Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all in action over weekend, Cristiano wanted by Real – transfer news LIVE

CRISTIANO RONALDO has reportedly held informal talks with Real Madrid about a return to the club.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are getting set to face Leeds this weekend, with Arsenal in action against Spurs on Sunday.

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Follow our LIVE blog below to get the latest from around the clubs…

  • Ian Tuckey

    HOPE IN HAAL

    Chelsea and Manchester City have reportedly 'made a move' for Borussia Dortmund marksman Erling Haaland – with Man Utd also monitoring the situation.

    Valued at around £150million by the Bundesliga outfit, the 20-year-old has no shortage of admirers following another stunning season.

    Goal machine Erling Haaland is being eyed by all of Europe's top sides, reports suggest

    The Norway international has banged in 31 goals in 29 games in all competitions this term, and is the Champions League's top scorer with ten strikes.

    Despite boasting a release clause of £65m in his contract that becomes active in 2022, clubs are queuing up to sign him in the upcoming transfer window.

    And according to Mundo Deportivo, Premier League giants Chelsea as well as Manchester City have already begun the task of trying to secure his services.

    It was reported earlier this month that the Blues were increasingly confident of nabbing Haaland, though German news outlet Sport BILD have declared that the West Londoners have 'no chance' of being able to capture him.

    But they are understood to face stiff competition from Real Madrid and Barcelona both eyeing up a possible move.

    United are also claimed to be an interested party, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identifying Haaland as well as Harry Kane as possible targets.

  • Ian Tuckey

    UTD URGED TO TARGET RICE AND FOFANA

    Owen Hargreaves wants Manchester United to sign West Ham’s versatile England star Declan Rice and Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana. 

    Former England, United and Bayern Munich midfielder Hargreaves believes Rice, 22, would be an upgrade on Scott McTominay in mid-pitch.

    And he rates “fabulous” French “Ferrari” Fofana, 20, as the solution to Old Trafford chief Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire to strengthen his defensive cover.

      Speaking on Premier League productions, Hargreaves said: ‘I think Rice’s upside is off the charts. He has the potential to be anything and a lot better. 

    “I think he plays within himself at West Ham. ‘People don’t realise how big he is. He’s 6’3, so he looks like a centre back but he’s actually really good technically. 

    “Declan Rice doesn’t have to dictate the game for Manchester United, he can pass to the players who can make the difference and be good defensively.”

    And sked about Fofana, Hargreaves replied: “I’d love to see Manchester United get Fofana. ‘He’s a Ferrari, honestly. 

    “I’d throw whatever they’ve got left in the bank to get him. He’s a fabulous player.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    ROMELU REVEALS WHY HE'S NEVER BEEN STRONGER

    Romelu Lukaku has shared his Mediterranean diet of salad, fish, chicken and pasta that has turned him into an Inter Milan superstar.

    The 27-year-old admitted he was overweight while at Manchester United due to a digestive problem that has since been corrected in Italy.

    The Belgian dropped over a stone upon his arrival in Serie A following a strict diet carefully selected by the Nerazzurri's medical staff.

    Lukaku has already scored 18 league goals this season to spearhead Inter's title charge and he has put his success down to his new physique.

    Speaking in a podcast with Matteo Pincella, the club's chief nutritionist, the striker revealed that he's never felt better.

    As reported by Sky Sport Italia, via the Mail, he said: "Since I joined Inter I have changed my diet and I can say that I have never felt so strong.

    "My diet consists of salads for lunch, a lot of chicken breast, Shirataki pasta.

    "I don't change my way of eating much, for how we play we must have a very strong physique, we run a lot: since I have followed this lifestyle I feel better on the pitch, I feel more reactive and faster.

    "I've always been an explosive player with muscles but Italy took me to another level. I have never felt so strong. I have reached another level, physically and mentally."

  • Ian Tuckey

    REST OF THE BEST FOR THIAGO

    Chelsea defender Thiago Silva added of his toughest ten opponents: "Romario, his intelligence in the box. He’s the best I’ve seen in the box."

    Among those also highly regarded by Silva is former Inter Milan and Brazil international Adriano, one of the deadliest strikers in the world when he was completely dialled in.

    He said: “Adriano, like Drogba, he’s an incredible force with an unbelievable powerful left-foot penalty shot.

    "I’m going to say [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic because he is someone who inspired me. I had the chance to play with and against him. He’s the fourth-best in my list.”

    Silva ranks Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi as the top three

    He said: "Neymar then, because of his class, intelligence and magic. He has technical quality and ability to create out of nowehere.

