Jose Mourinho said it would be like having "two new players" as he confirmed Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies should be back in action for Tottenham by the end of January.

Spurs are going through a difficult period, having won only once in their past five matches and lost key players Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko to serious injuries.

But head coach Mourinho is expecting to have first-choice goalkeeper Lloris and left-back Davies on the pitch by the end of January.

Lloris suffered an elbow injury at the start of October, meaning Paolo Gazzaniga has had to deputise, while Davies has been missing since sustaining ankle ligament damage in Mourinho's first match at the helm on November 23.

"The good news is that before the end of the month we have two new players, Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies. This is good news," Mourinho said in Friday's news conference ahead of facing Liverpool.

"Lloris never played a game for me, Ben played one, and very, very well in a system we were trying to develop, which was only possible with him because he's the one left-back that can play in that inside position, as Danny Rose is a pure left-back, Jan Vertonghen is not a left-back and Ryan Sessegnon is learning how to be a left-back.

"So, Ben is very important for our project. So, it's good news.

"[Lloris' return] is very important. He's the captain with Harry. We lose one, it's nice to recover the other.

"The experience, the way he plays, speaking - it's very important for a goalkeeper to play and speak at the same time.

"We have a goalkeeper that's doing his best and we have confidence in him. For Hugo to be back after such an important injury is good and it opens space in the medical department.

"Some people are leaving the medical room, some people are coming in. Is there an area in the medical department with a plate saying Hugo Lloris? Because he's there every day for the past three months."

Carlo Ancelotti revealed Andre Gomes will return to individual training next week as the Everton midfielder continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

Gomes sustained a dislocation fracture to his right ankle during Everton's 1-1 draw with Tottenham in November, after a challenge from Son Heung-min, with early reports suggesting the former Barcelona player would miss the rest of the season.

However, Ancelotti – whose Everton side were beaten by a second-string Liverpool team in the FA Cup on Sunday – has issued a positive update on Gomes' status, though the Italian was unable to give a timeframe on the playmaker's return.

"Andre comes back next week and will start to train individually here," Ancelotti told a news conference on Friday, ahead of Everton's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.

"It is good news because he is doing well. His recovery is going faster. I hope he can be with us [the squad] as soon as possible because he is a fantastic player."

Everton allowed striker Cenk Tosun to leave on loan to Crystal Palace on Friday and Ancelotti said the Toffees may add to their squad in January following a meeting with director of football Marcel Brands.

"We have had a positive meeting and, if there is some possibility to improve our squad, we are going to do that," the former Napoli boss said.

"I have the total support of the owner, the board and the director of football."

Stefano Pioli would love to be able to "move the clock forward" but accepts the transfer window is something he has to live with amid speculation over the future of Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek. 

Premier League side Tottenham are reportedly in talks to sign Piatek, who has scored only four goals in 18 Serie A appearances this season.

The Poland international's hopes of being a regular starter for the Rossoneri have been dealt a blow with the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to San Siro and Rafael Leao's emergence.

Despite the speculation, Pioli has named Piatek in his squad to face Cagliari on Saturday and expects him to be completely focused on the match in Sardinia.

"If I could move the clock forward I would be happy," Pioli told a media conference. "We have to live with the transfer market but given our current position everyone has to be fully focused on games. Piatek is called up and will be available for tomorrow."

Ibrahimovic played 35 minutes in his first game since signing for a second spell as Milan were held to a goalless draw by Sampdoria.

Asked if the Swede is ready to play 90 minutes, Pioli replied: "No but I will choose whether to play him from the beginning [or from the bench].

"To play 90 minutes you need a few games, that's normal for those who have not played for some time."

Pioli believes Ibrahimovic could have a significant impact on Leao, who has not scored since opening his account for the club against Fiorentina in September.

"He [Leao] understood that something can be learned from the great champions," added Pioli. 

"Having a champion like Ibra next to him can grow quickly."

Jose Mourinho is hopeful Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy can provide a transfer "solution" as Spurs face a testing few months without star striker Harry Kane.

After a positive start as Spurs coach, Mourinho has seen results take a turn for the worse in recent weeks, with just one win in five across all competitions.

To make matters worse, Spurs have lost Kane and Moussa Sissoko to serious injuries, while Tanguy NDombele continues to struggle with niggling fitness problems.

The club have been linked with making January moves in the transfer market, with Gedson Fernandes of Benfica and Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek rumoured to be key targets.

