Bayern Munich have made a good habit of getting their house in order promptly, and 2021 would seem to be no different.

Having already agreed a deal to sign centre-back Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga leaders have followed up with an agreement to make Julian Nagelsmann their next head coach.

The Leipzig boss, a boyhood Bayern fan from Bavaria who is still attempting to stop his new club win the title this season, will take over from Hansi Flick on July 1.

A five-year contract and a reported fee of €20million – the most ever paid for a coach – represent a significant investment on Bayern's part and show just how highly they regard Nagelsmann.

The 33-year-old is not exactly taking the wheel of a sinking ship, either: Bayern won six trophies in under two years under Flick and look set to be crowned German champions again.

However, the Bundesliga's youngest ever coach will still face a few crucial tasks upon his appointment that could go a long way towards making or breaking his first term in charge...

Get on with the board

Flick had few serious problems during a remarkably successful spell at the helm, but one notable issue lately has been his relationship with the club's hierarchy.

His decision to announce in public this month that he would be leaving at the end of the season enraged those in charge given they had agreed to keep the news quiet. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, one of Flick's biggest allies, even saw fit to issue a statement criticising the coach.

Flick is said to have got on poorly with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, with disagreements over transfer targets and a general mistrust turning the relationship volatile. Salihamidzic himself has come under scrutiny, with plenty of fans unhappy to see the coach being the one to depart.

Having landed Bayern's top target through a not-insignificant outlay, Salihamidzic will be almost as desperate to see Nagelsmann succeed as the new man himself. A better working relationship between coach and superiors would be a positive way to start.

Fix the defence

Flick has spent much of this campaign trying to solidify a Bayern defence that has conceded 40 Bundesliga goals this term, already eight more than in the whole of 2019-20.

Frailties at the back were exposed in a DFB-Pokal loss at the hands of second-tier Holstein Kiel and more brutally in the Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris Saint-Germain.

Bayern's defence could look very different next season. Upamecano is arriving from Leipzig but David Alaba is expected to sign for Real Madrid, Jerome Boateng is leaving after a decade in Munich and there is still uncertainty around Niklas Sule's future.

With Bayern said to be pursuing a new right-back, there could well be a new-look backline in front of Manuel Neuer next season – one that Nagelsmann will need to hone quickly in pre-season.

 

Support Lewandowski

As talk of Nagelsmann continued on Monday, Sky Sport reported "several" European clubs had made enquiries over the possibility of signing Robert Lewandowski.

Europe's leading marksman in 2020-21 with 43 goals in all competitions, Lewandowski needs four more in the final three games to equal Gerd Muller's record of 40 in a single Bundesliga season.

Should he match or surpass that milestone, and having finally got his hands on the Champions League last season, the Poland star could be tempted to try his hand elsewhere – and has made clear previously that Bayern may not be his final club.

Signing a replacement would be no easy task, particularly in the coronavirus landscape, so Nagelsmann would be wise to make sure Lewandowski feels Bayern's objectives match his own moving forward.

Ignore the noise

For a coach, learning to deal with critics is part of the territory at Bayern Munich, more so than at any club in Germany.

With famous ex-players in positions of power at the Allianz Arena and others prominent figures in the media – former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus chief among them – Bayern coaches will never be far from an opinion or two, whether successful or not (just ask Pep Guardiola).

Matthaus was even rebuked by former team-mate Stefan Effenberg this month for encouraging talk of Nagelsmann replacing Flick, suggesting such comments simply placed further pressure on coaches "that is no longer okay".

Flick had actually handled the persistent Bayern background noise rather well, and Nagelsmann will need to do likewise: the scrutiny on his performance as the world's most expensive coach – at such a young age – will be intense.

 

Blood the youngsters

Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff specifically praised Nagelsmann for improving individuals and strengthening the collective in his time at the club.

The progress of players such as Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai and captain Marcel Sabitzer highlights the positive impact Nagelsmann's methods can have on young talent.

He will be under pressure to produce similar results at Bayern. Alphonso Davies is already an elite left-back at 20, Jamal Musiala is established in the senior squad at 18 and there are high hopes for young centre-back Tanguy Nianzou.

