Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City will not make "any special signings" before next season, which appears to close the door on a big-money move for Erling Haaland.

The City boss refused to directly discuss the in-demand Borussia Dortmund striker, who has been linked with the Premier League leaders as well as the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.

Catalan broadcaster Esport3 reported Madrid and Barcelona are the teams that Haaland is most interested in joining, although Dortmund would want a huge transfer fee to allow the 20-year-old Norwegian to move on before the 2021-22 campaign.

There have been unconfirmed claims that Haaland has a €75million release clause that comes into effect at the end of next season, but his current market value would be substantially higher.

City will lose Sergio Aguero at the end of this season, having elected to release their record scorer, but he has been so scarcely involved recently that the Argentinian's absence may not be sorely felt.

"I understand completely the situation of the club, and of all the other clubs bar a few. We are not going to do any special signings," Guardiola said in a news conference.

"I'm always honest. If you ask me now, it's not going to happen. All the clubs are struggling a lot and we are not an exception."

The COVID-19 crisis has seen clubs suffer major reductions in their anticipated income, with stadiums staying largely closed over the past year, meaning matchday income has been lost.

Barca and Madrid have also been majorly affected, yet both may find a way to propose a move for Haaland.

Former Barca boss Guardiola could lead City to a spectacular quadruple this season – they face Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, heading into the weekend with a 14-point lead at the summit. Leicester sit third, a point behind second-placed United.

The continuing success of his City team, who remain in the Champions League and could land a domestic cup double, means Spanish manager Guardiola does not feel inclined to ask the owners to fund a spectacular transfer coup.

City have also been linked with Barca great Lionel Messi, but Guardiola's tone suggests that may be another non-starter.

Although Messi might be available on a free transfer, his wages far outstrip those of any Premier League player. Such a move would involve jaw-dropping figures.

"You know my opinion – we never spend big money on one player," Guardiola said. "We have spent a lot of money on a lot of players, but none of them for incredible figures, and that is what we will continue to do in the coming years."

Asked directly about Haaland, and whether he accepted the striker would not be with City next season, Guardiola said: "You understand that I cannot talk about players from other clubs.

"It will not be polite for Borussia Dortmund or for Haaland. It is not my business. The players I have here deserve respect from their manager not to talk about other players when we have two important months ahead.

"If I was a player and the manager was talking about other players, I'd say 'what the f*** are you doing?'. We are here to do what we have to do. In five years here I have not talked about a player from another club."

Guardiola said releasing Aguero at the end of his contract "was the best decision for the club", albeit that meant there had to be a "difficult" conversation.

The City boss added: "He will help us until the end of the season."

Manchester City should still be "very cagey" over their prospects of winning the quadruple, even as the dream moves ever closer.

That is the view of City's former influential captain Richard Dunne, as Pep Guardiola's men sit 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

They are away to Leicester City in the top-flight on Saturday, while an EFL Cup final against Tottenham, an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and a Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund are all fast approaching this month.

Dunne has relished City's return to peak form in 2020-21 but still thinks it is more likely than not that they come unstuck in one of the three cup competitions, particularly after seeing them lose the derby to Manchester United.

Asked by Stats Perform News about City's hopes of winning the quadruple, Dunne said: "It is very hard.

"When you watch Man City like we have over the last couple of months, you look and go like, 'Nobody is going to stop them'. They just seem like they are wiping everybody away.

"And then the Manchester derby came along, and you could see how United set up and showed a platform of how to beat Man City.

"They showed how to do it, they attacked them, they pressed them high up the field.

"Other teams will try to do it, and some obviously won't be capable of it, but if you talk about Tottenham who are capable of it, then Chelsea are too and certainly Dortmund are as well.

"So if Manchester City aren't 100 per cent in any of those games, then all of the hopes and dreams of a quadruple go out of the window overnight."

It will become increasingly difficult for the players to ignore the prospect of a historic quadruple with every match that passes, according to Dunne.

He added: "I know the manager doesn't want to talk about it. But it is on everybody's mind. It really goes back to taking every game, and every minute of the game, as it comes.

"If they start thinking too far ahead and switch off, the teams in the Champions League are too good to switch off against.

