Bayern Munich's interim boss Hans Flick has defended his request for "one or two" additions to his squad, despite criticism from sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

During a media session on Wednesday, Flick stated Bayern – who have confirmed Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel will join them at the end of the season – must add to their side in the January window.

Those comments were not welcomed by Salihamidzic, who said he was "surprised" by Flick's public requests.

However, Flick has insisted he only wants what is best for Bayern.

"I have honestly given my opinion and given professional reasons. I am always concerned about the club," Flick told reporters on Friday.

"We all have high goals and must create a basis to be able to achieve these goals. The injury situation is bad. You can't influence that. The winter period is there to regulate certain things. It was just my concern to express it that way. The players will certainly not see it any differently.

"I do not want to comment and interpret [Salihamidzic's reaction]. It is simply due to the situation. I see my team and the club, we want to play successfully. That is my focus. I have no problem with that."

Star man Robert Lewandowski did not travel to Qatar for Bayern's warm-weather training camp after recent groin surgery, but Flick is hopeful the striker will be back for the Bundesliga clash with Hertha Berlin on January 19.

"It looks really good with him. He has already trained again," Flick said of Lewandowski.

"It was right to leave him at home. He could possibly join [training] before the Hertha match. It is important for him that he is no longer in pain."

Lewandowski has been in remarkable form this season, having already scored 30 goals across all competitions.

Erling Haaland expects pressure at Borussia Dortmund but is convinced the quality in the German giants' squad means he should thrive in the Bundesliga.

Teenager Haaland agreed in December to join Dortmund, ahead of the January transfer window opening, having starred for Salzburg this season.

The 19-year-old scored 28 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions for Salzburg, including netting eight times in the Champions League group stages.

Dortmund reportedly saw off competition from Manchester United, Juventus and Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig to secure the Norway international, who was presented to media at the club's training camp in Marbella on Friday.

Haaland has no doubt the pressure at Dortmund will be much higher than at Salzburg, but insists he is prepared for it.

"Of course, in a club like Dortmund, there is pressure. I try not to think so much about it, but rather enjoy my job and what I like best in life," Haaland told reporters.

"There is more and more pressure the bigger clubs you go to. That's how it is.

"All together, [the Dortmund squad] are so good. I'm sure we're going to have great moments together, and I'm really looking forward to playing with them.

"What I achieved in Salzburg was a lot down to my good team-mates, and I expect it to be much the same with Dortmund. It's a crazy quality in the squad."

Haaland wasted no time in endearing himself to Dortmund's fanbase, adding he is thrilled to get the chance to play in front of the famous 'yellow wall' at Signal Iduna Park, while also taking aim at the club's Revierderby rivals Schalke.

"I can't wait to play in front of the yellow wall. This will be a very special moment when the time comes," Haaland said.

"In any case, I can confirm that I like Dortmund much more than Schalke."

Haaland's German Bundesliga debut could come against Augsburg on January 18, with Lucien Favre's Dortmund side currently sitting fourth in the standings.

Marco Reus lavished praise on his new Borussia Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland, convinced the club has not had a player like him since Robert Lewandowski.

Dortmund reportedly saw off competition from a host of major European clubs to land the young Norwegian striker, who joined at the start of this month after his move was confirmed in December.

Haaland emerged as one of Europe's most sought-after players after starring for Salzburg, scoring 28 goals in 22 matches this season.

Manchester United, Juventus and RB Leipzig were among the clubs said to be interested in the 19-year-old before BVB reported paid a relatively modest fee of €20million.

Reus says the teenager must be given time to settle in, but is adamant he has not seen a forward of Haaland's ilk at the club since Lewandowski left for Bayern Munich in 2014.

"He's very open-minded and it's important to get to know everyone first - a training camp like this is ideal," Reus told Sky Deutschland during Dortmund's mid-season break in Marbella.

"Now it's about getting really fit, arriving properly. It will take time, we'll give it to him. He just gives us another input, another way we can play.

"I don't think we have had this type of player since Lewy [Lewandowski]. He gives us the opportunity to be more flexible and able to react to different scores.

"It makes us feel good. Now he has to get well and get to know everyone properly - we have to, too. We have to go with him and his strengths, but that will all happen over time.

"Paco [Alcacer] really boomed at the beginning, then he was injured longer. Then the coach decided differently.

"As I said, Haaland gives us many opportunities to play football, but ultimately the coach has to decide who will be used.

"For me and other players, we have new options with Haaland, sometimes long balls. In football it's important to be flexible and we have achieved that.

"We have now got a very good striker and with it new options, so we're well positioned."

