Chelsea are free to sign players in January after their transfer ban was halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.

The Premier League side were barred from signing new players for two successive windows by FIFA in February as punishment for breaching rules relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

Chelsea's appeal to FIFA was partially upheld, with the club allowed to register players under the age of 16 but still not permitted to bring in new senior players.

However, Frank Lampard will now be able to add to his young squad next month after CAS reduced the ban to one window, which Chelsea have already served, while halving the 600,000 Swiss francs (£4,500) fine they were handed to CHF300,000 (£2,250).

CAS' sole arbitrator deemed Chelsea had only committed one third of the violations found by FIFA, while the breaches of other rules around transfers were deemed less serious than those attributed to the club by the governing body.

Despite his inability to recruit players before the season, Lampard has overseen an excellent start to his tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League, having claimed nine wins from their opening 15 games. The Blues are 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool but are well on track to qualify for the Champions League.

Lampard's men are third in Group H in this season's Champions League but will qualify if they beat Lille on Tuesday.

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Chelsea are seemingly eager to sign Jadon Sancho, but they may have to wait until the end of the season.

The Borussia Dortmund star, 19, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club, with numerous Premier League sides reportedly interested.

And Chelsea could be ready to spend big to land the England international.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA READY TO BREAK TRANSFER RECORD FOR SANCHO

Chelsea are prepared to break their transfer record to land Sancho, according to Goal.com.

Sancho has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City after impressing at Dortmund.

Chelsea broke their own transfer record last year, when they paid Athletic Bilbao a reported £71.6million (€80m) for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Premier League club are appealing their transfer ban, at this stage unable to buy players in January.

That may not be such a problem when it comes to Sancho, though, with Sport Bild reporting the attacker may not want a January move.

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is struggling for game time at Paris Saint-Germain and the 32-year-old forward could be set for a move. AS reports the Uruguay international likes the idea of a switch to Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at the Wanda Metropolitano and Athletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 22, will join Atletico in a €30m transfer next year, according to Marca.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears safe for now at Manchester United, but The Sun reports the Premier League club could turn to England manager Gareth Southgate if they decide to make a change at the end of the season.

- Carlo Ancelotti remains under pressure at Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will wait until the Champions League clash against Genk on December 10 before considering a change. Napoli are winless in eight matches and sit seventh in Serie A.

- Metz and France youth international defender Lenny Lacroix, 16, is attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- With Everton in the Premier League relegation zone after their Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool, Marco Silva could be sacked. The Sun reports Silva said goodbye to his Everton players after the loss at Anfield.

Real Madrid have made Fabian Ruiz their top transfer target.

According to reports, "negotiations have accelerated" as the Spanish heavyweights aim to take advantage of the disarray at Napoli.

But the midfielder also has high-profile admirers in England and France.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEP UP FABIAN INTEREST

Napoli midfielder Fabian is a man in demand.

Madrid appear to be in pole position, with Cadena SER claiming the Spanish giants are "very serious" about taking the 23-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Negotiations over a contract extension at Napoli are said to have stopped and the Spain international is reportedly warm to the idea of joining up with Zinedine Zidane's side.

However, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could look to force a three-way bidding war for the Spain international, who has previously been linked to Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Ex-Valencia head coach Marcelino has emerged as a left-field managerial candidate for Arsenal and Everton, according to the Daily Mail. The 54-year-old lost his job at the Mestalla in September following a reported falling out with owner Peter Lim.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears he will be sacked if Manchester United lose their next two games against Tottenham and bitter rivals City, says The Sun.

- Former Premier League striker-turned-reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft claims Liverpool are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho – but the winger will cost the Premier League leaders €130million.

- Chelsea have offered little-used striker Olivier Giroud to Serie A sides Milan and Inter, according to CalcioMercato.

Barcelona are keeping tabs on 16-year-old PSG midfielder Edouard Michut, reports Le Parisien.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has been crowned the first ever winner of the Yachine Trophy at 2019 Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris.

