Manchester City's search for a permanent striker appears to be ramping up, with a deal for Erling Haaland reportedly in the works.

City have not been able to properly replace Sergio Aguero despite leading the Premier League, and Haaland looks to be their primary target.

Details and discussion of the deal already appear to be in advanced stages, and City look to be best placed to sign the Norwegian.


TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR MAN CITY SWITCH

According to the Daily Mail, Haaland is set to move to Manchester City at the end of season, with personal terms already discussed and the framework for the deal already green-lit by City decision makers.

Haaland's father Alf-Inge played for the club but more importantly, City appear willing to meet Borussia Dortmund's release clause of £63million (€75.1million). 

The 21-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, would also be set to earn a significant portion of the transfer fee per reports, meaning the total outlay will reach nine figures.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have shown keen interest in the Norwegian striker, but the Premier League leaders look to be in pole position.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are looking at Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak as an alternative in the event they don't manage to sign Haaland from Dortmund . According to El Nacional, Xavi is an admirer of the 22-year-old Swedish striker, but they would face competition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal .

- Milan are set to make an offer for Mamadou Coulibaly from Monaco. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Rossoneri scout Geoffrey Moncada is particularly keen on the 17-year-old, who will be leaving Monaco at the end of the season.

- According to reports from Calciomercato, Napoli will look to begin talks with Sassuolo for talented attacker Hamed Junior Traore soon. Following the expiry of Juventus' right of first refusal clause, reports also say the Partenopei will want to move quickly.

- Real Madrid are close to confirming a contract extension for Luka Modric, per Marca reports, but are unwavering in their plans to offload Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco at the end of the season.

Nantes returned to the Coupe de France final for the first time since 1999-2000 after Monaco's big names failed from 12 yards in a 4-2 shoot-out reverse on Wednesday.

Les Canaris have not played in French football's showpiece match since winning the cup in consecutive seasons at the turn of the century, but they can now look ahead to a date with Nice.

Poor defending at both ends had seen Nantes and Monaco play out a 2-2 draw at the Beaujoire, with Guillermo Maripan and Myron Boadu scoring headers either side of two home goals – Djibril Sidibe's first-half own goal and then a scrappy Samuel Moutoussamy strike.

The tie was therefore settled on penalties, and Wissam Ben Yedder was denied by Remy Descamps before Aurelien Tchouameni missed the target to give Nantes a two-goal advantage they would not cede.

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been banned for 10 years by the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Athletics Integrity Unit.

The 33-year-old sprinter was banned for five years for the presence and use of multiple prohibited substances and five years for her refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case, the AIU said in a release on Friday.

According to the AIU, the sole arbitrator adjudicating the case concluded that the athlete’s use of multiple prohibited substances as part of an organized doping regimen in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games was egregious conduct that amounted to aggravating circumstances under the Rules thereby warranting an additional period of ineligibility on top of the standard four-year sanction.

The sole arbitrator also recognized the AIU’s right to carry out investigations, including the imaging of electronic devices, and to impose sanctions when an athlete refuses to co-operate with an investigation and thereby frustrates the AIU’s ability to fulfil its mandate to protect the integrity of the sport of athletics.

In this instance, the sole arbitrator concluded that the athlete’s refusal to cooperate had denied the AIU the opportunity to discover evidence of possible further rule violations by her as well possible violations of the rules by others, for which he imposed an additional sanction of five years, the release said.

“We welcome the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal; a ban of 10-year is a strong message against intentional and coordinated attempts to cheat at the very highest level of our sport. This is an outcome that was driven by our intelligence-led target testing as well as our commitment to investigate the circumstances behind a positive test,” said Brett Clothier, Head of the AIU.

On October 7, 2021, the AIU had pressed charges against Okagbare in relation to separate disciplinary matters.

First, for the presence and use of multiple (two) prohibited substances (human Growth Hormone (HGH) and recombinant erythropoietin (EPO)) for which Okagbare had been provisionally suspended on July 31, 2021, the day on which she had been scheduled to participate in the semi-finals of the Tokyo 2020 women’s 100m.

Subsequently, in accordance with Rule 12 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, she was charged with a refusal to co-operate with the AIU’s investigation into her case. The athlete has the right to appeal against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 30-days.

