Leicester City defender Ricardo Pereira will miss the rest of the season - and most likely Euro 2020 - after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.

The Portugal international hurt his knee during Leicester's 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.

Brendan Rodgers confirmed the right-back will be unavailable for selection for the rest of the campaign.

"We've got Ricardo Pereira who will be out for the rest of the season. He had a challenge and has hurt his ACL," Rodgers said on Thursday.

"He's not had an operation. He's just with the medical team. It's a blow for us. It's an opportunity for someone else. It's a shame.

"You've just got to see how the player reacts. You're looking between four to six months.

"That will be the time we are expecting."

There was further bad news for the Foxes in relation to James Maddison, who will be out until after the international break with a calf injury.

Furthermore, Rodgers also announced three Leicester players had "shown symptoms and signs" of coronavirus and were now isolated away from the rest of the squad.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread cancellation of sporting events and fixtures, though some will take place as scheduled but behind closed doors.

There have been 590 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, with eight deaths.

Leicester sit third in the Premier League and are due to face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is hopeful James Maddison will sign a new contract amid links to Manchester United.

Maddison's future continues to dominate headlines, with the Leicester star reportedly a top transfer target for Premier League giants United.

United are set to try to prise Maddison to Old Trafford at the end of the season, however, Rodgers hopes the England international midfielder's long-term future is at King Power Stadium.

"Talks have been ongoing with the club and his representatives," Rodgers said ahead of Friday's match against Norwich City.

"I know the boy is very happy, he wants to be here and he sees this as the club he can develop at. I am hopeful it will be done."

Maddison has scored nine goals across all competitions for Leicester this season, six of those coming in the Premier League with three assists.

The 23-year-old has established himself as one of the Premier League's best attacking midfielders since joining from Norwich in June 2018.

Maddison has enjoyed another fine campaign as Leicester sit third in the standings and on track to qualify for the Champions League after 27 matches.

Liverpool appear to be getting closer to completing a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Werner, 23, has been linked with a move to Anfield after a prolific season with the Bundesliga side.

Now, it seems the Germany forward is continuing to take step towards joining the European champions.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL OFFER WERNER FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Liverpool have offered Werner a contract until 2025 worth £6.8million (€8m) a season plus bonuses, according La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

The Premier League club are reportedly ready to pay Werner's release clause of £49m (€58m) before April.

Werner, who recently spoke glowingly about the Premier League club, has 27 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are backing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Sun reports United are preparing a £250m spending spree amid links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jadon Sancho, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Leicester City's James Maddison.

- Coming out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen seems set to leave Tottenham. The Evening Standard reports Inter have contacted the defender about a potential move.

- Could Marcelo Bielsa be set to leave Leeds United? ElDesmarque reports Real Betis have contacted the Argentinian about his situation, with Leeds chasing promotion to the Premier League.

- Looking to strengthen their defence, Chelsea have made RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano their number one transfer target, according to the Mirror.

- Amid some criticism of Real Madrid over their decision to let Theo Hernandez leave for Milan in July, CalcioMercato reports the 22-year-old Frenchman is happy at the Serie A club, where he has starred this season.

Liverpool appear to be getting closer to completing a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Werner, 23, has been linked with a move to Anfield after a prolific season with the Bundesliga side.

Now, it seems the Germany forward is continuing to take step towards joining the European champions.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL OFFER WERNER FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Liverpool have offered Werner a contract until 2025 worth £6.8million (€8m) a season plus bonuses, according La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

The Premier League club are reportedly ready to pay Werner's release clause of £49m (€58m) before April.

Werner, who recently spoke glowingly about the Premier League club, has 27 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are backing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Sun reports United are preparing a £250m spending spree amid links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jadon Sancho, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Leicester City's James Maddison.

- Coming out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen seems set to leave Tottenham. The Evening Standard reports Inter have contacted the defender about a potential move.

- Could Marcelo Bielsa be set to leave Leeds United? ElDesmarque reports Real Betis have contacted the Argentinian about his situation, with Leeds chasing promotion to the Premier League.

