Manchester City have been linked with Erling Haaland.

As Sergio Aguero appears headed for an exit, Pep Guardiola wants to bolster his attack.

But Danny Ings has reportedly emerged as an alternative to the expensive and in-demand Haaland.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGET INGS

Manchester City are considering a move for Southampton star Danny Ings, according to Sky Sports.

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and no closer to extending his deal in Manchester.

Pep Guardiola's City are reportedly among the admirers of Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

With Haaland set to command a huge fee, City are eyeing former Liverpool forward Ings as a cheaper alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport report Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo is on the brink of being sacked. Juve are out of the Champions League and 10 points off the pace following their shock loss to Benevento. Former boss Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a return, while La Repubblica claims Atalanta's Gian Piero Gasperini, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi and Luciano Spalletti are on a three-man shortlist.

- Former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri is Roma's number one option should they sack head coach Paulo Fonseca, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Fonseca – under pressure in the Italian capital – has also been linked with Napoli, alongside Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric. Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has been linked with Fiorentina, Torino and Bologna.

Neymar re-signing with Ligue 1 holders PSG is "just a matter of time", according to Fabrizio Romano.

Aaron Ramsey is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Calciomercato. The Juventus midfielder, who left Arsenal for Turin in 2019, is seen as a possible replacement for rumoured Barca target Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield.

- The Daily Express reports Arsenal are eyeing Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho. However, a move will depend on whether Arsenal sign loanee Martin Odegaard permanently from Madrid.

Xabi Alonso is set to become the new head coach of Borussia Monchengladbach next season, replacing Dortmund-bound Marco Rose. Romano, however, insists no contract has been signed as the former Bayern Munich star remains in charge of Real Sociedad's B team.

Erling Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in Europe.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

Barcelona are reportedly prepared to go all out as Haaland grows frustrated in Germany.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND EYES DORTMUND EXIT

Erling Haaland has notified his agent that he wants to leave Borussia Dortmund if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, according to Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Dortmund, heavily linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

Dortmund – through to the 2020-21 quarter-finals – sit outside the Champions League places this season, fifth in the Bundesliga.

Haaland has reportedly given Dortmund an ultimatum should they miss out on Champions League football.

It comes as Sport claims Barca have started to try and raise funds in their pursuit of the Norway international, with the LaLiga giants willing to let two strikers leave.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild says Germany boss Joachim Low is a candidate for the Real Madrid job should Zinedine Zidane ever leave. Low is set to vacate his post after the reschedule Euro 2020. Telefoot, however, insists Zidane has no intention of leaving ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Liverpool are unaware of Georginio Wijnaldum's reported pre-contract agreement with Barca, claims the Liverpool Echo. Wijnaldum is out of contract at season's end and the Dutchman has been tipped to join Barca.

- United are ready to listen to offers for forward Anthony Martial, claims The Touchline Talk. It comes as the Red Devils seek to sign Haaland.

- Fiorentina are asking €40million for forward Dusan Vlahovic amid links with Milan, reports Calciomercato.

- According to The Transfer Window Podcast, Liverpool are set to rival Arsenal in the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard.

PSG are still tracking out-of-favour Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli as the Ligue 1 champions also eye Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, reports Calciomercato.

Ronald Koeman and new president Joan Laporta will map out Barcelona's future during the international break, and going Dutch would be in keeping with Camp Nou tradition.

The club which has been a magnet to Netherlands greats of the past may see more Oranje stars arriving, with Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said to be a prime target.

According to the Sunday Times, Wijnaldum has a pre-contract agreement to move to Barcelona when his Anfield deal expires at the end of the season.

Reuniting with former national team coach Koeman would hold obvious appeal to Wijnaldum, who has been circumspect about his Liverpool future.

But what would Wijnaldum bring to a team already in the hunt for a domestic double? At the age of 30, would this signing make sense for Barca?


What options do Barcelona already have?

It may not be a vintage midfield of the type Pep Guardiola was blessed with, Sergio Busquets being the last survivor of that era in the centre of the pitch, but Barca are not badly off for talent.

Busquets and Miralem Pjanic bring the experience, Pedri the youthful exuberance and Frenkie de Jong is proven quality as he approaches his mid-20s.

They have the attacking option of Philippe Coutinho – who has been out injured since December – while Riqui Puig is a talent who Koeman appears unsure about.

Busquets and De Jong look a strong midfield pair, covering plenty of the pitch, with De Jong the likelier to roam away from the central channel.

 

What difference would Wijnaldum make?

