Paul Pogba remains on the sidelines but his club future is at the centre of the rumour mill.

According to a new report, Zinedine Zidane wants the Manchester United midfielder "at all costs".

Links between Pogba and Real Madrid have long been established, but it seems not all in the Spanish capital are keen on the move.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE WANTS TO POACH POGBA

Zidane views compatriot Pogba as "the final piece of the puzzle" for Madrid and has implored the club to secure his signature, reports Marca.

The Los Blancos boss reportedly made Pogba's arrival his only demand when he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in March for a second stint as head coach.

However, Madrid executives are said to be sceptical about splashing at least €120million for a player who would potentially take a first-team spot from the improving Federico Valverde.

Zidane and Pogba had a "chance" encounter in Dubai in October, where the 26-year-old was undergoing warm-weather rehabilitation on his injured ankle.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have been impressed with Mauro Icardi and will look to tie the on-loan striker to a permanent deal, claims CalcioMercato. The Ligue 1 champions can reportedly land the Inter outcast for €70m.

- Arsenal, West Ham and any other Premier League teams aiming to appoint Rafael Benitez would have to pay £20m to release him from his Dalian Yifang contract, says the Daily Mail.

- Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo could pull the plug on a bid for Gabriel Barbosa after growing frustrated with the forward's reluctance to finalise the arrangement, according to Fox Sports Brazil. 'Gabigol' is on loan from Inter and reportedly coverts a second chance in Europe.

- CalcioMercato reports Milan are plotting to sign PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Jose Mourinho's Tottenham hope to capture Norwich City centre-back Ben Godfrey in January for around £25m, reports Football Insider.

Paul Pogba will not be fit for Manchester United's much-anticipated Premier League match against Tottenham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford on Wednesday as his improving Spurs side seek to secure a fourth successive win in all competitions.

United had hoped star midfielder Pogba would be ready for the marquee encounter but the France international has not sufficiently recovered from an ankle injury.

Scott McTominay, who also has an ankle problem, and the experienced Nemanja Matic are considered "touch and go" for the midweek fixture, which precedes Saturday's trip to the Etihad Stadium for the derby against Manchester City.

"Paul's not ready, no," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"He's still a bit away but he's working hard. He's out on the grass, so let's see how long it will take."

As for McTominay and Matic, Solskjaer said: "They're touch and go. Let's get this training session out of the way. We've got more games than this one, so of course I can't look at just the one game. We have got to look at the long term.

"I don't want to talk about all the injuries we've had but when you get Scott back, when you get Paul back, we have been light in midfield with three out for such a long time and that's affected us."

Solskjaer has been unable to call on Pogba since the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the end of September.

United have won five of 12 matches in all competitions since then and none of their past three, increasing the pressure on their Norwegian manager.

Premier League bosses Unai Emery, Mauricio Pochettino and Quique Sanchez Flores have all lost their jobs in recent times but Solskjaer denied being worried about his own circumstances.

"No, it doesn't make me more concerned, I’m just focusing on my job and that's doing as well as I can, looking forward to the next game, looking long-term to plan things with the board," he said.

"It's that time of year. It's never nice to see your colleagues lose their jobs in a very short space of time... sometimes you have luck, sometimes you don’t. But it doesn't make me any more concerned that it is December."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful of welcoming back either Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay from injury for the Premier League showdown with Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

Pogba and fellow United midfielder McTominay were absent from Sunday's disappointing 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

United star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury, while McTominay hurt his ankle in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break.

As former United boss Mourinho – who had a reported falling out with Pogba prior to his sacking in December last year – prepares to return to Manchester with his Tottenham side on Wednesday, Solskjaer provided an update on his midfielders.

"We have still got two days and we need to look at everyone here as well," Solskjaer told reporters when asked about Pogba and McTominay.

"We have only got two days, so let's see, but, hopefully, we can see one of them on the pitch. They are working hard behind the scenes."

United are languishing in ninth in the Premier League, two points adrift of fifth-placed Spurs – who have won both Premier League matches since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks the return of Paul Pogba will be like a new signing for Manchester United and hopes the midfielder could be ready to face Tottenham.

