Murmurs about Pep Guardiola's potential departure from Manchester City are not going away.

Recent reports have suggested the successful Catalan could look to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

It now appears Guardiola has the power to make that happen.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA'S ESCAPE ROUTE

An exit clause in the contract Guardiola signed last year gives the two-time Premier League winner the chance to leave City at the conclusion of the campaign, reports the Daily Mail.

Guardiola's deal, which he renewed in May 2018, runs through to 2021, but it seems he will have a decision to make when the club's title defence comes to a close.

City have formulated contingency plans, according to the report, and are "known to be admirers" of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Guardiola, 48, has been linked with a return to Bayern Munich but last month said he was "open" to signing another contract extension with City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United missed out on Liverpool-bound Takumi Minamino because the Old Trafford club were unaware of a £7.25million exit clause in the winger's Salzburg contract, says the Mirror.

- Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund want to keep Jadon Sancho in January but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United are confident of pushing through a transfer for the England international, claims the Mirror.

- Inter are monitoring Argentine attacking midfielder Rodrigo De Paul but are not prepared to meet Udinese's €35m asking price, according to CalcioMercato.

- Carlo Ancelotti is set to fly to London for talks with Everton as the managerless Merseysiders look to beat Arsenal to the ex-Napoli boss, says the Sun.

- Ivan Rakitic appears set to stay at Barcelona after all. The midfielder wants to continue at Camp Nou after breaking back into the starting XI over the past four matches, reports Marca.

Gennaro Gattuso will need to get the fans onside if he is to be a success at Napoli, according to former midfielder Massimo Crippa.

Napoli sacked Carlo Ancelotti after Tuesday's 4-0 win over Genk secured their passage into the last 16 of the Champions League, the 60-year-old paying the price for a string of poor results and discord between the players and president Aurelio De Laurentiis

Former Milan boss Gattuso was confirmed as the successor to Ancelotti – who he won two Champions League titles under as a Rossoneri player – at a news conference on Wednesday.

Gattuso had been out of work since leaving Milan at the end of last season after they missed out on Champions League qualification.

The 41-year-old outlined his ambition to steer the team from seventh in Serie A into the top four, and Crippa – part of the Napoli team that won the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Scudetto the following year – thinks he will need to turn things around quickly if he is to last at the San Paolo.

"Rino [Gattuso] worked really well at Milan. He had a squad that wasn't at the same level as the club's reputation," Crippa told Omnisport.

"You cannot appoint Gattuso and sack Ancelotti without clear ideas about the future.

"We have to remember Gattuso is a Milan legend. Napoli fans can forgive anything but if you don't do well..."

Gattuso will hope to end Napoli's seven-game winless run in Serie A when they entertain Parma on Saturday.

Freddie Ljungberg has insisted he has not had any say on who will take over as Arsenal's next permanent head coach.

Ljungberg has been in charge for Arsenal's last three matches on an interim basis following the sacking of Unai Emery, celebrating his first win on Monday as the Gunners rallied to beat West Ham.

The 42-year-old is reportedly in contention to stay at the helm until the end of the season while the club continue their search for Emery's successor.

Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira and Massimiliano Allegri have been linked, while Carlo Ancelotti is also said to be in the running after the Italian was sacked by Napoli on Tuesday.

However, Ljungberg has not held talks with Arsenal chiefs over the vacant position and reiterated he is only focused on Thursday's Europa League clash with Standard Liege.

"It's not a conversation I've had with the bosses," he said at Wednesday's pre-match news conference. "My job is to go from game to game. All of those decisions are up to the top dogs."

Asked specifically if Ancelotti would be a good choice to take over at Emirates Stadium, Ljungberg said: "I've been asked questions like this a lot since I took over.

"I just try to concentrate on my job, which is to win football games and get better. Who they choose it is totally up to them and I stay out of it."

Arsenal ended a nine-match winless run with their 3-1 comeback victory at the London Stadium, which Ljungberg is hopeful will give his players some confidence.

"It does a lot of good when you haven't won for a long time," he said. "For me it's about how we won the game. We kept the ball well. West Ham couldn't get a hold of the ball.

"Everybody was in the dressing room after the game except the owner. They were very happy with the result and the victory.

"You can see players do things in training that aren't a problem but they can't in a game situation. You have to work on it, relax and be brave."

