Martin Odegaard is enjoying a stellar season at Real Sociedad.

On loan from Real Madrid, Odegaard's starring performances are attracting interest from across Europe.

A Norwegian connection at Manchester United could see Odegaard move to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT ODEGAARD

Manchester United have joined the race to sign in-form Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, according to The Sun.

Odegaard is currently on loan at LaLiga side Real Sociedad, where the 20-year-old has scored two goals and supplied two assists this term.

The Norway international, who joined Madrid from Stromsgodset in 2015 but only has two appearances to his name for the Spanish giants, has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester CityLiverpool and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to leave struggling Tottenham. It comes after Spurs' season hit a new low following Tuesday's embarrassing 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been linked to the London club.

- As doubts grow over Pochettino, The Sun claims ex-Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will wait until the end of the season before taking a Premier League job. Allegri, who left Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19, has emerged as a possible target for Tottenham and United.

Arsenal have the chance to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano for £53million (€59.4m) at the end of the season, claims L'Equipe. The Gunners were heavily linked to the 20-year-old during the recent transfer window and they could return for the defender, whose release clause is reportedly set to drop.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Birmingham teenager Jude Bellingham, says The Sun. The 16-year-old has impressed in the Championship this season with two goals in six matches. Bundesliga champions Bayern have an eye on English talent following their unsuccessful pursuit of Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

- Sport Bild claims Bayern will "resume talks with Leroy Sane's management in the coming weeks". The Manchester City star was targeted by the German giants before suffering a serious ligament injury in the Community Shield.

- According to Calciomercato, Juventus are hoping to agree a new deal with midfielder Blaise Matuidi. The Frenchman, who was linked with a move away before the transfer window closed, is out of contract at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Juve boss Maurizio Sarri is keen on reuniting with Chelsea star N'Golo Kante.

Inter are set to launch a shock January move for Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez, says Calciomercato. Antonio Conte's list of attacking options to add to Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez reportedly includes Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic, Udinese's Kevin Lasagna and Andrea Petagna of SPAL.

Manchester United's pursuit of a late second goal against Arsenal was a good reflection of their attempt to appoint a director of football. You just knew they weren't going to get it.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United have scored twice or more in just one of their past 15 matches in all competitions, a stat that grows more worrying with every passing minute.

Against Arsenal, the image of Solskjaer berating Andreas Pereira for not sticking to the right flank was a fitting one for his time in charge. Trying to force a limited central midfielder to play as a winger seemed less a square peg in a round hole and more a two-by-four thrust into a dental cavity - and no less painful to experience.

Axel Tuanzebe as de facto left-back was not much better, nor was the persistence with Jesse Lingard as the roving number 10, a man whose Premier League goals and assists columns for 2019 show zero and whose confidence level is even lower.

It's starting to look like Solskjaer, too, is the wrong choice for United manager. The solution? Make him the new Head of Football instead.

For the past year, United have allegedly been drawing up a list of candidates for the director-of-football-type-role and still got nowhere near actually hiring someone. The names linked have ranged from people experienced in the line of work, like Norwich City's Stuart Webber and Paul Mitchell of RB Leipzig, to those with a stronger affinity for United and the brand, such as assistant manager Mike Phelan and former stars Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher.

Still, in a conference call with investors last week – money is still not a concern, as record revenues show – executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hinted at some progress: the job at least has a name.

"Regarding the speculation around the Head of Football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side," he said. "Much of the speculation around this type of role revolves around recruitment - an area that we've evolved in recent years.

"As we've already mentioned, we feel the players we've signed in the summer demonstrate this approach is the right one."

So, no nearer an appointment. But, as Woodward intimated, the right man is already at Old Trafford. He's just in the wrong job.

United's three major signings of the window - Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James - were prudent bits of business that improved the squad and pointed to a longer-term vision for recruitment. United have not been able to say all that in the same breath since Alex Ferguson left six years ago.

While the transfer talks were handled by Matt Judge, United's chief negotiator, these were Solskjaer's signings, recommended by Solskjaer, to be implemented into Solskjaer's reconstruction of the first team. Discussions about January incomings are already underway, but nobody will join unless they fit Solskjaer's ethos of what constitutes a Manchester United player.