A common criticism of Dortmund in recent years has been the perceived lack of bite in the team, that they are too nice – but Reus does not agree, insisting having "an absolute b*****d" in the team is not necessary.

"No, I don't think so," he said when asked if Dortmund were missing a "dirtbag" player. "We had the discussion last year, too.

"The squad is put together in the way that the responsible persons had imagined it, how the coach imagined it. We have enough quality in the squad.

"We don't need someone who's an absolute b*****d. We'll solve it our way, even if it's not always right.

"So, we don't have to worry about it. We'll have to improve our games, we know that, but we don't necessarily need a 'dirtbag' for that."

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick has asked for January signings and the club are working to fulfil his request, but Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed Leroy Sane will not join this month.

Sporting director Salihamidzic addressed the media as Bayern take part in a mid-season training camp in Doha, Qatar.

He revealed Bayern are working with Flick, installed as coach at least until the end of the season following Niko Kovac's sacking in November, on moves for the present transfer window.

Salihamidzic had previously said of January: "I don't think much will happen."

However, at a news conference on Thursday, Salihamidzic told reporters: "Hansi Flick has assessed the current situation and has come to the conclusion that we need to strengthen. Hansi and I are in constant contact.

"We are considering every option, but it is difficult to strengthen our squad during the winter break."

However, Germany international Sane, long linked with a switch from Manchester City, will not be among any new recruits.

Salihamidzic did not deny Bayern would renew their interest at the end of the season but, with Sane still sidelined following a serious knee injury, a January deal was ruled out.

"It is not an issue for the winter [window]," he said.

Bayern have this month already agreed to sign Alexander Nubel, who will leave Schalke on a free transfer at the end of the season, seemingly putting star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer under pressure.

But Salihamidzic has assured there is an understanding with Nubel, 23, that Neuer will remain first choice for the start of the next campaign.

"Alexander Nubel will be a huge asset for FC Bayern," he said. "He is ambitious and a top character.

"Alexander knows that Manuel Neuer is our number one. He is looking forward to working with Manu."

Massimiliano Allegri is without a club since leaving Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19.

However, Allegri could be nearing a return to management sooner rather than later.

The Italian is believed to be interested in taking charge of Manchester United.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI WANTS UNITED JOB

Massimiliano Allegri is interested in becoming Manchester United manager as pressure mounts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the Daily Mail.

Allegri has been rumoured to be of interest to Bayern Munich after leaving Serie A champions Juve at the end of last season, while the Italian was also linked to Arsenal prior to Mikel Arteta's appointment.

However, he is reportedly holding out for the United job should Solskjaer be sacked. Ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is also believed to be monitoring the situation.

 

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- ElDesmarque claims MLS duo Inter Miami and LA Galaxy are ready to vie for the signature of Real Madrid's Gareth BaleChelsea, though, have also been linked with the former Tottenham star.

- The race is heating up for Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek. Struggling for goals and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic back at San Siro, the Poland international is wanted by Tottenham, reports The Guardian and Calciomercato. Spurs want to boost their attacking options following Harry Kane's injury. Aston Villa have also tabled a bid for Piatek, but Calciomercato claims he is holding out for a bigger club.

- While Piatek could prove a difficult signing, Villa are closing in on Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Calciomercato, Gazzetta dello Sport and Tuttomercatoweb say former Liverpool keeper Reina has agreed a contract with the Premier League side until the end of the season.

- The Mirror reports United are in the market to sign a defender on loan after Harry Maguire's injury. Maguire – the world's most expensive defender – is facing a spell on the sidelines due to a muscle tear.

United are also weighing up a move for Ajax and Netherlands star Donny van de Beek, reports The Telegraph. With Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba injured, the Red Devils are in need of midfield reinforcements. Van de Beek has previously been linked to Real Madrid.

- AS claims Atletico Madrid are looking at Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik as an alternative to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani. Out of contract at season's end, Cavani is reportedly poised to make the move to Atletico, however, United and Arsenal are also interested.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Inter winger Matteo Politano has agreed to join city rivals Milan. Struggling for game time with the Nerazzurri, Politano's agent met with Milan's management on Wednesday as a shock switch nears.

Chelsea are preparing a £40million bid for West Ham defender Issa Diop, according to the Express. London rivals Tottenham are also reportedly interested.

Social media is abuzz with excitement over rumours that Jamaican International, Leon Bailey, is a target of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Bailey, who turns out for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, had a phenomenal first year there but the last season and a half have been a little more mute.

Still, Liverpool fans believe targeting Bailey, who made his international debut for Jamaica last year, is a good idea because the winger could flourish under the guidance of Klopp and could be a good replacement for Jadon Sancho, who is a marked man.

