Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic were on target as Bayern Munich started the post Niko Kovac era with a 2-0 win over Olympiacos that secured qualification for the Champions League last 16.

A humiliating 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday brought an end to Kovac's 16-month tenure and caretaker boss Hansi Flick saw his side frustrated for large parts by Jose Sa.

The visiting goalkeeper made several sharp stops and Benjamin Pavard hit the post, but Lewandowski's sixth goal of the group stage broke the away side's resolve.

Substitute Perisic made sure of the points late on meaning Bayern are guaranteed to progress from Group B, leaving Flick to now prepare Bayern for a crucial Bundesliga clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Thomas Muller saw a couple of half shouts for penalties turned down either side of Sa reacting sharply to a low Leon Goretzka drive as Bayern started brightly.

David Alaba's untimely stumble allowed Olympiacos a rare sight at goal but Lazar Randjelovic dragged wide of the right post.

Lewandowski headed Pavard's pin-point cross straight at Sa, who was also alert to deny Kingsley Coman's improvised toe poke after a mazy run.

Pavard's awkward effort off his chest struck the post at the end of the half and Sa made a fine save from Goretzka's point-blank header shortly after the restart.

Sa was called into action again by Coman's stinging effort, but he was finally beaten in the 69th minute when the France winger's teasing low delivery from the right was cutely steered home by Lewandowski at the front post.

A more deserved-looking scoreline arrived in the final minute when Perisic rifled high into the roof of the goal after Coman's deflected cross fell into his path.

What does it mean? Bayern show much-needed resolve

After the Frankfurt humiliation, Bayern needed a reply and – while it was not the most fluent performance – they were good value for a fourth win in as many Group B games. It was a decent show of resilience, but the club will be keen to have a new permanent boss at the helm soon.

You were Sa unlucky to be on the losing side, Jose

Olympiacos offered little going forward and were content to try and contain Bayern's heavyweight attack. But had it not been for Sa the scoreline would have been much more comfortable, with the away goalkeeper unlucky to finally be beaten by Lewandowski, who has scored 31 group-stage goals since joining Bayern in 2014 – no player has more in the same time (Lionel Messi also has 31).

Negative Martins pays the price

With Bayern still reeling from their Frankfurt horror show and Olympiacos on just one point with nothing to lose, it was a bit of a surprise to see visiting boss Pedro Martins go with three defensive-minded midfielders. It led to a drab showing from the away side, who perhaps missed a chance to have a real go at the wounded hosts.

What's next?

Bayern now switch focus to a crucial Klassiker as Dortmund travel to Munich on Saturday, while their next Champions League assignment is at Red Star Belgrade on November 26. Olympiacos welcome Atromitos on Sunday.

Rangnick rejects Bayern

November 06, 2019

Ralf Rangnick is unlikely to be Bayern Munich's new head coach after his agent suggested the Bundesliga champions were seeking a man with different qualities.

Rangnick was the early frontrunner for the vacancy following the departure of Niko Kovac on Sunday, a day after Bayern were thrashed 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt - their heaviest top-flight defeat since April 2009.

Hansi Flick will take the reins on an interim basis for Wednesday's Champions League home meeting with Olympiacos and the visit of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, with president Uli Hoeness hoping to have a clear idea on how the club will proceed by the end of the international break.

But it seems Rangnick, the head of sport and development at Red Bull, will not be a candidate.

His agent Marc Kosicke told Bild: "Ralf Rangnick is not available.

"We do not believe that what Ralf Rangnick brings is currently what is being sought by Bayern. And that's why it makes no sense to hold concrete talks."

Rangnick's rejection could potentially pave the way for Arsene Wenger to move to the Allianz Arena on a deal until the end of the season.

The former Arsenal boss has indicated he would be interested in a move to Germany and could fit the bill on a short-term basis.

Massimiliano Allegri is also a reported target following his successful spell at Juventus.

Bayern sit fourth in the Bundesliga, four points adrift of leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, but can book a place in the last 16 of the Champions League by defeating Olympiacos.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is chasing another slice of history when Juventus travel to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Tottenham, meanwhile, will hope Harry Kane can continue his wonderful form in the competition against Red Star Belgrade, while Manchester City take on Atalanta at San Siro.

Elsewhere, Kylian Mbappe will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Club Brugge again after he plundered a hat-trick against them two weeks ago.

Here is the pick of the key Opta facts for Wednesday's eight matches.

 

Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge

4 - PSG forward Mbappe scored a hat-trick as a substitute against Brugge on matchday three, becoming only the fourth player to achieve the feat in the Champions League. In three games against Belgian opposition, Mbappe averages a goal or assist every 28 minutes.

