Former AC Milan and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is planning to take his next job outside of Italy, according to Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. 

Allegri has been without a team since leaving Juve at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led the Bianconeri to five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and the Champions League final twice in five years at the club. 

The 52-year-old revealed last year he was learning English and has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, while talk of interest from Bayern Munich and Arsenal was rife earlier in the campaign. 

Allegri spent two seasons at Cagliari during his playing career and was their coach between 2008 and 2010. 

Giulini offered him the opportunity to return during the club's centenary year but was rebuffed as Allegri intends to work overseas for the first time in his career.

"I made a bit of a mad phone call towards the end of January, offering Allegri the job, knowing full well it was going to be impossible," Giulini told Sky Sport Italia on Saturday, Cagliari's 100th anniversary. 

"Massimiliano told me his next adventure will be abroad, even if he was fascinated by the proposal of leading Cagliari during our centenary year. 

"I knew even before making the phone call it was going to be improbable." 

Former AC Milan and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is planning to take his next job outside of Italy, according to Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. 

Allegri has been without a team since leaving Juve at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led the Bianconeri to five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and the Champions League final twice in five years at the club. 

The 52-year-old revealed last year he was learning English and has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, while talk of interest from Bayern Munich and Arsenal was rife earlier in the campaign. 

Allegri spent two seasons at Cagliari during his playing career and was their coach between 2008 and 2010. 

Giulini offered him the opportunity to return during the club's centenary year but was rebuffed as Allegri intends to work overseas for the first time in his career.

"I made a bit of a mad phone call towards the end of January, offering Allegri the job, knowing full well it was going to be impossible," Giulini told Sky Sports on Saturday, Cagliari's 100th anniversary. 

"Massimiliano told me his next adventure will be abroad, even if he was fascinated by the proposal of leading Cagliari during our centenary year. 

"I knew even before making the phone call it was going to be improbable." 

The record-breaking goalscoring exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi tend to lead the discussion when it comes to the Champions League, but there have also been plenty of masterful performances at the other end of the pitch.

One such display came on April 19 three years ago, when Juventus proved nigh on impenetrable at the back and saw off Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid and an Inter team led by Jose Mourinho have also provided some of the most memorable rearguard showings in Europe.

We look back at five of the best defensive displays in Champions League history.

 

1992-93 final: Marseille 1-0 Milan

Marseille were the underdogs at the Olympiastadion in Munich but managed to become the first French champions of Europe in the inaugural Champions League.

Daniele Massaro went close to an early opener for Milan when he nodded narrowly wide, and he was denied from an acute angle by Fabien Barthez after the goalkeeper blocked a low attempt from Marco van Basten.

Basile Boli had been struggling with a muscular injury for much of the first half but he headed home Abedi Pele's corner to put Raymond Goethals' side ahead on the stroke of half-time.

Marseille held firm for the entirety of the second period to claim the trophy, with Boli telling UEFA: "Those last 45 minutes felt like 45 years, and by the time the final whistle blew it felt like 100 years."

However, Marseille were barred from defending their title after a Ligue 1 match-fixing scandal saw them stripped of their domestic crown and relegated.

 

2004-05 semi-finals second leg: Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (1-0 agg)

After a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge that saw Jerzy Dudek worked more than Petr Cech, Liverpool took just four minutes to score against Chelsea – who had been crowned Premier League champions for the first time in 50 years three days prior – in the return match at Anfield.

Luis Garcia cored with what was subsequently branded the 'ghost goal', with replays and a lack of technology unable to definitively clarify whether the ball had crossed the line before William Gallas cleared it.

Rafael Benitez's Liverpool sat back for the rest of the game and comfortably soaked up the limited pressure Chelsea placed upon them, ending their hopes of a treble.

Eidur Gudjohnsen spurned a glorious chance to equalise in stoppage time after a tame punch from Dudek, meaning Liverpool advanced to the final against Milan.

In Istanbul it was attack rather than defence that underpinned the Reds' success as they came from 3-0 down to defeat the Rossoneri on penalties and be crowned champions of Europe for the fifth time.

 

2009-10 semi-final second leg: Barcelona 1-0 Inter (2-3 agg)

Mourinho's Inter may have been defeated at Camp Nou, but a 3-1 advantage from the first leg meant it was they who advanced to the final.

