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WEEKEND FOOTBALL PREVIEWS: Liverpool Seek Revenge Against Chelsea, Can Mourinho, Pogba Control Their Egos And Deliver At West Ham? PLUS La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1

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Premier League
2:30 West Ham vs Manchester United
5:00 Everton vs Fulham
5:00 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Southampton
5:00 Huddersfield vs Tottenham
5:00 Manchester City vs Brighton
5:00 Newcastle United vs Leicester
5:00 Arsenal vs Watford
7:30 Chelsea vs Liverpool
Sunday
6:00 Cardiff vs Burnley
Monday
10:00 Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

West Ham United v Manchester United
Things change quickly in football. Just ask West Ham, who were in full doom-and-gloom mode at the start of the month after starting the season with four straight losses. But they shook off the dust with a stirring win away to Everton, were unlucky to follow it up with a win over Chelsea, and put eight goals past Macclesfield in midweek. Suddenly, the mood is altogether improved.
It would be misguided to read too much into the Macclesfield result, of course, but it was a handy confidence booster for a few squad players. The return of Marko Arnautović, who has missed the last couple of games, is also great news; he should lead the line, with Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko also returning to the attack at the London Stadium.
But arguably it’s the midfield that has been the key to West Ham’s improvement. Jack Wilshere’s injury prompted a switch to a three-man engine room, and Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice have added energy and subtlety since breaking into the team. They could shape a key battle against Manchester United.
Paul Pogba and José Mourinho. José Mourinho and Paul Pogba. It’s a dance as old as… well, it’s only been going for a few months, to be honest, but it already feels like a fixture. A weirdly inconsequential one, at that: two giant egos arm wrestling on the lookout deck of the Titanic as the whole thing goes under. Who will win? And what will be left when he does?
That is perhaps a bit too negative given United are unbeaten since August and won three games on the trot prior to last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Wolves. But they were outplayed in that game and weren’t much better against Derby in midweek, and the feeling that the Red Devils are only ever a game or two away from crisis grows ever stronger. That cannot be a good thing.
There are positives heading into this one. Nemanja Matić is available after serving a ban in the league, while Anthony Martial showed some good form on Tuesday night. He, surely, would be a better pick than the woefully out-of-form Alexis Sánchez, although you’d never bet on Mourinho agreeing with that assessment.
West Ham have won only one of their last 19 Premier League matches against Manchester United, failing to score in both meetings at the London Stadium over the last couple of seasons.
Yet that doesn’t quite reflect the mood music heading into this game. West Ham are not as good as Wolves, but they do have a spring in their step, particularly after the performance against Chelsea. Add the excellent Arnautović to that mix, and there’s no real reason they shouldn’t be hopeful of getting something from this game. The draw, at 3.80, therefore tempts.

