Mourinho, willing to offer € 55 million to sign Varane

The French central is one of the obsessions of the coach to strengthen the defense of Manchester United for the next season.

Varane has become one of Mourinho’s obsessions for his Manchester United. Seeks to form a defensive block of maximum guarantees and apart from getting the continuity of De Gea wants the signing of Real Madrid Varane. So far has been with the refusal of Real Madrid and today the Daily Mirror ensures that the English will try to convince the leaders of Madrid with an offer of 55 million euros for the request of the coach.

However, it seems that it will remain a complicated possibility. Varane is very grateful to Zidane, who has given him ownership and remains convinced that now at Real Madrid there is a spectacular template in which you can achieve great sports success.

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.

Boxing Day preview: Tottenham v Southampton

Tottenham Hotspur host Southampton in the Premier League on Boxing Day, and there is no shortage of connections between the two clubs.
For instance, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino previously managed Southampton, while players such as Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld have joined the north London club from the Saints in recent years.
This meeting between Tottenham and Southampton at Wembley is set to be an interesting encounter, and here’s a look back at some of the recent games between them.
March 19 2017 – Tottenham 2 Southampton 1
In the final meeting between these teams at White Hart Lane, Tottenham took the lead through Christian Eriksen and then doubled their advantage when Dele Alli found the net from the penalty spot.
Although Southampton reduced the deficit when James Ward-Prowse found the net, Tottenham held on for victory.
December 28 2016 – Southampton 1 Tottenham 4
Southampton went ahead after just two minutes courtesy of Virgil Van Dijk, but Tottenham seized control thereafter.
Alli hit a brace, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane also getting on the scoresheet in a comprehensive win for Pochettino’s team.
May 8 2016 – Tottenham 1 Southampton 2
Tottenham, whose hopes of winning the Premier League title were already over, fell to a disappointing defeat at home to Southampton on this occasion.
Son had put Tottenham in front but a Steven Davis brace proved to be the difference for Southampton.
December 19 2015 – Southampton 0 Tottenham 2
Tottenham were too strong for Southampton in this game.
Kane and Alli were the scorers as Tottenham took all three points with an impressive display.
April 25 2015 – Southampton 2 Tottenham 2 
An entertaining meeting between the two teams saw Southampton take the lead through Graziano Pelle, with Erik Lamela levelling for Tottenham. 
Pelle struck again to give Southampton hope of a victory but Nacer Chadli’s effort ensured that the game ended even.
Overall
Tottenham have had the upper hand against Southampton of late, winning three of the past five meetings, and will be determined to prevail again on this occasion.

What former Leeds United manager David O’Leary has said about returning to football

Former Leeds United manager David O’Leary was present at Elland Road once more at the weekend a year after his revealing interview with the Telegraph in which he suggested he was open to the idea of returning to football.
O’Leary, who has been without a job now for six years now, was interviewed by Leeds after watching the 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday from the Legends Lounge.

It was not the first time he has attended a fixture this season having been invited back to his former club for lunch and a match previously by owner Andrea Radrizzani, who is aiming to bring all elements of the club closer together, as shown by his decision to further integrate the Ladies team yesterday.

He admitted that Leeds fans have continually asked him about his plans for the future and whether or not he will ever return to the Elland Road dugout.
“When are you coming back! It’s embarrassing really”.
“I’m so privileged that they still remember me.
“It’s just so nice and I always knew that I had their support, and I appreciate their support even more now. Twenty years and they still remember me – I can’t believe that!”

Michael Duff left frustrated as Burnley Under-23 clash abandoned

BURNLEY Development squad boss Michael Duff was disappointed to see his side’s clash with Hull City abandoned on Monday night as the wait for an Under-23 game goes on.
Burnley were leading 1-0 thanks to a Rahis Nabi goal when fog enveloped Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium causing referee Leigh Doughty to abandon the game after just 34 minutes.
Duff’s side do not play again until the new year having last completed a game on November 20.
“The referee’s given it a chance,” the Clarets U23 boss said of Monday’s postponement. “He’s given it a go. From what you could see the lads did okay, winning the game 1-0.

“It’s just disappointing because we’ve waited a long time for a game. It’s been almost a month since we’ve played and you get that and then it’s another two or three weeks before the next game.
“But there’s not a lot you can do about the weather.”
Burnley return to action away at Leeds United on January 5 with a new date for the Hull game yet to be announced.
Burnley: Stone, Birch, Flowers, Clarke, Mpofu, Bayode, Nabi, N’Guessan, Chakwana, McNeil, Wood. Subs: King, Metz, Cropper, Younger, Limb.