Given Bayern's pedigree for developing global stars, Nagelsmann will be under pressure to keep the production line going at full speed.

Julian Nagelsmann says he is leaving RB Leipzig for "a unique opportunity" at Bayern Munich with "a heavy heart" but vows he will give everything to finish on a high.

Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern boss and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, both clubs confirmed on Tuesday.

Bayern, who are on the verge of a ninth successive Bundesliga title, have agreed to terminate the contract of Hansi Flick, who informed the club he did not want to stay in charge beyond this season.

Nagelsmann has Leipzig on the brink of sealing second place in the Bundesliga, which would be their best finish.

There also remains a chance he will guide the club to their first major silverware with Bayern already out of the DFB-Pokal ahead of Leipzig's semi-final against Werder Bremen on Friday.

The 33-year-old finished third in the top flight and reached the Champions League semi-finals with Leipzig last season – his first after joining from Hoffenheim - but revealed the Bayern job was too difficult to turn down.

"I will leave RB Leipzig with a heavy heart," Nagelsmann told Leipzig's website.

"I’ve been able to coach a special team here at a club with huge opportunities and the best possible conditions to work in.

"Our run to the Champions League semi-finals was definitely the highlight of our time together. It was a moment that I'll never forget.

"We're currently enjoying the best Bundesliga campaign in the club's history too. We want to make sure it ends up our best finish and then also lift a major trophy for the first time as well.

"It's too early to say my goodbyes and speak about my memories because I'm not done here yet in Leipzig.

"My mission may end here in the summer, but I will give my absolute all until then. We've grown into a real tight-knit bunch that finally wants to win a title.

"Leipzig are a special club – nevertheless, I am leaving. I made no secret of the fact that the head coach position at FC Bayern appealed to me and that I would like to take on this job if the opportunity ever arose.

"The position at FC Bayern is a unique opportunity for me. I would therefore like to thank Oliver Mintzlaff and the rest of the board at RB Leipzig for finding a solution with FC Bayern and making this possible for me.

"Now we're shifting our full attention to the remaining three Bundesliga games and of course the DFB-Pokal semi-final, to try and finish the season as successfully as possible."

Talk emerged on Monday that Bayern and Nagelsmann had quickly agreed terms but that a fee to release him from his RB Leipzig contract was proving a sticking point.

According to widespread reports, an agreement has been reached between the clubs that would make Nagelsmann the world's most expensive head coach.

The Athletic indicated Bayern will pay around €20million, while further reports suggest add-ons could take the total closer to €25m.

Nagelsmann, 33, had also been linked with Tottenham after their decision to sack Jose Mourinho last week.

However, as a boyhood Bayern fan from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, the Allianz Arena has long been touted as his dream destination.

When Nagelsmann does finish at Leipzig, he will do so with a sense of pride.

He added: "Since my first game in August 2019 against VfL Osnabruck, RB Leipzig, the whole region and all the staff and players here have meant so much to me.

"We've experienced so many special things during our eventful time together.

"Everybody here, including the staff who work alongside the team, have ensured that we've written plenty of stories for the club's history books and are continuing to do so now. I'm really proud of that."

Julian Nagelsmann can keep the trophies coming for Bayern Munich, with Oliver Kahn forecasting a "very successful" future under the leadership of the incoming coach.

The 33-year-old Nagelsmann will leave RB Leipzig at the end of the season after agreeing a five-year contract with Bayern.

A world-record fee for a coach was reportedly agreed to secure the man who will take over from Hansi Flick, with Bayern expected to hand over at least €20million.

They may recoup some of that if Flick, who asked to be released from his contract, is appointed head coach of Germany.

By hiring such a young coach, Bayern are making a major statement about their intentions, seeing Nagelsmann as a long-term prospect.

Kahn, who will step up from his role on the board to become Bayern CEO at the end of the year, said: "Julian's contract length of five years alone shows how committed he is to FC Bayern.

"I am convinced that FC Bayern's sporting future will be a very successful one with Julian Nagelsmann."

Goalkeeping great Kahn believes the team are in safe hands with the incoming boss, but he also praised Flick for his contribution.