Spurs chairman Levy has garnered a reputation as a frugal spender in the transfer market, but Mourinho is optimistic the club can capitalise on the right opportunities should they arise.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with pacesetters Liverpool, Mourinho said: "Even the coaches without injuries, without problems in the squad, the coaches with the best squads – let's say Jurgen [Klopp, Liverpool manager], with the best team, with amazing players and an amazing squad, he was happy to get a new player [Takumi Minamino].

"We [managers] are all the same, but the reality is when I came here two months ago, I knew the situation.

"I didn't know that of course I was going to be without Kane and Moussa for so long, but I knew that the situation was about trying to get the best out of the players we have, and that doesn't change, so I'm focused on the work, the game.

"If the boss [Levy] arrives with a solution that can help us to face these difficult months that we are going to have ahead of us, so be it, that's welcome, but if we don't find the right solution, right opportunity, then we are going to wait for the next summer to make the right decisions for the evolution of the team.

"January is a strange market, it's not an easy market to be in. It's a market of opportunity, a market where an opportunity arises and you have the conditions to do it or you do not do it. We have to be calm and not think about the market – let the market think about us."

Kane is not expected to be back in training again until April, meaning he is likely to miss much of the remainder of the season, and although Piatek has been mentioned as a potential short-term replacement, Mourinho says no one can replace his captain.

"Kane is important, irreplaceable," he said. "There's no player who can replace him, and Moussa was playing so well since I arrived, one of our best performers.

"The bad news is that it's not just a couple of weeks then they're back, it's surgery and a long, long time [out].

"If you allow me, I would like to not speak about Kane and Moussa until they are back, so let's try talking about everything to do with them today.

"It's normal everyone wants to speak about Harry, but I don't want to speak too much because then I'll get depressed and then you are going to say I'm miserable and depressed and in a bad mood, so it's better to talk about things that make me laugh."

Inter coach Antonio Conte has welcomed Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Serie A following his move to rivals Milan and recounted attempting to take him to Chelsea.

Ibrahimovic, 38, became a free agent after his contract with LA Galaxy expired at the end of the 2019 MLS season and a return to Italy always looked his most likely next step.

Napoli and Bologna were both linked with the Swede, but he ultimately opted for Milan, whom he previously spent two years with – the first on loan from Barcelona – until 2012.

Ibrahimovic made his second comeback from the bench in Monday's clash with Sampdoria but was unable to inspire Stefano Pioli's men to victory, as they were held to a goalless draw at San Siro.

Conte expects the former Manchester United, Barca, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain striker to make a big impact at Milan, however, and lauded the personality of the man he tried to lure to Stamford Bridge.

“First of all, I want to say welcome back Ibra," Conte told reporters ahead of Saturday's Serie A clash with Atalanta.

"He is a great champion. I tried to get him when I was at Chelsea. I have a lot of respect for him, he has lots of personality after having a tough upbringing - he is a great player.

"I think he can give Milan a lot. His personality will help Milan, he will help the others grow. I think it is important for coaches to have players who lead the way, players who know what you want and lead the team.

"I think this is vital for a coach to have in a team. When a coach has those players then things are a lot easier."

Inter have been strongly linked with several players in the transfer window after such an impressive first half of the season.

Christian Eriksen, Arturo Vidal and Ashley Young are all said to be key targets, though Conte was not forthcoming regarding potential new arrivals.

"I have said in the past that I will not talk about it," he said. "It is pointless asking me these questions.

"I don't want to be rude, but I will not talk about the transfer market. That is something for the club, not me.

"The January transfer window is always a bit peculiar. One must also be smart and understand that there can be many voices [publications].

"The right weight must be given, but for us coaches it is a difficult month to handle certain situations.

"Sometimes untrue news comes out and you find yourself having to prepare a game while untrue rumours come out, but football is also this, you have to face this and be smart."

Frank Lampard acknowledged discussions have taken place for Olivier Giroud to leave Chelsea but insists a decision has still yet to be made amid reports he has agreed to join Inter.

World Cup winner Giroud has found playing time limited at Stamford Bridge this season due to the form of Tammy Abraham, making just two Premier League starts.

It has been claimed the France international has agreed terms with Serie A leaders Inter on a two-and-a-half-year deal, a switch that would see him reunited with ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte.

Lampard said the move is "not necessarily" dependent on Chelsea signing a replacement first and the former Arsenal frontman will only leave if it suits all parties.

"I said it after our last game, with Oli the situation is if it's right for everybody and, first and foremost that's us the club because he's under contract, then we'll look at it he can leave the club," Chelsea coach Lampard said. 