"Certainly Chelsea have proven since Thomas Tuchel has come in that they are a really good side.

"It's great for City as everybody and all the fans want to dream and hope, but you have to be very cagey because there are some tricky games to come."

Dunne hailed the impact of Ruben Dias, a £51million signing from Benfica who has helped to transform City after some major defensive issues last season.

"I think it's been brilliant," Dunne said of City's improvement at the back.

"It's Leicester this weekend, and it's probably going back to Leicester at the Etihad, when they lost 5-2 in September, that they've started to adjust things.

"Ruben Dias has come on in that game. They've started to form a partnership [between him and John Stones], developed a structure in the team that worked.

"Because they became solid and a strong defensive unit, there's no longer that need to score five or six goals and win games. Now they can win games 1-0, and grind games out which we've seen this season.

"It's given them another sort of level to what they've already got.

"We've known for many years about the talent that's in the squad going forward, the ability, but there was always that little fear that there would be a mistake in defensive areas.

"That seems to be completely eradicated this season. The defence is giving them a stronger opportunity to succeed in Europe this year than they had before.

"Pep Guardiola will be very impressed, he'll be delighted with how things are going.

"He's built a side a couple of years ago who scored hundreds of goals, they got 100 and odd points. This side is obviously different, but probably more suited for bigger success than the previous sides."

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City may not be able to afford a replacement for striker Sergio Aguero.

City confirmed on Monday their all-time leading goalscorer will bring down the curtain on a trophy-laden decade-long spell at the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires in June.

Aguero has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five EFL Cups, a tally he can add to before departing as City are on course for a quadruple this season, including a first Champions League triumph.

City have been tipped to spend big on a new striker at the end of the season, with Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane rumoured to be on their radar.

However, Guardiola insists the Premier League leaders are not in a position to complete such a signing due to the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"With these prices we are not going to buy any striker. It is impossible, we cannot afford it," the Catalan coach said during a news conference on Friday. 

"All clubs struggle financially, we are not an exception. We have Gabriel [Jesus], Ferran [Torres], young academy players, false nines. I don't know what will happen. 

"Today there is more of a big chance we won't sign a new striker for next season."

Aguero has scored 257 goals in 384 appearances for City since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, seeing him surpass Eric Brook as the club's all-time record goalscorer.

Guardiola accepts the Argentina international will be a huge loss but is confident he already has the personnel to help fill the void.

"We know how important he is in the present and past. These decisions are never easy," Guardiola said.

"I want to be clear: Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club it is impossible.

"We have enough players in the first team, interesting players in the academy. But with the economy the way it is we're not going to sign a new striker this summer."

Aguero is in contention to start Saturday's clash with third-placed Leicester City, who have in-form ex-Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho leading their line.

Iheanacho spent one season playing under Guardiola before joining Leicester in August 2017 and has scored 15 goals in 87 Premier League appearances for the Foxes.

That does not tell the whole story, however, as the Nigeria international has scored five goals in his last three league games, making this his best goalscoring season since his maiden campaign with Manchester City.

Guardiola has been impressed by Iheanacho's recent form, which also includes two goals against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals two weeks ago, and expects a tough match against Brendan Rodgers' high-flying side.

"He's been incredible. The quality was always there as a young player," Guardiola said. "We had Gabriel and Sergio so there we not much space in the squad. 

"He's a fantastic person. We had a good relationship together. I'm delighted he's playing well. He links well with others, he is fast and is also very clear in front of goal."

He added: "I have to admit, since Brendan took over they've been incredible. I remember he took over and after a week, 10 days, wow, he changed them completely from the previous manager. 

"They had an incredible chance to qualifying for the Champions League last season, didn't do it, but they are there again this season. The last 5-10 years they have worked really well on scouting and are a contender every season. 

"They have a top manager, top players. It is a big challenge for us tomorrow."

Guardiola is still unsure on the availability of up to eight of his international players for Saturday's match due to coronavirus restrictions delaying their return to training.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has heavily rotated his side between games of late and intends to continue doing so, with a Champions League quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund to come on Tuesday.

"We rotate well because we work well when we do that," he said. "When I rotate and we lose you tell me it's disastrous - why rotate? In the modern day, no player can sustain mentally or physically playing every three days. 

