Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played down a January transfer spending spree at Old Trafford.

United have been heavily linked to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Leicester City playmaker James Maddison and Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland.

Mario Mandzukic has also emerged as an option up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

But Solskjaer is not anticipating a big window in January, aside from a couple of possible loan deals.

"It is not about 'x' amount of money [we have to spend], it is about who do we think will be good for the club in the long-term, not just three or four months," Solskjaer said.

When asked if Solskjaer's targets could be available in January, the Norwegian replied: "Probably not because that is the thing - it is in January.

"Not many clubs want to sell players that they would otherwise want to keep in January. Maybe one or two could be a loan deal but that is not a big money thing, it is just to help the team.

"But we are getting players back and we are looking at what can be available for us."

Solskjaer was speaking ahead of United's Premier League trip to Sheffield United on Sunday.

With Paul Pogba sidelined and fitness concerns over Scott McTominay, Solskjaer challenged midfielder Fred to fill the void following his encouraging performances for United.

"First of all, the price tag, that is none of Fred's concern, and it shouldn't be because that is just how football has gone," Solskjaer said of the Brazilian, who arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk for a deal in the region of £52million in 2018. "The prices nowadays, you think, 'Hmm' but the market today is different to what it was. That shouldn't be on Fred, that should be on us.

"Fred came in, he did well to start with. Then he hit a difficult period. Then when I came in, he found it hard, then he had a very good period. And now he is having a very good period again. He is showing what we saw in him."

Harry Maguire is delighted to see his boyhood club Sheffield United flying high in the Premier League and wants them to win every game - unless they are playing Manchester United.

England centre-back Maguire became the world's most expensive defender when he moved to Old Trafford in a reported £80million deal from Leicester City in the previous transfer window.

The 26-year-old came through the Blades' academy and made over 100 senior appearances for the club before leaving to join Hull City in 2014.

Maguire gets the chance to play at Bramall Lane again on Sunday, as the Red Devils - who sit a point behind the Blades - face Chris Wilder's side.

"It means so much, the club that gave me the chance of fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional footballer," Maguire told BBC Sport when asked about his return.

"I owe them a lot, I go back and support them whenever I can. 

"It's the first result I look for when I get off the pitch. I want to see them win every game they play, apart from when we're playing against them. A fantastic club and it's great to see them back in the Premier League where they belong

Maguire acknowledged he is unlikely to get much in the way of support from friends as he visits his old club - but insists his loved ones will be cheering him on.

"Hopefully I'll be the one smiling with my friends and not them," he said.

"I'm sure some of [my friends] will be supporting Sheffield United, but my family will be supporting Man United and hoping we get the three points."

Romelu Lukaku has pinpointed his positional change under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the moment he knew his Manchester United career was over.

The imposing centre-forward, a big-money acquisition from Everton in 2017, was shunted out to the wing in the final months of his lean second season at Old Trafford.

Concerns over his form and fitness prompted Solskjaer to deploy Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial through the middle, a move that ultimately convinced Lukaku to depart for Inter in August.

"It was after the game against West Ham at home [on April 13] - Solskjaer decided to put me on the right wing, very wide," Lukaku told Corriere dello Sport.

"The experience in Manchester made me mentally stronger because not everything went as I had expected. I didn't win what I was hoping for, my performance was not entirely positive and I didn't even feel 100 per cent wanted. Not so much from the technical staff or from my team-mates, but from the people around.

"So after the match against Chelsea, on April 28, the coach called me for a meeting and I told him what I thought, or that I wanted to leave.

"He saw on my face that I didn't want to stay any longer and he replied that he didn't want to hold anyone against [their will]. He understood my point of view and assured me that he would do everything possible to satisfy me. He earned my respect and, until I left Manchester, there was no problem with him."

Lukaku holds former United team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic in even higher esteem.

The pair briefly competed for a starting spot under Jose Mourinho and could again come face-to-face if free agent Ibrahimovic completes a return to Italy, as has been speculated.

