Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte revealed all of Serie A's Week 26 fixtures, including the blockbuster showdown between Juventus and Inter, could be postponed due to coronavirus fears.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Italy forced four top-flight matches to be postponed over the weekend, including Sunday's clash between Scudetto hopefuls Inter and Sampdoria.

Italy's move came as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 which originated in China, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Now, upcoming fixtures across Italy's leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juve scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

"I don't think that in just one week we'd be able to slow down the contagion so much that we could resume sporting events," Conte told Rai.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation and will evaluate. We'll see the evolution of the contagion and evaluate postponing all next week's matches."

Juve are a point clear atop the table following Saturday's 2-1 victory away at bottom side SPAL.

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal, scoring in an 11th consecutive top-flight match – matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

In-form Lazio were also in action on Saturday and edged Genoa 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 games, while Inter are six points off the pace with a game in hand.

Inter's game against Sampdoria and two other Serie A matches have been postponed following the recent coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

At a news conference, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed Sunday's fixtures in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, including the Hellas Verona-Cagliari and Atalanta-Sassuolo clashes, would not go ahead.

The move comes as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Saturday's scheduled Serie B match between Ascoli and Cremonese was earlier postponed and up to 88 amateur football matches were also called off, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

In a short statement, Inter announced only that their meeting with Sampdoria at San Siro was postponed "to a later date".

The third-placed Nerazzurri sit six points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, who won 2-1 against SPAL on Saturday.

Sunday's three other games are expected to go ahead as planned.

Genoa are due to host title-chasing Lazio, with Torino to face Parma and Roma entertaining Lecce.

Josip Ilicic said Atalanta are "no longer a surprise" after putting one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals with a crushing win over Valencia.

Champions League debutants Atalanta continued their fairytale run by routing Valencia 4-1 in the opening leg of the last-16 tie at San Siro in Milan on Wednesday.

Atalanta, who lost their opening three group matches this season, put the Spanish visitors to the sword courtesy of Hans Hateboer's brace and goals from Ilicic and Remo Freuler.

"We prepared this game the same way we always do and had a great first half, allowing them practically nothing. It's a pity we conceded that away goal, but Valencia are a strong team and we forced them to play badly with our football," Ilicic, who scored a stunning goal to make it 2-0 approaching half-time, told Sky Sport Italia.

"We knew their centre-backs didn't push up much, so that's why the coach chose me with Papu Gomez up front. We were very dangerous, especially in the first half, but we can do better.

"Atalanta are no longer a surprise, we've proved so many times that we don't give in. We're doing some really important things here."

Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini added: "We are on the one hand very satisfied, as we'd have happily accepted a scoreline like that.

"Yet we end up feeling regret over conceding that away goal, as we really shouldn't have made that mistake when 4-0 up and it wasn't the only situation like that.

"We need to be more precise when we go to the Mestalla. If we want to get into the Champions League quarter-finals, we have to play like this at the Mestalla too, prove we deserve to be there with a show of strength and win there too.

"We are a team who create many chances, it could perhaps have had more goals for us and them tonight. We created our goals, they sort of received gifts from us on theirs. We got a bit euphoric and lost sight of our concentration at times.

"We'll analyse now what we got wrong and learn from these errors, as we want to prove in the second leg that we deserve to be there.

"We've got to score there too. We will do some defending, but I don't want us to go to Spain and just sit on a three-goal lead, suffering the entire time."

Denis Cheryshev's 66th-minute consolation gave Valencia some hope ahead of the return leg on home soil and Valencia boss Albert Celades said: "This result doesn't really reflect what we saw on the pitch.

"I think the difference was that Atalanta scored practically every chance they had, which is not an easy thing to do. We didn't score when we had the opportunities. Of course, we made mistakes. When you play at this level against a side like Atalanta, you cannot allow them all that space. We did create our opportunities, though, and that is important for the second leg.

