Pep Guardiola concedes Liverpool are "extraordinary", but he is more focused on improving Manchester City than worrying about how they stack up against the runaway Premier League leaders.

City have won the title in the past two seasons under Guardiola yet now trail Liverpool, who have a game in hand, by 16 points.

The Reds have dropped just two points in the top flight, but City manager Guardiola would prefer to focus on how the defending champions can raise their game.

"In terms of what we are as a team, we are open, we accept," he told a news conference before facing Sheffield United on Tuesday.

"We cannot deny it - the Liverpool team is extraordinary in terms of football, in terms of results.

"But every day I live almost 24 hours thinking about my team and what we are, what we are doing, what we can do better. I'm not too much distracted by other teams in other leagues or, in this case, Liverpool."

City have scored more league goals than any other team in the division this season, yet they have also conceded more than Sheffield United and last Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace, who claimed a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

"We concede few, but the opponents score goals from a few chances," Guardiola said. "That is difficult to solve. We have to improve in this area.

"We have scored I don't know how many more goals than Liverpool [12], so our way is good. I don't have the statistics here, but I don't think we concede more chances in one game. From the few, we concede goals that we shouldn't and drop points.

"You start from Tottenham in the first game, they shoot twice in the half on target and score two goals. Norwich shoot three times and score three goals.

"When this happens, it's difficult to fight against this Liverpool. We have to improve in this area."

Guardiola revealed John Stones and Benjamin Mendy had knocks following the weekend draw, although he was not yet sure if the issues would keep them out against the Blades.

The Spaniard felt criticism of Stones after the Palace game, in which he appeared to struggle against Wilfried Zaha, was harsh.

"It was unfair, yeah," he said. "We are there, I am there. Ups and downs in the career, the football manager always has to be strong. We know his quality."

Aymeric Laporte should not be expected to single-handedly shore up Manchester City's leaky defence, Pep Guardiola has warned.

Sergio Aguero's late brace looked to have sealed a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, but Wilfried Zaha provided a sting in the tail at the Etihad Stadium by tearing past John Stones and forcing an own-goal from Fernandinho.

The reigning Premier League champions, who now appear virtually certain to cede their crown to runaway leaders Liverpool, have only kept two clean sheets in their past 20 matches across all competitions.

Career midfielder Fernandinho has converted admirably to centre-back since Laporte suffered meniscus damage against Brighton and Hove Albion, while teenager Eric Garcia impressed at the heart of defence during recent home wins over Sheffield Untied and Everton.

But Stones laboured once more against Palace and Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi has produced similarly uneven form this term.

Former Athletic Bilbao favourite Laporte is back in light training with his team-mates but Guardiola, whose men face a mouth-watering Champions League last-16 showdown with Real Madrid next month, sought to temper expectations.

"We cannot expect that Aymeric is going to solve all of the problems," he said.

"We have to [have that] as a principle for everyone. He is getting better and the doctor is going to evaluate him in the [next] training session tomorrow and I am going to talk to him.

"When it will be possible and step by step to come in [he will] but after four or five months he will need time, so he will not be ready immediately to do it."

Asked whether Laporte could feature in next weekend's FA Cup tie at home to Fulham, Guardiola replied: "I don't know."

Laporte's countryman Benjamin Mendy has struggled at times after undergoing two knee surgeries in as many seasons.

But the ex-Monaco left-back showed signs of his best form against Palace, offering a varied attacking threat down the left flank and supplying a sumptuous cross for Aguero's headed second.

"He played really good and the final decisions in the final third were really good - passes, inside, outside and how many times to go up and down," Guardiola said.

"He did a good game and good crosses. He plays after two seasons injured, so his physical condition is getting better."

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Benjamin Mendy urged Manchester City to avoid dwelling on predictions of doom for their title defence following Saturday's dispiriting draw against Crystal Palace.

City squandered two precious points at the Etihad Stadium after Fernandinho's 90th-minute own goal forced a 2-2 draw.

Pep Guardiola's men had come from behind to take a late lead but ultimately missed a chance to reduce Liverpool's advantage at the top, which could be extended to 16 points on Sunday.

Mendy admitted his team-mates felt "sad" at full-time, but the left-back backed the Premier League champions to block out criticism.