Their resilience was put to the ultimate test when former Barca midfielder Thiago Motta was shown a red card in the 28th minute for putting his hand in the face of Sergio Busquets, who certainly made the most of the contact.

Even with a numerical disadvantage Inter nullified an attack that boasted Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pedro with a compact showing, while their continued gamesmanship caused frustration in the Barca ranks throughout a fiery encounter.

Gerard Pique gave Pep Guardiola's men a glimmer of hope when he finally broke the deadlock in the 84th minute, but they were unable to deny Mourinho cause to sprint across the pitch in celebration at the final whistle.

Inter made the final for the first time since 1972 and defeated Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu to complete a historic treble.

 

2015-16 quarter-finals second leg: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (3-2 agg)

Barcelona's quest to become the first team to retain the Champions League trophy was ended by Atletico at the Vicente Calderon.

A trademark defensive masterclass from Simeone saw Atletico blunt one of modern football's greatest attacking units – the MSN of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

The hosts had just 28 per cent of possession and completed a fifth of the passes Barca put together (122 to 616), but the imperious combination of Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez kept Luis Enrique's team at bay.

Antoine Griezmann converted a delivery from Saul Niguez in the first half and slotted home a late penalty after Andres Iniesta was penalised for handball, sending Barca crashing out.

A similarly brilliant performance at the back saw Atleti beat Bayern to a place in the final but they were defeated by local rivals Real Madrid in the showpiece for the second time in three years.

 

2016-17 quarter-finals second leg: Barcelona 0-0 Juventus (0-3 agg)

They may have been defeated in the first leg courtesy of an inspired Paulo Dybala display, but having overturned a 4-0 aggregate deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 Barca will still have had high hopes of getting past Juve.

Unsurprisingly they peppered the visitors' goal with shots but they were only able to hit the target with one of them, Messi warming Gianluigi Buffon's gloves from 25 yards in the first half.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci – who were joined by third centre-back Andrea Barzagli for the final 15 minutes – showed tremendous composure and discipline to provide Buffon with outstanding protection throughout.

Massimiliano Allegri's side consequently joined Manchester United (2007-08) and Bayern (2012-13) as the only teams to stop Barca scoring in both legs of a Champions League tie.

Juve went on to reach the final but were unable to end a 21-year wait to get their hands on the trophy, with Madrid making it two in a row in Cardiff.

After dominating European football for over a decade, could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shelve their rivalry and come together as team-mates?

David Beckham might be the man to make it happen.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder appears to have ambitious plans for his new MLS franchise.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, RONALDO WANTED AT INTER MIAMI

Barcelona captain Messi, 32, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 35, will end their careers on the same side if Inter Miami co-owner Beckham gets his wish, according to the Mirror.

The newspaper claims the new MLS outfit are "already thinking big" and could look to lure football's two biggest superstars to the United States.

LA Galaxy have also been linked with a move for Messi but Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath believes Beckham's pulling power has the potential to create a dream attacking duo.

“For Ronaldo and Messi, the two obvious destinations if they came to the MLS would be Los Angeles and Miami," Heath told the Mirror.

"And, with his links to both players and the plan Beckham and his backers have in place, I can really only see them going to Miami."

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are set to launch a £50million bid for Wolves forward Diogo Jota, scorer of a Europa League hat-trick on Thursday, reports the Express.

- United have also been linked with Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham but the Red Devils are set to face competition from Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

- Serie A leaders Juventus are at the front of the queue for Paul Pogba but Paris Saint-Germain also hope to land the French star, reports Le10 Sport.

- PSG, meanwhile, are planning for life after Thomas Tuchel, who is said to be in talks with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 champions could look to replace him with either Massimiliano Allegri or Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi.

- Premier League clubs Sheffield United, Wolves and Burnley are showing interest in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, suggests the Sun.

Manchester City's Champions League ban could have some serious consequences.

While City are planning to appeal UEFA's two-season suspension from European competition after an investigation found the club broke financial fair play regulations, rivals are circling.

City's stars are reportedly attracting interest from far and wide.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE BERNARDO SILVA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are targeting Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, according to the Transfer Window Podcast.

The report comes following City's Champions League suspension handed down to the Premier League giants by UEFA.

