Uncertainty surrounds Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a woeful start to the season and he could find himself in danger of dismissal.

United have won only two of their first eight Premier League games of 2019-20 and head into Sunday's visit of Liverpool 15 points adrift of the pacesetters.

While Solskjaer insists he still has the board's backing, there have been suggestions the club has identified a replacement.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI 'VERY CLOSE' TO UNITED

Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is said to be a primary target for Manchester United.

Italian publication Tuttosport claims contact with Allegri – who left the Old Lady at the end of last season – has "intensified" in recent days.

They go as far as saying Allegri is "very close to United", with the contest against Liverpool seemingly crucial.

However, United are not the only club interested in Allegri. Tuttosport also believes Tottenham are keeping tabs on him.

Mauricio Pochettino is another man under pressure following a difficult few months, though the report suggests Spurs will have to make their minds up quickly if they are to gazump United.

 

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- The Daily Mail believes Solskjaer is relatively safe despite Allegri's lurking, however. It says United are looking to bolster the squad with six major signings over the next two transfer windows. Among the targets are Mario Mandzukic, Saul Niguez, Moussa Dembele and James Maddison.

- Mandzukic's wage demands could prevent a move to Old Trafford, however. Despite being 33 and entering the twilight of his career, the Croatian wants to be the club's fourth highest-paid player, according to the Sun.

- Arsenal's plan for the future, according to AS, involves persuading Real Madrid to sell Dani Ceballos, a deal that would result in Mesut Ozil being sold.

- Meanwhile, the Daily Mail also claims the Gunners also want to sign highly-rated Athletic Bilbao centre-back Unai Nunez, 22, with Everton set to rival them for the £30million-rated defender.

- Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of securing new deals for Juan Bernat and Marquinhos, L'Equipe believes.

- Roma are set to bid farewell to Javier Pastore in January, with the Serie A side telling him he is free to leave, as per Calciomercato. A move to China, Brazil or his native Argentina appears likely.

Danilo has returned to full training with Juventus after recovering from a thigh injury

The 28-year-old, who joined from Manchester City in August, was forced off during the 2-1 win at Brescia on September 24.

However, the club announced Danilo took part in Wednesday's session at Juventus Training Centre. He may now be involved in Saturday's home league clash with Bologna.

Aaron Ramsey, who missed Wales' Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia because of a slight muscle injury, also took part in light training.

Right-back Mattia De Sciglio and winger Douglas Costa are on personalised training programmes, Juventus announced on their website, while Rodrigo Bentancur and Miralem Pjanic were granted an extra day off following their international exertions.

Juventus are top of Serie A after making a seven-game unbeaten start to the campaign.

Leicester City, West Ham and Valencia all tried to sign Mohamed Elneny from Arsenal during the transfer window, according to the midfielder's agent.

Elneny swapped Arsenal for Besiktas on a season-long loan in August after falling down the midfield pecking order at Emirates Stadium.

The Egypt international was also said to be wanted by other clubs, while reports in Italy this week suggested AC Milan may make an approach in the January window.

"He received a lot of offers last summer, led by Leicester City, West Ham and Valencia, but Besiktas managed to settle the deal with Arsenal," agent Alan Nazmy told Egyptian TV channel Time Sport.

"Milan and Roma previously tried to sign the player during the last winter transfer window, but the negotiations didn't work then, and he received more than one offer as well."

Asked about fresh rumoured interest from Milan, Nazmy said: "I can't talk about it."

Elneny made 89 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions after joining from Swiss side FC Basel in 2016, including 17 outings last season.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery allowed the 27-year-old to leave following the arrival of Dani Ceballos and emergence of academy product Joe Willock, but the door has not been closed on a return next year.

"Emery didn't ask for his departure from Arsenal because of his performance," Nazmy said. "He demanded that [Elneny] took a chance to develop his performance and return again.

"It is possible for him to play with Arsenal again. It still remains a strong possibility."

Inter forward Alexis Sanchez has undergone successful surgery on his injured left ankle, the Serie A club have confirmed.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's friendly win over Colombia on Saturday, with a dislocated joint causing damage to his peroneus longus tendon.

The 30-year-old travelled to Barcelona on Wednesday for a consultation with professor Ramon Cugat and it was decided the issue should be operated on.

A statement on Inter's official website read: "The visit [with Cugat] confirmed the diagnosis of the Inter medical staff and the decision was made to proceed with surgery on the left ankle.

"The operation was performed in the afternoon on the peroneus longus tendon and it went exactly as planned."

Sanchez, who joined Inter on a season-long loan from Manchester United in August, is expected to miss three months of action.

The ex-Arsenal star has made four appearances for Antonio Conte's side this term, scoring one goal in Serie A, though he was sent off later in the same match against Sampdoria.