Ljungberg has named a young squad for Thursday's final Group F clash in Belgium, with Arsenal simply needing to avoid a 5-0 defeat to advance through to the last 32.

Despite being without a number of first-team players, including Kieran Tierney following news he is to spend another spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Ljungberg has confidence in his travelling group.

"We have a few injuries. We've played a lot of games lately and have another game on Sunday," he said. "We brought a lot of firepower here. 

"We have younger players that played in the group stages. It's a big game and we're here to get a result. We have a lot of respect for the opponents.

"We play a lot of games. Sometimes we have to change. We have a lot of respect for the game. We don't take it lightly. We want to win and get a result."

Gennaro Gattuso has taken over from Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli but received advice from the former head coach on how to turn their fortunes around.

Ancelotti was sacked in the hours following Tuesday's 4-0 win over Genk that secured progression to the Champions League last 16, his position having come under intense scrutiny amid poor form and a reported rift between the players and president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Napoli announced Gattuso as their new boss on Wednesday, and the 41-year-old made sure to reach out to Ancelotti – who he won two Champions League titles under as a Milan player – before he was presented to the media.

"We spoke this morning, even though I wanted to talk to him last night. These days were not easy. I knew I had to clarify things with him and explain my decision," said Gattuso, who had been out of work since leaving Milan in May after failing to secure Champions League qualification.

"I grew up with Ancelotti - we won so much together. Six years ago, I started coaching and when I had difficulties I called him; he always made himself available and was always very kind.

"He confirmed that today. He told me where the team can improve and once again showed himself to be a great man.

"He was very open, we talked and I keep that to myself. It was very, very important for me to hear what he said.

"But don't compare us. He won everything, I am a young coach and I have to show a lot more. I hope to win 10 per cent of what he won."

Asked about the length of the contract he signed, with the club having provided no details, Gattuso added: "You make me laugh when you ask these questions. Whether I have six months or an option, it doesn't matter, because our jobs are tied to results.

"If the president had offered me only six months, I would've taken that too because this is a huge opportunity. It feels like these players are made for my style of football."

Disharmony between the players and De Laurentiis appeared to reach a head last month when the first-team squad apparently refused to attend a week-long training camp.

The club suggested in a statement that they could punish players, possibly with fines, promising to do "everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests".

Gattuso sounded keen to offer a clean slate to the squad as he outlined his aim to lift them from seventh in Serie A into the Champions League qualifying spots.

"Some things didn't work out [under Ancelotti], but I wasn't here when those happened, so I don't want to be told who did and said what. I like to experience them for myself," said Gattuso.

"Bitterness and personal issues won't get us anywhere. We have to get Napoli back to where it belongs.

"It's a big difference between fourth and fifth place in terms of the financial benefits. Seeing this team in seventh is a little embarrassing.

"The team is well aware that the performances have not been the best, but yes, our objective is to reach the Champions League. I missed out last season with Milan by a point, but this team has everything it takes to achieve that."

Gennaro Gattuso has been appointed the new head coach of Napoli, the Serie A club have confirmed.

The former Milan coach and midfielder takes charge at the San Paolo following Tuesday's dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti.

Gattuso twice won the Champions League as a player under Ancelotti in a hugely successful spell with Milan.

Ancelotti's exit was announced just hours after Napoli's 4-0 win over Genk secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Their success in Europe has belied a mostly troubling few months, marred by poor domestic form and disputes within the club.

Napoli are seventh in Serie A, with just five wins from 15 games leaving them 17 points adrift of leaders Inter.

Disharmony between the players and president Aurelio De Laurentiis appeared to reach a head last month when the first-team squad apparently refused to attend a week-long training camp.

The club suggested in a statement that it could punish players, possibly with fines, promising to do "everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests".

Tuesday's win over Genk was Napoli's first since a 3-2 victory away to Salzburg on October 23, their nine-game winless run piling greater pressure on Ancelotti.

The 60-year-old former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid boss has been linked with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Everton.

"I would like to personally thank the club, its employees, my players, my staff and the president for the opportunity to live an unforgettable experience in a wonderful city such as Naples," Ancelotti tweeted on Wednesday.

Gattuso, 41, took over as Milan coach following Vincenzo Montella's dismissal in November 2017, but he left his post at the end of last season after failing to secure Champions League qualification.

