The race to sign Erling Haaland may have taken another turn.

Norway forward Haaland is a hot property being pursued by a host of top clubs, with Manchester United among them.

Borussia Dortmund retained his services at the start of this season but the race is expected to heat up in the off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HOPEFUL OF HAALAND EDGE

The Mirror reports that the imminent appointment of Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United can give them the edge in the race for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Rangnick and Haaland worked together previously at Salzburg and United believe that relationship can propel them to the front of the queue.

Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all in the race to sign the 21-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

- PSG will not let head coach Mauricio Pochettino exit the club during the season amid links with Manchester United's vacant managerial role, reports Goal. The Argentine may be allowed to leave at the end of the season.

- Marca report that Real Madrid will not be signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in the off-season despite widespread speculation about a move.

- Sevilla are leading the race to sign Blackburn's Chile international Ben Brereton, according to The Sun. Rovers want £20m for his services.

- West Ham are set to launch a £7m bid to sign Burnley defender James Tarkowski,  report The Sun.

Another day, another Kylian Mbappe rumour.

The Paris Saint-Germain and France forward has long been linked with Real Madrid.

Madrid's high-profile chase could be reaching a conclusion.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID'S MBAPPE PLAN

Real Madrid's plan to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe has been revealed, according to the front page of Saturday's Marca.

Mbappe is Madrid's top transfer target, with the PSG forward out of contract at the end of the season and both parties have made no secret of their admiration.

The recent report claims the offer is "unrejectable" as Madrid's interest dates back to Mbappe's time at Monaco in 2017.

Marca also reports Madrid are set for a busy January amid interest in other soon-to-be free agents – Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are negotiating a move for Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, though the Premier League champions are not interested in selling the Spaniard.

Bayern Munich could look to sign Barca goalkeeper and Germany international Marc-Andre ter Stegen in 2023, per El Nacional.

- Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo is wanted by Serie A rivals Juventus and Antonio Conte's Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

Juve are eyeing Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic as an alternative should they miss out on in-demand Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic, according to Todofichajes. Vlahovic has been linked with City, United, Madrid, Barca, Bayern, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Inter and Tottenham.

- The Star says Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips will turn down a move to Old Trafford. Phillips has attracted interest from rivals Manchester United but the England international midfielder is unwilling to spark backlash from fans.

Sheffield United have dismissed Slavisa Jokanovic and appointed Paul Heckingbottom's as manager until the end of the 2025-26 season.

Jokanovic signed a three-year deal to take over at Bramall Lane following the Blades' relegation to the Championship, but has departed only six months into his reign with the club 16th in the second tier.

Heckingbottom, who stepped in as caretaker boss last season following Chris Wilder's departure, has been installed as boss on a long-term deal.

The former Leeds United, Barnsley and Hibernian manager had been in charge of the South Yorkshire club's Under-23 side. Stuart McCall will be Heckingbottom's number two.

The Blades were relegated from the Premier League with a whimper last season, finishing bottom after winning only seven matches.

Derby County's total points deduction for 2021-22 has reached 21 and relegation looks a near certainty after the Rams admitted to breaching accounting rules.

The Championship club's financial woes came to a head in September when they filed for administration, which was subsequently followed by a 12-point deduction.

That sent manager Wayne Rooney's men to the foot of the table where they remain, having won once in nine league matches since.

Their points total of six had them nine adrift of safety with 17 matches played, though they will now see that dip below zero once again, with relegation to League One practically assured.

Derby confirmed their appeal against the initial 12-point deduction had been withdrawn, while the new sanction relates to rule breaches in respect to amortisation, the accounting process of gradually writing off the initial cost of a player.

Any future breach of terms of their 2021-22 budget will see a suspended three-point sanction also come into play.

A statement released by the club and the English Football League (EFL) read: "The EFL has today confirmed Derby County has received a nine-point sporting sanction with a further three points suspended after admitting to breaches of the league's profitability and sustainability rules.

"The club, via its administrators, has also agreed, following last week's adjournment, to the dismissal of its appeal against the 12-point deduction imposed as a consequence of the club entering administration in September 2021, meaning that the sanction continues to apply.

"The new nine-point penalty has been applied immediately, resulting in the club having been deducted a total of 21 points from this season's 2021-22 Championship table.

