Kylian Mbappe has long been coveted by Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has also made no secret of his admiration for fellow Frenchman Zidane.

But Erling Haaland could be a cheaper option for Madrid amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID TURN TO HAALAND?

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland is an alternative transfer target for Real Madrid if Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe does not move to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to the front page of Tuesday's Marca.

Mbappe – also linked to Liverpool – has long been Madrid's number one transfer target and the LaLiga champions are preparing to make a move for the PSG star in 2021.

But if Mbappe does not make the switch from France to Spain, Haaland has emerged as another option for Zinedine Zidane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are targeting a triple transfer swoop in January, reports Tuesday's edition of Mundo Deportivo. After failing in the previous window, Barca are prepared to renew their attempts to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay, Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Manchester City defender Eric Garcia.

Manchester United are very interested in Rennes and France sensation Eduardo Camavinga, says AS. The teenage midfielder has been heavily linked with Madrid and PSG.

- Calciomercato says Roma will return for Napoli outcast Arkadiusz Milik in January. Roma tried to sign the forward before the transfer window closed. It comes as Roma could offer Edin Dzeko a new contract after he was poised to join Juventus.

- Football London claims Chelsea are set to hand midfielder Jorginho a new contract after rejecting a move to rivals Arsenal.

Gareth Southgate is hopeful star forward Harry Kane will be fit to start for England when they meet Denmark in the Nations League on Wednesday.

Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho called on Southgate not to use Kane in all three of England's fixtures during the international break, with Tottenham having had a congested start to the 2020-21 campaign.

Kane scored twice as Spurs dismantled Manchester United 6-1 in the Premier League on October 4, before reporting for England duty later that day.

However, the 27-year-old had a scan on a thigh issue and was not involved in a friendly match against Wales on Thursday, and started on the bench against Belgium on Sunday before replacing Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 66th minute.

Despite Mourinho's concerns, though, England boss Southgate is confident his captain will be able to start against the Danes on Wednesday.

"Well, medically, there's been conversations, because that would always be the case," Southgate told reporters when asked if England had been in contact with Spurs.

"He reported on the Sunday, we gave players that reported on Sunday, who weren't involved in the Wales game for us, we gave them two days' recovery.

"He started to train on the Wednesday, was a little unhappy with how he felt, so then worked with our medical team the next couple of days, we scanned just to be certain but it's a muscular fatigue issue rather than an injury, so it just needed a bit more confidence.

"He knew by then he could push on a little bit, but he just needed a bit more confidence in it, and so his training week really wasn't suitable to start the game.

"I think he'll have gained more confidence from the spell he had against Belgium, and so all being well, we hope he'll be good to start on Wednesday."

It is not difficult to understand Mourinho's concerns, given Spurs' reliance on their star forward.

Kane made 29 league appearances last season, missing nine matches in the top flight.

Of the games he missed, Tottenham won just three, scoring 12 goals in total, compared to 49 goals and 13 victories with Kane in the side, while he already has three top-flight goals and six assists to his name this term.

Spurs' next Premier League outing comes on Sunday, with Mourinho's men hosting London rivals West Ham.

Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne has returned to Manchester City after he sustained an injury in the Nations League defeat to England.

De Bruyne was taken off in the 73rd minute at Wembley on Sunday, as Roberto Martinez's side went down 2-1.

It has since been confirmed that the 29-year-old left the Belgium camp to return to City for further treatment and will miss the Red Devils' match with Iceland on Wednesday.

City – who have won just one of their first three top-flight fixtures this season – face Arsenal in their next Premier League outing, and Pep Guardiola will be desperate to have his star man available on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling withdrew from England's squad with a minor hamstring issue and might be a doubt for the Arsenal clash, though Sergio Aguero did return to training prior to the international break.

De Bruyne has started in all of City's league games this term, scoring once and providing one assist from 14 chances created.

No player in the Premier League has laid on more key passes than De Bruyne.

Craig Dawson has joined West Ham on a season-long loan with an option to buy from Championship side Watford.

West Ham were heavily linked with Burnley's James Tarkowski throughout the transfer window, with the Hammers reportedly having multiple bids turned down.

With their pursuit of Tarkowski proving fruitless, David Moyes' side turned to Fikayo Tomori last week but failed to complete a loan move for the Chelsea youngster.

With the window for Premier League and EFL clubs to trade still open, however, the Hammers have managed to bolster their defensive ranks – centre-back Dawson joining from Watford.

Though not a first-choice target, Dawson brings plenty of experience to West Ham, with the 30-year-old having made 29 top-flight appearances as Watford were relegated last season.