France star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury that required him to wear a cast and then a protective boot.

The former Juventus midfielder has spent time in Dubai undergoing warm-weather training to help his recovery, having played just six times in all competitions for United this season.

Solskjaer is excited to have the "world-class" Pogba back at his disposal and, while Sunday's visit of Aston Villa will come too soon, the United manager would not rule out the prospect of having the player back to face former boss Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham side next Wednesday.

"Paul is stepping up his recovery and let's see how soon he'll be match-fit and available," Solskjaer said following a youthful United side's 2-1 Europa League defeat to Astana on Thursday.

"He'll be like a new signing for us. He's not really been able to play for us and, when we get him back, it'll be like a new world-class signing and world-class midfielder.

"We want him back as soon as possible. Sunday? No. Spurs? I can't say now as I've not been home and seen him. Let's see where he's at when he comes back and he starts training with us.

"Nobody can doubt his professionalism, his willingness or desire to play football. He's a footballer and one of the best midfielders in the world. It will be like a new signing before the transfer window opens.

"Of course, we have missed him when he's been away but some of the players, Scott [McTominay] and Fred, have taken up that challenge and done well."

Solskjaer also hopes to see McTominay back to fitness in the coming days following an ankle injury.

"We hope Scotty will be back as soon as possible, but he's also back home and I've not see him," Solskjaer added.

"Maybe [he can face] Spurs, but hopefully [he will be back on] Sunday."

The battle for Jadon Sancho's signature looks set to begin.

Four high-profile clubs in England and Spain are reportedly monitoring the teenager, one of Europe's brightest prospects.

Aggrieved with recent events at Borussia Dortmund, Sancho could now seek a new home for next season.

 

TOP STORY – CLUBS QUEUE UP FOR 'SCAPEGOAT' SANCHO

Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are the "leading quartet" of suitors for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Athletic.

Former club Manchester City have also asked to be "kept informed" following a string of events that have upset the 19-year-old England winger, notably his first-half substitution in the 4-0 Klassiker loss to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Sancho's representatives are said to have deemed that move "disgraceful", paving the way for his Dortmund departure at the end of the Bundesliga season.

 

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba's prolonged absence for Manchester United is part of a concerted effort to force through a January transfer to LaLiga giants Madrid, claims Spanish journalist Paco Gonzalez. Pogba, not sighted since September, is recovering from an ankle injury.

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is weighing up a move to AC Milan. The 38-year-old is available on a free transfer after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy. Ibrahimovic has been linked to Bologna, Tottenham, Napoli and Perth Glory.

West Ham are considering replacing Manuel Pellegrini with Chris Wilder, reports The Mirror. The Hammers are languishing 16th in the Premier League after 13 games, while Wilder's Sheffield United are riding high in sixth. Chris HughtonDavid Moyes and Rafael Benitez are reportedly among the other candidates should West Ham lose patience with Pellegrini.

- Wolves defender Owen Otasowie is wanted by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Bundesliga team Schalke, reports The Sun. 18-year-old centre-back has also been watched by Liverpool and Arsenal.

- The Mirror reports Aston Villa are leading the race to sign Rhian Brewster on loan in January. Brewster, 19, has been unable to break his way into Liverpool's Premier League plans this term. The report states Villa face competition from Crystal PalaceLeeds United and Swansea City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no issue over Paul Pogba playing basketball with NBA star Jimmy Butler – despite the fact Manchester United's club record signing remains sidelined through injury.

Pogba last featured for United when he completed 90 minutes in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Arsenal at the end of September.

Solskjaer had hoped to have the France midfielder back in contention after the November international break, despite his ankle injury requiring him to wear a cast that was recently removed.

He remains optimistic United fans will see Pogba back in action before the end of the year, but the 26-year-old caused some consternation by posting footage on Instagram this week that showed him on court with the Miami Heat's four-time All-Star Butler.

"Didn't I say last press conference, we don't play basketball; we play football," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, where he will also be without Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, leaving his midfield stocks particularly depleted.

"I don't see many basketball players tackling ankles and twisting and turning with studs. He's not ready to train.

