Arsenal appear to be spiralling into a deeper mess as the days pass.

Just over a week on from sacking Unai Emery, the Gunners now reportedly have doubts over how long Freddie Ljungberg should be left in charge.

Misjudging the situation could have serious ramifications for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future.

 

TOP STORY – DOUBTS EMERGE OVER LJUNGBERG

Arsenal fear interim boss Ljungberg's lack of managerial experience will force them to make a full-time appointment before the end of the season, reports The Mirror.

Gunners chiefs seemed set to back the Swede when Emery was moved aside but a draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and the 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek have cast doubt over his capabilities.

Action could be taken sooner rather than later as the club mull over a list of potential targets, particularly as there are "growing concerns" about star striker Aubameyang .

The 30-year-old has reportedly stalled on contract talks and the lack of clarity over the head coaching position could end with Arsenal being forced to sell one of their strongest assets.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in their sights after their transfer ban was reduced on Friday, reports The Athletic.

- Juventus are considering a move for either Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic or Leandro Paredes of Paris Saint-Germain, claims Corriere Torino.

- Inter's interest in Arturo Vidal could aid Barca's bid to sign Lautaro Martinez from the Serie A side, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Steven Gerrard is on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Rangers that will see him remain as manager until 2024, says The Sun.

- Two Eredivisie stars could be headed for Portugal, reports A Bola. Belgian forward Cyriel Dessers of Heracles Almelo and exciting AZ prospect Myron Boadu are said to be in the sights of Primeira Liga heavyweights Sporting CP .

Jurgen Klopp suggested Premier League leaders Liverpool could look to sign a striker in January if Rhian Brewster leaves on loan.

Brewster, 19, has been linked with a short-term stint away from Anfield – Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Swansea City reportedly interested.

The highly rated England Under-21 international impressed in pre-season but has managed only a pair of EFL Cup appearances this term.

Allowing him to gain experience elsewhere would leave Champions League holders Liverpool without a recognised centre-forward beyond Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.

"Yes, we have to see," Klopp told UK media when asked whether Brewster's departure could lead to a new arrival.

"We can't just give the boys on loan because we have built this squad.

"We have three long-term injuries and four with Paul Glatzel. Two of them were pre-season, two came later with Joel [Matip] and Fabinho.

"That gives us a 16-player squad and I count the kids, but we cannot only give players on loan and think it is good for him, we always have to consider both situations, the boy's and ours.

"In the end we try to make the perfect solution. Sometimes it works out, others it does not."

Klopp said of Brewster: "Maybe Rhian is the one, age-wise, experience-wise, [to go out on loan].

"If he had not been injured he would already have been on a different level, but that is the situation and we constantly think of the situation for the boys.

"He is very young, but still a bit advanced. But I don't know, we don't make decisions right now. If we do it then it 100 per cent needs to be the right club."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde opened the door for Arturo Vidal's departure in January, acknowledging the LaLiga champions have a lot of midfielders.

Vidal has been linked with a move to Serie A outfit Inter as the Barcelona midfielder struggles for regular game time at Camp Nou.

The 32-year-old Chilean has made 14 appearances across all competitions this season, though only four have been starts.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's match against Real Mallorca, Valverde told reporters: "Vidal is our player. We are happy with him. There are so many rumours. We will see tomorrow if he plays or not.

"And when the January transfer window arrives, we will see what happens."

"There's a lot of things going on in January but it's true that we have a lot of midfielders," Valverde said. "Some have played more than others but all of them are needed."

Ivan Rakitic is another midfielder, whose future with Barcelona is up in the air as the Croatia international eyes regular football.

Rakitic – a reported target for Inter and former club Sevilla – has only made two LaLiga starts this term.

"He's a reliable player in a lot of ways," Valverde added. "In the same way that there have been moments when he has not featured, he has continued training [with the same intensity] to seize his opportunity.

"He's played at a good level [in the last two games] and we're happy with that. We'll see what happens in the next few games. He has emerged in a difficult period."

Chelsea can press on with their January plans after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) halved their transfer ban on Friday.