"He's been a great professional and trained well despite limited games, I have a lot of respect for him. I still have to take a decision. 

"Everyone is talking about it so I won't beat around the bush, I think his agent has spoken to the club, but until it's signed it's not done."

Ousmane Dembele has been tipped to join Chelsea in the January transfer window but Lampard is surprised to see the Lyon striker so heavily linked with the London club. 

"He is a player I know, and the club knows. But it is a surprise for his name to pop up so much when it's not as much in my conversations so regularly to be brutally honest," added Lampard, who said nothing is close in terms of incomings. 

"At the moment we are working very hard on the training ground. I don't want to cut and dry on anyone, but it is not one we are talking about.”

Lampard revealed Christian Pulisic is set for a spell on the sidelines with an adductor issue ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Burnley.

"Pulisic is out, he will be out for a few weeks," he said. "It's an injury in the adductor, a tendon injury. 

"It's disappointing for us, we have to see how quickly he recovers, it's quite a nasty injury, he was in pain when it happened. 

"It is a damaging miss because he's a good player and we need competition in wide areas and he was in good form. Before Christmas he reported a bit of tiredness and we relied on him a lot. 

"I was worried about injury, I'm not a mind reader or psychic but it happened. It's disappointing because he's a talented player who can make things happen."

Lampard also said Antonio Rudiger has been in good spirits in training after an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into accusations of racism towards the Germany defender during last month's contest at Tottenham was closed without anyone being charged.

"Toni's been in very good form and spirits this week in training," Lampard said. "He knows I'm there for him. 

"It's been investigated nothing more to say, I support all my players in that situation."

Cenk Tosun has joined Crystal Palace on loan from Everton until the end of the season, the Eagles have confirmed.

The Turkey striker moved to Goodison Park in January 2018 and has scored nine goals in 44 Premier League appearances.

However, the 28-year-old has found game time hard to come by at Goodison Park this term, starting just twice in the top flight.

Tosun will aim to kick-start his career in England's top flight with an Eagles side that have scored just 19 goals this term, the second lowest in the Premier League.

Speaking at a news conference, manager Roy Hodgson said Tosun could face Arsenal on Saturday.

He said: "He is in contention to be in tomorrow's squad. I'm very grateful for Everton to allow this to be done in time. It's important as we still have eight players missing.

"Cenk has been heavily scouted by the club. We're very pleased to have him with us and know the qualities he can bring to the squad."

Born in Germany, Tosun came through the youth ranks at Eintracht Frankfurt before enjoying spells in Turkey with Gaziantepspor and Besiktas.

The Toffees forked out a reported £20million for his signature two years ago.

Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan has pledged to donate A$500 to a wildlife charity for every Premier League save made this weekend amid the bushfire crisis in Australia.

The Socceroos international will send the funds to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation emergency fund.

In posts on Twitter and Instagram, Ryan wrote: "In the light of the devastation caused by the bushfires back home, I'm donating 500 Australian dollars for every registered save by all Premier League goalkeepers across every Premier League fixture for this weekend.

"I've chosen to donate to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation emergency fund. Thank you to all for your support thus far and as a nation we really do appreciate your gratitude and generosity.

"However, there continue to be homes lost, lives of both people and animals lost or in danger, along with whole communities, businesses and more.

"I hope we can continue in the same manner and continue to encourage and influence people into raising money for those affected."

The wildfires are said to have killed 27 people and around 500 million animals. In the state of Victoria 1.2 million hectares have been burnt by blazes while New South Wales has seen almost 1,900 homes destroyed.

Ryan, from Plumpton in New South Wales, pledged $1,000 for every goal scored across the A-League and W-League last week as part of an appeal through Professional Footballers Australia's Footballers' Trust. Twenty-seven goals were scored across the two leagues.

Jurgen Klopp expects to have Fabinho and Dejan Lovren back in full training next week but James Milner and Naby Keita are unavailable for Liverpool's trip to Tottenham.

Defensive midfielder Fabinho has been absent since the end of November after sustaining ankle ligament damage in the 1-1 Champions League draw against Napoli.

Centre-back Lovren was enjoying a run in the team but has been out for a month due to a muscular issue, with Joe Gomez having impressed alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back for the unbeaten Premier League leaders.

However, both players are closing on a return that could come as soon as next weekend's clash with fierce rivals Manchester United.

"Dejan and Fabinho we expect to be back next week in full training, if that's early enough for the United game we will see," Klopp said. 