Solskjaer, in this way, is shaping United transfer policy with greater guile than David Moyes, Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho. Crucially, Woodward is buying into it. The onus is not on quick-fixes or names who carry obvious commercial appeal but on bringing in players to fit a footballing policy and removing those who don't. Solskjaer deserves credit for that. It's what a good director of football does.

Beyond the transfers, Solskjaer is relaying the path from youth ranks to first team. In July, his old team-mate Nicky Butt was moved into a new role, Head of First Team Development, to work specifically with the manager in identifying youngsters ready for first-team exposure and facilitating their move into the senior picture. The academy itself is now run by Nick Cox, formerly of Sheffield United and, interestingly, a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University's Master of Sport Directorship course.

This reshaping of the academy, which started before Solskjaer's appointment as permanent manager but has been accelerated since, is bearing fruit in Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Brandon Williams, James Garner and Tuanzebe, all of whom are in the squad for Thursday's Europa League trip to AZ. Will they radically change United's fortunes this year? Probably not. But they are United boys, they fit the Solskjaer ethos, and they deserve their chance to try.

Games like the Arsenal draw highlight Solskjaer's managerial shortcomings. He does not look like an elite-level coach who can coax the best from the talent at his disposal or produce tactical masterplans to flummox the finest opposition (which Arsenal are not). United should already be looking to hire someone who can do those things while letting Solskjaer continue the development of the club framework from a position upstairs.

Solskjaer 'gets' United: their history, their expectations, the demand for style and substance and the players needed to fulfil those requirements. He gets the importance of the academy and how to build bridges to the first team. He gets the importance of singlemindedness in the transfer window and has shown he can deliver the right signings. He should get the Head of Football job.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp warned that Jamie Vardy will run riot for Leicester City at Anfield if the Reds defend like they did in the seven-goal Champions League thriller against Salzburg.

Champions League holders Liverpool surrendered a three-goal lead before eventually overcoming Salzburg 4-3 in Group E on Wednesday.

Liverpool, who lost to Napoli on matchday one, cruised into a 3-0 lead by the 36th-minute mark thanks to Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah.

However, Austrian visitors Salzburg scored three unanswered goals in 21 minutes to sensationally restore parity before Salah's match-winner in the 69th minute.

Liverpool's attention now turns to Saturday's visit of third-placed Leicester and Klopp had some advice for his team as they look to preserve their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season.

"If we would now lose complete faith in ourselves when things are getting a bit more difficult in a game [it would be silly]," Klopp told reporters.

"For tonight it's done but the job will be similar on Saturday and we have only three days to recover. Christian Fuchs was here tonight as a pundit and all of the others [Leicester players] were on the sofa and watched the game, so that's slightly different preparation for that game.

"I am sure Brendan Rodgers thinks if we protect like we did tonight then Jamie Vardy will probably run through five times alone on the goalkeeper."

On Salzburg's comeback, which was led by Hwang Hee-chan, Takumi Minamino and Erling Haaland on Merseyside, Klopp added: "How do I explain that? I think it was obvious: we left the very successful path of the first 30 minutes. That was some of the best football we played so far, against how we all saw a little bit later a very well organised team with a clear idea and identity.

"We did everything they don't like, on a high speed, scored the three goals, could have scored more. They changed the system that's allowed and is not really a problem usually, but tonight it was for us because we changed the approach a little bit for some reason. Some were in a controlling mood, some were in an attacking mood, other positions were too hectic. The main problem was that we tried to finish our situations off through the middle of the park; they had one midfielder less in the defensive [area] because they took a bit more risk and left a No.10 in between the lines.

"So they had one midfielder less and we still tried to push through the centre. We lost the balls there, they passed the ball to the No.10, he could turn at the back of Fabinho, could turn and counter-attack. That changed the momentum of the game."

Liverpool have avoided being thrown out of the EFL Cup after fielding an ineligible player.

Premier League leaders Liverpool faced MK Dons in round three of the EFL Cup on September 25, winning 2-0.

It later emerged the Reds did not have international clearance to play Pedro Chirivella – a substitute for Naby Keita during the second half – following his return from a loan to Spanish club Extremadura.