A host of Napoli players have paid tribute to Carlo Ancelotti following his sacking, with the Italian lauded as a "special person" by Lorenzo Insigne and others.

Ancelotti was dismissed on Tuesday despite guiding Napoli to a 4-0 win over Genk earlier in the day, securing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

It has been a difficult first half of the season for Napoli, with underwhelming league form combining with tension between Ancelotti and the club's hierarchy.

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis was reported to have ordered Ancelotti and the players to attend a training retreat in early November, but the squad failed to show up in what was deemed by the Italian media to be an act of open rebellion.

Napoli threatened sanctions in the wake of that situation and Ancelotti's days seemed to be numbered from then, with Tuesday's win over Genk their first win in any competition in well over a month.

After Napoli confirmed Ancelotti had been dismissed following a meeting with De Laurentiis, it seems he has retained the respect of the players.

Club captain Insigne – who acknowledged an up-and-down relationship with Ancelotti in October – wrote on his Instagram account: "Thank you boss - it was an honour to have worked with you and your staff. In these two years I met a special person. I wish you the best!"

Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz has developed into an important player for Napoli and Spain under Ancelotti. He also saluted the three-time Champions League-winning coach.

"Boss, thanks for everything you did," he wrote. "You have been a special person for me, I wish you the best, wherever you go you deserve the best. A big hug and good luck."

Allan added: "You were a special person, much more than a coach... I thank you for everything you've done in almost two years together... I wish you and all the staff good luck."

Kostas Manolas, Arkadiusz Milik, Kalidou Koulibaly and Hirving Lozano were among the others to post their thanks to Ancelotti, who has been strongly linked with the vacant managerial positions at Premier League duo Arsenal and Everton.

Gennaro Gattuso is expected to be announced as Ancelotti's successor on Wednesday.

Everton are set to make the first move for Carlo Ancelotti.

The Toffees will reportedly begin talks with the Italian following his departure from Napoli on Tuesday.

Ancelotti was sacked three hours after a 4-0 win over Genk, which confirmed the Serie A club's place in the Champions League knockout rounds.

 

TOP STORY – EVERTON TO RIVAL ARSENAL FOR ANCELOTTI

Everton will waste no time in opening contract talks with free agent Ancelotti in the wake of his Napoli exit, according to Sky Sports.

Managerless Arsenal are also said to be considering the 60-year-old former Chelsea, Milan and Real Madrid boss as a possible replacement for Unai Emery.

But the Toffees could get the jump on their Premier League rivals after Shanghai SIPG's Vitor Pereira pulled out of the race to succeed Marco Silva, although David Moyes reportedly remains an option to take charge on an interim basis.

Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a coach and secured league titles in England, France, Germany and Italy.

ROUND-UP

- Napoli could announce the appointment of Gennaro Gattuso on a short-term contract as soon as Wednesday, according to CalcioMercato.

- Ex-Everton manager Moyes and former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton are in line to replace Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham if the Hammers lose to Southampton on Saturday, says The Mirror.

- Manchester United are considering Ajax's Donny van de Beek and Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid as they prepare for Paul Pogba's end-of-season exit, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily Mail also claims Leicester City have opened contract talks with rumoured Manchester City target Caglar Soyuncu, who has been in good form this season.

- Barcelona have cooled their interest in Lautaro Martinez due to Inter's demand for €100million, according to ESPN.

Frank Lampard backed Carlo Ancelotti to bounce back at the top level after Napoli sacked the experienced Italian on Tuesday.

Ancelotti was dismissed three hours after leading the club to a 4-0 victory over Genk, which confirmed their place in the Champions League knockout rounds.

Poor results in Serie A and rumours of discontent at Stadio San Paolo had placed pressure on the ex-Milan head coach for a number of weeks.

Links to the vacant posts at Everton and Arsenal have already emerged and Blues boss Lampard, who played under Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge, suggested the 60-year-old would have no trouble finding another high-profile position.

"I have huge respect for him, I am very sorry for him," Lampard said after Chelsea's win over Lille.

"I know it was a tough job for him lately. I saw his interview before the game and I thought it was a very typically classy interview in what seemed a very tough time for him. He always handles himself brilliantly.

"I think he can work anywhere in the world at the top level, of course."

