The battle for Jadon Sancho's signature looks set to begin.

Four high-profile clubs in England and Spain are reportedly monitoring the teenager, one of Europe's brightest prospects.

Aggrieved with recent events at Borussia Dortmund, Sancho could now seek a new home for next season.

 

TOP STORY – CLUBS QUEUE UP FOR 'SCAPEGOAT' SANCHO

Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are the "leading quartet" of suitors for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Athletic.

Former club Manchester City have also asked to be "kept informed" following a string of events that have upset the 19-year-old England winger, notably his first-half substitution in the 4-0 Klassiker loss to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Sancho's representatives are said to have deemed that move "disgraceful", paving the way for his Dortmund departure at the end of the Bundesliga season.

 

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba's prolonged absence for Manchester United is part of a concerted effort to force through a January transfer to LaLiga giants Madrid, claims Spanish journalist Paco Gonzalez. Pogba, not sighted since September, is recovering from an ankle injury.

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is weighing up a move to AC Milan. The 38-year-old is available on a free transfer after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy. Ibrahimovic has been linked to Bologna, Tottenham, Napoli and Perth Glory.

West Ham are considering replacing Manuel Pellegrini with Chris Wilder, reports The Mirror. The Hammers are languishing 16th in the Premier League after 13 games, while Wilder's Sheffield United are riding high in sixth. Chris HughtonDavid Moyes and Rafael Benitez are reportedly among the other candidates should West Ham lose patience with Pellegrini.

- Wolves defender Owen Otasowie is wanted by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Bundesliga team Schalke, reports The Sun. 18-year-old centre-back has also been watched by Liverpool and Arsenal.

- The Mirror reports Aston Villa are leading the race to sign Rhian Brewster on loan in January. Brewster, 19, has been unable to break his way into Liverpool's Premier League plans this term. The report states Villa face competition from Crystal PalaceLeeds United and Swansea City.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed goalkeeper Dean Henderson to carve out a successful career at Old Trafford.

The 22-year-old played a starring role in Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League last season and has featured in all 12 top-flight games for the Blades so far this campaign, conceding just nine goals.

He will miss Sunday's clash with United at Bramall Lane as he is not eligible to play against his parent club.

Henderson is yet to play a first-team game for the Red Devils but Solskjaer has no doubt he will enjoy a fruitful career with the 20-time English champions.

"Sheffield United and Chris Wilder have had a big impact on him because he's learning, he's growing as a human being and as a player," he told United's official website.

"He'll come back one day and will have a good career at United."

Solskjaer says he has been impressed with how comfortably Wilder's side have taken to life in the Premier League and reserved special praise for former United youth player Oliver Norwood, who has been an ever-present for the Blades this season.

"It's a fantastic achievement what they've done," he added.

"Chris is a fantastic manager. He's a little bit different than some of us and we had him here for a behind-closed-doors game in August or September, where he played the ones who hadn't played. I'm so happy for him to do well. 

"To see Ollie Norwood - I had him in the reserves - captaining a Premier League club is great. It's testament to us as a club as well that if you don't make it at Man United you can still have a great career and Oliver has done fantastic."

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino said it is "impossible to feel happy" after his side struggled to a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.

George Baldock cancelled out Son Heung-min's opener 12 minutes from time in Saturday's clash to leave Tottenham winless in the Premier League since September.

Pochettino's men have taken just three points from the last 15 on offer and the Argentine conceded his side did not deserve anything more against their impressive opponents.

"It was an even game, a difficult one for us - they are a very good, organised team," he told BBC Sport. "It was difficult to play in the first half, but second half we were better. Overall, it's a fair result.

"We knew very well how they play - they got a draw in Chelsea and they are playing so well. The most difficult thing for us was to match their energy. In the second half we were much better and matched them. I think they deserve one point.

"I need to look forward and keep working and try to improve. We are not in a good position in the table. Always when you don't win you are disappointed and it’s impossible to feel happy."

A third 1-1 draw in four league matches leaves Tottenham in the bottom half of the table and Pochettino added: "The reality is that for different reasons we are not showing the performances that we expect.

