Liverpool could replace Coutinho with AC Milan’s Suso

After having cashed in on Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to FC Barcelona for €160 million and spent around half of that income on Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool are looking to strenghten their attack with the rest.

The Liverpool Echo report that Jurgen Klopp and the club’s directors are looking to replace Coutinho by bringing back former Spanish winger Suso, who is currently playing for AC Milan. 

According to the report, AC Milan have already informed Liverpool that they do not want to part ways with the player who has developed into a great player with the Rossonero whom he joined three years ago from Anfield for around €1 million.

The player himself is also reportedly sceptical of returning a club that dismissed him and did not believe in him but this could change in the summer. When signing a new contract with AC Milan a redemption clause of somewhere around €40-50 million was inserted and if AC Milan fail to qualify for the Champions League whilst Liverpool do qualify for the tournament, then he could rejoin Liverpool and AC Milan can’t do anything to stop him.

Darder downs Malaga

Espanyol midfielder Sergi Darder scored the only goal of the game against his former club to plunge Malaga and Coach Michel into deep trouble.
Signed from Lyon in the summer, Darder found the corner of the net in the sixth minute after being set up by Sergio Garcia in the decisive goal of a flat and frustrating encounter for the hosts.
Chory Castro and Adalberto Penaranda were among those guilty of missing presentable opportunities for the Andalucians, who’s lack of firepower was once again telling.
The Costa Del Sol club now lie five points adrift from safety after their latest defeat – their 13th in 18 league games  – while Espanyol climb two places to 14th.

Sevilla fans stage protest

Sevilla fans protested outside the club’s stadium on Sunday following on from their derby defeat at home to Real Betis.
Los Rojiblancos were sunk 5-3 by their city rivals in a damaging defeat on Vincenzo Montella’s La Liga managerial debut, but the protests were aimed at the club’s board.
Sevilla’s president Jose Castro was the main target of the protests, which took place ahead of Sevilla Atletico’s home clash with Lorca on Sunday morning.
Castro’s salary and club structure was criticised, while there is also growing discontent with sporting director Oscar Arias and the transfers and salaries he has sanctioned.
Sevilla currently lie 5th in La Liga and remain in both the Champions League and Copa Del Rey, but performances and results have both come in for criticism this campaign.

Benfica want Bruno Peres

Roma are reportedly in talks with Benfica over Bruno Peres, who could leave on loan with obligation to buy.
The Brazilian has struggled to hold down a place in the side under Eusebio Di Francesco, making 10 Serie A appearances so far this season.
According to Il Tempo, sporting director Monchi has met with Peres’ agent as well as an Italian intermediary about a sale.
The most likely destination would be Benfica, but the Giallorossi want at least €10m to sell the full-back.
That means the most likely solution would be an initial loan deal, but with an obligation to buy for a fee close to that in the summer.

With Aleksandar Mitrovic available, should West Brom sign a player Wolves rejected?

Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers turned down the chance to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic from Newcastle United but West Brom need him.

Two clubs in the Midlands have considered making a move for Newcastle United’s out-of-favour striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. But while it might not exactly look good on paper, should West Brom go ahead and sign a player that their local rivals Wolves turned their noses up at?
According to The Chronicle, Championship league leaders Wolves were thinking about offering Mitrovic an escape route out of his Newcastle nightmare with Rafa Benitez keen to cash in on the Serbian striker.
But the report adds that Nuno Espirito Santo’s runaway promotion favourites have now turned their attention to alternative targets.

This, then, should give West Brom an opportunity. As reported by the Mirror, Newcastle are looking for £12 million for Mitrovic, who has made just six substitute appearances in the Premier League this season amounting to just 89 minutes of action.
And the former Anderlecht striker admitted to Serbian publication Zurnal that he has ran out of patience on Tyneside – giving a boost to a West Brom team who are keen to offer him a Premier League lifeline, so say The Mail.

The Baggies are the second lowest scorers in the top flight this season with just 16 to their name and, as a result, are only off the bottom of the table on goal difference after failing to win in their last 20 league games.
Mitrovic showed back in his debut Newcastle season in 2015/16 that he can score goals in England’s top flight while his aggressive aerial prowess and penalty box presence could give West Brom a potent attacking weapon that Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu simply have not become.

Juve could reach agreement with their top target as soon as Friday

According to reports from Sky Sports, Liverpool’s Emre Can has chosen Juventus to be his next club.

With the German international’s contract set to expire this summer, Juventus will be eager to lock him down to a pre-contract agreement before the end of the current season. Getting a midfielder of his caliber on a free transfer is a major coup for the Bianconeri.

Representatives for the player met with ones from the club late into the night on Thursday. The discussions seem to have yielded a positive result as Juve hopes that official confirmation of the future transfer will come as soon as Friday morning.

