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.

 

ROUND-UP

- 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.

Dani Ceballos acknowledged Spain were made to suffer before sealing their place at Euro 2020 with a dramatic 1-1 draw in Sweden.

Marcus Berg's 50th-minute opener and an abductor injury for David de Gea looked set to add up to a frustrating outing for Robert Moreno's men on Tuesday.

But Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to poach a stoppage-time equaliser and make certain of qualification for next year's European Championship.

Spain were on the receiving end of a similar fightback when Norway snatched a 1-1 draw in their previous match and Arsenal playmaker Ceballos – who operated at the tip of a midfield diamond during an impressive opening – noted improvement in Stockholm.

"Against Norway we were more hesitant. Today we were very plugged in," Ceballos said.

"If Thiago [Alcantara's] chance had gone in, the game would have been different. The team is growing, it's time to be united for Euro 2020.

"The point gives us glory. In the first 30 minutes we dominated, but then it was complicated by the goal and injury to De Gea.

"The team has known how to suffer and we leave with good feelings of achieving our goal.

Moreno made six changes to the side that faced Norway but Spain's squad unity looked in good order as the bench deliriously joined in Rodrigo's celebrations.

"It has been crazy to look at the bench and see [unused substitute Sergio] Busquets celebrate with Rodrigo," Ceballos added.

"That reflects the good atmosphere of the dressing room, with the coach also celebrating like crazy. We have a good dressing room."

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."

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."

Arsenal made it six points from a possible six in the Europa League this season with a 4-0 victory over Standard Liege on Thursday.

Gabriel Martinelli scored twice in quick succession before Joe Willock added a third in a clinical first 22 minutes from Unai Emery's side.

Dani Ceballos netted his first goal for the club in the second half to cap a routine win for the Gunners, who are already looking a solid bet to reach the next round.

In his first start in Europe for the club, Kieran Tierney crossed for Martinelli to glance in a fine opening goal with only 13 minutes played.

Just 131 seconds later, Martinelli became the youngest Arsenal player to score twice in a European match, turning onto his right foot after collecting Reiss Nelson's cross and drilling a shot beyond Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.

Standard's wretched start was compounded six minutes later, as Willock buried a low shot into the net from 12 yards out after the visitors failed to clear their lines.

Standard still managed to threaten Arsenal when they broke forward, with Aleksandar Boljevic's crosses from the right causing some concern and Emiliano Martinez parrying a shot from Nicolas Gavory.

Any lingering resistance was broken 57 minutes in, though, when Martinelli clipped a cross towards the middle of the goal and Ceballos arrived to prod the ball over the line.

Substitute Nicolas Pepe saw a late effort blocked before Hector Bellerin fired the rebound over the crossbar, and Ceballos was denied a second by a good Milinkovic-Savic save, offering a slight reprieve to a Standard side who were otherwise well beaten.

What does it mean? Martinelli has Arsenal marching towards knockouts

Last season's beaten finalists are top of Group F with six points from two games and look to be heading for the last 32 with minimal fuss.

Given their indifferent form in the league, it might be time for Martinelli, who has four goals from two games in the Europa League and EFL Cup this season, to start getting more regular run-outs.

Willock a weapon in the making

Martinelli took his goals clinically, but it was Willock who most impressed for the Gunners, linking midfield to attack confidently and playing a part in nearly all their best attacking moves.

Vanheusden, we have a problem

Zinho Vanheusden was linked with Arsenal before completing a permanent move to Standard from Inter this year, and he certainly did his best to help the Gunners with his positioning for all three first-half goals.

What's next?

Arsenal host Vitoria SC on matchday three on October 24, but next up is a Premier League game at home to Bournemouth on Sunday.

Unai Emery has handed Mesut Ozil his first Premier League start of the season as Arsenal make the short journey to Vicarage Road for their clash with Watford.

