Pochettino silent over PSG transfer plans amid Alli links

By Sports Desk January 30, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn on whether Paris Saint-Germain will go into the transfer market ahead of Monday's deadline amid reports he could be reunited with Dele Alli.

PSG have won four and drawn one of their five games since Pochettino was appointed as head coach this month.

Pochettino has been linked with a loan move for out-of-favour Tottenham midfielder Alli, although Jose Mourinho this week said he expects the 24-year-old to stay at the London club.

Inter's Christian Eriksen, another midfielder who played under Pochettino at Spurs, has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Ligue 1 champions.

Pochettino, who confirmed his assistant Miguel D'Agostino has tested positive for coronavirus, was giving nothing away ahead of Sunday's trip to Lorient and said "we will see" when asked if Bandiougou Fadiga could join Brest.

He said in a press conference on Saturday: "You have reminded me about there being three days left [before the window closes], but we are not paying attention to that right now.

"I am focused on the team improving and performing at its best."

Lyon beat Bordeaux 2-1 on Friday to go a point clear of champions PSG at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

PSG will be expected to return to the summit when they take on struggling Lorient, but Pochettino warned they must not be complacent.

"For PSG, every single game is important and we want to win every game. The priority is always the next game ahead of you, which is Lorient," he said.

"We always expect the same from our team, which is to win and compete in the best way possible, knowing that we are against a side that will make it very tough for us."

Pochettino plans to fully utilise his squad with such a demanding schedule to contend with.

The former Argentina international said: "Before every game every week we analyse every player individually and all the players train hard.

"All the players here, whether they are playing more or less regularly, they have to know that they will have an opportunity and must take it when they get one.

"That way, they are ready to fit straight into the team. We are always open to changes, as a coaching staff we are always open to giving players the chance to improve. They need to be ready to show they deserve a place in the starting line-up."

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    Anne Hidalgo, who has been serving as the mayor of Paris since 2014, was quick to react to news that the superstar striker is seemingly poised to extend his contract.

    The saga that had seen PSG and Madrid in a tug-of-war over the France international's services looks to have been won by the Ligue 1 champions.

    Widespread reports in France and Spain on Saturday assured that the decision has been made, and that 23-year-old World Cup winner Mbappe has picked his home city club over the Spanish champions.

    Reacting to a report by RMC Sport, Hidalgo wrote on Twitter, "Que bien!!!!", which translates as "How good!!!!", accompanied by red and blue hearts – the colours of PSG.

    Assuming it is confirmed, the coup of PSG keeping Mbappe will be widely seen as a major fillip for the city of Paris, which will host the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympics.

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    Real Madrid were widely expected to sign Mbappe as a free agent following the expiration of his contract.

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    Earlier this week the pendulum seemed to have swung firmly in Madrid's direction, with reports suggesting talks between Mbappe and PSG's Qatari owners had not swayed the striker, and that he wanted to join Los Blancos.

     

    Mbappe's mother and agent confirmed on Friday that agreements had been reached with both clubs and a decision would be made over the weekend.

    On Saturday, multiple major publications in France, including L'Equipe and Le Parisien, as well as ESPN, reported the former Monaco striker will be staying put.

    No details were put forward as to the length of Mbappe's new contract, though it was suggested the France star could confirm his decision at the Parc des Princes following PSG's season-ending match against Metz on Saturday.

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    Los Blancos had also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, but he has decided to join Manchester City, and it appears as though Madrid president Florentino Perez will be made to wait for his next Galactico.

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    The Blaugrana will finish second in LaLiga, a testament to the work done by Xavi since he replaced the much-maligned Ronald Koeman earlier in the campaign. 

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    Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore arrived to bolster the squad in January, though the latter two were on a free transfer and a loan respectively. 

    Barca were linked with moves for Mbappe and Haaland. However, Mbappe is weighing up offers from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid while Haaland is joining Manchester City, and Xavi has claimed there was never any chance of the Blaugrana having the financial capability to sign such players. 

    "Ask me another question," he told a news conference on Saturday. "Mbappe, let him do what he wants, let him be happy.  

    "We do not enter into this equation. I do not understand the question. 

    "We cannot put a lot of money in. The economic situation is what it is. We did not enter the bidding of Haaland or Mbappe but that is what we have inherited. 

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    "The economic situation is serious but it is not my turn to talk about money. I'm here to talk about football. The economic problems are what they are, but let's talk about football." 

    One player who has been heavily linked is Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, who plundered 50 goals in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign. 

    No player across Europe's top five leagues has scored more goals than the Poland striker this season, but he has told Bayern he wishes to leave and will not be signing a new contract, with his deal ending in June 2023. 

    However, LaLiga president Javier Tebas on Friday cast doubt on Barca's ability to be able to afford the 34-year-old. 

    Asked about Lewandowski, Xavi said: "It is one of the possibilities that may come. He has said it himself.  

    "There are some negotiations involved. It will not be easy with Bayern involved." 

    One possible outgoing at Barca who could free up funds would be Frenkie de Jong. Both Manchester clubs are credited with an interest in the Netherlands international who joined from Ajax in 2019, though it has been reported the 25-year-old is in no rush to leave the Camp Nou. 

    "Here we go back to talking about the economic situation," replied Xavi when pressed on the De Jong speculation.  

    "He is, for me, a great player who is very capable and very dominating, he can help us a lot, but we go back to talking about money and I don't want to do that." 

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