The 27-year-old beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Ederson to be crowned the best keeper in the world.

Alisson played a crucial role in Liverpool's Champions League success and started six times for Brazil in their triumphant Copa America campaign.

He also won the Golden Glove in the Premier League last season with 21 clean sheets as the Reds fell just short of Manchester City in the title race.

Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen finished second in the voting, while Alisson's compatriot Ederson was third.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Hugo Lloris, Jan Oblak, Samir Handanovic, Manuel Neuer, Andre Onana and Wojciech Szczesny were also in the running for the inaugural award.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Liverpool remain on course for a first ever Premier League title after a nervy 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, while Manchester City could only manage a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

Jurgen Klopp's side endured a tense finish at Anfield after goalkeeper Alisson was dismissed with 14 minutes remaining, but they held on for a 13th win in 14 games this season.

City, meanwhile, were far from their fluid best at St James' Park and were denied a vital win by Jonjo Shelvey's superb late strike.

Jose Mourinho racked up a second consecutive Premier League win since taking over at Tottenham, Dele Alli proving to be the star man in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth, while West Ham pulled off a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

REDS SURVIVE ALISSON RED CARD

Runaway leaders Liverpool survived a nervy finale to equal their longest unbeaten run in the top flight and capitalise on City's slip-up.

A Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick set up the opener for Van Dijk in the 18th minute and the same combination soon provided a second goal as Brighton were found wanting at a corner.

Brighton were given an unexpected lifeline when Alisson was sent off for handling outside his box – meaning he will miss Wednesday's derby clash with Everton – and Lewis Dunk caught out replacement goalkeeper Adrian with a quick free-kick.

The Seagulls could not find a late equaliser, though, and while Leicester City can cut Liverpool's advantage at the summit to eight points by beating Everton on Sunday, there looks to be no stopping a team who have now gone 31 league games unbeaten, matching their record streak from May 1987 to March 1988.

CITY'S TITLE HOPES SLIP AWAY

City's hopes of claiming a third consecutive Premier League title suffered a fresh blow, with Shelvey's late intervention leaving them 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola's side looked set to cruise to all three points when Raheem Sterling scored his eighth Premier League goal of the campaign midway through the first half, but they were pegged back by Jetro Willems' fierce drive three minutes later.

Kevin De Bruyne restored City's lead with a sumptuous half-volley in the 82nd minute, the Belgium international using his chest to control a headed clearance before unleashing a stunning effort that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Newcastle bounced back in style to ensure a share of the spoils two minutes from time, though, when Shelvey whipped home from 25 yards after Christian Atsu had picked him out with a short free-kick.

MOURINHO'S PERFECT START CONTINUES

Tottenham beat West Ham and Olympiacos in Mourinho's first two matches and were good value for their latest triumph at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite another late collapse.

The hosts made a slow start but took the lead midway through the opening period through Alli, who slotted the ball underneath Aaron Ramsdale after being teed up by Son Heung-min's first-time pass.

The England international scored a second early in the second half before Moussa Sissoko added a third with his first league goal in his past 69 appearances.

Harry Wilson pulled two goals back for Bournemouth in the closing stages - one of which was a superb free-kick - but Tottenham held on for back-to-back league wins for the first time since April to climb to fifth, six points off a Champions League place.

PRESSURE EASES ON PELLEGRINI AFTER FINE WIN

Aaron Cresswell scored the only goal of the game as West Ham eased the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini and ended their seven-game Premier League winless streak at Chelsea.

The Hammers became only the second side to win at Chelsea in the league this season and Frank Lampard's side, who lost at Manchester City a week prior, could have few complaints about the result.

Cresswell scored the winner early in the second half and West Ham could have extended their lead before surviving a late rally from the hosts to secure their first victory since they beat Manchester United on September 22.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor courtesy of goals from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp.

Willian says he is eager to stay on at Chelsea beyond the end of the campaign but has yet to be offered a new deal by the Premier League side.

