Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier is relishing the task of ruining Kylian Mbappe’s Champions League trip to Tyneside even if it might upset his son.

Magpies full-back Trippier is likely to be in direct competition with the Paris St Germain superstar when the clubs go head-to-head in Group F at St James’ Park on Wednesday evening.

However, he has revealed his son Jacob is a huge fan of Mbappe – who was seen calling for his gloves as he and his team-mates trained at an autumnal St James’ on Tuesday evening – and that has been a bone of contention in the lead up to an eagerly-anticipated game.

 

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Trippier said with a smile: “I was having a bit of banter with him last night and he said he wanted to walk out with Mbappe instead of me. I wasn’t really happy with that.

“He’s obsessed with him, always watching his clips on YouTube. I said to him, ‘If you get to walk out with Mbappe, you don’t look at me in the tunnel’.”

Trippier saw how dangerous Mbappe can be at close hand at last year’s World Cup finals, where he watched from the bench as France dumped England out at the quarter-final stage, and has also come up against the supremely-talented 24-year-old on the pitch on more than one occasion in the past.

He said: “I played against him – I think it might have been his debut game for Monaco – when I was at Tottenham, and I played against him for England on my debut – it’s quite a few years ago.

“This is football. These are the games you want as a player, playing in the Champions League, playing against the best players, the best teams. Paris have got unbelievable players in the team.

“Of course we need to recognise that Mbappe is one of the best players in the world, but they’ve got quality all over the pitch and we can’t be too fixed on them.

“We need to play our way because on our day, we can hurt anyone.”

For head coach Eddie Howe, the task is to put together a side which can extend an unbeaten five-game run in all competitions and build upon the start they achieved with a 0-0 draw at AC Milan in their opening fixture.

He will have to do so, however, without key defender Sven Botman and in all likelihood, with midfielder Joelinton and striker Callum Wilson also missing through injury.

The fixture, which rekindles memories of a famous 3-2 victory over Barcelona in the same competition in 1997, is a measure of the progress Newcastle have made in the two years since Amanda Staveley’s consortium launched its successful takeover and Howe, who arrived a few weeks later, admits the speed of progress has taken everyone by surprise.

He said: “Things move really quickly in football. I haven’t been here the whole two years, but my part of it has absolutely flown by.

“Initially, nothing like this was in our thoughts, the speed at which it’s happened. The only thing in our thoughts was staying in the Premier League initially.

“But the swing of momentum has shifted so powerfully and quickly in a positive direction for us. My only thought is to keep that momentum for as long as we can.”

A positive result against PSG would provide further evidence of the strides which have been taken, and Trippier insists victory, rather than football tourism, is his only focus.

Asked if he would be chasing Mbappe’s shirt after the final whistle, he said: “That has not crossed my mind. My thought process is to win.”

Kylian Mbappe is available for Paris St Germain’s Ligue 1 clash with Clermont on Saturday but could be rested ahead of the Champions League trip to Newcastle.

The France forward was forced off early in last weekend’s 4-0 hammering of Marseille with an ankle injury and boss Luis Enrique must decide whether to risk him in the meeting against the league’s bottom side.

Mbappe trained away from the rest of the squad on Thursday but was back with his team-mates on Friday.

“Kylian Mbappe trained with the squad today, he’s available,” said Enrique on PSG TV. “He has had some treatment and done some specific sessions, but he’s in shape to play.”

The defending champions made a shaky start to the season, drawing with Lorient and Toulouse and losing to Nice, and sit third in the table behind Brest and Nice heading into the weekend.

But the result against big rivals Marseille coupled with a Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund has put a different complexion on things.

“Confidence comes with good results,” said Enrique. “We had some difficult results early in the season but, when you win, everything is great, and confidence builds with victories.

“There’s a lot of things to improve. In a learning process, there is always a phase at the start where you have to learn a lot.

“We’re still in that phase. I’ve been very happy with the players since I took over but we’re still far from the level we want to achieve in attack and defence.”

Clermont have taken only one point from their first six matches, conceding 12 goals in the process, but Enrique believes that belies their quality.

“They don’t deserve to be bottom of the table,” he said. “They play good football, work well, and last season had a very solid base. They’re one of the best teams defensively.

“It’s an important game because it comes a few days before a Champions League away game. We mustn’t drop off and underestimate our opponents. It won’t be an easy game.”