At the age of 30, 'Gini' would not be bringing down the average age, even though that must surely soon become a priority for Koeman.

The head coach knows all about Wijnaldum's game from their time together in the Dutch national set-up, so there is a trust factor there, and to get an international player on a free transfer, albeit with high wages, could be seen as a good deal.

Yet to delve into this season's data, there appear to be very few areas where Wijnaldum excels above Barcelona's current crop.

Three goals and zero assists in 40 matches from Wijnaldum pales against what Pedri (three goals, six assists) and De Jong (six goals, five assists) have achieved from a similar number of games; however, it puts him ahead of Busquets (no goals, two assists) and Pjanic (no goals, no assists).

Wijnaldum's 18 chances created is fewer than what each member of that Barcelona quartet has achieved (Pedri 49, De Jong 38, Busquets 30, Pjanic 20), and although he is considered strong in the air, his 36 aerial battles won is bettered by De Jong and Busquets (both 45).

The former Newcastle United and PSV man has taken more shots (31) than any of that Barca midfield four, with Pedri (27) leading the way among those Blaugrana players, but he has too often failed to be clinical.

There are defensive qualities to Wijnaldum's game, and he has made 201 ball recoveries for Liverpool. Busquets (203), De Jong (234) and Pedri (173) suggest Barca are already handily equipped on that front.

If Wijnaldum is being signed as a replacement – say, if Pjanic is moved on to bring in such much-needed funds – then there could be merit in his arrival.

Otherwise, he looks to be just extra midfield stock.

 

Tackling a big issue

Wijnaldum's tackle success rate has nosedived in the 2020-21 season, having already been on a gradual decline during his career in England.

During his year at Newcastle in the 2015-16 season, Wijnaldum won 84.21 per cent of his tackles, and after three seasons of 60-plus percentage success with Liverpool, his rate dipped to 53.19 last term, though in a championship-winning campaign that hardly felt significant.

This season, however, it has crashed to 29.63 per cent, with his performance indicative of Liverpool's lame follow-up to their Premier League title triumph.

Such a rate would not cut it at Barca, where Puig (37.5 per cent) is the only midfielder with tackling success under 50 per cent this season. Busquets (58.46 per cent), De Jong (58.33) and Pedri (57.89) are the engine room players who have done most of the heavy lifting, setting the sort of standard any newcomer must expect to achieve.

Koeman favourite he may be, but Wijnaldum, a Champions League and Premier League winner with Liverpool, cannot live off past glories.

Barcelona will need an upswing to follow that downswing. After all, when Koeman said he wanted to bring a lad in, he really meant a Gini with bottle.

Zinedine Zidane believes Liverpool are capable of two top performances against Real Madrid, even if the Premier League champions are struggling domestically.

Liverpool have lost eight games in the Premier League since the turn of the year, slipping from the top of the table down to sixth place.

With their title aspirations well and truly over, as well as their campaigns in both domestic cup competitions, the Reds' only chance of silverware this season is the Champions League.

Standing in their way of a place in the semi-finals are Zidane's Madrid, who won in the last meeting between the teams in the competition – Gareth Bale inspiring Los Blancos to a 3-1 victory in the 2017-18 final.

Madrid and Liverpool will face each other in a two-legged knockout tie for only the second time – the first saw the Reds inflict Los Blancos' biggest-ever Champions League aggregate defeat (5-0) in 2008-09.

Despite Liverpool's struggles in the Premier League, Zidane is anticipating a stern quarter-final challenge for his team, who are six points off the pace in the Spanish title race.

"We cannot say that it is a bad draw or that it is good, because what happens throughout the season does not matter," Zidane told a news conference ahead of Madrid's LaLiga clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday.

"It doesn't matter how Liverpool are in their league today because at any time, in a tie, they can play their cards without looking at how they are doing in their championship.

"We know who Liverpool are and that is not going to change. It's like us, who have been on the edge of the precipice, but we are alive in both competitions.

"It will be a match between two teams that have won many Champions League [trophies], a very complicated tie. At that level it is always very difficult to win."

There has been some doubt over Zidane's future at Madrid. The Frenchman left his post as head coach in the aftermath of Los Blancos' last victory over Liverpool – their third straight Champions League success – only to return for a second spell in March the following year.

Zidane's deal runs out at the end of next season, but he affirmed he is content to focus on the here and now, rather than his future.

"The world of football is what it is, I am not going to change anything. I enjoy being here every day, I don't care what is said from the outside," he added.

"We have to enjoy every day because this will end one day. We are alive in both competitions, that is what motivates us. The players have the ambition to show that they are the best.