The Brazil international is into his seventh season at Stamford Bridge and is due to be out of contract next June.

But Willian, who turns 32 next year, intends to remain a Chelsea player and is waiting for discussions to begin over fresh terms.

"I feel happy here," he told reporters. "I feel happy to play for this club but the situation is not in my hands. It's in their hands. 

"I'm waiting for them. They know what I want, what I want to do, so I wait for them."

Head coach Frank Lampard recently called on Chelsea chiefs to award Willian with an extension and the forward will bide his time.

"I don't want to talk to [other clubs] because I have a contract until the end of the season," he said. "I am a Chelsea player but I just want to say the club know what I want to do."

Willian made his 17th appearance of the season on Wednesday in Chelsea's 2-2 Champions League draw with Valencia, playing 80 minutes before being replaced by Mason Mount.

Daniel Wass scored eight minutes from time for Valencia to leave Lampard's side potentially needing a home victory over Lille next month to advance to the last 16.

"The end of the game was crazy and it's difficult to play at Valencia with the atmosphere," said Willian.

"At least we got a point and now we have a decider at home. I think we got a little bit lucky but it was like this so now we go to the game against Lille."

Kai Havertz is reportedly wanted by seven of Europe's biggest clubs.

The Germany and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has impressed in the Bundesliga, sparking interest from numerous clubs.

Havertz, 20, is contracted at Leverkusen until 2022, but that does not seem to be stopping Europe's best and biggest.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, MADRID AMONG SEVEN CLUBS WHO WANT HAVERTZ

LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of seven clubs who want Kai Havertz, according to Sport Bild.

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the other clubs interested in Havertz.

Havertz made his senior debut at Leverkusen in 2016 and has already amassed 121 appearances for the club.

ROUND-UP

- Talks between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Milan are continuing. Sport Mediaset reports the striker wants €3million net until June, while Milan are offering €2m, with Ibrahimovic hoping to arrive at his next club by mid-December.

- Arsenal have started looking at potential replacements for under-fire head coach Unai Emery, according to The Daily Telegraph. Emery is under pressure after a run of six games without a win at Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo are reported candidates.

- Edinson Cavani is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and the Uruguayan could be set for an MLS move. Cavani's representatives met with LA Galaxy last week regarding a potential switch, according to Le10Sport.

- Arsenal and Lyon are interested in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Tuttomercatoweb. The 26-year-old France international has made just three LaLiga appearances this season after dealing with injuries.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen is keen to discuss a new deal with Tottenham, according to Sky Sports News. The centre-back is reportedly a target for Roma and Bayer Leverkusen.

- Inter Miami are still eyeing their first coach ahead of their inaugural MLS season in 2020. The Telegraph reports David Beckham is lining up Nice boss Patrick Vieira.

N'Golo Kante says he rebuffed interest from Paris Saint-Germain because he is happy at Chelsea.

Ligue 1 champions PSG have long been linked with the France international and reportedly tried to sign him following his impressive displays at the 2018 World Cup.

The move never materialised and Kante, considered one of the Premier League's best midfielders, is now in his fourth season at Stamford Bridge.

He signed a new five-year contract with the club in November 2018 and has no plans to leave.

"Sometimes you don't really know where you want to go, but you know what you already have," Kante told Canal+ when asked about PSG's interest.

"I knew I was at Chelsea and I felt good at Chelsea. On top of that, it was a footballing decision.

"I felt good in London and I felt happy in this project and therefore I am happy to stay here."

Kante joined Chelsea in 2016 following a season with Leicester City, where he won the first of his two Premier League titles.

The 28-year-old scored for the third time this season in the Blues' 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero may have sustained a "bad" injury as Manchester City earned a comeback Premier League win at home to Chelsea, said manager Pep Guardiola.

City only had 46.74 possession against the in-form Blues, the lowest recorded by a Guardiola side in his 381 top-flight matches as a manager, but they collected a crucial three points.

