Ivan Rakitic feels like Barcelona have "taken my ball" after being confined to a marginal role at Camp Nou this season.

An influential performer since joining Barca ahead of their treble-winning 2014-15 campaign, Rakitic has been the odd man out this term following the big-money arrival of Netherlands star Frenkie de Jong.

The Croatia midfielder has only started on one of his seven LaLiga appearances, while three Champions League outings have all come from Ernesto Valverde's bench.

Asked about his predicament in an interview with Universo Valdano on Movistar, Rakitic replied: "How can I enjoy it? It's like I've said many times, how does my little daughter feel when you take a toy from her?

"She feels sad. Well, I feel the same. They took my ball. I feel sad."

Rakitic withdrew from Croatia's squad to face Slovakia and Georgia due to an Achilles injury on Tuesday.

Serie A giants Juventus, Inter and AC Milan have all been mentioned as potential January suitors for the 31-year-old, who feels he still has plenty to offer.

"I understand and respect the decisions of the coach or a club or whatever, but I think I've given a lot in these five years and I've been at my peak here," Rakitic added.

"And what I want is to be able to continue enjoying, that is the most important thing for me. I enjoy playing. 

"I'm 31 years old, I'm not 38, and I feel at my best."

Memphis Depay leaving Lyon and joining a "bigger club" would only benefit Netherlands, according to Ronald Koeman.

The 25-year-old signed for the French club in January 2017 and has got his career back on track following a disappointing 18-month spell with Manchester United.

He scored 29 goals in his first two full Ligue 1 campaigns and has seven in 10 outings this term, earning him links with a number of teams, including Tottenham.

Although recognising Lyon as a big club in their own right, Netherlands boss Koeman believes his side will reap the rewards of Depay joining a new side next year.

"He plays at Lyon and is even their captain sometimes," Koeman said at Tuesday's news conference. 

"The fact that he doesn't play for the biggest team in the world clearly doesn't have consequences for his place in the national team. But if he plays at a bigger club, that will also be better for us. 

"Still, Lyon is also a big club that always plays in the Champions League. Again, the fact that he plays in Lyon doesn't mean that he won't be selected for the national team.

"You always hope that every player plays for the biggest clubs that actually compete for the big prizes. 

"I think he's the kind of player that should play at a club like that. If that's in the Premier League or at any other big club, that would be great for him. But you have to ask him about his plans."

Depay has started five of Netherlands' six Euro 2020 qualifiers but is doubtful for Saturday's trip to Northern Ireland due to injury.

The forward also missed the 2-1 win in Belarus last month and Koeman said: "It's nearly the same injury as last time, but in the other leg. 

"He's very positive, because last time he was back on the pitch in about 10 to 12 days. It's too early now to say if he makes the Northern Ireland match. 

"It might be possible that he skips the first match, but plays the second against Estonia. We'll have to wait how that develops day by day."

A draw in Belfast will be enough for Netherlands to seal a spot at next year's European Championship finals, but Koeman is targeting back-to-back wins to finish above Germany in Group C.

"It's the last two matches, the earlier we qualify, the better. A draw might be enough. But I'd rather take six points and win the group. In the end, qualifying is our goal, but I'd rather finish first."

Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has warned Pep Guardiola not to buy a new defender in January.

City opted not to sign a replacement when Kompany left at the end of last season and Aymeric Laporte is not expected to return for at least another two months after sustaining a knee injury in September.

Guardiola has been left with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as his only two senior centre-backs and has been forced to deploy Fernandinho in the role at times this season.

City have looked shaky defensively in recent weeks, keeping only one clean sheet in six games in all competitions, and their concerns at the back were laid bare in Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield.

Kompany, though, does not think the solution is to spend big money on a reinforcement in the transfer window.

"I don't think they need to sign another defender," he told Sky Sports.

"We always struggle at Anfield. I said that on Super Sunday: you're fighting 25 years of not winning at Anfield and that's difficult, it's two games in one game - you're playing a great team and you're fighting history.

"Flip it around and the same will happen for Liverpool - they will fight the history of not winning the league for 30 years.

"That should be to City's advantage I still think. As to the defence, the best way for City to defend in the past has been to attack. They have no reason to change that.

"As soon as they start reconnecting with the best performances, I'm convinced that we can see a sustainable amount of wins."

The defeat, which leaves City nine points behind Liverpool in the table, was not without its controversy.

The opening goal from Fabinho was allowed to stand despite the ball having struck the arm of Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Liverpool box seconds earlier, with VAR backing referee Michael Oliver's decision not to give City a penalty.