    “Second, Cristiano Ronaldo. His professionalism, dedication and passion for football. I admire him for his commitment and everything he has achieved.

    "First, Messi, because he has incredible quality and a God-given gift. Also, because of the professional he is. For me, he is the best."

  • Ian Tuckey

    SILVA NAMES 10 TOUGHEST RIVALS

    Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has played against some of the biggest names in world football during his glittering career.

    The former AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain centre-back has marshalled the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba.

    Each player left a lasting impression on the Brazilian, who recently ranked his ten toughest opponents during an interview with Chelsea's official website.

    He named "Angel Di Maria, because of his technical quality and his incredible left foot" and [Kylian] Mbappe because of his speed and technical quality as well."

    Blues legend Drogba is also high up on Silva's list, as is his fellow countryman Robert Firmino.

    He continued: “Drogba, because of his physical strength & despite being incredibly strong, he still has a lot of technical skill.

    "Firmino, very intelligent in his movement that leaves defenders a bit lost."

  • Ian Tuckey

    PLAYING GRIEZMANN IS LIKE HAVING 10 MEN

    Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov has slammed Antoine Griezmann after the club's Champions League humiliation.

    Ronald Koeman's side crashed out of the round of 16 after a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

    Antoine Griezmann has failed to deliver since moving to the Nou Camp

    Griezmann, 29, played in both legs but struggled yet again to stamp his authority on the contest.

    The Frenchman joined Barca for £108million in 2019 from Atletico Madrid but has failed to live up to his price-tag.

    He has just six league goals to his name this season and Stoichkov believes Barca must cut their losses and flog him in a damning assessment of the forward.

    Speaking to Sportsport.ba, the 55-year-old said: "Whenever Griezmann is on the pitch, Barcelona plays with ten players .

    "If they want to do something in the long term, they have to sell him. Trincao and Braithwaite must be in the team. What is Griezmann doing there?"

  • Ian Tuckey

    KYLIAN SALUTE FOR MESSI

    Kylian Mbappe paid respect to Lionel Messi after knocking his Barcelona team out the Champions League.

    The Paris Saint-Germain superstar scored four of his side's five goals in the 5-2 aggregate win over Barca in the last-16.

    And he has been widely touted as the 'next Messi' as the World Cup winner has quickly become one of the hottest properties in world football.

    But despite his rapid rise to superstardom Mbappe showed he has remained humble with his social media post after Wednesday's 1-1 second-leg draw in Paris.

    Mbappe uploaded a picture of the two of them on the field together with the Frenchman smiling at a despondent looking Messi.

    And he simply captioned the post with two respectful-looking emojis – praying hands and hands to the heavens. It received more than 651,000 likes and 50,000 comments.

    Despite the apparent show of reverence, Mbappe has previously labelled Messi's bitter rival Cristiano Ronaldo the GOAT.

    After France played Ronaldo's Portugal Mbappe shared a similar on-field post and captioned it with the GOAT emoji and the words: "IDOL".

  • Ian Tuckey

    MESSI DAD IN 'SHOWDOWN BARCA TALKS'

    Lionel Messi's dad Jorge will fly to Barcelona for showdown talks about his son's future, reports say.

    New club president Joan Laporta has vowed to keep Messi at the club, following the Argentine's bombshell transfer request last summer.

    According to journalist Maximiliano Grillo, Messi's father and representative Jorge is now due for talks with Laporta on Monday.

    It is claimed he will fly from Argentina to Barca to discuss Messi potentially renewing his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

    SunSport revealed the 33-year-old wants proof that the LaLiga giants have the funds to bolster their squad in the transfer market.

    Messi tried to leave his boyhood side after 16 years at start of the season, but stayed to avoid a drawn out court battle.

    Still, former manager Pep Guardiola at Man City and PSG are waiting in the wings for a potential free transfer.

    Laporta is yet to come forward with an offer to Messi, because he still has not got the financial package in place to restructure debts that experts believe have spiralled to more than £1BILLION.

    The Messi camp know all too well the financial problems the club are in.

    It leaves them demanding clear proof from Laporta that he can deliver on his promises before he entertains the prospect of staying.

  • Ian Tuckey

    SEAGULLS GO LOKO FOR EDER

    Brighton are one of several clubs linked with a move for Portuguese striker Eder.

    The 33-year-old is set to leave Lokomotiv Moscow on a free transfer in the summer, after four seasons in Russia.

    According to Sports Express, via A Bola, the Seagulls have expressed their interest in landing the forward.