Chelsea have been crowned European and world champions since Thomas Tuchel's appointment just over 12 months ago.

The Blues, however, finished fourth in the Premier League last season.

Chelsea are third this term but 16 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, and it seems recruitment is in the offing.

TOP STORY – BLUES SET TO SPLASH THE CASH

Chelsea are set for an off-season transfer splash as they prepare to back Tuchel fresh from their Club World Cup triumph, according to The Telegraph, 

The Blues have their sights firmly set on signing long-term target Jules Kounde from Sevilla as a priority in the upcoming off-season.

Chelsea are also interested in West Ham United's England international Declan Rice and Monaco's 22-year-old French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.


ROUND-UP

- Football London reports Arsenal are plotting a move for Chelsea forward Armando Broja, who is currently on loan at Southampton. The Gunners are short on attacking options after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's exit and with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah running down contracts.

- Fichajes also claims that Arsenal are interested in Milan forward Rafael Leao, along with Newcastle United.

Barcelona are trying to agree new deals with star young pair Gavi and Ronald Araujo amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester United, reports ESPN.

Juventus are willing to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Alex Sandro according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fichajes claims that West Ham want to sign Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan and Real Sociedad centre-back Robin Le Normand.

When the next transfer window opens, Erling Haaland's future will be a hot topic.

The 21-year-old striker has two years remaining on his Borussia Dortmund contract.

But there is a £65million (€75m) release clause that enables him to talk to clubs who can meet that valuation from this off-season.

 

TOP STORY - CITY READY TO RAMP UP HAALAND ADVANCES

El Chiringuito claim that Real Madrid's interest in signing Haaland has waned as they focus on landing Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have been heavily linked with Haaland once his release clause becomes active, along with Barcelona, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

City "will do what they can" to persuade Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to join them in the off-season despite believing they are not front-runners, reports The Athletic.

ROUND-UP

- ESPN claims that Manchester United have asked Paul Pogba to delay a decision on his future until they have appointed a permanent manager. Pogba's contract is up in June and he has been linked with PSG and Juventus.

- Chelsea have shortlisted West Ham United's Declan Rice, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni as off-season targets, claims The Athletic.

- Newcastle United plan to re-ignite their interest in Lille's 22-year-old defender Sven Botman, who is worth £35m (€42m) according to The Mirror.

- Arsenal turned down approaches from Newcastle and Crystal Palace for Eddie Nketiah in the closing days of the January transfer window reports Fabrizio Romano. Nketiah has six months remaining on his Gunners deal and could sign a pre-contract elsewhere.

Ousmane Dembele's future at Barcelona has been uncertain for months.

The 24-year-old has stalled on a new deal with the Catalans.

Dembele has attracted interest from several top clubs, meaning his signature looms for deadline day.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO HIJACK PSG'S DEMBELE MOVE

Manchester United are set to make a deadline-day move for Barcelona's Dembele, according to Footmercato.

The Red Devils could hijack Paris Saint-Germain's plans, with the Ligue 1 club having already verbally agreed to a deal with the French winger.

United are ready to move, with Anthony Martial loaned out and Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard also set to exit.

 

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal outcast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has agreed to a deal to join Barcelona, according to Sport, but Dembele must exit the Catalans to enable the move to be completed.

- Real Madrid have opted against a January move for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, claims Diario Sport, due to their €80m asking price.

- Talksport claims that Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso will join Spanish club Villarreal on loan for the rest of the season. Lyon were also interested in the Argentina international.

- Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches has opted against a €25 million move from Lille to Milan, according to Calciomercato.

- Newcastle United's January spending is not over as the club eyes deadline-day deals for Aston Villa's Matt Targett and Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah, reports The Telegraph.

- Newcastle are set to land Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan, claims Talksport.

- Struggling Spanish club Getafe are interested in free agent Diego Costa, according to Marca.

- Dele Alli could join Milan on loan from Tottenham, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

Aurelien Tchouameni has established himself as one of the brightest young midfielders in European football over the past season.

The 22-year-old is a mainstay in the Monaco side and is already a full France international.

He is under contract until 2024 but seems destined to move on sooner rather than later, with Europe's biggest clubs said to be interested.