Since taking over from the sacked Niko Kovac in November 2019, Flick has steered Bayern to six trophies, including a treble of the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League last season.

A seventh trophy of Flick's brief reign should arrive in May, with Bayern on the brink of a ninth successive Bundesliga title.

"My thanks go to Hansi Flick," Kahn said. "He's led FC Bayern to great successes with great football. We have now fulfilled his wish to leave FC Bayern before the end of his contract. All the best, Hansi!"

Reports suggested Flick and Hasan Salihamidzic have been at odds over team matters, including player recruitment.

With Flick no longer needing to concern himself with such matters, they may be able to part on peaceful terms.

"I want to express my thanks to Hansi Flick," said Salihamidzic.

"After taking on the role of head coach nearly one and a half years ago, we have celebrated many victories and titles, with the treble in 2020 being the high point. His name will always be associated with these successes. I wish him all the best for the road ahead."

Clearly, Salihamidzic is looking forward to working with Nagelsmann, having been impressed by the discussions with the coach that have led to this point.

In 90 games with Leipzig, Nagelsmann has earned 53 wins and 21 draws and suffered 16 defeats - achieving a healthy win percentage of 58.9 per cent.

"The talks with Julian have been very cooperative and constructive," Salihamidzic said. "We are going to have a lot of joy with him – of that I am sure."

Julian Nagelsmann told RB Leipzig the Bayern Munich job was his lifelong dream before they agreed to his exit, club CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed.

Mintzlaff revealed the decision to sanction Nagelsmann's departure took place after open and honest talks with the highly rated 33-year-old, who is nearing the end of his second season with Leipzig.

Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern boss and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, both clubs confirmed on Tuesday.

Nagelsmann said he is leaving RB Leipzig for "a unique opportunity" at Bayern with "a heavy heart" but vowed he would give everything to finish on a high.

Discussing the announcement, Mintzlaff said: "There has been a lot of activity over the past few days regarding the role as head coach of FC Bayern Munich.

"Following this, Julian Nagelsmann approached us and expressed in open talks that it is a lifelong dream of his to become coach of FC Bayern, and that he would like to make the move to Munich if the opportunity presented itself after the end of this season.

"Julian has taken a fantastic path in Leipzig and developed the club very successfully.

"He has not only improved individual players but has also taken the team as a collective to the next level.

"We signed a long-term contract that did not originally include an exit scenario.

"However, Julian's strong desire to coach FC Bayern has led us to the decision that the door is open after intensive talks, provided certain prerequisites are met."

Following reports on Monday that Bayern and Nagelsmann had quickly agreed terms, a fee to release him from his RB Leipzig contract was said to be proving a sticking point.

An agreement has been now reached between the clubs that will reportedly make Nagelsmann the world's most expensive head coach.

The Athletic indicated Bayern will pay around €20million, while further reports suggest add-ons could take the total closer to €25m.

Mintzlaff confirmed the club had met their financial target during talks with Bayern.

He added: "In the negotiations with FC Bayern representatives, we have been successful in obtaining our financial goals.

"Now we have to tackle the remaining games of this season with Julian and his team so that we can make this the most successful campaign in our club's history." 

Bayern, who are on the verge of a ninth successive Bundesliga title, have agreed to terminate the contract of Hansi Flick, who informed the club he did not want to stay in charge beyond this season.

Nagelsmann has Leipzig on the brink of sealing second place in the Bundesliga, which would be their best finish.

There also remains a chance he will guide the club to their first major silverware, with Bayern already out of the DFB-Pokal ahead of Leipzig's semi-final against Werder Bremen on Friday.

The 33-year-old finished third in the top flight and reached the Champions League semi-finals with Leipzig last season – his first after joining from Hoffenheim.

But he revealed his new job was too difficult to turn down. As a boyhood Bayern fan from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, the Allianz Arena has long been touted as his dream destination.

Leipzig added that a statement regarding the successor to Nagelsmann would be made "soon".

Julian Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern Munich head coach and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, the Bundesliga club announced on Tuesday.

