MANCHESTER CITY showed their credentials as Champions League favourites with a dominant display as they beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1.
Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling got the goals for City as they came from behind to beat Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe’s side.
Chelsea could be in for £84million Federico Chiesa, with the Juventus star on the Blues’ radar.
Thomas Tuchel’s side qualified for the Champions League last 16 following their win and are in the hat for the draw on December 13.
Meanwhile across London, Declan Rice is reportedly being targeted by a number of European giants.
The England midfielder has seemingly been growing and improving each month for the past few years and has been superb for the Hammers in their march to the top four this season.
In other news, Erling Haaland could be given a new contract at Borussia Dortmund, which would double the Norwegian’s wages.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are all interested in signing the goalscoring machine, 21.
And Newcastle have reportedly joined the race to sign £70m Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic.
Get all the latest football news, updates and transfer gossip below…
Some Manchester United fans are fearing for legend Cristiano Ronaldo after it emerged Ralf Rangnick is set to become interim manager.
Especially after Rangnick labelled the Portuguese icon as ‘too old’ five years ago while he was RB Leipzig.
Back then he asked whether he would ever consider signing Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
And he replied: “It would be absurd to think that it could work with them here. They are both too old and too expensive.”
Gareth Bale agent Jonathan Barnett has lashed out at Real Madrid fans who abused his client last week.
Bale was leaving Real’s Valdebebas training facility on Friday when one furious supporter appeared to throw a marker pen at his car window with cries of ‘F**k you’ heard.
Barnett was furious with that incident and branded that small group of yobs as “disgusting” when he landed in Madrid.
He told El Chiringuito when asked if he considers the opinion of Real fans: “I don’t, why should I care?
“I think they’ve been disgusting to Gareth Bale.”
Jurgen Klopp was left red-faced after being called out by a furious reporter for his recent comments about the African Cup of Nations.
But the description still landed him in hot water, with Ojora Babatunde of OJB Sports demanding an apology from Klopp in a heated exchange via Zoom.
Babatunde said: “Hi Jurgen, during your last pre-match presser, you deliberately regarded the Africa Cup of Nations as a ‘little tournament’.
“I think it’s an insult to the players, an insult to the fans, an insult to the people, an insult to the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology.”
Klopp, who was visibly stunned, replied: “I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t mean it like that, I don’t know why you understand it like that to be honest…”
The two then proceeded to interrupt each other before Klopp allowed the reporter to get his point across.
Babatunde then pressed Klopp further, saying: “That was what you said, I listened to the presser and you said the continent in Africa [is little], that is what you said.”
The pair then went back and forth over the issue with neither party backing down from their point of view.
NICK OF TIME
Manchester United have agreed a deal to appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager, according to reports.
The move is subject to his current club Lokomotiv Moscow allowing him to leave, report The Athletic.
He is currently head of sports and development at the Russian club but it is believed that United do not think there will be any obstacle to prevent him from leaving.
Rangnick, 63, will sign on for six months as manager before moving into a consultancy role at the club at the end of the season.
However, the Red Devils have been unable to get a deal sorted prior to the visit to Chelsea on Sunday.
That means Michael Carrick will continue in the dugout and have the opportunity to win his first Premier League match as a manager.
Wigan striker Charlie Wyke has been rushed to hospital after collapsing in training, the club has confirmed.
The 28-year-old collapsed and was attended to by Wigan’s medical staff before being taken to hospital where he will be monitored over the next few days.
On the incident, Wigan Athletic Chief Executive, Mal Brannigan, said: “First and foremost, the absolute priority for everyone associated with Wigan Athletic is Charlie’s health and wellbeing and providing support to him and his family.
“As a Club, we would like to place on record our sincere appreciation to all of the staff within the NHS who, within what we know are challenging times, were excellent in their response and subsequent care for Charlie, working together with our medical team.
“Clearly this news will cause alarm, though we would politely request that the privacy of Charlie and his family is respected.
“At the appropriate time, we will look to provide further updates to our supporters.”
VAN DER HEART
Rafael van der Vaart has questioned if Lionel Messi still has the same desire for football as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Both players made mega moves this summer with Cristiano heading to Man United and Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain.
But while Ronaldo’s hit the ground running at United, the same can’t be said of Messi in Paris.
