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There could be a fight to prise Fabian Ruiz from Napoli.

Fabian has established himself as one of Europe's premier midfielders and the Spaniard is reportedly attracting interest.

Two LaLiga giants and the Champions League holders are said to be eyeing Fabian.

 

TOP STORY - THREE-WAY BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool are chasing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to the Daily Mail.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and the Spain international has quickly become one of Europe's most sought-after midfielders.

Now three of the biggest clubs in the world are reportedly eyeing the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- The Sun reports Manchester United are preparing a January move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The Red Devils have limited options up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Wilson, who has already scored three goals this season, fits the bill at Old Trafford as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes talented English players.

Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City are all interested in Real Madrid playmaker Isco, claims Calciomercato.

Barcelona are set to offer 16-year-old sensation Ansu Fati a new five-year deal to fend off interest from European rivals, claims the Daily Mail.

- League One side Southend United want to hire former Celtic, Barca and Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson as their manager, says the Daily Mail. Southend are second bottom in the league after eight games, while Larsson was last in charge of Helsingborg before quitting in August.

- According to Globo Esporte, Flamengo are negotiating to bring Fredy Guarin to the club. The 33-year-old former Inter midfielder is a free agent after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

Jadon Sancho said he does not know what the future holds but the Borussia Dortmund star wants to win titles with the German side amid growing links to Manchester United.

Sancho has reportedly emerged as United's top transfer target following previous speculation over a move to Old Trafford during the off-season.

The 19-year-old England international produced another impressive display as Dortmund drew 0-0 with Barcelona in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Asked about his future post-game, Sancho told Viasport: "I can't tell the future. I just take it game by game. I just wanna give 100 per cent for Borussia Dortmund.

"I really wanna do well with Dortmund. Obviously I want to win titles and give everything."

Sancho has established himself as one of Europe's best talents after leaving Premier League champions Manchester City in 2017.

He scored 12 goals and supplied 14 assists as Dortmund finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, while Sancho already has two goals and four league assists this term.

"It's crazy. Everything has come so fast," Sancho told Viasat. "But I have a great team. They keep me humbled. I just take it game by game and give 100 per cent."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc was asked about Sancho prior to the goalless draw against LaLiga champions Barca on Tuesday.

"We didn't talk to them [United]," Zorc told Viasport. "They were asking us for a meeting [during the off-season]. Sancho is not for sale."

David de Gea insists Manchester United's players have complete faith in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Red Devils have endured a mixed start to the 2019-20 campaign but returned to winning ways on Saturday with a slender 1-0 victory over Leicester City.

De Gea – who signed a new deal at Old Trafford until June 2023 on Monday – has dismissed suggestions some in the United camp are unhappy with Solskjaer, stating his belief the Norwegian is the right man for the job.

"From the moment he arrived here, he showed his faith in me, right from minute one," the Spain international told the official Manchester United app. "I think he had a massive impact with the team. Everyone has faith in him, that's the most important thing.

"The fans are behind him and he's a manager who knows the club really well and the people who work here, and I reckon that is essential.

"He also shows a lot of confidence in the younger players, which is important for us, and so he's a really great manager."

While United have won just two of their opening five Premier League games, they do look more solid at the back following the arrivals of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

They have conceded four goals in those games and De Gea is pleased with the enhancements in defence.

"I think we have improved a lot defensively," he added. "We are conceding fewer goals than last season. I think that, last year, we were letting in too many goals, but we are defending better and, from there, the team is improving.

"Of course, when you defend well, the team is bound to improve. We have some great players up front and we just have to keep on improving.

"There are lots of things we can work on, so, little by little, we can try and build a very strong team, a team which can dominate games more and dictate the play and, with that, win games."

John Stones has been ruled out for a month with a muscle injury, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

City's defensive options had already been hit by Aymeric Laporte being ruled out for six months by a knee injury, while no replacement was signed for departed club captain Vincent Kompany.

That left Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as City's only senior centre-backs and the pair looked shaky last time out as the champions went down to their first Premier League defeat since January, losing 3-2 away to promoted Norwich City.

City will be further stretched for the upcoming period after Guardiola told reporters ahead of a Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk that Stones was injured in training on Tuesday.

"A month, four or five weeks," Guardiola said when asked how long Stones would be out.

Guardiola previously indicated full-back Kyle Walker and defensive midfielder Fernandinho - an unused substitute against the Canaries - could be options in the heart of City's defence.

The City boss said he could also turn to teenage duo Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis to address the growing injury crisis at the back.