2 - Emmanuel Dennis scored both of Brugge's goals in their previous Champions League away game against Real Madrid. No player has ever found the net in consecutive matches on the road for the Belgian side in the competition.

Real Madrid v Galatasaray

50 - Karim Benzema is just two Champions League goals short of his 50th for Madrid, with only Lionel Messi (113 for Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (105 for Madrid) and Raul (66 for Madrid) reaching the milestone for a single side. However, Benzema is without a goal in his past four matches in the competition, despite attempting 16 shots across those games.

5 - Galatasaray have failed to score in their past five away Champions League matches, despite attempting 45 shots in that timeframe. The last team to fail to score in six away games in a row were Schalke in November 2010.

Bayern Munich v Olympiacos

13 - Bayern have scored 13 goals after just three Champions League games this season. The only team with more after three games are Arsenal in 2010-11 (14 goals).

10 - Olympiacos have managed just 10 shots on target across their opening three Champions League matches this term – one fewer than Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has attempted.

Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham

6 - Red Star's Marko Marin made six chances in their 5-0 defeat against Spurs on matchday three. No player has created more in the Champions League this season (13, level with Toni Kroos).

18 - Spurs striker Kane has scored 18 goals in just 22 Champions League appearances, including four in three appearances this season. In the history of the competition, the fewest number of matches needed to reach 20 goals is 26, set by Alessandro Del Piero in April 1998.

Atalanta v Manchester City

11 - Atalanta have conceded more Champions League goals than any other team this season (11). Only two teams have conceded more in their first three Champions League games – Slavia Prague (12) and Helsingborgs (13).

5 - Sergio Aguero has found the net in each of his past five away Champions League group stage matches for City (five goals), a run stretching back to September 2017.

Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk

45 - Dinamo's Mislav Orsic is averaging a goal or assist every 45 minutes in the Champions League this season, scoring four and assisting one in just 227 minutes of action. Should Orsic notch in this game, he would have reached five goals in just four appearances, with only Erling Haaland and Didier Drogba having done so in fewer games (three).

22 - Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov has not kept a clean sheet in any of his past 22 Champions League starts. The last goalkeeper to go on a longer such run in the competition was Igor Akinfeev (43) between November 2006 and October 2017.

Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

3 - Leverkusen are one of two clubs to lose their three Champions League games this season, along with Atalanta. They are the first German side to lose their opening three group stage matches since Stuttgart in 2007-08.

3 - Atletico have won three Champions League games against Bayer Leverkusen; they have only won more against PSV (four).

Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus

9 - Lokomotiv striker Eder has been on the losing side in his each of his past nine Champions League starts, dating back to October 2012 for Braga. The last player to lose on 10 consecutive starts in the competition was Junior Fernandes (11) for Dinamo Zagreb, a run that ended in December 2016.

33 - Ronaldo had eight shots without scoring in Juve's 2-1 win over Lokomotiv on matchday three. Should he score in this match, he would break the record for opponents scored against in the Champions League, with Ronaldo currently level on 33 with Raul and Messi.

Paul Pogba is injured, Juan Mata is on the fringes and Manchester United are in desperate need of creativity.

Kai Havertz, the talented Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, might hold the answer.

According to a new report, the Germany international could soon be the subject of a massive transfer bid from Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ HEADED TO MANCHESTER?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made 20-year-old Kai Havertz his top transfer target, says the Daily Star.

But the report suggests Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to wait until the end of the season before making an £80million offer.

Havertz, who has been linked with Bayern Munich, is one of the most admired young midfielders in Europe.

He scored 17 Bundesliga goals last season and has notched twice in nine appearances this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claim Barcelona have joined the race for sought-after Salzburg striker Erling Haaland. The teenage sensation scored his seventh Champions League goal in Tuesday's draw at Napoli and has reportedly attracted interest from Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, among others.

- Barcelona do have at least one exciting prospect dreaming of joining them. Highly rated Ajax defender Sergino Dest told Bleacher Report his "biggest goal" is to play for the Blaugrana, while the United States international also has his eye on a stint in the Premier League.

- Trouble is brewing in Naples. Gazzetta dello Sport suggest Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players are in rebellion against president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who ordered the team to enter a training retreat amid a poor run of results. Ancelotti did not appear for the customary post-match news conference following the 1-1 draw with Salzburg at Stadio San Paolo.

