Manchester City's two-season Champions League ban could be about to reverberate through the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola's future had been a topic of discussion prior to UEFA handing down sanctions for "serious" Financial Fair Play breaches and the loss of European competition has fuelled suggestions the Catalan could quit the club.

Media reports indicate City already have alternatives in mind, and their search for a successor looks set to pose problems for Premier League rivals.

 

TOP STORY – CITY EYE PEP REPLACEMENTS

Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers are among the contenders to take over at City if Guardiola walks, according to The Telegraph.

The report states the pair "would be in the running" to become the club's next manager in the event their current boss decides to leave at the end of the season.

Ex-Tottenham manager Pochettino recently admitted he would "love" to return to the Premier League, telling the 'In The Pink' podcast: "It's going to be difficult, I know, and for now it's a moment to wait and we'll see what happens."

The Argentinian has been heavily linked to City's cross-town rivals Manchester United, while Rodgers is tied to Leicester City until 2025.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus-linked Guardiola might not be the only big name headed for the Etihad Stadium exit. The Sun claims Real Madrid will launch an "all-out assault" in a bid to sign Raheem Sterling.

- City could potentially even be docked Premier League points for the same Financial Fair Play breaches that compelled UEFA to act, says The Guardian.

- Meanwhile, over at Old Trafford, United have set their asking price for Paul Pogba at £130million, reports the Daily Star.

- As for potential arrivals, United are interested in Norwich City pair Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons plus West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, states the Daily Mail.

- Serie A side Milan are no closer to extending Gianluigi Donnarumma's deal beyond June 2021, according to Tuttomercato, and LaLiga title contenders Madrid are monitoring the situation.

- Sky Sport Germany continues to link former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac to manager-less Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin, who saw Jurgen Klinsmann leave earlier in the week.

Jurgen Klinsmann will not be allowed to revert to a position on Hertha Berlin's board after his "unacceptable" departure as head coach of the Bundesliga side.

Klinsmann stepped down after 11 weeks in charge of Hertha and three wins from nine league matches, citing a lack of "trust" from the club's hierarchy.

In a Facebook Live video on Wednesday, the former Bayern Munich, Tottenham and Germany striker expanded on this – alluding to interference from above and disagreements on "many things".

When he resigned, Klinsmann said he expected to resume a role on Hertha's supervisory board, but primary investor Lars Windhorst told a news conference on Thursday that his conduct had made this an untenable prospect.

"Unfortunately, I must say that the way Jurgen Klinsmann resigned makes a further working relationship with him on the board of Hertha BSC impossible," Windhorst said.

"Unfortunately, the way he left is so unacceptable that we cannot continue a constructive collaboration between him and the other people in charge.

"If we can count on him and his guidance in some other form in the future after all the dust has settled, we will see. I am neither shutting any doors, nor am I knocking anyone out as it has been written today.

"However, it is regrettable that his resignation has been so abrupt, which is why Jurgen Klinsmann lost a lot of credibility. That is really sad."

Hertha's sporting executive Michael Preetz conceded there were differences of opinion between himself and Klinsmann, although he felt the latter might have exaggerated these for his own ends.

"There are different views [between Klinsmann and me] on how the job of a head coach is defined," Preetz said.

"It is correct that we could not agree until he resigned. However, things that I heard yesterday, that I am sitting on the bench and show up on the sideline, were never discussed between the two of us.

"If there are problems and conflicts then I am used to discussing them and to try and find a solution. You can't do that if you turn around and run away."

A 3-1 defeat at home to Mainz in what proved to be Klinsmann's final game at the helm left Hertha 14th in the Bundesliga – six points ahead of third-bottom Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Jurgen Klinsmann put his abrupt resignation as Hertha Berlin coach down to disagreements with the club about "many things", particularly his responsibilities.

Klinsmann was hired by Hertha in November following the departure of Ante Covic and he was heavily backed in the transfer market, with Lucas Tousart, Krzysztof Piatek, Matheus Cunha and Santiago Ascacibar all arriving in a reported €80million splurge last month.

But after Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Mainz left them 14th in the Bundesliga, the 55-year-old quit his role citing a lack of "trust" from the club's hierarchy.

On Wednesday he went into greater depth about his decision in a video streamed on social media, explaining his frustration at not having greater control.

"Conditions were very difficult for me, perhaps because I've had other experiences in other countries. I've experienced life in Italy and France and England, of course," the former Tottenham, Monaco and Inter striker said.

"In Germany we're used to having a manager on the substitutes' bench at the side of the pitch and that he participates, that he's there for the players, and keeps the door open for them. I wasn't used to that anymore.

"I know the English model for a manager - they're called managers in England, not coaches - has only one job and that's being the boss of the club.