"The incident happens and I'm confused," Kompany said. "That's the problem. I'm confused. I'm thinking 'okay, I'm not the expert in everything'. Then I look to my right at Jose Mourinho, Roy Keane and Graeme Souness. We're all confused.

"Surely that says something about the process, the fact that this could still be for debate when there's a VAR system that is meant to make football simpler and fairer?

"[The] goal happens 20 seconds later. My feeling remains that although Liverpool were great, and both teams tried to play the way they are known to play, I felt this first decision was so important to get right."

Lionel Messi is seemingly in no rush to extend his Barcelona contract.

Messi's future is regularly talked about after it was revealed earlier this year the superstar can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, though it remains to be seen if he wants to stay on beyond his current deal.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN NO RUSH OVER BARCELONA CONTRACT

Messi has no intention of discussing a contract extension at Barcelona until next season, according to Marca.

The 32-year-old plans to be at the club next season, the report says, but will not open talks regarding a new deal.

Messi has been at Barcelona during his entire professional career, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

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- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to the future. Sport reports the Ligue 1 giants are seriously considering a move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG and the 19-year-old could help the French club going forward.

- Manchester City and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle. The clubs are interested in Real Sociedad and Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, according to CalcioMercato. The 22-year-old has scored 29 LaLiga goals since the start of 2017-18.

- Unai Emery has some time. The Sun reports the under-fire Arsenal head coach will be given until 2020 to turn the club's form around. It also reports Manchester City would allow assistant Mikel Arteta – an ex-Arsenal midfielder – to head to Emirates Stadium, should his former club want to appoint the Spaniard.

- Liverpool could strengthen in January. TalkSPORT reports the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks with Bournemouth over a deal to sign winger Ryan Fraser, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Bournemouth may want Harry Wilson – who is on loan from Liverpool – as part of a deal.

- Struggling in ninth in Serie A, Fiorentina may be ready to move on from Vincenzo Montella. The club are ready to make an approach for former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, according to Firenze Viola.

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez claims he almost joined Arsenal in 2016 and accused Leicester City of costing him "two years at the highest level".

Algeria international Mahrez was the star turn in the Foxes side that shocked the football world to win the Premier League title in the 2015-16 campaign under Claudio Ranieri.

However, the Foxes struggled in their defence the following season and Mahrez sought a move away from the King Power Stadium.

Mahrez finally got his wish in July 2018 when he joined City for a reported £60million and he won a Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble in his maiden campaign.

But the 28-year-old felt he should have been allowed to move on sooner.

Speaking to France Football, Mahrez said: "After the title-winning year, if I was in a top team, it would not have been the same story.

"For me, it is clear that I lost two years at the very highest level. I lost two years!

"Because instead of being at City at 27, I could have been there at 24 or 25. Leicester blocked me. They told me: 'You cannot go, you cannot go!'

"My agent had talked with [Arsene] Wenger, who really wanted to sign me, [and] it was almost done with Arsenal in the summer of 2016... I was really frustrated.

"It's not easy to go from being the PFA Players' Player of the Year to being part of a team fighting for Premier League survival. It's not the same job.

"Everyone is waiting on you and expects you to perform."

AC Milan, Bologna, Perth Glory, Inter and even Juventus have been linked to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy contract is set to expire before the end of the year and the veteran striker is not short of suitors.

And a return to Old Trafford could be on the cards for the 38-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TARGETING IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United are preparing to make a move for former striker Ibrahimovic, reports Mail Online.

Ibrahimovic left United for MLS outfit LA Galaxy in 2018 and he has flourished in the United States, where he has scored 53 goals across two seasons.

But with Ibrahimovic – who has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna and A-League side Perth Glory – coming off contract and United looking to bolster their attacking options following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, a Manchester comeback has been mooted.

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Inter are set to back Antonio Conte in the January transfer window. Following Conte's outburst over a lack of squad planning after Inter's Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund, Calciomercato says the Nerazzurri are ready to sign Parma duo Matteo Darmian and Dejan Kulusevski. Darmian only arrived from Manchester United at the start of the season, while teenage midfielder Kulusevski is on loan from Atalanta.

- Pressure is mounting on Unai Emery but Arsenal are not worried. According to the Mail, the Gunners will not be panicked into sacking head coach Emery – whose side have gone four league games without a win and sit sixth, eight points outside of the top four. Former Spain and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has emerged as a possible replacement.

