Pepe Reina feels shelved plans to continue playing Premier League games despite the coronavirus outbreak were crazy as he prepares to return to training with Aston Villa on Monday.

The spread of COVID-19 has led to widespread preventative action across the football world, with the top divisions in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy among those to suspend all matches this weekend.

The Premier League initially stated its intention to proceed with fixtures, however positive tests for the virus returned by Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi forced an emergency meeting to review its stance, while Everton, Manchester City, Leicester City and Bournemouth have all reported instances of players self-isolating.

In the UK at large, measures to combat coronavirus are yet to reach the lockdown levels of Italy and Spain, with Reina – who is on loan at Villa - urging the authorities not to "cover their eyes and look the other way".

"Here, in England, they have recommended prudence and to try to be at home as calm as possible," the 37-year-old told Marca.

"I don't have to look after myself at home because we're going to rest over the weekend and on Monday we have training.

"Only those who have positive cases in their teams, like Chelsea or Arsenal, have put their players in quarantine and isolation, but we keep training as usual from Monday.

"It was crazy to [propose that the Premier League] keep playing, we have to take this seriously.

"Other countries which are more affected have already taken more radical measures and we have to follow this path. England can't cover their eyes and look the other way, the life and health of everyone is more important than sport.

"You have to have clear priorities in life and football is just a game and entertainment for people, the health of the people has to come first ahead of any other interest."

UEFA will stage a video conference with all of its stakeholders on Tuesday to decide how to proceed with on-going competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League – both of which have had forthcoming matches postponed – and Euro 2020.

Reina believes the European Championship, which is set to be hosted across 12 European cities, should be put back until 2021.

"The leagues should only start once everything has calmed down," he added. "The most logical solution is to send the European Championship to next year, that should perhaps be the first measure."

Pepe Reina is back in the Premier League after joining Aston Villa from Milan on loan, while Bournemouth's Asmir Begovic has moved to San Siro on a short-term deal.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina, who spent eight years at Anfield as the Reds' first-choice shot-stopper, will spend the remainder of the season at Villa Park.

Villa have moved for the 37-year-old due to the season-ending knee injury England's Tom Heaton suffered earlier this month.

Reina joined Milan from Napoli in 2018 but has been unable to dislodge Gianluigi Donnarumma and has been restricted to five Serie A appearances.

Donnarumma's deputy will now be ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Begovic, who has also moved on a deal that runs until the end of the campaign.

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.

Inter are seemingly nearing an agreement with Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, reports say.

The Denmark international is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move away from Spurs in January.

Inter are among the clubs reportedly interested in Eriksen and it seems the Serie A high-flyers are close to a deal.

 

TOP STORY – INTER IN ADVANCED TALKS WITH ERIKSEN

Inter are in advanced talks with Eriksen for a move ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

However, he reports Spurs are looking to sell Eriksen in January for at least €20million (£17m).

Amid uncertainty over his future, Eriksen has made just nine Premier League starts for Tottenham this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at San Siro, multiple reports suggest Inter are eyeing Manchester United veteran Ashley Young. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports Inter and United are in advanced talks regarding the 34-year-old.

- Georginio Wijnaldum has been linked with a surprise move from Liverpool, with his contract expiring in 2021. However, Sky Sports reports the Netherlands international is happy at the European champions and wants to stay as long as possible.

- Arsenal are looking to strengthen in January, but the Premier League club are considering loan deals. Goal reports Arsenal are unlikely to make any permanent signings this month, unless an opportunity is too good to turn down.

- In a Premier League relegation battle and with injuries mounting, Aston Villa have held talks with Milan over possible deals for forward Krzysztof Piatek and goalkeeper Pepe Reina, according to the Daily Mail. Villa lost Wesley and Tom Heaton for the rest of the season to begin the year.

- Wilfried Zaha still looks set to leave Crystal Palace. The star's agent is said to have held preliminary talks with Bayern Munich, although a move to the Bundesliga giants is unlikely, according to Sky Sports. The Mirror reports Zaha's new agent, Pini Zahavi, is also trying to get the attacker to Tottenham.

- There continues to be talk about a possible move to Tottenham for Thomas Lemar. The Independent reports Spurs are considering making a loan approach for the Atletico Madrid midfielder, with a £51million (€60m) option to buy.

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