"I think we've got a chance of turning it around. The result is pretty clear tonight, but we'll see what happens at the Mestalla. We play well in our own stadium. We concede too many, especially away from home, there's no denying that. It won't be easy to overturn this situation, but we will try."

Atalanta marked their maiden game in the Champions League knockout stages with a resounding 4-1 win over Valencia in the first leg of their last-16 tie at San Siro on Wednesday.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side dominated from the outset against their LaLiga opponents and opened the scoring after 16 minutes, Hans Hateboer claiming his first goal in the competition with a close-range finish.  

Josip Ilicic doubled their advantage shortly before the interval with a fine strike, before Remo Freuler curled home a third from long distance in the 57th minute.

Hateboer then claimed a second five minutes later, and while Denis Cheryshev pulled a goal back for Valencia, the Italian side will be supremely confident of finishing off the job in Spain in three weeks' time.

Atalanta started in blistering fashion and a clean through Mario Pasalic was superbly denied by Jaume Domenech after eight minutes.

There was little the Valencia goalkeeper could do in the 16th minute, however, with Hateboer storming past Jose Gaya to meet Alejandro Gomez's cross and prod his side into a deserved lead from six yards.

That advantage was nearly cancelled out on the half-hour mark when Ferran Torres crashed a powerful effort off Pierluigi Gollini's left-hand post, while Goncalo Guedes fizzed wide from a promising position soon after.

They were punished for those misses three minutes before the interval when Ilicic thundered into the top corner from 18 yards to open his Champions League account. 

Any hopes Valencia had of reining in the hosts were extinguished shortly before the hour mark when Freuler's whipped effort from outside the penalty area flew past the helpless Domenech.

Maxi Gomez somehow failed to score from six yards, before Hateboer sprung the offside trap at the other end to latch onto Pasalic's pass and fire past Domenech, who should have done better.

Cheryshev pulled one back for the visitors in the 66th minute – just two minutes after coming off the substitutes' bench – but it did little to detract from a glorious night for Gasperini's men.

 

What does it mean? Atalanta power past accommodating visitors

Atalanta were utterly ruthless against a Valencia outfit who scarcely knew what had hit them. A place in the last eight looks almost nailed on and they will fancy their chances against any side left in the competition in this form.

If there is a criticism of the Italians, it is that they look vulnerable at the back, as evidenced by the host of chances carved out by Valencia in the closing stages. That will not bother their fans just now, who will be rightly basking in the glow of a truly memorable European night.

Gomez revelling on the big stage

Gomez  is enjoying his first taste of Champions League football at the age of 32. He might not have scored, but he was once again at the heart of Atalanta's effervescent attacking play, regularly leading Valencia's defenders on a merry dance.

Valencia's cause not helped by Domenech

He made a wonderful save early on from Pasalic but it was all downhill from there for the Valencia goalkeeper. He got a weak hand to Ilicic's strike and only he can say what he was trying to do with Hateboer's second goal.

What's next?

Atalanta host Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday, while Valencia visit Real Sociedad in LaLiga a day earlier.

Jose Mourinho is hoping to end a six-year wait to win a Champions League last-16 tie when Tottenham take on RB Leipzig.

The Spurs boss has suffered frustration in Europe's elite club competition since taking Chelsea to the last four back in 2014.

Tottenham are at home for the first leg against Leipzig, a team they have never played before, with Atalanta taking on Valencia in the other game to take place on Wednesday.

Here, we highlight the best Opta stats for the two Champions League fixtures.

 

Tottenham v RB Leipzig

6 - Mourinho last made it past the round of 16 of the Champions League six years ago, leading Chelsea to the semi-finals in 2013-14. It is also nearly 10 years since he last reached the final, with Inter in 2010.

9 - Son Heung-min has scored nine goals in his past 10 Champions League starts. In the knockout stages with Spurs, his record is five goals in seven starts.

20 - The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has seen more goals than any other venue in this season's Champions League (20 goals; 11 for Tottenham, 9 against).