"When another team is doing well you can't be upset or angry," Mendy said, insisting City would "deal well" with the latest setback in their bid to catch the Reds.

"We know when you start the season, after winning the league, you have to win most of the games. This is the truth, no-one can complain. [Liverpool] are a good team, strong team who win, win and win.

"So, in our dressing room, we try to focus on us.

"All the people say Man City are finished, they're finished. They can say what they want – we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, and fight until the league is finished."

Beginning with Tuesday's trip to Sheffield United, City have at least six domestic games - and a seventh if they progress to round five of the FA Cup - to address their deficiencies before facing Real Madrid in the first leg of a much-anticipated Champions League last-16 tie.

Mendy said the countdown to that Santiago Bernabeu blockbuster would elevate the team's motivation levels.

"That will be another kind of game – Champions League, big game," he said.

"Every game is big, but everyone knows that this game will be watched by everyone so mentally you have a feeling, the atmosphere, how you come to the game puts you on fire, [gets you] excited.

"We will be focused on Sheffield now."

Manchester City without Pep Guardiola?

Speculation over Guardiola's future is not going away, with Premier League champions City set to be dethroned by Liverpool this season.

And a move to Paris Saint-Germain could be on the cards…

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARE MAMMOTH GUARDIOLA OFFER

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are trying to lure Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, according to the Express.

Amid uncertainty over Guardiola's future, the Ligue 1 holders are ready to make a huge offer to tempt the City manager to Paris.

Guardiola, whose side appear set to finish some distance behind Liverpool in the Premier League, has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, despite their appointment of Quique Setien this week.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Mirror, Premier League leaders Liverpool and rivals Chelsea will battle it out for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

- Juventus midfielder and former Liverpool star Emre Can is wanted by Everton, reports The Mirror. Can is out of favour in Turin and has been previously linked to Manchester United.

- Il Corriere dello Sport claims Sevilla want to sign Inter midfielder Matias Vecino, who appears destined to leave Milan ahead of Christian Eriksen's reported arrival from Tottenham.

- Speculation over Bruno Fernandes' future is set to drag on. Although he has been tipped to join United, Sporting CP and the Red Devils are reportedly miles apart in their valuations of the captain. While United want to bring in Fernandes this month, the Standard says they are threatening to abandon their pursuit over fears it could damage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's transfer plans at the end of the season. Over-paying for Fernandes has prompted concerns it could impact United's interest in Leicester City star James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho.

Real Madrid are unwilling to loan out James Rodriguez, with Marca reporting the LaLiga giants are only interested in selling the Colombia international.

Fernandinho's stoppage-time own goal gave Crystal Palace a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, while Wolves fought back from two down to beat Southampton and Norwich City claimed a huge Premier League win on Saturday.

Cenk Tosun's first Palace goal put the London club in front, but Aguero equalised with his 250th for City eight minutes from time before putting the second-placed champions in front at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side were unable to see it out, though, as Fernandinho turned the ball into his own net to leave City 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester United in one of their two games in hand on Sunday.

Resurgent Saints looked set to move into the top half when they were two up at St Mary's Stadium, but Raul Jimenez's double after a Pedro Neto strike moved Wolves up to sixth.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki scored the only goal against second-bottom Bournemouth, who had defender Steve Cook sent off for a spectacular save, while fellow strugglers Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.

John Fleck rescued a 1-1 draw for Sheffield United at Arsenal, while it was the same scoreline in the clash between David Moyes' West Ham and his former club Everton.

 

CITY SLIP UP DESPITE AGUERO BRACE 

Palace claimed a stunning 3-2 win at City last season and looked like picking up another three points until Aguero intervened with a late brace.

New boy Tosun headed the Eagles into a first-half lead with his first goal for the club, but the leading overseas scorer in Premier League history levelled to take his City tally to 250 and struck again with time running out.

VAR overturned a penalty decision after Jairo Riedewald was penalised for handball before Aguero equalised and there was more drama when Wilfried Zaha squared the ball, with Fernandinho turning it into his own net.

 

WOLVES BRING SAINTS BACK DOWN TO EARTH

Saints, on a high after five wins and a draw from their last six games, appeared to be making further strides up the table after Jan Bednarek and Shane Long put them in command at half-time.

