Christian Eriksen was rumoured to be close to leaving Tottenham at the beginning of the season.

Real Madrid were among the clubs interested in the Dane, whose contract expires in 2020, but a move did not materialise before the end of the transfer window.

But that has not deterred the Spanish giants, with Zinedine Zidane willing to move two fringe players away from them Santiago Bernabeu to get a deal done for the 27-year-old.

 

TOP STORY - LOS BLANCOS PAVING WAY FOR ERIKSEN

Real Madrid could reignite their interest in Christian Eriksen in the January transfer window, AS reports a move will only happen if Madrid dispense of two players.

Isco and Mariano Diaz are understood to be the most likely to be sacrificed.

Mariano is yet to make a single appearance this season but could command a fee of around €20million, while Isco's two LaLiga starts came in the draw against Real Valladolid in August and last weekend's loss to Mallorca.

 

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- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is being eyed up by Crystal Palace for a January switch across London, according to the Daily Star.

- El Mundo reports Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have ended their dispute over the transfer of Antoine Griezmann with an extra €15m changing hands.

- The Daily Mail claim Arsenal are in pole position to sign RB Leipzig's France Under-21 defender Dayot Upamecano.

- Italy boss Roberto Mancini has not ruled out a return to the national team for veteran duo Gianluigi Buffon and Daniele De Rossi as he shapes his squad for Euro 2020.

- The Sun says Juventus and Atletico Madrid are chasing 19-year-old West Bromwich Albion defender Nathan Ferguson.

With Zinedine Zidane on thin ice, a familiar face could return to Real Madrid.

Pressure is mounting on Zidane following Madrid's shock LaLiga loss to Real Mallorca on Saturday, a result that means they sit behind Barcelona in the table.

Former Madrid head coach Mourinho could be the answer to their problems…

 

TOP STORY – MADRID REACH OUT TO MOU

Real Madrid have contacted Jose Mourinho as pressure mounts on head coach Zinedine Zidane, according to El Chiringuito.

Zidane – in his second spell in charge after winning three successive Champions League titles prior to leaving ahead of the 2018-19 season – has failed to convince upon his return to the LaLiga giants.

And ex-Manchester United manager Mourinho, who spent three years in the Spanish capital – winning the 2011-12 LaLiga title, is reportedly wanted by Madrid president Florentino Perez.

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- Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman could move to Barcelona in 2020. After Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) sporting director Nico-Jan Hoogma confirmed Koeman has a specific release clause in his contract built around his former club, Marca has linked the ex-Barca defender to Camp Nou.

Real Madrid are pushing to sign Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Salzburg teenager Erling Haaland, claims El Desmarque. Sancho has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Calciomercato says Arsenal are favourites to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. The 20-year-old was linked to the Gunners before the transfer window closed.

Inter are tracking Atalanta's Swedish teenager Dejan Kulusevski, reports Calciomercato. The 19-year-old is attracting interest during his loan spell at Parma, where he has scored two goals and supplied five assists in Serie A.

- According to SPORT, Barcelona are interested in two Bundesliga players. While Bayer Leverkusen sensation Kai Havertz is coveted, the LaLiga champions are also keeping an eye on Schalke's Amine Harit.

Uncertainty surrounds Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a woeful start to the season and he could find himself in danger of dismissal.

United have won only two of their first eight Premier League games of 2019-20 and head into Sunday's visit of Liverpool 15 points adrift of the pacesetters.

While Solskjaer insists he still has the board's backing, there have been suggestions the club has identified a replacement.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI 'VERY CLOSE' TO UNITED

Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is said to be a primary target for Manchester United.

Italian publication Tuttosport claims contact with Allegri – who left the Old Lady at the end of last season – has "intensified" in recent days.

They go as far as saying Allegri is "very close to United", with the contest against Liverpool seemingly crucial.

However, United are not the only club interested in Allegri. Tuttosport also believes Tottenham are keeping tabs on him.

Mauricio Pochettino is another man under pressure following a difficult few months, though the report suggests Spurs will have to make their minds up quickly if they are to gazump United.

 

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- The Daily Mail believes Solskjaer is relatively safe despite Allegri's lurking, however. It says United are looking to bolster the squad with six major signings over the next two transfer windows. Among the targets are Mario Mandzukic, Saul Niguez, Moussa Dembele and James Maddison.

- Mandzukic's wage demands could prevent a move to Old Trafford, however. Despite being 33 and entering the twilight of his career, the Croatian wants to be the club's fourth highest-paid player, according to the Sun.