"We try to build confidence, the team is in a period where we are finding the best balance. I need to look forward and keep working and try to improve. We are not in a good position in the table."

Tanguy Ndombele was substituted at half-time due to a groin injury and Pochettino felt his side struggled in the France midfielder's absence.

"We need to assess him. He felt pain in his groin," Pochettino said. "We don't know if it happened before or during the game but he said he was OK to play during the game. 

"Then he came off at half-time and the doctor said to me that can't play. I think it affected the team."

United midfielder Baldock equalised via a mishit cross, 16 minutes after team-mate David McGoldrick had a goal disallowed by VAR for offside against John Lundstram.

The officials took almost four minutes to adjudge that Lundstram, who had earlier hit the post with the sides level, was marginally offside in the build-up to McGoldrick's finish.

Visiting boss Chris Wilder accepted the decision but has questioned why it took so long for play to resume.

"I think in certain things you have to go to the process and have a big look at it in the summer," he said at his post-match press conference.

"It's here to stay and there's no doubt about it. I went to Everton to watch them play Spurs and the amount of time it took was too much. It's changed the game and obviously it's going to create debate.

"The length of the stoppage doesn't do anyone any good. If it's offside then we have to deal with it."

Moussa Sissoko is at a loss to explain Tottenham's lacklustre Premier League form after Mauricio Pochettino's men laboured to a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United.

Son Heung-min's 58th-minute opener looked to have been swiftly cancelled out after David McGoldrick netted for the Blades but a marginal VAR call went against John Lundstrum earlier in the move.

Spurs could not make the most of that reprieve as George Baldock netted a deserved 78th-minute leveller, extending the north London club's winless run in the Premier League to five matches.

"In the league we are struggling since the beginning of the season. Why? I don't know because we are trying our best but it is not working," France midfielder Sissoko said.

"We see today it was a difficult game against a good team. We were winning 1-0 but didn't keep the score. We have a lot of frustration but need to keep going.

"We have to stick together, like we said every time, and try to work hard."

It will be almost two months since their previous Premier League victory when Tottenham return from an international break Sissoko hopes will serve as an opportunity to reset.

"Every team can have some difficult moments," he added. "We are struggling in the league and that's football.

"We must keep working, give our best every day until everything turns around

"We will fight until the end. We know we can do better

"Now we are going away with the international teams and we have to come back stronger."

Sheffield United shrugged off being on the sharp end of more VAR controversy to claim a deserved 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Son Heung-min, back in action after his three-match ban for the tackle that left Everton midfielder Andre Gomes with a badly broken ankle was overturned, gave Spurs the lead against the run of play following an Enda Stevens error in the 58th minute.

David McGoldrick saw an equaliser ruled out after John Lundstram – who hit the post during the first half – was adjudged to be offside during the build-up.

But Chris Wilder's men impressively retained their composure and George Baldock's 78th-minute cross zipping into the far corner was a touch of fortune they richly deserved.

Tottenham's Paulo Gazzaniga was the busier of the two goalkeepers early on, holding a testing low drive from John Fleck after tipping Oliver Norwood's deflected second-minute strike over.

Harry Kane was unable to turn in Serge Aurier's 15th-minute cross at the near post but it proved a rare moment of encouragement for Spurs during an opening half hour that concluded with Lundstram thumping against the upright left footed.

United resumed on the front foot after half-time, Lys Mousset romping into the box and twisting around Davinson Sanchez before pulling his effort agonisingly wide.

Son was increasingly Spurs' lone outlet and gave visiting keeper Dean Henderson his first significant piece of work, arrowing a shot towards the bottom corner after Dele Alli's raking pass.

A more precise ball into the South Korea star's path led to the opener – only it came inadvertently from United defender Stevens, who gave Son an opportunity he was never likely to pass up.

McGoldrick thought he had an instant response but, after a VAR review lasting almost four minutes, Lundstram was shown to be offside by the barest of margins earlier in the move.