"I look no further. I don't plan anything. You can sign for 10 years and be out tomorrow, and vice versa, you can sign a year and be here a long time. I cannot say anything."

Jurgen Klopp is excited by the prospect of facing Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals as Liverpool look to avenge their defeat to Los Blancos in 2018.

Loris Karius made a calamitous mistake and Gareth Bale scored a sensational overhead-kick as Liverpool went down 3-1 in Kiev at the culmination of the 2017-18 campaign.

It marked Madrid's third successive Champions League triumph and their 13th overall, with Zinedine Zidane leaving his post following the victory – only to return before the following season was up after ill-fated spells for Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

Liverpool, on the other hand, returned to the final in 2018-19, beating domestic rivals Tottenham 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano to clinch a sixth European title.

The Reds will have the chance to gain revenge for that defeat in Kiev when they face Zidane's team – who beat Atalanta in the round of 16 – in the last eight.

Due to coronavirus travel restrictions, it is unclear where the first leg will be played, though as it stands the second fixture is to be held at Anfield.

"It's exciting, exciting," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"It's obviously a tough draw but I am fine with it because if you look at all the other teams you think, 'oh my god', because they are all strong and all have quality, that's clear.

"I am really looking forward to the games. It's only just over two years ago that we faced them and it was a tough night for us, so to get the chance to play them again is cool.

"I know it's a different round and whatever and we don't know where we will play and stuff like this, but that's all OK. If it will be Budapest, that's fine. We are fine with that. The home game maybe hopefully at Anfield, that would be great as well.

"So, no, nothing bad to say – nothing bad to say actually, it's just cool."

It will only be the second time Liverpool and Madrid have met in a two-legged knockout tie. In the first meeting, Liverpool inflicted Los Blancos' biggest-ever aggregate defeat (5-0) in 2008-09. 

The teams also met in the 2014-15 group stages, with Madrid winning 1-0 at home and 3-0 at Anfield.

Klopp has only faced Madrid once as Liverpool manager but, in total, he has gone up against them on seven occasions, with the first six coming during his stint at Borussia Dortmund, who beat Los Blancos en route to the 2012-13 final.

Only Ottmar Hitzfeld (12) has managed against Madrid more often in the competition, and Klopp is relishing another test against one of the world's biggest clubs.

"With Dortmund, it was a little bit like that when the Champions League draw [was made] for the group stage or whatever – we had them in the group stage, we had them in the knockout stages," he said. "Them or Arsenal, one of them we always had.

"With Liverpool now we only faced them once, that's okay. But, yes, it's always tough. I think it's the first time I faced them when Cristiano [Ronaldo] is not there – probably maybe the first time since [Gareth] Bale is not there.

"But obviously [Sergio] Ramos is still there, [Raphael] Varane still there, [Toni] Kroos still there, [Luka] Modric still there, Casemiro still there, [Dani] Carvajal still there, [Karim] Benzema still there.

"And a few young prospects, proper players on top of that. I'm really looking forward to it."

Title-holders Bayern Munich face a repeat of last season's final against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of the 2020-21 edition.

While the Parisians will be sure to test their title defence, Bayern have won each of their previous four knockout encounters with French opposition in the Champions League, including August's final.

Real Madrid and Liverpool will face each other in a two-legged knockout tie for only the second time – the first saw the Reds inflict Los Blancos' biggest-ever aggregate defeat (5-0) in 2008-09.

Similarly, Jurgen Klopp has faced Madrid more often than any other opponent in the Champions League (seven), with only Ottmar Hitzfeld (12) managing against them more often in the competition.

Manchester City are to go up against Borussia Dortmund, having only lost one of their 12 home games against German teams in the Champions League, that solitary defeat coming to Pep Guardiola's Bayern in 2013.

The omens are similarly good for Chelsea, who have won each of their four previous home games against Porto, their best 100 per cent winning ratio at Stamford Bridge against any side across all European competitions.

 

Quarter-final draw:

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund

Porto v Chelsea

Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain

Real Madrid v Liverpool

Semi-final draw:

Winner of QF 3 v Winner of QF 1

Winner of QF4 v Winner of QF 2

Revenge for last season's final defeat will be on the minds of Paris Saint-Germain after being drawn against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Bayern lifted the trophy in August last year when they defeated PSG 1-0 thanks to a goal by Kingsley Coman, a youth product of the Parisian side.

It was PSG's first ever appearance in the Champions League final and therefore closest they have come to European glory since the 2011 takeover by Qatari Sports Investments (QSI), who pledged to build a club capable of winning the competition when they secured ownership.