"[It is a] Big challenge. For me as a manager, it's an incredible challenge: just one central defender in Nico," he added.

"But I believe a lot. People don't know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players are going to come back with Fernandinho, Garcia, Harwood-Bellis.

"It's happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. If they are not able, they are not able. We have to have 11 players on the pitch, and I like it, finding a solution."

Stones will likely miss Premier League games against Watford, Everton and Wolves at least as well as an EFL Cup trip to Preston North End and a Champions League home game against Dinamo Zagreb.

City will also be without Phil Foden against Shakhtar, with Guardiola confirming: "He has a virus, a problem with the stomach. He's not able [to play] this game or I think the next."

John Stones has been ruled out for a month with a muscle injury, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

City's defensive options had already been hit by Aymeric Laporte being ruled out for six months by a knee injury, while no replacement was signed for departed club captain Vincent Kompany.

That left Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as City's only senior centre-backs and the pair looked shaky last time out as City went down to their first Premier League defeat since January, losing 3-2 away to promoted Norwich City.

City will be further stretched for the upcoming period after Guardiola told reporters ahead of a Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk that Stones was injured in training on Tuesday.

"A month, four or five weeks," Guardiola said when asked how long Stones would be out.

Liverpool can cope with the pressure of being considered leading Champions League contenders, according to midfielder Fabinho.

The holders commence their trophy defence with a tough Group E fixture away to Napoli on Tuesday.

Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi scored as Jurgen Klopp's men edged Premier League rivals Tottenham in last season's final and secured the club a sixth European crown.

Liverpool had suffered heartbreak at the last hurdle 12 months earlier, losing to Real Madrid, but are now very much one of the teams to beat in Europe.

"[We are] one of the favourites, I think," Brazil international Fabinho told the club's official magazine.

"The reigning champion is always the favourite and given Liverpool's run of form over the last two competitions we must be considered one of the main contenders.

"But it doesn't put any additional pressure on us, we know how to deal with it, we know how to handle the pressure. It won't be a problem.

"The Champions League is the toughest competition in Europe with all the best teams involved. We'll do everything to qualify for the round of 16. It's a case of taking things step by step."

Liverpool enter the Napoli encounter at Stadio San Paolo fresh from a 3-1 defeat of Newcastle United in the Premier League.

The victory, along with Manchester City's shock loss to Norwich City, moved them five points clear at the summit.

The Reds claimed 97 points while juggling their Champions League run last term and Fabinho thinks competing on both fronts remains a realistic objective.

"It is possible, but it's very, very difficult, all the players have to be prepared and focused," he said.

"The team has shown that it is focused, has ambition and is prepared for this challenge."

Bernd Leno believes Arsenal must continue to take risks at the back despite that approach contributing to a disappointing collapse at Watford at the weekend.

The Gunners gave up a two-goal lead in an error-strewn second half to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

The most egregious gaffe was the misplaced pass from Sokratis Papastathopoulos that gifted Tom Cleverley a goal and the hosts a way back into the game.

Centre-back Sokratis attempted the pass from inside his own penalty area but goalkeeper Leno, signed last year in part for his ball-playing ability, does not think Arsenal should discard their tactics.

"That's our style to play," Leno told reporters.

"We try to take the risk because if we beat the press of Watford, then there is a lot of space for our strikers.

"In the first half we did it very well but in the second we didn't create too many chances from playing out from the back. It is still a process we have to work on. Everybody was angry and disappointed after this game.

"The manager is a very positive guy. He wants to be positive and he said we will analyse this game with time. Now everybody was with emotions, very mad and crazy.

"But that is normal after the game. He said 'calm down and then on Tuesday we analyse this game and then on Thursday we have another game'."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's quickfire brace had given Arsenal a comfortable buffer but David Luiz's late foul on Roberto Pereyra enabled the Watford winger to seal a share of the points from the spot.

Leno said: "It was very frustrating because we controlled the game but also in the first half, you could see that we made two easy mistakes and then at the end we conceded two goals from these kinds of mistakes and we were lucky we didn't lose this game.

"I think in the second half we completely lost the control of the game. The distance from the midfield to the strikers and all the distances from the players were too big.

"Watford deserved at least the draw."

Arsenal, now seventh in the Premier League, are winless in three games.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set on his determination to bring young British talent to Manchester United.

There are four English names on the United manager's radar, apparently, as he looks to rebuild the team into a title-winning force once more.

The end of the season could potentially see a spend of a similar magnitude to the £150million, more or less, that he spent on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this year.