Illness has kept Ozil out of Emery's side during Arsenal's mixed start to the season, with a place among the Gunners' unused substitutes in a 2-2 draw against Tottenham the closest he has come to making an appearance.

Ozil's season was also delayed by the alleged attempted carjacking in July that left him, along with team-mate Sead Kolasinac, said to be mentally unready to join the team for the latter part of Arsenal's pre-season training.

Ozil, who has made at least 20 league starts for Arsenal in the past six seasons, was handed a place behind Emery's front two of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Watford, with Dani Ceballos returning to the starting line-up in place of Lucas Torreira.

Arsenal won their opening two league games of the season against Newcastle United and Burnley before suffering defeat against Liverpool and then drawing at home against Spurs.

Watford, meanwhile, have taken just one point from their opening four matches of the season.

Dani Ceballos has admitted to being left in awe of Liverpool's high-pressing prowess following Arsenal's suffocating 3-1 defeat at Anfield in August.

Mohamed Salah scored twice and Joel Matip once when the Gunners, previously unbeaten, travelled to Merseyside for their third match of the new Premier League season.

Spain international Ceballos lasted only an hour but the European champions made a big impression on the midfielder, who is on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid.

"I've never seen anything like what I saw at Anfield," Ceballos told the Guardian.

"I haven't seen a team that plays better, that presses like them, the way the fans carry them along.

“They take the air from you. You spend so much time defending and when you want to do something with the ball, when you want to breathe, they're back on top of you. They're very well-drilled."

Ceballos was dropped to the bench for Arsenal's next match, the 2-2 draw against Tottenham, but sliding out of the starting XI did nothing to dent his enthusiasm for life in north London.

"I love the city, I love the Premier League and love Arsenal," he said.

"I'm just really, really happy to be part of this great club. I've hardly noticed any difference in size between Real Madrid and Arsenal. And the fans are very passionate, they love the players."

Ceballos believes Arsenal's front three can propel them to success, saluting the "direct" qualities of Nicolas Pepe and describing Alexandre Lacazette as "the best player".

"You can compare [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang to Cristiano [Ronaldo] when he was at Madrid in the sense that he plays close to the goal, he lives for scoring," Ceballos added.

Robert Moreno wants Dani Ceballos to seize his chance at Arsenal and show he can be a midfield mainstay for Spain.

The loan recruit from Real Madrid is in the early weeks of a season in London that could prove pivotal for his career.

Former Real Betis playmaker Ceballos spent two years at the Santiago Bernabeu without fully establishing himself as a regular starter, although in that time he broke into the senior international squad.

Ceballos has six caps to date and could add to that tally in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Romania on Thursday and Faroe Islands on Sunday.

But it is club consistency that Spain coach Moreno has challenged Ceballos to produce.

"What I want is for him to play, the important thing is that the players have minutes," he said.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Moreno was reluctant to talk about Ceballos and his Real Madrid prospects.

"I'm not going to get into Madrid because [coach Zinedine] Zidane is the one who decides there," said Moreno.

"I want him to play many minutes now at Arsenal."

Moreno is also hoping for great things from Pablo Sarabia, who swapped Sevilla for Paris Saint-Germain in July.

Sarabia showed stirring form in LaLiga last term to earn his move to the French champions and at the age of 27 a first Spain cap could come his way.

"I think that Sarabia is a player that, having seen him in the position where he performed at Sevilla and PSG, can add many things because he is a forward with the spirit of a midfielder," said Moreno.

"He can create between the lines and make assists. He also scores goals. When you don't have a forward that scores 80 goals you need five that score 15 goals each.

"That is what we look for from our forwards, not only to add to the game but to score goals. That is the ideal scenario. Pablo did great in Sevilla last year. He is also performing well in PSG.

"He has the profile that we like for the style of game that we will try to impose. He is one player more for us now, hopefully he will be lucky enough to make his debut in the next games."

Hector Bellerin believes Arsenal team-mate Dani Ceballos is one of the best players he has ever seen.

