Milan technical director Paolo Maldini said the club are weighing up whether to sign Fikayo Tomori permanently from Premier League giants Chelsea.

Tomori has impressed since arriving on loan in January, the 23-year-old's impact highlighted by his starting berth at the expense of captain Alessio Romagnoli in Milan's 2-1 win over Roma on Sunday.

Milan have an option to buy Tomori at the end of the season – the fee reportedly in the region of £25million (€28m).

Asked about Tomori's future prior to Milan's Serie A victory away to Roma, Maldini told Sky Sport Italia: "Tomori is a good talent and we have a buy-option clause.

"The price is very high. AC Milan will decide at the end of this season and we will discuss it with Chelsea's board."

"Fortunately, I work for a club that has an effect on players. When AC Milan call, the players always listen," Maldini added.

"Fikayo is a player with particular characteristics, pace and intensity, so we thought he could be a good reinforcement for this second half of the season.

"Naturally, Romagnoli isn't happy, no player is when he doesn't play. However, Milan are 17 points better off than last season, we're second despite having more commitments and many injuries, so squad rotation is necessary and Alessio has played pretty much every game."

Tomori partnered Simon Kjaer in Milan's defence as second-placed Milan stayed within four points of leaders Inter after 24 matches.

Franck Kessie and Ante Rebic scored for Milan, while Tomori had an early goal ruled out for offside.

Tomori had a team-high six clearances and two blocks, while he attempted the most passes (60) with an accuracy of 88.3 per cent at the heart of Milan's defence.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli hailed Englishman Tomori post-match: "I expected this performance, because Tomori played a derby a couple of days after joining us, so he's been at this level from the start.

"I still believe it's the collective that allows the individual to perform and all together we won a very important match.

"Roma have players with a lot of pace and quality in attack, so we knew that we were taking a risk, but we also recovered more balls in the opposition half – finally – and were therefore more dangerous in attack.

"It's about weighing up the costs and benefits of an approach, and this approach is giving us more benefits."

Ante Rebic struck the winner as Milan got the better of Roma in a wild Stadio Olimpico clash to narrow the gap on leaders Inter with a 2-1 win.

The Serie A title battle might have been all but over if Milan had lost this game, but chances came thick and fast and it was a wonder there were only three goals.

The first was a Franck Kessie penalty in the 43rd minute, but Roma got level early in the second half thanks to Jordan Veretout's fine finish.

Rebic scored a classy winner just before the hour; however, he and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both left the fray with injury concerns, having played their part in trimming Inter's lead to four points.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will renew acquaintances with Manchester United after the Red Devils were drawn against his Milan side in the Europa League last 16.

Sweden great Ibrahimovic spent just under two seasons with the Red Devils under Jose Mourinho, joining in July 2016 and departing in March 2018 to move to LA Galaxy.

During his first campaign at Old Trafford, Ibrahimovic missed out on United's Europa League final triumph against Ajax due to a serious knee injury and he will now aim to be the downfall of his former employers in this season's competition.

United have been eliminated by Milan in European knockout ties four times, the most of any side along with Real Madrid.

Arsenal, finalists as recently as 2019, will hope there is no sense of deja vu in their tie against Olympiacos. Mikel Arteta's side suffered a shock exit against the Greek outfit at the last-32 stage last season.

Mourinho is out to win the competition for a second time as a coach, and his Tottenham side face Dinamo Zagreb, while Roma have a tricky contest against Shakhtar Donetsk – who were the last winners of the tournament in its previous guise the UEFA Cup in 2009.

Rounding out the draw, Ajax face Young Boys, Slavia Prague go up against high-flying Scottish Premiership side Rangers, and Granada take on Molde.

Draw in full:

Ajax v Young Boys

Dinamo Kiev v Villarreal

Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk 

Olympiacos v Arsenal

Dinamo Zagreb v Tottenham

Manchester United v Milan 

Slavia Prague v Rangers

Granada v Molde

What does the future hold for Andre Silva?

Silva has scored 18 Bundesliga goals this season, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

He could find himself at Manchester United if Eintracht Frankfurt reportedly pursue a permanent deal for Luka Jovic.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA BOUND FOR MANCHESTER?

Manchester United could be offered the chance to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Andre Silva if Edinson Cavani leaves Old Trafford, according to The Sun.

Silva is taking the Bundesliga by storm this season, but Eintracht are reportedly looking to raise funds to re-sign Luka Jovic – who is currently on loan in Frankfurt – permanently from Real Madrid.