"Tomorrow I'll select a team to win that game. I'm sure Man United and Leicester can win a lot of games. Everything in football can happen. 

"We need four victories to be champions and tomorrow is our first chance to win another game. Then when on the coach after the game I'll think about Dortmund."

The leaders have alternated between defeat (two) and victory (two) in their last four Premier League away games against Leicester, winning this fixture 1-0 last season.

Guardiola's side were beaten 5-2 in September's reverse match and Leicester are looking to complete their first league double over Manchester City since the 1986-87 season.

Premier League stars have returned to their clubs after international duty and now we enter perhaps the most intense stretch of the season.

Will your fantasy league players last the distance or are some showing signs of flagging already? Perhaps the World Cup qualifiers gave you an idea of which stars could deliver for their clubs in the race for those top-four places.

Can Timo Werner rally after his awful miss in Germany's defeat to North Macedonia, or should you look elsewhere for Chelsea players after the Blues' stunning start under Thomas Tuchel.

Our Opta-powered fantasy picks should provide some food for thought ahead of the 30th round of games this weekend.

EDOUARD MENDY

Chelsea, who play West Brom, have shipped just two goals in 10 Premier League games since former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel arrived, with the German boss making the London side come good on the potential they showed fleetingly during Frank Lampard's reign.

Goalkeeper Mendy had already looked a shrewd addition and he owns the best save percentage (77.4 per cent) among Premier League goalkeepers in 2021. Only Manchester City's Ederson has conceded fewer goals per game this year among keepers with a minimum of 300 minutes of action. Mendy has conceded seven in 12 games at an average of 0.58, while Ederson has been beaten eight times in 15 matches for a 0.53 average since the turn of the year.

LUKE SHAW

Impressed by Luke Shaw's return to England favour? Wait until you hear what he's been achieving at club level. Shaw's Manchester United form has been a sensational second coming for the player who first caught the eye as a teenager with club and country, and he will look to impress against Brighton on Sunday.

The former Southampton left-back has been directly involved in more goals (one goal, four assists) in 2021 than any other Premier League defender, with his 36 chances created making Shaw a clear leader in that field too. Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (24 chances created) sits a distant second on the list.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Already emerging as a favourite of Tuchel, Azpilicueta has played his part in nine clean sheets with Chelsea in 12 Premier League appearances since the start of the year. That is more than any other defender has managed in the competition across that period of time.

The 31-year-old club captain is leading by example and West Brom's attackers will have their work cut out against the former Marseille defender this weekend. Team-mate Antonio Rudiger, who has played 11 league games in 2021, is one of four players in the top flight to have played a part in eight clean sheets this year.

RIYAD MAHREZ

Leicester City know all about Mahrez and his wily ways on the wing, but whether they can stop the Manchester City star on Saturday is perhaps another matter.

The Algerian, who was a Premier League winner with the Foxes, has been involved in 11 goals in his last 13 Premier League starts (eight goals, three assists). Across his last three league games against Leicester, he has managed two goals and two assists.

SADIO MANE

Could the international break prove to be just the interruption that last year's flagging champions Liverpool needed? Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and co will hope to resume on a positive note when Jurgen Klopp's men tackle Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Five of Mane's seven Premier League goals for Liverpool this season have come away from home, with four of those coming in London – this is his only Premier League campaign so far where he has scored more goals away than at home. The Senegalese has also scored seven Premier League goals against Arsenal, only netting more against Crystal Palace (10). Two of those have come away at Arsenal, including one in a 2-1 defeat last July.

HARRY KANE

In need of a fix of guaranteed points? Tough, they don't exist. But Kane would be close to the top of any all-time list of the Premier League's most reliable scorers, and he already has 17 goals and 13 assists for Tottenham in the competition this season.

Across all competitions, Kane has been involved in 43 goals in 40 games this term (27 goals, 16 assists), and in terms of involvements that haul is just two short of his best ever season in his senior career (41 goals and four assists in 2017-18). Tottenham go to Newcastle on Sunday, with Kane looking to add to the three league goals he has previously bagged at St James' Park.