Bayern, who are on the verge of a ninth successive Bundesliga title, have agreed to terminate the contract of Hansi Flick, who informed the club he did not want to stay in charge beyond this season.

"Julian Nagelsmann represents a new generation of coaches," Bayern president Herbert Hainer said in a statement.

"Despite his young age, he has had an impressive career. We are convinced that, with Julian Nagelsmann, we will build on the great successes of the past few years."

Talk emerged on Monday that Bayern and Nagelsmann had quickly agreed terms but that a fee to release him from his RB Leipzig contract was proving a sticking point.

According to widespread reports in Germany and Europe, an agreement has been reached between the clubs that would make Nagelsmann the world's most expensive head coach.

The Athletic indicated Bayern will pay around €20million, while further reports suggest add-ons could take the total closer to €25m.

Nagelsmann, 33, had also been linked with Tottenham after their decision to sack Jose Mourinho last week.

However, as a boyhood Bayern fan from the Bavarian town of Landsberg am Lech, the Allianz Arena has long been touted as his dream destination.

Nagelsmann, who cost Leipzig a reported €5m when he joined from Hoffenheim in 2019, has helped to establish the club as Champions League regulars and Bundesliga title challengers.

He guided them to the Champions League semi-finals last season, where they lost 3-0 to Paris Saint-Germain, and a third-place finish in the top flight.

Leipzig are comfortably second in 2020-21 but trail leaders Bayern by seven points with only three games remaining.

Flick, who has been tipped to succeed Joachim Low as head coach of Germany, leaves Bayern after delivering six trophies in under two years, including the treble last season.

Hainer said: "I would like to expressly thank Hansi Flick on behalf of FC Bayern. He took over our team in a difficult phase in 2019 and then won six titles, with the seventh hopefully following soon.

"He will always have a place in the history books of FC Bayern."

Flick said: "The past two years have been unforgettable for me.

"A coach is nothing without his team and I was lucky enough to meet fantastic players and staff here in Munich, and a team of coaches who did incredible things.

"One disappointment remains: that we weren't able to celebrate the greatest successes during this time with the fans. I've missed them in every game.

"I wish the Bayern family the very best for the future. It's not an empty phrase when I say it was a very great honour for me."

Julian Nagelsmann is to become the new Bayern Munich head coach and has agreed a five-year contract beginning on July 1, the Bundesliga club announced on Tuesday.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo still be at Juventus next season?

Ronaldo's future appears to depend on Juve's Champions League participation.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain loom large for the Portuguese superstar.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD OR PSG FOR RONALDO?

Cristiano Ronaldo is weighing up whether to return to Manchester United or join Paris Saint-Germain if Juventus fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, according to Tuttosport.

Ronaldo's future has dominated headlines amid speculation the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is set to leave Serie A giants Juve at the end of the current campaign.

Initially linked with Real Madrid, Ronaldo is reportedly eyeing either United or PSG in order to play in the Champions League.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano reports RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann is set to replace Hansi Flick at Bayern Munich. Despite interest from Tottenham and other clubs, Nagelsmann has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, who must negotiate a fee with Leipzig.

Raphael Varane wants to leave Madrid amid links with Chelsea, United and PSG, claims Diario AS. The France international defender is contracted to the Santiago Bernabeu until next season but Madrid are believed to be willing to cash in on Varane as they look to fund moves for PSG's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with Liverpool, United, Manchester City, Juve, Bayern and Barcelona.

- Manchester Evening News says United are interested in Slavia Prague's 21-year-old forward Abdallah Sima.

- The Sun reports England centre-back John Stones is in advanced talks with Premier League leaders City over a new five-year contract.

- Antonio Conte is dreaming of prising Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul to Inter, says Calciomercato. The Argentina international has also been linked with Napoli and Leeds United.

Does a Premier League switch beckon for Raphael Varane?

Varane has starred for Real Madrid, winning LaLiga and Champions League titles.

