Rumour Has It: Man Utd to beat Chelsea in Sancho race, Pochettino eyeing Red Devils job

By Sports Desk February 12, 2020

Manchester United or Chelsea?

The two Premier League giants are reportedly going head-to-head in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund teenager and England international Jadon Sancho.

And the Manchester club feel they can prise the 19-year-old to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BELIEVE THEY CAN PIP CHELSEA TO SANCHO

Manchester United are confident they will beat rivals Chelsea to the signing of in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, claims The Mirror.

Sancho is reportedly keen on returning to England, where the 19-year-old played for Manchester City's youth team before joining Bundesliga outfit Dortmund in 2017.

Dortmund are apparently willing to offload Sancho at the right price and Premier League giants United believe they can prise the England international to Old Trafford in a deal worth £120million (€142.5m).

 

ROUND-UP

- Will Mauricio Pochettino land at Old Trafford? According to journalist Duncan Castles, the former Tottenham manager is determined to take charge of United . His representatives are reportedly confident of convincing United's hierarchy that Pochettino is the right man for the job as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggles, with the Red Devils eighth in the Premier League.

- The Sun reports United are set for a double swoop to sign Aston Villa star Jack Grealish and Leicester City attacker James Maddison . Grealish has reportedly given the go-ahead for a move to Old Trafford, while Maddison has apparently been in talks over a contract extension with Leicester.

Marcelo Brozovic to Real Madrid? Mundo Deportivo says the Inter and Croatia international midfielder is wanted by the LaLiga giants. Madrid have also been linked to United's Paul Pogba and Ajax star Donny van de Beek

Barcelona have been told it will take €35m to sign Willian Jose from Real Sociedad, reports Marca. Barca are looking to strengthen their attack following long-term injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.

- According to The Express, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is plotting a £120m transfer spree at the end of the season. Benfica defender Ruben Dias is a target, as well as Norwich City's Max Aarons, Bournemouth centre-back Nathan Ake and Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell.

Stefano Pioli is contracted to Milan until 2021 but the head coach – who replaced Marco Giampaolo at the start of the campaign – is no certainty to continue beyond this season. According to Calciomercato, Elliott Management want Ralf Rangnick but Paolo Maldini is reportedly pushing for former Milan striker and current Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko.

- Football Insider claims Liverpool are set to offer star defender Virgil van Dijk a new £50m deal amid reported interest from Serie A champions Juventus.

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  • Man Utd boss Solskjaer says no quick fixes for Red Devils in transfer market Man Utd boss Solskjaer says no quick fixes for Red Devils in transfer market

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted the Premier League giants only sign players that fit the club's long-term strategy amid ongoing transfer links.

    With the January transfer window open, United have once again been linked to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Bayern Munich's soon-to-be free agent David Alaba and Lens defender Facundo Medina among others.

    During the previous window, United signed 33-year-old forward Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and teenage sensation Amad Diallo – who arrived from Atalanta this month.

    As United eye their first Premier League title since 2012-13, Solskjaer discussed the club's transfer plans.

    "Whenever you get the chance to speak to players or learn about their personalities, what you get through a chat when you've been put together, that is very important," Solskjaer said ahead of Wednesday's trip to Fulham.

    "And of course, we've been here, we know where we want to get to at Manchester United. Do you want to be part of bringing us back to the successful times - that's always been one of the topics that we've discussed.

    "We're not here for a quick fix, we have players who have a long-term role to play. Even if it's, say Edinson [Cavani] coming in at the age of 33, he still has a part-long term by who he is, and how he comes in and what he does to the club and to the players."

    United are second in the Premier League but can reclaim their two-point lead atop the table with victory at Fulham midweek.

    Solskjaer's United are unbeaten in their last 16 Premier League away games. In their top-flight history, they have only once gone longer without defeat on the road – 17 matches between December 1998-September 1999.

    Luke Shaw has played a key role for United following his man-of-the-match display in Sunday's 0-0 draw against defending champions Liverpool at Anfield.

    Form and fitness have hampered Shaw since his big-money arrival from Southampton in 2014, but the 25-year-old full-back is returning to his consistent best.

    "Luke has immense quality," Solskjaer said. "He has a very good technique, good quality. You see against Liverpool, he takes the ball and drives forward, that is something that I have pushed him more to do because we know he can do it.

    "It is generally down to the boy himself, mentally he is very good at the moment, he has become a dad. He is physically very good, his fitness is so much better and he keeps beating his high-intensity stats and his total distance stats. He has been consistently up there with what a full-back should be doing.

    "When you have the talent of Luke, when that fitness and the mental bit is sorted then you are always going to get good performances."

    United are the only side without an away defeat in the Premier League this season (W7 D2), while the Red Devils have picked up the most points (23) and scored the most goals (22) on the road in the competition this term.

    The Manchester team are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games against promoted sides (W6 D2), scoring 25 goals in those games since a 2-0 loss to Cardiff City in May 2019.