Liverpool could have been expelled from the cup competition but organisers ruled a fine was the appropriate punishment.

The EFL imposed a penalty of £200,000 on the Champions League winners, of which £100,000 will be suspended until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

In a statement, the EFL announced: "Following a comprehensive review of all the evidence, the board determined that it was not appropriate to expel the club from the competition because of a number of mitigating factors.

"In particular, the board noted that the club had sought the assistance of the Football Association in securing the return of the international clearance prior to the start of this season.

"The club had been able to include the player on team sheets for Premier League Two matches (under Premier League rules), which resulted in the breach not being identified until the club reported the issue to the EFL and Premier League following the MK Dons match."

Liverpool's reward for their victory at Stadium MK is a fourth-round tie against Arsenal, who will visit Anfield in late October.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he would not have risked Paul Pogba on an artificial surface even if he was fit to face AZ in the Europa League.

France international Pogba suffered an ankle injury in August and only returned to action in the EFL Cup tie with Rochdale last week.

He featured in Monday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford, though was not among the travelling squad ahead of Thursday's European fixture as his ankle "requires a period of further rest".

But even if he was able to play, Solskjaer does not think he would have picked the World Cup winner, as United – who won their Europa League opener against Astana 1-0 – travel to the home of ADO Den Haag after a section of AZ's stadium roof collapsed last month.

The change of location means United will play on artificial turf at the Kyocera Stadium.

"He needs further treatment and rest on his ankle," Solskjaer told reporters when asked about Pogba's absence. "I probably wouldn't risk him on astro turf anyway, even if he was available for this game. He needs a bit of a rest."

Solskjaer expressed his surprise at the choice of venue by AZ, while also criticising the condition of the surface.

"Well I'm surprised they've chosen to play on this pitch when I look at it, I'm used to these pitches in Norway, it's not the best I've seen," he said.

"It's one of the worst ones I've seen for a long while, we've all got standards back home in Norway and they are all modern and new but it's safe, I'm not saying that [it isn't safe], it's just not the newest.

"It seems like it's been used a lot. With my knees, I've not really enjoyed astro turf anyway, but these young boys are OK.

"I'm surprised that in this climate [in the Netherlands] you have to use astro turf. It's OK if you live in the North Pole more or less. You can't play in March or December on grass, but I'm surprised.

"You can't force the Norwegian teams to have natural grass, so I don't think it's possible [to ban the surfaces], but if I was running a club here I wouldn't have astro if you have the chance for natural grass."

Injury-hit United have again named a youthful squad, with Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Brandon Williams and James Garner all included.

United's young side struggled to take their chances against Astana and Solskjaer is hoping they can be more clinical this time around.

"They [AZ] are a young team as well, by the way, and an exciting team, and one or two of ours will get another chance to impress," Solskjaer added.

"They all want to be part of a long future here. We will have a mixture of experience and youth.

"Football is about scoring goals. No one wants to miss chances. For us, it's about grasping the moments and realising we've got [experienced] players here playing with these young boys.

"I just hope they're ready to run, run in behind and finish the chances."

Manchester City again have a headline act in FIFA 20's FUT Team of the Week, with Riyad Mahrez earning himself a spot.

Algeria international Mahrez had a stuttering first season at the Etihad Stadium, but in recent weeks he has found some consistency and played a vital role in Saturday's 3-1 win over Everton, scoring a fine free-kick and generally running the defence ragged.

It meant he took a top rating in the FIFA Ultimate Team, a week after City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne achieved the same feat.

The only other Premier League player in the starting XI is Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi - the young midfielder putting in a masterclass as Newcastle United were swept aside 5-0 on Sunday.

Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz and Duvan Zapata of Atalanta lead the attack after both got a goal and an assist at the weekend.

