Manchester United can attract the world's best players with or without Champions League football, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United are set to spend heavily at the end of the season as the Red Devils continue to struggle in the Premier League – ninth and 41 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Leicester City's James Maddison and Aston Villa star Jack Grealish are among players being linked to United, who are six points outside the top four.

While acknowledging Champions League qualification makes it easier to sign stars, under-fire boss Solskjaer insisted United still have pulling power.

"The Champions League gives the club more resources, more money, that's one thing," said Solskjaer ahead of Monday's blockbuster trip to Chelsea.

"It's a prestigious tournament to be in, of course.

"But doing as well as we can, and if we play well the rest of the season, and players that we might want are impressed by that, it might be easier to convince them to come here.

"But I don't think one season – this season is the Europa League – if next season is with or without the Champions League, I wouldn't say that's the be-all and end-all for a player to sign for us."

It has been another tough campaign for United, who have only won nine of their 25 Premier League games so far.

United are winless in three games, having only managed one victory from their past five outings in the league.

Prior to the break, United were held to a goalless draw by Wolves as January signing Bruno Fernandes made his highly anticipated debut at Old Trafford.

Manchester United or Chelsea?

The two Premier League giants are reportedly going head-to-head in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund teenager and England international Jadon Sancho.

And the Manchester club feel they can prise the 19-year-old to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BELIEVE THEY CAN PIP CHELSEA TO SANCHO

Manchester United are confident they will beat rivals Chelsea to the signing of in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, claims The Mirror.

Sancho is reportedly keen on returning to England, where the 19-year-old played for Manchester City's youth team before joining Bundesliga outfit Dortmund in 2017.

Dortmund are apparently willing to offload Sancho at the right price and Premier League giants United believe they can prise the England international to Old Trafford in a deal worth £120million (€142.5m).

 

ROUND-UP

- Will Mauricio Pochettino land at Old Trafford? According to journalist Duncan Castles, the former Tottenham manager is determined to take charge of United . His representatives are reportedly confident of convincing United's hierarchy that Pochettino is the right man for the job as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggles, with the Red Devils eighth in the Premier League.

- The Sun reports United are set for a double swoop to sign Aston Villa star Jack Grealish and Leicester City attacker James Maddison . Grealish has reportedly given the go-ahead for a move to Old Trafford, while Maddison has apparently been in talks over a contract extension with Leicester.

Marcelo Brozovic to Real Madrid? Mundo Deportivo says the Inter and Croatia international midfielder is wanted by the LaLiga giants. Madrid have also been linked to United's Paul Pogba and Ajax star Donny van de Beek

Barcelona have been told it will take €35m to sign Willian Jose from Real Sociedad, reports Marca. Barca are looking to strengthen their attack following long-term injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.

- According to The Express, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is plotting a £120m transfer spree at the end of the season. Benfica defender Ruben Dias is a target, as well as Norwich City's Max Aarons, Bournemouth centre-back Nathan Ake and Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell.

Stefano Pioli is contracted to Milan until 2021 but the head coach – who replaced Marco Giampaolo at the start of the campaign – is no certainty to continue beyond this season. According to Calciomercato, Elliott Management want Ralf Rangnick but Paolo Maldini is reportedly pushing for former Milan striker and current Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko.

- Football Insider claims Liverpool are set to offer star defender Virgil van Dijk a new £50m deal amid reported interest from Serie A champions Juventus.

Paris Saint-Germain reportedly have no interest in listening to offers for star Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, 21, has repeatedly been linked to Real Madrid, rumours which only intensified after the forward was involved in a bust-up with coach Thomas Tuchel.

But PSG are prepared to make the France international see out his contract, rather than lose one of their star players.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STANDING FIRM OVER MBAPPE AMID MADRID LINKS

PSG will not listen to offers for Mbappe amid links to Real Madrid, according to Marca.