"They're working really hard, going through the paces, it's good."

Midfield duo Milner and Keita will sit out the clash in north London on Saturday due to muscle injuries.

"James and Naby are unavailable. Both muscles, different, and for different people," Klopp added. 

"Not a timeframe on it. We are open whenever they want to join us, when the medical team gives us the green light. Not this week, or next week, then we will see."

Klopp comes up against a familiar foe this weekend in Jose Mourinho, with Liverpool's 3-1 triumph over United in December 2018 seeing the Portuguese sacked by the Red Devils.

Liverpool boss Klopp is expecting to face a well-drilled Tottenham side, who will have to do without prolific captain Harry Kane.

"I'm expecting a very organised Tottenham side, yes," he added. "Putting some emphasis on defending for sure, using the counter-attacks, but team is too good technically to do just that.

"[Christian] Eriksen, [Dele] Alli, [Giovani] Lo Celso, lots of midfielders who can create situations, the speed they have with Lucas [Moura] and Son [Heung-min] too. 

"It could be [Serge] Aurier and [Ryan] Sessegnon are on the wings on top of that with speed.

" We cannot be 100 per cent sure what they will do but we have signs from what Mourinho did at Man United against us. Different teams and players though. That is normal. Our analysis always ends quite a way from the truth. It is the same for us, we want to be unpredictable.

"Mourinho is a world-class manager with a specific mindset. He wants to win. I respect that a lot. Each situation his team is in he tries to use. That is how managers work."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested he is yet to discuss Inter's reported interest in Ashley Young with his captain and does not expect much transfer activity at Old Trafford this month.

Inter are said to have agreed a deal to sign Young when his contract expires at the end of the season, with the Red Devils apparently reluctant to sanction a sale during the January transfer window due to a mounting injury list.

It is claimed United have offered the 34-year-old a new contract, but Solskjaer was giving little away when addressing the media ahead of Saturday's visit of Norwich City.

"He's one of our players," Solskjaer told reporters on Friday when asked for an update on Young's future. "He's our captain.

"There's loads of speculation and we've just got to handle it - we're getting used to that in the club - and Ashley's been very professional and focused, so I don't think that's going to change.

"That [Young's future] is a discussion that me and Ash will have if something comes up. We haven't got too many players fit and ready, so we need the ones we have.

"Ashley's been very, very good for this club, he's been a very good captain this season, so let's see where we are in June and see where we are in February as well."

United's injury problems in midfield have resulted in talk over potential new arrivals.

One of those linked with a switch, despite having recently signed a new contract, is Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes, though Solskjaer says United will not be very busy this month.

"We go back to speculations," he said when asked about Fernandes. "We do go and watch games all the time, but where I've been is irrelevant, that’s another player in a different club I can't speak about.

"We've still got the same thoughts we had a month ago, got the players we have, working with the ones we have and if something happens we'll tell you.

"I can't say yes or no, but wouldn't expect many ins and outs, no."

Harry Maguire is in contention to feature for Manchester United against Norwich City on Saturday despite reports he was facing a significant spell out with a hip injury.

The most expensive defender in the world missed Tuesday's 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Manchester City.

It was then claimed he was set to be out for an extended period due to torn a hip muscle, seemingly dealing United a massive blow given their dwindling defensive numbers.

But United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has allayed such fears, revealing the England centre-back could start against Norwich in the Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

"He's got a chance for tomorrow," Solskjaer confirmed in his pre-match news conference on Friday. "It was a minor thing.

"I don't know where the reports are coming from, you might've mistaken him for Harry Kane. No, he has a chance. We'll go through training and see how he reacts.

"It's not a surprise [that Maguire may be ready to play]. He's a warrior and if there's a minor problem he'll put himself up to play. That's what he did against Wolves. At half-time he was feeling discomfort but was adamant he'd be fine.

"He was close to playing against City, just not fit enough, but he's got a chance now."

There was less encouraging news for Scott McTominay, however, as the Scotland international is not expected to be back in action until the end of February after suffering knee ligament damage.

"Scott's out for a while," Solskjaer added. "I don't think we'll see him before the winter break [in February]. Hopefully we'll see him in February."

Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are close to being match fit, though, with both yet to make an appearance this season.

Solskjaer said: "Eric and Tim are playing tonight [Friday] for the reserves, so that will be positive for them. They've been training well for a month now. Hopefully they'll get through that to be available for us again."