Barcelona have reportedly joined the queue chasing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Dortmund.

The Norway international could be among a number of new recruits at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND WANTED AT CAMP NOU

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is leading the club's recruitment this off-season and has identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a key target, according to Diario AS.

Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Liverpool.

Koeman is also reportedly eyeing City defender Eric Garcia, Lyon captain Memphis Depay and soon-to-be Liverpool free agent Georginio Wijnaldum.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh from netting a hat-trick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League, Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic has been linked with a move to London rivals Arsenal by The Sun, which claims the Gunners are looking at the Croatian attacker as an off-season signing.

- Marca claims Arsenal will not be able to sign on-loan Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal as parent club Real Madrid see him as part of their long-term future plans.

Roma want either Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri to be their next coach to replace Paulo Fonseca, according to Messaggero.

- Calciomercato says rumoured Premier League target Franck Kessie has rejected Milan's latest contract extension offer.

- Schalke's California-born 20-year-old Matthew Hoppe is hot property and Valencia are the latest club to join the chase, alongside TottenhamBarcelona, Ajax and PSV, according to AS.

- The Sun reports in-form Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho will sign a new deal with the club.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he had no regrets over his team selection after Manchester United lost 3-1 at Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Former Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice either side of Youri Tielemans' solo strike as Brendan Rodgers' men booked a Wembley semi-final against Southampton.

Mason Greenwood equalised shortly before half-time in a rare moment of inspiration for United, as Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek combined to fine effect.

But the midfield duo were only fit to play for an hour, having recently returned to action, and Bruno Fernandes was unable to have a decisive impact from the bench.

Solskjaer felt such juggling was a necessity after a packed schedule in which his side overcame Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I would have started the same team again. We felt [Pogba and Van de Beek] had more than 45 minutes in them," he said.

"They're important players for us, that's why we started them.

"We picked a team that we felt was going to win the game or give us a foundation to win the game.

"We knew players like Donny and Paul wouldn't last more than an hour."

Fernandes' 23 goals and 13 assists mean he leads the way in both categories for United this season.

However, among outfield players, only captain Harry Maguire (3,945) and fellow defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka (3,651) have played more minutes than the Portugal playmaker's 3,488 for the Red Devils across all competitions.

"Every team selection has reasons behind it. Bruno has played very, very much football," Solskjaer said.

"The boy is a human being. He has played a game every three or four days.

"It was a chance to start both Donny and Paul. The accumulation of games maybe caught up with us.

"With Bruno, I know he wants to play but sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of both the team and him."

While plenty of managers will be apprehensive about the forthcoming international break and what it might mean for their players at the business end of the season, Solskjaer believes it comes at a good time for certain members of his squad.

"I think the international break will give Paul and Donny chances to play, it'll give Anthony [Martial] a chance to go away," he said.

"They will get a change of scenery. You get energy from that. The boys have been at Carrington training ground now every day for a long, long time.

"The break comes at a good time and we'll be ready at Easter, don't worry about that."

Solskjaer added: "If and when we're successful, we have to handle [fixture congestion] and hit a higher level than we did today.

"That's what we're striving towards and, under these circumstances, which are unprecedented, I've been impressed by my boys.

"They've been excellent. The run we've been on has been excellent. Unfortunately we couldn't find our normal selves tonight and sometimes that happens."

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho continued his hot streak with a brace as Brendan Rodgers' side beat Manchester United 3-1 to book a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Iheanacho pounced on a first-half error from Fred to open the scoring and headed home Marc Albrighton's free-kick to complete a deserved triumph at the King Power Stadium and book a Wembley date with Southampton.

In between his goals, he laid on Youri Tielemans for Leicester's second and the Nigeria international now has 15 goal involvements in his past 15 starts across all competitions – 11 goals and four assists.

This month, Iheanacho has been on fire, with seven goals in four outings – a return of one every 48 minutes that places him among Europe's elite.

Only Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (eight, 38.75 mins/goal) has outscored the 24-year-old during this period.

Hot on Iheanacho's heels are Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema and his international team-mate, Simy Nwankwo of Crotone, on six.

Paris Saint-Germain favourite Kylian Mbappe has five in five since the calendar turned, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, Youssef En-Nesyri and Gerrard Moreno.