According to the ‘Anfield Edition’, Sancho still remains a target for Liverpool, however, with interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as Borussia Dortmund, being an unwilling seller, a deal may be difficult.

Rumours of Bailey moving to England aren’t new either, with links to all the big clubs coming before he left Genk in Belgian’s top-flight league for Germany.

“But under Klopp, he will be a class player,” read one of the many comments.

“Great talent with a huge upside Yes please,” read another.

Bailey has scored just three goals in eight league games for Leverkusen this season but much of the period has been spent nursing injuries as well as on suspension from two red cards.

Bailey, has so far, played five games for the Reggae Boyz and has scored one goal.

The winger started with the Phoenix All Stars Academy, the brainchild of his father and agent, Craig Butler, where he stayed from 2009-2011 before moving to FC Liefering and then to Trencin. From 2015-17, Bailey was a Genk player until he was sold to Leverkusen for whom he has played 75 times and scored 17 goals.

Inter are seemingly nearing an agreement with Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, reports say.

The Denmark international is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move away from Spurs in January.

Inter are among the clubs reportedly interested in Eriksen and it seems the Serie A high-flyers are close to a deal.

 

TOP STORY – INTER IN ADVANCED TALKS WITH ERIKSEN

Inter are in advanced talks with Eriksen for a move ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

However, he reports Spurs are looking to sell Eriksen in January for at least €20million (£17m).

Amid uncertainty over his future, Eriksen has made just nine Premier League starts for Tottenham this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at San Siro, multiple reports suggest Inter are eyeing Manchester United veteran Ashley Young. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports Inter and United are in advanced talks regarding the 34-year-old.

- Georginio Wijnaldum has been linked with a surprise move from Liverpool, with his contract expiring in 2021. However, Sky Sports reports the Netherlands international is happy at the European champions and wants to stay as long as possible.

- Arsenal are looking to strengthen in January, but the Premier League club are considering loan deals. Goal reports Arsenal are unlikely to make any permanent signings this month, unless an opportunity is too good to turn down.

- In a Premier League relegation battle and with injuries mounting, Aston Villa have held talks with Milan over possible deals for forward Krzysztof Piatek and goalkeeper Pepe Reina, according to the Daily Mail. Villa lost Wesley and Tom Heaton for the rest of the season to begin the year.

- Wilfried Zaha still looks set to leave Crystal Palace. The star's agent is said to have held preliminary talks with Bayern Munich, although a move to the Bundesliga giants is unlikely, according to Sky Sports. The Mirror reports Zaha's new agent, Pini Zahavi, is also trying to get the attacker to Tottenham.

- There continues to be talk about a possible move to Tottenham for Thomas Lemar. The Independent reports Spurs are considering making a loan approach for the Atletico Madrid midfielder, with a £51million (€60m) option to buy.

Hoffenheim have completed the signing of striker Munas Dabbur from Sevilla for a reported fee of €12million.

The 27-year-old Israel international has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Bundesliga side and will link up with the squad in their training camp in Marbella.

"I'm absolutely delighted that the transfer to TSG worked out," Dabbur told his new club's website.

"Hoffenheim are an exciting team in one of the strongest leagues in the world. In recent years, I've come to see Hoffenheim as a club that offers footballers outstanding prospects to continue their development, and I can't wait to make my own contribution to this club's history."

Dabbur shone for Grasshoppers in Switzerland and Salzburg in Austria, but he made only nine appearances in all competitions under Julen Lopetegui at Sevilla, with all three of his goals coming in this season's Europa League.

He had been linked with a possible move to Premier League side West Ham before finalising a deal with Hoffenheim that reportedly includes an additional €2m in add-ons.

"Munas is a class striker – agile, quick reactions, precise timing, good technique and dangerous finishing," said Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen.

"Furthermore, he's a strong character and speaks outstanding German, which will definitely help him settle in quickly."

Head coach Alfred Schreuder added: "Munas is a special footballer whose potential and international experience will undoubtedly enhance our play."

Dabbur could be involved in this week's friendly matches with Feyenoord and ADO Den Haag.

His first chance to appear in the Bundesliga will be at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on January 18.

Oliver Kahn feels incoming Bayern Munich goalkeeper Alexander Nubel has taken a "very courageous step" by agreeing a move to Bavaria to challenge Manuel Neuer for the number one spot.

Last week Bayern confirmed Nubel, 23, would be joining the Bundesliga champions on a free in July upon the expiration of his contract with Schalke.

That was the very transfer Neuer made in 2011, though his presence as Bayern's number one and captain means Nubel may struggle for playing time initially.