And Van der Vaart reckons the difference between the two footballing greats lies in their hunger, which makes the Dutchman sad.
He said: “It makes me sad. It’s a question of desire. Does he [Messi] want it or not? When you compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo, one is fighting to take his team to the next level – and one isn’t.”
WHAT A JOK
Sheffield United have sacked Slavisa Jokanovic.
The former Fulham boss was only appointed by the Blades back in May.
But following an inconsistent start to the season, United have opted to get rid – hiring last season’s caretaker Paul Heckingbottom on a permanent basis until 2026.
In a brutal article that features a picture of Heckingbottom rather than Jokanovic, the Serb is hardly even mentioned.
There is no thank you for his efforts or any respectful parting words.
They wrote: “Sheffield United and Slavisa Jokanovic have parted company, with Paul Heckingbottom installed as the club’s football manager.
“Yorkshireman Heckingbottom takes charge of the club’s football business immediately after agreeing a contract through to the end of the 2025/26 season.
“He will begin by leading training at the Randox Health Academy on Friday and be in position for Sunday’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Bristol City.
“Following several months of strategic planning and a lacklustre start to the season, the board decided that a change was in the best long-term interests of the club.”
DUS THE MAN
Manchester United will battle it out with a host of Europe’s top clubs including Spurs to sign £70million-rated Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic.
The 21-year-old striker is currently one of Europe’s most sought after players, having scored 12 goals in 14 games in all competitions so far this season.
He netted an impressive 21 goals in 37 Serie A appearances for Fiorentina last season, which saw him win the Serie A Best Young Player for 2020-21 award.
Thomas Tuchel could be without Ben Chilwell for the rest of the season amid fears the left-back suffered a serious knee injury in the win against Juventus.
If Chilwell is out long-term, then Chelsea will be tempted to dip into the transfer market in January to sign a replacement.
Chilwell had to be helped from the pitch after jarring his leg in the 4-0 win over Juve and is undergoing scans to discover the extent of the injury.
And with the Blues expected to challenge for silverware on multiple fronts this campaign another left-back could be a priority.
BABY ON BOARD
Donny van de Beek and partner Estelle Bergkamp enjoyed a heartwarming, football-themed baby gender reveal.
The happy couple revealed earlier this month that they are expecting their first child.
And now they know that they will be welcoming a baby girl into the world.
In pictures shared to Instagram, Donny gave fans a look at his football-related reveal.
Donny, 24, then booted a football, with the mini ball designed to release smoke of a certain colour when kicked.
The couple colour coded blue for a boy and pink for a girl.
Their faces painted a joyful picture as pink smoke rose into the air.
They then posed for a sweet picture together, grinning at each other in delight.
Real Madrid have halted their pursuit of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, according to reports.
The 28-year-old Frenchman is set to leave Old Trafford for free in the summer when his contract expires.
And Real Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for the World Cup winner as they prepare to bolster their squad under Carlo Ancelotti.
But, according to AS, the Spanish giants are no longer interested in bringing Pogba to the club despite him being available for free.
Slavisa Jokanovic is set to be sacked by Sheffield United after just six months.
The Serbian replaced Chris Wilder as permanent manager following relegation from the Premier League.
But with the Blades 16th in the Championship, Jokaonovic has been axed with United eight points above the relegation zone and eight points below the final play-off place.
U23s coach Paul Heckingbottom is set to take charge on Sunday against Bristol City for a second caretaker spell after taking the reins for 11 games following Wilder’s exit.
And Heckingbottom will be given a chance to stake a claim for the job, with former Norwich and Preston boss Alex Neil also considered.
Tuesday’s win at Reading – where midfielder John Fleck was rushed to hospital after collapsing on the pitch – was Sheffield United’s sixth win from 19 games.
Jokanovic, who had won promotion to the Prem with Watford and Fulham, left Qatari side Al-Gharafa in May and was tasked with an immediate return to the top-flight.
Coming in after Heckingbotton’s interim spell at the end of last season, United have lost as many matches – eight – as they lost.
And whereas fellow relegated sides Fulham and West Brom are riding high, the South Yorkshire club have suffered a severe hangover since dropping down to the Championship.