Emre Can seems determined to wear the famed Bianconeri shirt, even though Liverpool will not agree to sell him in January. The arrival of Can, therefore, is scheduled for June when the player will be free to leave Anfield Road on a free transfer, saving Juventus millions in transfer fees.

Spalletti doesn’t fear losing Inter stars

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti claims he is not concerned about losing key players during the transfer window. 
The Nerazzurri enjoyed a strong first half of 2017-18, although a run of four league matches without a win in December saw them enter the mid-season break third in Serie A, seven points behind leaders Napoli.
Captain and star striker Mauro Icardi has been linked with a move away from San Siro, while midfielder Joao Mario, who has found himself out of the starting XI under Spalletti, is potentially set to leave. 
Manchester United could also choose to renew their rumoured interest in forward Ivan Perisic.

Questioned by Premium Sport on possible departures, the coach said: “We’ll act in perfect harmony with what the needs of Inter are. The players under contract here are our players. 
“The Chinese ownership has the results of the team at the heart of things, they’re bringing consistency to the history of Inter because they have the expertise and the will to contribute to improving everything at the club.”

Financial constraints may prevent Inter from reinforcing significantly without selling first, and Spalletti is not counting on new players being made available to him.  
“I’m certainly not waiting for anything from the transfer market,” he said.
“The team and club are strong and those who are responsible for our campaign in the market will know how to benefit from any possible opportunities to improve our squad. Numerically, if someone then comes in to fill up the squad it’s even better still.”
Having thrashed Chievo 5-0 on December 3, Inter then scored just once in a 3-1 loss at home to Udinese, as they also suffered a 1-0 defeat at Sassuolo and were held to 0-0 draws by Juventus and Lazio.
Spalletti, though, rejected concerns about his team’s misfiring attack.
“We have a specialist in Mauro Icardi… I don’t believe that it’s a big problem,” he said.
Inter remain on track to challenge for Champions League qualification, a tournament they have not appeared in since 2011-12. 
Nevertheless, Spalletti is adamant there is more to come from the team in the second half of the campaign.
“I’m not happy with my work because you always need to aim for better,” he said.
“We need to all work in a way which is worthy of Inter, this is what makes the difference. We’ve done very well so far, we’ve picked up a lot of points but I don’t think that we’ve still shown the very best of what we can do.”

Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/spalletti-doesnt-fear-losing-inter-stars#0cyEDzRSvweQy5tS.99

The lengths Mourinho goes to in search of perfection disclosed by Karanka

A man who worked with the Portuguese at Real Madrid says no stone is left unturned by a coach determined to have all bases covered

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is a perfectionist, says Aitor Karanka, with all bases covered by a coach fuelled by a desire to be the best.
The Portuguese is renowned for throwing himself into any position he fills, with no stone left unturned in the pursuit of success and silverware.
He is currently undertaking that job at United, with the Red Devils having charged him with the task of bringing the good times back to Old Trafford.

Karanka, who formed part of Mourinho’s coaching team in a previous role at Real Madrid, expects a proven winner to have everything under control in Manchester, with his obsessive nature witnessed firsthand in the Spanish capital.
“Jose has everything imaginable under control,” the Spaniard told The Times.
“From the grass on the training pitch to the shoes the players wore.
“We were trying the suit of the team to travel in, and the shoes. Real Madrid had a brand of shoe but it wasn’t a top brand. 
“Jose looked at the person at the club (on the commercial side) and said, ‘Oh, the players use this brand of shoe in their normal life? ‘No, I don’t think so’. ‘Ah, so they have to use this brand before the game when they’re used to other (better) brands?’

“Jose was thinking about the shoe, so the players would be comfortable before the game. He thinks of everything. Even for me, an assistant, I had to put every single cone in the right position and every single bib out at the right time.
“He’s always demanding of the goalkeeper coach, the fitness coach, myself, the players. He wants everybody around the team to be fully concentrated in the work.”
While Karanka concedes that Mourinho lives for his work, he also claims that the 54-year-old is often unfairly portrayed as a moody character who rarely lets his guard drop.
“Ninety-five per cent of the day Jose is fun,” added the former Middlesbrough boss.

Player ratings – AC Milan 1 – 0 Inter: Donnarumma’s dream debut

AC Milan came out on top in the Coppa Italia quarter-final clash against Inter thanks to a goal in the 104th minute by Rossoneri wonderkid Patrick Cutrone.

After both teams failed to score over 90 minutes despite both sides having enough chances to seal the victory, in the end, AC Milan finally broke the deadlock when Patrick Cutrone took advantage of a mistake in the Nerazzurri defence. Given how the match played out, it was a deserved victory for Gattuso’s Milan who looked like they wanted to win more, whilst Inter looked tired and were on the back-foot but the Nerazzurri had their chances, with Joao Mario squandering an absolute sitter.

AC Milan:

Antonio Donnarumma – 7,5: What a debut by the AC Milan third-keeper whose performance was anything but that of a third-keeper. Shaky start but grew into the match and in the end gave a Man of The Match performance.