PSG, meanwhile, announced on Friday that left-back Nuno Mendes is expected to be out for a further four months after undergoing surgery on his hamstring in Finland.

The 21-year-old Portugal international suffered the injury in July and an operation has now been deemed the best option in his recovery.

Enrique said: “For Nuno Mendes, we have to be careful with all of that.

“We’ve got enough strength in depth but we have to find solutions because the season is long.”

Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique intends to take things one match at a time as his squad prepare for a testing run of fixtures through the start of their Champions League campaign.

Nice head to the Parc des Princes on Friday night before PSG open their Group F schedule at home to Borussia Dortmund and then host arch rivals Marseille.

It is a run of games which looks set to stretch the PSG squad following on the back of an international break, during which Kylian Mbappe suffered an injury scare.

Enrique, though, feels PSG have enough strength in depth to see them through.

“We are focused on one match, the next one against Nice. We don’t think about those who come next,” Enrique told a press conference.

“We are used to having weeks with three matches – we have a squad with two or three players per position at the top level.

“It is vital to manage that well if we want to achieve our goals. Every player is ready, they will all play and will all be important in the season which will be long.”

Mbappe missed France’s defeat against Germany on Tuesday because of a minor knee injury, which PSG said was a patellar tendon problem, but was able to take part in training again on Thursday.

“He felt uncomfortable, we will discuss tomorrow to find out if he will be able to play against Nice, but I think he will be ready,” said former Barcelona and Spain boss Enrique.

Midfielder Fabian Ruiz faces a check on his calf, while forward Marco Asensio also picked up a foot problem while on international duty with Spain and is expected to be out until at least the end of the month.

PSG will climb above leaders Monaco with a victory on Friday night having recorded two wins and two draws from their opening four matches.

Nice are also unbeaten in Ligue 1 so far, having opened the new season with three draws before beating Strasbourg ahead of the international break.

Enrique said: “Nice is a team that works a lot. They take few risks and are courageous with and without the ball.

“They will be a difficult opponent, but we want to start this series of matches with a success.

“We want to impose our style of play, but our next opponents will want to do that too.”

Ahead of Friday’s game, PSG are planning a send off for Marco Verratti, with the veteran Italy midfielder having signed for Qatari side Al-Arabi, ending his 11-year stay with the French club.

Enrique said: “Marco Verratti will be there tomorrow before the match, this is the opportunity for all the supporters to say goodbye.

“He has been a very important player for the club over the last decade. I think it will be a special moment for him and his family.”

Nice boss Francesco Farioli hopes to be able to welcome France midfielder Khephren Thuram back into the side following injury.

“He is one of our possible game changers, someone who can change a match and improve our level in a very important way,” Farioli said at a press conference.

“Our goal is to bring him back to his best level. He is someone important for the club. We give it attention, time and we want to give it everything we can.

“Tomorrow, he will definitely be there and I think that what is more, it will be the ideal stage for him to express his qualities and help us greatly.”

Alexis Claude-Maurice (knee) and Antoine Mendy (calf) are Nice’s only absentees.

Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has been training with the club, who continue to assess the Italian international’s fitness following a ruptured Achilles tendon last season.

“Salvatore can be a great addition for the club. He has knowledge of Ligue 1,” Fariol said. “We are currently evaluating his physical condition, not how he is as a player.”

Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique is preparing for the usual intensity in his side’s game against Lyon despite both teams’ below-par starts to the season.

PSG finally got up and running with victory over Lens, following draws with Lorient and Toulouse. On Sunday, they visit a winless Lyon side who are kept off the bottom of Ligue 1 only by Clermont.

“We have prepared for tomorrow’s game in the same way as every game at Paris St Germain – with a serious approach, with professionalism,” Enrique said at a pre-match press conference broadcast on the club’s website.

“Lyon are a big historic club. They are one of best sides in this league and have very good players, a very good coach who I know well and played with at Barcelona, Laurent Blanc.

“It will be a tough game at a fantastic stadium with a brilliant atmosphere, the kind we like to play in. It will certainly be a difficult game. We have prepared as well as we can to try to get the three points.”

Deadline-day signing Randal Kolo Muani is still recovering from an ankle injury, but fellow newcomer Bradley Barcola will be in the squad against his former club.

Enrique said of Barcola: “He is good at dribbling down the wing and he can play as a number nine inside. We really like him and he strengthens the squad for the future as well. I think it is a great signing.”