But Wolves were transformed after the break, Neto giving them hope and the clinical making Jimenez no mistake from the penalty spot following a VAR intervention for Jack Stephens' challenge on Jonny.

Jimenez was on target again to win in 13 minutes from time, Adama Traore setting the striker up with his second assist, to give Wolves a first win in five in all competitions.

 

CHERRIES PAY THE PENALTY FOR IMPULSIVE COOK STOP

Norwich claimed their first top-flight win since November courtesy of a Pukki penalty as Bournemouth endured another miserable afternoon at Carrow Road.

Pukki converted from 12 yards 33 minutes in after Cherries defender Steve Cook made an acrobatic one-handed stop to keep out Kenny McLean's goal-bound shot.

Cook was given his matching orders and there was no way back for Bournemouth, who have picked up only four points from their last 12 games, as Norwich held on despite Ben Godfrey's dismissal 13 minutes from time.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lamented the poor defending that allowed Crystal Palace to escape with 2-2 draw after a thrilling finish at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts were behind for the bulk of the contest after Cenk Tosun's 39th minute opener but Sergio Aguero punctuated the frustration with his 250th goal in City colours eight minutes from time.

Aguero duly headed home Benjamin Mendy's cross to put Guardiola's men ahead but there was a sting in the tail and Wilfried Zaha tore past the timid efforts of John Stones and forced Fernandinho to put through his own goal.

"We have to avoid the mistake we have made on the second goal," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"Just do not allow Zaha to run, it’s that simple. And we allowed it.

"No [it was not a loss of concentration], it was a decision. Concentration was always there. We are going to solve it and improve it.

"In those positions we need to have the back four there and not let them run on this counter-attack."

Although he did not name the England international specifically, this felt like a damning indictment of Stones' efforts in what has been a difficult campaign for a centre-back frequently short of form and fitness.

At the end of his forlorn pursuit of Zaha, Stones appeared to jar a knee but Guardiola could not offer a fitness update.

"I didn't see the doctors. Now we are going to see," he said.

Champions City are 13 points behind leaders Liverpool having played two games more and Guardiola gave a weary response to a question over whether the title race was still alive – suggesting he might be better served preparing for his team's Tuesday assignment at Sheffield United as opposed to watching Manchester United's trip to Anfield on Sunday.

"I answered the question millions of times in the past few weeks," he added.

"Maybe I will watch it, maybe I will see Sheffield United. I don't know."

City thought they had a penalty at 1-0 down, only for referee Graham Scott to overturn his decision after a VAR review of the incident when Jairo Riedewald deflected Raheem Sterling's cross on to his own arm.

Guardiola said of the incident. "I don’t know the rule of the hands, honestly. It looks like hands, but…"

Pep Guardiola feels it is pointless rooting for Manchester United at Anfield this weekend given Liverpool's huge advantage over Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp's unbeaten Reds host United - the only side to take points off them in the Premier League this season - on Sunday in a blockbuster encounter that is sure to be of interest to fans across the world.

Those of a City persuasion are in the unenviable position of knowing a victory for their cross-city rivals would be beneficial to Guardiola's side.

Yet, given the Reds would still be 11 points clear with a game in hand if they lose and City beat Crystal Palace at home on Saturday, Guardiola sees little point in even paying attention to how Liverpool are faring.

Asked whether he would be supporting United on Sunday, Guardiola replied: "Being so far away from [Liverpool], I think it's not interesting to look a little bit [at] what Liverpool does.

"It's better to focus on what we can improve for the rest of this season in all competitions, in the Premier League as well, and prepare the next one."

While they have not been able to gain on Liverpool given the relentless pace of Klopp's men, City have enjoyed an upturn in recent weeks, winning nine of their previous 10 games in all competitions.

Guardiola, who is under contract at the Etihad Stadium until 2021, has already stated he would like to stay on next season and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss stressed the only way he could depart is if the club sack him.

"Unless they sack me, I'm going to stay another year here," he added.

"I don't have to announce, I have a contract. I'm going to stay, 100 per cent.

"[Unless] they don't like it and say, 'We want to change the manager.' But for sure 100 per cent I'm going to stay here next season, not because we won the last two games, or the last month we are playing a little bit better.

"Even if it was going bad or not qualifying for the Champions League, I'm not going to give up.