Watford conceded 49 goals with the former West Brom man in the side, though he averaged a tackle success rate of 62.1 per cent and did not make any errors that led directly to a goal.

After losing their opening two league matches of the campaign, West Ham claimed victories over Wolves and Leicester City respectively before the international break.

Moussa Sissoko has hailed Serge Aurier's response to facing competition from new Tottenham signing Matt Doherty.

The midfielder believes Spurs' strength in depth will motivate players to be at their best, pointing to Aurier as a prime example.

With Doherty having been signed from Wolves for a reported £14.7million, Aurier will have to fight for his spot at right-back.

Aurier produced an excellent display in the 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United last time out, with the Ivory Coast international marking his first start of the season with a goal and an assist.

"That's Serge's character and if you want to have the best of someone, you need to put a bit of pressure on him, and that's what we have now, a strong squad," Sissoko told the club's official website.

"You can see in every position, two, three or four players. You have to give 100 per cent in every training session, in every game and that's also good because if someone is tired, someone else can play and it won't affect the team.

"This will help everyone as a player, as a team, as a squad. It will be good for everyone.

"Let's keep going, let's try to improve, we know we can, and hopefully we'll be happy at the end of the season."

Jose Mourinho's side are unbeaten in all competitions since suffering an opening-day loss to Everton, with West Ham up next on home soil.

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD: AURIER v DOHERTY (2019-20 Premier league season)

Appearances: Aurier 33-36 Doherty

Goals: Aurier 1-4 Doherty

Assists: Aurier 5-3 Doherty

Pass accuracy percentage: Aurier 79-75 Doherty

Dribble success percentage: Aurier 55-51 Doherty

Tackle success percentage: Aurier 74-54 Doherty

Blocks: Aurier 6-4 Doherty

Interceptions: Aurier 47-40 Doherty

Clean sheets: Aurier 6-12 Doherty

Errors leading to goals: Aurier 1-0 Doherty

Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly remains a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo, 35, is into his third season at Juventus after the five-time Ballon d'Or winner enjoyed stellar spells at Real Madrid and Manchester United.

But the Portugal international has been linked with a move from Turin previously, and that talk continues.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STILL EYEING RONALDO

PSG could make a move for Ronaldo again next year, according to CalcioMercato.

However, the report says Ronaldo is committed to seeing out his contract at Juventus through to 2022.

Ronaldo has scored three goals in two games for Juve this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could Barcelona and Juventus combine for further deals next year? CalcioMercato says the two European giants may begin talks about a swap deal involving Ousmane Dembele and Federico Bernardeschi. Earlier this year, Miralem Pjanic left Juve for Barcelona, while Arthur joined the Serie A champions.

- Mesut Ozil wants to stay at Arsenal. TyC Sports says Saudi club Al-Nassr made a £5million bid for Ozil and Arsenal were prepared to accept it, but the playmaker wanted to remain at the Premier League club.

- With Alisson injured and Adrian under fire, Liverpool have been linked with a move for a goalkeeper before the domestic transfer deadline in England on Friday. However, the Mirror reports the Premier League champions will not sign a new goalkeeper despite links to Stoke City shot-stopper Jack Butland.

- After staying at Sevilla amid links to Manchester City, Jules Kounde could be set for a new contract. Muchodeporte reports the LaLiga club could look to renew the defender's deal.

- Despite being linked with a move, Nikola Milenkovic ended up staying at Fiorentina. However, CalcioMercato says Milan could return with a bid for the defender in January after deciding against paying the €40m Fiorentina wanted for the 23-year-old Serbia international this off season.

- Juventus think they can get more than €50m for defender Merih Demiral, according to CalcioMercato. Demiral has been linked to Inter and Tottenham.

The United Kingdom government has strongly criticised plans reportedly driven by Manchester United and Liverpool to overhaul the Premier League and English club football.

A report on Sunday by The Telegraph detailed a set of proposals called "Project Big Picture", which would cut the number of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 18 and abolish the competition's one-club, one-vote principle - handing greater power to the nine longest-serving teams in the division.

That number includes all of the so-called "big six", who would have effective veto power on a range of issues, including potential new owners taking control of a rival club.

The plans also focus upon supporting the wider league system amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with a £250million rescue package to be allocated to the English Football League (EFL) and a £100m gift to the Football Association.

EFL chairman Rick Parry - the former Liverpool chief executive and a key figure in the Premier League's breakaway from the Football League in 1992 - has publicly backed the plans, which would see 25 per cent of the Premier League's annual revenue diverted to the EFL and lead to the EFL Cup and Community Shield being scrapped.

However, the Department for Media, Culture and Sport joined the Premier League itself in condemning the mooted changes, decrying Liverpool and United's alleged involvement in "backroom deals".