Arsenal v Watford
Arsenal were given a tough start under new manager, Unai Emery. They hosted the champions, Manchester City, on the opening Premier League weekend before making the short trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea a week later and they drew a blank in both games.
City outclassed them 2-0 as the Gunners tried to get to grips with Emery’s style of play and Chelsea eventually came out on top in a rollercoaster affair in which Arsenal had fought back from being 2-0 down when a late Marcos Alonso strike pinched all three points, but they’ve had a 100% strike-rate since, winning four times in the Premier League, once in the Europa League and also in the League Cup.
The Gunners are up to sixth in the Premier League and everything looks rosy. They’ve only failed to score at the Emirates twice in their last 36 Premier League ties (against Manchester City on both occasions), their two main strikers, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are on form.
Lacazette has scored in each of his last four Premier League starts and only Mo Salah (16) has scored more than Aubameyang (12) since the Gabonese star made his Premier League debut – and they’ve won eight of their last ten at home to Saturday’s opponents, Watford. That all points to a straightforward three points on Saturday but I’m not convinced it’s that going to be that simple.
In contrast to Arsenal, after a brilliant start to the season, which saw them progress in the League Cup away at Reading, as well get the maximum 12 points from their first four in the league, Watford have hit the buffers. Victories against Brighton, Crystal Palace and Spurs at home and Burnley away in the Premier League have been followed by a home defeat to Manchester United, a draw at Fulham and a defeat on penalties to Spurs on Wednesday night in the Cup.
They may have lost their way a bit but assuming Javi Gracia’s charges have deteriorated significantly would be a big mistake. United were hanging on at Vicarage Road a fortnight ago, the Hornets should have at least doubled their early lead at Fulham before getting pegged back last Saturday and they were leading against Spurs until the 82nd minute on Wednesday night before eventually going out on penalties.
Had David de Gea not produced a magnificent save at the death, Watford would be travelling to the Emirates having not lost a match in 90 minutes all season.
Watford’s record at Arsenal doesn’t look great at first glance but they’ve actually won two of their last three against the Gunners in the Premier League (one at home and one away) and if we include their 2-1 win at the Emirates in the sixth round of the F.A Cup in 2016, they’ve won three of their last six.
Although Arsenal have been winning, they haven’t necessarily been convincing.
They came from behind to beat an out-of-form West Ham at home, needed a late winner to get the better of Cardiff 3-2, and victories against Newcastle, Ukrainians Vorskla Poltava and Brentford aren’t anything to write home about – especially the latter, given the Bees enjoyed the majority of the possession and the tie was only put to bed in injury time. And the Gunners were second-best for much of the first half last week at home to Everton.
They eventually ran out 2-0 winners, thanks to one apiece from the aforementioned Lacazette and Aubameyang, but it was a far from convincing display with keeper, Petr Czech, keeping them in the game early on.
The early signs are good for Arsenal under Unai Emery, results wise, but it’s probably going to take time and a couple of transfer windows for the club to shift wholeheartedly to his philosophies.

Man City v Brighton
City have bounced back from their 2-1 home defeat by Lyon in the Champions League with crushing wins over much lesser opposition (5-0 at Cardiff and 3-0 at Oxford in the midweek EFL Cup tie).
Their next Champions League match is away to Hoffenheim on Tuesday and Pep Guardiola may well revert to the side that won 3-0 at home to Fulham before the Lyon tie, which would mean David Silva replacing Ilkay Gundogan as the only change from the starting line-up at Cardiff.
Having snatched a point with comebacks against both Fulham and Southampton, Brighton lost 2-1 at home to Tottenham last weekend and now sit 13th with five points. The only win for Chris Hughton’s side this season was against Manchester United in their first home game.
Pascal Gross has missed the last two matches against Southampton and Spurs but may be ready to return from an ankle injury, while striker Florin Andone could be set for his debut after being named on the bench for the first time last weekend.
This is the best home team in the Premier League last season against the worst away side, with little having changed this season. City have won three out of three at home with 11 goals for and two against, while Brighton have lost two and drawn one of their three away games.
More specifically, Brighton have lost all seven away games against the big six since joining the Premier League and their only goal in those matches came in last season’s 3-1 defeat against City.
They also lost 2-0 away to Manchester United in last season’s FA Cup, which makes it seven out of eight without scoring away to the big six, and City won to nil (2-0) when they visited the Amex at the start of the season.
Brighton’s only heavy defeat away to a big-six team was 4-0 at Liverpool on the final day of last season and the usual margin of defeat is two goals (five times out of eight, including the FA Cup match).
That suggests they might limit City to a respectable scoreline, although the fact that Guardiola’s team scored three at home to Brighton last season indicates they have the capability to open a wider gap this time.
Two of City’s three wins at home this season against teams outside the big six have been by at least three goals, although their strike-rate in that category last season was only 50%, so it is far from assured that trend will continue, especially against Hughton’s well-organised team.