Portugal international Silva could become available if veteran forward Cavani departs after the former Paris Saint-Germain star arrived on a one-year deal at the start of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eurosport claims Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Norway international forward has been linked with Madrid, BarcelonaManchester City, Liverpool and United, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Everton have joined United and Bayern Munich in trying to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham will target Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope if PSG make a move for Hugo Lloris, says the Daily Mail.

- The Sun claims United veteran Juan Mata is being tracked by Serie A trio, Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Justin Kluivert was sorely missed by RB Leipzig against Liverpool and his injuries are increasingly frustrating head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Winger Kluivert joined Leipzig from Roma on a season-long loan at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

However, the 21-year-old - son of former Barcelona striker Patrick - has so far been limited to just three starts and 452 minutes of action in a Leipzig shirt across all competitions.

An ankle issue has provided Kluivert's latest setback, with his last appearance coming in January and his last start before Christmas.

Prior to being named in the line-up against Werder Bremen on December 12, Kluivert had scored in consecutive matches against Bayern Munich and Manchester United - his only goals so far this season.

Nagelsmann was impressed by the Netherlands international's performances in those games and believes his dribbling ability could be a real asset; he leads Leipzig with 5.4 dribbles attempted and 2.6 completed per 90 minutes this term.

But the coach was again without Kluivert as Leipzig lost their Champions League first leg 2-0 against Liverpool on Tuesday, with the German team attempting just 11 dribbles and failing to execute a single fast break.

"At the stage when we played Bayern and Manchester [United], it was the Justin we were hoping for," Nagelsmann said. "After that, he was gone again.

"He just trains very little, I don't see him much in training. That's the problem. He has to become more stable in terms of his body.

"Since he's been here, he's had far too few training sessions and therefore too little impact on the game.

"He basically has skills that would have done us good in the game against Liverpool. They would also do us good in the Bundesliga, like his deep runs and fast dribbling. He's also a goalscorer and has a good finish.

"But he simply has to become more stable. He's a little too injury-prone these days."

Leipzig would reportedly have to pay in excess of €10million to make Kluivert's move permanent.

Nagelsmann is not ruling out the possibility but would like to see more from the player over the coming months, referring again to the standard set in a 3-3 draw with Bayern.

Kluivert scored with his only shot at Allianz Arena, playing 78 minutes after being named in Nagelsmann's starting line-up.

"Obviously, we hope he has an even bigger impact on a successful season, that he stays healthy and that he can train more and get fit again for the games," Nagelsmann added.

"He's welcome to do as well as he did against Bayern Munich.

"In the course of the second half of the season, we will then decide what we do and what he wants to do. And how big his influence was and how it then continues beyond the summer or not, we will decide then."

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

Will he leave Paris Saint-Germain or not?

That is the question regarding French star Kylian Mbappe.

Real Madrid are keen, but they are reportedly prepared to wait.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WAITING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid have decided to wait to sign Kylian Mbappe until Paris Saint-Germain put the French star up for sale, according to Marca.

LaLiga champions Madrid have been tipped to sign Mbappe, who has also been linked with Premier League holders Liverpool.

PSG are trying to re-sign Mbappe as his contract runs out in 2022, and if they are unsuccessful amid their pursuit of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Madrid are ready to pounce.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Sergio Ramos' knee injury could spell the end of his illustrious career with Madrid. Ramos is out of contract at season's end and the star captain has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG, Chelsea and Juventus.

Liverpool are interested in Leeds United winger Raphinha, reports Football Insider. The Brazilian only moved to Elland Road at the start of the season.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juventus are hoping to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo.

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo lauded Cristiano Ronaldo's adaptability as the defending Serie A champions beat Roma 2-0 on Saturday.

Ronaldo and an Ibanez own goal saw Juve to victory at Allianz Stadium, where the Italian giants claimed their third successive league victory.

A day after his 36th birthday, Ronaldo opened the scoring when his deflected strike clattered down off the underside of the crossbar in the 22nd minute before Ibanez's 69th-minute own goal put the result beyond doubt.

Ronaldo has been directly involved in 84 goals since his Serie A debut in 2018, scoring 68 goals and providing 16 assists, more than any other player in the competition, while the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has now scored 16 times across 17 league appearances this season.

Pirlo praised Ronaldo's willingness to adapt after Juve beat Roma, telling reporters: "Since the beginning of the season, Cristiano's made himself adaptable to our needs on the pitch.