Mbappe is contracted in Paris until 2022 and the Ligue 1 giants are willing to make him see out his deal.

PSG have also tried to extend Mbappe's contract, moves which are set to continue despite his seeming unhappiness at the club.

ROUND-UP

- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under some pressure at Old Trafford, Mauricio Pochettino has not given up on becoming Manchester United manager ahead of next season, according to the Mirror.

- While Pochettino may arrive, Paul Pogba seems likely to leave United. Tuttosport reports the midfielder and Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala dream of playing together again, with Pogba perhaps set for a return to Turin. Dybala is in contract talks with Juventus with his deal expiring in 2022.

- Jack Grealish seems to know where he wants to be. Goal reports the midfielder is ready to join Manchester United from Aston Villa, although no formal talks have taken place. The Sun says Grealish prefers Manchester United over other clubs, while the Mirror reports Manchester City have joined the race for the Englishman.

- With Luis Suarez set to miss most of the rest of the season due to injury, Barcelona are eyeing a move for … Luis Suarez. El Larguero reports Barcelona have made contact with Real Zaragoza over the forward, who is on loan from Watford. Suarez has scored 14 goals in the Segunda Division this season.

- On loan at Newcastle United from Tottenham, Danny Rose will be watched by Paris Saint-Germain ahead of a possible move at the end of the season, according to The Sun.

Eric Abidal's interview tipped Lionel Messi over the edge.

Normally quiet, especially on social media, Messi used Instagram to hit out at Barcelona director of football Abidal, who had earlier suggested some players were not working hard enough prior to Ernesto Valverde's sacking.

Barca superstar Messi is reportedly unhappy with how things are unfolding at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI TIRED OF BEING BARCA SCAPEGOAT

Lionel Messi is tired of being held responsible for everything that happens at Barcelona amid doubts over his future, according to COPE and Marca.

Contracted until 2021, captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi snapped back at Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal for bad-mouthing players at the club as he discussed Ernesto Valverde's exit.

It comes amid discontent towards the board and Barca's struggles on the pitch.

Clubs in China, the United States and the Middle East would all be interested should the Argentine opt for a change of scenery.

 

ROUND-UP

- Has Paul Pogba played his last game for Manchester United? The Red Devils are resigned to losing Pogba at the end of the season, reports The Mirror. Linked to Real Madrid and former club Juventus, Pogba has not featured since December due to an ongoing ankle problem.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United will prioritise signing Aston Villa star Jack Grealish as fellow midfield target James Maddison nears a new deal with Leicester City.

Atletico Madrid will consider Mauricio Pochettino as their next head coach if they move on from Diego Simeone, reports the Telegraph. Pochettino continues to be linked with United, who are struggling under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

- Standard Sport claims Chelsea will sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele at the end of the season after failing to land the Frenchman in January.

- Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is a target for Arsenal, reports The Sun. Arsenal enquired about the 22-year-old Brazilian's availability last month.

Milan snubbed the chance to sign Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic in January, says Calciomercato. Matic is out of contract at season's end but is open to extending his time in Manchester.

Manchester United or Real Madrid?

Ajax star Donny van de Beek is a wanted man following his exploits for the Eredivisie champions.

But the LaLiga giants are reportedly poised to get their target at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DE BEEK SET FOR MADRID

Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek is on the verge of joining Real Madrid instead of Manchester United, claims The Mirror.

United have reportedly emerged as a suitor for Van de Beek in January due to injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

But a transfer to Madrid at the end of the season "is more than 80 per cent certain", according to the report.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Metro says Premier League champions Manchester City have joined the race to sign Aston Villa's Jack Grealish. Rivals United have been heavily linked to the midfielder.

Tottenham are nearing a deal to bring Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes to London on an 18-month loan contract, reports Sky Sports. West Ham have also been looking to sign the 21-year-old.