 

TOP STORY – TCHOUAMENI TO COMMAND HUGE FEE

According to Marca, Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United have both identified Tchouameni as an option to boost their midfield.

The report claims that Monaco have set an asking price of between €80million and €100m (around £66.5m to £83.2m).

Monaco's Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain, as well as LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, are also credited with an interest.

ROUND-UP

Fabrizio Romano reports Liverpool have agreed personal terms with Luis Diaz, and that the deal with Porto is now nearing completion.

 

Sky Italia has claimed Tottenham want to sign Juventus' Dejan Kulusevski, after missing out on Diaz.

Aston Villa face competition from Lyon for Rodrigo Bentancur, who is now a target for the Ligue 1 club, according to multiple reports.

Sky Sports has reported Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been the subject of interest from Juventus and Barcelona.

Tottenham and Lyon are in advanced negotiations over Giovani Lo Celso, while the French side also want to sign Brest playmaker Romain Faivre, so says Fabrizio Romano.

Romano also reports Valencia are hopeful of loaning Bryan Gil from Spurs, and Crystal Palace are in talks with United over a move for Donny van de Beek.

Milan have completed the signing of striker Marko Lazetic from Red Star Belgrade.

Lazetic, who turned 18 last week, joins the Serie A giants on a deal that runs through until the end of the 2025-26 campaign.

The Serbia youth international progressed through Red Star's academy and made his senior debut for the club in November 2020.

Following a loan spell with feeder club Graficar Beograd, Lazetic returned to Red Star at the start of this season and found the net once in 16 appearances.

Milan are reported to have paid an initial €4million to sign the youngster, who has been handed the number 22 shirt at San Siro.

Lazetic will link up with the Rossoneri's first-team squad and is effectively a replacement for Pietro Pellegri, whose loan deal was terminated earlier on Thursday.

Pellegri joined Milan from Monaco in August but featured just six times in the league in an injury-plagued campaign and will spend the rest of the season with Torino.

Il Toro have the option to sign the former Genoa striker at the end of the campaign.

Barcelona remain determined to strengthen their squad despite financial constraints and could be ready to move for Adama Traore.

It appears the Wolves winger may be sold this month as Bruno Lage's men have already secured a potential replacement.

Any Barca deal would be complicated by interest from Tottenham, however – assuming they are prepared to match Wolves' demands.


TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM, BARCELONA ON ALERT AS WOLVES READY TO SELL TRAORE

Adama Traore could leave Wolves in January, and Barcelona and Tottenham are both interested in the winger, according to the Daily Star.

Wolves have previously insisted they want to keep the Spain international, but Monday's signing of Portugal Under-21s international Chiquinho could open the door for Traore's exit.

Spurs are keen but their proposed loan until the end of the season is not something Bruno Lage's side are prepared to accept, as they are holding out for a £25million sale.

Barca have been linked with the 25-year-old but they must be careful of their spending due to their financial problems.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona are determined to bring in a striker this month and Alvaro Morata remains the top target, according to Marca. However, negotiations with Juventus have proved difficult.

– It appears Dusan Vlahovic may not be leaving Fiorentina yet after all. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Arsenal and Juventus target will be kept until the end of the season.

Manchester United have turned their attention to signing John McGinn from Aston Villa, but not until the close-season, the Telegraph says.

– Meanwhile, United striker Anthony Martial does not want to join another English club, leaving BarcaJuventus and Sevilla as his main options, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Newcastle United's bid to sign a new centre-back took a blow as Monaco rejected their £33.4m (€40m) bid for Benoit Badiashile, L'Equipe claims.

– A striker is also on Newcastle's shopping list and they have launched a £25m (€30m) offer for Atalanta's Duvan Zapata, the Daily Record says.

Monaco have appointed Philippe Clement as their new head coach, two days after sacking Niko Kovac.

Clement joins the Ligue 1 outfit from Belgian side Club Brugge, where he had been in charge since 2019.

He guided them to the Belgian Pro League title in both of his two full seasons at the helm, while he also claimed the Belgian Super Cup in 2021.

Former Bayern Munich coach Kovac succeeded Robert Moreno in July 2020 on a three-year deal and finished third in his only full campaign in charge.

However, Monaco lost to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League qualifying play-off stages in August and sit sixth in Ligue 1 after 19 matches.