    Meanwhile, of all clubs to have played more than two Premier League games on Wednesdays, United have the highest win rate (62 per cent - 70/113).

  • Who wouldn't want to coach Mbappe? – Pochettino hails PSG star but dismisses Messi talk Who wouldn't want to coach Mbappe? – Pochettino hails PSG star but dismisses Messi talk

    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Kylian Mbappe amid doubts over his future with the Ligue 1 champions, though he was reluctant to discuss Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

    Mbappe has been tipped to join LaLiga champions Real Madrid, but PSG remain committed to trying to re-sign the star forward – who is out of contract in 2022.

    The 22-year-old has gone four matches without a goal, while he has managed just two goals in his last eight appearances for league leaders PSG.

    Pochettino was asked about the possible renewal of World Cup winner Mbappe, who has scored 12 goals in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this term and 14 across all competitions.

    "The club are working on retaining the best and he has a huge future ahead of him," Pochettino – who was absent from the win over Angers due to coronavirus – told Cadena SER's El Larguero programme. 

    "What coach wouldn't want to work with Mbappe?".

    Asked about Mbappe and Neymar after replacing Thomas Tuchel at the start of January, former Tottenham boss Pochettino added: "They've both welcomed me and are open to a new footballing proposition and I can only thank them for the warm reception."

    Barca captain Messi has been heavily linked with a move to PSG as he prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

    Messi has entered the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou and PSG sporting director Leonardo admitted the club are keeping a close eye on the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    Premier League giants Manchester City have also emerged as a destination for Messi, while Serie A side Inter are believed to be interested.

    But Pochettino refused to give much away when quizzed on Messi, saying: "To be honest, I haven't had time to sit with the president and talk about the transfer market as we're just focused on the present. So many times, a throwaway phrase can be twisted and used out of context."

    When it was put to him that PSG are monitoring Messi, Pochettino replied: "No comment. When I was at Espanyol or Southampton, my dream was to have the best players at the club and Messi came close to being loaned out to Espanyol… The deal was well advanced but he delivered a great display in pre-season and that was the end of that.

    "We've met over the years in places such as London or in Italy. We both share the love for Newell's, as we both came through their academy and that is our common bond."

    "I'm aware of all that is going on. I've been watching everyone from West Ham to Valladolid and these days you need to keep your eyes on every team," Pochettino added ahead of PSG's clash with Montpellier on Friday. "I really don't want to talk about Messi as everything then gets blown out of proportion."

  • Roma to 'discuss' error after too many substitutions in comical Coppa Italia exit Roma to 'discuss' error after too many substitutions in comical Coppa Italia exit

    Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca said the club will discuss the error made in the Coppa Italia upset against Spezia after the club used six substitutes.

    Spezia shocked Roma 4-2 after extra time in the Italian capital, where Fonseca's side capitulated and sensationally made one substitution too many in the last 16 on Tuesday.

    Roma would have been eliminated by default even if they won at home to Spezia after Fonseca introduced Ibanez for Pedro in extra time, having already made five changes to his line-up.

    Fonseca's Roma believed they could use six substitutes – an additional change in extra time as seen in cup competitions – but that was not the case in the Coppa Italia.

    Asked about the mistake at Stadio Olimpico, under-fire boss Fonseca – who oversaw a humiliating 3-0 derby loss to Lazio in Serie A on Friday – said post-match: "If there is an issue, we have time to discuss that internally. If there is."

    Fonseca was looking to bolster his defence after centre-back Gianluca Mancini was shown a second yellow card in the 91st minute, and goalkeeper Pau Lopez saw red just seconds later.

    With Roma down to nine men, Spezia capitalised on their numerical advantage as Riccardo Saponara and Daniele Verde struck in extra time.

    Roma had rallied from 2-0 down inside 15 minutes to force extra time via Lorenzo Pellegrini's 43rd-minute penalty and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's fine finish with 17 minutes remaining.

    Hosts Roma conceded two goals during the first 15 minutes of play, in all competitions, for the first time since January 2020 as they were eliminated in the Coppa Italia round of 16 for just the third time in the last 20 seasons – twice against Spezia.

    It was also the first time since 2015-16 that Roma played extra time in the Coppa Italia.

    "We had a bad start to the game; the penalty, and then another moment that's hard to really understand," Fonseca said. "But the team responded, they played well, they created chances and it could have been a different result.

    "We missed so many chances and so then, with two men sent off, it all became much harder."

    "It's a tough moment. We wanted to go further in the cup, but I can't say anything bad about the attitude of the players. We have to now focus on the next game," Fonseca continued.

    Pressure is mounting on Fonseca, who was appointed in 2019, but the Portuguese tactician said: "My future has been up for discussion ever since I got here. I am encouraged by the position we have in the league right now – it's where we want to be – and I have confidence in my team. But when we don't win I am always being discussed. I have to stay focused on my job."

    Roma – winless in three matches across all competitions having conceded nine goals – are fourth in Serie A, nine points behind leaders Milan through 18 games.

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