- Arsenal's plan for the future, according to AS, involves persuading Real Madrid to sell Dani Ceballos, a deal that would result in Mesut Ozil being sold.

- Meanwhile, the Daily Mail also claims the Gunners also want to sign highly-rated Athletic Bilbao centre-back Unai Nunez, 22, with Everton set to rival them for the £30million-rated defender.

- Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of securing new deals for Juan Bernat and Marquinhos, L'Equipe believes.

- Roma are set to bid farewell to Javier Pastore in January, with the Serie A side telling him he is free to leave, as per Calciomercato. A move to China, Brazil or his native Argentina appears likely.

Leicester City, West Ham and Valencia all tried to sign Mohamed Elneny from Arsenal during the transfer window, according to the midfielder's agent.

Elneny swapped Arsenal for Besiktas on a season-long loan in August after falling down the midfield pecking order at Emirates Stadium.

The Egypt international was also said to be wanted by other clubs, while reports in Italy this week suggested AC Milan may make an approach in the January window.

"He received a lot of offers last summer, led by Leicester City, West Ham and Valencia, but Besiktas managed to settle the deal with Arsenal," agent Alan Nazmy told Egyptian TV channel Time Sport.

"Milan and Roma previously tried to sign the player during the last winter transfer window, but the negotiations didn't work then, and he received more than one offer as well."

Asked about fresh rumoured interest from Milan, Nazmy said: "I can't talk about it."

Elneny made 89 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions after joining from Swiss side FC Basel in 2016, including 17 outings last season.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery allowed the 27-year-old to leave following the arrival of Dani Ceballos and emergence of academy product Joe Willock, but the door has not been closed on a return next year.

"Emery didn't ask for his departure from Arsenal because of his performance," Nazmy said. "He demanded that [Elneny] took a chance to develop his performance and return again.

"It is possible for him to play with Arsenal again. It still remains a strong possibility."

London is still something of a home for Jose Mourinho and another job in the English capital could be on the horizon for the ex-Chelsea manager.

With Tottenham struggling for form and reports of discontent in the dressing room, Mauricio Pochettino's position is far from certain.

Mourinho has been out of a job since he was sacked by Manchester United in December and the Portuguese is reportedly waiting in the wings.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SOUND OUT MOURINHO

Tottenham have made contact with Jose Mourinho amid uncertainty over manager Mauricio Pochettino, reports SoccerLink.

Pochettino's future in London is up in the air following Tottenham's poor start to the season, highlighted by a humiliating 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

While Pochettino is not facing the sack, Spurs have sounded out Mourinho about whether the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss would be interested.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Spurs target Mourinho, Manchester United appear to be closing in on Massimiliano Allegri. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling at Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reports ex-Juventus boss Allegri is preparing for the job and wants Patrice Evra to join him in Manchester.

Real Madrid will play the waiting game for Kylian Mbappe as Marca claims the Spanish giants have set a 2021 target date of trying to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

- According to Le10Sport, Atletico Madrid will look to sign Paris Saint-Germain veteran Edinson Cavani to a pre-contract agreement in January. Cavani's deal runs out at season's end and the Uruguay striker has been linked to Juventus and incoming MLS franchise Inter Miami.

- ESPN FC says Manchester United are ready to spend during the January transfer window following their poor start to the campaign. United are languishing in 12th after the departures of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera.

Bayern Munich are tracking Freiburg star Luca Waldschmidt, claims Calciomercato. The 23-year-old forward made his debut for Germany this month.

- According to Tuttosport, AC Milan want €20million-rated Turkey international Mehmet Zeki Celik from Lille. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are also interested in a January move for Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny, who is on loan at Besiktas.

Petr Cech got his ice hockey career off to a winning start as his crucial save saw Guildford Phoenix overcome Swindon Wildcats II in overtime.

Former Premier League goalkeeper Cech – a technical advisor at Chelsea after he left Arsenal at the end of last season – officially signed for Guildford on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old made his debut on the ice on Sunday, starting in net for Guildford against the Wildcats and, ultimately, proved decisive in clinching the victory.

Cech had little to do until the Wildcats struck to make it 1-1 after hosts Guildford had gone ahead, with the visiting side then taking a 2-1 lead.

The Phoenix hit back to force overtime and penalties, with Cech coming out on top in the shoot-out.

Swindon's penalty taker attempted to thread a low shot under the ex-Chelsea star, but Cech displayed plenty of experience, albeit from a different sport, to stand his ground and make an instinctive, match-winning stop with his pads.