N'Golo Kante had given Chelsea a deserved lead by squeezing a clever finish past returning goalkeeper Ederson, but Kevin De Bruyne's deflected shot levelled the score before Riyad Mahrez curled in what proved the winner.

City's comeback, though, was marred by a trio of injuries to key players as Rodri, David Silva and Aguero all had to be substituted during the second half at Etihad Stadium.

Aguero appeared to be in some discomfort as he hobbled off and Guardiola fears the striker could miss some time for the champions.

"I think Sergio will be bad, I think so... this feeling, tomorrow [Sunday] we will know," Guardiola told Sky Sports.

"We will see tomorrow, the feeling is it is muscular. It is what it is, we have young players and we will try [to cope if Aguero is ruled out]."

Barcelona are preparing for next season and they have several players on their wish list.

The LaLiga leaders are enjoying a decent campaign in 2019-20, but they already have one eye on 2020-2021.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic are reportedly their main targets.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET MARTINEZ, KIMMICH AND MILENKOVIC

Martinez, Kimmich and Milenkovic are Barcelona's main targets ahead of 2020-21, according to AS.

If they miss out on Kimmich, they will look to RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann, the report says.

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is another option, while Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a target if they cannot land Martinez.

ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino could be set for a quick return to management. Bayern Munich want to hold talks with the former Tottenham manager, according to The Telegraph.

- Could the impact of Jose Mourinho be felt at Tottenham already? Toby Alderweireld, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could stay at Spurs after Mourinho's arrival, The Telegraph also reports.

- Roma could extend Lorenzo Pellegrini's contract, but several clubs are interested in the midfielder. Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have shown some interest in Pellegrini, according to CalcioMercato.

- Marko Pjaca has failed to have an impact since his arrival at Juventus in 2016. CalcioMercato reports the Croatian attacker, who has already been on loan at Schalke and Fiorentina since his arrival in Turin, could be set for another spell away from Juve in January.

- Chelsea have a target in January if their transfer ban is overturned. The Premier League giants have been monitoring CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, according to Sky Sports. The 21-year-old scored 15 Russian Premier League goals last season and has five in 16 games in 2019-20.

VAR controversy, Leicester City's swashbuckling style, Liverpool's unrelenting charge to the title – these are all among the most prominent themes of the opening months of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

But arguably trumping all of them in terms of column inches has been Chelsea's use of young players, with Frank Lampard's return to the club as head coach coinciding with a new-found desire to bring youngsters into the first-team.

Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Christian Pulisic have all featured regularly, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have recently returned from serious injuries.

Eden Hazard, Graeme Le Saux, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson and Petr Cech are just a few of the army of people to lavish Chelsea and Lampard with praise for this philosophy.

Although it is difficult not to be cynical of Lampard's insistence that he would have had the same approach even if Chelsea were not banned from signing new players, the fact remains they are giving young players a chance.

But how does their use of under-23 players compare to the rest of the teams in Europe's top five leagues?

PREMIER LEAGUE

It might surprise supporters to learn that among Premier League clubs, Chelsea don't lead the way for appearances (60), minutes (4,164) or assists (8) for players who were under 23 on matchday.

Manchester United have racked up the highest number of matches for players younger than 23 (84), one more than Leicester. The next highest is Bournemouth (67), while Arsenal and Norwich City are also ahead of Chelsea.

As such, United have given 5,801 minutes of Premier League football to young players, though Leicester lead the way with 6,164 and are also on top in terms of assists (15).

Chelsea's 20 goals from qualifying players is a division high, however, four more than United. Leicester are the third and final side to reach double figures.

And the Blues' average starting XI age of 25 years and 115 days is among the youngest, though Bournemouth are ahead on that front (25y 88d).

LALIGA

In Spain's top flight, only Real Sociedad (84) and Real Mallorca (68) have given more matches to young players than Chelsea. They're also the only clubs to accumulate more minutes played by youngsters than the Blues (5,341 and 5,944, respectively).