"In some games he's played more like a proper number nine when we asked our other striker to close down the opposition's playmaker.

"In these games, he can play closer to the penalty area and be more effective in terms of goal scoring.

"He's always adapted to what I've asked him to do this season and therefore I'm very calm about this part of how we play."

Juve are now third in the Serie A standings in pursuit of their 10th consecutive Scudetto.

Pirlo's men are four points behind second-placed Milan – who are due to face Crotone on Sunday – and five adrift of leaders Inter, though Juve have played a game less.

Juve have won six successive games across all competitions, and Pirlo added: "I don't know if it was our best performance this season. For sure we played a great match.

"Especially because after the match we played on Tuesday at San Siro [semi-final first leg against Inter in Coppa Italia]. We had to recover energy even if we rotated many players. The team had spent a lot of mental energy in that match.

"We faced a strong opponent [Roma] that force you to run a lot on the defensive side and I think that especially under this aspect we played a brilliant match tonight."

Andrea Pirlo explained Juventus' defensive approach against Roma was a tactical plan, after his side claimed a 2-0 win in Saturday's Serie A clash.

Cristiano Ronaldo – a day after his 36th birthday – opened the scoring 13 minutes in at Allianz Stadium, with Ibanez's own goal then securing the points for Juve, who moved above Roma into third place.

Ronaldo's goal was one of just three attempts Juve managed, with all of them coming from the Portugal star, as he hit the woodwork and saw a powerful effort saved by Pau Lopez.

Juve had just 43.3 per cent possession in total, with Roma having 14 efforts on goal – though they had to wait until the 61st minute to test Wojciech Szczesny, who made three comfortable saves against his former club.

"We had prepared this type of match. We knew Roma play very good football, so we were prepared to sit back, defend and then go on the counter," Pirlo explained to Sky Sport Italia.

"Our preventative marking was good, this was the approach we wanted, because it wasn't easy to go forward and be aggressive with Roma.

"Instead, we waited for them at times and attacked them at others. We basically did a reverse of the way Roma played against us earlier this season, because you need that in your locker and can't always be aggressive with a high press.

"We have found the enthusiasm, are more solid and our defensive approach is more determined now, because we learned from mistakes made in the past."

Juve have kept three successive clean sheets in Serie A, the first time they have managed that under Pirlo, while their tally of attempts was the lowest they have managed in a game since the rookie coach took charge.

Of the six clean sheets Juve have kept in the league this term, Giorgio Chiellini has featured in four of them, and Pirlo emphasised the importance of his former team-mate.

"Giorgio Chiellini is in good shape and we hope he can continue like this," he added. 

"The group has always been humble, known when it’s the time to run without the ball and when everyone needs to help out. Even the biggest champions do that and it’s a crucial element.

"I've learned that not every game is the same, especially in a very tactical league like in Italy, so you need to have different variations and alternatives, because otherwise the opponents can read you too easily."

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated turning 36 in style as his early goal helped Juventus to see off Roma 2-0 in Saturday's Serie A contest.

A day after his 36th birthday, Ronaldo continued his stellar form in an exceptional performance at Allianz Stadium with a fantastic strike to open the scoring.

It was a match of few clear-cut chances – Roma failing to register an attempt on target until the 61st minute – though Ronaldo, who had all of Juve's three efforts, went close to a second when he rattled the crossbar.

A flurry of Roma pressure midway through the second half proved fruitless and, on the counter-attack, Juve had a decisive second when Ibanez turned into his own net.

Ronaldo avoided any risk of going four league games without a goal for the first time since 2017 as he thumped Juve ahead in the 13th minute, dispatching a left-footed snapshot into the right-hand corner.

Bryan Cristante was inches away from restoring parity in spectacular fashion seven minutes later – his wicked volley arrowing just wide.

The woodwork came to Roma's rescue in the 22nd minute, Ronaldo's deflected strike clattering down off the underside of the bar.

Ronaldo almost turned provider with an exquisite cross to Alex Sandro but the full-back was just unable to take it under control, before Pau Lopez denied Juve's rampant number seven.

With the onus on a toothless Roma attack, Juve frustrated their visitors after the restart, retaining 63 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Wojciech Szczesny was finally called into action just after the hour, easily dealing with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's dipping effort before making a routine stop from Carles Perez's volley.

Yet Roma's comeback hopes were swiftly ended – Ibanez only able to divert Dejan Kulusevski's cutback into Roma's net to seal a Juve win which moved them within five points of leaders Inter.
 