11 - Between them, Timo Werner (6) and Emil Forsberg (5) have scored over half of RB Leipzig's all-time goals in the Champions League (55 per cent, 11 out of 20).

1 - Only one of Spurs' 21 Champions League home games has ended in a draw (0-0 v Milan in March 2011).

Atalanta v Valencia

0 - Atalanta have never played Valencia, or indeed any Spanish team, in a competitive fixture before.

1 - The Italian team are the first Champions League debutants to make it to the knockout stages of the Champions League since Leicester City in 2016-17. The English side were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid.

13 - Valencia are in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2012-13. It has been 13 years since they last made it past the round of 16 (2006-07).

3 - Atalanta are the first team to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League in its current format after losing their opening three group games.

4 - Rodrigo Moreno has been involved in four goals in five Champions League games this season (two goals, two assists). That is more than in his previous 24 matches in the competition, from which he produced two goals and one assist.

Gian Piero Gasperini will not allow Atalanta to become complacent as they prepare to face Valencia in the last 16 of the Champions League, despite selection concerns for the LaLiga side.

Atalanta recovered from three straight defeats at the start of their debut campaign in Europe's elite club competition to sensationally progress through the group stage.

The entertaining Serie A outfit now appear to have a great opportunity to make the quarter-finals after being granted a kinder draw against Valencia.

The first leg takes place at San Siro on Wednesday, and Alessandro Florenzi, Ezequiel Garay, Gabriel and Rodrigo Moreno are among the players missing from the Valencia squad.

Gasperini is not getting carried away but hopes to be able to seize the initiative in the opening encounter.

"It must be the same Atalanta as always," he told a news conference. "We must be free, knowing that just being here is already a great success. Now, we must play our best.

"The game against Roma on Saturday [a 2-1 win] was decisive but then there are another 14 games [in Serie A].

"We have played many important games now over the years, from the Europa League to Shakhtar [Donetsk in the Champions League group stage], where we were through or we were out. We must use this experience.

"We know we are facing a team of enormous quality and must be ready from the beginning. I would be very happy to go to Mestalla in the lead.

"It is fine to be confident, but we will need a really important performance to get through this round."

He added: "Despite the absentees, Valencia will play with 11, just like us. We must be careful talking about this. They won at Ajax and Chelsea and came first in their group."

Valencia coach Albert Celades is confident the players available to him can still pose a threat.

"Unfortunately, we are used to these things [injuries]," he said. "I feel sorry for those who stayed at home, who can't play at San Siro in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"I'm very happy for those who are playing and sorry for those who stayed at home, but we have to get used to this situation. We still have a great team available from the bench.

"We have to play against a very offensive team, with the best attack in Serie A. Their season has been impressive - they have a lot of fun.

"Regardless of injuries, we will manage the team and we try to compete to the maximum."

Barcelona signed Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on transfer deadline day, but both players must wait for their chance to shine at Camp Nou.

Fernandes will join Quique Setien's squad from Palmeiras in July after a €10million package was agreed for the 21-year-old, who has played for the Brazil Under-20 team.

Braga accepted a €31m offer from Barca for 20-year-old forward Trincao, and he will also formally join the Catalan club's ranks at the end of the season.

Both players have agreed five-year contracts, the Blaugrana announced, with Fernandes' contract including a €300m buy-out clause and Trincao's deal showing a €500m clause.

Braga will take Barca's 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz on loan until the end of the season and then make the deal permanent for €8m, with the LaLiga club having a buy-back option.

Barca were not the only Spanish club busy in the market though, with Celta Vigo signing striker Fyodor Smolov on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid re-signed Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, almost two years after he left to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. The 26-year-old joined until the end of the season on loan.
 

STAYING PUT

Deadline day was as notable for the deals that looked to have fallen through as those that were completed.