Ancelotti is a three-time Champions League winner as a coach and boasts league titles in Italy, Germany, France and England, but his most recent jobs have produced mixed results.

He spent just over 18 months in charge of Napoli and leaves with the club sitting seventh in Serie A.

Former Partenopei player Jorginho said: "I didn't know about it. I'm really sorry. I never met him but I heard a lot of good things about him from my former team-mates.

"They told me he is a great man and manager. I'm sorry for everything that is happening in Napoli. It's a difficult moment for them.

"I hope that they will be back at the top as they were for years until this bad moment. I'm really surprised. I was not expecting Napoli [to have] trouble and I'm sorry, because I'll always love Napoli."

Napoli are expected to name Gennaro Gattuso as Ancelotti's replacement.

Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Napoli despite steering the Serie A club into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Napoli despite steering the Serie A club into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out resigning but the Napoli coach is set for talks over his future at the club with president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

A 4-0 home defeat of Genk ensured Napoli progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday, reaching that stage of the competition for the first time since 2016-17.

Arkadiusz Milik's hat-trick in the first half helped ensure the Partenopei finished second in Group E behind Liverpool and ended their nine-game run without a win in all competitions.

Ex-Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso continues to be linked with taking charge of Napoli, but Ancelotti wants to still be in the dugout when his side face Parma in Serie A at the weekend.

"I hope so," Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia when asked if he would be in his job for Saturday's game.

"It's something I have to evaluate with the president and we will meet tomorrow. I don't know anything about contact with other coaches, we just focused on the game.

"Tomorrow there will be a meeting agreed by mutual consent to evaluate the situation as it stands right now.

"I have never resigned in my life and I never will. This team has quality and proved that in the Champions League, whereas we haven't been able to yet in Serie A."

Ancelotti accepts poor form has made speculation over his future inevitable, but he does not believe the situation at Napoli is similar to when he was sacked by Bayern Munich.

"It was different in Munich, as there was a clash above all with the club," he added. "I thought there was the need for a generational change and clashed with some players.

"The situation here is that the team has not been able to express its full value, but there were no clashes, aside from isolated incidents that happen everywhere. It's completely different.

"It is natural to be put under the spotlight and I must be judged on what I am doing, in which case the results are not satisfying.

"We want to improve our Serie A status, so I hope this Champions League qualification can take some of the pressure off, as the team is playing with a weight on its shoulders."

With Neymar's future far from certain, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning for life without the star forward.

Neymar appears to covet a Barcelona reunion, after leaving the LaLiga champions two years ago.

Should Neymar's wish be granted, an African sensation lighting up Anfield is said to be on the agenda.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR OUT, MANE IN

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want Liverpool star Sadio Mane to replace Neymar, report France Football and Mundo Deportivo.

PSG star Neymar wanted to leave Paris during the previous transfer window, but a proposed return to Barcelona did not materialise.

Doubts remain over Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a €222million transfer in 2017 – and the French powerhouse are said to have identified Mane should the Brazilian depart the capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Napoli have agreed a deal for former Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso to replace head coach Carlo Ancelotti. It comes with Ancelotti on the brink amid a nine-match winless streak ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League clash against Genk.

Manchester City are set to rival Chelsea for Bournemouth's Nathan Ake, says Sky Sports. Chelsea want to bring Ake back to Stamford Bridge following his exit in 2017. However, Premier League champions City are reportedly interested amid their defensive woes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been offered an 18-month contract by Napoli, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The 38-year-old is a free agent after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy and he has been linked to Milan and Inter.

- Sport claims Inter want to sign either Ivan Rakitic or Arturo Vidal from Barcelona in January. Antonio Conte is determined to bolster his squad as Inter challenge for Scudetto honours and juggle Champions League commitments. Rakitic has also been linked to Serie A holders Juventus.

Everton hope to have Vitor Pereira installed as manager for Sunday's Premier League fixture at Manchester United, according to Sky Sports. After sacking Marco Silva, the Toffees are ready to offer the Shanghai SIPG coach a three-year deal. It comes as Sky Sports also reports former Arsenal boss Unai Emery was approached about the Everton job.

- The Mirror says Manchester United are ready to show their faith in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by backing him in moves for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez and Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland. The spotlight was on Solskjaer following a poor run of form and Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham exit. However, the Norwegian has overseen consecutive victories over Tottenham and Manchester City.

