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Man United could bring Evans back to Old Trafford

The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window might be closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.

TOP STORY: United monitoring Evans contract status

Manchester United are considering making a move to bring Leicester City defender Jonny Evans back to Old Trafford, The Sun on Sunday reports.

Evans, 32, came through the youth ranks at United and won three Premier League titles over the course of almost 200 appearances for the club.

The Northern Ireland international joined Leicester in 2018, following a three-year spell at West Brom, and is one of the most important players in Brendan Rodgers’ side.

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However, with Evans’ contract due to expire at the end of the season, United are monitoring the situation with a view to him filling the need of a left-sided centre-back in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

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14.33 GMT: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he is in “a very good dialogue” with the club over his future at Old Trafford.

Solskajer is now halfway through the three-year contract he signed when he became the club’s permanent manager in March 2019. The Sunday Mirror reports that talks over a new deal should begin in the new year.

“I have very good dialogue with the club all of the time,” Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip to Southampton. “You have to think long-term and short-term — and I would never ever think that this is my chance to prove a point and that it’s all about me.

“That’s not what it’s about here. Every decision I make is for the good of Manchester United.

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“For me, it’s about results and if we keep improving we have a very good opportunity because this team and this squad is going places.”

13.20 GMT: Manchester City captain Fernandinho is planning to leave the club at the end of the season but could continue his playing career in MLS, according to The Sun on Sunday.

Fernandinho is out of contract next summer, by which time he will be 36, but he is is reportedly attracting interest from several clubs in the U.S. and his homeland of Brazil.

The Sun on Sunday reports that the midfielder could even remain within the City Football Group by signing with New York City FC.

Fernandinho, who joined City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, has had his fair share of injury problems in recent years but still made 41 appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side last season.

12.42 GMT: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has warned the club’s fans that it may be “a few windows” before the club has a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title again.

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Arteta has overseen two transfer windows since taking over last December. He did not make any signing in the month following his appointment, but in the summer brought in defender Gabriel Magalhaes, midfielder Thomas Partey and attacker Willian to bolster his first-team options.

However, the Spaniard believes there is a lot more investment required before the Gunners can compete for top honours again.

“It takes a few windows at least to rebuild a squad,” Arteta told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Wolves. “And to establish yourself to compete at the level of certain clubs in this league, which is near 100 points, again it takes time.

“In football, time is very precious and people are very impatient. But if you don’t respect the processes and you ask certain people to do certain things when the foundations are not there, it’s a really dangerous thing to do as well.

“I know we all want to see — and I am the first one who wants to see — Arsenal at the top of the league and my only intention every time I prepare for a match is that. After, where we get, time will tell us.

“There are still a lot of things that are going to happen and we have to prepare for difficult moments. We know that the challenge and the responsibility is to turn it around as quickly as possible and get the club fighting where it belongs.”

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Shaka Hislop says Arsenal are “rudderless” due to a lack of player accountability on the pitch.

11.57 GMT: Philippe Coutinho‘s representative has played down talk of the Brazilian leaving Barcelona in January.

A report in Calciomercato on Saturday claimed that Coutinho was considering a move to Juventus in the next transfer window, as he has not been a regular in the team since returning from his loan spell at Bayern Munich last season.

The 28-year-old has not started any of Barca’s three matches in La Liga since the 3-1 home defeat to Real Madrid a month ago.

“I have not heard anything and we have no plans to leave Barca … Coutinho can contribute to a successful season,” Kia Joorabchian told Mundo Deportivo.

11.14 GMT: Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said Chelsea‘s spending spree ahead of the 2020-21 season has raised the heat on manager Frank Lampard to deliver the Premier League title.

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Chelsea spent over £200m to bring in Edouard Mendy, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz among others, instantly making them contenders in Lampard’s second year at the helm.

Mourinho said he had experienced similar pressure while managing title-winning teams at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

“When you are favourites, you know why,” said Mourinho, whose Spurs side face Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday. “You have to accept that and you have to deal with that kind of pressure and responsibility.

“I was at clubs which were, let’s say, champions in the market because of their powerful investments. I had to deal with that pressure. So now it’s not for me to deal with that pressure, it’s for others.”

10.31 GMT: Inter Milan are open to letting midfielder Christian Eriksen leave when the January transfer window opens, chief executive Giuseppe Marotta has said.

Eriksen only joined Inter from Tottenham in January 2020, just months before his contract with the London club was due to expire. The Denmark international has since failed to hold down a regular place in Antonio Conte’s side, he only came off the bench for the last five minutes of Saturday’s 3-0 win at Sassuolo (stream the replay in ESPN+ in the U.S.).