"I'm enjoying it - I just need to focus and keep going," Iheanacho told BBC Sport.

"It's not easy to get an opportunity but I think I am taking mine - I just need to keep working hard every day and they opportunities will keep coming."

Iheanacho's rich vein of form is timely for Leicester, given Jamie Vardy is enduring an unusually barren spell in front of goal.

The former England striker has not scored for eight matches, although he weighed in with two assists as Iheanacho scored a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-0 demolition of Sheffield United and Rodgers is delighted with how the pair are working in tandem.

"Kelechi has always contributed. Maybe his confidence was lower [before] but he works so hard every day and always comes in and gives his all," the Foxes boss told BBC Sport.

"You see his confidence now. He's at the top of his game.

"It's a different structure [up front]. Kelechi is probably best with someone up there with him. Those two are working very well."

The former Manchester City youngster added: "The partnership is really helping us in the team I am really happy playing alongside Jamie.

"It's helping me a lot [in terms of] creating space and getting the shot in behind, so I hope we can keep working hard together."

 

By contrast, United's forwards are struggling at present.

Mason Greenwood got their goal, his first in 16 matches. After bursting onto the scene last season, the teenage striker has scored two FA Cup goals to his solitary effort in the Premier League this time around.

Marcus Rashford was an injury absentee at Leicester and has been, by far, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's most impressive attacker this season with 18 goals and 10 assists.

Anthony Martial's brace in the 9-0 shellacking of Southampton remain his only goals since New Year's Day, while Edinson Cavani has not completed 90 minutes since February 14 due to injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pinned the blame for Manchester United's limp FA Cup exit on his side's hectic schedule as they suffered a 3-1 quarter-final loss at Leicester City.

United were beaten by a double from in-form Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans at the King Power Stadium as the Foxes secured just a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.

Mason Greenwood's first-half leveller – his first goal in 16 games – ended up being a mere consolation for the visitors as Brendan Rodgers marked his 100th game in charge by leading Leicester to their first FA Cup semi-final since 1982.

For United, it was a first away defeat in domestic competition since January 19 last year, with manager Solskjaer citing a busy fixture list that has recently included a tough two-legged Europa League tie with Milan.

"We didn't have the spark, but it's understandable," he told BBC Sport. "This team have been fantastic in the last three or four months. We played every three days and have been on a great run. It just caught up with us, all the games and travel.

"Thursday night in Milan was a big night and took a lot of out of us physically. We didn't have the extra zip, authority and confidence.

"We tried to get on the front foot and start well because sometimes you can get that adrenaline boost and confidence if you get a goal and that can carry you over the line.

"We've got too many players that have played too many games and too many that haven't really had much football; Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and others are trying to get in who haven't had enough football. We didn't have enough against a tough team."

The first goal came about after a woeful mistake from Fred, whose attempted pass back to Dean Henderson gifted former Manchester City striker Iheanacho a simple finish.

But the Norwegian refused to point the finger at any individuals, insisting such mistakes come with the territory of playing out from deep.

"We want to build from the back and want the players to be confident," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't work and that's one time it didn't.

"When we win, we win together, and when we lose, we lose together. We're not pointing fingers and blaming.

"The second one is a good goal by the boy but maybe with a zip of energy we could've got to him and wouldn't have been done as easily in the middle.

"That's been one of our strengths, keeping clean sheets and being dogged, but we didn't have the opportunity."

Solskjaer is now looking ahead to what remains of United's season, which still holds the prospect of continental silverware and a shot at sealing second spot in the Premier League.

"We've got the Europa League and Premier League to concentrate on," he said. "Yes, we would've liked to go to Wembley, but now all the focus is on the games we do have.

"We're in a good position in the league and we want to keep improving; of course, Leicester are just behind us, so it won't be easy, but we want to keep going and get as far as possible in the Europa as well."

Leicester City reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1982 after a 3-1 win over Manchester United in Sunday's quarter-final clash.

Two goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans were enough to give the Foxes only a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.

United, who levelled in the first half through Mason Greenwood before Tielemans' fine winner, looked well short of their best for much of a contest for which they made five changes from their Europa League win in Milan three days earlier.