    Eder has scored just one goal all season, in a Champions League clash with RB Salzburg.

    Not usually known for his exploits in front of the net, the target man has nonetheless enjoyed a strong career with the likes of Braga and Lille.

    A £5million switch to Swansea in 2015 saw him fail to score before being sent out on loan.

    Shortly after leaving Liberty Stadium for good, he fired a fantastic long-range strike past Hugo Lloris to win the Euro 2016 final for Portugal, in a big upset against hosts France.

    Brighton have averaged only one goal-per-game in the Premier League this season and face a fight to beat the drop.

    Sunday's short trip to Southampton could begin with Graham Potter's side inside the relegation zone, something they are only avoiding by goal difference ahead of the weekend.

  • Ian Tuckey

    WALES CALL UP SAVAGE SON

    Robbie Savage’s son Charlie has been called up by Wales Under-18s to face England.

    The 17-year-old is currently impressing in Manchester United’s academy.

    And that form has been rewarded with a call from the Dragons.

    The midfielder is joined by Burnley’s Keelan Williams, the younger brother of rising Liverpool and Wales star Neco, in Rob Edwards’ 20-man squad for the fixture on March 29.

    Savage Jr, was on the bench for United‘s U23s against Brighton today.

    He has already impressed for the Dragons at U17 level after Wales qualified for the elite round before it was postponed due to Covid-19. 

    Edwards said: “We take great pride in seeing players take the step up to the senior team and we hope to see more of that across the age groups.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    DALOT IS THE WAN TO CHALLENGE BISSAKA

    United legend Scholes said of Diogo Dalot: “He’s done the right thing to get games at a big club. That will do him the world of good.

    “He played in an unfamiliar position, on that left side, but even his crossing with his left foot was brilliant. I thought defensively he did everything he had to do.

    “Where does he stand now? I think he’ll come back at the end of the season.”

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 23, has been widely-praised since joining the Red Devils from Crystal Palace.

    However, some of his attacking qualities have been questioned at times.

    And Scholes said: “Pre-season will be big for him (Dalot). It’s time for him to really perform in those pre-season games. Put a bit of pressure on Wan-Bissaka.

    “He’s different to Wan-Bissaka. We know what a great defender Wan-Bissaka is. I think he’s got more quality going forward.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    DIO ANOTHER DAY FOR UTD

    Paul Scholes believes Diogo Dalot’s ‘brilliant’ performance for AC Milan against Manchester United could lead to him having a bright Old Trafford future.

    The 21-year-old Portuguese full-back was signed by Jose Mourinho but fell down the pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    Portuguese full-back Diogo Dalot showed AGAINST Man Utd he could be good enough to play for them

    He was shipped out to Milan last summer on a season-long loan but fate saw him return to Manchester last night.

    Dalot was eligible to face his parent club last night in the Europa League.

    And he produced an impressive display as Milan pounced late on to earn a crucial away goal in the first-leg 1-1 draw.

    United legend Paul Scholes was watching the game for BT Sport and he heaped praise on Dalot afterwards.

    And he thinks he could be called back by Solskjaer this summer as he offers something ‘different’ and could rival Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the right-back spot.

  • Ian Tuckey

    FOREST CHOP INDEX LINK

    Nottingham Forest have removed the name of former shirt sponsors Football Index from their tops for tomorrow's Championship clash with Reading.

    The move will go down well with irate fans who urged them to ditch their links with the controversial online betting company, who have suffered a financial meltdown which has caused supporters to lose thousands of pounds overnight in some cases.

    Forest have worn the Football Index logo on the front of their famous 'Garibaldi Red,' shirts since they teamed up as club shirt sponsors in 2019.

    However gambling with the controversial company has been suspended and Football Index has now gone into administration.

    The current deal was due to expire at the end of the season however many irate fans demanded the club sever it's links immediately and Forest have acted swiftly to remove their logo.

    It is not yet known if Forest will find a temporary shirt sponsor for the remainder of the season and a spokesperson for the club said it was possible the team will have no branding at all on their famous shirts against Reading.

  • Ian Tuckey

    WILDER TIPPED FOR CELTIC

    Chris Wilder is favourite to become Celtic manager hours after it was announced he will leave Premier League bottom club Sheffield United.

    Betfair rate Wilder at 4/6 while Coral have him at 2/1 to succeed Neil Lennon, after Rangers dethroned champs Celtic in the cottish Premiership with humiliating ease.

    Coral’s John Hill said: “Chris Wilder may not have to wait long for his next managerial job as he has leapfrogged to the top of the betting to become the next permanent Celtic manager.