The pair’s arrivals will increase the competition for places up front, but asked if that could push another recent recruit in Goncalo Ramos to the bench, Enrique played down any concern.

“I didn’t know Goncalo Ramos was going to be a substitute,” he said.

“I want 20 starters, not 11, 12, or 13. If we have 22 starters we are ready for any competition. That is the aim.

“There are very few substitutes here.”

Presnel Kimpembe, Lee Kang-in and left-back Nuno Mendes remain sidelined for Sunday’s game.

Lyon are without Alexandre Lacazette and Dejan Lovren, but could welcome back goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, who has trained with the squad for the first time since a pre-season facial injury.

Lopes’ return would be a boost to a defence which conceded four goals in Lyon’s previous home game against Montpellier.

Lyon manager Blanc said: “He is recovering very well. There will certainly be a discussion with the medical staff to make a decision. It’s good news to see him training with us.

“This game against Paris can help us to launch our season. Hosting Paris is not necessarily ideal to relaunch yourself, but maybe it can be the chance to erase the bad things that happened against Montpellier.

“Paris played a great match against Lens. They are a team with a lot of very good individuals.

“Anything is possible, but regardless of the system, it is PSG we are up against.”

Luis Enrique said Kylian Mbappe is in a good state of mind to return to his Paris Saint Germain side ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 meeting with Toulouse.

The striker was absent from the squad for the opening-weekend goalless draw with Lorient following a tumultuous summer in which a dispute over his future left him training separately from the first team.

The 23-year-old has only a year to run on his current contract and has stated his reluctance to sign renewed terms, but has been brought back into the fold and is in line play on Saturday.

The manager said he is happy to have a player of the World Cup-winner’s ability available as he looks to win the title in his first season in charge.

“I am very happy to have a world-class player like Kylian,” said Enrique. “He is in great shape, he has a lot of desire, a very good state of mind.”

It will be PSG’s first game in Ligue 1 since world-record signing Neymar departed to sign for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia.

Enrique managed the Brazilian during the time together at Barcelona, winning the Champions League in 2015, but the 31-year-old had recently made clear his desire to leave the club he joined for £190million in 2017.

He made 173 appearances for PSG after signing from Barcelona in 2017, helping the club win 13 trophies, including five Ligue 1 titles, as well as reaching the final of the Champions League in 2020.

The manager said that despite Mbappe’s return there would still be attacking reinforcements required following Neymar’s departure.

“He is a world-class player and I wish him well for the future,” said Enrique.

“We still need to strengthen (in attack) because it is the where we had the fewest recruits. We still have work to do on how they complement each other.”

The former Barca manager, who replaced Christophe Galtier as manager of the Ligue 1 champions in July, said he is yet to select a new team captain and yet may yet allow his squad to pick whom they wish to lead them this season.

“There are four captains (in the squad) – that something that is defined by the players, not by the coach. I want him (who the players choose) to be their captain, not my captain.”

The club was boosted by the news on Friday that goalkeeper Sergio Rico has been discharged from the hospital,  three months after he sustained a head injury following an accident with a loose horse.

Former Spain and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has been named as the new manager of Paris St Germain following the sacking of Christophe Galtier.

The French club parted company with Galtier on Wednesday despite his success in leading them to a record 11th Ligue 1 title in his first season in charge.

Enrique, who had been out of work since stepping down from his role with Spain after last year’s World Cup, has signed a two-year deal.

A statement read: “Paris St Germain is pleased to announce the appointment of Luis Enrique as head coach of the professional team. The Spanish coach has signed a two-year contract.”

Galtier’s position had been the subject of speculation since PSG exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage.

His team went on to pip Lens to the domestic title by a single point but the 56-year-old’s eventual departure came as little surprise.

His exit and replacement by Enrique is not the only change at the club this summer with seven-time world player of the year Lionel Messi having also departed. The future of another star player, Neymar, is also uncertain.

Enrique, 53, will spearhead a renewed attempt to succeed on the European stage.

The Spaniard said: “I am delighted to arrive in Paris to live a new experience there. It’s so exciting to meet new people, to live in this city, to learn a new language and above all to coach PSG.”

Enrique, who had a distinguished playing career with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Spain, has also had spells coaching Roma and Celta Vigo.