They won three of their final four league games of 2021, but confirmed on Saturday that Kovac had been relieved of his duties.

Monaco defeated Quevilly Rouen 3-1 in the Coupe de France the following day, with their Ligue 1 campaign restarting next Sunday with a trip to Nantes.

Ligue 1 club Monaco have sacked head coach Niko Kovac, bringing an end to his 18-month spell in charge.

Former Bayern Munich coach Kovac succeeded Robert Moreno in July 2020 on a three-year deal and finished third in his only full season in charge.

However, Monaco were defeated by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League qualifying play-off stages in August and are sixth in the French top flight after 19 matches.

The Principality club found a bit of form with three wins in their final four league games of 2021, but they confirmed on Saturday that Kovac has been relieved of his duties.

A club statement read: "Monaco announces they have decided to part ways with Niko Kovac. The Croatian coach was informed about this on Thursday in a preliminary interview."

Monaco B boss Stephane Nado will take temporary charge until a replacement for Kovac, who lasted just 74 games in his first job since leaving Bayern, is found.

Club Brugge coach Philippe Clement is the favourite to land the position, while Jesse Marsch – who left RB Leipzig last month – is also a rumoured contender.

Monaco face Quevilly Rouen in the Coupe de France on Sunday, with their Ligue 1 campaign restarting on January 9 with a trip to Nantes.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino backed Sergio Ramos to return before the end of the month after the Spaniard was ruled out of Sunday's clash with Monaco.

The former Real Madrid captain made his long-awaited PSG debut in last month's 3-1 win at Saint-Etienne after a calf injury, but has not played since due to muscle fatigue.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of welcoming Niko Kovac's Monaco to the Parc des Princes on Sunday, Pochettino indicated that Ramos is likely to be back available soon.

He defended his decision to play the 35-year-old for the full 90 minutes against Les Verts, who had Timothee Kolodziejczak sent off in first-half stoppage time.

"Will [Ramos] play again in 2021? Yes, we hope to see him again by the end of the calendar year," the former Tottenham manager said.

When asked if Ramos played too much against Saint-Etienne, Pochettino added: "No, he was feeling good. We played 11 against 10 most of this game. The requirement was maybe not the same as 11 against 11."

PSG beat Club Brugge 4-1 in their final Champions League group game on Tuesday and Pochettino was asked by reporters about his ambitions in the competition, particularly considering their second-placed group finish that means they will be unseeded in Monday's draw for the last 16.

"Is there a team that we particularly fear? Honestly, no. There are only very good teams. They have all their strengths. We are PSG, we have to beat all the teams," Pochettino said.

"Before February and the Champions League, we have matches [here] where we have to perform well. One of the club's objectives is to win the Champions League, but we also have to be focused on the present."

PSG lead the way in Ligue 1, sitting 11 points clear of second-placed Rennes going into the weekend, but have drawn their last two league games, with questions arising as to whether Pochettino is getting the best out of his star-studded squad.

"We would like to be able to perform at a high level for 90 minutes, on a regular basis," the Argentine coach said. "It's difficult. The level is high in Ligue 1 and in the European Cup.

"We expect a tough game against a very good [Monaco] team. They are not worse off than last season. They have a great coach, great players."

Plaudits have come in from Jamaica's sports minister and the Jamaica Olympic Association for Olympic champion Elaine Thompson who was named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year earlier today in Monaco.

Olivia Grange,  Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, said it did not come as a surprise that Elaine Thompson-Herah would have won the prestigious award.

 

The 29-year-old Jamaican, who successfully defended both 100m and 200m titles she first won at Rio 2016 came out on top of a quality field of candidates that included the USA’s Sydney McLaughlin, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan and Venezuala’s Yulimar Rojas, to win her first AOY award.

“We expected it,” Minister Grange said in a statement.

“This nation is so happy for Elaine and proud of her for winning the top award for women in track and field for 2021. But she put her hands up with her performances in the Olympics and World Games. In fact, she has enjoyed one of the finest sprint seasons in history, retaining her 100m and 200m titles in 10.61 seconds and 21.53 seconds in Tokyo as well as adding another gold medal to her collection in the 4x100m relay, which she and her colleagues won in a national record time of 41.02 seconds.