Former Bayern keeper Kahn, who has returned to the club as a member of their executive board, had advised Nubel to remain at Schalke last April because he had not earned his stripes internationally.

"Back then I wasn't involved in decisions regarding transfers," Kahn told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Every player has to go his own way. He expressed that his way is to come to Bayern Munich; he wants to establish [himself] in a few years as the number one.

"But he wants to learn first from a great goalkeeper as Manuel Neuer is and to take this step you need to be very courageous. It's a very courageous step he decided to take here.

"At the moment we shouldn't think too much about it because we have to focus on the second part of the season, we want to show great performances and we need Manuel Neuer at his best, as we have seen in the first part of the season and recent years."

Neuer, 33, has a contract at Bayern until 2021 and he said Nubel's impending arrival would not affect discussions over a new deal.

A controversy over who occupies the spot between the posts for Bayern could therefore be forthcoming, with Kahn adamant his club made the right decision to acquire Nubel.

"I think we all know what a great talent Alexander Nubel represents, which qualities and abilities he has, so it was a smart and strategic decision to get him if Alexander Nubel is free," he added.

"To have such a great goalkeeper on board is a good sign. Alexander Nubel said he will put himself into the second row to start learning from Manuel Neuer, about whose qualities we don't have to talk about at all.

"He is world number one goalkeeper for many years and well-deserved number one of FC Bayern Munich. He secured lots of titles for FC Bayern Munich.

"For someone like me, who comes to this club after a break, I can speak freely and can discuss and give out my thoughts.

"We will see how we will handle this situation. At the moment, the full focus should be put on the second part of the season."

Whatever advice Kahn chips in with, it is likely to be delivered in a more measured tone than the one he delivered during his 14 years as a Bayern player.

"I think emotions are important - emotions on the pitch for me were an important part and as I saw others on the stands, they are also very emotional," said Kahn, who is due to replace Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as club chairman at the end of 2021.

"I have seen a lot of other things, many business-related things and there you don't see that many emotions and it doesn't help very much.

"Many might wonder, not seeing me so emotional any more. The emotion that I showed back on the pitch, it helped me, but you won't see me doing the same things with the board of directors."

With Manchester City's Premier League title defence in tatters and a mounting injury list in defence, Pep Guardiola's side need reinforcements.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have been struck down by injuries this season, leaving City with limited options in defence.

As Liverpool run away with the title, City are eyeing an Inter star to rebuild their central defence.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGETING SKRINIAR

Manchester City have set their sights on Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to The Mirror.

Premier League champions City have struggled with injuries in defence this season as rivals Liverpool charge towards the title.

City are reportedly ready to buy in January and Skriniar – also a target for LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid – is on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says MLS outfit DC United want to sign Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric after Wayne Rooney's exit.

Juventus are "still hopeful" of signing Paris Saint-Germain loanee Mauro Icardi, reports Calciomercato. Icardi left Inter for PSG at the start of the season, having been linked to Juve and Napoli.

- Sky Sports claims Manchester United are interested in Leicester City star James Maddison, but are aware a January transfer will be difficult. Sky Sports also says the Red Devils are chasing Lille's Boubakary Soumare, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Madrid and Valencia.

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, according to Bild. Gotze's contract is set to expire and he has been unable to agree a new deal.

- TZ says Bayern Munich are interested in Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo, with the Bundesliga champions distancing themselves from RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann.

Erling Haaland said Borussia Dortmund's plan "triggered" him to pick the Bundesliga side instead of Premier League giants Manchester United.

Highly rated Norwegian striker Haaland signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Dortmund, despite strong interest from United.

United, along with RB Leipzig and Juventus, were among the admirers of Haaland – who scored 28 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions for Salzburg this season.

Haaland revealed why he opted to join Dortmund, with the 19-year-old sensation saying: "They just went direct and said 'we need you upfront, we like your playing style and we want to have you here'.

"I liked how they spoke to me then and that's what triggered me [to sign]. I just felt that me and Dortmund was a good match."

Haaland joins a Dortmund side fourth in the Bundesliga and seven points behind leaders Leipzig after 17 games.

Lucien Favre's Dortmund do not return action until January 18 due to the midseason break.

"To slightly get to know people better, to train good with the team and we'll see if I am good enough I will play and we'll just have to see, step by step," Haaland said of his aims at Dortmund.

"Of course, I want to play and I know I have something to give to the team. That's my main goal now to have smaller goals and to reach them and I know it will be good."

Manuel Neuer is thrilled with Alexander Nubel's impending arrival at Bayern Munich, but insists the goalkeeper's arrival will have no impact on his plans over a new contract. 