But Varane could be sacrificed in the Spanish capital, with Chelsea reportedly interested.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA FRONTRUNNERS FOR VARANE

Chelsea are ahead of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain in the race to sign Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Varane has been linked with a move away from Madrid, who are looking to raise funds as they target PSG star Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

United have reportedly emerged as strong suitors but Chelsea are believed to be at the front of the queue to land the France international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal, Sport1 and other outlets report Bayern Munich have opened talks with RB Leipzig to hire head coach Julian Nagelsmann. With Hansi Flick set to depart at season's end, Nagelsmann is wanted in Munich.

Jose Mourinho is ready to return to Inter should Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte exit, claims Calciomercato. Conte is poised to lead Inter to their first Scudetto since 2009-10, when Mourinho oversaw a treble, but the former Italy coach's future is far from certain. Mourinho is available after he was sacked by Tottenham.

- According to Gol Digital, Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta.

Roma are targeting Maurizio Sarri as their next head coach, says Corriere dello Sport. Paulo Fonseca is currently at the helm but he is under pressure in the Italian capital. Roma have reportedly already met with ex-Chelsea, Juventus and Napoli coach Sarri to discuss finer details.

Milan have given star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma one month to decide on a contract extension, reports Tuttosport. Donnarumma is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign. The likes of United, Chelsea, Juventus, PSG and Madrid have been linked. Milan are reportedly eyeing Lille's Mike Maignan as a possible replacement.

- Bild claims Arsenal are lining up a move for Dortmund's Julian Brandt as a replacement for loanee Martin Odegaard, who is attracting interest from elsewhere. Brandt could be one of many Dortmund players to leave in the off-season as clubs circle Haaland, including Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona, United, Chelsea, PSG and Bayern.

Bayern Munich have reportedly made a first move for RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann, but prising him away could prove an expensive operation.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern, who stand on the brink of a ninth successive title, are set to lose head coach Hansi Flick at the end of the season after he asked to be released from his contract.

While Flick is seen as a possible successor to Joachim Low with the Germany national team, the 33-year-old Nagelsmann is considered one of Europe's best young coaches.

His name has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham and many others at various times, but Bayern have also kept a close eye.

Bayern are said to be chasing a fee for the release of Flick to the German Football Federation (DFB), while it has been reported that Leipzig want up to €30million to free up Nagelsmann.

Bavarian newspaper TZ puts the fee being sought in the region of €20million, while Sport1 suggests the higher sum was quoted by Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff after an initial approach from Bayern.

Nagelsmann's contract with Leipzig, who sit second in the Bundesliga, runs until the end of the 2022-23 season.

The former Hoffenheim coach joined Leipzig in 2019 and helped the team reach the semi-finals of last season's Champions League, the competition that Bayern won to complete a famous treble under Flick.

Nagelsmann has yet to declare his wishes amid the discussions about his future.

Former Bayern and Germany star Lothar Matthaus recently suggested Nagelsmann was a shoo-in for the Allianz Arena job.

Nagelsmann has won 53, drawn 21 and lost 16 of his 90 matches in charge of Leipzig.

Speaking on April 18, he said there had been no talks with Bayern.

"There is simply nothing I can report," Nagelsmann told a media conference on that day. "I think it's totally wrong to then sit down and say what if, and maybe get yourself talked about somewhere and make yourself important on things that aren't there.

"I can't sit down and say, I'm going to break up with Lena Gercke [German model] tomorrow, because I've never dated her, for example.

"I'm sorry to say that there are no new developments compared to the last press conference. The same things apply that I said there.

"There are and were no discussions and no offer. That's why I don't know what Bayern's wish is. I have said I don't want to start a war with my employers - that's still the case."

France, Spain or Germany?

Eduardo Camavinga has admirers following his exploits for Rennes in Ligue 1.

Some of Europe's biggest clubs are interested, but could he be set for Bavaria?

 

TOP STORY – CAMAVINGA WANTED IN GERMANY

Bayern Munich are hoping to sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, according to France Football.

Camavinga is unwilling to extend his Rennes contract and the 18-year-old has been linked with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.

Borussia Monchengladbach's Florian Neuhaus is also on Bayern's list, though the Bundesliga champions reportedly feel Camavinga could be better value for money.

