Paul Pogba is injured, Juan Mata is on the fringes and Manchester United are in desperate need of creativity.

Kai Havertz, the talented Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, might hold the answer.

According to a new report, the Germany international could soon be the subject of a massive transfer bid from Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ HEADED TO MANCHESTER?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made 20-year-old Kai Havertz his top transfer target, says the Daily Star.

But the report suggests Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to wait until the end of the season before making an £80million offer.

Havertz, who has been linked with Bayern Munich, is one of the most admired young midfielders in Europe.

He scored 17 Bundesliga goals last season and has notched twice in nine appearances this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claim Barcelona have joined the race for sought-after Salzburg striker Erling Haaland. The teenage sensation scored his seventh Champions League goal in Tuesday's draw at Napoli and has reportedly attracted interest from Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, among others.

- Barcelona do have at least one exciting prospect dreaming of joining them. Highly rated Ajax defender Sergino Dest told Bleacher Report his "biggest goal" is to play for the Blaugrana, while the United States international also has his eye on a stint in the Premier League.

- Trouble is brewing in Naples. Gazzetta dello Sport suggest Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players are in rebellion against president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who ordered the team to enter a training retreat amid a poor run of results. Ancelotti did not appear for the customary post-match news conference following the 1-1 draw with Salzburg at Stadio San Paolo.

- Another successful Italian coach, Massimiliano Allegri, should reject any approach from managerless Bayern Munich and instead focus on becoming the next Manchester United boss. That is the view of Fabio Capello, who told Radio Anch'io Sport his compatriot would be the "best choice" for the Red Devils.

- Back to the Premier League and England, where Granit Xhaka is dealing with the fallout from being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. The Daily Mirror report the Gunners could now look to offload the midfielder in January, given his fractured relationship with the club's fans.

Jurgen Klopp jokingly suggested Liverpool will ask Aston Villa to play their upcoming EFL Cup quarter-final in Qatar after it was confirmed the tie will take place the day before a Club World Cup contest.

The EFL announced on Tuesday that Liverpool will face Villa on December 17 as initially planned, despite the club attempting to rearrange it because of their commitments in Qatar, with a semi-final scheduled for December 18.

Although a change was not possible, Liverpool did reach a compromise with organisers that will allow them to select a squad for the EFL Cup that will be entirely different to the group of players heading to Qatar.

Klopp is remaining positive about the situation, however, and joked that Villa might fancy heading abroad with them to play their match.

"We asked Aston Villa if they would come to Qatar and we can play the game there," Klopp quipped after Liverpool's 2-1 Champions League win over Genk on Tuesday.

"We don't know about logistics, we have a decision to make, but we have a bit of time to think about [how the club will approach the two games].

"In these next couple of weeks we will make a decision on how it will look exactly.

"We respect the competitions. We want to play the EFL Cup, the only thing I don't like is the two-legged semi-finals. I don't understand.

"The Club World Cup you can only play if you win the Champions League – this doesn't happen five million times.

"You hope the team goes out and everything is fine. We ignored that, our boys just want to play football and we qualified [for the EFL Cup quarter-finals].

"I don't want to cancel competitions. I've talked about the problems, they are obvious. They can't carry on like this and we need a solution."

Victory in the Champions League on Tuesday allowed Liverpool to go top of Group E, as they capitalised on Napoli only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg.

And while Klopp was grateful to avoid a scare – particularly given Genk went into the break at 1-1 – he focused on the importance of avoiding injuries, with a potentially vital Premier League clash with Manchester City looming large on the horizon.

"The most important thing; we won and nobody is injured," Klopp said. "The result is the result because we didn't finish our situations off like we should and could have done, which keeps the game pretty exciting and kept Genk alive.

"We top the group, but we want to top it at the end. We have two tough games.

"The longer the game goes the more the momentum goes to the other team. Ali [Alisson] had to make a good save. Job done is the headline for the game, but the group is not decided."

Pep Guardiola insisted he did not mean to suggest Sadio Mane is "this type of player" in relation to the diving row he triggered ahead of Manchester City's crunch trip to Liverpool this weekend.

Guardiola stoked pre-match tensions before Sunday's top-of-the-table clash at Anfield by accusing Liverpool forward Mane of simulation.

Mane was booked for diving during the Reds' dramatic 2-1 win at Aston Villa last Saturday, where he brilliantly headed home a stoppage-time winner.

The Senegal international also won decisive penalties during recent wins over Leicester City and Tottenham that helped to preserve Liverpool's six-point lead over champions City at the summit.