“Elaine did not just stop there; in her first race after the Olympics, she won the 100m in a world-leading time of 10.54 seconds which makes her second on the all-time list for the 100m and 200m.”

The minister said Thompson-Herah joins two other Jamaican greats to have won the prestigious award from the sports’ world-governing body.

“ It is so great, Elaine now makes it a trio of Female Athletes of the Year for Jamaica; following in the footsteps of Merlene Ottey and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce,” Minister Grange said.

“We salute Elaine Thompson-Herah. She is just awesome!” 

 JOA President Christopher Samuda described the accomplishment as a reward for her outstanding year.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) congratulates our Olympian, Elaine Thompson-Herah, for being selected Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics," Samuda said in a statement.
"It is indeed an admirable accomplishment, the reward for exemplary performances and a testimony to her valour in transforming the challenges of a year bedevilled with the
pandemic into inspiring feats.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association salutes her and exhorts her to continue to be driven in her athletic pilgrimage of excellence." 

Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah said winning the coveted award was the best way to end her historic season. Posting on her social media pages, the fastest woman alive said, “Way to cap off a magnificent historic season with my first world Athletics athlete of the year award.

“I am just amazed with how the Lord piloted me throughout this year.”

She expressed gratitude to her supporters and sponsors who were behind her on the historic journey.”

“Thanks to all my sponsors @ncbjamaica @flowjamaica and @nike for your continued support. Thanks to all my longstanding supporters family, friends and fans always with me through the ups and downs love you all.”

 

Olympic champions Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Karsten Warholm of Norway have been named the World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021, a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday.

Thompson-Herah produced one of the finest sprint seasons in history this year, retaining her Olympic 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo and adding a third gold medal in the 4x100m relay. On top of her Olympic triple, she also clocked world-leading times of 10.54 and 21.53 over 100m and 200m respectively, moving to second on the world all-time lists and coming within touching distance of the long-standing world records.

“I just take it year by year,” said Thompson-Herah. “I went very close to the world record so you know, anything is possible. No spikes hanging up any time soon!
“The World Championships in Oregon is most definitely my next big target,” she added. “It is close to home, I hope friends and family can come out and watch. I hope I get some crowd as well. That couldn’t happen in Tokyo but hopefully, in Eugene,I can get my friends and family to come and cheer me on.”

Warholm uncorked one of the most remarkable performances in athletics history when he stormed to gold in the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics. Having already broken the world record with 46.70 in Oslo in the lead-up to the Games, Warholm exceeded all expectations in the Japanese capital to claim gold in a stunning world record of 45.94. In a race of incredible depth, the top three athletes finished inside the pre-2021 world record.

“I’m so happy for this,” said Warholm. “First when I saw the time (in Tokyo), I was like, ‘This must be a mistake!’ Because I didn’t see that one coming. And I didn’t see the victory coming before crossing the finish line.

“It was a very intense race, I knew the American and the Brazilian and all the other guys were really chasing me. I always go out hard and I never know what is going on behind me. I was just fighting all the way to the finish line. When I realised 45.94 was the reality, I was thinking: ‘This is not too bad. I’ll take it!’"

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe congratulated all of tonight’s winners and finalists on their extraordinary achievements this year.
"We have this year celebrated some jaw-dropping performances in Tokyo, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi and through our one-day meeting circuits – the Wanda Diamond League and the Continental Tour. So we’re delighted to recognise some of our stars at tonight’s awards.

"As a sport, we are in an incredibly strong position. 2021 has been an excellent year. We cemented our position as the number 1 Olympic sport coming out of Tokyo, we have the most God-given talented athletes on the planet and our sport is the most accessible of all sports. Thank you to all our athletes around the world. I am looking forward to watching what you can all do in 2022."


The other award winners were:

Female Rising Star
Athing Mu
The US teenager was undefeated at 800m all year, winning Olympic gold at the distance following a long but successful collegiate season. She broke the senior US 800m record with her triumph in Tokyo and then improved it to 1:55.04 just a few weeks later. She also excelled at 400m, clocking a North American U20 record of 49.57 for the distance.
“It means the world to know that my support goes beyond friends and families and extends worldwide,” said Mu. “This award shows all young girls that your dreams can, indeed, come true."