- United midfielder Nemanja Matic is in talks to swap Old Trafford for MLS outfit Chicago Fire, according to The Sun. Linked to Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan, the Fire want to bring in the veteran as a replacement for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Arsenal are considering a loan deal for Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, reports The Mirror.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter have reached an agreement with Christian Eriksen for a contract until 2024. Now, Inter must strike a deal with Tottenham for the soon-to-be free agent. Spurs reportedly want €20million (£17m) for the Dane.

- Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes has agreed personal terms with United for a contract until 2025 with yearly wages of €6m, according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira.

Nicolas Pepe earned his first inclusion of the season in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week thanks to his eye-catching display against Manchester United.

The reported £72million signing from Lille endured a difficult first few months in an Arsenal jersey, struggling to recapture the form he showed in France over the previous two campaigns.

But in the 2-0 win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men, Pepe opened the scoring and was a constant livewire, troubling United's backline with his trickery, movement and general unpredictability.

With some European leagues enjoying a mid-season break, the latest FUT selection is rather Premier League-dominated, with five players from the division in the starting XI, while there are another six England-based representatives among the substitutes and reserves.

Joining Pepe in the starting XI are the likes of Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta and Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

Below, we take a look at the entire squad that is set to be available online.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Torino) – 86

RB: Jesus Corona (Porto) – 84

CB: Domenico Criscito (Genoa) – 82

CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – 87

RM: Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – 85

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 84

LM: Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – 83

LW: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 84

CAM: Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta) – 87

ST: Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – 89

ST: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – 84

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Odisseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) – 83

CB: Mouctar Diakhaby (Valencia) – 81

CDM: Mark Noble (West Ham) – 81

CAM: Marko Livaja (AEK Athens) – 81

LW: Ricardo Horta (Sporting Braga) – 82

ST: Enes Unal (Real Valladolid) – 81

ST: Nicky Maynard (Mansfield Town) – 81

RESERVES

GK: Paul Farman (Stevenage) – 72

CM: Uros Racic (Famalicao) – 79

RM: Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) – 75

ST: Nahki Wells (QPR) – 78

ST: Matt Godden (Coventry City) – 75

Jack Grealish will not be leaving Aston Villa in the January transfer window, manager Dean Smith vowed on Friday as he issued a hands-off warning to the Premier League big guns.

The 24-year-old, who has shone for Villa since their return to the top division, has been linked with clubs including Manchester United.

However, Villa are determined Grealish will remain a key player for them, with Smith saying they will not entertain bids for the Birmingham-born midfielder.

"I think he's a big target for many teams and you can see why," said Smith, whose side head to Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"He's a top player but as I've said before, our owners are very ambitious and want to establish us as a top Premier League club.

"To do that you have to keep your best players, so we'll be keeping hold of Jack Grealish. People can keep looking but they can't touch."

Villa have lost striker Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton to season-ending knee injuries, which is set to influence the club's transfer activity this month.

Smith said he would hold talks with sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch and chief executive Christian Purslow ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage. 

"It will probably hasten what we do in the market," Smith said. "I’ll sit down with them and see what we’re going to do and how quickly we’re going to do it."

Manchester United have identified James Maddison or Jack Grealish as their top January transfer targets.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay injured, United have concerns in midfield to begin 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said United were looking at "one or two" January additions, and it appears their targets are also Premier League players.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD IDENTIFY MADDISON, GREALISH AS JANUARY TARGETS

Manchester United are prioritising a move for Leicester City's Maddison or Aston Villa's Grealish, according to the Independent.

United are looking to find greater consistency in the second half of the Premier League season, although they sit fifth in the table.

Grealish has provided five assists in the Premier League this campaign, while netting six times. Maddison also has six goals.

ROUND-UP

- Thomas Lemar is attracting interest from Tottenham. AS reports that if the midfielder joins Spurs from Atletico Madrid, the LaLiga club would be able to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

- Tottenham may have more pressing concerns in January. Harry Kane could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury as Spurs await the results of a second scan, according to The Telegraph.