"He had another test and a scan at the start of the international break. He's not healed yet but he is stepping up his recovery.

"He's out of a cast, he was in a cast for about six or seven weeks. You do lose loads of muscle.

"He's just gradually now just stepping up walking on the treadmill, biking with a free ankle. It'll still be a few weeks, yeah. We hope to see him in 2019."

A group of United players including Pogba's fellow injury absentees Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe undertook a more conventional trip during the international break, enjoying some warm-weather training in Dubai.

Solskjaer denied reports the players had decided to do this off their own backs, joking about how United had footed the bill for their Middle Eastern jaunt.

"We had to pay for it, the club had to pay for it. I decided that they should go. If only [it was their idea], they would have had to pay for it themselves," he added.

"I felt it was time for them to go there, get some sun on their backs, bring a couple of the coaches, do some training there, bring their partners and kids. Nothing formal.

"In Manchester it's been quite rainy and floody, so I thought it was good for them to go there."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no issue over Paul Pogba playing basketball with NBA star Jimmy Butler – despite the fact Manchester United's club record signing remains sidelined through injury.

Pogba last featured for United when he completed 90 minutes in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Arsenal at the end of September.

Solskjaer had hoped to have the France midfielder back in contention after the November international break, despite his ankle injury requiring him to wear a cast that was recently removed.

He remains optimistic United fans will see Pogba back in action before the end of the year, but the 26-year-old caused some consternation by posting footage on Instagram this week that showed him on court with the Miami Heat's four-time All-Star Butler.

"Didn't I say last press conference, we don't play basketball; we play football," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, where he will also be without Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, leaving his midfield stocks particularly depleted.

"I don't see many basketball players tackling ankles and twisting and turning with studs. He's not ready to train.

"He had another test and a scan at the start of the international break. He's not healed yet but he is stepping up his recovery.

"He's out of a cast, he was in a cast for about six or seven weeks. You do lose loads of muscle.

"He's just gradually now just stepping up walking on the treadmill, biking with a free ankle. It'll still be a few weeks, yeah. We hope to see him in 2019."

A group of United players including Pogba's fellow injury absentees Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe undertook a more conventional trip during the international break, enjoying some warm-weather training in Dubai.

Solskjaer denied reports the players had decided to do this off their own backs, joking about how United had footed the bill for their Middle Eastern jaunt.

"We had to pay for it, the club had to pay for it. I decided that they should go. If only [it was their idea], they would have had to pay for it themselves," he added.

"I felt it was time for them to go there, get some sun on their backs, bring a couple of the coaches, do some training there, bring their partners and kids. Nothing formal.

"In Manchester it's been quite rainy and floody, so I thought it was good for them to go there."

Paul Pogba has decided where he wants his next move to be, while Mauricio Pochettino is nearing a Tottenham exit.

Pogba, 26, was linked with a Manchester United departure during the close season but ended up staying at Old Trafford.

However, the France midfielder's future remains a talking point.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA PREFERS JUVENTUS RETURN OVER MADRID MOVE

Pogba would prefer to return to Juventus but would not say no to Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

The Serie A champions and LaLiga giants were the two clubs most heavily linked with a move for Pogba – who is contracted until 2021 – during the close season.

A potential Juve deal for Pogba could see Mario Mandzukic head to Manchester United, the report says.

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- Pochettino has held "crisis talks" with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as he nears an exit, according to The Telegraph. Spurs have struggled this season and sit 14th in the Premier League table through 12 games.

- While Mandzukic is wanted by United, Borussia Dortmund are ready to compete for the striker, according to Kicker. Mandzukic starred during two seasons with Bayern Munich before leaving the Bundesliga in 2014.

- Spain have offered Luis Enrique a chance to lead the nation at Euro 2020, according to AS. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have called a news conference for Tuesday, with Luis Enrique reportedly set to replace Robert Moreno at the helm.

- Manchester United are preparing to try to sign both Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and RB Salzburg's Erling Haaland in January, according to Goal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to try and strengthen his squad with United nine points adrift of the top four in the Premier League.