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Sources told ESPN’s James Olley last week that Arsenal have been offered the chance to sign Eriksen for less than the €20m fee Inter paid for him just 10 months ago, while Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund have also been linked with interest in the 28-year-old.

“If by January Eriksen has played little, he will himself ask to leave,” Marotta told Sky. “We have to do it without any controversy from one side or the other, simply by considering it as a positive transfer move that has not been functioning for our technical-tactical needs.

“Will Eriksen be useful for this January’s transfer window? Functional is the most correct term. It happens. Football history is full of cases like this; that there are players who turn out not to be functional to a guideline in the system of play. It is up to the manager to evaluate this.

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ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti delves deeper into Antonio Conte’s tactics in Inter’s 3-0 win over Sassuolo.

09.49 GMT: United States defender Samantha Johnson has come out of retirement to join W-League club Melbourne City.

The 29-year-old, who made over 90 appearances for Chicago Red Stars and then Utah Royals, returns to football having not played since June last year.

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“Joining City is really exciting because I have a lot of friends and have played with other players in the NWSL and they only ever say good things,” Johnson said. “Making the decision to return to football came from my agent helping me realise how to align my purpose off the pitch with on the pitch.

“I want to help underprivileged kids … I felt like the investment I was making in the sport wasn’t giving me that much of a return as I wasn’t aligning those two things but now that I know how to do that, I’m more mentally at ease and more excited about playing.”

Johnson is no stranger to the W-League having made 13 appearances for Sydney FC (2014-15) and 23 appearances for Melbourne Victory (2016-17 and 2018-19).

09.00 GMT: Gerard Pique has pleaded for Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona and says the club will do all they can to “seduce” him into signing a new deal.

Messi, 33, is out of contract in June and is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any club from January onwards.

The forward wanted to leave Camp Nou after August’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with sources telling ESPN that Manchester City led the race to sign him, but he was eventually forced to stay put.

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“You will have to ask Leo, I don’t know,” Pique said in a question and answer session for the CRIS Cancer Foundation when asked if Messi would remain at Barca beyond the summer.

“We hope he stays. It’s a personal decision. We will see. But for as long as he’s wearing the Barca shirt, there is always hope. We hope to seduce him to stay for many more years.”

PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis): Gunners losing patience with Pepe

Arsenal are ready to sell Nicolas Pepe after his underwhelming performances in North London so far, reports the Daily Star.

The 25-year-old scored against Molde in the Europa League on Thursday, making amends for his sending off against Leeds the prior weekend, but is still to deliver on the promise he showed while playing for Lille.

The Gunners have admitted internally that they paid over the odds for the Ivory Coast international, having agreed to a £22 million up front deal and a further £50m in add-ons to lure him from the French club in August 2019.

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Arsenal are reportedly now ready to allow the winger to leave if a suitable offer comes in. However, they are looking to avoid a situation similar to Mesut Ozil‘s, so have told manager Mikel Arteta to handle the situation carefully to maintain the player’s market value.

Martinez makes move to leave Inter

Lautaro Martinez seems increasingly desperate to leave Internazionale, and Marca claims he has made his biggest move yet to force a departure.

It is suggested that the Argentina international has put transfer guru Jorge Mendes in charge of finding him a new club.

So far, Beto Yaque and Rolando Zarate have represented the forward and, while they will remain his agents as well, Mendes will take over the search for a new club.

There have been links to Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent months, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet.

Barcelona willing to sell Dembele

Barcelona are open to the idea of selling Ousmane Dembele, reports Mundo Deportivo.

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There have been various links between the winger and Manchester United, but Barca are said to be holding out for €70m-€80m, which the Red Devils are not willing to pay.

The Catalan giants are not willing to let the Frenchman leave on loan, as they hope to use any fee made to sign Eric Garcia from Manchester City.

However, Dembele’s contract comes to an end in 2022, and Barcelona are wary of letting it run into its final year.


L’Equipe has revealed that Maxime Lopez will be allowed to join Sassuolo for as little as €3m. The 22-year-old is currently on loan at the Serie A outfit from Marseille with there being an option for Sassuolo to buy him. If the permanent deal is completed, Marseille will receive 30% of the fees made on any future sale.

Bojan Krkic is currently weighing up his options after the Montreal Impact were knocked out of the MLS playoffs. Sport reports that, as well as an offer from his current club, the Spaniard has received interest from Saint Etienne and the New England Revolution, among others. The 30-year-old has not ruled out the possibility of staying put but is also considering a move elsewhere.

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