- Benfica are prepared to let 20-year-old midfielder Gedson Fernandes leave. A Bola reports the club are ready to negotiate for the Portugal international, who has been linked to Manchester United, Lyon and Milan.

- Arsenal are aiming to strengthen their defence with the signing of Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng, according to Sky Sports. Calum Chambers is set for a long spell on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, and Boateng could be set for a return to the Premier League.

- Jean-Clair Todibo is expected to leave Barcelona in January and a surprise potential destination has emerged. Bild reports Schalke are thinking about a loan move for the 20-year-old defender.

- Borussia Dortmund have set their price for forward Paco Alcacer. The Bundesliga club want €40million for the Spaniard, who has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid.

Frank Lampard said it was important that John Terry was able to "have a moment" with the home supporters before Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

Terry, now on the coaching staff at Villa, returned to his old club on Wednesday, though goals from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount saw the Blues collect all three points.

The former England international won five Premier League titles with Chelsea after coming through their academy.

Having experienced Stamford Bridge from the opposition bench with Derby County last season, Lampard fully understood the situation for Terry: "I've been there myself, coming back here last year. It's a strange feeling.

"You want to do your job and do it as well as you can as a professional, but the feeling you have for the club and the people you see and the crowd, which I know how John feels about them and vice versa, is a big deal.

"It's actually not easy in a way, and I'm pleased John got it out of his system, had his moment there and the fans gave him his proper applause, as was expected, before and after the game.

"I think John was very humble about it, didn't want to make a big deal, but the fans obviously love him here, the club does. He's a legend, the most decorated captain, one of the greatest players, everyone knows his story, so it was important that he got that."

An injured Abraham was replaced seven minutes from the end after making his comeback from a hip issue, but Lampard played down the severity of the problem as he praised the 22-year-old.

In a season-long loan at Villa last term, Abraham scored 26 league goals to help the club achieve promotion to the Premier League and he has netted 11 times in 14 top-flight appearances for Chelsea.

Asked about his injury, Lampard replied: "It doesn't seem too bad. Tammy at the moment is Tammy. A striker near the top, showing his all-round game. A personality in the dressing room."

Villa boss Dean Smith said he was disappointed with the goals his side conceded, while expressing concern about the treatment Jack Grealish is receiving from Premier League defenders.

Asked whether there is a risk heavy challenges could jeopardise the midfielder's fitness, Smith told reporters: "If he doesn't get protection, then yes.

"You can't have tag teams having a free whack at him. The officials need to sort that out."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his Manchester United players lacked composure after Jack Grealish's goal gave Aston Villa the lead in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils turned the game around as Marcus Rashford forced a Tom Heaton own-goal and Victor Lindelof headed a second for the hosts, but Tyrone Mings plundered an equaliser to earn Villa a point.

The result left United with just two wins from their last nine Premier League matches and, while offering a reminder of the youthfulness of his team, Solskjaer pointed to a lack of composure during a disjointed first half.

"Any home game you'd want to win and you go into the game believing you'll win but you have to play an opposition and the first half wasn't good enough," said Solskjaer.

"Their first goal knocked us a little bit emotionally. We didn't find our composure until we got the half-time talk.

"The boys have character; they're young, there's loads of energy, they played [in the] second half miles, miles better of course but it's a game of two halves as everyone says.

"Poorly defended by us, we should have done better. But then again we have to learn from this. You say that after every goal you concede - there's little details that go wrong. We didn't go out together as a team."

United are ninth in the Premier League table, having lost four and drawn six of their 14 matches this season, and Solskjaer must prepare his players to face Tottenham at home on Wednesday before the Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The former Red Devils striker gave an upbeat assessment of morale in the squad ahead of a week that could have a huge bearing on a faltering season and his own future at the club.

"These boys will improve and learn from this experience," said Solskjaer. "Of course we, as Man United, as a club, we don't like to be in the position we are but that's the reality now and we just take one game at a time.