Chelsea v Liverpool
The Premier League title race will move up a gear on Saturday evening when two of the pacesetters test each other’s mettle.
Defeat will hardly be catastrophic for either side – there are 31 games to play after this one – but there is little doubt a win here would be a huge boost psychologically going forward.
Certainly it would give Chelsea real belief. Having had a near-perfect run of fixtures with which to start their campaign, the jury remains out on them – indeed their title odds have barely changed. They have taken 16 points from a possible 18 but four of their wins have come against the sides currently in the bottom four. The only ‘Big Six’ side met – Arsenal – were beaten on home soil.
This is their first test against top quality and victory in it would surely energise a squad which suffered badly at times last season.
For Liverpool, winners of all six games they’ve played so far in the league, the need for victory is probably not so great and so maybe the pressure on them will be lower.
Having reached last season’s Champions League final and since added quality to their squad, you sense they know they are capable of a serious title challenge. The problem for them will likely come in the latter stages of the campaign when they (and their perennial runner-up of a manager) will need to prove they can finally get over the line. The weight of a 28-year period without the title will also be heavy come April.
That said, victory here would still be significant, more so in sending out a message to Manchester City that they are genuine rivals this season.
While Chelsea will try to take something from their come-from-behind 2-1 win at Anfield in the Carabao Cup, they’ll know deep down this is a different test.
Jurgen Klopp’s post-match analysis, saying his side didn’t get tight enough in midfield, sounded genuine and spot on, rather than a manager searching for excuses.
Liverpool may well have won had it not been for the wastefulness of Daniel Sturridge but for this rematch the Reds will have their famous front three back together.
Siding with the visitors looks the best plan of attack. Chelsea’s start points-wise has been impressive but I remain to be convinced that they are playing the sort of football which can compete with the best and, with their tightened defence, Liverpool are that right now.
The Reds have won two of the last three renewals of this fixture and last season’s loss came just days after their Champions League semi-final success.
Overall, they have won six, drawn three and lost six at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in the Roman Abramovich era – that is an envious record.
With the sides having moved away from the more defensive-based tactics of Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez, that’s no great surprise and expect the more recent trend to be followed here with so much attacking talent on display.
Liverpool have an attack of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, but at the other end there’s the red-hot Eden Hazard and the consistently under-rated Olivier Giroud, who has scored in five of his last six starts against Liverpool.
Ten of their 14 goals this season have come before the interval, as have three of the four Chelsea have conceded. Arsenal struck twice here – both in the first half.


La Liga
2:00 Real Sociedad vs Valencia
5:15 Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao
7:30 Eibar vs Sevilla
9:45 Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
Sunday
1:00 SD Huesca vs Girona
5:15 Villarreal vs Real Valladolid
7:30 Levante vs Deportivo Alaves
9:45 Real Betis vs Leganes
Monday
10:00 Celta Vigo vs Getafe


Barcelona v Athletic Club
Barcelona set the tone for a wild Wednesday night in La Liga by tossing away a lead and losing to struggling Leganés. It was never going to be as easy as some probably assumed at Butarque, yet the Catalans were still probably expecting to go on and win after Philippe Coutinho’s early opener.
But the game got away from them in two second-half minutes, raising a few uncomfortable questions for Ernesto Valverde. Probably the most pressing is over his squad players: do the likes of Munir El Haddadi and Thomas Vermaelen really represent such a drop off that the side’s overall performance dips like it did in midweek?
At any rate, there’s no time for Barça to feel sorry for themselves. They now enter a gauntlet of fixtures, with this game against Athletic Club followed by matches against Tottenham, Valencia, Sevilla, Internazionale and Real Madrid. With a trip to Atlético Madrid also coming up before the end of November, it’s going to be a critical couple of months in their season.
Athletic are without a win since opening day, much of which has to do with their defence. The Basques threw away leads in every one of their first four games (they got away with it against Leganés by scoring in injury time) and were well beaten by Villarreal in midweek, leaving them just two points above the drop zone at the start of the weekend round.
The play here is to back most goals in the second half – a bet would have paid off in five of seven Barcelona games so far (all competitions). Eight of the nine goals conceded by Athletic have come after the break, so the hosts could eventually make hay even if they’re frustrated early on.

Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid
“Think that’s a performance to get the fans worried? Hold my beer.” That was (roughly) the internal monologue of this Real Madrid side in midweek, as the chance to go top of the table disintegrated in a blitz of Sevilla goals. Three times the defence was pierced in the first half, making a fightback impossible.
“It’s simple: we gifted them 45 minutes,” offered Casemiro by way of explanation, but you imagine there has been a more complete post-mortem since. The forwards were wasteful (21 shots, but Tomáš Vaclík made just three saves) and the defence was more porous than a sponge cake. Major improvements will be needed.
Atlético Madrid were of course the major winners of Jornada 5, cruising past Huesca and watching both major rivals crumble. The gap is back to two points for them, which feels like a huge let-off after their own wobble a couple of weeks back. Atleti haven’t really found top gear yet, but they’re still there or thereabouts – and they absolutely love a derby.
Los Rojiblancos are unbeaten in the last four games against Real, including the UEFA Super Cup, and when you zoom out, you can see the extent to which Diego Simeone has brought parity to the capital: since he took charge of Atleti, there have been in nine wins apiece (excluding penalties) and nine draws.
That, plus the fact that Real have won precisely none of the last five league derbies at the Bernabéu.


Serie A
4:00 Roma vs Lazio
7:00 Juventus vs Napoli
9:30 Inter vs Cagliari
Sunday
1:30 Bologna vs Udinese
4:00 Chievo vs Torino
4:00 Fiorentina vs Atalanta
4:00 Frosinone vs Genoa
7:00 Parma Calcio 1913 vs Empoli
9:30 Sassuolo vs AC Milan
Monday
9:30 Sampdoria vs SPAL 2013

Roma v Lazio
The Serie A weekend starts with the high potential for drama at the Olimpico as Roma and Lazio face off in a game that Eusebio Di Francesco really can’t afford to lose. I know that Roma got back to winning ways in midweek against Frosinone, but that’s such a routine victory that it doesn’t count for much, and certainly doesn’t hide the fact that they have been poor this season so far.
Di Francesco already had his doubters after the way that his team capitulated against Liverpool in the first leg of last season’s Champions League semi-final, and he needed to hit the ground running, rather than limping tamely.
Roma have already lost twice in Serie A, they’ve been brushed aside by Real Madrid in the Champions League, and they have twice been held to home draws, by Atalanta and Chievo. They’ve looked listless and disorganised, and Simone Inzaghi and Lazio must fancy that they can do something significant, given the run of form that they’re currently on.
Lazio could have limped into this season after losing out on the Champions League on the last day of the previous campaign, but after losing their opening two matches against Napoli and Juve, they have now won five in a row in all competitions, never perfect but always doing more than enough.
After failing in those first two cracks at a big name, Inzaghi will be determined to see his team win against one of the division’s giants, and where better to start than against their city rivals. They’re too big, and we should back them.

Juventus v Napoli
The monumental weekend continues with Napoli’s visit to Turin on Saturday evening, and even though a dramatic win here last season remains fresh in the memory, Juventus rightly start as strong favourites.
Napoli have a Champions League game against Liverpool to think about too, while Juve have the relatively easy task of a home fixture against Young Boys, and that further tips the scales in the home team’s favour.

Sassuolo v Milan
Both Sassuolo and Milan were in action on the Thursday of the midweek round, and so they face another game in quick succession, one which I think will provide some serious entertainment.
Sassuolo have now won three of their last four, and when you consider that their only defeat was a gallant one at Juventus, and that they beat Inter on the opening day. Even ex-Milan man Kevin-Prince Boateng was rested against SPAL, keeping him fresh for this reunion.
They’ve won all three of their home games, and face a team that looks unconvincing after fumbling yet another lead to draw at Empoli. The Rossoneri only lost once, away at Napoli, but have now been held by Cagliari, Atalanta and Empoli, and Sassuolo are a far better team at the moment than any of those.
Factor in that Gonzalo Higuain might not be fit in time after a muscular issue, Patrick Cutrone is still not 100 per cent after a sprained ankle and the only remaining striker is Fabio Borini – Milan are in real trouble.