City team-mate Raheem Sterling has already been linked to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Madrid are ready to make a move for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. The 17-year-old has starred for the Ligue 1 outfit and is reportedly valued at €70million.

Paul Pogba has also been linked to Madrid but Goal claims he could be offered a new contract by Manchester United, who expect the Frenchman to leave at the end of the season. Former club Juventus are also reportedly tracking the midfielder.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to either Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri amid uncertainty over the future of Thomas Tuchel, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Lille defender Gabriel is being monitored by Arsenal, Everton, PSG and now Leicester City, according to Le10 Sport.

- The Mirror says Arsenal are set to raise transfer funds through the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and potentially Matteo Guendouzi as the Gunners eye Valencia's Carlos Soler and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.

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.

Massimiliano Allegri is without a club since leaving Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19.

However, Allegri could be nearing a return to management sooner rather than later.

The Italian is believed to be interested in taking charge of Manchester United.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI WANTS UNITED JOB

Massimiliano Allegri is interested in becoming Manchester United manager as pressure mounts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the Daily Mail.

Allegri has been rumoured to be of interest to Bayern Munich after leaving Serie A champions Juve at the end of last season, while the Italian was also linked to Arsenal prior to Mikel Arteta's appointment.

However, he is reportedly holding out for the United job should Solskjaer be sacked. Ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is also believed to be monitoring the situation.

 

ROUND-UP

- ElDesmarque claims MLS duo Inter Miami and LA Galaxy are ready to vie for the signature of Real Madrid's Gareth BaleChelsea, though, have also been linked with the former Tottenham star.

- The race is heating up for Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek. Struggling for goals and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic back at San Siro, the Poland international is wanted by Tottenham, reports The Guardian and Calciomercato. Spurs want to boost their attacking options following Harry Kane's injury. Aston Villa have also tabled a bid for Piatek, but Calciomercato claims he is holding out for a bigger club.

- While Piatek could prove a difficult signing, Villa are closing in on Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Calciomercato, Gazzetta dello Sport and Tuttomercatoweb say former Liverpool keeper Reina has agreed a contract with the Premier League side until the end of the season.

- The Mirror reports United are in the market to sign a defender on loan after Harry Maguire's injury. Maguire – the world's most expensive defender – is facing a spell on the sidelines due to a muscle tear.

United are also weighing up a move for Ajax and Netherlands star Donny van de Beek, reports The Telegraph. With Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba injured, the Red Devils are in need of midfield reinforcements. Van de Beek has previously been linked to Real Madrid.

- AS claims Atletico Madrid are looking at Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik as an alternative to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani. Out of contract at season's end, Cavani is reportedly poised to make the move to Atletico, however, United and Arsenal are also interested.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Inter winger Matteo Politano has agreed to join city rivals Milan. Struggling for game time with the Nerazzurri, Politano's agent met with Milan's management on Wednesday as a shock switch nears.

Chelsea are preparing a £40million bid for West Ham defender Issa Diop, according to the Express. London rivals Tottenham are also reportedly interested.

Maurizio Sarri responded to Massimiliano Allegri's claims that tactical systems are irrelevant by joking he hopes Juventus president Andrea Agnelli did not read the interview.

Allegri this week said the tactics that dominate Italian football are "bull****" and the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala should be given a free licence to do as they wish. 

But Sarri, who replaced Allegri as Bianconeri coach in June, insisted the role of a coach is to get the best out of the squad at his disposal.

"I hope the president didn't see that or our wages will suffer a lot," he said at Saturday's news conference. 

"I agree that a coach doesn't need to transform players, but he must have an affect on a team while respecting the characteristics of individual players.

"They are personal opinions, ways of understanding different work."

Juventus are in action for the final time this calendar year on Sunday when they face Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The reigning Serie A champions enter the clash with the Coppa Italia holders on a run of three successive wins in all competitions, and Sarri said he is now starting to enjoy himself in Turin.

"I'm not sure if we have gone forwards or backwards since last season, but lately, in training and in games, I am having fun," he said. 

"That's because the team are playing the way I have asked. If I am enjoying myself, it suggests we have some weaknesses but we can work on them and solve them.

"The goal must always be a feeling of utopia, never being entirely happy and always having something to improve on."

Ronaldo, Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain started together against Udinese and Sampdoria, but Sarri is expecting a different type of test against Lazio, the only team to have inflicted defeat on the Bianconeri this term.