- Another successful Italian coach, Massimiliano Allegri, should reject any approach from managerless Bayern Munich and instead focus on becoming the next Manchester United boss. That is the view of Fabio Capello, who told Radio Anch'io Sport his compatriot would be the "best choice" for the Red Devils.

- Back to the Premier League and England, where Granit Xhaka is dealing with the fallout from being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. The Daily Mirror report the Gunners could now look to offload the midfielder in January, given his fractured relationship with the club's fans.

Thomas Tuchel has no interest in leaving Paris Saint-Germain to replace Niko Kovac as head coach at Bayern Munich.

Kovac was sacked by Bayern in the wake of a 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday – their heaviest Bundesliga loss since April 2009.

Hansi Flick has taken over on an interim basis, with Jose Mourinho, Massimiliano Allegri, Erik ten Hag and Ralf Rangnick all linked to the permanent post.

Sky Deutschland reported Bayern had made contact with Tuchel about taking the role, before L'Equipe claimed later on Tuesday that he had turn down their advances.

Asked about the rumours at a news conference to preview PSG's Champions League clash with Club Brugge, Tuchel said: "It doesn't interest me because I am the PSG coach right now.

"I have a contract for this season and last time I checked I have seen that I have a contract for the next season as well. I can't think of another club for one minute."

PSG claimed a 5-0 win in the previous meeting of the teams two weeks ago and will advance to the last 16 of the Champions League if they beat the Belgian side again on Wednesday.

Asked if the match at the Parc des Princes was like a final due to progression being within reach, Tuchel replied: "I don't think so. It's just a consequence of our performance.

"We had problems against Brugge with a very high press. They were aggressive and played very high. We needed time to adapt.

"In the end it was a deserved victory with five goals, but it was complicated for a long time. We have prepared tactically to be ready for every situation. If we are able to do that well, to show our mentality, we can win and the consequence is we will qualify.

"But we can only control our performance. Brugge are not always very structured, sometimes their game is a bit crazy and you have to play with precision and calm."

PSG head into the game following a shock 2-1 reverse at Dijon in Ligue 1 on Friday and Tuchel opted to take his time before going over the result with his team.

"It was necessary to take two days and then talk with the players about our tactics, the mentality, the way we started," he added.

"We hate to lose, we are not used to losing. We are competitors but we are also a team that can lose on a Friday night against Dijon.

"It was necessary to talk about it again and to criticise it. It's the responsibility of myself and the players."

Rising Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz says he could consider moving away from the Bundesliga, despite admitting "you can't go wrong" with Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old has been linked with a host of top clubs in Europe, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Germany international is also a reported target for Bayern, with Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller claiming in August that the Bundesliga champions had made enquiries.

Havertz is prepared to keep his options open when it comes to his future, suggesting Bayern or a foreign club could be equally appealing.

"They're probably the biggest club in Germany and there are many players that were very successful at a young age that went there," he told Marca when asked about Bayern's apparent interest. "Therefore, I get linked with Bayern, but we'll see what happens.

"There are players that want to stay close to their family and others say, 'I want to live in another country'. There's something clear: if you want to be a star in Germany, you can't go wrong with Bayern.

"I think I've picked up enough international experience at Leverkusen. I know the rhythm of these international matches and I'm confident that I can go abroad at any moment and play at clubs outside of Germany. For the moment, I want to have a good season. Afterwards, we'll see."

Havertz believes his style of play as an attacking midfielder would make him a suitable signing for Barca, whose former captain happens to be his favourite Spanish player.

When it was suggested his style suits Barca, he replied: "Yes, because Barcelona have a lot of the ball, but there are lots of teams that do that these days, not only Barcelona.

"Real Madrid, for example, are a team that have a lot of possession, although they've been a bit less efficient than Barcelona in recent years.

"There are many players that inspired me like Kaka, [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho... they've always been my idols. Between the Spanish players, my favourite is Andres Iniesta. He's outstanding on the ball. Unique. I like him the most."

Robert Lewandowski requires groin surgery but is yet to decide when he will have the operation, interim Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick has confirmed.

German publication Kicker reported on Monday that Lewandowski could go under the knife during the international break, with Poland having already secured their place at Euro 2020.

The 31-year-old striker has been in sensational form for Bayern this season, scoring 14 goals in 10 Bundesliga appearances and 20 in 16 outings in all competitions.

Flick, who was charged with taking charge of the first team following Niko Kovac's dismissal in the wake of Saturday's 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt, confirmed Lewandowski is struggling with a groin issue but is yet to set a date for an operation.

"We were a bit surprised to read that in the press but it's true. He has problems but he doesn't have pain," said Flick at a news conference to preview Wednesday's Champions League meeting with Olympiacos.