Bundesliga
4:30 Nuernberg vs Fortuna Duesseldorf
4:30 Wolfsburg vs Borussia M.Gladbach
4:30 Hoffenheim vs RasenBallsport Leipzig
4:30 Schalke 04 vs Mainz 05
4:30 VfB Stuttgart vs Werder Bremen
7:30 Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund
Sunday
4:30 Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hannover 96
7:00 Augsburg vs Freiburg

Bayer Leverkusen vs Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen have won their last two matches following a very slow start, but their performances continue to be concerning.
They were far from impressive against Mainz in their last home game, winning 1-0, and were very fortunate to win against Fortuna Düsseldorf in midweek.
Defensively Bayer have been very poor, conceding an average of 1.85 xGA per game so far this season, something that is expected to be exposed again in this game.
Dortmund are hot on the heels of Bayern Munich at the top of the table after a good start, winning three and drawing the other two of their five games.
A 7-0 win in midweek over Nürnberg flattered Lucien Favre’s side, but they were deserved winners after a good display.
Dortmund have the capabilities to cause Leverkusen all sorts of problems here, and backing a high-scoring game is the selection.


Ligue 1
6:15 Nice vs Paris Saint Germain
9:00 Angers vs Guingamp
9:00 Strasbourg vs Dijon
9:00 Lyon vs Nantes
9:00 Reims vs Bordeaux
9:00 Caen vs Amiens
Sunday
4:00 Rennes vs Toulouse
6:00 Montpellier vs Nimes
10:00 Lille vs Marseille

Nice v PSG
PSG are serial record collectors and the opportunity to equal one dating back more than 80 years should inspire them to victory at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday afternoon.
Lille started the 1936-37 with eight straight victories and PSG will match that tally if they claim all three points on the Cote d’Azur this weekend. It would be madness to back against Thomas Tuchel’s side right now given how they’re playing: they’ve scored at least three goals in each of their seven Ligue 1 games, reserving their best performance of the season for their 4-1 victory over Reims on Wednesday night.
Even more frightening for Nice is the prospect of a hungry and determined Kylian Mbappe returning here after a three-match suspension. The World Cup winner will have had fidgety feet watching his team-mates from the touchlines so expect a turbo-boosted performance from him as he reminds us what we’ve missed over the past month.
Nice’s W3-D1-L3 record sums up their inconsistency and their W1-D0-L2 home stats underline the problems they’ve had in front of their own fans. To make matters worse, flyer Allan Saint-Maximin – their best player this season, and the nearest thing they have to Mbappe – has nursed an ankle knock over the past 48 hours so may be less fleet-footed than usual.

Lyon v Nantes
Nantes manager Miguel Cardoso’s status as a dead man walking makes Lyon firm favourites to record a convincing win this weekend.
The Portuguese boss was appointed only this summer but well-informed local media sources believe this will be his final game in charge. Nantes’ poor results (W1-D2-L4) and apparent confusion among the players about some of Cardoso’s tactical decisions mean that a new manager will almost certainly be in charge by the time Nantes’ fixture against Bordeaux kicks-off next weekend.
Volatile Nantes president never seemed convinced of Cardoso’s qualities – which is bizarre, given that Kita appointed him – and has taken every opportunity to criticise the manager publicly during the opening two months of the season. Given the lack of authority Cardoso has going into the game this weekend it’s hard to see Nantes producing a coherent, effective performance.
Lyon are the last team (bar PSG) you’d want to face right now. The hosts go into this game on the back of three fantastic victories – 2-1 at Manchester City, 4-2 at home to Marseille, 3-0 at Dijon on Wednesday night – and have the class and variety to take Nantes apart at will. With six high-calibre attackers – Maxwel Cornet, Moussa Dembele, Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir, Martin Terrier, Bertrand Traore – manager Bruno Genesio can maintain the standard and freshness of the front line from kick-off to the final whistle.