 

ROUND-UP

- Who will permanently replace Jose Mourinho as Tottenham head coach following his sacking on Monday? Football Italia claims Spurs have contacted former Juventus, Chelsea and Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri. The Daily Mail, however, reports RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann is Tottenham's top candidate.

- La Razon says West Ham are leading the race to sign Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri, who has also been linked with United and Liverpool.

PSG are the most likely suitors for Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, according to Sport. Bellerin is likely to leave the Gunners and he has been linked to Barcelona.

- Sport says Barca's plans depend on Lionel Messi's future. Messi is out of contract at the end of the season, but president Joan Laporta is keen to re-sign the superstar amid reported interest from PSG and Manchester City. It comes as Barca target Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with rivals Real Madrid, United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Juventus. Lyon captain Memphis Depay, City's Sergio Aguero and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum are also reportedly wanted at Camp Nou.

Tottenham's Jose Mourinho gamble has not paid off and once again Spurs find themselves at a crossroads with their next managerial appointment.

Installing Mourinho as boss, even with his astounding list of achievements, appeared a slightly bemusing decision considering the complete contrast between his pragmatic style and the more high-intensity football played by predecessor Mauricio Pochettino.

There were plenty of signs of promise, not least the 6-1 hammering of Mourinho's former employers Manchester United at Old Trafford in the infancy of a Premier League campaign that offered early promise of a title tilt.

But a run to the EFL Cup final has not done enough to assuage Spurs' hierarchy, who have decided to pull the trigger after a slump in form has left Tottenham seventh in the table, out of the Europa League and in serious jeopardy of missing out on Champions League football again.

So, 17 months after his appointment, Mourinho has been sacked. Here, we look at the potential candidates to replace the Portuguese.

JULIAN NAGELSMANN

Is there a more in-demand young coach in world football than RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann right now? Hansi Flick dropped a huge bombshell on the world of football when he announced on Saturday that he intends to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with the German national team likely to be his next venture. Nagelsmann is thought to be Bayern's top target but reports in Germany suggest Leipzig will attempt to resist such a move, given it would considerably strengthen a rival. The 33-year-old has long-been linked to Tottenham, and the decision to wield the axe on Mourinho may have been prompted by Flick's announcement and the need to act fast to land a top target.

BRENDAN RODGERS

Another man whose name has been heavily linked with Tottenham is Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, one of the most revered coaches in the Premier League. After falling agonisingly short of leading Liverpool to the Premier League title in the 2013-14 campaign, Rodgers departed Anfield in October 2015 and went on to enjoy an excellent period of success at Celtic. He has since turned Leicester into Champions League contenders over the past two seasons, playing an exciting brand of football at the same time. A potential stumbling block may be the fact his contract runs until 2025 but many believe Daniel Levy sees Rodgers as the man to lead Tottenham.

MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI

Massimiliano Allegri is a name that crops up pretty much any time a vacancy becomes available at a big club across Europe, and it is not hard to see why. The Italian won five straight Serie A titles with Juventus, also lifting the Coppa Italia on four occasions during that golden period. With a top-flight title to his name during his time at Milan also on his resume, Allegri has proven to be a serial winner in the past. With the 53-year-old out of work, Allegri would provide a cheaper solution than others. His compatriot Maurizio Sarri, a Europa League winner with Chelsea, has also been touted – he too led Juventus to Serie A glory before being replaced by Andrea Pirlo ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

LEDLEY KING/RYAN MASON

It seems unlikely, but Spurs may decide to appoint from within. One option would be to instil former captain Ledley King, who made 268 Premier League appearances for Tottenham. Upon his retirement, King took up an ambassadorial role at the club and was appointed to Mourinho's coaching staff as first team assistant last August. Another who provides an internal option is Ryan Mason, who has been asked to take first-team training. The former England midfielder was forced to retire at the age of 26 after fracturing his skull and has been working in Tottenham's academy coaching set up.