He led Barca to the Champions League in 2015 and also won LaLiga twice with the Catalan giants before spending four years with the Spanish national side.

He is the fourth new coach at PSG in just over five years after Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pocehttino and Galtier.

PSG said in a statement: “At the end of the 2022-2023 season, Paris Saint-Germain informed Christophe Galtier of its decision to terminate his contract as first-team coach.”

The race for Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with Liverpool having pulled out last week.

Numerous top clubs are keen on the 19-year-old England international who is contracted with Borussia Dortmund until 2025.

Bellingham signed his initial deal with Dortmund in 2020 but is set for a major pay rise if he moves or pens fresh terms.

TOP STORY – MADRID TO USE DIAZ IN BELLINGHAM DEAL

Real Madrid are plotting a potential player swap-plus-cash deal to land Jude Bellingham in the off-season, according to Cadena SER.

Los Blancos are investigating potentially using Brahim Diaz, currently on loan at Milan, in a deal to help reduce Dortmund's reported €150 million asking price.

Madrid are currently in the process of extending the stays of veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are preparing a new contract offer for Erling Haaland to ward off rivals interest from top clubs such as Real Madrid, claims The Athletic.

- Rafael Leao wants to stay with Milan following interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, according to Manchester Evening News.

- Newcastle United have established contact with Ousmane Dembele's representatives to discuss a move for the Barcelona winger, claims 90min.

- Arsenal and Newcastle United are both interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Le10Sport.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea have opted against pursing Luis Enrique as their new manager, instead turning their attention to former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Guardian claims Julian Nagelsmann remains Chelsea's top candidate.

- Tottenham will swoop on Chelsea's decision and look to appoint Enrique as Antonio Conte's replacement, according to The Express.

Cesar Azpilicueta has hinted at a preference for Luis Enrique as Chelsea's next head coach, as the Premier League club continue their search for Graham Potter's permanent successor.

Potter was dismissed earlier this month, with the Blues turning to ex-manager Frank Lampard on an interim basis through the end of their campaign.

Several candidates are thought to be in the mix to take charge from next season, with former Barcelona and Spain boss Luis Enrique among them.

Azpilicueta played under his countryman for La Roja, and suggested he would enjoy a reunion, but also stressed he would back whatever call Chelsea make in the end.

"My best games with the national team were with Luis Enrique," he told EFE. "But there are parts [of the club] who negotiate [these things].

"We trust [them] with doing what is best for the club. We will see what happens."

Luis Enrique took charge of Spain in July 2018 following their exit from the World Cup in Russia, succeeding Fernando Hierro.

Under his leadership, La Roja reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and finished as runners-up in the 2021 Nations League Finals, with Azpilicueta starring in both runs.

However, a dismal campaign at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, where his side laboured in the group stage before suffering a last-16 exit to Morocco, saw him step down from his position.

Chelsea lost their first game back under Lampard, a 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Saturday, and next face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Chelsea's dismissal of Graham Potter and decision not to rush into an appointment has generated speculation about their next permanent manager.

The Blues are destined to miss out on the Premier League's top four this season, thus will not qualify for the Champions League via the league.

As a result, there appears a lack of urgency as they look to get back on the right direction after sacking both Potter and Thomas Tuchel this term under new owner Todd Boehly.

TOP STORY – BLUES MULL OVER ENRIQUE, NAGELSMANN AND CONTE

Fabrizio Romano reports Frank Lampard will take over as Chelsea's interim manager, but that ex-Spain boss Luis Enrique is 100 per cent interested in the permanent position.

Enrique has flown into London for talks on the role, while the Blues will also continue talks with ex-Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann who is the leading candidate.

The Independent claims the Blues are also considering a shock return for Antonio Conte after initial contact between intermediaries.

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider reports Manchester United are keen on Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse. United may take advantage of the Saints' possible relegation to bolster their midfield with the 28-year-old free-kick specialist. Aston Villa and Newcastle United are also interested in him.

Liverpool are willing to cough up €40 million (£35m) for Atletico Madrid's Argentinian World Cup winner Rodrigo De Paul to bolster their midfield next term, reports Fichajes. Inter Live claims Tottenham are also interested in De Paul.

Arsenal are pondering an off-season move for Lazio midfielder Sergei Milinkovic-Savic who will be a free agent in 2024, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. The reported fee would be around €40m.