Tottenham appear close to landing a replacement for Harry Kane, while Thomas Lemar could also be set for the Premier League.

Kane needs surgery on his left hamstring and is not expected to return to training for Spurs until April.

It seems the Premier League club are nearing a move for Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek, although there are contrasting reports over the status of the deal.

And, Atletico Madrid midfielder Lemar could also be heading to London.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS CLOSE TO LANDING PIATEK AS KANE REPLACEMENT

Tottenham have agreed a deal worth £28million (€32.95m) for Piatek, according to The Sun.

However, the Mirror reports Spurs have had a loan bid for the 24-year-old Poland international rejected, although talks are continuing.

After netting 11 times in 21 games for Milan last season following a January move from Genoa, Piatek has four goals in 18 this campaign.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea and Tottenham are both trying to sign Atletico's Lemar on loan until the end of the season, according to The Telegraph. Lemar is linked with an Atletico exit after just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- While Christian Eriksen's possible Spurs exit will dominate headlines this month, it appears the midfielder will not be heading to Old Trafford. Sky Sports reports Manchester United have ruled out making a bid for the Denmark international this month.

- Searching for a right-back, Tottenham are keen on signing Barcelona's Nelson Semedo, according to the Mirror. The position has been a problem for Spurs since Kieran Trippier's off-season move to Atletico.

- Javier Hernandez's stay at Sevilla could be coming to an end. Marca reports the club could let the forward, who has one goal in nine LaLiga games this season, leave amid apparent interest from LA Galaxy.

- Leicester City are trying to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, according to the Mirror. Manchester City and Everton are also reportedly interested in the Turkey international.

- Piatek aside, there may be other moves at Milan. La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira says Roma are interested in Suso and Cengiz Under could be heading to San Siro, while Milan are still eyeing Inter's Matteo Politano.

- Could David Moyes and Marouane Fellaini reunite for a third time? Sky Sports reports Moyes' West Ham are interested in signing the Shandong Luneng midfielder, who played under the Scot at Everton and Manchester United.

Mikel Arteta persuaded Granit Xhaka to remain at Arsenal after promising the midfielder he would enjoy his football again.

Xhaka seemed set to leave Arsenal in this month's transfer window, having been heavily linked with a move to Hertha Berlin.

The Switzerland international was replaced as club captain by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a confrontation with Arsenal fans during a home match against Crystal Palace in October.

Former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka had reportedly agreed terms with Hertha, but Arteta now believes the 27-year-old will remain at Arsenal.

"The first message for him was that I wanted to understand how he was feeling, why he was feeling that way," Arteta, who has won two of his four matches in charge of the Gunners, told reporters.

"I wanted him to hear from me my opinion on him, and that I was ready to support him and that I was ready to push the club to be supportive of him too, because I thought he could be a really, really good player for us and he could enjoy in this football club playing under me.

"I tried to convince him that way. He thought about it, he had a very positive response afterwards and I think he changed his mind."

Arteta is also unconcerned over the aftermath of the incident against Palace and believes Xhaka's relationship with Arsenal's supporters will soon be on the mend, despite his previous desire to leave the club.

"It is very common now. Every club has its own issues. Some things within the club, some within the media, some from social media," Arteta added.

"It is very difficult nowadays to have one full year where everything is perfect.

"It is the environment, we have to deal with that and hopefully in a few months nobody remembers these issues. Of course it is not ideal when players respond and it creates an instability. So as much as we can avoid it, the better."

Tottenham and England are set for a spell without talisman Harry Kane following his injury.

The striker suffered a ruptured tendon of his left hamstring and will require surgery, meaning he is not expected back in Spurs training until April.

With Jose Mourinho's men off the pace in the Premier League while England prepare for Euro 2020, the news comes as a blow to both club and country.

Using Opta data, we take a look at just how Kane's absence impacts both Tottenham and England.

 

SHOT-SHY

It should come as no surprise that Spurs and England shoot less often when Kane is not playing, with the forward boasting the ability and willingness to score from just about anywhere.

But Kane is also a wonderful playmaker, often dropping deep to create space and pick passes for runners such as Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford.

Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Kane has played 187 Premier League matches, in which Tottenham averaged 15.6 shots per game. In the 24 fixtures he has missed, that figure drops to 14.9 shots per game.

The difference is more marked with England. Since his international debut in March 2015, the Three Lions have attempted 15.1 shots per game with Kane in the side (45 matches) and 12.3 without (16 matches).

 

GOALS DRY UP – AT BOTH ENDS...