The midfielder, on loan for the season from Real Madrid, produced a fine performance on his full Premier League debut as the Gunners beat Burnley 2-1 last time out.

The 23-year-old set up the goals scored by Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he controlled proceedings from the heart of the midfield at Emirates Stadium.

Bellerin, a team-mate of Ceballos at youth and senior level for Spain, thinks Unai Emery has a hugely influential and talented player on his hands.

 

"I think Dani's one of the best players I've seen in my career," the full-back told Arsenal's official website. "I've played with him since we were, like, 18 or 19 years old. We've played in the Under-21s; we get on really well off the pitch.

"He's a great player. I think he's going to be a great addition to the team. The Premier League is very different to any other league, but he's shown in training that he's ready for it.

"He's up for it and he's a player who will go through thick and thin to do the best for his team. He's got a great heart and he plays for everyone around him. I think he's a great addition."

Arsenal take on European champions Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

Unai Emery believes standout performances from fresh faces contributed to an upbeat atmosphere at Emirates Stadium during Arsenal's hard-earned 2-1 win over Burnley.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's second goal in as many games moved the Gunners to a maximum six points following last weekend's victory at Newcastle United.

Ashley Barnes had cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette's well-taken opener, but an excellent Dani Ceballos helped Arsenal pin down Burnley after the interval.

Teenager Joe Willock was tidy alongside Ceballos in midfield, while David Luiz looked comfortable at the back and Nicolas Pepe provided flashes of excitement off the bench.

"We wanted to create one big atmosphere with our supporters," Emery said in his post-match news conference.

"Together we did that. I think with some new players, they made an impact today."

He added: "We can be happy. Our idea, our gameplan on the pitch was knowing it was going to be tough because we need to adapt.

"A lot of moments we couldn't impose our gameplan because [Burnley] pushed and their gameplan was a struggle for us.

"Our challenge is each match. We are happy with six points. Next week we are against Liverpool, a big challenge.

"Being realistic, it's going to be tough."

Emery's counterpart, Sean Dyche, was less impressed with Arsenal after the final whistle.

The Burnley boss took aim at what he perceived to be persistent and unpunished simulation by opposition players.

"I am really worried about the game of football with players falling all over the floor," Dyche said.

"Today it was impossible how many went down. I'm told it's a yellow card at worst and in my view that's a free shot for every player to do it once. That can't be right."

Burnley, 3-0 victors against Southampton last weekend, travel to Wolves next Sunday.

David Luiz commended his new team-mates for being humble and hungry following a victorious Arsenal debut against Burnley at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in a 2-1 win as Unai Emery's men moved to maximum points from two Premier League games for the first time in a decade.

Ashley Barnes equalised for Burnley between the goals but defender David Luiz otherwise impressed in his first appearance since a deadline-day move from Chelsea.

The 32-year-old thanked the Arsenal fans for accepting him and praised the squad head coach Emery has assembled.

"I'm so happy to be here, to try to do my job, and also to enjoy these quality players," David Luiz told BT Sport.

"This team has a lot to learn, it can improve a lot and we can fight for all the competitions, step by step and working hard.

"It's a pleasure to be here because everybody is humble, everybody wants to learn and everybody wants to improve and we want this club to shine again.

"I tried to do my best. Our style is to play football. We changed a bit because the game shows us to play a different way.

"But when you have confidence and when you are training with the team you have to try to do the plan.

"I think in the end I did very well."

Aubameyang scored the only goal in last weekend's 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United and grabbed a second winner in as many matches when he lashed in an unerring 64th-minute strike.

Dani Ceballos provided the assist, just as he did with the corner that led to Lacazette's early opener.

Arsenal fans gave the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder a warm round of applause when he left the pitch and also gained a first glimpse of club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, who was introduced at half-time.

"We feel stronger," striker Aubameyang said.

"Players like David, Dani Ceballos, Pepe, they came here and now we feel stronger. I feel sure we can fight for the top four."