Nubel is set to follow in Neuer's footsteps at the end of the season, with Bayern having confirmed they have reached an agreement to sign the current Schalke goalkeeper on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has long been touted as Neuer's possible replacement for both club and country, though Bayern's captain is happy to welcome Nubel to Munich.

Neuer's deal expires in 2021, with the 33-year-old reportedly in talks over a new contract - negotiations he is adamant will be unaffected by Nubel's arrival.

"The Nubel transfer is irrelevant for my contract extension," Neuer told reporters at Bayern's mid-season training camp in Qatar.

"Of course I determine the requirements [of the contract]. I have the thoughts in my head, but of course I will not reveal them. Nothing comes out of me.

"It's a forward-thinking decision made by the club. Nubel is a top-quality goalkeeper.

"These factors are very important. It is therefore very important for me how the path with [coach] Hansi Flick continues.

"I have things I want to achieve with the team, and it's a lot of fun working together with Hansi. Together with the team, we can achieve anything.

"The club has always shown me appreciation. So far, we have not extended the contract, although I have no time pressure."

Germany's 1966 World Cup goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski has passed away aged 84, with Geoff Hurst and his former club Borussia Dortmund leading the tributes.

Tilkowski played in the famous World Cup final between England and West Germany at Wembley in 1966, in which Hurst scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for the hosts.

Hurst's second goal, which came in the 101st minute following a 2-2 draw in normal time, remains controversial to this day, as it was unclear whether the ball had crossed the line.

On Monday, Dortmund confirmed Tilkowski, who spent four years at the club between 1963 and 1967, winning the DFB-Pokal and the European Cup Winners' Cup, had died on Sunday after a long illness.

Hurst, England's hero of their only World Cup triumph, led the tributes to Tilkowski on social media, posting on Twitter: "Very sad to receive a call earlier to let me know that Germany's goalkeeper from 66 World Cup, Hans Tilkowski, has died.

"Terrific player for his club, Borussia Dortmund, and country and a very fine man, I very much enjoyed the time we spent together over the years.

"Sending kindest thoughts especially to his family, very touched that they called to let me know, and sincere condolences to all his friends and fans. Very sad indeed."

Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick expects Jerome Boateng to remain at the club despite strong links with Arsenal.

Boateng, 31, has been at the club since joining from Manchester City in 2011 and was first-choice at the back for the first few years.

But fitness problems began to have an impact in 2015-16 and he is yet to play more than 20 Bundesliga matches in a single season since.

This term Boateng has featured in nine of a possible 17 league matches and, with Bayern looking more towards young players in most areas of the team and Arsenal in need of defensive reinforcements, the experienced centre-back has been linked with a departure.

Flick has doubts about him leaving, however.

"Jerome is a player of Bayern Munich and I will not concern myself with any rumours, that's what I did the last years," he told reporters.

"Jerome came back to training well-prepared, he prepared himself on holiday. So, I am curious what the next week will bring.

"But I will not concern myself with thoughts if he will leave the club or not. He didn't say anything regarding that and we are constantly in an exchange.

"We have to see how these things develop, but right now I cannot picture it [Boateng leaving]."

Bayern are on their mid-season break and will not return to competitive action until January 19 when they visit Hertha Berlin, with the defending champions trailing leaders Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga title race.

Bayern Munich are not interested in selling David Alaba, according to interim head coach Hansi Flick, who described the Austria international as a leader.

Alaba impressed at centre-back alongside Javi Martinez, Benjamin Pavard and Jerome Boateng in a string of Bundesliga victories before the mid-season break, and his performances fuelled speculation over a possible move to Chelsea.

But Flick, who has overseen five wins and two defeats in the league since being placed in temporary charge of the champions on November 3, said there were no plans to allow the versatile defender to leave the club.

"Alaba is doing very well at centre-back at the moment," Flick told reporters at the club's training camp in Doha.

"He's not for sale.

"He can lead a team, he showed that. He fulfills the criteria of a player who can marshall a defence."

Flick was reluctant to comment on the signing of goalkeeper Alexander Nubel from Schalke in a deal that will see the 23-year-old arrive in Munich at the end of the season.

Manuel Neuer has been ever-present in goal for Bayern this season and Flick said he is happy with Sven Ulreich in the role of deputy to the Germany international.

Nubel is seen as a potential long-term successor to Neuer, but Flick said: "I'm not interested in that now.

"Bayern took the chance to bring a talented goalkeeper to Munich. But Nubel will be a Bayern player in July.

"I'm satisfied with the current situation and Sven Ulreich is doing very well. Competition enables performances."

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