"We've got Wednesday, we've got a big game coming up on Saturday again so these boys are looking forward to every game. Sometimes inconsistency will happen with young boys, ups and downs.

"You see in moments we play some fantastic football and at times it's too open. We failed to control the game at times, but we can't do anything about that now.

"We have to keep improving; we have to be better. We have to work on us as a team and becoming a better unit."

If Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday highlighted one of their biggest concerns, the contest also put a spotlight on a potential fix in the form of the visitors' star man.

So plentiful are their issues that one could argue the starting XI against Villa requires as many as six upgrades to bring them even close to Liverpool's standard.

But one area in which they are woefully short is midfield. Paul Pogba aside, not one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's current options would get near the line-up of Jurgen Klopp's Reds or Manchester City and, given his form this year, it would be difficult even to make a case for the Frenchman.

The emergence of an apparent interest in Leicester City's James Maddison makes sense and appears to indicate a desire to finally fix deficiencies in the number 10 position.

Some fans might suggest they have had the right man for that role since David Moyes signed Juan Mata in 2014, but for most of his United career he has been unfairly shunted out wide.

Any chance of Mata being a long-term answer has long since vanished, with his ineffective display against Villa doing little to suggest he is up to the task.

The one man on the pitch who did look capable of injecting much-needed impetus and swagger into this United team was Jack Grealish, and it is worth remembering Solskjaer identified Harry Maguire as his primary target on the back of a good display against the Red Devils.

"I more or less made my mind up when we played Leicester last season that if it's possible to get him [Maguire] we should try, because he's so composed on the ball and he gives the team another dimension," Solskjaer said of the centre-back earlier this year.

It is by no means unthinkable to suggest he could say similar of Grealish before the start of next season, as Villa's attacking midfielder was comfortably the best player on the pitch at Old Trafford.

While United moved forward with their usual predictability, as Andreas Pereira and Mata offered precious little craft, Grealish cruised around the pitch looking entirely at ease and completely convinced in his ability to dictate proceedings.

United certainly appeared aware of the threat posed by Grealish, fouling him four times in the first 24 minutes – Pereira and Fred resorting to cynical tactics to halt him.

Although frustration could be seen in Grealish's reaction each time, that soon disappeared once he was back on the ball, carrying Villa forward with purpose and drive.

While his dribbling ability is notable, Grealish also has the awareness to know when to offload quickly and when to hold on to possession.

His potential has never been a secret, but disciplinary issues blighted the early years of Grealish's career. Those problems are very much a thing of the past and a commanding performance at United – even if this a weak Red Devils side – is a solid indicator of a new-found maturity.

Grealish's goal, the opener, was a fine reminder of his technical excellence. Stepping inside Pereira to make space for himself, the Villa star curled an unstoppable effort into the top-right corner from a difficult angle.

He was then the instigator with a driving run up the left flank and pass into the danger zone when Trezeguet thought he had put Villa two up, only for VAR to rule it out for offside.

While detractors might point out Grealish only created one legitimate opportunity, it is hard to deny his influence in attack. After all, his 23 passes in the opposition half was the most among Villa players, and he completed 88.6 per cent of all passes and delivered six crosses.

He also showcased fine off-the-ball movement in the second half – an inability to get enough contact on the ball essentially denying him a second goal, but by no means did it ruin a solid outing.

Ask any United fan whether they would rather see Grealish or Pereira strutting about in their midfield, the replies would be unanimous and the Brazilian's cross for Tom Heaton's own goal would not be referenced.

Maddison may remain the ideal signing for United, but Villan Grealish proved he has what it takes to become a protagonist in the Theatre of Dreams.

Tyrone Mings took advantage of Manchester United's sloppy defending to score his first Premier League goal as Aston Villa came from behind in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

United had to chase the game after the impressive Jack Grealish opened the scoring 11 minutes into an error-strewn contest that saw the hosts equalise through a Tom Heaton own goal and then go ahead when Victor Lindelof scored for the first time this season.