 

TOP STORY - MADDISON AND SANCHO TOP SOLSKJAER'S WISH LIST

As per ESPN, Manchester United will pursue deals for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and Leicester City's James Maddison in 2020.

Manager Solskjaer is set on his policy of recruiting young, hungry British talent and remains keen on signing Sancho, who was reportedly a target this year.

United believe Leicester could sell Maddison for around £70m and are also interested in Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff, Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson and Stoke City's Nathan Collins.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona have been ordered by a judge to pay a €300 fine or play a match behind closed doors as part of Atletico Madrid's complaint against the transfer of Antoine Griezmann, Marca say. Atleti believe they are owed more than the €120m Barca paid to activate his release clause.

- The Daily Mail report Napoli are interested in Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, a player they value at around €34m (£30.1m). 

- A handful of reports in Italy suggest Bernard Arnault, the billionaire owner of Louis Vuitton, is interested in buying Serie A giants AC Milan

- Back with Manchester United, and Calciomercato say JuventusInter, Milan and Borussia Dortmund are all keeping an eye on Nemanja Matic, who has grown frustrated at his reduced role in Solskjaer's plans.

West Ham survived the second-half dismissal of Arthur Masuaku to draw 0-0 with Aston Villa in a lifeless Premier League encounter on Monday.

With just three wins from their combined eight matches before the meeting at Villa Park, neither side looked especially threatening in a game of few opportunities.

Manuel Pellegrini's visitors were the stronger for the first hour but forced Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton into only one save, and Masuaku's unfortunate second yellow card for a foul on Ahmed El Mohamady left them facing an uphill battle.

Wesley spurned a good opening in the first half but offered little threat in the closing stages as Villa chased a winner, with Jack Grealish wasting the best opening when he made a mess of Douglas Luiz's excellent cross.

Villa had penalty shouts waved away in injury time when Wesley tumbled to ground in a crowded box, before Tyrone Mings - who was earlier involved in an ugly argument with team-mate Anwar El Ghazi - was spared after a risky challenge on Ryan Fredericks as the full-back broke forward.

Dean Smith's side move onto four points from five games and are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference, while the Hammers are one of six teams in the top half on eight points.

Jurgen Klopp dismissed his agent's talk of the weather in Liverpool as a joke that had been misunderstood, clarifying he would not leave Merseyside simply for a warmer climate.

The Reds boss' future was brought up as friend and agent Marc Kosicke complained to DAZN of the gloomy weather during Liverpool winters, suggesting it had hindered contract talks in the past.

But Klopp, facing the media ahead of playing Napoli in the Champions League, sought to set the record straight.

While making repeated light-hearted comments about the temperature of the sweltering media room in Naples, Klopp explained: "He wanted to make a joke so I have to be serious.

"I could make a lot of jokes about the weather - especially sitting here sweating like crazy... I'm not sure I could work here.

"It was obviously the German humour and nobody got it. The weather was never a reason for me to choose a city.

"Liverpool is not always nice but, between March and September, it's nicer than I imagined. I came in October and you could say not to move to Liverpool in October because, until March, it's not too cool.

"It was a bit harsh and I spoke a lot about the weather, but it was long ago. Now, when I speak about the weather, I speak about the wind, which has an affect on football, but that is not allowed as well in England.

"It's not a reason for me to leave the country. I'm fine with the weather. Maybe, at the moment, it's the most healthy weather in the world - we have enough rain, wind is there, it's pretty much the opposite of this room.

"I enjoy that quite often. There's nothing in that story. Obviously it was a bump - he said something and they all went for it.

"He's not only my agent, he's my friend; friends say what they want and he did that and nobody got his joke. That's how it is."

Meanwhile, preparing for the first match of Liverpool's title defence, Klopp remained in jovial mood as it was put to him that his side might be the best in Europe.

Laughing as he heard the question, the manager said: "We cannot be the best team in Europe as Man City are the best team in the world. That's the same planet, I heard.

"There are a lot of good teams out there and you have to prove it constantly. Last year, we were really good. I'm not sure we were the best team in Europe, but we were really good at the right moments. That's why we won the Champions League."

Captain Jordan Henderson similarly was not interested in talk of being considered favourites for the Champions League.

"It's too early to be saying stuff like that," he said. "We have started the season really well and just want to continue that.

"We still feel we can improve and get better - that's what we will try to do tomorrow night. We will try to give everything and start the campaign off really well."

After many, many months of speculation, David de Gea has pledged his future to Manchester United in the form of a new contract.