Speaking after his side's own 2-1 comeback win over Southampton on Saturday, Guardiola told BBC Match of the Day: "Sometimes he's diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute."

Klopp bridled at that suggestion on Monday when he spoke before Liverpool's Champions League match against Genk, going to allude to inferences made previously by Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Guardiola's City commit "tactical fouls".

The former Barcelona boss faced a news conference on the eve of City's Champions League match against Atalanta at San Siro – where a win coupled with a draw between Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk would see them seal top spot in Group C – and Mane, Klopp and Liverpool were predictably on the agenda.

"My son and my daughter, all the times, when Liverpool win in the last minutes, they ask me, 'How lucky, how lucky they are'. I said at the time, 'It's not lucky'," Guardiola explained.

"What Liverpool has done this season and last season many, many times is because they have this incredible quality and incredible talent to fight to the end. That's why I say to my players – not just my son and daughter – that is not lucky.

"If it happens once or twice, yes, but it happened maybe 10 or 12 or 14 times.

"Then in the 94th minute in the game Leicester, it was a penalty – wow, like this, like that [questionable]. That was the intention of my comment but far away from the intention to say Sadio Mane is this type of player because I admire him a lot.

"For Jurgen it is a penalty, for the referee it is a penalty, for the VAR it is a penalty. I was wrong as the guy to maybe think it was [not] a penalty.

"Like Jurgen said, he knows Sadio Mane better than me. Of course, I have an incredible respect. When he says he's not like this, he's not like that."

Guardiola also suggested the edited footage of his post-match interview made his comments appear more inflammatory than they were.

"My comments, the speech is not long on the BBC. It is longer than [what appeared] on all the highlights [saying that] that I am accusing. I know how interesting it is for all of you guys," he said.

"It was praise for Liverpool, to say it was not just one action and they are lucky again. Hopefully I can clarify everything with Jurgen too."

When Klopp's observation that the City manager was overly fixated with Liverpool was mentioned, Guardiola claimed he "didn't listen" to what his opposite number had said – although his next answer to a question about the allegations of tactical fouling bellied this.

"No comment. I don't put oil on the fire," he grinned in a direct quote of one of Klopp's Monday comments.

Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following his angry confrontation with fans.

Switzerland midfielder Xhaka reacted to ironic cheers and then jeers when he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month, appearing to shout expletives in the direction of the supporters before sarcastically applauding. He then removed his shirt while leaving the field and headed straight down the tunnel.

The 27-year-old, who has not played for Arsenal since and is not in the Gunners' squad for Wednesday's Europa League clash with Vitoria SC, had been named his club's captain in September following a player vote.

However, head coach Unai Emery has confirmed Xhaka will no longer captain Arsenal and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take the armband instead.

"I have spoken to Granit and he is no longer one of the captains in the group," Emery said at a news conference to preview Wednesday's game.

Granit Xhaka's absence from the Arsenal squad will continue after he was not included in the travelling party for Wednesday's Europa League trip to Vitoria Guimaraes.

Arsenal captain Xhaka last played on October 27 against Crystal Palace, a game that was overshadowed by supporters jeering the Switzerland midfielder.

He subsequently reacted by appearing to shout expletives in the fans' direction and sarcastically encouraging their jeers, earning widespread criticism from supporters and former Gunners players.

Xhaka has since been left out of the squad for games against Liverpool and Wolves, and he will remain absent on Wednesday, with the match moved from Thursday to ease pressure on Portuguese authorities due to Sporting Braga also being in Europa League action at home.

Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are also among those missing, presumably being held back for Saturday's clash with high-flying Leicester City, though Arsenal have not explained their absences.

Mauricio Pochettino never had any doubts Son Heung-min would have his red card for a tackle on Andre Gomes rescinded.

Son was sent off late on against Everton on Sunday after lunging in on Gomes, a challenge that saw the Portugal international land awkwardly and suffer a fracture dislocation to his right ankle.

Referee Martin Atkinson initially appeared set to show Son a yellow card but altered his decision to a red having seen Gomes' distress.

After a distraught Son headed down the tunnel, Everton equalised during 12 minutes of stoppage time as the points were shared in a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.

Spurs boss Pochettino commented after the match that it was a harsh decision to send Son off, and a Tottenham appeal followed.

The Football Association confirmed on Tuesday the forward will now be available for Spurs' next three league outings.

"I was confident [the red card] would be overturned," Pochettino told a news conference ahead of Tottenham's Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade.

"We were a bit confused after the game. It's completely fair that he's now not suspended.

"The only problem is that the VAR can check these things and it was clearly and obviously not a red card."