"We have conceded two goals over the last three games, one in the 95th minute," he said. "We are not leaking goals every five minutes, but we are making mistakes.

"We strangely tend to conceded when defending deep, rather than with a high press. I find it difficult to understand, and we need to work and improve on it.

"Lazio are strong physically and tactically - it's incredible they're not in the Champions League. 

"They have one of the strongest midfields in the world, plus [Ciro] Immobile, who has 17 goals in 16 games."

Massimiliano Allegri believes the tactics that dominate Italian football are "bull****" and that instead the game should be viewed as "art".

Allegri has been out of management since he left Juventus at the end of last season following five trophy-laden campaigns in Turin.

The 52-year-old coached Cristiano Ronaldo in his final season at Juve, with the former Real Madrid superstar scoring 28 goals across all competitions in 2018-19.

And Allegri insists the way to get the best out of players such as Ronaldo is to give them free licence to do as they wish on the field and not weigh them down with tactics.

"When the ball gets to Ronaldo, [Paulo] Dybala, Ronaldinho, [Clarence] Seedorf or [Andrea] Pirlo, I have to put the other players in a position to get the ball to them," Allegri told ESPN.

"Once they have the ball they decide what to do with it, what the best decision is. My son is eight and every now and then we go on YouTube and watch the great players, the amazing things they do in attack and in defence, because football is art.

"In Italy, the tactics, schemes, they're all bull****. Football is art and the artists are the world-class players.

"You don't have to teach them anything, you just admire them. All you need to do is put them in the best condition to do well.

"I love it when I see a great player do something amazing. On the bench, I'm a spectator watching a show put on by someone, and that someone is a player."

Allegri also claimed the introduction of more technology is clouding the judgement of coaches.

"In my ignorance I don’t even have a computer," he added. "I've got an iPad that Juventus gave me. I watch games on it, pull up some stats. Fortunately I've got a good memory and I manage to remember what happens in games.

"A coach has to be on the sideline. He has to breathe the game, he has to understand when it’s time to make a sub or take off his best player because the team needs a different kind of player.

"The perception is different from the sideline. They're making out football to be an exact science. If that's the case, the coach may as well go to the cinema. If you mechanise everything, you no longer have thinking players.

"If the players are used to going through that door and the door is locked, they'll end up banging their heads against it. If the players are used to thinking for themselves, they'll try to find another way out."

Massimiliano Allegri vowed he will not take on a new job until midway through 2020 as the former Juventus boss continues to be linked with Bayern Munich and Arsenal.

Allegri has been out of work since parting ways with Juventus following an eighth consecutive Serie A title in 2018-19 and fifth under the Italian's leadership.

The 52-year-old – who is taking English lessons – has emerged as a target for some of Europe's biggest clubs after Bundesliga champions Bayern sacked Niko Kovac and Arsenal dismissed Unai Emery.

But ex-Milan coach Allegri intends to wait until after the end of the 2019-20 season before launching his coaching comeback.

"In June. I don't know if you can call it a sabbatical or not," Allegri told ESPN FC when asked if he is hungry to get back into management. "Giovanni [Branchini, Allegri's agent] and I immediately came to that decision. As soon as the relationship with Juventus came to an end the decision was to take a year out."

He added: "Next year will be an important year. Important for the choice I end up making and the need to be prepared for it.

"After a year out and five years at Juventus, I don't want to go back into the game and do badly. That would do my head in."

On his English lessons, Allegri – who has also been linked to Premier League giants Manchester United – said: "I am taking lessons here in Milan. I manage to speak quite well. I find the listening part a bit more difficult.

"If I'm talking to someone who helps me out by speaking a little slower then I understand. I watch films [in English] and if I read something in English I understand it fine."

Aurelio De Laurentiis said "I didn't call anyone" as the Napoli president dismissed speculation that he is poised to sack Carlo Ancelotti amid links to Gennaro Gattuso.

With Napoli winless in eight matches across all competitions, reports in Italy claim the struggling Serie A side have decided to dismiss head coach Ancelotti following the Champions League fixture against Genk on December 10.

Rumours of a dressing-room revolt against Ancelotti have emerged, with former Milan boss Gattuso lined up as his potential replacement, while ex-Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and Luciano Spalletti have also been touted.