"They're different in Germany, where everyone gets to have their say, everyone plays a role, the whole management structure.

"In the end only one can decide, and I feel it has to be the coach, and we [him and the club] disagreed there. Unfortunately, we disagreed on many things."

But he reassured supporters who suggested Klinsmann was leaving the club in a mess, with the former Bayern Munich boss convinced Hertha are in a healthy position despite their proximity to the bottom three.

"A lot of you said it ended in chaos - that's absolutely not true, absolutely not true," he continued.

"This team is stabilised. We came in and the team was practically in a relegation place, level on points, and now there's a six-point difference. The team is stabilised and playing in whole different way to the way we found it.

"The goal for the year is survival, next year the goal is towards Europe. The goals are very important. If you don't have goals, there's no point in getting out of bed in the morning."

Jurgen Klinsmann has resigned as Hertha Berlin head coach after just 11 weeks at the helm, citing a lack of "trust" from the club's hierarchy. 

The former Germany boss, who assumed the role in November on a deal until the end of the season following Ante Covic's departure, confirmed he was stepping down on Tuesday.

Writing on Facebook, the 55-year-old said he would revert to his position as a member of the supervisory board at the Bundesliga club, who sit 14th.

"At the end of November we met the wishes of the club management with a highly competent team and helped them in a difficult time," wrote Klinsmann, who won three of his nine league matches in charge.

"We were on a very good path in the relatively short time, and thanks to the support of many people, we are now six points away from the relegation places despite mostly difficult games. 

"I am firmly convinced that Hertha will achieve the goal – remaining in the division.

"As head coach, however, I also need the trust of the people involved for this task, which has not yet been completed. 

"Unity, cohesion and focus on the essential are the most important elements, especially in the relegation battle. If they are not guaranteed, I cannot exploit my potential as a coach and therefore cannot live up to my responsibility.

"Therefore, after much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I would give up my position as head coach at Hertha and retire to my original long-term role as a member of the supervisory board."

His statement came before any official word from the club.

Jurgen Klinsmann has resigned as Hertha Berlin head coach after just 11 weeks at the helm.

The former Germany boss, who assumed the role in November following Ante Covic's departure, confirmed he was stepping down on Tuesday.

Writing on Facebook, the 55-year-old said he would revert to his position as a member of the supervisory board at the Bundesliga club.

Hertha Berlin forward Krzysztof Piatek revealed he took every chance he got to learn from Poland team-mate Robert Lewandowski.

Piatek joined Hertha from Milan for a reported €27million in January, having struggled to get to his best at San Siro.

The 24-year-old made his debut for the Bundesliga club off the bench in a 0-0 draw against Schalke on Friday.

With one of the world's best strikers in Lewandowski alongside him at international level, Piatek said he watched the Bayern Munich star closely when he had the chance.

"He is the best striker in Germany and one of the best in the world," Piatek told the Bundesliga website.

"When I train with Robert in the national team I always watch him. I watch everything he does and see what he does best.

"I speak with him all the time because I want to learn, and I hope I will learn all the time."

Piatek only managed four goals in 18 Serie A games for Milan this season before making the move to Hertha, who face Schalke in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday.

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.

Krzysztof Piatek has joined Hertha Berlin on a long-term contract from AC Milan just a year after moving to the Rossoneri, the Bundesliga club have confirmed. 

The Poland striker made the switch to Milan in January 2019 after spending seven months with Genoa, for who he scored 19 goals in 21 appearances.

Piatek continued his fine form at Milan initially, scoring a further nine Serie A goals and drawing comparisons with compatriot Robert Lewandowski.

However, he has been unable to reach the same heights this season, having found the net just five times in all competitions and slipped further down the pecking order when Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived on a free transfer, while Ante Rebic has also found form.

Piatek, who was subbed off during Milan's 4-2 win over Torino in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday, has now joined Bundesliga club Hertha on an unspecified long-term contract, for a fee reported to be in the region of €27million plus bonuses.

"I am very happy that this transfer worked out," Piatek told Hertha's official website. 

"I feel great desire to help the club together with my new team-mates and to climb up a few places in the table as quickly as possible."

Premier League clubs Tottenham and Manchester United had also been linked with a move for Piatek to cover for respective injuries to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.

Hertha Berlin have completed a move for Lucas Tousart, with the midfielder immediately heading back to Lyon on loan.

The 22-year-old has joined the Bundesliga club for a reported €24million for what a Hertha statement described as "the long term".

"I can identify very well with the ambitions of Hertha BSC," said Tousart, who will continue with Lyon for the remainder of the season.

"Something very exciting is happening in Berlin and I want to be part of it.

"At the same time, I am happy and grateful that I can finish my job in Lyon."

Tousart has been a regular fixture in the Lyon first-team squad for the past four seasons, making over 100 appearances in all competitions.