The Blues were barred by FIFA from registering new players for two successive windows in February, having been found guilty of breaching rules relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

However, CAS has reduced that ban to one window, which the Blues have already served, giving Frank Lampard the green light to make fresh acquisitions next month.

We take a look at who could be arriving at Stamford Bridge during the mid-season market.

 

BEN CHILWELL

Left-back would seem the obvious place to start for Lampard.

Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri have been deployed there this season, but the latter has been linked with a move to Juventus.

With Marcos Alonso out of favour and Azpilicueta now 30, Chelsea might want a younger option in line with the parts of their first team now thriving.

Leicester City's Chilwell, 22, fits the bill, although he would not come cheap. Valencia's Jose Gaya is another mooted target who would likely command a smaller fee.

JADON SANCHO

Willian and Pedro are both out of contract at the end of the season and they appear destined to depart.

Teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi will be expected to have a bigger role and Christian Pulisic has impressed in recent weeks, but Lampard would welcome more attacking firepower.

Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho's time in Germany seems close to ending and the Londoner might relish a return to the capital.

However, if Sancho is to depart over the next two windows, Chelsea will be in a long line of interested suitors.

WILFRIED ZAHA

A move away from Crystal Palace failed to materialise in the close-season window for Zaha.

The former Manchester United winger is undoubtedly talented and proven in the Premier League.

However, Zaha's situation is complicated by the fact he signed a five-year contract in 2018.

Arsenal and Everton were reportedly keen a few months before the demises of Unai Emery and Marco Silva, but Chelsea represent a more attractive option.

NATHAN AKE

Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma have been Lampard's preferred central-defensive partners, though the Blues have kept just three Premier League clean sheets in 2019-20.

Germany international Antonio Rudiger is due back soon but it is a former Blues defender who may be of interest in January.

It is believed Chelsea included a £40million buy-back clause in Ake's deal when he was sold to Bournemouth in 2017.

As was the case with Nemanja Matic, Ake has developed considerably during his time away from Stamford Bridge and could prove a relative bargain at his buy-back price.

MOUSSA DEMBELE

With 11 goals in 14 Premier League games, Tammy Abraham has shown he is capable of leading the line.

However, there are limited options behind him and they will be depleted further if Olivier Giroud, 33, leaves as expected.

Lyon striker Dembele, once of Fulham and Celtic, is thought to be of interest to the Blues.

The joint-top scorer in Ligue 1, Dembele is having a fine season. But would he be happy playing second fiddle to Abraham?

Chelsea have hit out at FIFA for treating them "entirely differently to Manchester City" over transfer breaches after the London club had their registration ban halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Premier League side were banned from registering new players for two successive transfer windows by FIFA in February, a punishment handed down for breaching rules related to acquiring and registering players under the age of 18.

An appeal to FIFA had been partially upheld, allowing them to sign players 16 or younger, but Friday's announcement means they will now be able to buy reinforcements for their senior team in January.

Chelsea have since taken the opportunity to lambast FIFA's treatment of them, convinced they were dealt a crueller hand than Manchester City, who avoided a transfer ban in August despite the world's governing body finding them to have breached rules on under-18 signings.

Jose Mourinho is refusing to deal in hypotheticals with regards to the future of Tottenham star Christian Eriksen.

The attacking midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and was linked with a move away in the previous transfer window but a deal failed to materialise.

Reports suggest Spurs are willing to listen to offers of £40million for Eriksen in January, half the amount Manchester United were supposedly quoted in the close season, with a switch to Italy or Spain thought to be his favoured destination.

However, Spurs boss Mourinho kept his cards close to his chest when asked what will happen with Eriksen next month.

"My feelings are until I have anything official rather than hypothetical, I will not comment," Mourinho said. 

"The only thing I can say is the player is a free agent at the end of the season. 

"Of course I've had a conversation with him, but I'm not sharing anything, from respect with the player."

Mourinho was also quizzed on the possibility of turning Giovani Lo Celso's loan move from Real Betis into a permanent deal.