"The suspended three-point deduction will take effect if the club does not comply with the terms of the budget as set out in the 'Agreed Decision' for the remainder of season 2021-22.

"Both decisions are now final and are not subject to any further rights of appeal under EFL regulations."

Rooney, 36, is Manchester United and England's record goalscorer and became manager of Derby, initially on a caretaker basis, in November of last year. He was subsequently appointed to the role on a permanent basis in January.

Reading have signed former England striker Andy Carroll on a short-term deal.

The 32-year-old had been a free agent since being released by his boyhood club Newcastle United at the end of last season, but joined the Championship side on a contract until mid-January on Monday.

Carroll joins a Royals side that sit 16th in the second tier, but only four points adrift of sixth-placed Queens Park Rangers.

Capped nine times by his country, the former Liverpool frontman career has been blighted by injuries.

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic hopes Carroll, who has scored 80 goals in his career and made over 250 Premier League appearances, can hit the ground running.

Paunovic said: "This is a deal that we have been working on for some time and are confident it is the right move for both player and club.

"Andy is looking for a new challenge in his career and we need a player with his quality and vast experience. So this is a great match and I'm really looking forward to working with Andy over the next couple of months."

David Henderson, the organiser of the flight responsible for the deaths of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson, has been sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.

Henderson, 67, was last month found guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Sala was on his way to Cardiff City on January 21, 2019, after signing from Ligue 1 club Nantes for £15million (€20m) when his plane came down over the English Channel, killing the striker, 28, and the pilot, Ibbotson, 59.

The court was previously told Henderson arranged the flight with football agent William McKay and asked Mr Ibbotson to fly the plane as he was in Paris on holiday.

Mr Ibbotson – who did not hold a commercial pilot's licence – was not qualified to fly at night and his rating to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu had expired.

A jury of seven men and five women were told that moments after finding out about the incident, Henderson contacted numerous people to ask them to stay silent, saying it would "open a can of worms".

The jury took seven and a half hours to come to a verdict before Henderson was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court, where he returned on Friday to be sentenced.

Henderson was given 18 months for endangering the safety of an aircraft, along with a three-month sentence to be served concurrently for attempting to discharge a passenger.

Manchester United youngster Tahith Chong has returned to the club after sustaining a groin injury on loan duty with Birmingham City that will rule him out for up to five months.

The 21-year-old has impressed during his third spell away from Old Trafford, having previously spent time with Werder Bremen and Club Brugge last season.

Chong had been a regular for Birmingham in the Championship, starting 13 of their 16 matches and assisting a couple of goals from midfield.

However, the former Netherlands Under-21s international has had his loan at St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium cut short by an injury sustained in training.

A statement on United's official website on Wednesday read: "Tahith has undergone surgery to repair a ruptured thigh tendon. 

"The operation went well, and he will return to Manchester United to complete an expected four-to-five-month rehabilitation."

Chong, who signed a new two-year deal with United in March 2020 with the option of a further year amid interest from Barcelona and Juventus, took to Twitter following confirmation of his lay-off.

"As a player, it hurts to be telling you guys this but, unfortunately, that's life and that's football," he posted.

"I have picked up an injury and will be out for a while. I would like to thank everyone at Birmingham City Football Club for everything they have done for me [in the] past couple of months. 

"The players, staff and everyone involved has made me feel very welcoming from day one. The coach has helped me a lot and showed a lot of confidence in me, something I will not forget.

"A special mention to the fans that, from day one, have supported me in a way that has helped me massively. Focus on recovery now and coming back stronger."

Chong has made 16 senior appearances for United in all competitions, five of those coming in the Premier League.

David Brooks is confident he will make a full recovery and return to playing after the Bournemouth and Wales midfielder was diagnosed with cancer.

Brooks was with the Wales squad last week but left international duty and underwent a medical examination, which found he has stage two Hodgkin lymphoma.

The 24-year-old will undergo treatment next week.

He said in a statement: "This is a very difficult message for me to write. 

"I have been diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma and will begin a course of treatment next week.

"Although this has come as a shock to myself and my family, the prognosis is a positive one and I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back playing as soon as possible. 