"He'll need to undergo surgery at some point, but he will talk to our medical staff. He will think carefully about interrupting his current spell.

"It's his decision and we will respect it because he's a super-important player for us. We will have to wait and see when it makes sense and he'll miss the least amount of games."

Flick confirmed he would play Thomas Muller and Javi Martinez against Olympiacos and used his first training session on Tuesday after the players returned from a day off to work on the defence.

"The goals we have conceded recently have not been Bayern-like. That's what we have to focus on," said Flick.

"We practiced a couple of things we want to see changed and the team did a really good job. I can't change everything – 90 minutes is not enough to change a whole team, but it's about the attitude and maybe changing one or two things tactically, emphasising one or two things differently.

"I want the team to be active and taking the initiative. We need intensity in defence when we are with and without possession.

"Since I've been here I've been fascinated by the talent in the squad. They have enormous potential to perform and we're not seeing enough of that."

Serious reflection is needed at Bayern Munich after Niko Kovac was sacked as head coach, says Joshua Kimmich.

Bayern parted company with Kovac, who led the club to a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2018-19, following a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, their heaviest top-flight defeat since April 2009.

Hansi Flick will take the reins for Wednesday's Champions League home meeting with Olympiacos and the visit of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, with president Uli Hoeness hoping to have a clear idea on how the team will proceed by the end of the international break.

Bayern sit fourth in the Bundesliga, four points adrift of leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, but can book a place in the last 16 of the Champions League by defeating Olympiacos.

Kimmich acknowledges it will be difficult for Flick to make his presence felt in a short space of time, so he and his team-mates must raise their standards in a bid to turn things around.

"When a club changes the coach, it means that the players have failed as well. We need to question ourselves and we need to improve and win games," he told a news conference on Tuesday.

"It's not very easy for Hansi because he doesn't have much time, yesterday [Monday] we had a day off and today we trained. Of course, he addressed a couple of things but tomorrow is the next game.

"The main responsibility for the results in the near future lies with us. There can be no more excuses for the players. The excuse of blaming the coach doesn't exist anymore.

"Of course, you want one head coach to stay for a long time because that would mean you are successful. Now if a team plays badly the coach is the scapegoat, if you play badly as a player you're on the bench and that's it.

"Hansi is a great guy who delivers very clear statements to the team. He already had some team meetings where he spoke.

"We have to deliver, we're the guys on the pitch. It's not going to be easy."

Luca Toni hopes to see Massimiliano Allegri installed as Bayern Munich boss but doubts his compatriot wants the job.

Bayern are hunting for a new head coach after parting ways with Niko Kovac in the wake of the 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Ajax's Erik ten Hag has ruled himself out of the running, leaving Ralf Rangnick, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger as the most prominent candidates.

Allegri, a free agent since leaving Juventus in May, is another experienced option and has the backing of Toni, who spent two and a half seasons with the Bundesliga club.

"I think Allegri would be the right coach for Bayern," Toni told Sport1.

However, six-time Scudetto winner Allegri reportedly covets a Premier League opportunity and Toni believes he would reject a move to Allianz Arena.

"In my opinion, he will not come," the former Juve and Italy striker added.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness has said more will be known about Kovac's successor in the next three weeks.

Hans Flick, Joachim Low's former Germany assistant, will lead the team on an interim basis, beginning with the Champions League home match against Olympiacos on Wednesday.

Jerome Boateng has been handed a two-match ban by the German Football Association (DFB) following his red card in Bayern Munich's 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Former Germany centre-back Boateng was dismissed in the ninth minute of the Bundesliga match at the Allianz Arena after referee Markus Schmidt consulted VAR over his trip on Goncalo Paciencia as the last man.

The DFB confirmed the suspension will not be appealed, meaning the 31-year-old will miss Bayern's home clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday and the trip to Fortuna Dusseldorf after the international break.

Bayern's defeat to Frankfurt was their heaviest Bundesliga loss since going down 5-1 to Wolfsburg in April 2009 and cost head coach Niko Kovac his job.

Interim boss Hansi Flick, who will be assisted by Hermann Gerland, will find himself significantly shorthanded in defence for his first league matches, with Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez long-term absentees.

Jose Mourinho, Massimiliano Allegri and Erik ten Hag have all been touted as permanent successors to Kovac, though the Ajax boss on Monday confirmed he will not leave the Eredivisie side before the end of the season.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness said the Bundesliga champions will know more about Niko Kovac's replacement in three weeks.