Justice was done as another methodical Blades move got wing-back Baldock in position in the right channel, his sliced delivery evading Eric Dier and Gazzaniga to edge Wilder's men up to fifth in the table.

Chris Wilder told Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson to improve his concentration after his costly error in a 1-0 Premier League loss at home to Liverpool.

League leaders Liverpool struggled to break the Blades down at Bramall Lane on Saturday, but maintained their 100 per cent record thanks to Henderson's howler.

Georginio Wijnaldum's drive was straight at the goalkeeper but he allowed the ball to squirm out of his grasp and cross the line.

Henderson, on loan at Sheffield United from Manchester United for the second straight season, has been tipped for a maiden call-up to the England squad.

But he made the error in front of Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate and Wilder has little sympathy for the 22-year-old.

"If he wants to be a professional footballer, these things are going to happen," Wilder told a post-match news conference.

"But if he wants to play for the top teams, he wants to play for England, then he needs to do better.

"He needs to concentrate more. It's a disappointing day for him. I am not going to put my arms around him. Simply he needs to do better."

Sheffield United would have likely ended Liverpool's long winning run in the Premier League, which now stands at 16 matches, had Henderson kept out Wijnaldum's effort.

"I am not bothered about pride, I am bothered about the result," Wilder added. "Liverpool had an off day and I think we missed an opportunity. In pressurised situations we need to remain composed.

"We were delighted with the shape but their chances came from our mistakes. We have had big moments in the game but we did not take them, we had to jump all over it and we didn't.

"We had enough to get something out of this game but we did not take our opportunities. Points are the most important thing and we did not get points we deserved today."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder concedes his team will have their work cut out defensively when they host Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.

United have impressed on their top-flight return and claimed a second league win of the season when they prevailed 2-0 at Everton last weekend.

But Wilder appreciates the Blades' forthcoming Merseyside opponents – and a forward line of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane – present a daunting proposition.

 "It might not turn into a back three – it might turn into a back 10 or a back 11," he joked at a pre-match news conference.

"They've caused better sides than us untold problems in terms of where they move the ball around the pitch and where they attack with pace and with quality.

"Hopefully they don't show as much quality [as] over the last two or three years that has got them the results and got them success.

"You hope they have an off day and we get amongst them, make it uncomfortable and we try and drive the game forward when we have the opportunity to."

United were dumped out of the EFL Cup by Sunderland on Wednesday but Wilder is keen that his players do not shrink from the challenge of facing Liverpool, who boast a perfect record and a five-point lead in the Premier League after six matches.

"I don't want to look at this game with our players starry eyed, and speaking to their players before and saying, 'Can I swap shirts?' and 'Any chance of signing this?'," he said.

"We're in this game on a level playing field, in terms of a Premier League fixture. Of course there's enormous gaps between both clubs at the moment and we're trying to make that gap a little bit closer.

"My players don't get the results that they've achieved over the last three years without wanting to win and looking at the next game as a big challenge, regardless of the opposition."

Sheffield United have started well on their return to the big time, gaining four points from their opening two Premier League games.

The Blades have been to League One and back since they were last in the Premier League in 2007, spending six seasons in the third tier before gaining promotion to the Championship in 2017 under Chris Wilder's stewardship.

Wilder, a Blades fan and former player, has ushered in a new style of play at Bramall Lane, which bore plentiful fruit as his side edged out Yorkshire rivals Leeds United to finish second in the Championship last term.

Over the course of last season, Wilder adopted a 3-5-2 system, encouraging his team to play out from the back and get forward in numbers.

A key feature of United's play their overlapping centre-backs and, using Opta data, we have assessed just how the Blades' system works.

 

Three at the back... with a twist

Wilder's switch to a back three propelled United up the Championship and it is a fascinating, inspired approach.

The Blades' centre-backs are commonly Jack O'Connell, John Egan and Chris Basham, while Phil Jagielka rejoined the club in the off-season and provides an experienced head from the bench if required.

United's defenders are all comfortable with the ball at their feet and, while in possession, the two wider centre-backs – typically O'Connell and Basham – are given license to push on.