The Argentina midfielder has made 10 appearances this term but only two of those were as part of the starting line-up, with injury problems having blighted his start to the campaign.

Mourinho has no doubts about Le Celso's quality, though conceded he is still getting to grips with life in England.

"I'm doing my work now to try to improve results and get the best out of the players," he added.

"Of course, Giovani is in Europe for a number of years, but France with PSG and then Spain, it's a completely different football world than it is in England.

"So many experienced players arrive in England and the click for them is not automatic. So a young guy like Giovani also needs his time to adapt to the Premier League.

"You could see, even with Mauricio [Pochettino], an Argentinian man like him, easy communication, surrounded by some boys who speak French, he speaks English, so even in those surroundings of support it's not like he arrives here and explodes immediately.

"But we know the good player he is, give him time to develop and we think he is going to be a good player for us."

Frank Lampard welcomed the opportunity to mould his squad after Chelsea's transfer ban was halved but kept his counsel when asked about potential targets.

The Blues saw a two-window ban imposed by FIFA as punishment for breaching rules relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18 shortened by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.

Head coach Lampard can consequently sign players in January, though he has yet to properly discuss his strategy with the club's hierarchy.

"It is what it is and now we know," Lampard said at a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Everton. "Obviously the club was working towards that positive outcome and it allows us the potential to look at the market going forward.

"I'm pleased from a football level, it was never my job to get involved with reasons why or legal reasons, for the club moving forward it's a good thing. Now it's a discussion we can take up.

"Nothing much [has been said] because it wasn't something to discuss at length until we knew the decision. The club has been working away, putting forward our case, I've been working hard for the results on the pitch."

The ban did little to shelve rumours for potential incomings at Stamford Bridge. Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell have all been rumoured targets.

Lampard, expectedly so, was not willing to engage in conversation about potential incomings, though.

"I'm not going to sit here and go too far down any lines with that," he added.

"We will see where we are, as I said I'm happy with the squad we have here, I think we're doing okay. In terms of the bigger picture and what we do it's constantly fluid."

The ability to bring in players may also pave the way for the departure of out-of-favour striker Olivier Giroud, who is keen to play games to keep his place in France's squad ahead of Euro 2020.

But Lampard said the news does not change his thoughts on his striking options.

"It doesn't [change anything], I don't consider it at all. I just consider the squad I've got now. In January we can discuss those options," Lampard said when asked about Giroud, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Lampard has earned plaudits for blooding several of Chelsea's young stars this term, with Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori among those to have grasped their opportunities.

The former England international says the fact he can sign players does not necessarily change his mindset, though he conceded entering the market poses a new challenge for his fledging Chelsea coaching career.

"Again we haven't had that conversation because we couldn't buy. The fact people have given us credit is because they expected less of us," he said.

"I still want more, I think we could have more points and be higher up the table. If we feel there are positions we can strengthen we'll do that. 

"That's why people expected less of us, because those around us were spending £100million and we didn't have that. We lost Eden Hazard and two number nines, it's important going forward that we get it right.

"It is a challenge yeah, I suppose the one thing I felt affected me in the summer is when you come into a club, sometimes the players you bring in, the attributes they have, are key to what you want to do. I couldn't do that.

"Moving forward I will put that to the club. It's a much bigger process, it's not just me getting it right or wrong. Any recommendations I make to improve the squad will be ones I see as improving us."

Chelsea are free to sign players in January after their transfer ban was halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.

The Premier League side were barred from signing new players for two successive windows by FIFA in February as punishment for breaching rules relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

Chelsea's appeal to FIFA was partially upheld, with the club allowed to register players under the age of 16 but still not permitted to bring in new senior players.

However, Frank Lampard will now be able to add to his young squad next month after CAS reduced the ban to one window, which Chelsea have already served, while halving the 600,000 Swiss francs (£4,500) fine they were handed to CHF300,000 (£2,250).

CAS' sole arbitrator deemed Chelsea had only committed one third of the violations found by FIFA, while the breaches of other rules around transfers were deemed less serious than those attributed to the club by the governing body.