- Chelsea attacker Willian and Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz have slowed contract talks with their respective clubs amid interest from Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo. Willian is out of contract at season's end, while Fabian's deal runs until 2023.

- Manchester City are considering making a move for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, according to the Mirror. The Premier League champions lost Aymeric Laporte to a knee injury in September and may look to strengthen, although the Frenchman is expected to be back in early 2020.

With Barcelona and Real Madrid keen to strengthen their defences, one Inter star is attracting interest.

Milan Skriniar is reportedly wanted by LaLiga champions Barca and Spanish rivals Madrid.

Will Inter be able to retain the centre-back?

 

TOP STORY – SKRINIAR WANTED BY LALIGA GIANTS

Barcelona and Real Madrid have set their sights on Inter defender Skriniar, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Skriniar – contracted to Inter until June 2023 – has established himself as one of the world's best defenders since moving to Milan from Sampdoria in 2017.

The likes of Manchester City and Manchester United have also been linked to the 24-year-old Slovakia international.

 

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Manchester United are desperate to strengthen their squad and ESPN claims the Premier League side have an eight-man shortlist, which includes Leicester City's James Maddison, Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Salzburg's goalscoring machine Erling Haaland, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, as well as Aston Villa pair Jack Grealish and John McGinn.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are monitoring Sporting CP's Matheus Pereira, who is on loan at Championship outfit West Brom. It comes as The Sun reports the Red Devils could sign Gareth Bale and send Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.

- Bild says Borussia Monchengladbach have no plans to sell midfielder Denis Zakaria in January. Zakaria has reportedly attracted interest from United, Bayern Munich, Dortmund and others.

Manchester City are circling Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi, according to Calciomercato. Sensi moved to Inter on loan from Serie A side Sassuolo and the 24-year-old has starred at San Siro.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are looking at Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier and Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri amid their injury crisis in Turin.

- Brescia sensation and Italy international Sandro Tonali is being chased by Serie A champions Juve and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, reports Corriere di Torino.

Could Jose Mourinho find a new home at a third Premier League club?

According to one report, the ex-Chelsea and Manchester United manager is keeping a close eye on Tottenham and the uncertainty that lingers over Mauricio Pochettino's future.

The potential of a job opening in north London might even lead to him turning down a big-name former employer.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO SETS SIGHTS ON SPURS

Jose Mourinho has told friends he is "confident" of being offered a return to Real Madrid but may hold out for the Tottenham job, according to The Sun.

Zinedine Zidane is in his second stint in charge of Madrid, while Mauricio Pochettino has spent more than five years at the Spurs helm.

The report suggests it is the latter position that Mourinho covets more, meaning he "would not necessarily accept" another spell in the Spanish capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could launch a January move for Gareth Bale, reports The Sun. According to the newspaper, Real Madrid know of United's interest in Wales winger Bale and would be happy to let him leave the Santiago Bernabeu, providing they can do a deal that involves Paul Pogba moving in the other direction.

- Spanish outlet ElDesmarque reports news that could complicate any Bale-Pogba exchange, stating that although Madrid are indeed keen on France playmaker Pogba, so too are the player's former club Juventus, with Cristiano Ronaldo said to be supportive.

Paris Saint-Germain are rumoured to be United's strongest rivals for Jadon Sancho and the Ligue 1 side could make a surprise play for another England international. The Mirror claims PSG are interested in poaching Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana on a free transfer. His contract is due to expire in 2020.

- Premier League champions Manchester City will look to sign Kingsley Coman from Bayern Munich if Leroy Sane agrees on a move to the Bundesliga giants, according to Sky Sports. Coman, 23, joined Bayern from Juve in 2015, initially on loan.

- Mainz are seeking a new head coach and the Bundesliga club are reported to be targeting former Cologne boss Achim Beierlorzer. Kicker reports Mainz want a new face in charge by early next week, and Beierlorzer is said to be in the frame. The club sit in the relegation zone after eight defeats in 11 games this term. Beierlorzer would be making a rapid return to bench duty if he lands the job, having left Cologne on November 9.

Manchester United star Paul Pogba watched Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in NBA action.