Head coach Kovac departed following Saturday's humiliating 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, which left Bayern fourth in the table and four points off the pace.

Hans Flick has been placed in temporary charge ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match against Olympiacos and Saturday's Bundesliga blockbuster with Borussia Dortmund.

Asked about Kovac and the search for a new coach amid links to Ralf Rangnick, Ajax's Erik ten Hag, Arsene Wenger, Massimiliano Allegri and Jose Mourinho, Hoeness told reporters: "Everything has been said already about this topic. I think our press release yesterday [Sunday] evening was very detailed.

"I can't say what will happen the next weeks either. It's not so important now, as we got three weeks now to consider how to deal with it. I think we did well.

"We always had a good relation to Niko Kovac. We came to a mutual agreement. There is no dirty laundry to wash. I've had a phone call with him today, everything is fine. I got the feeling that he is now free from a huge pressure.

"Now we play against Olympiacos and then against Dortmund. In three weeks in Dusseldorf we will know how to continue."

 

Erik ten Hag has confirmed he will stay at Ajax for the remainder of the season, seemingly ending speculation of a move back to Bayern Munich.

Dutchman Ten Hag was previously in charge of Bayern's second string and, following the departure of Niko Kovac on Sunday, has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga club.

However, speaking to the media ahead of Ajax's Champions League fixture against Chelsea on Tuesday, the 49-year-old ruled out heading back to Bavaria - for now at least.

When asked if he plans to stay with his current employers, he replied: "I can confirm that. I feel a strong connection with my team, with everyone with Ajax. I can confirm I will stay in Ajax this season."

Ten Hag did admit he retains a love for Bayern but is "not a dreamer", instead choosing to focus on Ajax getting a positive result at Stamford Bridge.

"Bayern is a fantastic club – I felt really comfortable and really enjoyed working there. They are still in my heart, but now I am with Ajax," he said.

"I'm not a dreamer – I focus on Ajax and that's important. I live for today, my only focus is on Ajax and tomorrow's game with Chelsea."

Surprise semi-finalists last season, Ajax are level with Chelsea on six points in Group H, though they lost at home to the Blues in the previous round of fixtures.

Ten Hag understands his players face a tall order to prevail against their Premier League hosts, believing Frank Lampard's squad can go all the way in the competition.

"They are one of the favourites," he said. "It's going to be difficult, but every game is going to be difficult. We trust in ourselves.

"We know we have to play perfectly, give our best performance. Then we will have a chance."

Hermann Gerland has been named as assistant to interim Bayern Munich coach Hans Flick following the sacking of Niko Kovac.

The German champions dismissed head coach Kovac on Sunday after suffering a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt that left them fourth in the table.

Flick was placed in temporary charge, and Bayern confirmed on Monday that Gerland will take on the caretaker's prior role as assistant.

Veteran coach Gerland has previously worked alongside Louis van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti at the Allianz Arena.

"Hermann is very experienced," Flick told Bayern's official website. "He knows the team, he knows the procedures, he knows FC Bayern as a whole. That's why I wanted to work with him."

Bayern host Olympiacos in the Champions League on Wednesday and take on Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund three days later.

Jose Mourinho, Erik ten Hag and Massimiliano Allegri have all been touted as possible successors to Kovac, who lasted one full season at Bayern.

Bastian Schweinsteiger says Jose Mourinho "was always asking about Bayern Munich" at Manchester United, as speculation grows the Portuguese could take over the reins at the Bundesliga champions.

Bayern parted ways with coach Niko Kovac on Sunday after a 5-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt a day earlier left them fourth in the Bundesliga table.

Pressure had been growing on Kovac all season despite his leading Bayern to the Bundesliga title and a DFB-Pokal triumph in his first year in charge.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has been out of a coaching job since being sacked by United in December 2018, with the 56-year-old considered to be among the frontrunners to replace Kovac.

Schweinsteiger played for Bayern between 2002 and 2015 before moving to United, where he played under Mourinho in the 2016-17 season.

He says Mourinho showed a keen interest in Bayern and the Bundesliga, as well as learning the German language in his downtime.

"I can imagine Mourinho in Germany," he told Bild. "I remember he was always asking me about Bayern and the Bundesliga. During our away games, there was always Bundesliga on TV.

"He really knew every single player, even from the smaller teams. He was also learning German.

"He has not worked in the Bundesliga, so I can well imagine that he would be tempted by a commitment in Germany."

Kovac's assistant Hans Flick will oversee Bayern's preparations for their Champions League clash with Olympiacos on Wednesday and Saturday's Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund.

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

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