That allows the wing-backs to drive further forward, forcing opposing full-backs and wingers to defend, while rival midfielders must also draw wide to cover the advancing centre-backs.

Space is subsequently opened up in the middle of the park, with Oliver Norwood often dropping deep to dictate the play.

John Lundstram – whose goal earned a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday – and John Fleck press high to join the strikers, providing United with six attacking options within their opponents' half.

High risk, high reward

The decision to commit so many players forward does, of course, leave United open on the counter-attack.

However, Wilder's side play with pace and aggression once over the halfway line, a fact reflected by their attempted 12,579 passes in the opposition half over the course of the 2018-19 Championship campaign – the most of any team in the second tier.

Of those attempted passes, 8,720 were successful, while United's players had 1,251 touches in the opposition box, a tally which ranked behind only Leeds and champions Norwich City.

Though United's wing-backs do push further up the field, Wilder's men are not overly reliant on crosses into the area, with their total of 720 coming in as the sixth highest in the Championship last term.

Once United do have the ball in the area, last season's top scorer Billy Sharp is often the player to wrap up the move, though club-record signing Ollie McBurnie may be expected to fill that role this season. 

Basham had 78 touches in the opposition box last season, ranking at 11th in the Championship, while the centre-back also created 29 chances. Only Enda Stevens provided more goalscoring opportunities for United. 

Defensive solidity

Wilder's system may allow United's attacking players to thrive, but it also enables the Blades to remain steady in defence.

Though the centre-backs may get caught out by a pass in behind, the three defenders do remain in their shape while in possession, screening the width of the pitch.

While defending, the wing-backs tuck inside, with Norwood and the two more advanced midfielders dropping back to provide a barrier in front of the back three.

United's lack of pace up top could prove an issue if the Blades are pushed deep into their third, though the arrival of Callum Robinson from Preston North End does mean an out ball is available, while McBurnie or David McGoldrick are capable of holding up the play.

Against stronger teams, Wilder's system may well be found out, but so far United's commitment to their style of play is working out just fine.

Sheffield United have completed the signing of striker Oli McBurnie from Swansea City in a club-record deal believed to be worth £20million.

McBurnie starred for Swansea in the Championship last term, scoring 22 goals in the second tier.

The 23-year-old, who previously made 16 top-flight appearances while at Swansea without scoring, has now become United's eighth signing of the close season, signing a four-year contract as the Blades continue to strengthen ahead of their first season in the Premier League since 2006-07.

Blades boss Chris Wilder was delighted to have secured one of the club's long-term targets.

"We've had to be patient and work very hard to get Oli to Bramall Lane but I am confident he will be a tremendous success," Wilder told United's official website.

"We need options at the top of the pitch and Oli, as anyone who has watched a significant amount of Championship football will tell you, offers plenty in that area.

"He fits the profile of our transfer policy this season and is an age where his better years are ahead of him - hopefully he and the club can continue to grow together.

"I'm delighted with the transfer business over the summer, Oli is a big piece of the jigsaw, and the squad is shaping up ready for what will be a long and demanding season."

United round off their pre-season preparations away at Reims on Saturday, before kicking off their Premier League campaign against Bournemouth on August 10.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has signed a new three-year deal ahead of his side's Premier League return.

The Blades have earned two promotions in three seasons since Wilder took charge in May 2016.

After guiding United out of League One with 100 points in his first campaign at Bramall Lane, the 51-year-old ended the Yorkshire club's 12-year exile from the top flight by finishing second to Norwich City in the Championship last season. 

"Chris signing a new contract underpins everything we are attempting to do at Bramall Lane," chief executive officer Stephen Bettis told United's official website. 

"He's been the catalyst for our success over the past few years, he is a driven individual and his focus since promotion was secured has been preparing the club for the Premier League."

Wilder is in the process of strengthening his squad ahead of their Premier League opener against Bournemouth on August 10.

Luke Freeman has arrived from QPR in a club-record deal and experienced defender Phil Jagielka is back at the club following his release by Everton.

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