Mauro Icardi rejected criticism of Romelu Lukaku's performances since joining Inter and expects the Belgium striker to find form for the Nerazzuri.

Lukaku has replaced Icardi at the head of the Inter attack, signing a five-year contract with the Serie A club in a reported €80million transfer from Manchester United in August.

He has scored only three goals in eight appearances but Icardi, who last month left Inter for Paris Saint-Germain in a loan deal that can be made permanent, does not believe Lukaku has endured a poor start to life in Italian football.

"It doesn't seem to me that he's experiencing a moment of difficulty," Icardi told Gazzetta dello Sport. "In fact, I think he's started well, scoring a couple of goals immediately.

"It's not easy for anyone to play in Italy. Serie A is the most defensive championship in Europe.

"Maybe he needs a little more time to settle in, but he's already scored a lot of goals in his career. And he will do it again."

Icardi is not focused on what his future may hold, instead concentrating solely on his form for PSG. The Argentina international has scored two goals in four games for the defending Ligue 1 champions.

"This year, I'm at PSG and my goal is to give my best for this shirt," Icardi added,

"Then at the end of the season, around May or June, we'll see what happens. It's still too early to say anything."

Cristiano Ronaldo should be regarded as the greatest footballer in history after reaching 700 career goals, according to his agent Jorge Mendes.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner brought up his latest milestone for club and country when he dispatched a second-half penalty against Ukraine on Monday, taking his Portugal tally to 95.

The majority of Ronaldo's goals came during a storied spell with Real Madrid, for whom he scored 450 times after netting 118 for Manchester United.

Although Ronaldo is entering the twilight of his career at the age of 34, Mendes sees no sign of him slowing down at Juventus.

And there is even more still to come, the agent suggests.

"He is the strongest ever. For him, the best is yet to come and will arrive with the Juve jersey," Mendes told Tuttosport.

"The numbers do not lie and they illuminate the overwhelming way in which Cristiano Ronaldo shatters the records, which elevates him to the category of the best player in the history of football and with a big difference compared to the second [best].

"He's in that position for all that he has achieved in the service of the different clubs that he represented, either in England or in Spain or now in Italy, but also with the Portuguese national team.

"And the fact is that, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal has already played in three finals, winning two."

London is still something of a home for Jose Mourinho and another job in the English capital could be on the horizon for the ex-Chelsea manager.

With Tottenham struggling for form and reports of discontent in the dressing room, Mauricio Pochettino's position is far from certain.

Mourinho has been out of a job since he was sacked by Manchester United in December and the Portuguese is reportedly waiting in the wings.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SOUND OUT MOURINHO

Tottenham have made contact with Jose Mourinho amid uncertainty over manager Mauricio Pochettino, reports SoccerLink.

Pochettino's future in London is up in the air following Tottenham's poor start to the season, highlighted by a humiliating 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

While Pochettino is not facing the sack, Spurs have sounded out Mourinho about whether the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss would be interested.

 

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- While Spurs target Mourinho, Manchester United appear to be closing in on Massimiliano Allegri. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling at Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reports ex-Juventus boss Allegri is preparing for the job and wants Patrice Evra to join him in Manchester.

Real Madrid will play the waiting game for Kylian Mbappe as Marca claims the Spanish giants have set a 2021 target date of trying to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

- According to Le10Sport, Atletico Madrid will look to sign Paris Saint-Germain veteran Edinson Cavani to a pre-contract agreement in January. Cavani's deal runs out at season's end and the Uruguay striker has been linked to Juventus and incoming MLS franchise Inter Miami.

- ESPN FC says Manchester United are ready to spend during the January transfer window following their poor start to the campaign. United are languishing in 12th after the departures of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera.

Bayern Munich are tracking Freiburg star Luca Waldschmidt, claims Calciomercato. The 23-year-old forward made his debut for Germany this month.

- According to Tuttosport, AC Milan want €20million-rated Turkey international Mehmet Zeki Celik from Lille. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are also interested in a January move for Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny, who is on loan at Besiktas.

Arturo Vidal was in no mood to paper over the cracks after Chile secured a 3-2 friendly victory over Guinea. 

The Barcelona midfielder scored from the spot as Chile came from behind to triumph at Estadio Jose Rico Perez in Spain on Tuesday.

It was Chile's first win in normal time since June, but the performance left a lot to be desired and Vidal conceded there was plenty of room for improvement. 

"The important thing was that we won," he said, with Reinaldo Rueda's side having been held to goalless draw by Colombia at the weekend. "We scored three goals and that has not happened for a long time. 

"The desire and work are there, we have to wait a little longer and keep improving, we can give more. If we give everything in each game, we can reach our goals.