Eredivisie
7:30 SC Heerenveen vs ADO Den Haag
7:30 NAC Breda vs PSV Eindhoven
9:45 Excelsior vs VVV-Venlo
9:45 Fortuna Sittard vs Ajax
Sunday
1:15 Heracles vs FC Emmen
3:30 FC Groningen vs FC Utrecht
3:30 De Graafschap vs Willem II
3:30 AZ Alkmaar vs PEC Zwolle
5:45 Feyenoord vs Vitesse


Super Lig
4:00 Trabzonspor vs Kasimpasa
4:00 Alanyaspor vs Akhisarspor
7:00 Besiktas vs Kayserispor
Sunday
1:30 Sivasspor vs Bursaspor
4:00 Goztepe vs Konyaspor
7:00 Rizespor vs Fenerbahce
Monday
8:00 Ankaragucu vs Antalyaspor
8:00 Istanbul Basaksehir vs Yeni Malatyaspor


Premiership
5:00 Kilmarnock vs Motherwell
5:00 Celtic vs Aberdeen
5:00 St. Mirren vs Hibernian
5:00 Hearts vs St.Johnstone
5:00 Hamilton Academical vs Dundee FC


Liga NOS
6:30 Moreirense vs Feirense
9:00 Rio Ave vs Boavista
11:00 Sporting CP vs Maritimo
Sunday
6:00 Nacional vs Santa Clara
8:30 Vitoria de Guimaraes vs Vitoria de Setubal
10:30 Belenenses vs Braga
Monday
10:15 Aves vs Portimonense


Premier League
09:30 Ural vs Arsenal Tula
4:30 FC Ufa vs FC Yenisey Krasnoyarsk
7:00 Lokomotiv Moscow vs FK Akhmat
Sunday
2:00 Anzhi Makhachkala vs Zenit St. Petersburg
4:30 FC Krasnodar vs Dinamo Moscow
7:00 Spartak Moscow vs FC Rostov
Monday
7:30 Rubin Kazan vs Krylya Sovetov Samara

NOTE: Time converted to East African Time…

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Premier League Clubs To Ask Their Players To Take Wage Cuts Of Up To 30%…

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Premier League clubs have all agreed to discuss their players taking wage cuts or deferrals of up to 30 per cent after their latest round of talks on Friday.

The top flight have also voted to advance the EFL and National League’s £125m payment as they continue to battle the effects of the coronavirus.

The Premier League will also make a £20million donation to the NHS, local communities, families and groups who have been affected by the coronavirus crisis.

It comes after UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday urged top footballers to support club staff who are being furloughed at the taxpayers’ expense.

Borussia Monchengladbach’s players were the first in the country to offer to forgo wages, while the league’s big four – Dortmund, Bayern, Leipzig and Leverkusen, have all ploughed £17.7m each into a fund to help the second tier clubs who will struggle more than them in the coming months.

In Italy, meanwhile, Juventus players have waived four months’ wages in a move that could see Cristiano Ronaldo give up over £9m of his money to help the cause.

PREMIER LEAGUE’S TOP EARNERS

1 = David de Gea (Manchester United) – £375,000

2 = Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – £300,000

2 = Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – £300,000

3 = Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – £290,000

4 = Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) -£280,000

5 = Anthony Martial (Manchester United) – £250,000

6 = Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – £220,000

7 = Harry Kane (Tottenham) – £200,000

7 = Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – £200,000

7 = Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) – £200,000

8 = Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – £198,000

9 = Harry Maguire (Manchester United) – £189,904

10 = Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – £170,000

 

Source: Daily Mail

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NO MORE HUGE SPENDING: Real Madrid’s Big-Spending ‘Cannot Continue’ As Boss Zinedine Zidane Faces Major Frustration In Pursuit Of Mbappe And Paul Pogba For Squad Rebuild…

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Zinedine Zidane’s attempts to overhaul his Real Madrid squad could be frustrated as the days of ‘€100million (£89m) signings are over’, according to reports in Spain on Wednesday.