Serge Gnabry is regarded as an automatic starter by Germany coach Joachim Low and he might have attained that status earlier had a serious knee injury not prevented him from featuring at the 2014 World Cup.

Gnabry was considered a prodigious prospect at Arsenal after signing from Stuttgart as a youngster in 2011, breaking into the Gunners' first-team squad the following year at just 17.

He then featured 14 times across all competitions before suffering a bad injury against future employers Bayern Munich in the Champions League in March 2014, ruling him out of first-team action until the 2015-16 season.

An unsuccessful loan spell at West Brom followed in that campaign, but Gnabry got his career back on track after moving to Werder Bremen, earning a switch to Bayern where he has developed into one of Europe's most exciting wingers.

Gnabry's route to the top has been rather more convoluted than many would have expected during his early days at Arsenal and, according to Low, his 2014 injury robbed him of a place in Germany's World Cup-winning squad in Brazil just before his 19th birthday.

"In spring 2014, I made a couple of trips to London," Low told reporters ahead of Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier with Estonia.

"He played well in several matches and really impressed me. I wanted to include Serge in the squad for the 2014 World Cup, but he was unfortunately injured.

"He has been very strong in several matches for us recently. I like the way that he moves and how dangerous he is in front of goal.

"He is fortunate to have the chance to play at the very highest level. We need to encourage that and support him.

"Based on his performances over the past nine months, he needs to be on the pitch for us if he's fit and able to play."

Dani Ceballos insists he has not given up on his Real Madrid "dream" despite being sent out on loan to Arsenal this season.

Spain international Ceballos joined Madrid in 2017 after emerging as one of LaLiga's most promising talents at Real Betis, but he struggled to secure regular football under Zinedine Zidane.

After Zidane's departure, Ceballos began to play more regularly for Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, but that did not continue when the Frenchman returned in March.

He was allowed to leave for Arsenal on loan and has shown flashes of his ability in London, with Gunners fans quickly taking to the playmaker.

Though it seems they should not get used to his presence, as he still sees his long-term future at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"When I don't play, I don't enjoy myself," he told Radio Marca. "These two years [at Real Madrid] I've learned a lot from the club, but now I'm enjoying it [football].

"I knew it was an important year, the coach has doubts and he who doesn't play doesn't go [to Euro 2020], so it was a good time to go on loan.

"With [Arsenal coach Unai] Emery's confidence I may have many chances to be in the Euros squad.

"I never thought about going permanently. My goal is to succeed at Real Madrid. I will fight to fulfil my dream."

Martin Odegaard is another Madrid-owned player thriving on loan this season, with his performances at Real Sociedad marking him out as one of LaLiga's standout stars in 2019-20.

Ceballos has consequently come to the conclusion it might be a good season to be away from Los Blancos.

"You're seeing that maybe it wasn't the year to play for Real Madrid," he added. "It has been a very successful decision [for Odegaard], he has a lot of room for improvement.

"From now to the next few years, he will be a very important player for Real Madrid."

Euro 2020 is not the only international tournament Ceballos hopes of featuring in over the next year, as he will do everything he can to get Madrid to approve his decision to play at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"It's something that I may not play in my life again," Ceballos said. "I would put my dream on the table to the club.

"I have spoken with people from the [Royal Spanish Football] Federation who know that I would like to go, I would be delighted. I want to go to the Olympics and to the Euros.

"There are two tournaments that demand a lot of responsibility. I don't care if I don't have a holiday. I'm 23 years old and I'll rest when I'm older."

Former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has signed for ice hockey team Guildford Phoenix.

The 37-year-old ended his football career after making his final appearance as the Gunners lost the Europa League final 4-1 to Chelsea in May.

Cech has wasted little time in getting back into competitive sport, though, having agreed a deal to turn out for Guildford Phoenix in his debut season.

Speaking to his new side's official website, Cech said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get match experience.

"I hope I can help this young team to achieve their goals for the season and try to win as many games as possible when I have the chance to play.

"After 20 years of professional football, this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid."

Head coach Andy Hemmings added: "The signing of Petr is massive for the Phoenix. He is a great guy who trains hard and I cannot wait to see him make his debut."

A four-time Premier League champion and a Champions League winner with Chelsea, Cech is the most-capped player in the Czech Republic's history, with 124 senior appearances.

He won the FA Cup with Arsenal after spending four years with the Gunners following his exit from Stamford Bridge.

Cech rejoined Chelsea after his retirement to take up the role of Technical Advisor.