"We gave them the first chance and they scored with it. We had to go looking and we managed to score three goals. We have to improve, clearly.

"There are very few players left from the last 10 years, there are new players that need to be supported. In the future this team can achieve a lot."

Jean Meneses and Felipe Mora were both on target, opening their accounts at international level. 

Claudio Ranieri does not fear history will repeat itself after comparisons were drawn between Sampdoria's predicament and the one he faced at Fulham. 

The 67-year-old has taken the reins at a club residing bottom of Serie A, with the Blucerchiati posting just three points from their opening seven games to cost Eusebio Di Francesco his job.

Fulham were also rooted to the foot of the Premier League table when the Italian took charge in November 2018, but he was dismissed after winning only three of his 17 games at the helm. 

However, Ranieri considers the task at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to be vastly different from the one he took on at Craven Cottage. 

"Sampdoria are not Fulham. Don't forget, Fulham were a newly promoted club with players who had never been in the Premier League," he said.

"In the January transfer window, they followed the advice of algorithms. This is totally different. Sampdoria have played good football and are struggling, so now need the desire to fight hard.

"The quality towards the lower half of the table has improved significantly, which adds difficulties to us, but is also a sign that Italian football is returning to the top level."

It is Ranieri's birthday on Sunday and he will mark the occasion with a home match against his former employers and the club he supports, Roma.

"I am a Roma supporter, but have always appreciated Samp," he said, having also succeeded Di Francesco at Stadio Olimpico. 

"I was happy when they won the Scudetto [in 1991] and disappointed during the European Cup Final defeat at Wembley [in 1992]. I respect Di Francesco and hope he finds a new role as soon as possible.

"As for facing Roma on my debut – and my birthday – it's all wonderful. Naturally, when we step on to that pitch, there is no love, but only professionalism. May the best team win, we will try to give our best."

 

Alexis Sanchez may require surgery after suffering an ankle tendon injury while on international duty with Chile, Inter have confirmed.

Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda had suggested Sanchez – who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United – could be set to miss "two to three months" after suffering an ankle injury in Saturday's friendly with Colombia.

The forward had further tests upon his return to Milan, with the results of those examinations confirming Sanchez has dislocated his ankle.

"Sanchez underwent medical tests earlier this morning at the Humanitas Institute in Rozzano," read a statement from Inter. 

"Results revealed a joint dislocation in his left ankle which has caused damage to the peroneus longus tendon."

Sanchez will now travel to Barcelona for consultations with professor Ramon Cugat, who has often treated injured Manchester City players, including Benjamin Mendy and Kevin De Bruyne, to determine whether an operation will be required.

Former Arsenal star Sanchez has made four appearances for Antonio Conte's side this term, scoring one goal in Serie A, though he was sent off later in that match against Sampdoria.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th goal of his remarkable career in Portugal's Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Ukraine on Monday.

His latest landmark was another reminder of Ronaldo's enduring brilliance, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner still proving himself prolific at the age of 34.

The Juventus star has scored 95 goals for his country, while the bulk of his goals at club level came at Real Madrid, where he netted 450 times over nine seasons.

However, the first century milestone arrived 11 years ago, which is where we begin our rundown of Ronaldo's major landmark goals.

GOAL 100 – MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 Tottenham (FA Cup, January 2008)

The first century of goals was completed in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, with a 22-year-old Ronaldo doubling his tally for the match with a deflected effort that squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Radek Cerny.

GOAL 200 – REAL MADRID 2-0 Valencia (LaLiga, December 2010)

Again, Ronaldo was on target twice in this match but it was his first strike – a measured left-footed finish from Mesut Ozil's assist – that took him onto 200 career goals.  

GOAL 300 – Granada 1-2 REAL MADRID (LaLiga, May 2012)

Madrid were behind in this game with only five minutes gone but levelled late on when Ronaldo converted a penalty that he had won. There was still time for title-winning Madrid to seal all three points courtesy of an own goal.

GOAL 400 – REAL MADRID 3-0 Celta Vigo (LaLiga, January 2014)

At the double once more, it was his second goal in injury time that brought up a quadruple century for the irrepressible Ronaldo, who turned home a fine cross from Gareth Bale. 

GOAL 500 – Malmo 0-2 REAL MADRID (Champions League, September 2015)

The first of two goals on an otherwise uneventful night in Sweden was the one that took Ronaldo to a tally of 500. Through one-on-one, the outcome was never in doubt as he confidently chipped the ball over Johan Wiland.

GOAL 600 – REAL MADRID 4-1 Juventus (Champions League, June 2017)

What a stage on which to make history, the Champions League final. Having already opened the scoring, Ronaldo struck again when he turned in Luka Modric's near-post delivery on a glorious night in Wales for Madrid. 

