Rumour Has It: Juve plotting Pogba bid, Man City eye Haaland and Lukaku

By Sports Desk January 17, 2021

Will a Juventus-Paul Pogba reunion become a reality?

The future of Manchester United star continues to dominate headlines.

A move back to Turin could be on the cards for Pogba.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO MAKE POGBA OFFER

Serie A champions Juventus will try to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United at the end of the season, according to the Calciomercato.

Pogba appears set to leave United following the 2020-21 campaign after his agent Mino Raiola claimed the French midfielder was unhappy in Manchester.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked but Juve, who signed Pogba from United in 2012 before losing him to the Red Devils four years later, want to bring the World Cup winner back to Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph reports Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will be given £200million to spend on new players in the next transfer window. Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku are on the list of potential targets, as well as Benfica's Darwin Nunez amid doubts over Sergio Aguero 's future. Haaland has also been linked with neighbours United , Madrid , Barca , Liverpool and Juve .

Bayern Munich are interested in Madrid defender Eder Militao , claims Mundo Deportivo. It comes as Bayern look to replace David Alaba , who is set to leave the Bundesliga champions on a free transfer. Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid .

Milan  are close to re-signing star pair Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu , says Tuttosport. Corriere dello Sport reports Milan are also nearing a deal to sign veteran forward Mario Mandzukic .

- The Athletic claims Mesut Ozil is poised to leave Arsenal for Turkish giants Fenerbahce after reaching an agreement in principle to terminate his Gunners contract.

- The Transfer Window Podcast claims Madrid are considering the possibility of using Eden Hazard in a deal to lure Kylian Mbappe from PSG.

Memphis Depay has been strongly tipped to move to Barca , however, Ok Diario reports the Lyon captain could join Madrid following Luka Jovic's loan return to Eintracht Frankfurt.

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    Kylian Mbappe is a smart enough player to create space and play with freedom alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier.

    France international Mbappe appeared to question the tactics used at PSG when admitting last week he has "a lot more freedom" when playing for his country.

    The 23-year-old was speaking on the back a 2-0 win over Austria in which he and strike partner Olivier Giroud linked up throughout, with both players on the scoresheet.

    But while Galtier agrees that PSG could do with a Giroud-type player in their squad, he does not believe his side have a problem getting the most out of Mbappe in attack.

    "I don't think he has less freedom," Galtier said ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with his former club Nice. "With Giroud, he has someone who opens up spaces for him.

    "We don't have that player profile but he's just as smart to find other moves with Leo and Neymar giving him the ball in his preferred space.

    "Kylian's analysis is correct. He's not in the same system for his club and national team. This is a discussion I've had with the president and Luis Campos about our attack.

    "We were all convinced we needed a fourth player in that position with a different profile, but that player did not come [in the transfer window]. It's a shame but that's how it is.

    "The technical relationship between Neymar, Leo and Kylian is different to what he has with the national team."

    The relationship between PSG's star-studded front three was again in the spotlight this week when Neymar declined to comment on his relationship with Mbappe.

    Speaking earlier this month, Mbappe admitted he has "hotter and colder moments" with the Brazil international, though added they have a strong mutual respect.

    But when probed on the pair's relationship on Thursday, Galtier insisted he is more than happy with the chemistry in the dressing room.

    "I am surprised I have to always repeat the same thing," he said. "Since I arrived here, to the current day, all I've experienced is normal things in the life of a locker room.

    "There is nothing that's surprised me, nothing that has challenged me. The players here want to win together and they are also in competition [for a place in the side].

    "They are all great champions with competitiveness, with egos. We have a pleasant dressing room. There is a discrepancy between what you hear and the reality."

    The Parisians enter the contest with Nice top of Ligue 1 with seven wins and a draw from the opening eight matches of their latest title defence.

    However, PSG have scored only one goal in both of their past two league outings – not since September 2020 have they failed to score more than once in three straight games.