Male Rising Star
Erriyon Knighton
Throughout 2021 the 17-year-old took down several marks that had belonged to sprint legend Usain Bolt. Knighton first set world U18 bests of 20.11 and 20.04 over 200m, but his rapid rise continued and he broke Bolt’s world U20 record for the distance with 19.88 and 19.84. He went on to finish fourth in the Olympic final with 19.93.
“I’m really thankful for this award,” said Knighton. “One of my most memorable moments of this year was making it to the Olympic final in Tokyo and finishing fourth at the age of 17.”

Member Federations Award
Federacion Costarricense de Atletismo (Costa Rica)
In recognition for their outstanding training, competition and development programme roll-out over the past 12 months, for their consultative work on the World Athletics Kids’ Athletics programme, and for successfully staging a host of international events over the past year.

Inspiration Award
Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi
The shared high jump victory between Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi became one of the biggest talking points of the Olympic Games – not only for everything it represented in their own individual careers, having both battled serious injuries since the last Games, but mainly for the act of respect and sportsmanship between two friends.
“It is just crazy if I think about this story,” said Tamberi. “Thank you very much for this trophy.
“I now call Mutaz like five times a week because I need to speak with him. I feel that now we are not just friends, we are really like blood brothers.”
Barshim added: “I hope to inspire more people to love our sport and maybe share a gold one day!”

President’s Award
Peter Diamond, Executive Vice President of NBC Olympic programming
“Athletics owes Peter a massive debt of gratitude,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. “Peter has worked alongside us for effectively 40 years and has been a constant source of great advice and wise counsel, and occasional humour that has softened the edges of any particular situation. And he has made athletics a lot better.”

Coaching Achievement Award
Bobby Kersee
The US coach has guided the careers of many legendary athletes over the years, but this year two of his charges made history. Allyson Felix became the most decorated female track and field Olympian in history after winning her 10th and 11th Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, while training partner Sydney McLaughlin broke two world records in the 400m hurdles and claimed Olympic gold in the discipline.

Woman of the Year Award
Anju Bobby George
The former international long jump star from India is still actively involved in the sport. In 2016 she opened a training academy for young girls, which has already helped to produce a world U20 medallist. A constant voice for gender equality in her role as Senior Vice President of the Indian Athletics Federation, Bobby George also mentors schoolgirls for future leadership positions within the sport.

Jean-Pierre Durand World Athletics Photograph of the Year
Ryan Pierse’s photograph of the women’s high jump qualifying at the Tokyo Olympic Games

 

This year’s award is dedicated to the memory of Jean-Pierre Durand, one of the sport’s most prolific photographers and photo chief for a number of World Athletics Series events, who died in October.
“This winning image was taken on one of the morning sessions in Tokyo and it was a hot one,” said Pierse, who is from Australia. “I wanted to illustrate the heat and how it was affecting the athletes. It is a picture that I worked on for a while, and it all came together. I am really happy with it.
“I think it’s incredibly fitting that this award is named in memory of Jean-Pierre Durand,” added Pierse. “I had the pleasure of working alongside him, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics.”

________________________________________

Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues, with Mauricio Pochettino the favourite.

Ralf Rangnick has been appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Michael Carrick is set to preside over a third game as caretaker manager on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month after a poor run of results at the end of a trophy-less tenure.

 

TOP STORY – MANCINI EMERGES AS SHOCK MAN UTD CONTENDER

Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as a contender for the vacant Man Utd managerial role, claims The Telegraph.

The current Italy head coach, who led the Azzurri to the Euro 2020 title, is under "careful consideration" by United chiefs, according to the report.

Mancini is contracted with Italy until 2026 on a lucrative deal but may potentially be available to take over from Rangnick pending Italy's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

 

ROUND-UP

Milan want to sign Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as soon as possible and will make a move for him in January rather than wait for him to become a free agent at the season's end, according to Sport Italia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Man Utd have been offered the opportunity to sign Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona, reports Sport.

- Sport also claims Barcelona have a "total agreement" to sign Man City's Spanish forward Ferran Torres, although they want the English champions to lower their asking price of £60million.

Ajax are looking to do a deal with Tottenham to sign Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on loan, according to De Telegraaf.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus have pulled out of the race to sign Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, with Chelsea leading the contenders.

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