Iheanacho headed in a third 13 minutes from time to make certain of victory as United lost an away match in domestic competition for the first time since January 19 last year.

Fred had twice lost possession in United's half before his dreadful backpass to goalkeeper Dean Henderson gifted Iheanacho an easy finish.

Despite their changes, United played like a team struggling with fatigue in the first half, as Leicester pressed them into errors without managing to take full advantage.

It was therefore something of a surprise when the visitors levelled seven minutes before the break. Pogba's low cross from the left was dummied superbly by Donny van de Beek, giving Greenwood the chance to smash home his first goal in 16 appearances.

Leicester regained their lead in prompt fashion in the second half, though, Tielemans drilling a fine shot beyond the reach of Henderson after drifting easily away from Nemanja Matic and Fred.

Jamie Vardy should have made it 3-1, skipping beyond Harry Maguire only to drag a shot wide of the left-hand post with only Henderson to beat, prompting Solskjaer to make four changes to breathe life into United's display.

It was one of those substitutes, Scott McTominay, who conceded a cheap free-kick near the box and then allowed Iheanacho to drift behind him to nod home Marcus Albrighton's delivery.

 

Manchester City will take on Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup next month.

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne saw City past a dogged Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, keeping the Premier League leaders and EFL Cup finalists in contention across four major competitions.

That result meant City have won 25 of their past 26 games in all competitions, with Chelsea similarly enjoying a rich vein of form.

The Blues are undefeated in 14 games under head coach Thomas Tuchel, with Hakim Ziyech – their midweek Champions League hero against Atletico Madrid – sealing a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

The other semi-final will see the winner of the match between Leicester City and Manchester United take on Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men swept aside Championship outfit Bournemouth 3-0 on Saturday, with Nathan Redmond netting a second-half brace.

A tougher test likely awaits against United or Leicester, each of whom boast 9-0 wins against Saints over the past two seasons.

The ties will be played at Wembley on the weekend of April 17-18.

FA Cup semi-final draw in full:

Leicester City or Manchester United v Southampton
Chelsea v Manchester City

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the club are in contract discussions with Edinson Cavani.

Cavani joined United as a free agent on a one-year deal at the start of the season and the 34-year-old has impressed in Manchester, where the Uruguayan has scored seven goals and supplied two assists across 25 appearances in all competitions.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading scorer, Cavani has been linked with Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors following comments made by his father Luis.

But Solskjaer said United – second in the Premier League standings – are in talks with Cavani over his future at Old Trafford.

"We're speaking to Eddy," Solskjaer said ahead of Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

"Edinson is a top striker and whatever he decides to do, let's see. We're in good dialogue with him.

"We want a competitive squad and we need someone up there to score the goals for us. So we're looking at it."

Earlier this month, Cavani's father Luis claimed the veteran was not happy in the Premier League and "would like to play for Boca".

"My son is not happy in England and wants to return nearer his family. He wants to play in South America," he told TyC Sports.

"I want Edinson to play for a team which fights for important trophies. He has had many conversations with [Boca vice-president Juan Roman] Riquelme and would like to play for Boca.

"At the halfway point of the year, he'd like to return to South America. My son’s idea is not to continue there [in Manchester]. He wants to return.

"I think he's going to come back in June this year."

Cavani Sr cited his son's punishment by the Football Association (FA) for using a racially insensitive word in a social media post as a factor in his unhappiness.

"There are things which sometimes annoy us as humans, as people. The whole ban issue annoyed him," Luis Cavani added.

"That has been playing on him, sometimes players can't find form either. These things can weigh heavy on you. Sometimes mentally you can get dragged down."

Real Madrid are hatching a plan to land former star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Los Blancos' transfer priorities this upcoming off-season appear to be Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Madrid's financial might but Ronaldo remains on their radar.

 

TOP STORY - REAL PLOT 'SYMBOLIC PRICE' FOR RONALDO

Real Madrid are considering a one-year contract for Cristiano Ronaldo for a "symbolic price", according to Cuatro.

The 36-year-old appears set to leave Juventus in the off-season after three years in Turin.

Madrid have reportedly started working on an economic plan to land Ronaldo should their other priorities not eventuate.