Paris Saint-Germain ruled out allowing Edinson Cavani to leave, as a host of clubs fancied taking the Uruguayan off their hands, while Chelsea refused to let France striker Olivier Giroud depart Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham were among the clubs keen on Giroud, but Jose Mourinho looked like missing out on the striker he wanted to strengthen a front-line depleted by the loss of injured England captain Harry Kane.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United remained linked with Bournemouth forward Joshua King, but time was running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to add new faces to his Old Trafford squad.

United made one signing, but it was a low-profile deal as England Under-20 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop arrived from third-tier Southend United.

Arsenal brought in defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, champions Celtic shipped out Scotland international Lewis Morgan to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are part-owned by David Beckham.

Belgian side Genk allowed attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, to join Scottish giants Rangers on loan.
 

KOUAME, DUNCAN IN

Serie A transfer activity was dominated by Fiorentina, who signed Ivorian forward Christian Kouame from Genoa, initially on loan. The deal will be made permanent at the end of the season.

They also brought in Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo in a similar deal, a loan with an obligation to buy.

Reports in Italy said Kevin-Prince Boateng was set to leave Fiorentina among the incomings, with Besiktas his destination. Turkish giants Besiktas also snapped up 18-year-old Croatian midfielder Ajdin Hasic from Dinamo Zagreb on permanent terms.

Atalanta agreed a loan deal with Nice, acquiring defender Adrien Tameze from the Ligue 1 outfit with a purchase option.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi cut short a season-long loan from Roma to Galatasaray, returning to his French homeland with Rennes on a six-month loan with an option for a further year.
 

HERTHA BUSY

In the Bundesliga, Emre Can left Juventus for Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening, initially on loan until the end of the campaign but with a €25m fee agreed for a potential permanent transfer.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin followed up Thursday's signing of Krzysztof Piatek by prising 20-year-old Brazilian winger Matheus Cunha from table-toppers RB Leipzig, for whom he scored nine goals in 52 games.

Hertha managing director Michael Preetz said on the club's website: "We wanted to increase the quantity and improve the quality up front, which we have been able to do with the Piatek and Cunha transfers."

Leipzig also offloaded Austrian midfielder Stefan Ilsanker to Eintracht Frankfurt. He spent four-and-a-half years at Leipzig, joining them in the second tier.

Werder Bremen signed striker Davie Selke on an 18-month loan from Hertha, the 25-year-old returning to the club where he began his professional career.

A hat-trick from Josip Ilicic that included a sensational free-kick inspired Atalanta to an astonishing 7-0 away win over Torino, their biggest ever Serie A triumph.

Atalanta, who will play Valencia in the Champions League last 16, boosted their hopes of achieving another top-four finish with a stunning victory on Saturday.

Ilicic, who netted a remarkable free-kick from near the halfway line, scored his fourth Serie A hat-trick since the start of 2018, with only Lionel Messi (7) and Sergio Aguero (6) boasting better records over that span in the top five European leagues.

Atalanta's first top-flight win by a seven-goal margin - and Torino's largest such home defeat - saw Robin Gosens follow up Ilicic's close-range opener with a fine volley.

Duvan Zapata scored a penalty on the stroke of half-time before Ilicic caught out home goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with an audacious set-piece from next to the centre circle after 53 minutes.

He completed his hat-trick a minute later and Il Toro's humiliation was sealed when substitute Luis Muriel scored a quickfire late double, one of his efforts coming from the penalty spot.

Armando Izzo was sent off for a second bookable offence when Torino were five goals down, and they ended up with nine men after Sasa Lukic got a straight red for a foul on Alejandro Gomez, by which point the visitors had already scored seven.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men are fifth in the table, level on points with Roma above them, with Torino down in 10th position.

Atalanta were third in Serie A last season and finished second to Manchester City in Champions League Group C despite losing their first three matches in the competition.

Sevilla defender Simon Kjaer has joined Milan on loan with a view to a permanent move after cutting short his spell with Atalanta.

The Denmark international made five Serie A appearances and enjoyed one Champions League outing with Atalanta, but has now joined their Italian rivals.