Ignazio Abate – 6: Did his duties well both offensively as well as defensively, especially in the first half. Had to be brought off early in the second half due to an injury.

Leonardo Bonucci – 5.5: The weakest link in the Rossoneri defence, missing simple passes, as well as being caught out of position time after time. Former AC Milan coach Fabio Capello said about him that “he is a good passer of the ball, but he does not how to defend.”

Alessio Romagnoli – 7: Was Milan’s defensive pillar and cleaned up behind Bonucci time and time again. Kept Icardi quiet for the entire match, which says it all.

Ricardo Rodriguez – 6,5: A solid performance by the Swiss international. Missed one or two crosses where he should have done better, but overall did well.

Franck Kessie – 7: Lungs of steel. Ran tirelessly throughout the entire match illustrating why Milan broke the bank to sign him from Atalanta. Best performance since signing for Milan.

Manuel Locatelli – 5.5: Did not have a great evening, losing a lot of balls in midfield as well as being too rash in challenges which forced him to concede unnecessary free-kicks. Brought off in 73rd minute.

Lucas Biglia – 7: Starting to look like the player Milan thought they had signed from Lazio. Hardly put a foot wrong, dictated the tempo of the Rossoneri’s midfield and demonstrated the intelligence he has. Gave his best performance in a Milan shirt.

Suso – 6,5: AC Milan’s own Mr. Derby lived up to the expectations in a derby yet again. Although not as dominant as is previous derbies he oozes class, brilliance and possesses the ability to do the unexpected.

Nikola Kalinic– 6: Had a decent first half where he forced Handanovic to make a couple of good saves. As the match wore on, he grew more and more tired resulting in him being more and more anonymous. Brought off in the 76th minute for Cutrone.

Giacomo Bonaventura – 6: Played 1-1 vs Joao Mario in missing an absolute sitter. Is an irrational player, but struggled offensively so instead he put in a decent shift to help the team.   

Substitutes: Davide Calabria (6,5), Hakan Calhanoglu (6), Patrick Cutrone (7).

Inter:

Samir Handanovic – 6: Did what he needed to do but like rest of Inter looked tired causing him to make simple mistakes. No chance on the goal.

Joao Cancelo – 6.5: Inter’s best player on the night. Starting to show his qualities offensively as well as defensively. Form is on the rise.

Andrea Ranocchia – 6: The former Inter captain did well, keeping things simple as well as keeping a cool head. Solid performance.

Milan Skriniar – 5,5: Given the high level of performances he has spoilt Inter fans with this season, last night was a step in the wrong direction. 

Yuto Nagatomo – 6: Matched Suso preventing the Spaniard from giving a stellar performance in yet another derby. Has been Inter’s best and most consistent left full-back so far this season.

Roberto Gagliardini – 5,5: Not at all the type of performance Inter needed to see from the former Atalanta player. Brought off in 75th minute for Marcelo Brozovic.

Matias Vecino – 6: Such an important player for Inter, linking up defence with attack and despite not having the best of nights he never stops trying.

Antonio Candreva – 5: Usually Inter’s Mr. Derby, but was completely out of form throughout the night. The fact that he wasn’t the worst Inter player of the night speaks volumes as to the Nerazzurri’s performance. 

Joao Mario – 4: Absolute shocker. Painful to watch. Had his chance to prove why he should play more but probably played himself out of the starting line-up for a long time, if not forever, if transfer rumours are to be believed. Replaced in 67th minute by Borja Valero.  

Ivan Perisic– 4.5: Probably his worst performance since joining Inter. Unable to do anything of consequence despite playing 120 minutes. Should be benched until he regains his form, but unlikely given the lack of squad depth.

Mauro Icardi – 5: See above re Perisic. Inter need their captain during the most critical part of the season, who instead looks tired and out of form.

Substitutes: Borja Valero (6), Brozovic (5.5), Eder (5).

Leeds United simply don’t need Genoa defender Aleandro Rosi

Leeds United are said to be chasing yet another right-back in the January transfer window.

According to a report on TMW, Leeds United are hunting Genoa defender Aleandro Rosi, ahead of the January transfer window.
Leeds are expected to invest in the new year, and Rosi is said to be on the Whites’ wishlist.
Rosi has caught Victor Orta’s and Thomas Christiansen’s eyes, with his performances in Seria A this season.

But it is not exactly clear why Leeds would need to add another right-back to their squad.
Although Rosi does possess a lot of experience and a high amount of pedigree, it is hard not to believe his signing would be completely pointless for Leeds.
Christiansen already has Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi in his squad at Elland Road, and the pair are exceptional right-backs at Championship level.

Leeds also have enviable options on the right hand side of their defence in reserve, with Lewie Coyle an exciting prospect for future years.
And, as a result, Christiansen would surely be better off looking elsewhere, rather than bringing Rosi to Elland Road in January.