Luka Modric is disgruntled with his contract situation at Real Madrid, with his future not yet resolved with only a few months left on his deal, claims Goal.

– Fichajes claims West Ham, Leeds United and Nice are all circling for Real Madrid's Mariano who will be available on a free transfer at the end of this season.

Leicester City have shortlisted Ralph Hasenhuttl, Jesse Marsch and Oscar Garcia for their vacant managerial role according to Fabrizio Romano. The Independent's Miguel Delaney claims the Foxes are also interested in experienced pair Martin O'Neill and Rafa Benitez.

Just 206 days after Chelsea owner Todd Boehly assured the world that incoming head coach Graham Potter would be given time at Chelsea, the American decided to terminate the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss' contract.

That is fewer days in charge than any permanent manager/head coach at Stamford Bridge during the Roman Abramovich era, but it was not a decision taken without reason.

Chelsea sit 11th in the Premier League, with 38 points from 28 games their worst total at this stage since the 1994-95 season (36), while the Blues are in the bottom half of the table after at least 28 games for the first time since 1995-96, when they finished 11th.

Potter won just 12 of his 31 games in charge after arriving from Brighton in September (D8 L11), ultimately paying the price after Chelsea's dismal 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday.

So who will Boehly turn to next having given up on the Potter project? Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the early favourites.

Julian Nagelsmann

The German will probably have been the first name many thought of when news of Potter's sacking broke on Sunday, with Nagelsmann facing the same fate at Bayern Munich just a few days prior.

It would be somewhat of a coincidence given the 35-year-old was replaced at Bayern by former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, who had been replaced at Stamford Bridge by Potter.

Nagelsmann has been one of the most highly-rated young coaches in Europe since his work at Hoffenheim, where he boasted a record of 55 wins from 136 games (40 per cent), before upping that win percentage at RB Leipzig to 57 (54 wins from 95 games).

That was enough to convince Bayern he should replace Hansi Flick in July 2021, but despite winning the Bundesliga in what proved to be his only full season at the Allianz Arena, and reaching the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League, the club removed him.

Several of his former players at Bayern praised him in the days since, but you do wonder if someone who was not deemed a good fit at a similarly sized and demanding club would be a good fit for Chelsea.

 

Brendan Rodgers

The former Liverpool and Leicester City boss was sacked by the Foxes just hours before Potter got his marching orders, and on paper it doesn't sound like it would be much of an improvement.

Rodgers almost won the Premier League title with Liverpool in 2013-14 before his team regressed the following season after selling Luis Suarez, but he repaired his reputation at the King Power Stadium.

He won the FA Cup in 2020-21, beating Chelsea 1-0 in the final, and ended his time with the Foxes with a record of 92 wins from 204 games (D42 L70), a win percentage of 45.

Rodgers did learn the ropes as a youth coach at Chelsea though, and is arguably more of the same should Boehly still like the idea of a Potter-type of coach who favours a mix of pressing and possession.

It does feel like a job a bit beyond the 50-year-old, though it was not that long ago that some pundits were suggesting Arsenal should sack Mikel Arteta and hire Rodgers. Football, eh?

Mauricio Pochettino

The Argentinian was a very popular figure during his time at Tottenham, and he has been strongly linked with succeeding Antonio Conte at his former club.

Pochettino may not have won a trophy at Spurs, but he presided over two title challenges and the run to the 2019 Champions League final, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

His five-year reign included 113 wins from 202 Premier League games, a points-per-game (PPG) average of 1.89, before he was eventually dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy after appearing to take the club as far as he could.

Pochettino landed at Paris Saint-Germain, where he won a Ligue 1 title as well as a Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions, but failures in the Champions League and losing out on the 2020-21 French title to Lille were low points, albeit he only took over halfway through that season.

He is therefore perhaps more suited to more of an underdog than one that operates in the way Chelsea does.

On the other hand, perhaps he could tempt Harry Kane across London.

Luis Enrique

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player most recently won 27 of 48 games as Spain head coach, but international football can be a different world to the top-level club game.

Luis Enrique was very successful in his last club job at Barca, though it admittedly helped having a front three of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar all at their peak.

He won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns, a Supercopa de Espana, a European Super Cup and a Club World Cup, as well as the 2014-15 Champions League as part of a historic treble.

Overall, Luis Enrique won 87 of his 114 LaLiga games (2.4 PPG), and has shown that he can take a team of superstars and get plenty out of them while managing egos.