Sevilla, the club Kjaer moved to from Fenerbahce in 2017, confirmed the switch in a brief statement on Monday, revealing a purchase option that will come into force at the end of the season.

Milan boss Stefano Pioli will hope Kjaer can provide a boost to his flagging side, who sit 10th in the table.

The San Siro club have been buoyed by the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Cagliari to snap a three-game winless streak.

Mattia Caldara has completed a return to Atalanta from Milan on an initial 18-month loan deal.

Atalanta also have the option to make the move permanent, with reports suggesting the Rossoneri would be due a €15million fee to do so.

Much was expected of Atalanta academy product Caldara when he moved to San Siro in a €35million move from Juventus, which saw Leonardo Bonucci transferred back to the Bianconeri in a similar deal in August 2018.

However, the centre-back has made just two competitive appearances for the Rossoneri, largely due to two serious injuries.

Caldara sustained an Achilles tendon rupture in September 2018, before rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in April.

A statement from Milan read: "AC Milan announces the agreement for the player Mattia Caldara to join Atalanta on an 18-month loan deal with right to buy.

"AC Milan wishes Mattia the best of luck in his future sporting career."

Atalanta, who defeated Milan 5-0 last month, drew 1-1 with the Rossoneri's city rivals Inter on Saturday and are fifth in the Serie A table.

Milan are eighth after a 2-0 win at Cagliari.

Antonio Conte was in no mood to discuss Inter's prospective move for Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal after his side's laboured 1-1 draw at home to Atalanta in Serie A.

Lautaro Martinez gave the Nerazzurri an early lead at San Siro but visiting Atalanta were in the ascendancy for much of the contest from that point on Saturday.

Robin Gosens netted a deserved equaliser 15 minutes from time and only Samir Handanovic's superb save from Luis Muriel's late penalty averted Inter's second league defeat of the campaign.

Inter will fall two points behind Juventus at the summit if the Italian champions win at Roma on Sunday and head coach Conte was keen to focus on the absence of key personnel after the match.

"I am not talking about players who are not part of the Inter squad," Conte told DAZN when reported transfer target Vidal was raised.

"I faced this game without four key players. Atalanta are intense, with a lot of physical force.

"We did everything we could to try and win the game. The lads are exceptional.

"Today we had Nicolo Barella suspended, Matias Vecino with a calf problem. I'm trying to get Alexis Sanchez back in shape  but in my view we are giving everything in a very difficult situation."

Stefano Sensi eased Conte's concerns in that sense, completing 71 minutes in midfield on his first start since suffering an abductor tear in October.

"I am happy because he did 70 minutes in a very intense game, he will slowly come back up to speed," Conte added.

"We continue to work, the ranking [in the table] must not deceive us."

Gian Piero Gasperini hit out at the decision not to award Atalanta a penalty in the first half of their 1-1 draw against Inter at San Siro on Saturday, questioning why the incident was not referred to VAR.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez appeared to use his hands to trip Rafael Toloi in the area as the Atalanta player looked to convert a rebound after Samir Handanovic had saved his header.

The visitors were one goal down at that point after Martinez scored early in the contest, though Robin Gosens netted a second-half equaliser and Luis Muriel had a chance to win it when a penalty was awarded two minutes before the end, only for Handanovic to deny him.

After a dramatic finish, Gasperini still had the first-half incident in his mind, saying it was "clear" the decision on the pitch not to award a spot-kick should have been overturned.

"I don't understand why VAR didn't call it," he told DAZN.

"The game is over now, but these things are ugly to see. This type of error should not be allowed in the age of VAR. It's incomprehensible.

"I feel bad for those in the VAR booth because this kind of error takes something away from a very valuable technology. 

"I feel personally that it ought to be used only on situations that are clear and this really was clear."

Nevertheless, Gasperini was delighted by the display from his in-form side, who are level on points with fourth-placed Roma and headed into the contest on the back of consecutive 5-0 wins over Milan and Parma.