The Spain international has agreed to fresh terms that will run until the end of the 2022-23 season, with the option of a further year.

De Gea is one of United's senior players these days, having joined the club from Atletico Madrid as a 20-year-old in 2011 as one of the final major signings made by Alex Ferguson before his retirement two years later.

Fergie brought in a fair few goalkeepers during his 27 years at Old Trafford. Some of them proved shrewd, pivotal signings. Some did not.

Here, we run the rule over all the keepers to join during the reign of the great Scot...

Jim Leighton (1988-91)

Leighton followed Ferguson to United from Aberdeen two years after his manager made the move. A fine player in Scotland, Leighton could not replicate that same form and was dropped for the FA Cup final replay in 1990 after some clangers in the first game.

Verdict: Miss

 

Les Sealey (1990-91, 93-94)

The man who replaced Leighton for that victorious replay against Palace, Sealey also played in the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup final victory over Barcelona. He sadly died at the age of just 43 in 2001 but is fondly remembered by United fans.

Verdict: Hit

 

Peter Schmeichel (1991-99)

Arguably United's greatest ever goalkeeper, Schmeichel won 11 major trophies with the Red Devils, including the famous treble in 1998-99. Even joining Manchester City before retirement has not tarnished his legacy at Old Trafford.

Verdict: Hit

 

Tony Coton (1996)

Better known as a goalkeeping coach than a player at United, Coton never made a first-team appearance for the club. Considered Watford's best ever keeper and a top player for City, his United playing days were forgettable, to say the least.

Verdict: Miss

 

Raimond van der Gouw (1996-2002)

Coton's replacement as understudy to Schmeichel and then Fabien Barthez, Van der Gouw was an astute signing who served United with aplomb - even if he didn't play too often.

Verdict: Hit

 

Nick Culkin (1997-2002)

Signed from York City, Culkin took the record for the shortest Premier League debut when he came on as a substitute against Arsenal just before full-time. At the end of his career, he turned out for FC United of Manchester, the team formed as part of the anti-Glazer protest movement.

Verdict: Miss

 

Mark Bosnich (1989-91, 1999-01)

After a brief stint at the club as a teenager, Bosnich was signed back to replace Schmeichel in 1999. He won a Premier League title but rarely looked convincing, particularly with his kicking, and Ferguson later criticised his professionalism. 

Verdict: Miss

 

Massimo Taibi (1999)

Taibi cost a reported £4.5million, a sizeable fee at the time. It's fair to say it was not justified. Taibi had a good debut in a win over fierce rivals Liverpool, but utterly wretched performances against Southampton and in a 5-0 loss to Chelsea more or less ended his United career before it started.

Verdict: Miss

 

Fabien Barthez (2000-04)

France's World Cup-winning goalkeeper from 1998, Barthez was both an exceptional talent and an eccentric prone to too many mistakes. He was twice a Premier League champion but simply could not be relied upon. Still, we won't forget the Laurent-Blanc-head-kissing routine in a hurry.

Verdict: Hit - just

 

Roy Carroll (2001-05)

Say 'Roy Carroll', and you think of Pedro Mendes. A Premier League and FA Cup winner with United, it was Carroll's error against Tottenham that sticks most vividly in the mind, even if the goal was somehow not given. At least it helped pave the way for goal-line technology.

Verdict: Miss

 

Ricardo (2002-05)

On his Premier League debut against Blackburn Rovers, Ricardo conceded and saved a penalty in a 3-1 win. He didn't play in the top flight again. He still considered his time at Old Trafford "a lovely experience", though.

Verdict: Miss

 

Luke Steele (2002-06)

Snapped up from Peterborough United, Steele's days with the Red Devils comprised of reserve-team matches and time on the substitute's bench. His best days came in a Barnsley shirt.

Verdict: Miss

 

Tim Howard (2003-07)

A promising talent, Howard struggled in the United limelight and infamously dropped a free-kick that led to Porto's decisive goal in a Champions League tie, leading to Jose Mourinho's wild celebratory sprint down the touchline. He had a much better career with Everton and the United States.

Verdict: Miss

 

Edwin van der Sar (2005-11)

It took six years, but United finally got their Schmeichel replacement. Van der Sar runs the Dane close as the club's greatest goalkeeper, winning four league titles and the Champions League as part of the most formidable side since the treble season.

Verdict: Hit

 

Tomasz Kuszczak (2006-12)

Another United keeper to concede and save a penalty on his debut, Kuszczak was a back-up to Van der Sar who never truly inspired confidence. He did win seven major trophies, though.