Despite his inability to recruit players before the season, Lampard has overseen an excellent start to his tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League, having claimed nine wins from their opening 15 games. The Blues are 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool but are well on track to qualify for the Champions League.

Lampard's men are third in Group H in this season's Champions League but will qualify if they beat Lille on Tuesday.

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Lionel Messi's apparent hint at retirement was "misunderstood", according to Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.

Messi, 32, said "the moment of withdrawal is approaching" after winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, leading to retirement talk.

However, Suarez believes the Argentina star's comments were misunderstood, backing the forward to play for years to come.

"[Messi] amazes me because he is a one-off and is making history," Suarez told beIN SPORTS.

"As a friend and team-mate, [the Ballon d'Or] makes me happy and proud because it's a beautiful moment for him.

"[His comments] were misinterpreted. When someone wins a Ballon d'Or they are happy but also nervous.

"Leo is a human being and gets nervous like the rest of us. He wanted to say he might have to contend with retiring in a couple of years.

"It was misunderstood, but I'm sure Leo Messi will continue for a long while yet."

Suarez has starred for Barca since arriving from Liverpool in 2014, but the 32-year-old has also been linked with a move away despite being contracted until 2021.

The Uruguay international said he would do what was best for the LaLiga champions, who sit top of the table.

"If they bring in a new team-mate for me to compete with, that's the same pressure as having to play every three days," Suarez said.

"And I have to be thinking about the future of the club – as a fan of the club, I have to think about the future, and maybe the best thing is if they sign a young or an established player to carry the torch as Barcelona's number nine."

Wilfried Zaha deserves to play for a "top club" as his agent Federico Pastorello said the Crystal Palace star could leave during the January transfer window.

Zaha wanted to depart before the start of the season but neither a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal nor Everton materialised after Palace held firm.

Refocused and in form, former Manchester United forward Zaha has been linked with Chelsea, who are hoping to overturn their transfer ban.

Pastorello revealed Ivory Coast international Zaha could be involved in a busy January window.

"I think he really deserves a new challenge and a top club, because he is really a top player," Pastorello, who also represents Inter star Romelu Lukaku, told Sky Sports News.

"It is surprising me because I read about a possible move in the summer but he stayed again. But this season he is proving that he is very focused and concentrated, so think he could be another good opportunity in the January market.

"The January market can [usually] be really calm. As the number of transfers there is about one third as many than in the summer. But there are some very good and interesting opportunities for the clubs that sell, because maybe a club really needs that player and is ready to pay a little bit more because of emergency.

"There have been a lot of changes in the Premier League in terms of managers. Sometimes when you do that you need to face his needs tactically. So expect maybe Tottenham being a bit more protagonist in the market, maybe Manchester United too.

"Let's see what happens in Chelsea too, because the ban is not sure. If they remove that they may need to do something. In Europe there are some clubs like Inter and AC Milan that maybe need to improve their squad."

Chelsea are seemingly eager to sign Jadon Sancho, but they may have to wait until the end of the season.

The Borussia Dortmund star, 19, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club, with numerous Premier League sides reportedly interested.

And Chelsea could be ready to spend big to land the England international.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA READY TO BREAK TRANSFER RECORD FOR SANCHO

Chelsea are prepared to break their transfer record to land Sancho, according to Goal.com.

Sancho has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City after impressing at Dortmund.

Chelsea broke their own transfer record last year, when they paid Athletic Bilbao a reported £71.6million (€80m) for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Premier League club are appealing their transfer ban, at this stage unable to buy players in January.

That may not be such a problem when it comes to Sancho, though, with Sport Bild reporting the attacker may not want a January move.

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is struggling for game time at Paris Saint-Germain and the 32-year-old forward could be set for a move. AS reports the Uruguay international likes the idea of a switch to Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at the Wanda Metropolitano and Athletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 22, will join Atletico in a €30m transfer next year, according to Marca.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears safe for now at Manchester United, but The Sun reports the Premier League club could turn to England manager Gareth Southgate if they decide to make a change at the end of the season.