However, the fact he has not had a club job since 2017 might be seen as problematic by some fans, while it could also be argued he underachieved with Spain.

Roberto De Zerbi

It would really be a kick in the teeth for Brighton to have Chelsea take another of their head coaches so soon after luring Potter away, but on paper, this could make all the sense in the world for the Blues.

Potter earned the Chelsea gig from the fantastic work he did on the south coast, with De Zerbi replacing him as Seagulls boss after his departure.

The Italian has taken Brighton to another level since his arrival, with the club remarkably still in with a reasonable chance of finishing in the European spots, and perhaps even the top four.

De Zerbi has averaged 1.50 points per game, winning eight of his 20 league games in charge, as well as guiding Brighton to the FA Cup semi-finals.

Having De Zerbi develop the foundations laid by Potter could work twice, though it would likely cost Chelsea a fortune to find out, not that that usually deters them.

Chelsea have underwhelmed this season and may look to offload players to ensure they meet financial fair play requirements, but could Reece James really leave Stamford Bridge?

The Blues have spent big money over the past 10 months since Todd Boehly took over ownership from Roman Abramovich.

Enzo Fernandez, Wesley Fofana, Mykhailo Mudryk, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling, Benoit Badiashile, Kalidou Koulibaly, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto were all signed in lucrative moves.

TOP STORY – MADRID CONSIDER SHOCK MOVE FOR CHELSEA'S JAMES

Real Madrid are plotting a shock swoop to sign Chelsea full-back Reece James as the Blues plan a clean-out, claims AS.

James, 23, is contracted with the Blues until 2028, making any deal complicated, but Los Blancos are reportedly hoping Chelsea's need to balance the books can work in their favour.

Madrid previously landed Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard from Chelsea, albeit in different circumstances with both only having shorter terms remaining on their contracts.

AS claims Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham remains Real's priority signing.

ROUND-UP

– The Evening Standard claims Arsenal are making West Ham midfielder Declan Rice a transfer priority, amid plenty of interest from Premier League clubs. Rice is expected to leave the Hammers at the end of this season, with ChelseaManchester City and Manchester United also reportedly in the hunt.

– Manchester United are keeping an eye on Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani and Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund should their advances for Tottenham's Harry Kane fail, claims the Manchester Evening News.

– Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat is eager for a move to Barcelona, claims Footmercato. The Blaugrana had interest in the Moroccan during the last transfer window.

– Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have lodged initial bids for 16-year-old Hajduk Split defender Luka Vuskovic, according to 90min.

– Footmercato reports Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is set to sign a new five-year contract with Napoli, having been linked with PSG recently.

– El Chiringuito claims Manchester City are eyeing a move for ex-Spain boss Luis Enrique amid talk Pep Guardiola could opt for a sabbatical at the end of the season.

Former Spain and Barcelona coach Luis Enrique wants to work in England but has seemingly ruled out replacing Antonio Conte at Tottenham.

Luis Enrique parted ways with Spain after the 2022 World Cup, which saw La Roja knocked out by Morocco at the last-16 stage.

He was replaced by Luis de la Fuente, who stepped up from the Under-21s, leaving Luis Enrique back on the market.

Links to high-profile jobs have been frequent ever since, but the club he appears to have been associated with the most is Spurs, who dismissed Conte on Sunday after a week of intense speculation suggesting his time was over.

While Luis Enrique was not directly asked about Spurs during his first major interview of the year, he did express a desire to work in the Premier League.

But the fact he does not expect to be working in England even as early as July suggests the Spurs job would be a non-starter.

"I would like to go to England to work," he told Radio SER Gijon.

"But I don't see myself in the Premier League in July because I would like to go to a team there that can do important things, and that is very difficult.

"I would not go to [just] any Premier League team."

The 52-year-old has also been among the big names linked with the Brazil job, which Tite vacated following the Selecao's unsuccessful Qatar 2022 campaign.

Luis Enrique confirmed he has received offers from national teams – Brazil not being one of them – but he seems less interested in returning to the international stage.

"I don't see myself coaching Brazil," he continued. "Another coach profile fits in there better than mine.

"They haven't called me. I don't know if my style fits the best with Brazil.

"I have had offers from national teams, but not from clubs. It would have to be a very important [national] team to take it, although it would be very difficult for me to face Spain. I don't know if I would be ready."