"We are surprised and disappointed that, at a time of crisis when we have urged the top tiers of professional football to come together and finalise a deal to help lower league clubs, there appear to be backroom deals being cooked up that would create a closed shop at the very top of the game," a statement read.

"Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that may undermine them is deeply troubling.

"Fans must be [at the] front of all our minds and this shows why our fan-led review of football governance will be so critical."

The Premier League, which has come in for criticism over recent days after the announcement of a pay-per-view television model to run while fans are not allowed into stadiums, urged its members to contribute to ongoing restructuring talks "through the proper channels".

"English football is the world's most watched, and has a vibrant, dynamic and competitive league structure that drives interest around the globe," its statement read.

"To maintain this position, it is important that we all work together.

"In the Premier League's view, a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game and we are disappointed to see that Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, has given his on-the-record support.

"The Premier League has been working in good faith with its clubs and the EFL to seek a resolution to the requirement for COVID-19 rescue funding."

In a statement published on the EFL's official website, Parry confirmed talks around Project Big Picture had been ongoing for some time but insisted the financial pressures of the COVID-19 crisis had sharpened the need for transformative action.

"Now is the time to address both the long-term health of the game and the most challenging short-term crisis it has ever faced," Parry said.

"Project Big Picture provides a new beginning which will revitalise the football pyramid at all levels. This new beginning will reinvigorate clubs in the lower leagues and the communities in which they are based.

"The whole of English football has been negatively impacted by this pandemic and the English football pyramid as a whole is only as healthy as those at its base.

"Through this proposed restructuring we aim to strengthen those who need it most at a time when they need it most. This is about building on what is good and making the most of what works well in order to benefit the game as a whole, while simultaneously tackling those issues which trouble all of us.

"This is a blueprint for the future of English football and for everyone who cherishes it."

Edinson Cavani is excited by the prospect of linking up with fellow Uruguayan Facundo Pellistri at Manchester United as he is already a big fan of the teenager's "mischievous" style of play.

Like Cavani, 18-year-old Pellistri signed for United on transfer deadline day, though his signing came as more of a surprise than the former Paris Saint-German star, who became the source of speculation a few days earlier.

Pellistri had been linked with some major European clubs, including United's local rivals Manchester City, but the Red Devils seemingly worked efficiently to bring the forward in with few media reports catching wind before deadline day.

It remains to be seen how much of a role Pellistri plays during his first season at Old Trafford, given he only broke into the Penarol senior side last year.

As such, the majority of United fans have only just begun to learn about Pellistri since his signing was confirmed on Monday.

But Cavani has seen plenty of him and is already sold on the attacker's abilities, commenting that his style of play resembles that of a playground footballer with a hint of added mischief.

"Pellistri is a young lad and I really love the way he plays the game," Cavani told United's official website.

"He's the typical South American footballer who has that mischievous nature to his game, and the way he lives his football is a bit like, as we say in Uruguay, being on 'el campito', as we call it, a makeshift pitch where you have a kickabout for fun with your mates or whoever.

"He's a youngster who has a lot to learn but who has a lot to offer too. He's already shown what he can do at Penarol in the games where he's featured.

"I've liked him from the moment he made his first-team debut at Penarol, I liked him a lot. He's coming here to the club, without a doubt determined to learn and mature as a player, but also to make a good contribution here himself.

"Learning his trade here is also going to be a great experience for him. So, it's going to be good meeting up with him and travelling together on this journey in this new chapter for us both."

Houssem Aouar has spoken of his pride at playing for Lyon after Arsenal were unsuccessful in their bid to sign him during the transfer window.

The Gunners were heavily linked with France midfielder Aouar prior to Monday's deadline, with the London club eventually moving for Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey instead.

While Lyon team-mate Memphis Depay has expressed some frustration at not moving to Barcelona, Aouar insisted he remains happy to continue as OL's captain.

The 22-year-old, who has also been linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid, has a contract that runs until 2023 with his boyhood club.

"It wasn't necessarily Arsenal or anything else, even if in the end it was about that," Aouar told Telefoot.

"Obviously, we had to make a choice, and I'm happy to stay here. I'm happy to stay in Lyon.

"It's my city, my club - it is a great pride to represent OL.

"I had a lot of discussions with [Lyon sporting director] Juninho. He shows me his confidence every day.

"To stay here for another season, or more, with him is a great source of pride."

Aouar is currently on international duty with France and will hope to win his second cap against Portugal in their Nations League game on Sunday after debuting for Les Bleus in Wednesday's 7-1 hammering of Ukraine.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger conceded he is perplexed by how far Mesut Ozil's stock has fallen at his old club.