- Looking to strengthen their defence, Chelsea have made RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano their number one transfer target, according to the Mirror.

- Amid some criticism of Real Madrid over their decision to let Theo Hernandez leave for Milan in July, CalcioMercato reports the 22-year-old Frenchman is happy at the Serie A club, where he has starred this season.

Manchester United can attract the world's best players with or without Champions League football, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United are set to spend heavily at the end of the season as the Red Devils continue to struggle in the Premier League – ninth and 41 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Leicester City's James Maddison and Aston Villa star Jack Grealish are among players being linked to United, who are six points outside the top four.

While acknowledging Champions League qualification makes it easier to sign stars, under-fire boss Solskjaer insisted United still have pulling power.

"The Champions League gives the club more resources, more money, that's one thing," said Solskjaer ahead of Monday's blockbuster trip to Chelsea.

"It's a prestigious tournament to be in, of course.

"But doing as well as we can, and if we play well the rest of the season, and players that we might want are impressed by that, it might be easier to convince them to come here.

"But I don't think one season – this season is the Europa League – if next season is with or without the Champions League, I wouldn't say that's the be-all and end-all for a player to sign for us."

It has been another tough campaign for United, who have only won nine of their 25 Premier League games so far.

United are winless in three games, having only managed one victory from their past five outings in the league.

Prior to the break, United were held to a goalless draw by Wolves as January signing Bruno Fernandes made his highly anticipated debut at Old Trafford.

Pep Guardiola will consider his future at Manchester City after the club were hit with a two-season Champions League ban.

City were handed the sanction – and a €30million fine – by UEFA on Friday for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations.

The Premier League club have denied wrongdoing and intend to appeal the verdict, but they could face personnel problems if unsuccessful.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA TO CONSIDER MAN CITY FUTURE AFTER EUROPEAN BAN

Guardiola will consider his future as City manager at season's end unless the verdict is overturned, according to The Telegraph.

The Catalan – who has been linked with Juventus – is contracted until 2021 and had suggested previously he intended to honour his deal.

ESPN reports Guardiola is worried about how the ban will impact his players but does claim the former Barcelona coach would be willing to remain as long as he, personally, is happy.

ROUND-UP

- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still under some pressure at Old Trafford, Manchester United are favourites to land Massimiliano Allegri as manager, according to Sport Mediaset. Paris Saint-Germain, Milan and Roma are also reportedly interested in the former Juventus coach.

- Staying at Manchester United, the Manchester Evening News reports Leicester City star James Maddison wants a move to the Premier League giants. Maddison has been reported to be close to signing a contract extension at the King Power Stadium.

- With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming out of contract at the end of next season, Arsenal may opt to sell the forward during the next transfer window. The Mirror reports Inter are hoping to sign Aubameyang, who has also been linked to Barcelona.

- Olivier Giroud is prepared to wait to make a decision on his future despite coming out of contract at season's end. The Telegraph reports the Chelsea striker has been offered a pre-contract by Lazio but is in no rush to make a decision after attracting interest from Tottenham in January.

- Inter and Napoli are set for a transfer battle. CalcioMercato reports Hellas Verona and Albania defender Marash Kumbulla is a target for both clubs, who will need to pay at least €20m for the 20-year-old.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers has thrown his support behind James Maddison and defended the midfielder's lifestyle choices.

Maddison was pictured partying in Dubai during the Premier League mid-season break, the period which has been devised to allow players a breather from a demanding campaign.

Yet manager Rodgers stressed there are no questions about Maddison's professionalism and claimed he had become a popular target for critics.

The Foxes star is in his second season with Leicester and has scored six goals in 24 Premier League games this term, leading to suggestions he could earn a Euro 2020 call with England.

According to Rodgers, the 23-year-old has been portrayed in an unjust light, but he might just have to get used to such treatment.

"It's unfortunate. We're supposedly in this great world now where everyone cares, this wonderful atmosphere where everyone wants to look after you," Rodgers said.

"It's rubbish because the first thing people do is try and stitch you up.