GERRARD, BENITEZ AND OTHER OUTSIDERS

Even the best laid plans can go to waste and should luring Nagelsmann or Rodgers not come to fruition, several other interesting candidates have been mooted. Chief among them is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who has cut his managerial teeth at Rangers and ended Celtic's dominance in Scotland by leading the club to Scottish Premiership glory this season, while a 2-0 win over their Old Firm rivals on Sunday kept them in the hunt for Scottish Cup glory. Rafael Benitez, the man who Gerrard lifted the Champions League under at Liverpool, is another interesting name said to be in the running. The Spaniard has plenty of experience in England having managed the Reds, Chelsea and Newcastle United and is out of work having left Chinese side Dalian Professional back in January. Fulham boss Scott Parker, a former Tottenham midfielder, and ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have also been suggested as potential alternatives.

Julian Nagelsmann reiterated he has not held talks about the Bayern Munich job – and likened speculation he has to breaking up with a German model who has never actually been his girlfriend.

RB Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann was speaking a day after Hansi Flick announced he was set to leave Bayern at the end of the season.

Flick has been strongly tipped to take over as Germany national team coach with current boss Joachim Low stepping down after the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament.

Nagelsmann is among the leading contenders to succeed Flick at the Allianz Arena with former Bayern and Germany international Lothar Matthaus indicating he was a shoo-in for the job.

The 33-year-old has won 52, drawn 21 and lost 15 of his 88 matches in charge of Leipzig with a win percentage of 59.09.

But he has again stressed no discussions between himself and Bayern have taken place.

"There is simply nothing I can report," Nagelsmann told a media conference on Sunday ahead of Leipzig's Bundesliga clash with Cologne.

"I think it's totally wrong to then sit down and say what if, and maybe get yourself talked about somewhere and make yourself important on things that aren't there.

"I can't sit down and say, I'm going to break up with Lena Gercke [German model] tomorrow, because I've never dated her, for example.

"I'm sorry to say that there are no new developments compared to the last press conference. The same things apply that I said there.

"There are and were no discussions and no offer. That's why I don't know what Bayern's wish is. I have said I don't want to start a war with my employers - that's still the case."

 

Lothar Matthaus expects Julian Nagelsmann to replace Hansi Flick at Bayern Munich and believes Jesse Marsch will be the next RB Leipzig boss.

Flick on Saturday announced he wants to leave Bayern at the end of the season and has made no secret of his interest in succeeding Germany head coach Joachim Low.

Matthaus thinks Flick will land the Germany job, with Bayern moving for Leipzig's 33-year-old coach Nagelsmann.

Bayern and Germany legend Matthaus envisages Leipzig turning to Red Bull Salzburg's Marsch to fill the void if Nagelsmann is appointed as boss of the European champions.

He told Sky: "My opinion is: Flick to the DFB, Nagelsmann to Bayern and Jesse Marsch to Leipzig."

Matthaus added: "Of course, Bayern didn't speak to Julian Nagelsmann directly, but started the conversation with Julian Nagelsmann's side and I'm still standing by that today.

"I am convinced that Julian Nagelsmann will succeed Hansi Flick. He wants to take the next step."

Matthaus believes Marsch would be a shrewd appointment if Leipzig are in the market for a new coach.

"He would be a good guy for the Bundesliga," said the ex-midfielder.

"Nagelsmann would be satisfied. Marsch would be satisfied. I can imagine that going in this direction, but there are contracts that have to be respected."

Matthaus thinks it is only a matter of time before Flick agrees terms to take charge of his country.

"Now the talks will get serious. He will succeed Joachim Low. Everyone knows him at the DFB. Everyone likes him at the DFB."

Hansi Flick has ended weeks of speculation over his Bayern Munich future by confirming he wishes to leave the club at the end of this season.

After taking over from Niko Kovac in November 2019, the 56-year-old led the Bavarians to a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble in his first campaign in charge.

He added a UEFA Super Cup, DFL-Supercup and the Club World Cup this term, with another top-flight title also looking likely after Bayern opened up a seven-point lead on Saturday.

However, it has recently been reported that Flick was considering his future and, speaking after a 3-2 win over Wolfsburg, the German coach revealed he will depart at the end of the season.

That means one of the biggest jobs in European football is about to become available - so who is in the running to step into the role?