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims that Paris Saint-Germain are set to agree terms with Brazilian superstar Neymar on a fresh deal which would secure his signature until 2026.

- Manchester United's Diogo Dalot is keen to make his loan stay at Milan permanent, according to Todo Fichajes.

- Todo Fichajes is also reporting that 43-year-old Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is looking to finish his career at Parma.

Juventus are monitoring Paul Pogba's contract situation at Manchester United amid talk of a move, according to Calciomercato.

- GiveMeSport claims Leicester City will make an eight-figure bid for Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard with their interest in him previously well known.

Manchester United remain in talks with Paul Pogba over a new contract but they are not the immediate focus of the midfielder, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Pogba came off the bench to send United into the quarter-finals of the Europa League, his close-range finish securing a 1-0 win at San Siro and a 2-1 aggregate success over Milan. 

The France star is out of contract at the end of next season and has been heavily linked with a return to Juventus. 

Solskjaer believes Pogba's performance illustrated his affection for the club, but contract discussions are not at the forefront of his mind. 

"I think everyone in the team, Paul included, are just focused on doing as well as we can this season," Solskjaer told a media conference ahead of Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester City.   

"I don't think any energy would be used on the speculation. Of course we've got discussions and talks, when you see Paul playing like this, back training, it shows how much he cares for us, how much he enjoys playing and how much we can benefit from him playing." 

Solskjaer is not anticipating Pogba playing the full game against Leicester, though he is confident the World Cup winner can still have an influence. 

"We'll have to see how long he can play," Solskjaer added. "I don't think he can last 90 minutes, I'm not sure he can start. 

"You see the impact he can make if he comes on as a sub. If he feels ok, maybe we can start him as well. I hope he's ready to start."

Marcus Rashford is a doubt after making way for Pogba with an apparent injury, while Edinson Cavani could again miss out with a knock. 

Anthony Martial has missed the last two games with a hip injury, though he has still been picked in the France squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers. 

However, Solskjaer is not concerned by Martial's inclusion by Didier Deschamps. 

"I just want Anthony fit. Same with Paul, we just want them to go and play. They've missed too many games," said Solskjaer.  

"This was a hip injury he got against Milan a week ago. We hoped he was going to be ready for West Ham. Then he couldn't make that one, he was close to getting fit for this one [Milan second leg], hopefully he'll make Sunday. 

"We're not sure, because it's not reacted how we'd want. It'll just benefit him if he's fit enough to go with France and play."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win a trophy this season to demonstrate how Manchester United have made real progress, according to Gary Neville. 

United further enhanced their chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over fifth-placed West Ham on Sunday, courtesy of an own goal from Craig Dawson in the second half. 

The victory, following on from their derby triumph over runaway leaders Manchester City a week earlier, sees Solskjaer's squad sit second in the table. 

However, former Red Devils defender Neville feels finishing as the closest team to Pep Guardiola's title winners is not enough, citing the importance of securing silverware ahead of a potentially pivotal transfer window. 

United have an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City coming up, though before then they face Milan in the second leg of a delicately balanced Europa League tie, the teams having drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford last Thursday following a dramatic late equaliser from the Italian side. 

"The FA Cup has become critical to this football club this season. The League Cup and FA Cup has been the starting point for Manchester United teams over the last 15 to 20 years," Neville said on his podcast for Sky Sports. 

"If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to be successful at this club, he not only needs to finish second in the Premier League, but he has to win a trophy. That would be seen as real progress. Then you're attracting players next season to try and catch Manchester City. 

"I think it's a brilliant week. Beating Manchester City the way they did, and winning on Sunday.

"If you'd have said to Solskjaer at the start of the week you'll beat Manchester City, beat West Ham and draw 1-1 with Milan, he'd have snapped your hand off. Going into that Manchester derby, they were under real pressure."

As for the fight to finish in the top four in the league, Neville feels the current situation – with Leicester and Chelsea sitting behind the two Manchester clubs – will be the same at the end of the campaign. 

West Ham only sit three points behind Chelsea with a game in hand over their London rivals, while those below them – Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – have failed to show signs they can put a run of results together to mount a genuine challenge. 