- Despite Southampton's poor form, the Premier League strugglers are still behind boss Ralph Hasenhuttl according to The Sun. The Saints are 19th and three points adrift of safety amid a seven-match winless streak in the league – highlighted by a record 9-0 humiliation against Leicester City.

Dries Mertens could be set to leave Napoli. Second on the club's all-time scoring list, Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport claim Mertens has agreed to join Inter as a free agent at the end of the season. The 32-year-old has called Naples home since arriving from PSV in 2013.

Frank Lampard put Willian's future in the hands of Chelsea officials but hopes the in-form winger will be rewarded with a new contract.

Brazil international Willian has so far made a compelling case for an extension to his existing deal, which expires at the end of the season.

The 31-year-old assisted Tammy Abraham's opener in the weekend win over Crystal Palace and has scored in victories against Brighton and Hove Albion, Lille and Burnley this term.

His performances have eased the pressure on the younger members of Lampard's squad and the Blues boss made his appreciation clear following Saturday's 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge.

But he also admitted the final decision on fresh terms will not be his to make.

"The word isn't 'no-brainer' because I can't get involved in the money. That's up to the club to do," Lampard said.

"But everyone sees how much I'm relying on him and picking him and, in what he is producing, I love him at this football club. So there's my answer.

"I know his qualities from playing with him but when I looked at Willy over the last couple of years, he was in and out of the team. You're not sure, from the outside [what's happening]. I want to see him happy.

"Willy is a happy, easygoing lad who loves his football and that was the first thing I said to him at the start of the season.

"I saw him being huge in the way I wanted to play. Naturally, on the ball, we all know his ability to go by [markers] one-v-one and shift people and cross or get shots away.

"But his off-the-ball work is an outstanding example for Callum Hudson-Odoi, for Christian Pulisic, for other young players who think the only part of the game is going by people, crossing or shooting."

Lampard continued: "He does the other side brilliantly with absolute humility. He's been a joy and one of the experienced players who is helping the young boys."

Willian recently confirmed Chelsea turned down an offer for his services from Barcelona in 2018.

Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Leicester City could spell the end of Unai Emery's tenure.

The Gunners failed to win for the fourth Premier League match in succession on Saturday, testing the patience of club officials.

According to reports, contact has been made with Luis Enrique to assess his interest in the job.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL MAKE LUIS ENRIQUE ENQUIRY

It could be a case of one Spaniard out, another Spaniard in at Emirates Stadium.

El Confidencial's Kike Marin claims Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi has sounded out Luis Enrique about replacing Unai Emery as head coach.

The ex-Barcelona and Roma boss has been out of football since stepping down as Spain's head coach due to personal reasons in June, two months before the tragic death of his young daughter, Xana.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have joined the race for in-demand Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, according to the Mirror. The Red Devils are also rumoured to be chasing Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, their former player.

- As rumours linking Eriksen to Old Trafford re-emerge, Tottenham are preparing to move for a former United man. The Mirror say Spurs are plotting a £50million bid for Memphis Depay, who has flourished since leaving the Premier League for Ligue 1's Lyon.

- The same British tabloid believes Chelsea could splash £70million on towering Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if their transfer ban is lifted in January.

- Olivier Giroud could be leaving Chelsea for a fee of around £5million. The Daily Express say Antonio Conte's Inter and Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps are prepared to offer the France international an escape route.

- Giroud could depart Stamford Bridge for Italy and Mario Pasalic might remain there. The Chelsea-owned midfielder is on loan at Serie A outfit Atalanta, who are considering forking out the €15million required to keep him, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta insisted head coach Antonio Conte and the club "share common objectives" as the Nerazzurri look to strengthen their squad in January.

Conte hit out at Inter's management over his squad following Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund, accusing the Serie A side of failing to plan sufficiently for the season ahead.

Inter signed club-record recruit Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Diego Godin and Valentino Lazaro for the 2019-20 campaign, but Conte wanted more in his bid to overhaul Serie A champions Juventus.

Barcelona pair Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal have both been linked to Inter, as well as out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Asked about Conte and his relationship with Inter prior to Saturday's 2-1 Serie A win over Hellas Verona, Marotta – who worked alongside the Italian boss at Juve – told Sky Sport Italia: "I know Antonio very well, he is very severe and demanding. His culture of victory is very strong and he has his own special way of communicating.

"We share the desire to seek excellence and victory. That is going to be a gradual process, so we are aligned with the desire to improve the squad in the January transfer window, where we'll look at every opportunity. We agree with Conte's requests for a strengthening of mentality and are all on the same page."