"It's contradictory, it's unbelievable. So there's something framed around him which, okay, he'll have to live with, but that's someone else's narrative.

"This is a 23-year-old boy who is single, he's been given a week free. We try to educate them in many ways, but this is something I'm not too bothered about."

Clubs have typically given players free rein during the break, trusting their judgement, and Rodgers has only positive things to say of Maddison's contributions for Leicester this season.

He has been such an impressive performer that Maddison has been linked with several rival clubs, including Manchester United.

"I can only judge him on my time here, nearly a year now," said Rodgers. "He's been absolutely brilliant for me. And outside of the pitch, he's been an absolute joy."

Leicester, who sit third in the Premier League, return to action when they face Wolves on Friday.

Rodgers will expect Maddison to show no negative effects from his time out of the country, outlining what he requires from his players, even when away from the club.

The former Celtic and Liverpool boss said: "There's two different mindsets, a social mindset and a professional mindset.

"The top ones, professionally, have the mentality to do it every single day and look after themselves and then produce."

Manchester United or Chelsea?

The two Premier League giants are reportedly going head-to-head in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund teenager and England international Jadon Sancho.

And the Manchester club feel they can prise the 19-year-old to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BELIEVE THEY CAN PIP CHELSEA TO SANCHO

Manchester United are confident they will beat rivals Chelsea to the signing of in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, claims The Mirror.

Sancho is reportedly keen on returning to England, where the 19-year-old played for Manchester City's youth team before joining Bundesliga outfit Dortmund in 2017.

Dortmund are apparently willing to offload Sancho at the right price and Premier League giants United believe they can prise the England international to Old Trafford in a deal worth £120million (€142.5m).

 

ROUND-UP

- Will Mauricio Pochettino land at Old Trafford? According to journalist Duncan Castles, the former Tottenham manager is determined to take charge of United . His representatives are reportedly confident of convincing United's hierarchy that Pochettino is the right man for the job as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggles, with the Red Devils eighth in the Premier League.

- The Sun reports United are set for a double swoop to sign Aston Villa star Jack Grealish and Leicester City attacker James Maddison . Grealish has reportedly given the go-ahead for a move to Old Trafford, while Maddison has apparently been in talks over a contract extension with Leicester.

Marcelo Brozovic to Real Madrid? Mundo Deportivo says the Inter and Croatia international midfielder is wanted by the LaLiga giants. Madrid have also been linked to United's Paul Pogba and Ajax star Donny van de Beek

Barcelona have been told it will take €35m to sign Willian Jose from Real Sociedad, reports Marca. Barca are looking to strengthen their attack following long-term injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.

- According to The Express, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is plotting a £120m transfer spree at the end of the season. Benfica defender Ruben Dias is a target, as well as Norwich City's Max Aarons, Bournemouth centre-back Nathan Ake and Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell.

Stefano Pioli is contracted to Milan until 2021 but the head coach – who replaced Marco Giampaolo at the start of the campaign – is no certainty to continue beyond this season. According to Calciomercato, Elliott Management want Ralf Rangnick but Paolo Maldini is reportedly pushing for former Milan striker and current Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko.

- Football Insider claims Liverpool are set to offer star defender Virgil van Dijk a new £50m deal amid reported interest from Serie A champions Juventus.

Barcelona are prepared to take a loss on Philippe Coutinho, sparking apparent interest from the Premier League.

Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, and the Bundesliga giants hold an option to buy the Brazil playmaker.

If Bayern opt against purchasing Coutinho, Barca may be willing to sell the 27-year-old and accept a loss.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA READY TO SELL COUTINHO FOR £77M AMID PREMIER LEAGUE INTEREST

Coutinho has been told he can leave Barcelona for £77million (€90.7m) at the end of the season, according to the Daily Express.

Barcelona paid Liverpool €120m (£105m) for Coutinho in 2018, but are preparing for change under Quique Setien.

The report says Coutinho has already attracted interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Bayern hold an option to buy Coutinho for a reported €120m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could it be one Brazilian in and another out at Liverpool? The Sun reports Bayern Munich want Roberto Firmino to leave the Premier League giants and join the Bundesliga outfit at the end of the season.