Harry Kane's future at Tottenham remains in limbo, given his contract status and the departure of Antonio Conte.

The 29-year-old forward, who recently became Spurs' all-time leading scorer, is out of contract in 2024.

Kane has previously spoken about his desire to contend for silverware and almost joined Manchester City in 2021.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD SANCTION KANE MOVE

The Manchester United bosses have sanctioned a potential £80million deal for Tottenham striker Harry Kane, reports the Daily Star.

United are ready to ramp up their interest in the England captain, who has interest from Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea.

The report claims United hope to get the jump on their rivals and open up talks soon, with a view to having a deal agreed with Kane within weeks.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Times reports Bayern Munich want to sign Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount who previously worked with the German champions' new boss Thomas Tuchel.

Arsenal are circling for Eintracht Frankfurt's Danish midfielder Jesper Lindstrom who may be available for €30m, reports Sport1.

– The Mirror claims Liverpool have joined the battle to sign Evan Ndicka from Eintracht Frankfurt as a free agent in the off-season.

– Barcelona may cash in on Samuel Umtiti's revival on loan at Lecce and look to recoup a transfer fee this off-season according to SPORT.

– Sky Italy claims former Real Madrid boss and France World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane is on Tottenham's shortlist to replace Conte, along with Mauricio Pochettino, Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique.

Luis Enrique had no 'plan B' and Spain suffered a premature World Cup exit as a consequence, according to Iago Aspas.

Veteran striker Aspas missed out on the squad for Qatar 2022 but has been recalled by Luis Enrique's successor, Luis de la Fuente, for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland.

The 35-year-old Celta Vigo player was powerless to prevent Spain losing to Morocco on penalties after a goalless stalemate at the last-16 stage of the World Cup.

"I was wishing Spain to score," Aspas said on Thursday, looking back at that game.

"With Luis Enrique we had a very defined game style. For me, who in future could become a coach, we did not have plan B, and when plan A was stuck there wasn't plan B or other types of footballers to try to revert that situation. From my point of view."

Aspas knowingly added: "Now the headline is easy, of course."

Luis Enrique felt Aspas did not contribute sufficiently from a defensive perspective for Spain.

De la Fuente has chosen to see for himself what the former Liverpool player might be able to achieve for the national team in the twilight of his playing career.

Reflecting on Luis Enrique's reasoning, Aspas said: "I didn't agree really, but didn't have a chat with Luis Enrique to talk about this. I do not know if he said that referring to me specifically, but in my team I run like anyone else.

"Data is there and anyone can see how I can make 10 kilometres per game each weekend. We [at Celta] are a team that cannot leave one player without defending because other teams could then destroy you.

"I was an important footballer in my [club] team, but when I have come to the national team in other occasions I think that I have demonstrated that I am a versatile player who can play on different positions: behind the striker or as a striker, or on the side. So I am here to help and for what the coach needs."

Spain lost an attacking option on Thursday when Bryan Gil pulled out of the squad ahead of Saturday's clash with Norway due to "discomfort that has prevented him from exercising normally".

De la Fuente does not plan to call in a replacement for the player who is on loan to Sevilla from Tottenham.

With Antonio Conte expected to leave Tottenham by the end of the week, attention is already turning to who might be next to try their hand at what continues to look a near-impossible job.

Spurs are a big club with a fabulous stadium, passionate fanbase and talented squad.

Despite the relative success of Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino in the last two decades, as well as investing in high-profile bosses Jose Mourinho and Conte, none have been able to bring silverware to the north London club.

The only trophy Spurs have claimed since the turn of the century was the EFL Cup in 2007-08, and any new manager/head coach will be tasked with ending that drought as soon as possible, as well as ensuring another season of Champions League football.

Stats Perform looks at some of the early favourites, with Conte seemingly on the brink.

Mauricio Pochettino

The Argentinian was a very popular figure during his time at White Hart Lane – and subsequently Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Pochettino may not have won a trophy, but he presided over two title challenges and the run to the 2019 Champions League final, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

He mostly got the best out of his players, too, and took many of them to another level.

His five-year reign included 113 wins from 202 Premier League games, a points-per-game (PPG) average of 1.89, very slightly higher than Conte's 1.88 (32 wins from 56 games).

Pochettino was eventually dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy after appearing to take the club as far as he could, so going back to him when still looking someone to take them to the next level might be a little backwards.