But outspoken owner De Laurentiis – whose Napoli are seventh and 17 points off the pace in Italy's top flight – rejected reports Ancelotti is on the brink.

"My faith in Carlo Ancelotti has never failed," De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss. "My trust in Ancelotti is total and unconditional, as a man and as a coach. 

"For the future I have decided nothing, it would be a mistake to decide at this moment, we have a season in progress, there is only one way: we must find peace, the team must return to work with serenity. 

"I didn't call anyone, I never called Gattuso and I never heard Spalletti. With Allegri we talk, but not from today. We have been talking since 2013, we have a cordial relationship. In 2013 I called him because I wanted him to become the coach of Naples, at the time he was the coach of Milan. He told me that we would be ready at the end of the season. He called me and gave me his total availability but I am a man of honour and I went to London, I shook hands with Rafa Benitez, so nothing was done. 

"I want to reiterate that my faith in Ancelotti is total, then we could have problems. The problems, perhaps, are in the work methodology, but this methodology allowed Carlo to win everything. He won a lot, he won everywhere. The top players he had, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, they also trained in a personalised way.

"It seems to us that there is a school system, so we must dictate the rule of the methodology. Our coach is Ancelotti, let's continue like this."

Napoli – eight points adrift of the fourth and final Champions League place – travel to Udinese on Saturday.

Arsenal sacked head coach Unai Emery on Friday following a disappointing start to his second season in charge of the club.

Emery lasted just 18 months in the job, paying the price for a winless run that spans seven games following Thursday's 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in front of a sparse crowd at the Emirates Stadium.

Former Gunners midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has been promoted to take charge in an interim capacity, but what about the contenders to replace Emery on a permanent basis?

Here we examine seven potential candidates for what remains one of the most coveted jobs in football, despite Arsenal's recent struggles.

Massimiliano Allegri

The ex-Milan and Juventus boss won six Serie A titles during his coaching spell in Italy and is out of work after leaving the Allianz Stadium at the end of last season. Allegri also reached two Champions League finals with Juventus and is seemingly primed for a return to football management.

Carlo Ancelotti

Another proven winner, having lifted league trophies in Italy, England, France and Germany, as well as winning the Champions League three times. Ancelotti has experience of working in the Premier League with Chelsea, but he has had a tough time of things at Napoli this term and his reputation has taken a bit of a hit in the process.

Mauricio Pochettino

Another coach with experience of working in the Premier League with a London club, albeit at Arsenal's fierce rivals Tottenham. Pochettino worked wonders during his five-and-a-half years at Spurs, but he ultimately failed to win any silverware and his loyalty to the team that sacked him makes this an almost certain non-runner in the eyes of many.

Freddie Ljungberg

Iconic Arsenal midfielder Ljungberg is the man in possession of the job after being placed in caretaker charge. Following the initial success of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United in an identical capacity 13 months ago, leading to him landing the position full-time, could Arsenal be tempted to go down a similar route if results instantly improve?

Mikel Arteta

Sticking with the theme of turning to an ex-player to steady the ship, Arteta has long been tipped as a future Arsenal boss. The Spaniard captained the Gunners during his playing career and has spent the past few years picking up coaching advice from Pep Guardiola. The question, though, is whether he is ready to manage in his own right - and if so, would this really be the right first job to take on?

Patrick Vieira

Unlike Arteta, and indeed Ljungberg, Vieira has experience of managing in a big league after 17 months in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice, where he remains under contract. The ex-France international, still a legendary figure at Arsenal, guided Nice to a seventh-place finish last season and has previously hinted he would be interested in returning to Arsenal.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno led Wolves out of the Championship and sealed a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season. He has continued his upward trajectory this term by balancing European football with domestic commitments, but could he be persuaded to jump ship while onto a good thing at Molineux, where he is loved by supporters?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

ROUND-UP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tottenham are on the hunt for a new manager after sacking Mauricio Pochettino.

With Spurs 14th in the Premier League and winless in their past five domestic matches, the club made the decision to relieve Pochettino and his coaching staff of their duties on Tuesday.

The decision brought an end to a five-and-a-half-year tenure that promised so much but delivered nothing in the way of silverware.

Spurs fans will expect a high-profile appointment to replace Pochettino and get the best out of a group of players that have been inconsistent this season.