"In the second half we dominated. The defence was extraordinary," he said. 

"All three defenders were very good at shortening [the distance] and anticipating always, preventing Inter from playing in the spaces. This was the key to the game. 

"[Josip] Ilicic and [Alejandro] Gomez also grew in the second half and that benefited the whole team."

Samir Handanovic's late penalty save rescued a point for Inter as the Serie A leaders laboured to a 1-1 draw against Atalanta at San Siro.

Lautaro Martinez combined wonderfully with strike partner Romelu Lukaku to score his 15th goal of the season in the fourth minute but Antonio Conte's side were then largely outplayed by a typically ambitious Atalanta.

Martinez was fortunate not to concede a spot-kick when he impeded Rafael Toloi towards the end of the first half, while substitute Ruslan Malinovskiy rattled the upright after the restart.

Robin Gosens poached a deserved equaliser 15 minutes from time and only Handanovic's heroics from Luis Muriel's 88th-minute effort from the spot denied Atalanta the victory.

Champions Juventus will go two points ahead of Inter at the summit if they win at Roma on Sunday.

The Nerazzurri's lethal front two made their presence felt early when Martinez took Lukaku's return pass away from Toloi and blasted under Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.

In keeping with their vibrant attacking style, Atalanta sought a swift response – Mario Pasalic curling wide from the edge of the area before Duvan Zapata was unable to get enough power on his header to trouble Handanovic.

More textbook forward play from Lukaku and Martinez in the 22nd minute ended with Jose Luis Palomino heading the Argentina striker's chipped attempt off the line.

Martinez almost blotted a fine half when he grabbed at Toloi's ankle as the defender followed up a 41st-minute header saved by Handanovic, although referee Gianluca Rocchi inexplicably decided not to review the incident.

Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini introduced Malinovskiy for Zapata in the 53rd minute and the Ukraine international almost had an instant impact, curling a sweetly struck left-footed effort from Alejandro Gomez's pass against the post from the edge of the area.

Waves of Atalanta attacks continued and they had their reward 15 minutes from time when Josip Ilicic's right-wing cross fell to Gosens for a smart back-post finish.

Alessandro Bastoni clumsily bundled into Malinovskiy during the dying minutes but fellow substitute Muriel fluffed his lines from 12 yards.

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."

Nicolas Pepe earned his first inclusion of the season in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week thanks to his eye-catching display against Manchester United.

The reported £72million signing from Lille endured a difficult first few months in an Arsenal jersey, struggling to recapture the form he showed in France over the previous two campaigns.

But in the 2-0 win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men, Pepe opened the scoring and was a constant livewire, troubling United's backline with his trickery, movement and general unpredictability.

With some European leagues enjoying a mid-season break, the latest FUT selection is rather Premier League-dominated, with five players from the division in the starting XI, while there are another six England-based representatives among the substitutes and reserves.

Joining Pepe in the starting XI are the likes of Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta and Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

Below, we take a look at the entire squad that is set to be available online.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Torino) – 86

RB: Jesus Corona (Porto) – 84

CB: Domenico Criscito (Genoa) – 82

CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – 87

RM: Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – 85

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 84

LM: Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – 83

LW: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 84

CAM: Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta) – 87

ST: Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – 89

ST: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – 84

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Odisseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) – 83

CB: Mouctar Diakhaby (Valencia) – 81

CDM: Mark Noble (West Ham) – 81

CAM: Marko Livaja (AEK Athens) – 81

LW: Ricardo Horta (Sporting Braga) – 82

ST: Enes Unal (Real Valladolid) – 81

ST: Nicky Maynard (Mansfield Town) – 81

RESERVES

GK: Paul Farman (Stevenage) – 72

CM: Uros Racic (Famalicao) – 79

RM: Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) – 75

ST: Nahki Wells (QPR) – 78

ST: Matt Godden (Coventry City) – 75

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