    “Celtic may see Wilder as the perfect man to replace Neil Lennon ahead of next season where they will be desperate to get their hands back on the league title."

    Coral odds on next permanent Celtic manager: 2-1 Chris Wilder, 9-4 John Kennedy, 5-1 Roy Keane, 11-2 Eddie Howe, 6-1 Enzo Maresca, 11-1 Derek McInnes, 12-1 Frank Lampard, 12-1 Rafael Benitez, 14-1 Paul Lambert, 14-1 Roberto Martinez, 14-1 Steve Clarke, 16-1.

  • Ian Tuckey

    HOW BLUES COULD FACE LEEDS WITHOUT ABRAHAM

    Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has admitted that Tammy Abraham is ruled out of tomorrow lunchtime's clash with Leeds due to injury.

    The German also revealed that Thiago Silva will miss the Saturday fixture after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem.

    But Blues boss Tuchel let slip that it is Abraham's continued absence with an ankle problem that is worrying him.

    He said: “Honestly, I am a bit concerned because it’s the same pain from the tackle against Newcastle.

    “So it’s been a long time now where he’s not been 100 per cent free and comfortable in training.

    “Even if he finishes in training, I can see he doesn’t have 100 per cent trust that he is totally free. So I am a bit concerned, but at the same time I have complete trust in our medical department and they will take care of him now.

    “It was a bit of a setback yesterday that he had to leave the pitch during the warm-up, but he will get all the time he needs. It’s most important he feels zero pain and then we can think about his comeback.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    ‘AGUERO OUT, FELIX IN’

    Manchester City are reportedly keen on signing Joao Felix with Sergio Aguero heading for the exit door.

    Aguero has been a huge part of City’s success over the last ten years but the striker’s time at the club could be coming to an end.

    Aguero is reportedly frustrated at the uncertainty over his future with the striker’s contract at Man City ending this summer.

    The Argentina striker has been dogged by injury problems and the 32-year-old has only made 12 appearances this season.

    Aguero has not started since last month’s win over West Ham and has been used mostly as a substitute since recovering from Covid-19.

    It seems Pep Guardiola is planning for life without the legendary striker and no longer views him as a regular starter.

    Barcelona have been linked with a move for Aguero and the prolific goalscorer is reportedly willing to take a pay cut to join the Spanish giants.

  • Ian Tuckey

    REAL ‘PENALTY’ IF THEY SELL DIAZ TO MAN UTD

    Manchester City made Real Madrid agree to give them 40% of the transfer fee if they ever sold Brahim Diaz to their big rivals United, according to Marca. 

    Spanish striker Diaz, 21, joined his home-country giants in January 2019 to get more game-time, despite Etihad chief Pep Guardiol hoping to keep him.

    Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    But the £15.5million Under-21 international is on loan at AC Milan this season after failing to earn a regular place with Madrid.

    He has already made 17 Serie A appearances, including ten starts, and found the back of the net three times in the Europa League group stages.

  • Ian Tuckey

    MAVROPANOS 'HAPPY TO RETURN TO ARSENAL'

    Forgotten Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos doesn't want to leave Arsenal permanently in the summer, according to reports.

    But the Greek could return to Stuttgart on another loan deal.

    But Bild say the 23-year-old is not ready to give up on his Arsenal career just yet. They claim that he is perfectly happy with the terms of his current contract, which is set to run until 2023.

    And a potential permanent transfer falls down over Stuttgart's inability to match it.

    Mavropanos is now feeling 'more at home' at the Bundesliga side, however, and a return on loan next season could suit all parties.

    Former Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, now of Stuttgart, recently told The Athletic: "We’re super happy that he’s been a regular starter in recent weeks.

    "We would like to keep him on loan one more season, if possible. But that will be down to Arsenal. He has all the hardware and all the software to be a great defender."

  • Ian Tuckey

    GUNNER PICK THIS TEAM?

    MIKEL ARTETA has a fully-fit squad to choose from for Sunday’s north London derby with Tottenham.

    Arsenal secured a 3-1 away win over Olympiacos in the Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday to take a commanding lead back to the Emirates Stadium.

    The impressive result means Arteta should be able to rest several key players for next week’s second leg.

    As a result, the Arsenal boss may be tempted to name an unchanged side against Spurs but Nicolas Pepe could replace Willian out wide.

    The Ivorian scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Leicester but found himself benched for the next two games.

    Right back Cedric Soares and centre-back Pablo Mari are also contenders should Arteta decide to freshen things up in defence.