Below, we have the full squad of in-form cards now up for grabs.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Thomas Strakosha (Lazio) - 84

CB: German Pezzella (Fiorentina) - 82

CB: Daley Blind (Ajax) - 85

CB: Salif Sane (Schalke) - 83

RW: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) - 86

CM: Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco) - 82

CDM: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) - 84

LW: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) - 84

CAM: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal) - 84

ST: Duvan Zapata (Atalanta) - 84

CAM: Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen) - 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Alban Lafont (Nantes) - 82

RWB: Matt Doherty (Wolves) - 82

CM: Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moscow) - 82

CM: Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin) - 81

LW: Alexandru Mitrita (New York City) - 81

ST: Franco Jara (Pachuca) - 81

ST: Islam Slimani (Monaco) - 80

RESERVES

CB: Georg Margreitter (Nurnberg) - 79

CAM: Yeison Guzman (Envigado) - 76

LM: Kenta Nishizawa (Shimizu S-Pulse) - 73

ST: Ollie Watkins (Brentford) - 80

RW: Vladimir Rodic (Hammarby) - 76

Christian Eriksen has dismissed claims of a major bust-up with Tottenham team-mate Jan Vertonghen, describing the rumours as "b******t".

The Denmark star was responding to a tweet referring to a story that alleged an argument took place involving Eriksen, Vertonghen and Spurs captain Harry Kane, which centred on allegations of an affair between Vertonghen and Eriksen's partner.

The Twitter post also suggested there is serious disharmony within the Spurs dressing room, with the club said to be refusing to offer Vertonghen a new contract and manager Mauricio Pochettino likely to join Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Eriksen retweeted the post while adding the word "b******t" as a hashtag, as well as a sleepy emoji.

Vertonghen then shared Eriksen's tweet with three weary face emojis and a heart, having tagged his team-mate.

Eriksen has only started five matches for Spurs this season amid persistent speculation over his future, and he was a second-half substitute in Tuesday's humiliating 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The playmaker was heavily linked with Real Madrid after admitting at the end of the 2018-19 season that he was interested in a new challenge, while it has also been claimed Manchester United will pursue a move in the January transfer window.

Vertonghen, who started the thrashing by Bayern and said he was "ashamed" by the result, said prior to the match that talk concerning his own future was not a distraction.

"I'm very aware of my age. I feel fairly young and it doesn't distract me," the 32-year-old said, as quoted by The Guardian. "I'm very ambitious and I feel I've got a couple of good years left in me.

"Am I in contract talks? I prefer not to go too deep into that but there's always some movement everywhere. I had a great past at the club and I'm feeling great at the moment in every single way here."

He added on rumours of unrest in the Spurs camp: "I'm not going too much into that, either. The mood at this point is good and it was a good win for us on Saturday [against Southampton]. We showed who we really are after the sending-off and their equaliser."

Paul Pogba will miss Manchester United's Europa League clash with AZ on Thursday as he requires further treatment to a foot injury.

The France international sustained the problem in the 1-1 draw with Southampton in August and only returned to action in last Wednesday's EFL Cup match with Rochdale.

Pogba then played in Monday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford but will not travel with the rest of the United squad to Alkmaar.

"Following a specialist's opinion, Paul Pogba requires a period of further rest and conservative treatment for the foot injury he sustained during the game against Southampton in August. Updates will follow in due course," United said in a statement.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial also remain out of action, as does left-back Luke Shaw, who has not played since the 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in August.

Diogo Dalot and Angel Gomes return after injury lay-offs, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also called up Brandon Williams, who made his debut against Rochdale, and James Garner.

There are 10 academy graduates in total in United's 21-man group.

The Red Devils beat Astana 1-0 on matchday one, while AZ, who are third in the Eredivisie, drew 2-2 away to Partizan.

Bernardo Silva has been charged by the Football Association (FA) over his racially insensitive social media post about Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

The midfielder has until October 9 to respond to a misconduct charge, which relates to an alleged breach of FA Rule E3.

Portugal international Silva last month tweeted – and subsequently deleted – a photo of a young Mendy and a dated image from Spanish confectionary Conguitos that has been criticised for its racist connotations.

The post included the caption: "Guess who?"

Silva, after receiving staunch public support from City manager Pep Guardiola, wrote to the FA to apologise and is understood to be close friends with Mendy, who did not appear to take offence.

But the governing body has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the 25-year-old, with the nature of the tweet amounting to an alleged "aggravated breach" of the rules.

An FA statement read: "It is alleged that the Manchester City player's activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.