What does it mean? Juve back in the running

Inter beat Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday to move top of Serie A, though Milan will retake pole position if they overcome bottom side Crotone on Sunday.

Juve have a game in hand on both Milan clubs and, with the Bianconeri having kept three successive league clean sheets for the first time under Andrea Pirlo, who also has Ronaldo on top form, you would not bet against them going on to clinch a 10th straight Scudetto.

Age is just a number

In an Instagram post to mark his 36th birthday on Friday, Ronaldo said: "I'm sorry that I can't promise you 20 more years of this."

While two more decades is beyond the reach of even the superhuman Ronaldo, the Portugal captain displayed his remarkable quality in another inspired showing. He has now scored 16 times across 17 Serie A appearances this season, while he has been directly involved in more goals than any other player (84) since making his debut in the competition.

Roma blunted

With Edin Dzeko starting on the bench after failing to secure a move away in the transfer window, Roma lacked a focal point until the forward's introduction just after the hour.

Paulo Fonseca's side had scored seven times in their previous two league outings yet had to wait over an hour for their first attempt on target and never truly came close to testing Szczesny, despite ending with 14 efforts on goal.

What's next?

Juve have a Coppa Italia semi-final second leg coming up on Tuesday, with Pirlo's team holding a 2-1 advantage over Inter. Roma, meanwhile, host Udinese a week on Sunday in their next league game.

Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements was always likely to dominate the headlines on transfer deadline day and so it proved as the Premier League champions made two late signings.

Centre-back Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End, while Liverpool made a further addition to the heart of their backline with the loan signing of Ozan Kabak from Bundesliga strugglers Schalke until the end of the season.

Those signings came on a day that saw Joel Matip ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees and Liverpool were forced to play Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back in Sunday's win at West Ham.

Heading for the Anfield exit door is Takumi Minamino, the forward moving to Southampton on a six-month loan deal having only joined Liverpool last January.

It came after Southampton loaned veteran Shane Long to promotion-chasing Championship side Bournemouth.

Bournemouth also sanctioned the departure of Joshua King to Everton for a nominal fee until the end of the season.

There were outgoings at Arsenal as well, with Shkodran Mustafi signing for Schalke on a short-term deal and Joe Willock going on loan to Newcastle United, who let DeAndre Yedlin leave for Galatasaray.

Arsenal also sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to West Brom on loan.

Turkish giants Galatasaray acquired Gedson Fernandes on a temporary deal from Benfica following an unsuccessful stint at Tottenham.

In Serie A, Parma landed Bayern Munich's teenage forward Joshua Zirkzee in a loan deal that contains the option to sign the 19-year-old permanently.

Atalanta are firmly in contention for a top-four finish in Serie A and bolstered their ranks for that push with the capture of Ukraine midfielder Viktor Kovalenko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roma can afford to have hopes of a title challenge and brought in teenage full-back Bryan Reynolds from MLS outfit Dallas on an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, to help them.

Frozen out at Juventus, midfielder Sami Khedira is back in the Bundesliga following a switch to Hertha Berlin, but one of European football's most exciting talents is heading to Italy after Udinese signed Jayden Braaf on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.

Elsewhere, Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny joined Celtic on loan for the rest of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion signed highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, West Brom loaned Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo and defender Teden Mengi moved from Manchester United to Wayne Rooney's Derby County on a temporary basis.

Roma have confirmed the signing of defender Bryan Reynolds, initially on loan for the rest of the season but with an obligation to buy.  

Teenager Reynolds, who had also been linked with Juventus, arrives from Dallas for a loan fee of €100,000, describing the move as a “dream come true” as he continues his career in Europe.  

The 19-year-old has also provisionally agreed a four-year contract should he join on a permanent basis, with an initial fee set at €6.75million. However, as part of the terms, there are a number of performance-related clauses that could be worth a total of €5.65m.  

MLS will also retain the right to 15 per cent of the profit on any future sale of the highly rated full-back, after factoring in the total amount already paid for the player at the time of his departure.  

"I am excited and humbled to join Roma. It is a dream come true," Reynolds said. 

"After speaking to the club, I quickly realised that this is the ideal place for me to improve and develop as a footballer.  

"My challenge now is to keep improving day after day: I will work hard to achieve great things for this club."

Reynolds has represented the United States at youth level, including recently being involved in a training camp for the Under-23 squad.  

Roma had already added Stephan El Shaarawy during the January window, the forward returning for a second spell with a club he previously represented between 2016 and 2019.  