Ozil suffered his latest ignominy this week when the Gunners left the German playmaker out of their 24-man Europa League squad for the group phase.

The 31-year-old is yet to make one of Mikel Arteta's squads this season and his most recent appearance was back in March before the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

A move in the transfer window never looked like materialising given his reported £350,000-a-week wages, though his contract does run out at the end of this campaign.

It was Wenger who brought 2014 World Cup winner Ozil to north London from Real Madrid in 2013 and the Frenchman cannot fathom how such a creative player has fallen from grace.

"He disappeared from the radar when I left the club," Wenger told Welt am Sonntag.

"He's an artist, but there is no longer a place for artists in modern football.

"The real reasons why he's not where he should be are a mystery to me."

Wenger, whose former club are now led by his old captain Arteta, believes it is a shame that Arsenal fans are being robbed of seeing Ozil on a regular basis.

"[It is] a waste, for him and for everyone who loves football," he added.

"People go to the stadium to see players like him."

Mauricio Pochettino could find himself back in management sooner rather than later.

Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham in November, having led Spurs to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Now, Manchester United and Manchester City are reportedly considering moves for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – POCH A MAN IN DEMAND IN MANCHESTER

Manchester United and neighbours Manchester City are both eyeing Mauricio Pochettino, according to the Mirror.

Pochettino has been out of work since his Tottenham sacking last year, and the former Spurs boss has emerged as the favourite to replace struggling United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United vice-chairman Ed Woodward is reportedly ready to sack Solskjaer if results do not improve, while City are considering Pochettino, with Pep Guardiola yet to sign a contract extension.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport claims Barcelona are already planning for the next transfer window. The LaLiga powerhouse are keen to sign two players, with City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon captain Memphis Depay at the top of the list. Barca are also looking to offload Ousmane Dembele who failed to join United on deadline day.

Liverpool are in talks to sign Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, claims the Mirror. It comes after Adrian struggles to deputise in the absence of injured number one Alisson.

- Tuttosport reports Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing Bayern Munich star David Alaba. The two clubs are eyeing Alaba on a free transfer, with the Austria international's contract expiring at season's end. Alaba has also been linked to the likes of City and Real Madrid.

West Ham are trying to sign Brentford star Said Benrahma in a £17million deal, according to the Telegraph.

Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani has goals and silverware on his mind after moving to Old Trafford on deadline day.

Cavani joined struggling Premier League giants United as a free agent before the transfer window closed, having been a free agent following his release by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain in June.

The 33-year-old arrives in Manchester as PSG's all-time leading goalscorer, while only Lionel Messi (432) and Cristiano Ronaldo (416) have scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues since Cavani (250) debuted for Palermo in 2007.

"I hope I can score plenty, and I'll be working hard towards doing that," Cavani told the club's official website. "As I said earlier, I'm coming here with a real desire to work hard and to prepare, and to be available for my team-mates and to the manager for selection.

"I want to be able to take all that effort and hard work out onto the pitch, and together be able to achieve great things, big things with Manchester United. I'm so keen and excited to get playing and competing again, and God willing, I can score goals, which is pretty important for everybody and also for me, as a striker.

"For the fans, for everyone. So, as I said, I'm dying to start training so I can be ready to be scoring goals, so we can all enjoy them and have some good times together."

Cavani, who scored four goals in 14 Ligue 1 games for PSG last season, added: "I see myself as a team player. I'm the first one to believe that we all need each other's help. And that always, when you work as a team, you can make it easier to succeed and to achieve your objectives.

"I don't think there's anything greater than being able to run hard for your team-mate or being able to do stuff for your team-mate. Or being able to help each other out or being able to make that run for your team-mate when they need it and only you are available to do it. Because for me, the end result of all this is getting the victory, that's when we can all enjoy it. I like this way of thinking, and that's how I live the game of football.

"For me that's what the game is all about, it's a combination of different things blended together as one; and for that there has to be team spirit out on the pitch, there has to be commitment, and well, that's what I try to do. As a striker I often have to convert chances, by finishing off a move. And sometimes I can miss. Because on occasions, we strikers can have the entire goal at our mercy, but we can mess up.

"But equally, my thoughts and beliefs have always been the same as I mentioned before, thinking of the group as a whole, playing as a team and winning altogether."

United have lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures this term following a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Tottenham prior to the international break.

The embattled club will return to action against Newcastle United on October 17.

Kevin De Bruyne dismissed speculation linking Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi with a move to Manchester City, while he discussed his own contract situation at the Premier League giants.