Dani Ceballos says the revivals of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez at Real Madrid does not make him regret leaving Los Blancos for Arsenal.

Bale appeared certain to depart the Spanish capital for Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning after being ostracised by Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, before the board pulled the plug on the deal.

James' future was equally unclear after he returned from a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich, but rumoured interest from Napoli and Atletico Madrid failed to materialise.

Both players have subsequently featured regularly for a Madrid side sitting top of LaLiga after eight matches, two points clear of Clasico rivals Barcelona.

Spain international Ceballos opted to make the move to the Premier League with the Gunners on loan after struggling for regular minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu over the past two seasons.

Ceballos has featured on 11 occasions in all competitions so far and is content with the decision he made as he was not enjoying life in Madrid.

"Madrid is pretty good. Yes, they've had many injuries but I don't feel sorry for not being there," he told a news conference while on international duty.

"I know what I have in my head and that was to play and enjoy. I am very happy at Arsenal, I played 10 (11) games where I showed my best level. Now I am where I want to be." 

When asked about Bale and James' upturn in fortunes at Madrid, he replied: "My idea was clear from the outset, play and enjoy football because in the previous two years I had not and I have been successful going out to Arsenal."

Ceballos also paid tribute to Madrid great Sergio Ramos, who is set to become Spain's outright most-capped player during the international break – where Spain face qualifiers against Norway and Sweden – having equalled Iker Casillas' tally of 167 last month.

"Sergio Ramos has won everything at the club and national team level," he added. 

"Despite having a lot of experience he continues to demonstrate the ambition of a young man, that ambition makes him different from the others."

Marco Giampaolo's time at AC Milan could already be over and the Serie A giants are considering replacements.

Milan overcame Genoa for their third win in seven league games this season, but they are still struggling in 13th in the table.

Giampaolo's stint at the helm at San Siro may be over already after just over three months in charge.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN CONSIDER GIAMPAOLO'S FUTURE WITH PIOLI, SPALLETTI FAVOURITES

Milan are leaning towards sacking Giampaolo despite the win over Genoa, according to CalcioMercato.

SempreMilan reports the club almost sacked Giampaolo at half-time, when the side were trailing before fighting back.

According to Sky Sport, former Inter coaches Stefano Pioli and Luciano Spalletti are favourites for the Milan job.

 

ROUND-UP

- Looking to strengthen in January, Manchester United sent scouts to watch Lyon forward Moussa Dembele against Saint-Etienne on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. Dembele came off the bench for struggling Lyon in the 1-0 loss.

- Juventus and Inter look set to battle for the Serie A title and they could be fighting elsewhere too. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Italian giants are set to fight to sign Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

- Leicester City are looking for a replacement for Ben Chilwell as they prepare for clubs to bid for the left-back, according to The Sun, which links Manchester City and Chelsea with £50million moves for the England international.

- Out to improve their defence, Arsenal are targeting Wolves centre-back Willy Boly, according to The Sun. A France youth international, Boly joined Wolves from Porto, initially on loan before the move was made permanent last year.

- Newcastle United could make a move for Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall in January, The Sun reports. Worrall, 22, is coming out of contract at season's end and the Premier League club could land him on the cheap in early 2020.

Real Madrid lead the race to sign Donny van de Beek with Manchester United seemingly out of the running for the Ajax player.

Van de Beek, 22, has developed into one of the most wanted midfielders in Europe after impressing with Ajax.

Madrid and United have been among the clubs linked with a move for the Netherlands international, but the Spanish giants are said to be favourites.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LEAD VAN DE BEEK RACE WITH MAN UNITED UNWILLING TO MEET AJAX DEMANDS

Real Madrid are in pole position to sign Van de Beek as Manchester United have been unwilling to pay big money for the Ajax man, according to the Mirror.

The report says Ajax asked the Premier League club for £35million (€39.3m) three months ago, but they are now seeking £100million (€112.3m) which has not put off Madrid.

Madrid have been linked to numerous midfielders, including United's Paul Pogba.

ROUND-UP

- Still linked with Real Madrid, Pogba is also reportedly considering signing a new contract at Manchester United. The Mirror says United have denied they are being held to ransom by Pogba amid reports he is demanding £600,000 per week to sign his new deal.

- Lautaro Martinez scored at Camp Nou on Wednesday and the Inter forward's performance has left Barcelona wanting more. The LaLiga giants' attention has returned to Martinez after the display, according to Sport, with the Argentina international having previously been linked with Barca.

