives.

As often seems to be the case for the Red Devils, Mino Raiola's involvement led to complications.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PULLED PLUG ON HAALAND BID

According to The Guardian, United abandoned their bid for the highly sought-after Haaland after learning of a request from his agent, Raiola, and father Alf-Inge Haaland.

The pair reportedly asked for a share of any future transfer fee for the 19-year-old, a stipulation the Old Trafford outfit were unwilling to meet despite their firm interest.

Haaland settled on Dortmund after the Bundesliga side activated his Salzburg buyout clause.

He had been linked to RB Leipzig, Juventus and several more top European clubs after emerging as a Champions League star.

 

ROUND-UP

- Haaland's arrival at Dortmund could lead LaLiga side  Atletico Madrid to narrow the transfer focus on Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, according to Marca. The former Barcelona player has struggled to cement a place in BVB's starting XI and represents a cheaper option in terms of wages than Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, an apparent favourite of Diego Simeone.

- AS, meanwhile, reports on potential movements elsewhere in the Spanish capital. The newspaper claims Real Madrid are preparing to recall Jesus Vallejo from his loan spell at Wolves, with a view to finding him more playing time. That could lead to a short-term switch to Leganes or Eintracht Frankfurt.

- Juventus are close to extending Wojciech Szczesny's contract yet the Serie A champions remain admirers of Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tammy Abraham wants a better deal at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea are not yet prepared to accept his demand for parity with Callum Hudson-Odoi's £180,000 per week salary, reports The Athletic.

- Manchester City are set to beat Premier League rivals United, Arsenal and Liverpool to the January signing of Barcelona's teenage left-back Juan Larios, says the Daily Star.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.