Since returning to the manager’s chair at the Bernabeu, Zidane has been attempting to overhaul an ageing squad in a bid to bring back the level of success he enjoyed in his first spell, when he won three Champions League titles.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba are both of interest to the club but Marca’s front cover on Wednesday insists the days of Galactico-style signings is now ‘over’ due to the vast number of players contracted to the club.

AS Diario’s cover story reveals how that of June 30, Real Madrid will have 37 players under contract at the Bernabeu.

Accompanying a graphic that showed Zidane surrounded by a number of puzzle pieces, to represent the different players, they report that the Frenchman needs to find a new home ‘for a third’ of the squad.

There are currently 26 players contracted at the club and a further 11 out on loan, leaving Zidane with some major decisions to make in terms of who gets a stay of execution – and who is shown the exit door.

The likes of Martin Odegaard and Achraf Hakimi have been the two stand-outs on loan spells at Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund respectively and they will believe they can push for regular minutes for Real next season.

Players such as Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez both remain on lucrative contracts at the club and an inability to shift such big earners could stifle moves for some of their top targets.

Bale has long been deemed not to be in Zidane’s long-term plans and was previously close to a move to China.

The Welshman was ready to join Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning on a free transfer last summer before Madrid dramatically pulled the plug on that deal.

For Colombian midfielder Rodriguez, his contract expires in June 2021 and so if the club cannot attract a buyer this summer, they risk being lumbered with the player for another 12 months.

Lucas Vasquez and Luka Modric are two others with less than certain futures at the club while Dani Ceballos may not have done enough while on loan at Arsenal to convince Zidane that he is ready to slot back into the club’s midfield alongside Casemiro and Fede Valverde.

Alongside Mbappe and Pogba, who have longed been linked with a move to the Spanish capital, Eduardo Camavinga and Rayan Cherki are said to be high up on the wishlist of the Madrid boss if he can shift the deadwood.

 

Source: Daily Mail

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Champions League And Europa League ‘Moved To July And August’ With All International Matches In June ‘Suspended Until The Autumn’ As Coronavirus Crisis Continues To Hit The Football Calendar….

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The final stages of this season’s Champions League and Europa League are reportedly set to be moved to July and August as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the football calendar.

And all international matches scheduled for June are likely to be postponed until Autumn to make way for the completion of the 2019-20 season.

The move comes, according to German outlet ZDF, ahead of the latest UEFA video conference set to take place on Wednesday.

All football across Europe has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and uncertainty surrounds when it will be safe again to continue.

But there now appears to be a prevailing view that this season should finish before the next begins that could even see the Champions League final played behind closed doors, according to the Independent.

They claimed on Wednesday that voiding the 2019-20 season is now reportedly ‘off the table’ with UEFA and the European leagues committing to completing the current campaign.

European football’s governing body is set to to stage another video conference on Wednesday where plans to finish the season, as well as issues over player contracts and the transfer window.

Detailed discussions are already believed to have taken place, with all parties in agreement with the view from England that the season must be completed.

It could lead to both the Champions League and Europa League showpieces taking place in front of empty stadiums.

Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that English clubs have serious reservations about resuming European competition this season.

The FA are expected to raise concerns about heading abroad given the risks attached to being on airplanes, airports, hotels and the varying degrees of Covid-19 at different destinations, even when travel restrictions are lifted.

International friendlies had been scheduled for June as warm ups ahead of summer tournaments, but they are also set to be moved.

Euro 2020 and the Copa America have already been postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic which has brought the world of sport to a complete standstill.

 

Source: Daily Mail

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