Ernesto Valverde has challenged Ousmane Dembele to earn his place in the Barcelona team after the forward was surprisingly left out against Levante.

Dembele was not part of Valverde's squad for Saturday's shock 3-1 loss in LaLiga, despite being available again after serving a two-game suspension.

Barca let slip a one-goal lead as they conceded three times in the space of seven minutes in the second half, their hopes of a recovery not aided by the loss of Luis Suarez to a calf injury before the interval.

The presence of Dembele on the bench may have helped Valverde at the weekend, though the Blaugrana boss is adamant the France international must show he deserves to be regularly involved.

"Everyone always has to earn their place - Dembele is no exception," Valverde told the media ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game against Slavia Prague.

"When he plays, he can stay in that position [if he plays well], as happens to Ansu [Fati], Luis [Suarez], [Antoine] Griezmann or [Gerard] Pique.

"When you have your chance, you will have to try to stay [in the team]."

Valverde was also questioned over the future of Riqui Puig amid reports the midfielder may push to leave in January to get first-team football – he is yet to feature for Barca so far this season.

"I don't know what can happen in the next transfer window - there is still time," Valverde said when asked about the rumours the 20-year-old is considering his future at Camp Nou.

"We have a lot of midfielders. With his talent, it is clear he will play at Barca. What we do not know is when."

Ernesto Valverde understands the pressure is increasing at Barcelona following their shocking collapse against Levante, yet he is trying to remain calm as they aim to get back to winning ways against Sparta Prague.

Not for the first time in Valverde's reign, Barca let slip a promising position on Saturday, conceding three times in seven second-half minutes to suffer a 3-1 defeat in LaLiga.

While other results went Barca's way to keep them on top of the table, the nature of the loss raised questions over the future of the head coach.

Valverde insisted in the aftermath he had no intention of resigning and, speaking on Monday, the former Athletic Bilbao coach declared he aimed to "maintain a balance" in his job, despite the hysteria following the surprise result.

"It is clear that, when you lose, you have more tension," Valverde told the media ahead of Barca's midweek Champions League outing.

"We know what it means to lose. There is always a swell of pressure. We know that it is the case, and that is fine because it forces us to react.

"I know that the general tendency is to get off the table if we do well or sink if we lose. I try to maintain a balance.

"When we lose a game, I try to find the football reasons. At the beginning of the season, we were not well, especially away from home. Then we had a three-game winning streak.

"The other day [against Levante], when we had everything on track, we lost it in a minute. We have to ask ourselves why we have lost and the game situations that led to this [happening]."

Valverde was also in charge when Barcelona failed to hang on to first-leg leads against Roma and Liverpool in their previous two campaigns in Europe, ending their hopes of Champions League glory.

Asked if the worrying slumps were a sign of a lack of leadership, he referenced their battling 2-1 home win over Inter when they rallied from a goal down to triumph at Camp Nou.

"Lack of leadership? You could have asked yourself that after coming back with Inter," Valverde replied.

"This team has come back in many games, also against Real Betis [when they trailed 1-0 but ending up winning 5-2 in LaLiga this season]. You can't always [come back], you just have to admit that and look at where we failed."

Luis Suarez was forced off in the first half of the Levante defeat with what the club later confirmed to be a right calf injury.

However, Valverde revealed that, while the Uruguayan striker is set to miss Tuesday's clash with Sparta, Suarez may recover in time to face Celta Vigo this weekend.

"It's not an important injury like last time," he said. "Tomorrow is very unlikely. Next week? I wouldn't like to say."

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

Ronald Koeman has branded Barcelona his "dream club" but a potential route back to Camp Nou will not become clearer until after Euro 2020.

Royal Dutch Football Association director Nico-Jan Hoogma last month revealed the existence of a clause in Koeman's Netherlands contract enabling him to quit the post if Barca come calling.

The former Valencia and Everton boss confirmed Hoogma's account in an appearance on Dutch television but said the clause is not yet in effect and that he has no plans to leave in the immediate future.

Koeman won four LaLiga titles with Barca as a player and would be among the favourites to take over as head coach if the club parts ways with the under-pressure Ernesto Valverde.

"It's only about Barcelona and also about a time after the European Championship," Koeman told Fox Sports Netherlands when asked about the contract.