Verdict: Miss

 

Ben Foster (2005-10)

A bright talent who joined United from Stoke City, serious knee injuries hampered Foster's early career. A good goalkeeper who just wasn't quite good enough, certainly to wrestle the number one shirt away from Van der Sar, he has been a fine servant for West Brom and Watford.

Verdict: Miss - just

 

Anders Lindegaard (2010-15)

A reasonably dependable presence while De Gea adapted to life in the Premier League, Lindegaard won the title in 2012-13 in a United career that mostly went under the radar.

Verdict: Hit

 

David de Gea (2011 -)

He had some tricky early days, but De Gea soon developed into one of the world's elite goalkeepers. A dip in standards over the past 18 months does not diminish his overall standing at the club, and he is showing signs of recapturing his best form.

Verdict: Hit

It is official. David de Gea is going nowhere!

The Spain goalkeeper penned a new contract with Manchester United until 2023 on Monday, with the option to extend the deal by a further year.

De Gea's future at Old Trafford has often been the feature of debate, with Real Madrid most famously coming close to securing his signature in 2015, while Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have also been reported suitors.

But the 28-year-old, who has become recognised as one of the world's best goalkeepers during his time at United, will be with the Red Devils for the foreseeable future.

Below, we have analysed Opta data to take a look at De Gea's best Premier League stats with United.

 

MORE CLEAN SHEETS THAN A HOTEL

Since De Gea made his debut in August 2011, no other goalkeeper can boast more than his 102 clean sheets from 280 top-flight games. The nearest rival is Tottenham's Hugo Lloris ( 87 from 244 ), while Joe Hart ( 85 from 216 ) and Petr Cech ( 84 from 221 ) also feature highly on the list.


A GLOVE-LY RECORD TO HOLD

De Gea arguably enjoyed his best campaign in a Red Devils jersey during the 2017-18 campaign as he kept 18 clean sheets to clinch the Golden Glove award. In that same campaign, Ederson ( 16 ), Lloris ( 15 ) and Thibaut Courtois ( 15 ) could not match De Gea's efforts. That season saw De Gea make 14 saves in a single match against Arsenal – the most in one game (same as Tim Krul and Vito Mannone) since Opta started collecting shot save data in the 2003-04 season.


ONE HUNDRED NOT OUT

It took De Gea 264 appearances to rack up a century of Premier League clean sheets. That pales in comparison to the 180 it took former Chelsea and Arsenal stopper Cech to reach the milestone. Pepe Reina ( 198 ), Peter Schmeichel ( 212 ), David Seaman ( 225 ), Edwin van der Sar ( 247 ) and Joe Hart ( 259 ) also achieved the feat in fewer games. De Gea's best run without conceding was a streak of six between February 2 and March 30 2013.


THE VITAL PREMIER LEAGUE STATISTICS

280 – De Gea has racked up an impressive 280 top-flight appearances since making the move to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid, playing 25,184 minutes in the process.

102 – The Spain international has frequently kept opposition attacks frustrated with 102 clean sheets to date.

282 – De Gea has picked the ball out of the United goal on 282 occasions in the Premier League. The most in a single season was the 2018-19 campaign where he was beaten on 54 occasions.

785 – You do not earn the nickname "Dave saves" for nothing and De Gea has 785 to his name so far, with an impressive save percentage of 73.27.

2 – One slightly surprising area of his game is penalty saves. De Gea has stopped just two of the 24 Premier League penalties he has faced.

10 – In his eight-and-a-bit seasons to date, De Gea has been personally culpable for 10 errors leading to goals. The most in a single campaign came last term with four, while he impressively was at fault for zero in the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.

158 – Of the 280 Premier League games he has played, De Gea has been on the winning side on 158 occasions.

David de Gea has committed his future to Manchester United by signing a new deal until June 2023, the Premier League side have confirmed.

De Gea, 28, was set to be out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 season but has instead signed to stay at United for at least another four years.

The Spain international, who helped United win the Premier League in his second season at the club in 2012-13, had previously been linked with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Serie A champions Juventus.

But any doubt over his future has been cleared up and De Gea could take his Old Trafford stay to 13 years if the option to extend his new deal by a further year to 2024 is exercised.

"It has been a privilege to spend eight years at this great club and the opportunity to continue my career at Manchester United is a genuine honour," De Gea told United's official website.

"Since I arrived here, I could never have imagined I would play over 350 games for this club. Now my future is fixed, all I want is to help this team achieve what I believe we can and win trophies again, together.