Any hopes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had of seeing his side protect the lead were dashed within two minutes as the unmarked Mings volleyed home an equaliser from close range to help Villa claim a share of the points their performance deserved.

The result leaves United with one win from their last four domestic outings and, with Tottenham arriving in midweek before the Manchester derby against City on Saturday, Solskjaer must address problems in a defence that has not kept a clean sheet in nine league games.

United started brightly, winning midfield battles and launching swift attacks through Juan Mata, but they were caught on the counter 11 minutes in.

Anwar El Ghazi's cross from the Villa right floated beyond United's defenders and landed at the feet of Grealish, who cut inside Andreas Pereira before launching a shot that curled over the rooted David de Gea and found the top corner of the net.

But United were let off the hook for a poor first-half performance when Marcus Rashford found space in the box as Pereira hung a tantalising cross at the far post and the England forward's header bounced in off Heaton's arm.

United increased the tempo after the interval and they had the wind in their sails when Fred's cross was flicked to the far post by Villa striker Wesley for Lindelof to send a header back across Heaton's goal and into the far corner of the net.

But nobody marked Mings as Villa poured forward and the England defender - played onside by Brandon Williams - connected with Matt Targett's chipped ball into the box, lashing home a low volley that beat De Gea for power.

Solskjaer sent on Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood to try and force a winner but Dean Smith's men held firm, with Heaton saving from Fred before the final whistle.

What does it mean? Solskjaer on thin ice

United's results are forcing their board to contemplate the reality of a finish outside the top half of the Premier League and, with bosses dropping like flies at rival clubs, Solskjaer likely needs December victories to save his job.

Grealish's swagger serves Villa well

The confidence with which Grealish set about finding holes in the United defence seemed to fill his team-mates with the belief that they could get a result and while comparisons with Eric Cantona might be kind on the Birmingham-born playmaker, his goal was reminiscent of the Frenchman in his pomp.

Pereira's cross fails to paper over cracks

There is no denying the quality of the cross Pereira delivered to tee up United's equaliser but the Brazilian was otherwise ineffective, providing neither grit nor guile and giving Grealish an easy ride.

What's next?

United have a tough week ahead, with games against Tottenham at home in midweek and Manchester City away on Saturday, while Villa travel to Chelsea on Wednesday before entertaining Leicester City on Sunday.

With Barcelona and Real Madrid keen to strengthen their defences, one Inter star is attracting interest.

Milan Skriniar is reportedly wanted by LaLiga champions Barca and Spanish rivals Madrid.

Will Inter be able to retain the centre-back?

 

TOP STORY – SKRINIAR WANTED BY LALIGA GIANTS

Barcelona and Real Madrid have set their sights on Inter defender Skriniar, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Skriniar – contracted to Inter until June 2023 – has established himself as one of the world's best defenders since moving to Milan from Sampdoria in 2017.

The likes of Manchester City and Manchester United have also been linked to the 24-year-old Slovakia international.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are desperate to strengthen their squad and ESPN claims the Premier League side have an eight-man shortlist, which includes Leicester City's James Maddison, Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Salzburg's goalscoring machine Erling Haaland, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, as well as Aston Villa pair Jack Grealish and John McGinn.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are monitoring Sporting CP's Matheus Pereira, who is on loan at Championship outfit West Brom. It comes as The Sun reports the Red Devils could sign Gareth Bale and send Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.

- Bild says Borussia Monchengladbach have no plans to sell midfielder Denis Zakaria in January. Zakaria has reportedly attracted interest from United, Bayern Munich, Dortmund and others.

Manchester City are circling Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi, according to Calciomercato. Sensi moved to Inter on loan from Serie A side Sassuolo and the 24-year-old has starred at San Siro.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are looking at Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier and Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri amid their injury crisis in Turin.