Pochettino confirmed after Sunday's match that Everton captain Seamus Coleman - who suffered a serious leg injury in 2017 - went to the away dressing room to comfort Son, who was "devastated".

"All the players for Tottenham, we feel so sorry," explained Pochettino, who included Son in his squad for the trip to Belgrade. 

"We're so happy with the news that everything was okay with his injury today [after surgery]. We hope he recovers soon.

"Sonny is okay. After the action, it was a mix of everything. It was an emotional moment for everyone. Now everyone is okay."

Harry Kane missed Sunday's match due to illness, but the stand-in Spurs captain will be fit to feature on Wednesday.

"I feel good, better than the weekend," Kane said. "I came down with some kind of virus, but I’ve been back in training yesterday and I feel much better.

 "The atmosphere is going to be very tough and very hostile but, once we're on the pitch, we have to focus on ourselves and do everything in our power to win the game."

Son Heung-min's red card for the challenge that preceded Andre Gomes' horrific injury in Sunday's draw between Tottenham and Everton has been rescinded, the Football Association (FA) has announced.

An independent regulatory commission upheld a claim of wrongful dismissal, meaning Son will be available for Tottenham's next three domestic fixtures.

The South Korea international was dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson in the 79th minute of the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park and was visibly distraught after Gomes suffered a fracture dislocation to his right ankle following his tackle.

Gomes left the field on a stretcher but is expected to make a full recovery and was released from hospital on Tuesday, having undergone surgery 24 hours prior.

The distressed Son had to be led down the tunnel and Mauricio Pochettino said after the match the 27-year-old was "devastated".

"We feel very sorry. It was a very bad situation, very bad luck how he landed. We can send our best wishes and of course I am very devastated for the situation," Pochettino told Sky Sports.

"Sonny was devastated. During the situation, he was very confused, it was difficult to keep calm. After you watch the action on TV, [you can see] it was never his intention [to hurt Gomes]."

Spurs' next three domestic fixtures see them face Sheffield United and Bournemouth at home either side of a trip to West Ham.

Rising Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz says he could consider moving away from the Bundesliga, despite admitting "you can't go wrong" with Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old has been linked with a host of top clubs in Europe, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Germany international is also a reported target for Bayern, with Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller claiming in August that the Bundesliga champions had made enquiries.

Havertz is prepared to keep his options open when it comes to his future, suggesting Bayern or a foreign club could be equally appealing.

"They're probably the biggest club in Germany and there are many players that were very successful at a young age that went there," he told Marca when asked about Bayern's apparent interest. "Therefore, I get linked with Bayern, but we'll see what happens.

"There are players that want to stay close to their family and others say, 'I want to live in another country'. There's something clear: if you want to be a star in Germany, you can't go wrong with Bayern.

"I think I've picked up enough international experience at Leverkusen. I know the rhythm of these international matches and I'm confident that I can go abroad at any moment and play at clubs outside of Germany. For the moment, I want to have a good season. Afterwards, we'll see."

Havertz believes his style of play as an attacking midfielder would make him a suitable signing for Barca, whose former captain happens to be his favourite Spanish player.

When it was suggested his style suits Barca, he replied: "Yes, because Barcelona have a lot of the ball, but there are lots of teams that do that these days, not only Barcelona.

"Real Madrid, for example, are a team that have a lot of possession, although they've been a bit less efficient than Barcelona in recent years.

"There are many players that inspired me like Kaka, [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho... they've always been my idols. Between the Spanish players, my favourite is Andres Iniesta. He's outstanding on the ball. Unique. I like him the most."

Sergio Aguero believes the Premier League will again be a two-team title race this season as Manchester City seek to overhaul leaders Liverpool.

City pipped the Reds to top spot last term but now trail Jurgen Klopp's men by six points in their bid to go three in a row.

The deficit will be halved as soon as Sunday if the champions prevail in a top-of-the-table encounter at Anfield.

But defeat could leave them behind Chelsea and Leicester City, who are two points further back, by the end of the weekend.

Despite the form of the teams below, star striker Aguero expects the challenge to come solely from Merseyside.

"Liverpool has always been a tough opponent," Aguero told France Football.

"But when I arrived, the team we were fighting for the title was [Manchester] United. Initially, it was something strange in the city that City competes against United. Then there was Chelsea.

"But these last four seasons, Liverpool have become a very strong team and are now fighting with us to win the Premier League.

"It's the only team in the league that can hurt us. They have been chasing a new league [title] for years. Last season, they didn't go all the way, so they are very motivated. This year, they are in front of us and will try to go to the end."