"It is further alleged that the activity constitutes an 'aggravated breach', which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin."

Guardiola has vehemently defended Silva's character, describing him as an "exceptional person," and City star Raheem Sterling offered support following the weekend win over Everton.

"It's between two friends as everyone knows," Sterling told Sky Sports. "I can see exactly why some people can get touchy on it, but in that situation Bernardo made a joke to his friend."

Benfica product Silva joined City from Monaco in 2017.

Jurgen Klopp believes the fit-again Naby Keita is ready to make his mark on Liverpool's season following a frustrating run with injuries.

The midfielder returned from a hip problem in last week's EFL Cup win at MK Dons, completing just over an hour of the 2-0 victory.

It was his first involvement in a matchday squad since the Premier League opener against Norwich City on August 9 but the Guinea international did not travel to Bramall Lane for Saturday's win over Sheffield United.

Reds boss Klopp confirmed Keita's absence was designed to prepare him for this week's two games, beginning with the Champions League clash against his former side Salzburg on Wednesday.

"We could have taken him on the bench at the weekend but then he would have lost two proper sessions and we wanted to give him these sessions," Klopp said.

"He should be ready now. I spoke to [fitness coach] Andreas Kornmayer and he said Sunday's session was really good and important. It was very intense for him and that is what he needs now.

"He was injured, came back and got injured again so we have to make sure that will not happen anymore.

"It's good now, much better. The last talk I had with him was in English and it looked like he understood what I said. That is a big step. He is here long enough now.

"It was a big step for him to come here from [RB] Leipzig with big expectations and hopefully you all still remember how good he started."

The hip issue Keita suffered ahead of the UEFA Super Cup in August followed soon after his short-lived return from an adductor strain.

Injuries plagued his debut season with Liverpool but manager Klopp is determined to help the ex-Leipzig player reach his peak.

"We have to make sure it will not happen again and then everything will be fine," the German said.

"He will be in the squad [to face Salzburg] 100 per cent. Everything is settled now. It is long enough and that helps him to perform."

Liverpool entertain Leicester City at Anfield three days after the visit of Salzburg.

Manchester United continue to struggle for form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and their failings are never more obvious than in routinely underwhelming performances in Premier League away games.

A quick glance at the club's top-flight record outside Old Trafford since a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace on February 27 shows four defeats, three draws and zero victories.

Their homesickness would be of less concern were results gained with any ease in Manchester but cannot be overlooked if the top four is to be a realistic aim.

Ahead of Sunday's excursion to struggling Newcastle United, where Solskjaer's men have an ideal opportunity to stop the rot, we analyse the Opta data behind United's wretched run on the road.

 

TRAILING ALL BUT SPURS IN PAST SEVEN

United have been involved in seven Premier League away games since that win at Selhurst Park and secured a paltry three points, at an average of 0.43 per game.

For context, that figure is inferior to the 0.50 points embattled Watford have averaged in the same period.

In fact, among the 17 teams to have taken part in the Premier League this season and last, it is better than only Tottenham's woeful return of 0.29 points per game.

Where Spurs and the Red Devils have floundered, rivals Liverpool have excelled.

The Premier League leaders have banked 25 of a possible 27 points on their travels and it is not the only vast statistical gulf between United and the Anfield outfit.

PAYING A HIGH PRICE AT THE BACK

Expertly marshalled by Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have given up the fewest goals away from home of all Premier League teams throughout United's rough run.

The European champions have conceded six goals from 92 shots faced at a conversion rate of 6.5 per cent.

While at least partly attributable to the quality of chances offered up, United have not enjoyed the same level of charity from their opponents.

The shot conversion rate for teams entertaining Solskjaer's side has risen to a division-high 18.8 per cent since the end of February.

Watford (17.8 per cent), Chelsea (16 per cent) and Everton (15.2 per cent) are next closest to that mark.

Is it a matter of misfortune?

Or should questions be asked of goalkeeper David de Gea, who conceded from a direct free-kick for the 12th time in his Premier League career during the recent 2-0 defeat at West Ham?

Luck might play a part, but United cannot hide from blame for their crippling shortcomings at the other end.