Lukaku said: "Zlatan is a warrior. We really resemble each other because we have faced difficult circumstances in our lives since we were children and when we talk we understand each other. He is one of the three smartest players I've met off the field.

"Not everyone knows it, but he helped me a lot when I arrived at United. He sat at the back of the team bus with me, we talked a lot and he gave me advice. If he hadn't been injured, playing with him would have been perfect.

"Even now he is very strong, he has the quality of a champion and above all he has what we call a 'dog mentality', the mentality of one who never gives up. I believe he will return to Serie A."

Barcelona are preparing for next season and they have several players on their wish list.

The LaLiga leaders are enjoying a decent campaign in 2019-20, but they already have one eye on 2020-2021.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic are reportedly their main targets.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET MARTINEZ, KIMMICH AND MILENKOVIC

Martinez, Kimmich and Milenkovic are Barcelona's main targets ahead of 2020-21, according to AS.

If they miss out on Kimmich, they will look to RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann, the report says.

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is another option, while Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a target if they cannot land Martinez.

ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino could be set for a quick return to management. Bayern Munich want to hold talks with the former Tottenham manager, according to The Telegraph.

- Could the impact of Jose Mourinho be felt at Tottenham already? Toby Alderweireld, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could stay at Spurs after Mourinho's arrival, The Telegraph also reports.

- Roma could extend Lorenzo Pellegrini's contract, but several clubs are interested in the midfielder. Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have shown some interest in Pellegrini, according to CalcioMercato.

- Marko Pjaca has failed to have an impact since his arrival at Juventus in 2016. CalcioMercato reports the Croatian attacker, who has already been on loan at Schalke and Fiorentina since his arrival in Turin, could be set for another spell away from Juve in January.

- Chelsea have a target in January if their transfer ban is overturned. The Premier League giants have been monitoring CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, according to Sky Sports. The 21-year-old scored 15 Russian Premier League goals last season and has five in 16 games in 2019-20.

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."

Scott McTominay has compounded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's midfield injury woes as Manchester United prepare to travel to Sheffield United.

Scotland international McTominay has become a consistent and influential performer for Solskjaer this season, but his manager told a pre-match news conference he will be out for around two more weeks with an ankle problem sustained during the closing stages of the 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 22-year-old, who scored in that victory, joins Paul Pogba, the victim of a more serious ankle injury, on the sidelines. Nemanja Matic has only recently stepped up his return to training alongside defensive duo Axel Tuanzebe (hip) and Luke Shaw (hamstring).

Nevertheless, Solskjaer also has a fresh concern in that department, as Marcos Rojo rehabilitates from a muscular issue on a similar timeframe to McTominay.

"Scotty hurt his ankle so he'll be out for a couple of weeks I reckon," the Red Devils boss said.

"He won't be ready for this week. We've lost Rojo, he's injured. Paul's still injured. But we’ve got Axel, Luke and Nemanja back in training.

"We're getting numbers back. Maybe not match fit – Axel and Luke have been out for a long time, Nemanja's been out but numbers-wise in training we're looking stronger.

"Rojo got a muscle injury in training that he's been struggling with. He's been trying to get back but he's not ready yet.

"He had to pull out of the internationals [with Argentina]. He was playing on with some discomfort towards the end of that run [before the international break]. Maybe a couple of weeks."

Solskjaer praised McTominay's emergence this term, grabbing his opportunity as other more illustrious names have underwhelmed.

"Scotty has performed really well this season. Finally he's nailed a position down for himself," he said.

"He's played regularly, he's been a running midfielder before, he's played centre-back, he's played everywhere. He was a striker when he was a kid.

"But now he's learning the game and his improvement has been great to see. We're going to miss him – Sheffield United, set plays, balls in the box. Of course, Scotty is going to be a little bit of a miss."

Sheffield United are fifth in the table, eight points shy of Manchester City in fourth and one ahead of seventh-placed Manchester United.

Indeed, four points cover all teams from the Blades down to West Ham in 16th.

"We've still got to keep looking up the table. It's so close, but a big gap up to the top four," Solskjaer added.