Marotta added: "Experience tells me the January transfer market tends to be fairly quiet. We agree with our coach that we'll see what opportunities there are.

"We have a strong club, an excellent coach and he is very transparent when dealing with everyone. We share common objectives.

"We are looking for a player with experience, but not at the end of his career. We want to create a good mix of experience and youth. What we lack somewhat at the moment is many players with Champions League experience, so we want to keep raising the bar, making this a more competitive side with players who fit the profiles that the coach is looking for.

"To be honest, I did not expect to be just one point off Juventus at this stage of the season. We aim to raise the bar constantly, that is the desire of the club, the coach, the players and the fans."

Inter bounced back from their Champions League collapse by rallying past Verona at San Siro, where Conte's team emerged triumphant thanks to Barella's stunning 83rd-minute winner.

Matias Vecino had cancelled out Valerio Verre's 19th-minute penalty before Barella produced a moment of magic in Milan to move Inter two points clear of Juve – who are due to face AC Milan on Sunday.

"Look, to be honest after four months we must be proud looking at the table," Conte told reporters. "All we, players, staff, all who works for Inter must be.

"31 points after 12 matches are important. But, the guys have been great, even in the Champions League. We proved we are able to look in the eyes of important teams like Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. We have to make many steps more to improve our experience. We worked a lot in these four months."

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed the Premier League giants have "absolutely no chance" of signing Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, 20, has been linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions, with Liverpool emerging as a potential surprise destination despite reported interest from Real Madrid.

But Klopp, whose side host Manchester City in a blockbuster clash on Sunday, dismissed talk Liverpool could add the France forward.

"Buying this calibre of player is difficult. I don't see any club at the moment who can buy Kylian Mbappe from PSG," he told the media.

"I don't see any club, that is how it is. And we are involved in the clubs that cannot do it. It is as easy as that.

"Okay, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him. What a player he is. But it is about the money of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance. Sorry for killing that story."

Liverpool were quiet during the previous transfer window, opting against adding any new faces to the first team.

Klopp again talked up the importance of keeping his squad together, saying the players he wanted were out of Liverpool's reach financially.

"The players we thought about to make this team better were really expensive and we could not spend the money. That is how it is," he said.

"To see a player better, or with potential to be better or play the same is difficult. That is what it was. That was the situation. It was not that we were not ready, but we did not want to make five or six changes. Not at all. They are at a wonderful age with still space for improvement.

"We wanted to do something and we could have done a lot, but we only wanted to do the right thing. That is the reason we kept this squad because it is really good and if you want to improve it you have to go for the right players, not just some players to fix whatever."

Liverpool hold a six-point lead at the top ahead of the clash against City at Anfield.

Unai Emery is unsure whether deposed captain Granit Xhaka will play for Arsenal again.

The Switzerland midfielder has not featured for the Gunners since being stripped of the armband following his angry riposte towards supporters who jeered him as he was substituted in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on October 27.

Xhaka did not make himself available for the midweek Europa League trip to Vitoria SC and is absent again for Saturday's visit to Leicester City.

A January exit from north London appears an increasingly likely scenario, with Newcastle United thought to be keen to offer him an escape route, while a return to the Bundesliga is said to be a possibility.

When answering a question as to whether the upcoming international break could be good timing to let the situation defuse, Emery could not give any assurances about the future.

"As a coach, I have the responsibility of the team. We need one player [like] Granit Xhaka, but also I don't know if he's going to play again. I don't know," he said on Friday.

"The first thing is if he's available in his mind to continue to help us and defend the Arsenal shirt. And then it's if I decide to start him or not with us.

"At the beginning if he's ready and available and 100 per cent in his mind with that decision to help us and to play with his quality to help us because we know we need that quality and that player.

"After we have the solution, but for example after Dani Ceballos' injury we have one less player to use tomorrow in the midfielder, attacking midfielder [role], so we are now not ready with a lot of players to play in that position.

"I don't know. Maybe he can play in the future, maybe he cannot play."

Asked explicitly if Xhaka wants to leave, Emery was non-committal, replying: "I am not thinking about that because we are in November. We are going to play a lot of matches in November and December.

"He says to me he is not available yet to play, not Wednesday and not tomorrow."

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hopes to have Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez fit and available after the international break.

Muscle problems will keep both players out of Saturday's LaLiga game against Eibar despite them being called up to their respective national teams.

Wales winger Bale has not played a minute since a Euro 2020 qualifier close to a month ago, while midfielder James has missed Madrid's past three matches.