"The managers have good moments and bad moments, not all the managers win all the time. In the bad times we can say we are bad because we've lost some games so what can we do to get better? So, it's simple."

Pep Guardiola joked Roy Hodgson must get "bored at home" ahead of his next meeting with the veteran Crystal Palace manager.

Manchester City boss Guardiola turns 49 on Saturday, when the Premier League champions welcome Palace to the Etihad Stadium for a fixture the Eagles won 3-2 last season.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach was once again quick to voice his admiration for Hodgson, 72, who has made a successful return to top-flight management after his England tenure ended in 2016.

"Of course I admire him. It's incredible how he still has the patience to be a manager at his age," Guardiola told a pre-match news conference.

"It's incredible and he is doing really well. We cannot forget the situation when he took over when they had zero points and everyone considered them relegated.

"Instead of that, he did an incredible job and it is a pleasure and an honour for me every time I get to see him."

Guardiola, a famously intense presence at the training ground and in the dugout, does not envisage emulating Hodgson's longevity.

"I think when you are still training at 74 it is because you are bored at home," he chuckled.

"When you retire you have curiosity to do other things. The problem is when you have no interests to do anything else and you are at home doing nothing.

"If afterwards you want to enjoy other things, why should it be a problem? I am interested in other things and I think I am going to do them when I am not a manager, but I enjoy being a manager."

Guardiola reported Aymeric Laporte had enjoyed another encouraging week working with his team-mates as he closes in on a return from meniscus surgery.

Form and fitness problems mean John Stones has not been able to effectively step up in his fellow centre-back's absence, but the City manager joined his former assistant Mikel Arteta in shutting down talk that the England international could join Arsenal on loan.

"I am not going to talk in this period about the rumours, our players or other players," he added.

"We are linked so far with five million players we are going to buy.

"Don't ask about that because you know the answer."

Mikel Arteta has claimed there is "no truth" in speculation linking Arsenal with a move for Manchester City defender John Stones.

Injuries to Sead Kolasinac, Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin have left Arsenal short of numbers at the back.

Reports casting doubt over Stones' future at City have also emerged, with Arteta having been linked with a move for the England international, who he worked with for three-and-a-half years at City.

However, Arteta insisted there is little truth behind the speculation, despite acknowledging his admiration for Stones, who has not been a regular starter for City this season.

"Bad news for you guys I have nothing to say," Arteta told a news conference when asked if Arsenal were expecting any immediate incomings in the January transfer window.

"No, no truth at all," he added when pressed on the Stones reports, while the Gunners' coach also dismissed links with Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

"John is a player I really like. When I look at centre-backs he's got many attributes I like but I'm not looking at him."

Arteta did, however, confirm Arsenal are keen to bolster their squad this window if the right opportunity arises.

"It has to be the right player, in the right context, that financially, we can do and attract," he said. "All these factors, we put them together, it's not easy in this market. I have a [wishlist] yes. 

"We have a lot of injuries, it can happen, between December and January it's very common. We have to live with the situation, it's what we have. We have to put 11 players out on the pitch on Saturday. They will try their best and I will try my best to select the ones which are the best fit."

Arsenal will be without leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Saturday's clash with Sheffield United and subsequent meetings with Chelsea and Bournemouth – in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively – after the striker's three-match suspension for a red card against Crystal Palace was upheld.

It means much of the goal-scoring burden will be on Alexandre Lacazette, who has not found the net in a Premier League match since December 5.

"It's a concern for me if he is concerned about not scoring," said Arteta of Lacazette. "In terms of his performances, I'm really happy.

"You can give him confidence but the ball has to end up in the net. That's the best medicine."

Harry Kane may have suffered an untimely injury, but England boss Gareth Southgate could well be blessed with a wealth of attacking options heading into Euro 2020.

Kane's hamstring injury should not see him miss the European Championship, but it has handed plenty of England hopefuls the chance to prove their worth.

And it seems as though this season, the Premier League belongs to homegrown forwards.

Jamie Vardy – who has retired from international duty – leads the way with 17 goals, ahead of three players sharing second place in the scoring charts with 14: Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang is one of only four non-English players to take their place in the Premier League's list of leading scorers as things stand, along with Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Raheem Sterling, Tammy Abraham and Kane complete the top 10 and, using Opta data, we assess whether the 2019-20 Premier League campaign is an anomaly or the start of something new.