"I'm not leaving now, that's 100 per cent certain.

"I think that as a national coach you are entering a process and that takes two years. After the European Championship there is an evaluation moment and who knows, the KNVB may say: 'We have performed so badly at the European Championship, we are not going any further.' Then we will not go further.

"But I have the opportunity to leave for one club, and there is only one club in it.

"I can safely say that I will not leave the Dutch national team for anyone else. I have said often enough that [Barcelona] is my dream club."

Netherlands need only a point against Northern Ireland in Belfast on November 16 to book their place at Euro 2020.

The match might come too soon for uncapped teenager Mohamed Ihattaren but Koeman will be able to call on the highly rated PSV prospect in future.

Ihattaren, 17, has committed to representing the Oranje at senior level, spurning interest from Morocco.

Koeman welcomed the news in the wake of Ajax defender Sergino Dest's decision to pledge his allegiance to the United States.

"His choice is in any case a nice signal to other players who are faced with the same choice," he said.

Out of work and looking for a job – Massimiliano Allegri could be poised for a return to the dugout.

Allegri left Juventus at the end of 2018-19 after guiding the Old Lady to five consecutive Serie A titles.

The Italian coach has been linked to Manchester United but, with Niko Kovac on the brink at Bayern Munich, Allegri could find himself in Bavaria.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN GO FOR ALLEGRI

Bayern Munich want former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri to replace Niko Kovac, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Kovac is on the verge of being sacked after Bayern's humiliating 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, with the Bundesliga champions cancelling Sunday's public training session as pressure mounts.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax's Erik ten Hag have been linked but Bayern have reportedly identified the man to take over in Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror claims Manchester United are ready to hijack Liverpool's move for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner. Champions League holders Liverpool have been linked to Werner, however, United want to bring the Germany international to Old Trafford in January.

Perth Glory are still optimistic they can lure Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Australia, reports The West Australian. After revealing an approach for Ibrahimovic on a guest-player contract, A-League side Perth have seen Serie A outfit Bologna confirm their interest in the 38-year-old striker ahead of the January transfer window. Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy contract will expire before the end of the year.

Tottenham are eyeing a January swoop for Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana. With Hugo Lloris out injured, Spurs are on the lookout for a new keeper and £35million could see Eredivisie champions Ajax sell the Cameroon international.

- According to the Guardian, Arsenal have joined United and Juventus in the transfer chase for Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland.

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona have dropped their interest in Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. The Slovakia international has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world since joined Inter in 2017.

United and Paris Saint-Germain are leading the race to sign Juventus midfielder Emre Can, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta played down speculation linking star forward Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona and Manchester United.

Martinez's fine start to the season has seen him emerge as a target for LaLiga champions Barca and struggling Premier League giants United.

The 22-year-old Argentina international, whose agent has talked up interest from Barca in the past, has scored seven goals this term.

Asked about rumours that Barca and United are poised to activate Martinez's €111million release clause, Marotta told Sky Sport Italia: "This is all media talk.

"Our players are happy to be with us and a player must express its desire to leave if he wants to go. We don't tend to sell important players, Inter are a very important club.

"Of course, part of this job is to deal with situations as they present themselves."

Martinez, who arrived from Racing Club in 2018-19, has scored five Serie A goals this term and seven across all competitions for Antonio Conte's Inter.

Inter defeated Bologna 2-1 on Saturday to stay within a point of defending champions Juventus after 11 games.

Luis Suarez will undergo tests on his return to Barcelona after injuring his right calf during his side's shock 3-1 LaLiga defeat to Levante.

The striker had to be replaced shortly before half-time in Saturday's match and Barca will make checks on the 32-year-old to "determine the exact extent of the discomfort".

Suarez appeared to be troubled by a foul from Carlos Clerc midway through the first half and, having tried to play on, was replaced by Carles Perez just after Lionel Messi's penalty had put Barca in front.

He watched on as Ernesto Valverde's men fell apart in the second half, three goals in the space of seven minutes condemning them to a third away defeat of the league season and giving rivals Real Madrid the chance to move top if they defeat Real Betis.

The Uruguay international missed a month of action earlier in the season after injuring the same calf in another Barca defeat against Athletic Bilbao.