Argentina international Aguero knows plenty about winning the Premier League, with his name forever etched in City history as the scorer of the dramatic goal that delivered the title in 2011-12.

He claimed another winners' medal in 2013-14 and has been at the forefront of the club's sustained excellence over the previous two title-winning seasons, scoring 42 Premier League goals in that time.

Aguero did not always seem to fit under Pep Guardiola but the 31-year-old insists the pair now share a strong understanding.

"We have come to know each other since his arrival and everything is clear between us," he said.

"I know how he is and vice versa. When he picks me, I try to do the best possible, because I know that behind me I have Gabriel Jesus, an attacker who scores goals whenever he has the opportunity to be on the field."

Cenk Tosun said Everton players would rally around Andre Gomes in his rehabilitation from the sickening ankle injury suffered against Tottenham.

Gomes sustained a fracture dislocation when he collided with Serge Aurier following a trip from Son Heung-min in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Goodison Park.

The former Barcelona midfielder underwent surgery on Monday and is expected to make a full recovery.

Spurs forward Son was shown a red card for the foul and appeared visibly distressed by the graphic nature of Gomes' injury, as did several more players and nearby spectators.

"Everyone is just so sad," Toffees striker Tosun told reporters. "The fans, us, the staff. We were all so upset. Some players, they nearly cried.

"I just went to Andre, I tried to speak to him and tried to help him to stay calm but he was in shock.

"It will be a tough time for Andre but sometimes in football these injuries happen. I just hope and pray he comes back stronger in six months after his surgery.​ We will give him the motivation he needs."

Everton trailed to Dele Alli's goal when the injury took place but salvaged a pont thanks to Tosun's stoppage-time strike.

Turkey international Tosun held his nerve after a long delay to convert Lucas Digne's cross for his first Premier League goal of the season, which he dedicated to Gomes.

"The goal is for him, the point is for him," Tosun said.

"If we had a few minutes more, we would have won it for him. We were pressing and pressing. I was waiting such a long time for this goal and I could not even enjoy it. We are good friends.​

"We could not even celebrate our point. It was a fair point and we deserved it. It was a tough game, after what had happened with going behind and then the incident with Andre and then the red card.

"But we showed great team spirit and it was a well deserved one point for us."

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson is annoyed at the amount of "stupid" goals Liverpool have conceded this season.

Jurgen Klopp's side have amassed three clean sheets in 18 matches this term and are without a shutout in their past seven games in all competitions.

Aston Villa's Trezeguet became the latest player to breach Liverpool's defence after being left completely unmarked to steer home John McGinn's free-kick on Saturday.

The European champions recovered from that setback to win 2-1 at Villa Park, but Alisson is frustrated his side are having to do things the hard way.

"It annoys me always when we concede," he told reporters. "Stupid goals! When we concede that way, it annoys me and the team. 

"We always have a common goal to win the game and keep a clean sheet. You are closer to the victory with a clean sheet and you always have a draw.

"When you concede, the games become more difficult. We need to work better than that if we want to do great things."

Alisson has failed to keep a clean sheet in all four matches since returning from a 10-week lay-off due to a calf injury, including in last month's 4-1 Champions League win against Genk.

The Belgian club travel to Anfield on Tuesday and Alisson demanded an improvement from his team-mates.

"We can do better in our concentration. Against Genk we conceded late on, so this annoyed me and the team. We need to keep our focus," he said.

"We need to learn from these moments to make sure it does not happen again."

Liverpool boss Klopp can understand Alisson's frustrations, adding at Monday's pre-match news conference: "For me, it is more important the other team don't create. 

"If a team score with one shot, it is not nice but it is something we can't work on. Ali is annoyed without clean sheets, but he is happy as everyone when we win games. We have to score goals."

Andre Gomes is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing successful surgery on his right ankle on Monday, Everton have announced.

The Portugal international suffered a fracture dislocation in Sunday's Premier League draw against Tottenham.

Gomes was taken off on a stretcher in the second half at Goodison Park following a challenge from Son Heung-min, with the Everton player then colliding with Serge Aurier. 

Spurs forward Son, who was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson, was visibly distraught before being led down the tunnel, while players from both teams were clearly distressed by the incident.

"Everton can confirm Andre Gomes underwent surgery to repair a fracture dislocation to his right ankle and the procedure went extremely well," a statement on the club's official website read.

"The Portugal international, who sustained the injury in yesterday's Premier League fixture with Tottenham, will now spend some time recovering in hospital, before returning to USM Finch Farm [Everton's training ground] to start his rehabilitation under the guidance of the club's medical staff.