Dani Ceballos starred on his full Arsenal debut, creating both the Gunners' goals as Unai Emery's side triumphed 2-1 at home to Burnley.

The midfielder - on loan from Real Madrid - put in a sensational performance, running the show for Arsenal, having 97 touches - more than any of his team-mates.

Ceballos also attempted 70 passes and created four chances and became the third Arsenal player to register two assists on his first Premier League start.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, against Everton in 2018, and Ray Parlour had previously achieved that feat.

It was some way to make an impression for Ceballos, who has struggled to cement his place at Madrid.

David Luiz will make his Arsenal debut against Burnley on Saturday, but Nicolas Pepe has been kept waiting for a first Premier League start.

A deadline-day signing from Chelsea, the experienced David Luiz joins Dani Ceballos and Alexandre Lacazette in the XI as Unai Emery makes three changes to the team that won 1-0 at Newcastle United.

Lacazette was an unused substitute in that match and Spanish midfielder Ceballos appeared in the second half following his loan move from Real Madrid.

Pepe, a club-record signing from Lille, could feature off the bench for the second week running as Granit Xhaka drops out of the squad due to back and leg bruising.

Mesut Ozil is missing as a result of illness earlier in the week, but Sead Kolasinac is back in the matchday fold.

At his pre-match news conference, head coach Emery stated both players were mentally ready to return to action after being given time off due to concerns over their safety.

Ozil and Kolasinac were victims of an apparent attempted carjacking in July and missed last weekend's season-opening victory.

Calum Chambers and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, starters at St James' Park, are relegated to the bench.

Arsenal lost 2-1 to a Moussa Dembele-inspired Lyon in the Emirates Cup on Sunday and saw Alexandre Lacazette substituted with an ankle injury.

France international Lacazette suffered a knock during the early exchanges and was withdrawn after just 13 minutes, as things got off to a poor start for Unai Emery.

The former Lyon star did run off the pitch, however, suggesting his withdrawal was merely a precaution.

Nevertheless, Lacazette's departure did not impact Arsenal a huge amount, as Joe Willock forced Anthony Lopes into two fine saves before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring – the striker meeting Henrikh Mkhitaryan's right-wing cross with a volley that left Lopes with no chance.

Bernd Leno made an excellent stop from Memphis Depay early in the second half, before Arsenal substitute Eddie Nketiah wasted two opportunities to increase the lead.

Lyon capitalised just past the hour – Dembele heading Depay's cross out of Leno's reach.

Gunners signings Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli came on soon after and the latter swiftly found the net, only for it to be disallowed for offside.

Lyon then went straight up the other end to get the winner, as Dembele coolly slotted past Leno on the break.

The visitors held on to claim the trophy, despite Aubameyang hitting the post from way out on the left wing late on.

Dani Ceballos has revealed that former Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes was his "childhood idol" and he spoke to his father before moving to north London.

The Spain Under-21 star will spend the 2019-20 season on loan with the Gunners from Real Madrid, where he had been struggling for regular first-team football.

Ceballos always followed the Gunners because of Reyes, a member of the 'Invincibles' side of 2003-04, who was killed in a car accident in June.

Having asked Reyes' father for some advice ahead of the move, Ceballos is now relishing the prospect of playing for the same side as his boyhood hero.

"This is a historic club that I've always looked out for because of Jose Antonio Reyes, who is from the same town as me and played here," he told the club's website.

"He made history at this club, winning the league title, so it's an important step in my career for me to join Arsenal.

"I spoke to his father just before coming here and he told me not to think twice because this is a wonderful club. Jose had a fantastic time here. 

"When I came into the training ground I saw a picture of him and it really struck me because he's like my childhood idol. Being at the club where he made a name for himself is a big step forward and I hope to make this club even bigger."

Ceballos will hope to make his first appearance for the club in the Emirates Cup match with Lyon on Sunday.

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