- Carlo Ancelotti remains under pressure at Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will wait until the Champions League clash against Genk on December 10 before considering a change. Napoli are winless in eight matches and sit seventh in Serie A.

- Metz and France youth international defender Lenny Lacroix, 16, is attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- With Everton in the Premier League relegation zone after their Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool, Marco Silva could be sacked. The Sun reports Silva said goodbye to his Everton players after the loss at Anfield.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said he is saddened by Edinson Cavani's situation as the out-of-favour forward struggles for game time.

Cavani – out of contract at the end of the season – came off the bench in PSG's 2-0 Ligue 1 victory against Nantes on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old, who has been linked to MLS outfit LA Galaxy, David Beckham's Inter Miami, Serie A champions Juventus and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, was an 87th-minute substitute in Paris midweek.

Cavani has only started four Ligue 1 fixtures this season and five across all competitions in 2019-20.

Asked about the Uruguay international, Tuchel told reporters: "I spoke with him. We both know it's very difficult for him. It's not only a difficult decision for me, it's also sad.

"We played a lot of games with three strikers including one number nine. Cavani was injured at the beginning of the season, it's not his fault. Mauro [Icardi] played very well during that period, he scored a lot.

"If we play in 4-3-3, we have three extraordinary players for a position in front [as number nine], Kylian [Mbappe], Mauro and him. I'm sad because I don't have a solution [to include him in the line-up] right now.

"He doesn't deserve that, he's very professional, in a good state of mind in the locker room, he gives a good energy to the team. But right now I don't have much playing time to give him."

Cavani, who arrived from Napoli in 2013-14, has scored twice for Tuchel's French champions this term.

Ansu Fati has signed an improved contract with Barcelona until June 2022, the LaLiga champions have confirmed.

Under the fresh terms, the 17-year-old attacker's release clause is up from €100million to €170m and it will rise to €400m when he signs full-time professional terms.

Fati joined Barca's academy in 2012 and this season became the youngest LaLiga goalscorer in the club's history.

His second-half equaliser during August's 2-2 draw at Osasuna came with him aged 16 years and 304 days.

"For me, La Masia is the best school in the world," said Fati, who is both the youngest player to start a game at Camp Nou and also represent Barcelona in the Champions League.

"They helped me from the first day I arrived and I am extremely grateful to everyone who works there.

"They are all spectacular. From the first day, I have learned things from everyone. And they have also been there to support me through difficult times.

"Working every day with the best is a dream, and also a reward.

"From now onwards, what I have to do is keep working, even harder than ever, to keep getting chances and carry on enjoying myself. The rest will come after."

Fati, who is also eligible to play for Guinea-Bissau, was granted Spanish citizenship in September – clearing the way for him to represent them at Under-21 level for the first time the following month.

He has two goals in 11 appearances across all competitions in 2019-20, including four starts.

Emmanuel Adebayor left the door open to a Premier League return by saying "anything can happen" following his departure from Turkish Super Lig club Kayserispor.

The 35-year-old striker spent almost three years in Turkey after joining Basaksehir in January 2017, playing for the Istanbul club for two-and-a-half seasons before signing for Kayserispor in August 2019.

He scored two league goals in eight league appearances this term including one in his final game - a 4-1 defeat at Besiktas on Monday.

After the game, he announced his departure, telling reporters: "These are tough decisions and [it] was tough for me. One of the most important decisions of my life.

"I tried to give my energy and will to this team since I arrived. I gave my best but sometimes you have some issues in your personal life.

"You think about your family and have to make decisions about your future. And that decision should be fast. I have decided not to continue my career here. Even though I am leaving physically, my heart will always beat for this team."

Adebayor has strong links with English football, having scored top-flight goals for Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

His most prolific season in England came in 2007-08 when he scored 24 league goals in 36 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, and he did not rule out a move away from Turkey as he seeks a new club.

"I cannot say that I'm leaving Turkey for good," said Adebayor. "Anything can happen in life.

"I have to rest and spend some time with my family. I had three great years here and I think that the Turkish league is among the best leagues in Europe."

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