However, it remains to be seen whether Edin Dzeko will be on his way out; the striker has not been involved with the first team for recent games due to a rumoured disagreement with coach Paulo Fonseca.  

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta confirmed talks over a potential swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez did not get off the ground, so the striker is left waiting to see if he will be moving on before the deadline.

Inter never came close to completing a swap deal for Edin Dzeko and are not expecting any departures before the transfer deadline, Giuseppe Marotta has revealed. 

Media speculation suggested the Nerazzurri could be set to bring in striker Dzeko in a player exchange with Roma, who would get Alexis Sanchez in return.

However, the switch will seemingly not be happening this month and, according to Marotta, talks never actually reached an advanced stage. 

Dzeko's future in Rome remains unclear amid a reported disagreement with coach Paulo Fonseca. He has scored seven league goals in 15 appearances this season but has not featured for the first team since coming on as a late substitute in the Coppa Italia tie against Spezia on January 19. 

"It was a bit of audacity on the part of the agents of the two players," Inter CEO Marotta told the media on Monday about the rumoured Dzeko-Sanchez switch.  

"Apart from a meeting between the directors, we never got into the heart of the negotiations."

Meanwhile, Christian Eriksen and Ivan Perisic - a reported target for Everton - are set to remain at Inter, meaning Antonio Conte will continue to work with the squad he has at his disposal.

Marotta pointed to the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a need to be cautious in the transfer market.

Asked if the club are now closed for business in this window, he replied: "Yes.

"We are faced with an extraordinary event. The pandemic has had a strong impact and the model of the past is not sustainable.

"At this moment, we have to deal with the cost of labour - it must be reviewed in order not to risk a default. 

"We will not entertain any negotiations for big transfers and big salaries."

Inter sit second in Serie A, two points behind leaders Milan. They are also through to the last four of the Coppa Italia, where they will go up against Juventus.

Will he stay or will he go?

That is the question regarding Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, who is a reported target for Real Madrid and Liverpool.

If Mbappe opts to call time on his PSG stall, the French champions are still aiming high.

 

TOP STORY – LIFE WITHOUT MBAPPE IN PARIS?

Paris Saint-Germain are more determined than ever to give head coach Mauricio Pochettino a dream forward line amid doubts over Kylian Mabppe's future, according to Le10 Sport.

Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid and Premier League holders Liverpool.

If Mbappe does not remain in Paris, PSG will step up their pursuit of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

Massimiliano Allegri has turned down Roma as he waits for Madrid, repots Todofichajes. Zinedine Zidane is under mounting pressure in the Spanish capital, while it is a similar situation for Roma boss Paulo Fonseca.

Manchester City are willing to sign a striker and Messi this offseason, according to The Athletic. With City yet to offer Sergio Aguero a new deal, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Inter pair Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku are reported targets as Pep Guardiola's side also eye soon-to-be free agent Messi.

- Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool have agreed to sign Ben Davies from Preston North End ahead of Monday's deadline day. Jurgen Klopp has been eyeing a defender due to the club's injury crisis.

Dele Alli's proposed switch from Tottenham to PSG is not progressing, reports Romano. Struggling for game time at Spurs, Alli has been keen for a loan move to PSG, but Tottenham are unwilling to sanction a departure as Inter block Christian Eriksen's return.

Leicester City are the frontrunners to sign Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles, claims The Mirror.

Roma have completed the signing of forward Stephan El Shaarawy.

The 28-year-old Italy international has rejoined the club on a reported two-and-a-half-year contract.

El Shaarawy had left Roma for Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in July 2019 for €16million and won the Chinese FA Cup later that year.

He completed his return to the Stadio Olimpico exactly five years after he marked his Roma debut with a goal against Frosinone.

"When I arrived in Rome the first time I realised how little time it takes for this club and this city to make a deep impression on you," he told the club's website.

"When I left I quickly realised that both would always be in my heart. Now I cannot wait to be once again representing this club and these colours."

General manager Tiago Pinto said: "Everyone knows the quality El Shaarawy has, but few are aware of the full extent of his desire to come back and wear the Roma shirt once more – and it is that desire and belief in our project that made all the difference.

"Today we are delighted to welcome him back to the club once again."

El Shaarawy scored 40 goals in 139 appearances for Roma in his first spell with the club.

The former Milan man returns with the Giallorossi third in Serie A heading into the weekend games, four points behind Inter in second.

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