Suarez has scored six league goals since making his return to action on September 14 but could now face some further time out with matches against Slavia Prague and Celta Vigo to come before the next international break.

"It's always a problem when you have to change a player in the first half," Valverde said after the match.

"We would have preferred Luis to have been on the pitch but now is not the moment to start thinking about that. 

"We're hoping it's nothing serious, but it's a setback."

Ernesto Valverde dismissed a question about whether he would resign as Barcelona boss after his side's shock defeat at the hands of Levante.

LaLiga leaders Barca went down 3-1 at Ciutat de Valencia on Saturday, three goals in seven second-half minutes proving decisive for the hosts after Lionel Messi's penalty before the break.

Barca's third loss in six top-flight away games this season means Real Madrid have the chance to go top of the table when they play Real Betis, while Sevilla will also climb above them if they beat Atletico Madrid.

The setback for Valverde's men ended an impressive seven-match winning run in all competitions, but the head coach still faced questions over his future after the match.

Asked if he was surprised by his players' performance or contemplating resignation, Valverde said: "No to both of those questions. I'm not thinking of resigning – only looking forward.

"Everything just collapsed. We didn't start the second half well and we weren't creating any danger.

"Then, although they weren't causing us too many problems, they put two goals past us in two minutes. The third goal after that really punished us.

"Our opponents play against us as if it's the biggest game of the year and so you need to be able to respond.

"We know what this result means and what it means to win at these grounds. You need to make a massive effort, but my team is used to that.

"They had a great second half and managed to beat us. We have to analyse what happened and ask ourselves why it did."

Sergio Busquets came on in the second half and struggled to put his finger on what had gone wrong, suggesting the margin of victory was not an accurate reflection of the match.

"There's no explanation," the midfielder said. "It was a very even game and we did the most difficult part by going ahead.

"But they landed a blow and it did us damage. They had a burst of 10 minutes and they play with a lot of people in attack. On one of the goals, we couldn't get the second ball.

"I think that the game was equal, but the result was excessive. We were on a good run before. There is a game in the Champions League soon and another in LaLiga."

Barcelona fell apart as Levante scored three times in seven second-half minutes to claim a dramatic 3-1 LaLiga victory.

Lionel Messi, who returned to the Argentina squad this week, made it six goals in his last five games with a first-half penalty that appeared to have leaders Barca on course to extend a seven-match winning streak in all competitions.

But after Luis Suarez went off injured, an astonishing spell saw Jose Campana, Borja Mayoral and Nemanja Radoja all score as the match was turned on its head.

Barca's defeat means Real Madrid, who face Real Betis later on Saturday, have the chance to go top of the table with a victory.

After a quiet start to the contest, Antoine Griezmann saw a right-footed effort saved by the outstretched leg of Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez, Messi's throughball having created the opportunity.

Barca's breakthrough arrived seven minutes before the break, a slick passing move ending when Arthur found Nelson Semedo, who was hacked down by Jorge Miramon in the box.

Messi stepped up and comfortably sent Fernandez the wrong way from 12 yards, finding the top-right corner.

He almost had a second with half-time approaching, only for a combination of Fernandez and Miramon to deny him from close range, while Barca were forced to replace an injured Suarez after the striker could not run off an earlier knock.

Levante did not produce a shot on target in the first hour, but levelled the match when a poor Gerard Pique clearance led to Mayoral and Jose Luis Morales combining to set up Campana, who confidently beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen from just inside the area.

Just two minutes later, Mayoral collected a pass from Campana and curled an excellent 20-yard strike beyond Ter Stegen, who got a hand on it.

An astonishing sequence concluded with Levante's third after 68 minutes, with Clement Lenglet's headed clearance volleyed in by Radoja from 18 yards, courtesy of a big deflection off substitute Sergio Busquets.

VAR ruled out a second goal for Messi due to offside against Griezmann in the build-up and that was as close as Barca came to producing a fightback, despite the arrival of Ansu Fati from the bench.
 

What does it mean? Another away loss brings Barca back down to earth

Barca had started to hit top gear during their seven-match winning streak but could now fall behind rivals Madrid.

They have suffered three league defeats in only six away games this season and will also hope the injury to Suarez does not make this collapse even more costly to their title hopes.