- Staying at Anfield and the Daily Express reports Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz is Liverpool's top midfield target ahead of 2020-21.

- With James Maddison reportedly ready to extend his contract at Leicester City, Manchester United's interest in the attacker has cooled significantly, according to the Daily Express.

- Thiago Silva wants to stay in Paris. Paris United reports the Paris Saint-Germain captain could discuss a new contract with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi amid uncertainty over his future, with his deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Manchester United have angered Roma. The Daily Express says the Premier League club have increased their asking price for Chris Smalling from €14.1m (£12m) to €20m (£17m), with the defender having impressed during his loan spell with the Serie A outfit.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic could make a surprise move to Atletico Madrid ahead of next season.

The Croatia international is reportedly unhappy at Camp Nou and has been linked with a move away since the off-season.

Now, a stay in LaLiga could eventuate, but away from Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO BEGIN TALKS WITH BARCELONA'S RAKITIC

Atletico Madrid are already negotiating with Rakitic about a possible move at the end of the season, according to Cadena SER.

The 31-year-old is contracted at Barcelona, where he arrived from Sevilla in 2014, until 2021.

Rakitic admitted on Sunday he considered leaving the club in January, and it seems a move is likely come season's end.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reported interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, James Maddison is close to agreeing a new contract with Leicester City, according to The Telegraph. Maddison has starred for the Premier League club this season and is poised to sign a lucrative long-term deal.

- Frank Lampard is set to face a battle at Chelsea. The Mirror reports the head coach wants to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga – who became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao for a reported £71.6million (€80m) in 2018 – but is set to face resistance from the board.

- Atletico Madrid and Roma are interested in Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard, according to ESPN. Lingard is coming out of contract in 2021 but also holds a one-year extension option at Old Trafford.

- Are Milan set for another coaching change? Bild reports Red Bull's head of international relations and scouting, Ralf Rangnick, is in advanced talks to become the Serie A club's head coach and sporting director once the season is over. Stefano Pioli only took charge of Milan in October, replacing Marco Giampaolo.

- Inter almost signed Islam Slimani, who is on loan at Monaco from Leicester City, last month, according to CalcioMercato, which reports the Serie A club's move came late in January before collapsing.

Manchester City without Pep Guardiola?

Speculation over Guardiola's future is not going away, with Premier League champions City set to be dethroned by Liverpool this season.

And a move to Paris Saint-Germain could be on the cards…

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARE MAMMOTH GUARDIOLA OFFER

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are trying to lure Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, according to the Express.

Amid uncertainty over Guardiola's future, the Ligue 1 holders are ready to make a huge offer to tempt the City manager to Paris.

Guardiola, whose side appear set to finish some distance behind Liverpool in the Premier League, has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, despite their appointment of Quique Setien this week.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Mirror, Premier League leaders Liverpool and rivals Chelsea will battle it out for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

- Juventus midfielder and former Liverpool star Emre Can is wanted by Everton, reports The Mirror. Can is out of favour in Turin and has been previously linked to Manchester United.

- Il Corriere dello Sport claims Sevilla want to sign Inter midfielder Matias Vecino, who appears destined to leave Milan ahead of Christian Eriksen's reported arrival from Tottenham.

- Speculation over Bruno Fernandes' future is set to drag on. Although he has been tipped to join United, Sporting CP and the Red Devils are reportedly miles apart in their valuations of the captain. While United want to bring in Fernandes this month, the Standard says they are threatening to abandon their pursuit over fears it could damage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's transfer plans at the end of the season. Over-paying for Fernandes has prompted concerns it could impact United's interest in Leicester City star James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho.

Real Madrid are unwilling to loan out James Rodriguez, with Marca reporting the LaLiga giants are only interested in selling the Colombia international.

Nicolas Pepe earned his first inclusion of the season in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week thanks to his eye-catching display against Manchester United.

The reported £72million signing from Lille endured a difficult first few months in an Arsenal jersey, struggling to recapture the form he showed in France over the previous two campaigns.