"We've got City next month. We've got a chance to claw some points back. We know we're getting players back and improving as a team, so hopefully, yeah, we can challenge when it comes towards the end.

"I've seen Marcus [Rashford] talk about it this week, it's not just about getting into the top four, but that's a little bit of a goal for us, of course."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not concerned by Mauricio Pochettino's new-found employment status - and conceded any manager would want his Manchester United job.

Pochettino has been a rumoured target for United for some time and is now available after being sacked by Tottenham on Tuesday.

With the Red Devils sitting seventh in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of a Champions League spot, Solskjaer could be forgiven for looking nervously over his shoulder, but the Norwegian cut a relaxed figure at his media conference on Friday.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, he said: "It's always sad when one of your colleagues - a good man - loses his job just before Christmas. It's never nice to see. I just wish him all the best.

"In football you can never be surprised or you can't be shocked at anything. For me, I've just got to focus on us.

"It doesn’t bother me at all. I've got the best job in the world. I'm sure that if you're in a job or if you're out of a job and you're a manager, you want this job."

Solskjaer says he has open communication with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and is confident he will be granted the time and resources to improve United's fortunes.

He added: "It doesn't really matter [that Pochettino is out of work]. I've got to focus on my job at Man United, do it as well as we can.

"I speak with Ed, I speak with the owners all the time about how we're going to move the club forward. That doesn’t change if some other clubs change their managers."

Pochettino was replaced by former United boss Jose Mourinho, and Solskjaer was pleased to have such an engaging, and controversial, figure back in English football.

"It's good to have Jose back, definitely - especially for you guys [the media]," he said.

"Maybe for me because you can talk and write about everything else."

Mourinho's arrival in north London prompted suggestions on social media that the Portuguese will immediately target United midfielder Nemanja Matic in January - a player he has worked with previously at Old Trafford and Chelsea.

Matic even liked one post and replied with laughing and clapping emojis, but Solskjaer, who has previously encouraged his players to be "boring" on Twitter and Instagram, appeared unconcerned.

He said: "No, that's not a part of being boring.

"You like Jose coming back. It's going to be a spectacle and a circus. Nemanja has got a sense of humour."

Jose Mourinho revealed he received a "special" message from Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward after being named Tottenham head coach.

Three-time Premier League title winner Mourinho was appointed by Tottenham on Wednesday, less than 12 hours on from Mauricio Pochettino's departure.

Mourinho had been out of work since being sacked by United last December following a poor run of form that left the club sixth in the Premier League.

Despite his acrimonious split with United, Mourinho was congratulated by Woodward for landing a new job.

"I received messages from everybody, everywhere [from my former clubs]," he told Sky Sports News.

"Maybe I get the opportunity to apologise for not answering 500 of them that I couldn't answer. I have 700 but only had time to answer 200.

"But it was curious to see, from my last club, so many people showing me that respect, empathy and feeling. It was nice.

"All of them were special. The first one was from [United managing director] Richard Arnold. The third, fourth or fifth was Ed Woodward. And they were my bosses."

Mourinho's relationship with Woodward appeared to be strained at times over a disagreement on transfer targets, but he is not expecting that to be an issue with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

"I think we will get on well," Mourinho said. "He explained to me the vision for the club and I embraced that. It was one of the most important reasons I accepted. So when I did that, it's a very good start."

Mourinho will take charge of Tottenham for the first time on Saturday when they travel to London rivals West Ham.

VAR controversy, Leicester City's swashbuckling style, Liverpool's unrelenting charge to the title – these are all among the most prominent themes of the opening months of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

But arguably trumping all of them in terms of column inches has been Chelsea's use of young players, with Frank Lampard's return to the club as head coach coinciding with a new-found desire to bring youngsters into the first-team.

Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Christian Pulisic have all featured regularly, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have recently returned from serious injuries.

Eden Hazard, Graeme Le Saux, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson and Petr Cech are just a few of the army of people to lavish Chelsea and Lampard with praise for this philosophy.