Campana crucial in comeback

Campana was superb for Levante, scoring the equaliser, setting up Mayoral's strike and creating three chances for his team-mates in an influential display.
 

Griezmann quiet in defeat

The injury to Suarez afforded Griezmann the chance to play more centrally, but he struggled to make an impact as his mixed start to life at Barca continued. 

He had a first-half chance saved and poorly found the side netting with another opening before being spared by the offside flag. He did not create a single chance for his team-mates either.


What's next? 

Barca look to bounce back when they host Slavia Prague in Champions League business on Tuesday before a return to LaLiga action against Celta Vigo on Saturday, a match which is also at Camp Nou. Levante, meanwhile, are away to Athletic Bilbao on November 10.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

Ousmane Dembele has been omitted from Barcelona's squad for Saturday's LaLiga meeting with Levante, despite being available following a two-match suspension.

The France international was sent off in the 4-0 victory against Sevilla on October 6 following a confrontation with referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz, forcing him to miss the league wins against Eibar and Real Valladolid.

He was free to be involved in this weekend's trip to Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, but coach Ernesto Valverde has left him out of his 19-man squad.

It is the latest in a long line of setbacks for Dembele, who missed a month of action earlier in the campaign due to a hamstring problem.

Samuel Umtiti is also not part of Barcelona's travelling group, having only returned to full training on Friday.

However, Valverde has recalled Arthur and Junior Firpo following the 5-1 win over Real Valladolid on Tuesday.

Antonio Conte is not concerned about speculation linking Lautaro Martinez with Barcelona and has challenged the Inter forward to take his game to the next level.

Reports in Spain have suggested Barcelona are eyeing the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, while Manchester United are also rumoured to be interested in the player.

Martinez scored for Inter in their 2-1 Champions League loss at Camp Nou last month and already has seven goals in all competitions this term, striking up an excellent partnership with Romelu Lukaku.

Yet despite the speculation, Conte has told the 22-year-old to continue working hard if he wants to maximise his obvious potential.

"We look to the present to build the future," Conte said at his pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Bologna.

"He is working well and has made good progress. He can still make further progress because he is still only 22 years old.

"He has to continue to work hard. Much of the transfer talk comes from that and it cannot be seen as a problem at this moment - there are bigger concerns.

"He must try to be more selfish when he has a chance to score. It's all part of his growth process. I want to improve all of my players.

While Martinez has thrived under the coaching of Conte, team-mate Valentino Lazaro has struggled since arriving from Hertha Berlin in a €22million deal during the close season.

Amid talk that Inter are looking to bring in a new right-sided player, Conte has vowed to give the Austria international a chance to justify his price tag.

"He has been used seven times this season and for his national side he is very promising," he said. "At Hertha there is less pressure than he has found in Milan. 

"He is working hard and we will give him the opportunities to start games. It was a big investment for him."

Inter have won eight of their opening 10 league matches - equalling their best Serie A return at this stage - but are still one point behind champions Juventus.

The Bianconeri's period of dominance started with Conte at the helm, but the Italian coach has played down comparisons between his first seasons at Juve and his early work at Inter.

"There is an important difference - we did not have cup competitions in the first year at Juve," he said. "We could dedicate ourselves, heart and soul, to the league. We played in the league, and then the league again.

"It is not the same thing here - the expenditure is very high. One thing that I am sure of, here we also have to play a thousand miles per hour. If we take our foot off the accelerator, it will be difficult to win games.

"We must sweat for the victory. That is beyond doubt and must be clear to all the players."

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see Lionel Messi's recall to the Argentina national team as a setback to the LaLiga giants.

Messi was banned and fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL in August for accusing the governing body of corruption in the wake of Argentina's Copa America semi-final defeat to hosts Brazil.

The Barca talisman has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – as a result, but he was named in their latest squad on Thursday for upcoming matches against Brazil and Uruguay.

Those games will be played this month in Saudi Arabia and Israel, respectively.

Messi has suffered with injury problems this term, leading to some suggesting his return to the Argentina set-up could be a negative development for Barcelona.

Although Valverde's tone seemed to a suggest a hint of frustration, he refused to outright call Messi's call-up a problem.