"I'd like to show my appreciation to the doctors, nurses, consultants and staff who have been treating me for their professionalism, warmth and understanding during this period.

"I want to thank everyone at the Football Association of Wales because without the swift attention of their medical team we may not have detected the illness.

"I'd also like to say thank you to AFC Bournemouth for all their support and assistance this past week.

"Although I appreciate that there will be media attention and interest, I would like to ask that my privacy is respected in the coming months and I will share updates on my progress when I am able to do so.

"In the meantime, thank you to everyone for their messages of support – it means so much and will continue to do so in the months ahead.

"I look forward to seeing you all again and playing the sport I love very soon."

Brooks joined Bournemouth from Sheffield United in 2018 and enjoyed an impressive first season with the club, scoring seven goals and assisting five in 33 games in all competitions.

Injuries limited Brooks the following year as Bournemouth were relegated, but he impressed again in the Championship, this time with 13 goal involvements across all competitions.

This term, he has three goals in nine matches.

Andrew Kellaway scored his fourth try of the Rugby Championship as in-form Australia beat Argentina 27-8 to go second in the table on Saturday.

The Wallabies have a runners-up spot behind champions New Zealand in their sights with one match against the Pumas to play after scoring three tries in their first ever Test in Townsville, moving above South Africa after they were beaten by the All Blacks.

Emiliano Boffelli dragged a penalty wide before Reece Hodge burst through a tackle after throwing a dummy and applied the finish following a swift side-step.

Hodge's early opening try came after a powerful run from the outstanding Samu Kerevi, who crashed over for a score of his own and Quade Cooper made it three successful kicks out of three to put the vibrant Wallabies 17-3 up at half-time following a penalty from Boffelli.

Julian Montoya touched down early in the second half at the back of a driving maul, but Boffelli missed the conversion and was also off target with another penalty.

James O'Connor sent a kick sailing through the posts after coming on for his first Test of the year while Marcos Kremer was in the sin-bin.

Replacement fly-half O'Connor set up Kellaway, the leading try-scorer in the tournament, for a simple finish nine minutes from time in another impressive showing from Dave Rennie's men.

Wallabies hitting their stride under Rennie

Australia, up to third in the rankings, were clearly brimming with confidence after beating world champions South Africa twice and they have won three consecutive Tests for the first time since November 2017 with head Dave Rennie making his mark.

The Pumas, on the other hand, have lost five in a row and have not scored more than 13 points in a game during that dismal run. The last time they went longer without scoring more than 15 points in a Test was a five-game stretch from March to August in 1990.

Kerevi causes havoc

The pace and power of centre Kerevi caused Argentina all sorts of problems.

Kerevi gained 90 metres with his 14 carries and beat six defenders in an all-action display.

Wayne Rooney has accused Derby County owner Mel Morris of being "disrespectful" and lacking honesty after the Championship club entered administration.

The Rams' financial woes came to a head when they filed for administration this week, with a 12-point deduction sending them to the foot of the second tier.

Rooney took permanent charge in January but the former England captain revealed the difficult circumstances he has been working under amid an apparent lack of communication from Morris.

Derby's football staff were at a meeting with Morris on Tuesday but Manchester United legend Rooney was disappointed not to have one-on-one talks with the chairman as uncertainty mounted. 

"In my opinion, it wasn't sincere enough, it wasn't heartfelt enough, and it wasn't done with enough honesty," said Rooney ahead of Saturday's trip to Sheffield United.

"Obviously he has moved on and we have to move on and put Mel Morris to the back of our minds.

"I personally haven't spoken to Mel Morris since August 9. I still haven't had a one-on-one conversation, no phone call, no text message. Nothing.

"I find it a bit disrespectful, to be honest. Communication is so important, whether it’s good news or bad news, so we can deal with it.

"He doesn't have to apologise to me. I just found, as manager of this football club, getting questions from players and staff and not being able to answer, I was hurt by that.

"He's put a lot of money into the club, and he deserves a lot of respect for that, but there are ways of handling things and it has left me disappointed."

Derby face the possibility of a further points deduction due to a potential breach of the EFL's Financial Fair Play rules.

Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou of business advisory firm Quantuma have been appointed as the club's administrators.