- Brescia sensation and Italy international Sandro Tonali is being chased by Serie A champions Juve and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, reports Corriere di Torino.

James Maddison will have learned a valuable lesson after he was photographed in a casino having left England's previous squad due to illness, according to Gareth Southgate.

Leicester City playmaker Maddison has been in excellent form for the Foxes in 2019-20 and was rewarded with a call-up to Southgate's squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The 22-year-old was forced to withdraw due to illness but was later pictured in a casino on the same night England went down 2-1 in Prague.

The incident has not harmed Maddison's reputation within the England camp, however, with the midfielder called up for upcoming matches against Montenegro and Kosovo.

Southgate acknowledged Maddison must learn from his actions, but he was adamant speculation surrounding the player's previous withdrawal was misplaced.

"He's only been in a few squads, he had to go home ill last time," Southgate told a news conference.

"The important thing is that there was some suggestion he decided to go home, [but] we sent him home, he was ill.

"Any suggestion that he chose to go home because he wanted to go out was unfair. Having said that, I don't think it was a great decision that he took.

"Now he will realise, as an England player, there is a different profile. I'm afraid, in the modern world, everybody has a camera phone, [and someone has] seen the chance to make some money by getting pictures.

"That's a part of life we all have to deal with, living in the public eye. We're supporting him because we picked him - now he's got to come into the squad and fight for his place with everyone else."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also recalled, alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi and John Stones.

Liverpool's Oxlade-Chamberlain was left out in October as he continued his comeback from a long-term injury, but Southgate explained: "We have huge belief in him.

"We brought him back a little bit earlier than we might have done in September.

"But in October, he had the message from us that we had faith in him, he just needed to be playing more regularly so he was coming to us ready to play, because you don't want to be coming in short of match fitness - then you don't do yourself justice."

Jack Grealish's form for Aston Villa has not been enough to earn a call up, though Southgate confirmed the midfielder is in line for a place in the squad should any of England's other wide options drop out.

"The reality is that he's up against [Raheem] Sterling, [Marcus] Rashford, Hudson-Odoi and [Jadon] Sancho in those wide areas," Southgate said.

"He's very close, he's just got to keep on playing the way he is, and if we had issues over the weekend, I wouldn't hesitate to call him into the squad."

Sancho is a doubt for Borussia Dortmund's Klassiker clash with Bayern Munich this weekend.

Pep Guardiola hailed Raheem Sterling's ability to cope with high expectations after the winger scored in the Premier League four days after hitting a Champions League hat-trick.

Sterling's treble in a 5-1 victory over Atalanta added weight to his billing as the top flight's most in-form forward and he lived up to the hype in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

After a goalless first half in which City survived a number of scares at the back, Sterling broke the deadlock early in the second half to settle the champions' nerves.

Sterling's strike paved the way for David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan to increase City's lead, and Guardiola was quick to point out the difficulty many players have in delivering when under pressure in the manner that Sterling did.

"We played good for 45 minutes, but not the other one," Guardiola told reporters. "Respect and credit to Aston Villa.

"We have to be aggressive with the ball. The only person in the first half who was aggressive was Sterling. In the second half it happened.

"When everybody talks in the media how good you are, usually the next game you play like 'how good am I?'. Sterling was the complete opposite.

"That is our strength as a team in the last years together. Every game, every three days, we go together."

Guardiola also reserved words of praise for Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, whose dynamic performance caused City's defence problems in the first half at Etihad Stadium.

Grealish was expected to join Tottenham after Villa missed out on promotion to the Premier League in the 2017-18 Championship play-offs, but he stayed at the club and helped them reach the top flight a year later.

Guardiola expressed his admiration for Grealish's commitment, saying: "Grealish is an incredible player. He's a top player.

"I'm happy he's an Aston Villa player. I like that he stayed and defended his club (in the Championship).

"He's fast in the final [third] and always creates something."

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