Despite selling Aaron Ramsdale for £30million to Arsenal, the Blades kept the vast majority of the squad but have struggled for any form of consistency.
Jokanovic, 53, is believed to have been frustrated at the club’s summer transfer business, with only four players signed – all on loan – and the Serb failing to land the two wingers he was desperate for.
The World Cup 2022 play-off draw will include ten nations who finished as runners up in qualifying.
And will also include two Nations League group winners who missed out on a spot in their respective group.
Just three sides will make it through the play-offs and play at the 2022 World Cup from the twelve who enter the play-off stage.
The teams in the hat are:
- North Macedonia
- Czech Republic
IN THE HAT
The 2022 World Cup qualifying is keeping more teams than ever in the hunt until late in the day.
Gareth Southgate’s England can already look forward to being at the first ever winter edition of the tournament, which gets underway on November 21 next year.
For teams who finished second in European qualifying groups though, they now face the tough task of going through the play-offs to guarantee their place in the Finals.
NIC OF TIME
Nicolas Anelka has cast doubt over Lionel Messi’s role at Paris Saint-Germain.
The Ligue 1 giants haven’t yet seen the sparkling best of the Argentine since signing him from Barcelona in the summer.
And former forward Anelka, 42, has weighed in on the subject.
He told RMC: “With Messi, PSG cannot be a counter team.
“You cannot base the whole team on Kylian Mbappe.”
The Frenchman also recently cast doubt over whether Messi has still got it in him to be ‘extraordinary’.
He said: “Today we demand from Neymar, but we can do the same with Messi.
“Since the beginning of the season it is not extraordinary either.
“There is a player who has six Ballons d’Or and finally is not so extraordinary.”
Thiago struck a beauty from 30 yards – and then said he’d scored better goals in his career.
When the ex-Bayern Munich star was asked if he had scored anything ‘prettier’ before, he came up with a side-splitting reaction.
He said with a smile on BT Sport: “I think, yeah!”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also part of the post-match interview and the England international could not hide his amazement at his team-mate’s answer.
He chipped in: “It’s alright for some isn’t it!”
Brentford have announced the rare decision to keep the same home kit for the 2022/23 season.
Thomas Frank’s side will run out next year wearing the same home shirts they have worn for their debut Premier League campaign.
The Bees made the decision to keep the same iconic red and white striped shirt, which costs £49, in order to save fans from splashing out on another home shirt next season.
Brentford are also helping the environment by reducing the damaging carbon emitted that comes with the production of a new kit.
Premier League commercial and broadcasting income dwarfs the money the made from retail sales, meaning they can afford not to release a new home kit.
Despite being commonplace to keep kits for two seasons in the pre-Premier League era, clubs now release new strips every season to maximise profits.
Mauricio Pochettino signed a Manchester United shirt for a supporter before last night’s Champions League tie between PSG and Man City.
Pochettino was in town for last night’s clash with Man City at the Etihad.
And prior to his side’s 2-1 defeat he added fuel to the fire, by signing a young fan’s Man United shirt – despite a PSG representative saying he wouldn’t.
A United supporter told talkSPORT: “We met Poch today, my kid had his autograph stuff in the bag and the guy goes, ‘see if you can get him to sign a Man United shirt’.
“That’s my kid’s shirt, what they didn’t post was the photo of him signing it.
“There was a representative next to him going, ‘excuse me, it’s a Manchester United shirt, he won’t sign it’. And he goes, ‘it’s fine, it’s fine’ and he signed it.”
ONE of Chelsea or Liverpool could pip Manchester City to the Champions League title, says Anfield legend Michael Owen.
The three English heavyweights are joined by Manchester United in qualifying for the last 16 with a game to spare.
City came from a goal down to defeat the star-studded Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Etihad on Wednesday.
He said on BT Sport: “Chelsea and Liverpool have got a little edge on (City).
“That’s not to say they can’t win it. They definitely can, they’re a top team.
But I think Anfield is a huge factor for Liverpool in knock-out football. I think they’re a little bit more robust, they’ve got a little bit more know-how.
“If Chelsea don’t play perfectly I still see them grinding it out. If Liverpool have one bad result, I still see them coming back and battering someone at Anfield.”