Messi handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 season, which saw Barca humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals and dethroned by Real Madrid in LaLiga, before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner opted to remain at Camp Nou this term.

The 33-year-old was tipped to join City and while the transfer did not materialise, Pep Guardiola's side are reportedly still eyeing a move for the Argentina skipper.

As rumours regarding Messi refuse to subside, City star De Bruyne said: "I don't really care to be honest.

"If he comes, it's a good thing, if he doesn't there is enough good players at the club who I enjoy playing with, so that is not for now."

De Bruyne's future has also been a topic of discussion amid reports City have made progress regarding contract talks.

The 29-year-old is contract to City until 2023 but the club want to offer De Bruyne a new five-year deal.

But De Bruyne said: "I am very happy at the club, I can say now I have not spoken once to the club so I don't know why people are saying I have already agreed to something.

"I always told everybody I am really happy at the club and I feel comfortable so if the people at the club want to talk to me I am open to that and we will see what happens.

"But at the moment nothing has happened so I just get on with the way it goes."

Marcus Rashford received a "special applause" in England training on Saturday after he was awarded an MBE for his fight against child hunger in the United Kingdom, Gareth Southgate revealed.

It was confirmed on Friday that Rashford had been named on the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to vulnerable children in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Manchester United and England striker successfully lobbied the government to continue its policy of providing free school meals for underprivileged children into the summer months, ensuring vouchers would stay available.

The 22-year-old also partnered with the charity FareShare and assisted in the raising of £20million to help provide free meals amid the pandemic, while he has worked with supermarkets and food brands to create a taskforce focused on the tackling of child food poverty.

In an acceptance statement posted to his social media channels on Friday, Rashford spoke of his pride at the achievement but continued to put pressure on prime minister Boris Johnson to extend the voucher scheme.

His England team-mates and Southgate applauded him as training started on Saturday, with the manager left astonished by Rashford's impact and social conscience.

"Firstly, it's an amazing achievement, it's wonderful for him and his family for the recognition, but he didn't start this for recognition," Southgate said on Saturday.

"He started it because it was something he was affected by and something he cared passionately about and for someone of his age to be able to make the difference he has is phenomenal.

"We are all very proud of him. We gave him a special round of applause this morning because, as a group, we are very close.

"We've watched him grow up – I say grow up, he's still only 22, so… You can only marvel at what he's achieved and the difference he's made to kids who will understand and kids who don't yet understand but will be incredibly grateful in years to come."

Edinson Cavani is ready and willing to impart his wisdom on Manchester United's young forwards after joining on a free transfer but pointed out it is up to them how much they learn from him.

Cavani, 33, joined United on transfer deadline day after emerging as a surprise target just a few days earlier, despite being released by Paris Saint-Germain at the end of June.

United previously appeared set on bolstering their attacking options on the right flank rather than adding a centre-forward, which made Cavani's arrival even more surprising.

Nevertheless, with Odion Ighalo – back-up to Anthony Martial – struggling for form since the Premier League returned in June, Cavani will be expected to keep the Frenchman, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood on their toes.

Although his final season with PSG was disappointing, scoring four times in 14 Ligue 1 games, Cavani still departed the club as their all-time leading goalscorer.

He has been backed to pass on some of his experience to United's three main forwards and Cavani is certainly willing, though he feels how much they benefit it is up to them.

When asked if he feels he can help Martial, Rashford and Greenwood with advice, Cavani told United's website: "Look, I don't think that there's any better advice than simply working hard on a football pitch or in a training session, because you don't win any game by just turning up and walking out on the field.

"You start to win the game during the training sessions, you start to win the game by how you prepare for it. For that you need to start working before the game in the days leading up to it.

"I think you can sometimes, through your ability, demonstrate certain things by example, without even needing to speak, but I think this can depend on each individual and the desire that they have to grow and improve as a player and how much they really want to win and to compete.

"I'm coming here to do my very best, and I'm here to offer a little bit of my experience to the squad, to the manager, and I'm ready and willing to do the very best I can, and to give the best that I can give.

"So, that's kind of my aim as I arrive here, very keen to make myself available to my team-mates. After that it depends on each individual, what they want to take on board and what they want to leave alone. That's a bit like how I see football."

Since Cavani made his Palermo debut in March 2007, only Lionel Messi (432) and Cristiano Ronaldo (416) have scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than the Uruguayan (250).

But he faces a fight to become United's main striker, as the dynamic Martial made the spot his own last season with 17 in the Premier League.

Cavani has been handed a boost in his hopes to establish himself early on, however, as Martial is suspended for United's next three league matches after the international break due to the red card he received for hitting Erik Lamela in the face in last week's 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham.

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