- With Real Madrid eyeing midfielders, Wolves' Ruben Neves is being linked with a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu, claims Don Balon, which says €50million (£44.5m) could be enough to get a deal done.

- Arsenal are willing to pay £49.9million (€56m) for PSV striker Donyell Malen, according to Tuttosport. The 20-year-old was previously in the Premier League club's academy and has attracted interest after netting eight goals in as many Eredivisie games this season.

- Victor Valdes' return to Barcelona appears set to be short-lived. Mundo Deportivo reports the club's under-19s coach, appointed in July, is set to lose his job after a string of disagreements.

Laurent Koscielny quit Arsenal as he could not cope with the demands of Premier League football and has insisted he left with his head held high.

The 34-year-old ended a nine-year stay with the north London side in August by sealing a return to Ligue 1 with Bordeaux.

The nature of Koscielny's exit upset many Arsenal supporters, the defender having refused to take part in the club's pre-season tour of the United States.

He further angered fans when removing an Arsenal shirt to reveal a Bordeaux one underneath as part of his announcement video for the French club, with Ian Wright among those to vent his fury on Twitter.

However, Koscielny has defended his decision to force through an exit over concerns he would not be able to cope with Arsenal's hectic fixture schedule.

"A Premier League season is very long. It requires a lot physically and mentally," he told L'Equipe.

"I didn't feel I could play 40-50 matches and I didn't want to end my career with injuries. I've gone down a level, but to take more pleasure.

"Either I finished there or changed clubs. With my family, we felt it was time.

"Everything was in my thinking: football, my physical state, my wife, my children, the daily life we could have.

"I can only say that I left with my head held high."

In response to claims he lacked respect for Arsenal in his final weeks at the club, Koscielny said: "All of those I worked with for nine years... everyone respected my decision to return home with my family.

"I've always been upstanding, respectful and loyal. I always gave my maximum. I spoke with the coach, who was understanding. And as for the rest..."

Koscielny has made seven appearances for new side Bordeaux, who are seventh in Ligue 1.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang chose the wrong tone and words in his row with Hans-Joachim Watzke, says Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.

After Watzke claimed money was the reason Aubameyang left BVB to join Arsenal in January 2018, the striker hit out at the Dortmund chief executive and called him a "clown" in a post on Twitter.

Watzke opted not to comment on the issue at a news conference on Friday but Zorc criticised the Gabon international.

"My feeling is that Auba took the wrong tone here and had the wrong choice of words," Zorc told reporters.

"Hans-Joachim Watzke did not say anything bad and did not mean anything bad.

"In the time Auba was with us, during four-and-a-half years, we have always stood behind him even in difficult situations.

"In that sense, I cannot understand now why he's had such a strong and exaggerated reaction."

Aubameyang departed Dortmund after four-and-a-half years to join the Gunners for a fee in the region of £56million (€63m).

He has since scored 39 times in the Premier League, though Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification in their first season under Unai Emery.

Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has emphatically hit back at criticism levelled at him by Hans-Joachim Watzke – branding the Borussia Dortmund chief executive "a clown".

Aubameyang left Dortmund after four-and-a-half years at Signal Iduna Park to join the Gunners in January 2018 for a fee in the region of £56million (€63m).

The 30-year-old Gabon international has enhanced his reputation as one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe – netting 39 times in the Premier League, including seven in seven appearances this term.

However, Arsenal have been restricted to a diet of Europa League football since Aubameyang joined, leading Watzke to suggest he left Champions League mainstays Dortmund for financial reasons.

"Aubameyang, who plays great at Arsenal, will probably be warm-hearted when he looks at his bank account, but on Wednesdays, will be saddened when he has to watch the Champions League on television," Watzke told Suddeutsche Zeitung.

"Some go to clubs because of this money, where they have not played Champions League for years."

Responding to the comments, Aubameyang stated Watzke knew the real reasons he left Dortmund and alluded to Ousmane Dembele's big-money departure to Barcelona in August 2017 as a demonstration of the CEO's own financial motivations.

"Better for you I never talk about why I really left Dortmund Mr Watzke you [are] such a clown," he wrote in a Twitter post.

"I remember that time you said we never gonna [sic] sell Ousmane then you saw more than 100M you were the first to take that money.

"Don't talk about money please!!! Leave me alone pls [sic]."

Arsenal and Aubameyang are back in Europa League action at home to Standard Liege on Thursday.

Dortmund secured a battling 2-0 win at Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Wednesday, leaving them top of Group F above Barcelona on goal difference.

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