Julian Nagelsmann

One of the most well-regarded young coaches in Europe, Julian Nagelsmann has long been admired by the decision-makers at Bayern Munich.

With speculation mounting over Flick earlier this week, the 33-year-old was forced to deny that discussions with the Bavarians had already begun.

"There have been no talks and we are currently in no talks," he said.

It has been previously reported that RB Leipzig would demand €15-20m to release their head coach from his contract.

But Bayern could well view that as a snip for a manager who has long been touted for the top job in German football and has previously attracted interest from Real Madrid.

Jurgen Klopp

The last manager to deny Bayern the Bundesliga title, Jurgen Klopp is another man who Die Roten have made no secret of their desire to appoint one day.

Despite his ties with Borussia Dortmund, the 53-year-old has never publicly declared that he would not make the move to Munich at some point in his career.

He has, however, recently signalled his intention to see out the remainder of his contract at Liverpool.

Amid links to the soon-to-be-vacant Germany job, Klopp said: "You sign a contract and you normally try to stick to that contract, don't you?"

Ralf Rangnick

Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt, the German national team - nobody seems to know where Ralf Rangnick might go next. 

Out of work since leaving a role with Red Bull last year, the German's appointment would not require any costly negotiations with a rival.

And, while he might represent a slightly left-field choice to be the new Bayern boss, nobody can doubt his coaching credentials.

So many of the managers the Munich club covet have been influenced by Rangnick, so why not go for the original?

Joachim Low

Flick's imminent availability comes amid strong links with the role of head coach for the German national team.

That vacancy has come up as a result of Joachim Low revealing that he will bring a 15-year stint in the job to a close after the European Championship.

So, could the 61-year-old take on his first job in club management since he took charge of Austria Wien for the 2003-04 season?

Low's only trophy in German football came when he led Stuttgart to the DFB-Pokal in 1997, but his CV is certainly enhanced by that World Cup win in 2014.

Miroslav Klose

Having enjoyed remarkable success since Flick stepped up from his role as assistant to Kovac, Bayern could choose to go down a similar route following his departure by appointing Miroslav Klose.

The Germany legend moved up from his role as U17s coach over the summer to become second in command for the first team and might be a surprise choice for another promotion at the end of the season.

The 42-year-old is popular with supporters, though his lack of experience might count against him given the quality of the other candidates.

Still, if Bayern value continuity above all else in their search for a Flick replacement, don't count Klose out.

Julian Nagelsmann insists there have been no talks with Bayern Munich as he made clear his contract with RB Leipzig runs until 2023.

Hansi Flick has been hugely successful since taking charge at Bayern, but a strained relationship with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has led to speculation over his future beyond the current campaign.

Amid links to the upcoming vacancy with the Germany national team, Flick cryptically said after the Champions League exit to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday: "I have a contract with Bayern but you always have thoughts about how the future looks and if everything is working wonderfully here."

Lothar Matthaus claimed while working for Sky Deutschland's coverage of the Champions League second leg that Bayern had already "talked a bit" to Nagelsmann about taking over, should Flick leave his current post.

However, speaking to the media on Wednesday, the Leipzig boss denied having held any such conversations with the reigning Bundesliga champions.

"There were and are no talks with Bayern. I have no idea where Lothar got this information from. This of course also applies to my advisors, there were also no talks," Nagelsmann said.

"I have not spoken to the club because there will be nothing to discuss. I still have a contract with RB until 2023."

Nagelsmann was speaking to preview second-placed Leipzig’s home game against his former employers Hoffenheim on Friday.

The game offers the hosts a chance to increase the pressure on table-topping Bayern in the title race; the gap stands at five points with six games to play in the season.

"We still need eight points for this to be the most successful season in the club’s history," Nagelsmann said ahead of the run-in.

"We have to win our games – it is that simple. We are focusing only on ourselves in order to get as many points as we can. Then we will see whether Bayern stumble or not. Normally, it wouldn't happen.

"If we finish in second then it was still an outstanding season. 

"We still have room to develop as a team and we have had a really consistent season even though we have so many young players in our ranks. We have been good, you've seen that already. If we can now go from good to great then we would be more than happy."

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