WASTEFUL IN ATTACK

Solskjaer admitted ahead of Monday's home draw against Arsenal that United would seek to a sign a replacement for Romelu Lukaku when the transfer window opens in January.

The Norwegian has invested faith in Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood since selling the centre-forward to Inter but United are in dire need of cutting edge going forward.

The issue surfaced towards the end of last season as two goals were scored across the club's final four Premier League away fixtures and it has become painfully obvious this term.

Draws at Wolves and Southampton, along with the blank at the London Stadium, have seen the club's shot conversion rate in road games plummet to a league-low four per cent during the timeframe in question.

Each of the other 16 sides have managed more goals than United's four and at a sharper rate of conversion.

That simply has to change if the 13-time Premier League champions are to rediscover their aura, home or away.

Another day, another Paul Pogba rumour.

Pogba continues to dominate headlines, even with the transfer window closed.

Having been tipped to leave Manchester United previously, a return to Turin could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA KEEN ON JUVE COMEBACK

Manchester United star Paul Pogba is still open to returning to Serie A champions Juventus, says Calciomercato.

Pogba is reportedly eyeing a United exit, three years after his £89.3million (€105m) arrival from the Bianconeri.

The France midfielder was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Juve before the transfer window closed in September and the speculation will not subside.

 

ROUND-UP

Massimiliano Allegri is learning English as he targets the Manchester United job, says The Guardian. Allegri is without a club since leaving Juventus in the off-season and the Italian is keen on a move to Old Trafford should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leave.

- According to the Daily Star, United are lining up a £90million double transfer in January. With Solskjaer keen for reinforcements, the Red Devils are reportedly lining up Lyon forward Moussa Dembele and Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff.

- Having identified Ajax's Donny van de Beek as a midfield option before the window shut, Real Madrid are keen to watch more talent from the Dutch champions. AS reports that Madrid will look at Ajax in their next Champions League fixture against Valencia on Wednesday, with Hakim Ziyech, David Neres, Lisandro Martinez and Edson Alvarez all on the list.

- According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are hoping to offload out-of-favour playmaker Mesut Ozil in January. The German has previously been linked to MLS outfit DC United, who are set to lose Wayne Rooney to Derby County.

- Former Italy and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta could be in line to become the next Genoa head coach, claims Il Secolo XIX. Aurelio Andreazzoli is reportedly set to be sacked if Genoa lose to AC Milan on Saturday and Motta, who also played for Serie A side Inter, could be his replacement.

- According to Calciomercato and La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira, Juventus great Claudio Marchisio is set to announce his retirement. The 33-year-old – a free agent since leaving Zenit in July – has been linked to Rangers, Brescia and Flamengo.

Pep Guardiola said it is possible he can take a "risk" on Kevin De Bruyne's fitness for Manchester City's Premier League contest against Wolves on Sunday.

City star De Bruyne was absent for Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb at the Etihad Stadium due to a minor groin injury.

De Bruyne has nine assists in as many competitive games this term and City missed his incision against Dinamo, where Raheem Sterling came off the bench to score the opener then set up Phil Foden in added time to keep Guardiola's side perfect in Group C.

City manager Guardiola said there is a chance De Bruyne could be back for the Wolves fixture but is confident he will return after the international break regardless.

"It's not serious, but today he could not play," Guardiola told a news conference of De Bruyne's injury. "We'll see next Sunday.

"For the weekend, right now I don't know. Maybe he can get fit. We are going to see if we can take a risk.

"I think after the international break he will be fit."

Sterling backed Foden for an England call-up after the teenager's second Champions League goal, with Guardiola apologising to the local-born midfielder for not giving him more opportunities.

"He deserves to play," Guardiola added. "Every time he plays I am unfair to him. I'm sorry.

"But there is David Silva, there is Kevin De Bruyne, there is [Ilkay] Gundogan, there is Bernardo [Silva] there is Rodri. I am so sorry.

"The best way to grow and grow is to play minutes. He is going to be an incredible player for us. We trust a lot in him. It is what it is."

Dinamo thumped Atalanta 4-0 in their Group C opener and head coach Nenad Bjelica was not disconsolate with his side's performance against the Premier League champions.