But in the 2-0 win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men, Pepe opened the scoring and was a constant livewire, troubling United's backline with his trickery, movement and general unpredictability.

With some European leagues enjoying a mid-season break, the latest FUT selection is rather Premier League-dominated, with five players from the division in the starting XI, while there are another six England-based representatives among the substitutes and reserves.

Joining Pepe in the starting XI are the likes of Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta and Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

Below, we take a look at the entire squad that is set to be available online.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Torino) – 86

RB: Jesus Corona (Porto) – 84

CB: Domenico Criscito (Genoa) – 82

CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – 87

RM: Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – 85

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 84

LM: Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – 83

LW: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 84

CAM: Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta) – 87

ST: Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – 89

ST: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – 84

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Odisseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) – 83

CB: Mouctar Diakhaby (Valencia) – 81

CDM: Mark Noble (West Ham) – 81

CAM: Marko Livaja (AEK Athens) – 81

LW: Ricardo Horta (Sporting Braga) – 82

ST: Enes Unal (Real Valladolid) – 81

ST: Nicky Maynard (Mansfield Town) – 81

RESERVES

GK: Paul Farman (Stevenage) – 72

CM: Uros Racic (Famalicao) – 79

RM: Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) – 75

ST: Nahki Wells (QPR) – 78

ST: Matt Godden (Coventry City) – 75

Manchester United will be without Harry Maguire for Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg against a Manchester City side showing eight changes at Old Trafford.

Maguire was a doubt with an injury that troubled him during United's 0-0 FA Cup draw with Wolves on Saturday, with City having progressed in that competition at the expense of League Two Port Vale.

With Maguire absent, Phil Jones was picked to start alongside Victor Lindelof, while Marcus Rashford took the captain's armband and Mason Greenwood played up front.

There was also a spot for Fred as the hosts made five changes, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in at right-back and Jesse Lingard back in the starting XI, while Anthony Martial had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

City boss Pep Guardiola had the luxury of being able to recall the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling as he looks to win the trophy for a third year in a row, while Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus featured in a typically strong bench.

United, meanwhile, will be looking to take inspiration from last month's 2-1 win over their rivals in the Premier League as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes a first piece of silverware at the helm. 

Manchester United will be without Harry Maguire for Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg against a Manchester City side showing eight changes at Old Trafford.

Maguire was a doubt with an injury that troubled him during United's 0-0 FA Cup draw with Wolves on Saturday, with City having progressed in that competition at the expense of League Two Port Vale.

With Maguire absent, Phil Jones was picked to start alongside Victor Lindelof, while Marcus Rashford took the captain's armband and Mason Greenwood played up front.

There was also a spot for Fred as the hosts made five changes, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in at right-back and Jesse Lingard back in the starting XI, while Anthony Martial had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

City boss Pep Guardiola had the luxury of being able to recall the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling as he looks to win the trophy for a third year in a row, while Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus featured in a typically strong bench.

United, meanwhile, will be looking to take inspiration from last month's 2-1 win over their rivals in the Premier League as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes a first piece of silverware at the helm. 

James Maddison will stay at Leicester City beyond the January transfer window as the club have no need to sell, manager Brendan Rodgers says.

The playmaker is said to be a target for Manchester United, who were reported by The Mirror to be prepared to offer around £45million plus Jesse Lingard to sign the England international.

Rodgers has always made it clear he has no desire to let key players leave this month and his stance on Maddison appears no different.

Indeed, Rodgers says the 23-year-old is in talks over a new contract with the Foxes, who are under no pressure to cash in on their prized assets after selling Harry Maguire to United in the previous window for close to £80m.

"There's no pressure to sell and no need to sell," Rodgers told reporters ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Aston Villa.

"James is a very talented player and he will be here in January and beyond.

"He's a player we're keen to remain here and help us on this journey over the next years. James and his representatives are speaking with the club and these things take time.

"We want to add to the squad if we can. It all comes down to availability. We've got a really strong squad and lots of them are young players evolving.

"We want to [sign players] but if we can't we'll continue with the squad we've got and look to reinforce in the summer."

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