"Look, we know that if Messi is active, there's a good chance he gets called up to the national team," Valverde told reporters on Friday.

"He hasn't been [in the Argentina squad] because of suspension, but now that's over it's normal for him to be back for Argentina.

"It's something we accept, he accepts. I don't think it's a setback as such."

Defender Samuel Umtiti has endured a wretched time with injuries over the past 18 months, playing just 15 LaLiga matches since the start of last season.

His solitary outing this term against Eibar last month was followed by another knee injury, though Valverde hinted he could potentially feature at Levante on Saturday.

"Let's see how he does in training today [Friday]," Valverde said. "He's had fitness issues hanging over from last year, that's why he's not playing regularly.

"Hopefully we can get this sorted once and for all so he can play more regularly, but the other thing is competition for places. Lenglet is playing very well.

"He [Lenglet] is an absolutely reliable player, very professional in what he does. He's really settling into his position.

"Shortly after arriving last season, he covered extremely well for Samuel and the French team is also aware of how well he is playing."

Andres Iniesta wonders where Neymar would fit into Barcelona's team, while he thinks it would be "complicated" for them to appoint Jose Mourinho as coach.

Neymar was in the close season heavily linked with a return to Barca, whom he left for Paris Saint-German in a world-record €222million move in August 2017.

The Catalan giants remained interested in re-signing the Brazil international despite shelling out €120m to bring Antoine Griezmann in from Atletico Madrid.

While a move for Neymar did not materialise, the 27-year-old is reportedly still a target for Barca. However, club great Iniesta struggles to see how they would line up if he returned.

"I don't know how the negotiations went or if Ney will arrive in the future, but he'll be an important piece," Iniesta told Marca.

"I don't know how they'd fit so many high-level players together."

Speculation remains over the future of Ernesto Valverde, who signed a contract for the 2019-20 season prior to Barca's Champions League semi-final capitulation against Liverpool and Copa del Rey final defeat to Valencia.

While Mourinho has been touted for a return to Real Madrid as a successor to Zinedine Zidane, the suggestion the Portuguese could make a Camp Nou comeback, having initially worked as a translator under Bobby Robson, is not something Iniesta anticipates coming to fruition.

He said: "I'm not in the know on whether Mourinho could go to Madrid or not. To Barca, I see it as complicated."

Lionel Messi played a starring role in Barca's 5-0 victory over Real Valladolid on Tuesday.

The Argentina superstar has stated he does not want to sign a "lifetime contract" with the club and has a clause in his current deal that enables him to leave at the end of the season if he desires.

Asked if Messi's exit would see Barca encounter the same difficulties Madrid did following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, Iniesta said: "It'll be difficult.

"But the clubs are above the players or coaches. That's how it is. Obviously, it'll be a shame, but it'll come."

Barcelona are planning for life after Luis Suarez.

With Suarez now aged 32, the clock is ticking on his career at Camp Nou.

Barca are identifying potential replacements and have their sights on an Argentina international setting Serie A and Europe alight.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ INTERESTS BARCA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are interested in Inter star Lautaro Martinez, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca are looking for a long-term replacement for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who turns 33 in January. 

And the front page of Friday's newspaper says Argentina international Martinez fits the bill for Barca amid reported interest from Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have opened talks with Manchester United about signing Chris Smalling permanently, according to the Express. Smalling is on loan from United and the English defender scored his first goal for Roma during the week. The Red Devils are reportedly seeking £17.2million (€20m).

- Remaining at Old Trafford and Sport Italia claims Paul Pogba was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain during the previous transfer window. Pogba was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus .

- Tuttosport says Juventus are ready to make another attempt to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco. The Spain international has struggled for regular game time and Madrid are reportedly holding out for €70m. The Italian champions have also been linked to Manchester United teenager Tahith Chong, who is out of contract at the end of the season, via the Daily Mail.

- Barcelona's Arturo Vidal is ready to snub the Chinese Super League in favour for a move to Inter, says InterNews. Vidal continues to be heavily linked to a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter, while Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG are reportedly interested.

United could be set for a raid on Juve. Tuttosport claims the Old Lady will allow Emre Can to leave in January as United, Bayern Munich and PSG eye the Germany international.

- According to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is the front-runner to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal. Emery is under mounting pressure in London.

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