HAAL HIM IN
Former Premier League players Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have narrowed down Manchester City and Liverpool as the two best fits in the Premier League for Erling Haaland.
Manchester United legend Ferdinand believes Liverpool are the No1 suitors for the Borussia Dortmund ace.
Ex-Liverpool man Owen suggested on BT Sport that Manchester City would be the best club for him to go to, to which Ferdinand replied: “I think he suits other teams better, if I’m Liverpool I’d take him right now.
“I think if he goes to Liverpool that’s a devastating front three, I don’t think it’s as hard for him to adapt if he goes to Liverpool, it’s a different system.”
He also pointed out it wasn’t that easy to adapt to life at the Etihad, with Jack Grealish yet to fully settle following his £100million move in August.
“You see Jack Grealish, he’s gone to Manchester City, top player brilliant player we all love watching him [but] it’s quite hard to adapt to get into that team.
“Not many players go there and adapt immediately.”
XHAK: I’LL BE BACK
Granit Xhaka is hoping to get into full contact training next month after his medial ligament knee injury.
He told Blick: “I hope to celebrate my comeback as soon as possible.“I’ve been gone seven weeks and a few days now.
“The bone was also broken twice.
“The problem with the bone is that it takes so long. I hope to be back in the next three or four weeks. ”
Jamie Carragher has urged Mauricio Pochettino to join Manchester United – as Thierry Henry hinted the Argentine can’t cope with his star forward trio, writes DAVE FRASER.
Paris Saint-Germain threw away a lead to lose 2-1 at Manchester City, ensuring they will finish only second in Group A – potentially facing United in the last 16.
Pochettino has been hotly-linked with a move to Old Trafford to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked on Sunday.
The Argentine claims he is ‘happy’ at PSG and wouldn’t leave midway through the season, but there are rumblings he’s not content living in the French capital.
And Carragher has revealed he would join United ‘tomorrow’ if he was in Pochettino’s shoes.
Carragher told CBS Sports: “Pochettino has got to get out of that club.
“If he’s got the chance to go to Manchester United… I’d be gone tomorrow.
“I honestly would and it’s because of those three stars (Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar).”
GOOD MORNING FOOTY FANS
Mason Mount is loving life at Stamford Bridge and is not going anywhere, according to reports.
The Chelsea star is one of a host of top players set to be offered new contracts.
But the Telegraph reports the England international is in no rush to put pen to paper on a new contract.
Instead he remains committed to helping Chelsea win yet more trophies under stand-out boss Thomas Tuchel.
However, teammate Christian Pulisic could be allowed to leave for £42million.
Liverpool and Barcelona are both interested in the American winger.
Meanwhile, Man Utd want Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to replace Paul Pogba in the summer, says Corriere dello Sport.
And the Lazio star’s agent admits he needs a ‘new adventure’.
Mateja Kezman said: “He is a great club player.
“Soon the time will come for him to live a new adventure and new dreams.”
Finally, Emmanuel Petit thinks Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe could ‘easily’ seal a shock transfer to newly mega-rich Newcastle.
He told Gambling.com: “Anything can happen. We see what’s happened with Newcastle United.
“There have been rumours and you never know what’s going to happen at the end of the day, things can turn very easily and very quickly.
Prem clubs are facing a £160million transfer tax each season to support the lower leagues.
It is a key recommendation of former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch’s ‘fan-led review’ of football.
But clubs and Prem chiefs are likely to fight the plans — and block calls for an overhaul of the parachute payment system for relegated clubs.
Crouch and her team, appointed after the failed breakaway European Super League in April, feel the best way to distribute funds from the top down is with a new levy.
The tax would be “similar to stamp duty” paid on properties for clubs buying players.
Newcastle’s £300million Saudi takeover would NOT have been waved through by a proposed new owners’ test for football.
Former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and her ‘fan-led review’ team have recommended a new comprehensive process for the entire game.
In order to be approved by the proposed new independent regulator who would be appointed by the Government, any owner would have to pass a new ‘Integrity Test’.
While a potential owner would be considered ‘of good character’ unless there is ‘reliable evidence’ to the contrary, the regulator would look at ‘criminal matters’, ‘relevant information from credible and reliable sources’, past business dealings and ‘integrity and reputation’ of close family members.