Pogba is nearing a United comeback, having been sidelined with an ankle problem since late September.

The Red Devils midfielder – who had an ankle cast removed earlier this month – made the most of the international break, travelling to the United States.

France international Pogba was in attendance as the Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 109-94 in Miami.

A friend of Heat star Butler, Pogba was gifted a Heat jersey during the clash at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Pogba – who continues to be linked with an Old Trafford exit amid interest from Real Madrid and former club Juventus – has made just five Premier League appearances this season.

Manchester United star Paul Pogba moved closer to returning from injury, having his ankle cast removed on Monday.

The France international, who has made just five Premier League appearances this season, has been sidelined since late September.

But Pogba, 26, is getting closer to making a return after having his ankle cast removed.

The midfielder posted a video of the procedure on Instagram.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said recently he expected to be without Pogba until December.

Solskjaer's side are seventh in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of the top four.

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed "it won't be too long" before Paul Pogba is available again as the France international nears a return from his ankle injury.

World Cup winner Pogba has missed United's past seven games with an injury he suffered back in September.

The France midfielder said last week that he would need another "two weeks of rehabilitation" after the plaster comes off his leg.

However, the timeframe given by Solskjaer would still see Pogba miss the Premier League trip to Sheffield United and the Europa League visit to Astana at the end of November.

"I think he said it himself, didn't he?" Solskjaer told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

"He won't be too long before he's out of his cast, he's going to work through the international break and hopefully we'll have him back in early December."

Pogba will definitely be absent for Thursday's Europa League game against Partizan Belgrade, a fixture that defender Victor Lindelof will also miss.

The centre-back suffered a back injury against Chelsea in the EFL Cup last week and although he completed 90 minutes against Bournemouth on Saturday, Solskjaer has ruled Lindelof out of Thursday's fixture at Old Trafford.

"He won't be fit for tomorrow, no," the Norwegian added.

"He got a knock against Chelsea and he didn't come through the game against Bournemouth without the reaction, so he'll be out tomorrow."

There is a train of thought that Manchester United would be better off without Paul Pogba.

Move on from an inconsistent performer, cut your losses on your record signing, and perhaps United could benefit without 'the headache' of their World Cup-winning Frenchman.

Yet that theory gained little support on Saturday.

United, shorn of their only dynamic midfielder for a fourth successive Premier League game, reverted to type, displaying a lack of creativity and ideas in going down 1-0 to Bournemouth, whose winner was scored by Manchester United academy graduate Joshua King.

The Cherries had not kept a clean sheet prior to their last home game against Norwich City and yet their defence enjoyed a largely worry-free afternoon in the wind and rain.

A central-midfield three of Fred, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira might have impressed in the win over Norwich City on Sunday, but the trio epitomised everything that is wrong with this United, producing ponderous, pedestrian play and failing to conjure up anything of note in an attacking sense.

Pereira was the chief culprit. The Brazilian made only 25 passes and completed just 60 per cent of them - the fewest of any outfield United player. The most damning statistic, though, was that he failed to complete one pass to his team's centre forward Anthony Martial.

His performance was not an anomaly. Pereira has scored just once and contributed only two assists in 30 Premier League appearances, while making four big chances and providing one throughball.

Given he turns 24 on New Year's Day, you have to wonder whether Pereira is ever going to be good enough for United.

His infuriating moments on Saturday included failing to beat the first man from a set piece and overhitting what should have been a routine pass to Martial as he approached the Cherries' penalty area.

And when Solskjaer looked to his bench to replace his underperforming midfielder 68 minutes in, his only real option was the woefully out-of-form Jesse Lingard - a man who is yet to have a shot on target, provide an assist or deliver a throughball this season.

Solskjaer had spoken of the "good relationship" Fred and McTominay have in the build up to this game, but neither man is known for their creativity or flair.

Fred at least tried to take the challenge on, creating more chances than anyone else on the pitch on Saturday, but in seven appearances this season he not scored, provided an assist or a big chance.

The problem is, without Pogba, who can make something happen in that United midfield?

Saturday's showing should serve as a cautionary tale for those wanting Pogba gone.

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