"As one of the senior players in the squad, I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here.

"I still feel that I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club's tradition of success and reward our fans for their support.

"I am committed to continuing repaying the fans for all of the care that they've shown me during the good times and the bad."

Reports suggest De Gea's new deal is worth £375,000 per week and makes him the world's highest-paid goalkeeper.

The shot-stopper, who is now in fierce competition with Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga to start for Spain, almost left United for Madrid in 2015, but paperwork was not submitted in time.

De Gea claimed the Premier League Golden Glove in 2017-18 and has widely been regarded as one of the world's best at his position, although he is coming off a disappointing 2018-19 campaign.

His new contract is a major boost for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United, who have endured a mixed opening to the campaign, with the Red Devils taking eight points from five matches.

During De Gea's time at United, he has also lifted the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes he will be vital in their quest to return the glory days to Old Trafford.

"I am delighted that David has committed his long-term future to the club," he said. "Over recent years, David has proved himself to be the best in the world and a vital part of our plans as we look to take Manchester United back to where it belongs.

"David is a fantastic person and his outstanding quality provides the perfect base to our defence.

"Over his time here, David has really understood the values of playing for Manchester United and now represents everything you want in a goalkeeper."

Frank Lampard has no set expectations for Tammy Abraham this season but believes the Chelsea striker has given himself every opportunity of earning an England call-up.

Abraham scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Wolves on Saturday, taking his tally of Premier League goals to the season for seven, with all of them coming in Chelsea's last three outings.

The forward missed out on Gareth Southgate's most recent England squad, though he has since moved level with Sergio Aguero at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.

Abraham is also eligible for Nigeria should he decide to snub an England call-up, though Lampard is certain the 21-year-old has the mentality to succeed if he is selected by Gareth Southgate.

Chelsea's head coach also insists he always had full faith in the youngster to lead the line this term regardless of their transfer ban.

"I never had clear expectations for him, only that I believed in him and trusted him," Lampard told a news conference ahead of Chelsea's Champions League meeting with Valencia on Tuesday.

"A lot has been made of the [transfer] ban giving young players the potential opportunities, but I thought the time was right to give Tammy the opportunity at this club anyway because of the quality he's got.

"I'm really delighted he's got his goals, there's more still to come. He's in a place now where he just needs to sustain and improve even more, and I think with his mentality and how he is I hope to see that.

When asked about Abraham's England chances, Lampard said: "It's not a question for me.

"I've just spoken about how I feel about Tammy. He's put himself in the bracket for England with being top scorer at this point.

"It's one for Gareth, I'd hate to step on his toes but it's clear with what Tammy is doing he's going to be wanted."

Prior to this season, Abraham had spent the past three campaigns out on loan at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa, respectively.

Jurgen Klopp's long-term future at Liverpool could hinge on the famously unpredictable English weather, according to his agent Marc Kosicke.

Klopp was appointed by Liverpool in October 2015 and extended his deal at the end of his maiden campaign, with another three years remaining on those terms.

The 52-year-old recently hinted that he may retire when his contract expires in 2022, but the European champions hope to persuade him to stay on.

However, Kosicke has suggested Klopp is stalling on agreeing a fresh deal as he is not entirely happy with the weather on Merseyside – even alluding to the possibility global warming may impact the German's decision.

"Jurgen's contract is still valid until 2022 and it is an open secret that the club would like to extend," he told DAZN.

"We still have a little time for that. We must wait and see how everything develops and whether climate change will bring better weather to England or only to Germany.

"One should not underestimate [the bad weather]. I remember that in November or December, Liverpool first asked for a contract extension. I said: 'Let's wait'.  

"Ulla [Klopp's wife] and Jurgen get up in the morning and it's dark. When they meet again in the evening, it is also dark or it is grey and there is drizzle.

"During the winter break in Germany, if the weather is really bad, the clubs go on vacation for two weeks, then come back and fly directly to the training camp in the sun for several days.

"During this time, the coaches in England sometimes have to prepare for up to 13 games. They are already exhausted and it's not so easy."

Klopp guided Liverpool to Champions League and UEFA Super Cup success in 2019, but outlasting Manchester City to win the Premier League is now a primary target.

"He is not only proud of the process that is going on, but also very happy that titles are back in the closet," said Kosicke. "Therefore, winning the Premier League would still be a goal for Jurgen. 

"There are these six top teams in the league. Jurgen has recently said his biggest problem in Liverpool is Manchester City."

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