He would likely be a popular choice with the fans, though, and should at the very least provide some stability. Perhaps crucially, he might also be their best bet in convincing Harry Kane to stay.

Ryan Mason

It wouldn't technically be a return for Mason as he never actually left, taking on a first-team coach role after the end of his interim spell at the helm following the sacking of Mourinho in April 2021.

His second game in charge was a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final, but Mason arguably did well considering his lack of experience.

Given he only took charge of six matches, it seems a little pointless to stake a claim for Mason based on his own PPG record (2.0).

But the former Spurs midfielder is the heavy favourite for the job, even if only on a short-term basis again.

Similarly to Pochettino, the thinking behind that choice would most likely be stability and that decision makers at the club may feel the players are likely to respond positively to someone they already know.

Unless he performs spectacularly, appointing Mason would probably be followed by a full-time hire at the end of the season.

Thomas Tuchel

While Tuchel would be yet another former Chelsea boss taking the reins, following in the footsteps of Glenn Hoddle, Andre Villas-Boas, Mourinho and Conte, it's hard to argue with his credentials.

The German won 35 of 63 Premier League games with the Blues, a PPG average of 1.94, as well as winning the Champions League in 2021.

Considering Spurs are eager to win a first trophy since 2008, the fact Tuchel guided Chelsea to five finals – including the 2021 Club World Cup – in less than two years will no doubt appeal, even if he did lose three of them.

Tuchel reportedly left Stamford Bridge partly due to a disagreement on transfers with owner Todd Boehly, which may not bode well given Conte's consistent complaining about the way Spurs work in the market.

Either way, the man who shared a furious handshake with Conte earlier this season could well be the same person to replace the Italian in the Spurs dugout.

 

Luis Enrique

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player most recently won 27 of 48 games as Spain head coach, but international football can be a different world to the top-level club game.

Luis Enrique was very successful in his last club job at Barca, though it admittedly helped having a front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all at their peak.

He won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns, a Supercopa de Espana, a European Super Cup and a Club World Cup, as well as the 2014-15 Champions League as part of a historic treble.

Overall, Luis Enrique won 87 of his 114 LaLiga games (2.4 PPG), but it is difficult to compare this to counterparts at Spurs given Barca's relative dominance in Spain.

His record at Roma earlier in his career could be a better barometer, winning 16 of his 38 Serie A games in charge of the Giallorossi (1.5 PPG), before winning 14 of 38 LaLiga matches as head coach of Celta Vigo (1.3 PPG) before heading to Camp Nou. But how relevant are these spells now given he left Balaidos nine years ago?

Similarly, the fact he's not had a club job since 2017 might be seen as problematic by some fans, while it could also be argued he underachieved with Spain.

Roberto De Zerbi

De Zerbi has made his mark on the Premier League very quickly since replacing Graham Potter at Brighton and Hove Albion in September.

Brighton have thrived and find themselves in a genuine fight for Europe, with a top-four finish not out of the question at this stage as they sit seven points behind fourth-placed Spurs with three games in hand.

De Zerbi has won eight of his 19 Premier League games, while the Seagulls rank second in the Premier League for passing accuracy (86.9 per cent), average possession (62.1 per cent) and passes per sequence (4.5). They are also third for goals (35) and fifth for passes played into the opposition's box since his first game, highlighting an attack-minded approach that would certainly be appreciated by a frustrated Spurs fanbase.

Getting him out of Brighton will be easier said than done, however, having already lost one head coach this season, not to mention their renown for getting a good deal – Potter reportedly cost Chelsea £21.5million.

Spurs will almost certainly have to pay through the nose or look elsewhere.

Oliver Glasner

A surprise name that has emerged in recent days is that of Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner, who impressed so many by leading the Bundesliga club to Europa League success last season.

Glasner made a promising start to his coaching career in his native Austria with Ried and LASK, before guiding Wolfsburg to seventh and fourth-placed finishes in the German top-flight.

He then made the switch to Eintracht ahead of the 2021-22 season. He could only guide them to 11th in the Bundesliga, winning just three of their 17 games in the second half of the campaign, but this came amid the backdrop of Europa League glory, eliminating Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham before beating Rangers in the final on penalties.

Some reports suggest Levy has already contacted Glasner, whose contract expires in 2024.

This season, Eintracht sit sixth in the league and were recently knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Napoli.

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