"The 26-year-old is expected to make a full recovery.

"On behalf of Andre, the club would like to thank all Everton supporters and members of the wider football family for the overwhelming messages of support we have received since yesterday's match."

Frank Lampard insists he is "very happy" with the players at his disposal as Chelsea appeal against a transfer ban imposed by FIFA.

The Premier League side were blocked from signing new players for two transfer windows in February after breaching rules relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

That ban was partially upheld following Chelsea's initial appeal to FIFA, although the club are still unable to bring in senior players, serving the first part of their suspension in the recent transfer window.

Chelsea were permitted to register players under the age of 16, but the club announced their intention to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with the hearing date now set for November 20.

Lampard says he is relaxed about the club's transfer situation, given how impressively academy graduates Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have taken to life in the first team this season.

Asked for his opinion on the appeal at a news conference ahead of his side's Champions League clash against Ajax on Tuesday, Lampard said: "I'm very interested, but I don't know enough about the legal situation to delve.

"It can effect what we can do, but it is a little down my list. We have games against Ajax and Crystal Palace to think about.

"We are on a good run. We will always look to improve if we can, but I am very happy with what I've got."

After losing to Valencia in their opening Group H game, Chelsea have bounced back with consecutive wins over Lille and Ajax.

They are level on six points with Dutch champions Ajax at the group's summit, but Lampard refuted suggestions the Blues would have one foot in the knockout stages if they overcome Erik ten Hag's side at Stamford Bridge.

"I don't like to say that," he added. "I felt at the start it would be tight. We have had two good results and another one would be great for us. But the danger of Ajax is massive.

"After losing the opening game, we have shown a great reaction. It is expected of Chelsea to go through. It is maybe why we had the reaction after Valencia. We need to have the same attitude as the last results."

Jurgen Klopp has defended Sadio Mane after Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola suggested the Liverpool forward is "sometimes" guilty of diving.

Mane scored a late winner for Liverpool in Saturday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa but was earlier shown a yellow card for simulation, having been criticised previously when winning contentious penalties.

Guardiola stoked tensions ahead of next weekend's top-of-the-table showdown with Liverpool by taking a swipe at the Senegal international for going to ground too easily.

"Sometimes he is diving," Guardiola told BBC Sport, speaking after both City and Liverpool pulled off late Premier League comebacks at the weekend.

"Sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He's a talent."

However, Klopp responded that contact was made on Mane inside the box and claimed City's players would have likewise gone down, before insisting he did not want to talk about Liverpool's domestic rivals.

"I don't know how [Guardiola] could have known about any incident in our game so quickly after their game," Klopp told a pre-match news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Genk.

"Sadio is not a diver. There was a situation in the Villa game when he got a contact and went down but there was contact.

"I am 100 per cent sure if something like this happened to Man City, they would want to have a penalty. I am absolutely not in the mood to talk about Man City. I really want to talk about Genk."

Klopp was pressed on the looming clash with City, though, as Liverpool remain six points clear at the top of the league table.

Despite the magnitude of Sunday's match at Anfield, Klopp has no concerns his players will be distracted against Genk.

"You can say the words Man City, you just cannot think about it," he said. "I don't doubt my players at all. I would feel a bit embarrassed if I had to tell them, 'Don't think about Man City already'.

"The story we have written over the last three years is only possible because we always focus on the next game. We have big ambitions in the Champions League and it's an open group. 

"We have to be 100 per cent spot on, make a good atmosphere and get the points. For the people at Anfield, we need to focus on this match, just like the players will be."

Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Genk, who were beaten 4-1 when the sides met in Belgium two weeks ago.

That results contributes to making Liverpool heavy favourites for the return fixture, and Klopp said of the expectation of victory: "It will be a challenge but a nice one to have.

"It means we have a good team. It's not the biggest problem to have. It's 100 per cent clear we have to put in a proper shift to get the win.

"We have to use the spaces. The group is still open and we need everyone. [Genk] can still make Europa League so they still have targets. 

"We need to respect them. The story of the last two years is that we have always been spot on when we needed to be."

Chelsea's appeal against a transfer ban imposed by FIFA will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on November 20.

The Premier League side were blocked from signing new players for two transfer windows in February after breaching rules relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

That ban was partially upheld following Chelsea's initial appeal to FIFA, although the club are still unable to bring in senior players, serving the first part of their suspension in the recent transfer window.

Chelsea were permitted to register players under the age of 16, but the club announced their intention to take the case to CAS.

The Blues are pressing ahead with their case ahead of the January transfer window, with the CAS hearing date now confirmed for later this month.

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