Jurgen Klinsmann's Hertha have already signed Argentina international midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from 2. Bundesliga club Stuttgart and are reportedly in the running to bring in Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.

Hertha sit 13th in the Bundesliga and host Schalke on Friday.

Tousart's next assignment with Lyon could be Thursday's Coupe de France trip to Nice.

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick praised his players for turning on the style in the second half to see off Hertha Berlin 4-0 at the Olympiastadion.

The reigning Bundesliga champions scored four goals in the final half-hour of Sunday's match to climb into second place, four points behind RB Leipzig.

Thomas Muller opened the scoring and Robert Lewandowski added a second from the penalty spot to pave the way for an ultimately emphatic win.

Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Perisic were also on target as Bayern made it four league wins in a row and back-to-back away victories in the competition for the first time since March.

Flick was pleased to begin the second half of the campaign with all three points against a Hertha side that had not conceded in their past three outings.

"A four-nil win – not every team in Berlin can do that!" he said at his post-match news conference. 

"I think we deservedly won. In the first game after the [mid-season] break, with such a short preparation, it is not always so easy to know where you are. 

"So, it was great for us that we started the second half of the season with such a result."

Muller scored the all-important breakthrough goal and, in the process, became the first player to net every calendar year in the German top flight since 2009.

The Germany international, who also set up Perisic to make it 12 league assists for the campaign to go with his three goals, told Sky Sport Germany: "We made them tired.

"The gaps got bigger in the second half. In my opinion, we played too patiently in the first half. We didn't play bad, but we weren't really that dangerous.

"We let Hertha play in the first half, but in the second half we kept going."

Hertha boss Jurgen Klinsmann, who spent a season in charge of Bayern in 2008-09, claimed the game turned on the 72nd-minute penalty awarded to Bayern.

Lukas Klunter was adjudged to have pulled back on Leon Goretzka inside the box with the scoreline at 1-0 and Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot.

Hertha's first loss in five outings leaves them two points above the bottom two zone and Klinsmann told reporters: "Four goals is a bit much. I think we played well for an hour.

"We had two or three chances in the first half. Then the first goal comes, but I think the sticking point was certainly the penalty – it broke us a little.

"We have to get points against the teams that are around us in the lower half of the table."

Bayern Munich produced a much-improved second-half showing to overcome Hertha Berlin 4-0 at the Olympiastadion and climb into second place in the Bundesliga.

Hertha entered Sunday's game unbeaten in four matches, keeping a clean sheet in three of those, and they held firm until the hour mark on Sunday when Thomas Muller opened the scoring.

Robert Lewandowski added another goal to his tally from the penalty spot and Thiago Alcantara scored a thunderous third as the reigning champions turned on the style in the capital.

A fourth top-flight win in a row was rounded off by Ivan Perisic's late header as Hansi Flick's men recorded back-to-back away league wins for the first time since March and leapfrogged Borussia Monchengladbach into second spot, four points behind RB Leipzig.

Lewandowski squandered a big chance to put Bayern ahead after 25 minutes, the Poland international poking wide when put under pressure by Rune Jarstein.

The Hertha goalkeeper was equal to Lewandowski's next attempt and also easily dealt with weak efforts from Philippe Coutinho and Perisic in a goalless first half.

Perisic twice went close early in the second half and played a big part in Bayern's eventual breakthrough, climbing highest to head Leon Goretzka's cross into the path of Muller, who rifled home on the half-volley.

Bayern were denied an instant second by VAR, with Lewandowski adjudged to have headed the ball out of Jarstein's hands before tapping it over the line.

However, Lewandowski did manage to double his side's tally with 17 minutes remaining, converting from the penalty spot after Lukas Klunter pulled Goretzka back in the box.

Thiago picked out the top corner to put Bayern out of sight after finding a pocket of space and Perisic rounded off an ultimately emphatic win with a back-post header.

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick has softened his stance on wanting new players in January as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry have returned to fitness.

Bundesliga top goalscorer Lewandowski had groin surgery following the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg in December and could not take part in the mid-season training trip to Doha.

Gnabry hurt his Achilles during the camp and only returned to full training this week ahead of the second half of the Bundesliga season.

Flick had stated publicly he wanted new signings to bolster Bayern's trophy push, comments that left sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic "surprised".

However, with Lewandowski and Gnabry ready to face Hertha Berlin on Sunday, Flick no longer appears desperate to bring in new faces in the transfer window.

"The injury situation has improved. Robert Lewandowski is back, so too Serge Gnabry, with a new haircut!" he told reporters on Friday.

"Robert is close to 100 per cent. He is an absolutely top professional and, when we were in Doha, he worked very well individually. Even when he was shooting, he didn't feel any pain.