In a statement announcing Pochettino's departure, chairman Daniel Levy said: "We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters."

Here are the managers expected to be in contention for the task.

 

Jose Mourinho

It is coming up for a year since Jose Mourinho departed Manchester United, where the man who won the Premier League with Chelsea three times lifted the EFL Cup and Europa League before making way for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He has since taken to punditry and his appearances have shown a marked softening in the dour demeanour that characterised his turbulent spell at Old Trafford.

Spurs might be the beneficiaries of Mourinho's new sunny disposition should they give him the task of clearing the storm clouds over Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Massimiliano Allegri

Having led Juventus to five consecutive Serie A titles, Allegri – who has reportedly been learning English – is a man whose domestic record is difficult to argue with.

The first manager in Europe's top five leagues to win four consecutive doubles, Allegri was a trophy machine in Turin, but he has yet to be tested outside Italian football.

Carlo Ancelotti

Under pressure at Napoli, where he has failed to win any of his past five games in all competitions, Ancelotti might jump at the chance to return to the Premier League.

The 60-year-old guided Chelsea to a domestic double in 2009-10, becoming the first Italian manager to win the Premier League, and since then he has lifted the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain, the Champions League with Real Madrid, and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.

If Tottenham want pedigree, Ancelotti has it in spades.

Eddie Howe

Bournemouth have been quietly shaping up for a top-half finish in the Premier League table this season, and Howe did his reputation no harm by beating United at the Vitality Stadium on November 2.

The 41-year-old is a former Bournemouth player and loyal servant as manager for seven years, so he would not leave the club on a whim, but the offer of a long-term project at a club the size of Tottenham might be the right sort of opportunity.

Rafael Benitez

Former Chelsea and Liverpool boss Benitez has the sort of record in the Premier League and Europe that might appease Tottenham fans, should Levy try to pry the Spaniard away from Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.

Levy will want a manager who can turn Spurs' fortunes around quickly and Benitez reached 100 wins with Liverpool in 181 Premier League games – though Pochettino reached the milestone in 169 matches in north London.

Julian Nagelsmann

Since making a name for himself by steering Hoffenheim clear of relegation in 2015-16 and up to fourth by the end of the following campaign, Nagelsmann has continued to win admirers across Europe through the attractive, attacking football played by his RB Leipzig team.

At the age of just 32, Nagelsmann is one of the hottest managerial prospects in the game and Leipzig are second in the Germany's top flight. Any Spurs fans who saw the way they beat Mainz 8-0 this month may well hope he is given serious thought.

Paul Pogba is injured, Juan Mata is on the fringes and Manchester United are in desperate need of creativity.

Kai Havertz, the talented Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, might hold the answer.

According to a new report, the Germany international could soon be the subject of a massive transfer bid from Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ HEADED TO MANCHESTER?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made 20-year-old Kai Havertz his top transfer target, says the Daily Star.

But the report suggests Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to wait until the end of the season before making an £80million offer.

Havertz, who has been linked with Bayern Munich, is one of the most admired young midfielders in Europe.

He scored 17 Bundesliga goals last season and has notched twice in nine appearances this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claim Barcelona have joined the race for sought-after Salzburg striker Erling Haaland. The teenage sensation scored his seventh Champions League goal in Tuesday's draw at Napoli and has reportedly attracted interest from Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, among others.

- Barcelona do have at least one exciting prospect dreaming of joining them. Highly rated Ajax defender Sergino Dest told Bleacher Report his "biggest goal" is to play for the Blaugrana, while the United States international also has his eye on a stint in the Premier League.

- Trouble is brewing in Naples. Gazzetta dello Sport suggest Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players are in rebellion against president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who ordered the team to enter a training retreat amid a poor run of results. Ancelotti did not appear for the customary post-match news conference following the 1-1 draw with Salzburg at Stadio San Paolo.

- Another successful Italian coach, Massimiliano Allegri, should reject any approach from managerless Bayern Munich and instead focus on becoming the next Manchester United boss. That is the view of Fabio Capello, who told Radio Anch'io Sport his compatriot would be the "best choice" for the Red Devils.

- Back to the Premier League and England, where Granit Xhaka is dealing with the fallout from being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. The Daily Mirror report the Gunners could now look to offload the midfielder in January, given his fractured relationship with the club's fans.

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