"Leicester are the one team you'd be most nervous about, because they did blow up last season. But I think there's just enough this year," the ex-England international said. 

"I don't see West Ham catching Leicester, and the teams below them are so inconsistent and seem to be all over the place. I'm not sure which one of them is going to put a run together.” 

All eyes were on the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the north London derby and there was a lot of comforting familiarity on display.

A red card, Erik Lamela attempting a rabona (and scoring it!) instead of using his right foot, and, of course, Spurs throwing away a lead.

Elsewhere, Manchester United remained on course to finish second as they ensured David Moyes' continues to dread returning to his former employers, while Sheffield United's first game since Chris Wilder's exit arguably proved just how good the Yorkshireman was as manager.

There was also a potentially vital win near the bottom of the table for Brighton and Hove Albion, and we have taken a look at all the best Opta facts from those games.

Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham: Spurs surrender once again in a north London derby

Lamela's opening goal will be shown in north London derby highlight reels for years – his rabona finish was so good, so audacious.

But even with that being the opening goal, it never really looked like being decisive, so underwhelming were Spurs otherwise from an attacking perspective – the fact they went on to lose meant they have now dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League, the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.

After Martin Odegaard levelled, becoming just the fourth Gunners player to score in his first top-flight north London derby, Alexandre Lacazette's second-half penalty secured Arsenal the points.

It was Spurs' ninth league defeat of the season, the joint-most Jose Mourinho has ever suffered in a single season, and Lamela's sending off certainly did not help their situation.

In collecting two bookings, he became only the fifth substitute in Premier League history to score and be sent off in the same game.

His goal will be the enduring moment from the match, but in the grand scheme it was meaningless for a Spurs side in increasing danger of missing out on the top four.

Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Moyes' Old Trafford misery continues

It was not an occasion for the neutral at Old Trafford as Man United scraped an unconvincing win thanks to an own goal by Craig Dawson.

The defeat means only Harry Redknapp (15) has managed more Premier League games away to United without winning than former Red Devils boss Moyes (14 – four draws, 10 losses).

The Hammers' difficulties in front of goal were partly to blame as none of their seven attempts were on target, the highest number of shots they have had in a league game without a single accurate once since August 2013 (nine shots).

On the flipside, Man United kept a fourth straight Premier League clean sheet for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the club last achieving that feat in January 2018 under Mourinho.

They have also lost just one of their previous 23 league outings having suffered three losses in their opening six games this term.

Leicester City 5-0 Sheffield United: Blades suffer bruising defeat as they venture into the Wilder-less wilderness

Less than 24 hours on from confirmation of Wilder's "mutual" departure as Blades manager, many were likely left wondering why the club did not fight harder to keep him.

While seemingly doomed for relegation anyway, Wilder retained significant respect for the job he presided over at Bramall Lane, and Sunday's result showed why.

With interim boss Paul Heckingbottom taking over for the first time, he has already shipped five goals in a single game as many times as Wilder did in 227 matches (a 5-4 defeat to Fulham in 2017). Their former manager was never beaten by more than a three-goal margin.

Heckingbottom also became only the third manager in Premier League history to lose by five or more goals in his first game, but this should not take credit away from Brendan Rodgers' ferocious Foxes.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first hat-trick and also netted in three successive top-flight games for the first time. Jamie Vardy set up two of those goals and in doing so became only the sixth player to register 100 or more goal involvements in the Premier League after turning 30.

Those to achieve this before him were Teddy Sheringham, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Gianfranco Zola – esteemed company indeed.

Southampton 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls remember their shooting boots as Saints sink

Much has been said and written about Brighton's woes in front of goal this term, but they got the job done here.

Their 2-1 win at St Mary's is only the second time in 2021 that they have scored twice or more in a single Premier League game – the other instance was their 3-3 draw with Wolves in their first match of the year.

This was their 11th outing since.

The win took Graham Potter's men three points clear of the relegation zone and just four behind Saints, who are in a difficult spot.

It is 10 defeats in the past 12 Premier League games now for Southampton, with Ralph Hasenhuttl coming under increasing pressure – their previous 10 losses came across a 38-match spell.

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