SIX OF THE BEST

Vardy's incredible form has been key to propelling Leicester City up the league, with Brendan Rodgers' side currently sitting third. 

The 33-year-old has 17 league goals to his name this season, though it is another Englishman who has been making the headlines recently – one who downed the Foxes last time out. 

Southampton's Ings has scored 10 goals in his past 11 top-flight appearances and is already the highest-scoring Southampton player in a single season since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14. 

Level with Ings is Manchester United's Rashford, who seems to have finally taken up the mantle as the Red Devils' talisman and has scored 19 times across all competitions, one less than England team-mate Sterling, who has 11 league goals. 

Chelsea's transfer ban in the off season handed Abraham the chance to shine, and shine he has, scoring 13 times in the top flight, two more than England captain Kane. 

It should also be noted the six leading English scorers all represent different clubs, showing that homegrown talent is shared across the league. 

THE NEXT GENERATION

Of the English players leading the way this season, two – Rashford and Abraham – are 22, while City sensation Sterling is only just 25.  

Indeed, only Vardy, of the English forwards in the top 10, is above the age of 30. 

After overcoming a glut of injury issues, Ings is finally hitting his stride once more, with Southampton the benefactors.  

But, with the 27-year-old averaging a goal every 109.8 minutes in the league – a figure bettered only by Vardy among the other English players – Ings must be in serious contention for a place in Southgate's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and Denmark. 

There is also plenty of potential for the future outside of the players in the top 10. After Sterling and Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the highest-scoring English player and the 22-year-old seems to be coming into his own for Everton. 

He has scored eight league goals and 10 in total across all competitions, while United's Mason Greenwood is the highest-scoring teenager in the competition. 

Away from the Premier League, Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho has been lighting up the Bundesliga since his move from City in 2017.

HISTORY SAYS...

Only twice in the past nine Premier League seasons has an English forward won the Golden Boot, with Tottenham star Kane doing so in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Last season, the award was shared between Mane, Salah and Aubameyang, though each only managed 22 goals – the lowest amount since Carlos Teves finished top of the charts with 20 in 2010-11.

Since the start of the previous decade there has been a steady increase in the number of English players finishing in double figures for the season, with five last term being the most. But with six players inside the top 10 – and Calvert-Lewin not far away – this season, 2019-20 is proving the best season for homegrown strikers in that timeframe.

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, it appears this could well be the season that kick-starts a new wave of English talent starring in the big time.

Christian Eriksen appears set to get his move away from Tottenham.

Out of contract at the end of the season, Eriksen has been keen to test himself elsewhere after moving to Spurs in 2013.

Inter look poised to bring the Denmark playmaker to Milan…

 

TOP STORY – INTER IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH SPURS OVER ERIKSEN

Inter have offered €10million (£8.5m) plus bonuses to Tottenham after agreeing personal terms with Spurs star Eriksen, claims Sky Sport Italia.

With Inter head coach Antonio Conte keen for midfield reinforcements and soon-to-be free agent Eriksen eyeing a new club, a transfer is reportedly on the horizon.

However, The Mirror reports that Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are ready to rival Inter for Eriksen.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sky Sports Germany, Paul Pogba is likely to leave Manchester United at the end of the season. Recovering from ankle surgery, Pogba continues to be linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

Manchester City will reject any bids for centre-back John Stones as Premier League rivals Arsenal circle, says the Daily Mail.

- Corriere dello Sport reports Matteo Politano and Leonardo Spinazzola are set to swap clubs. Inter winger Politano will join Roma, while full-back Spinazzola will move to the Nerazzurri.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio and Tuttomercatoweb, PSV are prepared to pay €6m for Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez.

- Globoesporte says LaLiga champions Barcelona are close to signing Palmeiras midfielder Matheus Fernandes.

Barcelona top the Deloitte Money League for the first time after also becoming the only club to break the €800million mark for revenue. 

The Camp Nou club generated €840.8m during the 2018-19 season, seeing them topple bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of Deloitte's table.

Barca finished ahead of Madrid by some distance, with Los Blancos bringing in €757.3m across the course of the campaign, though that was enough to keep them second and in front of Manchester United.