Bayern Munich and Manchester City are monitoring the progress of Rangers teenager Kai Kennedy, says the Daily Record.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be joining Bologna, according to the club's director Walter Sabatini.

Ibrahimovic had been linked with a return to Serie A via Bologna after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy at the end of his contract.

But the 38-year-old striker will not be moving to Bologna amid speculation over a switch to either Napoli or former club Milan.

"Ibrahimovic will not be coming to Bologna. He has made other choices," Sabatini told Tuttomercatoweb.

A return to Milan has been mooted for Ibrahimovic, who won the 2011 Scudetto during his two years at San Siro.

Italian rivals Napoli, however, have reportedly offered the ex-Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain star an 18-month contract.

Asked about Ibrahimovic on the eve of Napoli's Champions League clash with Genk, head coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters on Monday: "I haven't spoken to Ibra today but I did yesterday [Sunday] evening."

"He told me he is in Los Angeles at the moment," added Ancelotti. "He feels really good and weather conditions are just perfect there."

Carlo Ancelotti says he is "not scared" by the thought of being sacked as Napoli coach amid claims Gennaro Gattuso has already been lined up to replace him.

Napoli have endured a turbulent campaign and are on a nine-match run without a victory since beating Salzburg on October 23, drawing seven of those games.

Reports in Italy suggest former Milan head coach Gattuso – who played under Ancelotti with the Rossoneri – could be appointed as early as Wednesday, with Napoli chiefs running out of patience in the experienced tactician.

The 60-year-old accepts questions will be asked on the back of a poor run of form and is "ready" for his bosses to pull the trigger.

"The suitcase of a coach is always ready, you can never unpack it," he said at his pre-match news conference on Monday ahead of the Champions League clash with Genk.

"I think that for a coach to be questioned in this kind of situation is completely normal. I'm ready. It's an experience I've already experienced in the past.

"It doesn't scare me and it doesn't worry me that the club could sack me or that I could leave."

Napoli are seventh in Serie A, eight points adrift of the top four, but can guarantee a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a point at home to Genk on Tuesday.

They are unbeaten in five Group E matches, taking four points off reigning European champions Liverpool along the way, and Ancelotti wants his side to carry that form into domestic matches.

"I can't pretend - the team doesn't give what it could give," he added.

"In Europe, we have seen another Napoli, the one I would like to see in the league as well. I am looking for solutions to get out of this difficult period.

"The team is worried because of what they cannot do. They gave the best of themselves against Liverpool, when the weight of responsibility was less.

"I have the feeling that tomorrow [Tuesday] we will have a great game and we will go into the next round and hopefully in first place."

Erling Haaland is sought after across Europe and it seems Juventus have made the first move.

Haaland, 19, has already scored 28 goals in 21 games for Salzburg this season, including eight in the Champions League.

The Norway forward is attracting interest from the world's biggest clubs and Juventus are not prepared to wait around.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS OFFER HAALAND €3M PER SEASON

Juventus have offered Haaland €3million per season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Haaland has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund among others.

Juve may be looking to add some youth to their attack, with Cristiano Ronaldo (34) and Gonzalo Higuain (31) in their 30s and Mario Mandzukic (33) out of favour.

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal are still looking for a replacement for Unai Emery. Former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac wants the job, according to Goal, while the Daily Express reports there is a tug of war between the Premier League club and Manchester City over Mikel Arteta, who is an assistant at the Etihad Stadium.

- A 1-1 draw at Udinese on Saturday left Napoli winless in nine matches, further increasing the pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti. CalcioMercato reports a lack of good options to replace Ancelotti have bought the Italian more time, but Napoli must beat Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

- At Everton, Shanghai SIPG coach Vitor Pereira is the favourite to be named Marco Silva's successor, according to the Daily Mail. David Moyes and Eddie Howe are reportedly the other leading candidates.

- Chris Smalling has impressed while on loan at Roma. Now, Inter and Juventus have joined Roma in wanting to sign the defender permanently from Manchester United, according to Sport Witness.

- Seemingly no longer in Chelsea's plans, Pedro could be set to leave Stamford Bridge. The Daily Mail reports Aston Villa are ready to offer the Spanish forward a way out of the club.

- Inter are interested in Parma midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, who is on loan from Atalanta, according to CalcioMercato.

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