    Galtier said during the international break that his side need to show more of a "killer" instinct in front of goal, having managed 12 shots on target across the two matches.

    "I want to remind the players that it would be beneficial to us to hurt teams quickly," Galtier added at Thursday's press conference.

    "It will help with the management of the squad and playing time. But it must be said that opposing goalkeepers have also performed well against us."

    PSG are unbeaten in their past 17 Ligue 1 games ahead of their return to action this weekend, which is the longest current run in the division.

  • 'I take every criticism to heart' - Nagelsmann hurt by Bayern's below par form 'I take every criticism to heart' - Nagelsmann hurt by Bayern's below par form

    Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann says he cannot help but "take every criticism to heart", after a poor recent run of form led to questions over his position.

    A 1-0 defeat to Augsburg last time out made it four Bundesliga games without a victory, dropping them to fifth in the table.

    Some feel Bayern's streak of winning 10 league titles in a row is under threat, with them sitting five points behind early leaders Union Berlin, and there is also talk of sacked Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel being a potential replacement for Nagelsmann if he was axed.

    And Nagelsmann admitted he takes the negative assessments of him personally, telling reporters: "I take every criticism to heart. It's normal that the last two weeks have been tough.

    "I am aware that I am not responsible for everything. I know that I invest a lot in the job. I claim to be an orderly person. Football is a very important part and an important passion for me. But it doesn't define me as a person."

    Sadio Mane, brought in from Liverpool in the transfer window, is another Bayern man under fire, having scored three in three league games to start the season but failing to find the net in his last five for his new side in all competitions.

    But his head coach is not worried about the Senegal international returning to form with his coaching staff's help, with Nagelsmann adding: "I have individual talks with all the players.

    "In the end he has to help implement the plan, then he is a great support. In the end, it's the player's job to implement what the coach tells him to do.

    "Then he will quickly find his way back to top form, I'm in good spirits. The performance is the responsibility of the coaching staff to get him where we want him to be."

    Bayern are in action on Friday as they look to end their winless run, but will face a Bayer Leverkusen side who themselves are desperate for points, sat one place above the relegation zone having won just one league match this season.

    Nagelsmann is expecting an improved performance from the defeat to Augsburg, commenting: "From my side, I expect that the players show what they're made of.

    "I know that we haven't shown some things yet. It is still important to be brave. We still have to be aware that we are Bayern Munich.

    "Leverkusen doesn't have an outstanding situation either, but it's a top game."

  • Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery

    Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has been ruled out of action until December after undergoing an operation on his groin.

    The 22-year-old played in 33 of Arsenal's 38 Premier League games last season – only three outfield players featured more regularly – but he has struggled for minutes this term.

    Smith Rowe has not started any of league leaders Arsenal's opening seven matches in the competition and has totalled just 48 minutes on the pitch.

    He has been struggling with a persistent groin issue, which was aggravated in the 3-1 loss to Manchester United earlier this month, and it was decided he would undergo surgery.

    Arsenal confirmed on Thursday that Smith Rowe is facing a long spell on the sidelines, effectively ruling him out until the final fortnight of the year due to the break for the World Cup, a tournament the England international is now certain to miss.

    "In recent months, Emile Smith Rowe has been experiencing discomfort in his groin, which has limited his training and match appearances," the club statement read.

    "Following a significant setback at our Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 4, and after further specialist consultations and discussions with our medical team, Emile underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his groin.

    "This successful surgery took place in London in the past few days and Emile’s rehabilitation programme is already under way. We are hopeful that Emile will return to full training in December.

    "Everyone at the club will now be supporting and working hard with Emile to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

    Smith Rowe has played 86 games for Arsenal in all competitions and has scored 18 times.

    The three-cap England international's shot conversion rate of 23.81 is the fourth best of any Premier League player to have scored at least 10 times since the start of last season.

    Arsenal return from the international break with a north London derby showdown against Tottenham on Saturday.

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