Although it is difficult not to be cynical of Lampard's insistence that he would have had the same approach even if Chelsea were not banned from signing new players, the fact remains they are giving young players a chance.

But how does their use of under-23 players compare to the rest of the teams in Europe's top five leagues?

PREMIER LEAGUE

It might surprise supporters to learn that among Premier League clubs, Chelsea don't lead the way for appearances (60), minutes (4,164) or assists (8) for players who were under 23 on matchday.

Manchester United have racked up the highest number of matches for players younger than 23 (84), one more than Leicester. The next highest is Bournemouth (67), while Arsenal and Norwich City are also ahead of Chelsea.

As such, United have given 5,801 minutes of Premier League football to young players, though Leicester lead the way with 6,164 and are also on top in terms of assists (15).

Chelsea's 20 goals from qualifying players is a division high, however, four more than United. Leicester are the third and final side to reach double figures.

And the Blues' average starting XI age of 25 years and 115 days is among the youngest, though Bournemouth are ahead on that front (25y 88d).

LALIGA

In Spain's top flight, only Real Sociedad (84) and Real Mallorca (68) have given more matches to young players than Chelsea. They're also the only clubs to accumulate more minutes played by youngsters than the Blues (5,341 and 5,944, respectively).

La Real also top the charts for goals (10), assists (8) and average starting XI age (25y 235d) in Spain, though none of those records better Chelsea's.

Therefore, it's fair to say LaLiga, renowned for its development of young players, is lagging behind Premier League in that regard at the moment.

SERIE A

Chelsea's 60 appearances by young players would put them fourth on those terms in Serie A, with Fiorentina (79), Genoa and AC Milan (both 72) out in front.

Those three have also given more minutes to under-23s, with Fiorentina (5,837) setting the bar again.

Genoa have had 11 goals set up by under-23 players, three more than Chelsea, while Milan's average starting XI age (24y 203d) is much lower than Lampard's men.

But in each of those two parameters, Chelsea would be second in the chart. They would lead for goals from under-23s, with Fiorentina top in Italy on 10.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig (80), Mainz, Schalke (both 70) and Borussia Monchengladbach (63) have been the most open to playing under-23s in the Bundesliga

Similarly, all four clubs have seen those players feature in more than 4,500 minutes this season – Leipzig unsurprisingly leading the way with 5,259.

Leipzig are also Chelsea's closest challengers in terms of goals. Their record of 17 may be slightly less than the Blues, but their 11-assist haul - level with Gladbach - takes them to 28 involvements, exactly the same as Lampard's side.

Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig are also the youngest side in the Bundesliga, with their starting XI's average age just 24 years and 340 days. Mainz (25y 38d) are the only other top-flight German club to beat Chelsea in this regard.

LIGUE 1

France's Ligue 1 is by far the most accessible of the five major leagues for young players, with a total of 1,360 appearances from under-23 players across the 20 clubs, an average of 68 per team.

In comparison, the Premier League (871) averages 43.55 appearances per club and the Bundesliga's 18 sides afford under-23s 45.28 outings (815 total).

Nice make up the biggest share of the Ligue 1 appearances with a massive 121, but Lille (116), Lyon (99), Reims (96), Nimes (83), Toulouse (82), Rennes, Bordeaux (both 75), Metz (74), Monaco, Dijon (both 65) and Strasbourg (62) have all allowed youngsters to play more than 60 matches.

Of course, a key element of this is the lack of funds at many of these clubs and French football in general with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, have entrusted the fewest games (30) to under-23 players in the division.

Nevertheless, only Nice (24y 41d), Lille (24y 111d) and Lyon (24y 288d) have a younger starting line-up on average than Lampard's Chelsea.

Are we about to see a Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic reunion?

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic worked together at Inter, before the Portuguese manager brought the Swedish star to Manchester United in 2016.

Now, new Tottenham boss Mourinho is reportedly eyeing the 38-year-old striker.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TARGETING IBRA

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is poised to make a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to the Telegraph.

Ibrahimovic is on the lookout for a new club after opting to leave MLS outfit LA Galaxy following two seasons in the United States.