La Real also top the charts for goals (10), assists (8) and average starting XI age (25y 235d) in Spain, though none of those records better Chelsea's.

Therefore, it's fair to say LaLiga, renowned for its development of young players, is lagging behind Premier League in that regard at the moment.

SERIE A

Chelsea's 60 appearances by young players would put them fourth on those terms in Serie A, with Fiorentina (79), Genoa and AC Milan (both 72) out in front.

Those three have also given more minutes to under-23s, with Fiorentina (5,837) setting the bar again.

Genoa have had 11 goals set up by under-23 players, three more than Chelsea, while Milan's average starting XI age (24y 203d) is much lower than Lampard's men.

But in each of those two parameters, Chelsea would be second in the chart. They would lead for goals from under-23s, with Fiorentina top in Italy on 10.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig (80), Mainz, Schalke (both 70) and Borussia Monchengladbach (63) have been the most open to playing under-23s in the Bundesliga

Similarly, all four clubs have seen those players feature in more than 4,500 minutes this season – Leipzig unsurprisingly leading the way with 5,259.

Leipzig are also Chelsea's closest challengers in terms of goals. Their record of 17 may be slightly less than the Blues, but their 11-assist haul - level with Gladbach - takes them to 28 involvements, exactly the same as Lampard's side.

Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig are also the youngest side in the Bundesliga, with their starting XI's average age just 24 years and 340 days. Mainz (25y 38d) are the only other top-flight German club to beat Chelsea in this regard.

LIGUE 1

France's Ligue 1 is by far the most accessible of the five major leagues for young players, with a total of 1,360 appearances from under-23 players across the 20 clubs, an average of 68 per team.

In comparison, the Premier League (871) averages 43.55 appearances per club and the Bundesliga's 18 sides afford under-23s 45.28 outings (815 total).

Nice make up the biggest share of the Ligue 1 appearances with a massive 121, but Lille (116), Lyon (99), Reims (96), Nimes (83), Toulouse (82), Rennes, Bordeaux (both 75), Metz (74), Monaco, Dijon (both 65) and Strasbourg (62) have all allowed youngsters to play more than 60 matches.

Of course, a key element of this is the lack of funds at many of these clubs and French football in general with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, have entrusted the fewest games (30) to under-23 players in the division.

Nevertheless, only Nice (24y 41d), Lille (24y 111d) and Lyon (24y 288d) have a younger starting line-up on average than Lampard's Chelsea.

Are we about to see a Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic reunion?

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic worked together at Inter, before the Portuguese manager brought the Swedish star to Manchester United in 2016.

Now, new Tottenham boss Mourinho is reportedly eyeing the 38-year-old striker.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TARGETING IBRA

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is poised to make a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to the Telegraph.

Ibrahimovic is on the lookout for a new club after opting to leave MLS outfit LA Galaxy following two seasons in the United States.

The 38-year-old has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna, Napoli, Manchester United and Australian team Perth Glory; however, Mourinho reportedly wants to reunite with Ibrahimovic at Tottenham.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spanish newspaper Sport reports a close friend of Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus predicting he will get the Barcelona job if his side win Saturday's Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, who are led by another reputed Catalan target in Marcelo Gallardo. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at the LaLiga champions.

Real Madrid are set to open talks with star striker Karim Benzema over a new contract, Marca reports. The 31-year-old's current deal expires in 2021.

- Out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is wanted by LaLiga's Atletico Madrid, according to ESPN FC. Matic has struggled for game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with AC Milan and Inter also interested.

- With Tottenham reportedly looking to hijack AC Milan's pursuit of Ibrahimovic, Sky Sport Italia says the Rossoneri are rivalling Inter and Borussia Dortmund for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud.

- The Daily Mail reports that Leicester City have opened talks with James Maddison over a new contract. The 22-year-old England international has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Partizan Belgrade sensation Strahinja Pavlovic is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 outfit Monaco. Sportski Zurnal says the 18-year-old defender has undergone a medical ahead of a €10million transfer plus add-ons.

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

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