"After we conceded we tried to turn to attack more, we had an open match against Manchester City until the end and it is not a small thing," he said. "They are a level above us and they showed that today.

"We conceded that first goal in the best phase of our play. We were nervous a lot during the match, making mistakes, the home team had a lot of good chances."

Raheem Sterling has backed Manchester City team-mate Phil Foden for an England call-up after both were on target in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.

Foden is tipped for future stardom and joined Sterling in scoring from off the bench at the Etihad Stadium, collecting an assist from his in-form compatriot to add City's second at the death.

The teenager has only played 10 minutes in the Premier League this season but Sterling feels Foden should be fast-tracked by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.

"I am buzzing for Phil and I want him in the national team, if he keeps going he will be there," Sterling told BT Sport.

"We have seen them [Dinamo] play with the clips that the manager showed and it was difficult to break them down at times.

"A few did not go in but we took our chance and then got the second. It is always disappointing not to start but we had to be patient. I was happy to contribute to the team.

"Players that we have here, you have to read the game and the goals will come."

Foden's second Champions League goal came deep into injury time as City hit the Croatian champions on the break.

"It needed a change of tempo and Raheem brought that well," Foden told BT Sport.

"It is all about enjoying your time on the pitch and I am happy to score and help the team.

"I thought they were putting dangerous balls in the box so to seal the win meant everything.

"You have to show the manager what you can do each day in training, every young kid wants to play but you have to keep patient."

Foden's next chance to impress could come on Sunday, when City host Wolves in the Premier League.

Raheem Sterling came off the bench to score and provide an assist for fellow substitute Phil Foden as Manchester City beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in the Champions League. 

The Croatian champions were buoyant after a 4-0 thrashing of Atalanta in their Group C opener and the visitors held firm until midway through the second half at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

Sterling's close-range finish and pass for Foden to score in added time ensured Pep Guardiola's side, who toiled without their injured playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, top the group with a maximum six points from their two games.

City took time to find their rhythm but Dominik Livakovic had to race off his line to block from Sergio Aguero in the 13th minute, Bernardo Silva then wasting a chance on the rebound.

Joao Cancelo was arguably fortunate only to be booked for a high boot on Dani Olmo, then Ilkay Gundogan rattled the crossbar and David Silva missed from eight yards out.

City saw penalty appeals after an apparent handball rejected and Aguero lashed home in the 25th minute but the whistle had already gone after Bernardo Silva inadvertently handled.

Guardiola sent on Sterling early in the second half and the former Liverpool forward eventually forced the breakthrough in the 66th minute.

Rodri's pass broke Dinamo's defensive line and when Riyad Mahrez slotted a low cross into the six-yard box, Sterling was there to steer in his 11th goal of the season for club and country.

Guardiola was booked for displaying his frustration at Sterling not being awarded a penalty shortly after the deadlock was broken and City finally got their second in the fifth minute of added time, Foden confidently netting his first of the season at the end of a swift breakaway. 


What does it mean? City miss De Bruyne

With nine assists from nine appearances this season, it was always likely City would be less than their fluent best in the absence of De Bruyne, who missed out with a minor groin injury. 

Although captain David Silva had an excellent game, De Bruyne is the player who takes City to a new level and without him Dinamo were able to funnel the Premier League champions into wide areas, where they struggled to create chances.


Sterling hot streak continues

Leaving Sterling on the bench when De Bruyne was already sidelined was a slight risk from Guardiola and the manager had to turn to the England international to break the deadlock. He has now scored in three consecutive appearances, which have each come in different competitions, while he unselfishly set up Foden at the death.


Misfiring Mendy leaves City imbalanced

David Silva's tendency to drift left meant there were plenty of chances for fit again full-back Benjamin Mendy to rampage down the wing, but his delivery from key areas was lacking.

He delivered 13 crosses, easily the most of any player on the pitch, but only two were good and when Mahrez popped up in a similar position he picked out Sterling for the opener.


What's next?

City welcome Wolves to Manchester on Sunday and their matchweek three fixture is at home to Atalanta. Dinamo host Slaven Koprivnica in the Croatian league at the weekend with their next Group C game away to Shakhtar Donetsk in three weeks' time.

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