The 38-year-old has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna, Napoli, Manchester United and Australian team Perth Glory; however, Mourinho reportedly wants to reunite with Ibrahimovic at Tottenham.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spanish newspaper Sport reports a close friend of Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus predicting he will get the Barcelona job if his side win Saturday's Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, who are led by another reputed Catalan target in Marcelo Gallardo. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at the LaLiga champions.

Real Madrid are set to open talks with star striker Karim Benzema over a new contract, Marca reports. The 31-year-old's current deal expires in 2021.

- Out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is wanted by LaLiga's Atletico Madrid, according to ESPN FC. Matic has struggled for game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with AC Milan and Inter also interested.

- With Tottenham reportedly looking to hijack AC Milan's pursuit of Ibrahimovic, Sky Sport Italia says the Rossoneri are rivalling Inter and Borussia Dortmund for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud.

- The Daily Mail reports that Leicester City have opened talks with James Maddison over a new contract. The 22-year-old England international has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Partizan Belgrade sensation Strahinja Pavlovic is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 outfit Monaco. Sportski Zurnal says the 18-year-old defender has undergone a medical ahead of a €10million transfer plus add-ons.

Nicolo Zaniolo said he is "very happy" at Roma amid links to Premier League giants Manchester United.

Zaniolo signed a long-term contract with Roma through to June 2024, but it has not stopped speculation over his future.

The 20-year-old Italy international, who joined Roma last season, has reportedly attracted interest from United.

But Zaniolo wants to repay the confidence shown in him by Serie A side Roma.

"The minimum objective this season is to improve day by day. We want to win every game. The objective is qualifying for the Champions League," Zaniolo told Sky Sport Italia.

"I'm very happy, Roma have given me so much confidence, now I'll repay it on the pitch. I'm proud to represent these fans, I feel very good here.

"The things Fonseca has to say, he says to your face. He's a very direct person and he’s helping me improve."

Zaniolo scored a brace in Italy's 9-1 demolition of Armenia in Euro 2020 qualifying on Monday.

At club level, Zaniolo has netted five goals in all competitions for Roma this term.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford insists there is no better manager for the club than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite suggestions they could be interested in Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham sacked Pochettino this week and replaced him with former United boss Jose Mourinho, with Spurs having won only four of their past 18 matches in all competitions.

There has been talk that United could consider turning to Pochettino to take over from Solskjaer, whose side have only managed two more points than Spurs from their opening 12 Premier League games of the season.

However, Rashford - who signed a new four-year contract in July – said Solskjaer's plans were part of the reason why he committed his future to the club.

"There was no hesitation from me over signing a new contract," he told Sky Sports News.

"And it was the same for Ole as well – I could see where his head was at, where he wanted the club to be at and for me it was just a no-brainer.

"We were on the same page and wanted the same things for the club. Ole is a great guy and he has the club's interests at heart so there's not a better person for the job in my opinion."

While he supports Solskjaer, Rashford admits he will not be happy if United end the season in the Premier League's top four but without winning a trophy.

The Red Devils have not won meaningful silverware since claiming the EFL Cup and Europa League in Mourinho's first term in charge in 2016-17.

With the Premier League title seemingly out of their reach already this season – leaders Liverpool are already 18 points ahead of United after 12 matches – Solskjaer's routes to success lie in the cup competitions.

There is pressure on United to return to the Champions League after failing to qualify last season, but Rashford does not think 2019-20 can be considered a success unless they also win at least one of the EFL Cup, FA Cup or Europa League.

"It's been a while," the England international added about United's barren run of titles. "If we come out of this season with top four but without a trophy, I wouldn't be happy.

"If we manage to get some trophies and get ourselves into the top four then, of course, it has been a successful season.

"For me, it is just about putting markers down for what we can do in the future because we know that this period is not going to change overnight, Ole's not going to get what he wants overnight.

"We have to bide our time and just be patient, as long as we keep working hard and believe in what we are doing – which I think the team do 100 per cent – then I think we will be fine."

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

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