The Red Devils may have underwhelmed on the pitch in recent seasons, but they remain a major financial power, with revenues reaching €711.5m.

United are one of eight Premier League clubs in the top 20, with Manchester City (fifth), Liverpool (seventh), Tottenham (eighth), Chelsea (ninth), Arsenal (11th), West Ham (18th) and Everton (19th) joining them.

However, United could potentially slip next year due to a lack of Champions League action this term, with Bayern Munich (€660.1m) and Paris Saint-Germain (€635.9m) the biggest threats to knocking them out of the top three.

Deloitte also understand United are at risk of losing their status as the Premier League's highest revenue-generating club for the first time next year, with City and Liverpool very much on the rise.

Napoli and Lyon are the only new entrants to the top 20.

Bruno Fernandes is seemingly set for Manchester United, but just whether a deal can be done appears uncertain.

Fernandes, 25, has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford from Sporting CP in January.

But there are contrasting reports over the status of a potential deal as United look to strengthen amid an injury crisis.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD SET TO COMPLETE FERNANDES SIGNING

Manchester United are set to sign Fernandes for £60million (€70m) by the end of the week, according to The Sun.

However, the Daily Mail reports United are offering £50m (€58.4m) plus £10m (€11.7m) in add-ons and Sporting want £64m (€74.7m) up front.

Meanwhile, Fernandes has told Sporting he wants to make the move this month, according to The Telegraph, while reports in Portugal suggest Marcos Rojo could return to Lisbon as part of the deal.

ROUND-UP

- Inter and Tottenham started talks over Christian Eriksen on Monday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Serie A giants are reportedly hoping to land the midfielder for €10m (£8.6m) as his contract expires at the end of the season.

- John Stones has emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal. The Sun reports Mikel Arteta is targeting the Manchester City defender, even if it is a loan move. Stones has played just 10 Premier League games this season.

- With Harry Kane set to be sidelined until at least April, Tottenham are eyeing a forward. The Independent claims Milan's Krzysztof Piatek and Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani are options for Spurs this month.

- Another surprise target for Tottenham has emerged. Gazzetta dello Sport says Fernando Llorente could be set for a return to the Premier League club, having left at the end of last season and signed with Napoli.

- Inter are close to completing a deal for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud, according to the Daily Mail. The report says Giroud has already agreed personal terms with Inter, who are set to pay between €5.3m (£4.5m) and €7.6m (£6.5m) for the Frenchman.

- Moves are expected at San Siro this month and Gianluca Di Marzio understands Roma have entered the race for Inter's Matteo Politano following Nicolo Zaniolo's serious knee injury.

Jose Mourinho insisted he was "not jealous" of the squads assembled by Liverpool and Manchester City, saying Tottenham was a different job.

City are coming off back-to-back Premier League titles, while Liverpool are 14 points clear with a game in hand this season.

Mourinho was appointed Spurs head coach in November, and his side are battling in eighth in the table.

But the Portuguese tactician said they could not be compared to City and Liverpool, although he has no complaints.

"Come on, it is what it is. We cannot have a squad like some other teams. It's not us," Mourinho said.

"I was watching Man City [against Aston Villa] and I looked to the bench – [Raheem] Sterling, Bernardo Silva, [Ilkay] Gundogan, [Nicolas] Otamendi. You know?

"Liverpool, you see the team, you see the bench. And they have injured [Joel] Matip, [Dejan] Lovren, [Naby] Keita, Fabinho.

"I'm not jealous, I have an amazing job, but they are different jobs. This is a different club."

Mourinho suggested the job at Spurs was his most difficult since he was at Porto, where he took over in early 2002.

The former Real Madrid, Inter and Chelsea boss – who would lead Porto to Champions League glory in 2004 – said he had to reset at the Portuguese giants.

"It is the second time I get a team mid-season, just the second time," Mourinho said.

"The first time was also not easy because it was the end of a team, the end of an era. It was an era without titles.

"Porto was not winning but it was the end of... I don't want to say of a generation but it was the end of a team in the end of a season.

"Twelve players out, twelve players in, start everything from the beginning. Forget the good things of the past, forget the bad things of the past and let's build from new.

"That is my experience in Porto coming in the middle of the season."

Tottenham face Middlesbrough in an FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday.

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