"Lucas Hernandez will train on the pitch today. Javi [Martinez] and Kingsley [Coman] are a few weeks away. The goal is to have everyone together again in February and March, because then the tough weeks begin.

"It's true that I said [we need signings], but something has changed in the meantime. With the return of Serge and Robert, we've got two additions.

"I had a good conversation with Hasan and we both want to work successfully. When it comes to arrivals, it's important that players come to help us. I trust Hasan and his scouting department to make it possible for us.

"But that also has to be done carefully. You can't do anything crazy."

Bayern head to the capital in third place in the table, and they could be seven points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig by the time they kick off if Julian Nagelsmann's side beat Union Berlin on Saturday.

"We have to make a strong start. It's very important we start the second half of the season well," said Flick.

"We're all looking forward to it. We face a difficult task against a team that are very compact defensively. We must be prepared for that.

"We have the quality to become champions. Bayern showed last year under Niko [Kovac] that they can catch up. But we have to think from game to game.

"I don't feel any more pressure now than I did before the break. I really enjoy working with my team and coaching staff, but of course you're always under pressure, regardless of the situation."

Serge Gnabry completed full training on Thursday ahead of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga clash with Hertha Berlin.

The champions head to the capital on Sunday for their first game in the second half of Germany's domestic season.

Gnabry was forced to miss part of the mid-season training camp in Doha due to problems with his Achilles tendon, which he sustained at the start of the month.

However, Bayern confirmed on their website that the 24-year-old winger completed the full 90 minutes of training on Thursday, including a match.

The news comes a day after top scorer Robert Lewandowksi returned to team training, the striker having undergone surgery following the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on December 21.

Gnabry has scored six times in the Bundesliga this season and set up a further six goals. Only Thomas Muller (11) has provided more league assists for Bayern this term.

Hansi Flick's side face Hertha knowing they could be seven points off the top of the table if leaders RB Leipzig beat Union Berlin on Saturday.

Hertha Berlin have signed Argentina international midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from 2. Bundesliga club Stuttgart on "a long-term deal".

The 22-year-old, who earned the most recent of his three Argentina caps in November 2018, becomes Hertha's first signing since Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Ante Covic.

Ascacibar previously played two seasons of Bundesliga football for Stuttgart prior to their relegation last year and featured 13 times in the second tier this term.

He will join the rest of the squad for their mid-season training camp in Orlando and is in contention to make his debut when Bayern Munich visit the Olympiastadion on January 19.

"I'm happy that the transfer has been completed in the winter break," Ascacibar told his new side's official website.

"After holding talks with [sporting director] Michael Preetz and Jurgen Klinsmann, I believe I can continue to develop as a player here and that we can achieve a lot together. 

"I'm really looking forward to that and can hardly wait to get to know my new team-mates. We'll do everything we can to keep climbing up the table in the second half of the season."

Hertha, 12th in the Bundesliga after collecting eight points from Klinsmann's opening five matches, are also in the running to sign Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.

Manchester United may be eyeing Everton forward Richarlison, but Carlo Ancelotti has other ideas.

Brazil international Richarlison, 22, is reportedly among numerous attackers being targeted by United.

However, the arrival of Ancelotti at Goodison Park could mean Richarlison is going nowhere.

 

TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI TO BLOCK MAN UTD'S RICHARLISON BID

Ancelotti will block any Manchester United bid for Richarlison, according to The Sun.

The report says Everton would even reject a £70million bid for the forward, who signed a five-year deal earlier this month.

Richarlison has scored six Premier League goals this season, having netted 13 in 2018-19.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Everton and Ancelotti would seriously consider a move for Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne, according to Le 10 Sport. Ancelotti and Insigne worked together in Naples before the former was sacked earlier this month.

- Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Juventus full-back Mattia De Sciglio, according to CalcioMercato. Emre Can has been linked with a move to PSG and Leandro Paredes to Juve, with De Sciglio potentially being included in those talks.

- Inter are moving quickly for Arturo Vidal. Sport reports the Serie A club have offered €12m for the midfielder, although Barcelona want €20m, amid reports Vidal has agreed to terms with Inter ahead of a possible move in January.

- Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is a wanted man. The Spain international is a key target for Real Madrid for the 2020-21 season, according to AS, which says Fabian wants a move to the Santiago Bernabeu despite interest from the likes of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.

- Mikel Arteta is not ready to let Granit Xhaka leave. Amid reports the midfielder has told Arsenal he wants to join Hertha Berlin in January, The Sun suggests Arteta is in no rush to sell Xhaka as he assesses his squad.

- After links to numerous coaches, it seems Inter Miami have found their man. ESPN reports the MLS club – which will make their debut next year – have reached an agreement with former Monterrey and Pachuca coach Diego Alonso.

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