So it follows that with fewer shots come fewer goals. Spurs and England certainly feel Kane's absence when it comes to putting the ball in the net.

The London club have scored 359 times across his Premier League matches since 2014-15, an average of 1.9 per game. They net 1.3 per game without him.

England score a hugely impressive average of 2.3 goals per game – 103 in total – when the top scorer in Euro 2020 qualifying is involved. That drops to that same mark of 1.3 when he is missing.

Interestingly, though, England's defence is statistically meaner when Kane is absent, conceding 0.5 goals per game, down from 0.9.

Tottenham concede roughly one goal per game regardless of their front man's availability.

 

WINNING WOES

Tottenham were already struggling to finish in the top four in this season's Premier League with Kane in the side, so Mourinho really has his work cut out now.

Their top-flight win rate since 2014-15 falls from 57.2 per cent to a relatively ordinary 45.8 per cent when Kane is not involved.

They have lost seven of the 24 games he has not been involved in, while their points return drops from 1.9 per game to 1.6.

Although England may concede more often on average with Kane on the pitch, they are a much better side going forward when they can count on their captain, winning 64.4 per cent of matches with him compared to 50 per cent without.

Harry Kane is not expected to return to training until April in a huge blow to both Tottenham and England.

The Spurs striker suffered a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring in the Premier League defeat to Southampton this month, and the club confirmed on Thursday he would undergo surgery.

The latest estimate for Kane's lay-off should concern Tottenham fans, with the team sixth and six points off a Champions League place, while England manager Gareth Southgate will also be worried as Euro 2020 approaches.

So, will Spurs stick or twist in the transfer market? And does Southgate have an alternative to his talismanic captain?

SON TO THE FORE AT SPURS?

Jose Mourinho had insisted prior to this injury he had little interest in January business. While that must surely change with this news, Tottenham have rarely been willing to spend big in recent seasons.

Might their new head coach instead tinker with his existing options, then? Son Heung-min would appear the obvious candidate to take on Kane's striking role.

The winger started up front at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday and deputised well for Kane for a stretch last season, prompting suggestions the South Korea star might play better without his most lethal attacking team-mate.

Lucas Moura, who also led the line in Kane's absence last season, and Dele Alli are options to join Son in attack, while Troy Parrott – 17 years old with just two senior appearances to his name – would hope to be handed a more prominent role.

 

PIPPING RIVALS TO PIATEK?

Spurs finally looked to have suitable cover for Kane in the form of Fernando Llorente last season, only for the veteran to depart for Napoli on a free at the end of the campaign.

Now, Tottenham are not the only English side searching for goals in the mid-season transfer window, with Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace all short in that department, but Mourinho's men should have the profile to blow those rivals out of the water.

One man linked with Spurs, Newcastle and Villa in recent days is Krzysztof Piatek, the Milan striker now at risk of slipping to the fringes of the Rossoneri first team following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to San Siro.

Piatek was one of Europe's form strikers last season and, while his goals tally is far more modest this term – he only has four in 18 appearances in Serie A – Tottenham may have little choice but to take a risk. Milan reportedly want £30million rather than a loan.

 

ENGLAND U-TURN FOR VARDY?

Kane was the leading scorer in Euros qualifying with 12 goals and had been set to star for England in a finals tournament that will feature seven matches, including the semi-finals and final, on home soil at Wembley.

But perhaps Southgate is better equipped than Mourinho to deal with the absence of his key striker, with four of the Premier League's top five marksmen this term eligible for England.

Leading the way with 17 goals is Jamie Vardy, who has not featured for his country since the 2018 World Cup, citing in part his reduced role behind Kane in the pecking order as he stepped away from international football.

Yet with Kane facing a race against time to be fit for the finals, Vardy might now find himself a prominent figure if he could be tempted back into the squad.

 

FIVE YEARS ON, ANOTHER INGS CAP?

England are not short of options, as the Golden Boot race suggests, with Tammy Abraham in top form and both Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling capable of playing through the middle.

But Danny Ings will surely see this as his opportunity to add to his sole Three Lions cap earned in 2015 – he replaced Kane from the bench on that occasion – before awful injury troubles at Liverpool.

The Southampton striker, who scored the only goal in the game Kane suffered his injury, is enjoying the best season of his top-flight career, scoring 13 times already.

Southgate surely must at least assess Ings as an option in the March internationals, while Callum Wilson will hope to return to form for Bournemouth in order to stake his own case. Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin may also be in with a chance.

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