Rooney, however, insists he will stay put as long as Derby want him.

"I have said how committed I am to this job and this club. Nothing changes," he added.

"I am committed to this football club. I grew up on a council estate in Liverpool. I know how tough life can be.

"What kind of person would I be if I went and laid on a beach for a few weeks? We can stay up but if we get more points deducted, it will get a lot more difficult."

Derby County are facing a 12-point deduction in the Championship after going into administration.

Amid ongoing financial issues, it was confirmed last week that Derby had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Manager Wayne Rooney revealed he only found out after the news had broken in the media, while owner Mel Morris has claimed the club is losing between £1.3million and £1.5m per month.

The EFL said in a statement on Wednesday that "in accordance with EFL Regulations, a 12-point deduction has been immediately applied to Derby County Football Club's 2021-22 season total".

It added: "The League has already held initial constructive discussions with the administrators and will remain in regular dialogue with them as they seek to find the appropriate solutions required to assist the club as it navigates its way out of insolvency."

Derby also face the possibility of a further points deduction due to a possible breach of the EFL's Financial Fair Play rules.

Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou of business advisory firm Quantuma have been appointed as the club's administrators.

"COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the finances of the club and its long-term ability to continue in its current form," a statement from Hosking, released on the club's official website, read.

"We recognise that with the commencement of the 2021-22 season last month, this news will be of concern to stakeholders and fans, in addition to the city of Derby and the wider football community.

"We are in the early stages of assessing the options available to the club and would invite any interested parties to come forward.

"Our immediate objectives are to ensure the club completes all its fixtures in the Championship this season and finding interested parties to safeguard the club and its employees."

Rooney just managed to guide two-time English champions Derby to safety on the final day of the Championship season in 2020-21.

However, there was a risk the Rams could still go down due to financial regulations, though instead they were fined £100,000 and ordered to resubmit their accounts by an EFL disciplinary commission.

Derby, who face Sheffield United on Saturday, beat Stoke City 2-1 in their previous match to move onto 10 points from eight games prior to the deduction.

Arsenal have completed the signing of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Championship club Sheffield United for a reported £24million plus add-ons.

Ramsdale made England's squad at Euro 2020 after Dean Henderson had to pull out through injury, though it was Jordan Pickford who played every minute of the Three Lions' campaign.

The 23-year-old joined Sheffield United in 2020 after going down with Bournemouth, but he suffered a consecutive Premier League relegation as the Blades finished bottom last season.

However, Mikel Arteta sees Ramsdale as genuine competition for Bernd Leno, and perhaps a long-term replacement for the Germany international, too.

Ramsdale was left out of the Blades' squad for Wednesday's game against West Brom. Slavisa Jokanovic had previously insisted Ramsdale was not for sale, though ahead of the Baggies match, conceded a deal could happen if the club's valuation was met.

Arsenal confirmed on their official website on Friday that he has signed a long-term deal at Emirates Stadium, thought to run through until the end of 2024-25, with the fee reportedly set to rise to up to £30m if performance-based add-ons are met.

The Gunners, who lost their opening game of the season at newly promoted Brentford, have now made five signings in total this window, with Ramsdale joining Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and playmaker Martin Odegaard, whose move from Real Madrid was made permanent on Friday. 

IS RAMSDALE THE RIGHT FIT?

Ramsdale conceded 63 goals in 38 league appearances last season, the third-most in the league behind Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita (64) and West Brom's Sam Johnstone (74).

In total, Ramsdale faced 546 shots on his goal (including blocks), with only Johnstone (579) facing more. 

Ramsdale made 147 saves, second-most in the competition – again, trailing Johnstone (166) – registering a save percentage of 69.86 per cent, above the average of 69.01 per cent.

Leno, Arsenal's current first-choice goalkeeper, ended the season with a save percentage of 69.42, with the former Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper stopping 86 attempts in total. He made one error leading to a goal, compared with Ramsdale's two.

A key facet to Arsenal's play under Arteta has been their intent to play out from the back, a tactic that has not always borne fruit.

In a more direct style of play at Sheffield United, Ramsdale attempted 1,019 passes – ranking fifth in the league for goalkeepers – though his completion rate of 43.38 per cent was the second-worst of any shot-stopper to play over 20 matches.