The pair have started individual fitness programmes but will not be considered for selection until they are able to complete full training sessions alongside the rest of the first team.

"They haven't been fit enough to play," Zidane said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"If they're going to go [away on international duty], they're going to go. They've got five or six days to see if they're fit enough to play for their country. They're not fit enough to play on Saturday.

"They haven't trained with the team. They've been training a little but not at the same pace as their team-mates. If players aren't training with their team-mates they can't play.

"They're not injured right now."

Bale's injury occurred in the same international fixture that left Croatia midfielder Luka Modric with bruising to his right quadriceps.

The 34-year-old subsequently sat out two club games, leaving Zidane wary of a repeat as his squad prepares to disassemble.

"Hopefully nothing happens, but it could. It's true in the last call-ups the players got injured," he said.

"Hopefully the players get away with the national teams, they play, and there are no injuries, and everyone comes back fit and available."

Amid the probe over why Bale and James have been absent, Zidane was asked to clarify his recent claim that Kylian Mbappe harbours a "dream" of playing for Madrid.

The Los Blancos boss said that he was simply repeating the Paris Saint-Germain star's own acknowledged ambition.

The comment riled PSG sporting director Leonardo, who called for an end to transfer speculation surrounding Mbappe.

Zidane said: "He's within his rights to have his opinion and when I get asked a question I will also say what I believe.

"All I said was what [the player] said, that Mbappe's dream is to one day wear the Real Madrid shirt. There's not really much to it to be honest."

Rodrygo Goes is making waves at Real Madrid but could have been shining at Liverpool were it not for his former Santos coach Elano.

Madrid paid out a reported €45million to seal Rodrygo's signature in June 2018, by which time he had only made 13 appearances in the Campeonato Brasileiro, though he remained at Santos for another year.

The 18-year-old has made a quick impact at the Santiago Bernabeu, with his hat-trick in the 6-0 Champions League thrashing of Galatasaray on Wednesday moving him onto five goals in six appearances for Los Blancos.

Premier League giants Liverpool held an interest in Rodrygo before Madrid made a formal approach, but Elano felt their bid was insufficient.

"There was a time when there was very strong interest from Liverpool for him to leave when he was still in the youth team," Elano told ESPN.com.br.

"The values were very low, but they wanted to go. Real's offer afterwards was around €30million more.

"I had a conversation with the staff and said the boy was worth the risk and we should promote him because I wanted to work with him. Thank God everything worked out.

"He already had good decision-making at the professional level at you age. Different players have it early on. When they can control it, they get better and better.

"Despite his young age, he has already formed a maturity and game personality. He has technical ability and very precise control of his movements. It did not take long for him to adapt to the senior level. It was very fast.

"I believe so much in his personality and his football. He still has room to grow."

Bayern Munich have removed another name from their list of potential replacements for Niko Kovac.

Arsene Wenger reportedly contacted the managerless German giants to personally express his interest in becoming head coach but will not considered for the role.

Now back to winning ways, Bayern could even delay the naming of a new boss until the end of the season.

 

LEAD STORY – BAYERN DELIVER BAD NEWS FOR WENGER

Arsene Wenger's hopes of coaching Bayern Munich have been dashed, according to Sport Bild.

A new report from the German publication claims the Bundesliga champions, while respectful of Wenger's work at Arsenal, are not considering him for the job, despite his attempts to convince chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Interim boss Hansi Flick, who steered a wounded side to a 2-0 win over Olympiacos in the Champions League, could now remain in charge until the end of the season, when it will become easier to approach either Erik ten Hag or Thomas Tuchel.

 

ROUND-UP

- Kai Havertz's future is becoming a matter of intense speculation. SPORT say Barcelona have strengthened their interest in the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder and sent scouts to watch him in the midweek Champions League win over Atletico Madrid. Havertz was linked with an £80million move to Manchester United earlier in the week.

- Havertz is not the only player on Barcelona's radar. Spanish television programme El Chiringuito believes the LaLiga's champions are interested in signing Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

- Arsenal, meanwhile, are preparing to part with Granit Xhaka in January after stripping him of the captaincy. The Mirror claims the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder could be shipped back to Germany in the next transfer window.

- Manchester United have added Spain international Jose Gaya and his Valencia team-mates Ferran Torres and Carlos Soler to their list of transfer targets, reports Medios Deportivos. 

- There is good news for United's rivals Manchester City, who could welcome Leroy Sane back into the first-team fold in February, according to The Sun. Sane suffered a serious knee injury in the Community Shield in August.

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