GOAL 700 – Ukraine 2-1 PORTUGAL (Euro 2020 Qualifying, October 2019)

The first of his landmark goals that has failed to help his side to victory, but an astonishing personal achievement nonetheless, Ronaldo slotted home his penalty and probably started thinking about reaching 800 soon after.

With Edinson Cavani's contract set to expire, a move away from the French capital has been mooted.

The Paris Saint-Germain veteran has been linked to David Beckham's incoming MLS expansion franchise Inter Miami.

However, Cavani reportedly wants a return to Serie A and the titleholders stand out.

 

TOP STORY – CAVANI EYES JUVE SWITCH

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani wants to join Serie A champions Juventus, according to Calciomercato.

Cavani – who has become PSG's all-time leading goalscorer since arriving from Napoli in 2013 – is out of contract at season's end.

With limited progress on a renewal, the 32-year-old's representatives have reportedly reached out to Juve over a return to Italy.

 

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- According to Sky Sport in Germany, Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is eyeing a move to Serie A or LaLiga. The 31-year-old was linked with PSG during the last transfer window.

- Former France and PSG head coach Laurent Blanc is keen on a job in the Premier League, reports in France say. Blanc was linked to the Lyon vacancy but the Ligue 1 strugglers have opted for ex-Marseille boss Rudi Garcia.

- Passione Inter claims Crystal Palace are looking to sign Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa. The 23-year-old Brazilian is starring on loan at Flamengo, having struggled to establish himself with Inter.

Inter and AC Milan are both interested in Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil, Calciomercato says.

- Calciomercato reports Manchester United are competing with Milan for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici insisted superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will not be leaving the Serie A champions anytime soon.

Ronaldo is contracted to Juve until 2022 following his blockbuster €112million transfer from Real Madrid last season, however, there have been rumours that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner could leave Turin.

The 34-year-old scored 21 Serie A goals and 28 across all competitions last term, while he has four goals in 2019-20.

Asked about Ronaldo – who scored his 700th competitive goal in Portugal's 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Ukraine on Monday – Paratici dismissed the possibility of the veteran forward leaving Juventus before his contract expires.

"He is very focused on his current objectives, I do not believe in the slightest that he will leave at the end of the season or later," Paratici said.

"He is under contract: we are very happy with him and he is happy at Juventus."

Juve – seeking their ninth successive Scudetto – have been linked to Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

However, Juve have no plans to invest in January following the off-season arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Danilo and Merih Demiral.

"We will not make moves in January," Paratici said. "The roster is complete and it is one of the best in Europe."

While there might not be any new signings forthcoming, January could see a number of departures at the Italian champions.

Mario Mandzukic is yet to feature for Juve this season and has been heavily linked to Premier League giants Manchester United.

"We decided to give him a moment of peace because there was the chance he would be moving to Qatar, which then did not materialize," Paratici said. "Now we will decide together what the best solution will be in January."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th goal of his professional career during Portugal's Euro 2020 qualifier against Ukraine on Monday.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner brought up his septuple century for club and country when he converted a second-half penalty in Kiev, awarded after Taras Stepanenko handled the ball inside the box.

It was his 95th goal for Portugal, with only Iran's Ali Daei (109) ahead of him on the all-time international goals list.

The bulk of Ronaldo's goals came for Real Madrid – 450 over the course of nine seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu between 2009 and 2018.

The 34-year-old has continued to be a prolific operator at Juventus, scoring 32 times for the Bianconeri – including 24 in their triumphant Serie A campaign last season.

Ronaldo only scored five times for boyhood club Sporting CP before earning a move to Manchester United in 2003, where 118 strikes helped to make him a hero at Old Trafford.

He has 10 goals so far in 2019-20, with some way to go before getting close to the most prolific season of his career. In 2011-12, when Madrid unseated Barcelona as LaLiga champions, Ronaldo scored a scarcely believable 69 goals overall.

Alexis Sanchez could be sidelined for "two to three" months after sustaining a potentially serious ankle injury, according to Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's goalless friendly draw with Colombia on Saturday after suffering what the Football Federation of Chile described as a "dislocation of left ankle peroneal tendons".

The forward, who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United, will undergo further tests in Milan, with Rueda suggesting he could be out of action for the foreseeable future if surgery is required.

"If the club operates, we could be without him for two to three months," he told a media conference. "It is a pity. He had been regaining form for his club and played in the Champions League.

"Now we have to wait for these crucial hours to know what decision the club will take."

Sanchez has scored one Serie A goal since leaving United for Inter, his sole strike coming in a win away to Sampdoria, during which he was sent off.

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