    Summer signing Thomas Partey sparked injury fears yet again after he was subbed against Olympiacos but Arteta insisted the change was tactical.

    Asked about hooking Partey, he said: “Because I wanted to change him and bring somebody else in to try to find some other stuff and try to change the shape with the way we were playing inside.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    ALL ADS UP FOR LOAN ARRANGER

    Over £100million worth of talent has passed through Norwich's increasingly successful loan system – including Leicester's James Maddison and Ben Godfrey of Everton.

    Norwich currently have 19 players on loan and the man in charge of the system is former first-team boss Neil Adams, who took charge of the club both in the Premier League and the Championship.

    Midfielder Maddison, defender Ben Godfrey and twins Josh and Jacob Murphy all made their mark at Carrow Road before being sold for big money.

    Along with current first-team midfielder and England under-21s international Todd Cantwell, they all had successful loan moves under the watchful eye of Adams.

    He said:  “The club decided that if you send players out on loan – particularly those that you want to develop and players you want to give experience to – you had to do it in a detailed and thorough way.

    “You need success stories like Jacob Murphy, Josh Murphy, James Maddison and Ben Godfrey to back it up. If you had gone on loan six years or ago, it might have meant you were finished at the club. Now, when we tell a young player they are ready for a loan it is a pat on the back.

    “More and more clubs are using loan managers. We are looking to develop our players and increase their value. We don’t hide away from that.

    “In normal circumstances, I watch about 12 games a month. Until March 2020, I would spend a lot of time going to Holland and Belgium.

    “Also, we will watch the players’ games on either live links or the videos sent to us from the club. It is a condition of our loan contract that a club must send us footage of every game our player plays within two days.

    “I also insist players call me within a couple of hours after every game. It is a five minute catch-up."

  • Ian Tuckey

    LEAVE BRUCE?

    Newcastle boss Steve Bruce dodged questions over his future before tonight’s game with Aston Villa.

    The Magpies have dropped to the edge of the relegation zone amid doubts over the manager seeing out the rest of the season.

    Credit: PA:Press Association

    But he told reporters: “Look, you’re going to have to ask Mike that – or you’re going to have to ask people above me.

    “I’m only focused on one thing, which is to do my job the best I can.

    “I will try everything I possibly can with all the experience I’ve got to make sure that we stay here and we don’t have that fate.”

  • Ian Tuckey

    UTD LINKED TO DONNARUMMA

    United have held talks on possibly signing AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to The Transfer Window podcast.

    The Italian is available on a free transfer this summer and is said to be demanding £165,000-a-week, with the Italian club only willing to offer £125,000.

    Duncan Castles told the podcast: “Our information is that both Chelsea and Manchester United have been in talks with Raiola about Donnarumma.

    “It looks like Donnarumma has an opportunity to move to England, should he choose to.

    “Accompanied by the commission that Raiola seeks and would want for free transfer of such a valuable asset.

    “There is an opportunity for either club and others to secure Donnarumma on a longer-term contract without there being a fee.”

  • Josh Graham

    GRAND DEPART

    Former France youth international Samuel Grandsir has swapped Monaco for Los Angeles and signed for MLS club LA Galaxy.

    The 24-year-old spent last season on loan at Brest having signed for the Principality club in 2018, off the back of a strong spell at Troyes.

  • Josh Graham

    GET YOUR EURO FIX

    A few fun games to look out for tonight across the continent.

    In LaLiga, a derby on the east coast pits Levante against Valencia.

    Lyon have the chance to go top, temporarily at least, of Ligue 1 when travelling to mid-table Reims.

    Borussia Monchengladbach will be hoping to end their poor run when facing Augsburg in Bundesliga.

    And there are two games to enjoy in Serie A, Atalanta hosting Spezia this evening whereas Lazio face Crotone at 2pm.

    Note how many of those teams also have huge Champions League matches to play next week…

  • Josh Graham

    UNDER AND OUT

    Emile Heskey believes Leicester loanee Cengiz Under will be sent back to Roma once the season ends.

    The Turk has failed to make a huge impact at the King Power and ex-Foxes star Heskey does not expect a permanent deal.

    He told HITC: “I remember seeing him and thinking; ‘why have they bought him?’.

    “Now, a few months on, I see that he’s fitter but where does he fit?

    “When you’ve got Harvey Barnes, when you’ve got James Maddison, when you’ve got Ayoze Perez, all these players fit, Ricardo Pereira has played on the right as well, where does he fit in?

    “He doesn’t fit, to be honest with you, even if I think he’s actually come on leaps and bounds. I don’t think he fits within the system.”

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