Ramsdale was only marginally better when it came to passes in his own half, completing 76.78 per cent of such attempts, way behind Leno's 94.27 per cent, while the German had a 76.83 per cent accuracy overall.

The numbers would suggest Ramsdale may well be able to hold his own when it comes to shot-stopping, if not represent a slight improvement on Leno, though if Arteta insists on a possession game, then there is much work to be done.

Arsenal have completed the signing of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Championship club Sheffield United for a reported £24million plus add-ons.

Ramsdale made England's squad at Euro 2020 after Dean Henderson had to pull out through injury, though it was Jordan Pickford who played every minute of the Three Lions' campaign.

The 23-year-old joined Sheffield United in 2020 after going down with Bournemouth, but he suffered a consecutive Premier League relegation as the Blades finished bottom last season.

However, Mikel Arteta sees Ramsdale as genuine competition for Bernd Leno, and perhaps a long-term replacement for the Germany international, too.

Ramsdale was left out of the Blades' squad for Wednesday's game against West Brom. Slavisa Jokanovic had previously insisted Ramsdale was not for sale, though ahead of the Baggies match, conceded a deal could happen if the club's valuation was met.

Arsenal confirmed on their official website on Friday that he has signed a long-term deal at Emirates Stadium, with the fee reportedly set to rise to up to £30m if performance-based add-ons are met.

The Gunners, who lost their opening game of the season at newly promoted Brentford, have now made five signings in total this window, with Ramsdale joining Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and playmaker Martin Odegaard, whose move from Real Madrid was made permanent on Friday. 

 

IS RAMSDALE THE RIGHT FIT?

Ramsdale conceded 63 goals in 38 league appearances last season, the third-most in the league behind Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita (64) and West Brom's Sam Johnstone (74).

In total, Ramsdale faced 546 shots on his goal (including blocks), with only Johnstone (579) facing more. 

Ramsdale made 147 saves, second-most in the competition – again, trailing Johnstone (166) – registering a save percentage of 69.86 per cent, above the average of 69.01 per cent.

Leno, Arsenal's current first-choice goalkeeper, ended the season with a save percentage of 69.42, with the former Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper stopping 86 attempts in total. He made one error leading to a goal, compared with Ramsdale's two.

A key facet to Arsenal's play under Arteta has been their intent to play out from the back, a tactic that has not always borne fruit.

In a more direct style of play at Sheffield United, Ramsdale attempted 1,019 passes – ranking fifth in the league for goalkeepers – though his completion rate of 43.38 per cent was the second-worst of any shot-stopper to play over 20 matches.

Ramsdale was only marginally better when it came to passes in his own half, completing 76.78 per cent of such attempts, way behind Leno's 94.27 per cent, while the German had a 76.83 per cent accuracy overall.

The numbers would suggest Ramsdale may well be able to hold his own when it comes to shot-stopping, if not represent a slight improvement on Leno, though if Arteta insists on a possession game, then there is much work to be done.

Liverpool defender Ben Davies has joined Sheffield United on a season-long loan deal.

Davies joined Jurgen Klopp's men amid a centre-back shortage at Anfield, though he has failed to make a single senior appearance since his arrival in February.

The centre-back, 26, has returned to the Championship, having previously made 136 appearances for Preston North End, where he was named Player of the Year in 2018-19.

In that standout campaign, Davies led Preston's charts for duels won and interceptions, with 255 and 54 respectively, and also ranked second in terms of successful aerial duels – two behind Andrew Hughes' 175.

"I'm really happy to be here," said Davies. "I always liked playing against Sheffield United and the atmosphere.

"Hopefully I can fit into the manager's plans well. I've missed match days and the buzz of having fans in grounds.

"That's part of the excitement of coming here and hopefully having a successful year."

The Blades were relegated from the Premier League last term with six games remaining, becoming the fourth side condemned to the drop with as many matches still to play.

No side has been relegated from the Premier League with more matches left to play – Ipswich Town (1994-95), Derby County (2007-08) and Huddersfield Town (2018-19) also went down with six games outstanding.

With Slavisa Jokanovic in charge now, United will be hoping their manager – who has previously taken both Watford and Fulham back up – can immediately restore their top-flight status.

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