After a run of three successive eliminations at the last-16 stage, this is the second year in a row that PSG have reached the quarter-finals, having eliminated Barcelona in comfortable fashion this month.

But to get any further they will have to avenge their final defeat of last year, after Bayern dealt with Lazio in similarly resounding fashion.

Liverpool may also be eager for a slice of payback when they go up against Real Madrid next, with Zinedine Zidane's men beating them in the 2018 final – though the Reds did go all the way the following year.

Jurgen Klopp's men have found themselves in a spot of bother domestically in recent months, having lost eight times in the Premier League since the turn of the year, but against RB Leipzig in the last-16 they were fairly comfortable as they won both legs 2-0.

Madrid saw off Atalanta 4-2 on aggregate in the last round and are unbeaten in nine across all competitions.

If he guides them to another European title this term, Zidane will become the first coach to win the trophy four times.

Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund will contest a tie that's sure to excite the neutrals, with Pep Guardiola's runaway Premier League leaders set to contend with Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian striker's father, Alf-Inge, captained City in 2000-01 and has been linked with them himself, as well as their rivals Manchester United.

The third English club hoping to reach the semi-finals is Chelsea and they are likely to be the happiest of bunch having been paired with Porto.

Nevertheless, Sergio Conceicao's men eliminated Juventus in the last round and will be relishing another opportunity as the underdog.

Revenge for last season's final defeat will be on the minds of Paris Saint-Germain after being drawn against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Where will Jack Grealish play his football next season?

It is one of the big questions in English football right now and Manchester City have joined the conversation.

City are reportedly emerging as the favourites to sign the Aston Villa captain.

 

TOP STORY – CITY LINE UP GREALISH SPLASH

Manchester City appear best placed to sign Aston Villa's £100million-rated captain Jack Grealish, according to the Daily Mail.

Grealish reportedly came close to joining Manchester United last year, but the Red Devils could not come up with the funds to seal the deal.

City manager Pep Guardiola is a well-known admirer of Grealish, previously calling him "an exceptional player".

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Liverpool have joined the queue chasing Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni, with a reported £43m (€50m) move. European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also allegedly keen on the 21-year-old Italy international.

Tottenham are likely to opt out of exercising the £36m (€42m) option-to-buy Carlos Vinicius, who is on loan at Spurs from Benfica according to the Daily Mail. The report claims Spurs are only willing to pay more than half that amount for the Brazilian.

- Calciomercato says Juventus are considering a move for Arkadiusz Milik, who they have previously been linked with as they prepare for the possible departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. Juve are reportedly set to revive their interest in Milik, with the Poland international on loan at Marseille from Napoli.

- Football Insider reports that United are plotting a move for Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez amid doubts over star David de Gea and Dean Henderson. They have also been linked with Milan sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Real Madrid are keen to bring back Levante winger Jorge de Frutos to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to Marca.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has not made the cut for England despite being one of the few Liverpool players to deliver high standards during the Reds' poor run.

Gareth Southgate named a 26-man squad for this month's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

Five full-backs were included in the selection, but Alexander-Arnold, a Champions League and Premier League winner in the past two years, was not among them, casting doubt over his participation in Euro 2020.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker, Chelsea's Reece James and Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier were preferred to Alexander-Arnold at right-back, while left-backs Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw were also selected.

Trippier has just returned from a ban imposed by the Football Association for a breach of betting rules.

Alexander-Arnold and his Liverpool team-mates have endured a tough time in the Premier League since the turn of the year, picking up just four wins.

The reigning champions have lost eight league games in 2021, though 22-year-old Alexander-Arnold has kept his performance levels high.

Manchester United full-back Shaw is the only defender to have created more chances (52) than Alexander-Arnold (47) so far this season, while the Liverpool man ranks highest of any player in the competition for passes played into the box (315).

Alexander-Arnold's accuracy from crosses and corners tallies at 18.81 per cent, which does represent a dip compared to 21.41 last season, and 29.21 in 2018-19.

His efforts this season have resulted in one goal and three assists – he teed up 13 goals last term – though Liverpool's misfiring strike force have to shoulder much of that responsibility, with only club-mate Andrew Robertson and West Ham's Aaron Cresswell (both nine) having crafted more big chances among Premier League defenders than Alexander-Arnold (eight).

Alexander-Arnold also boasts an impressive 69.05 per cent tackle success rate, from a total of 42 attempted tackles, higher than James (68.42) and Walker (65.38), though slightly lower than Trippier's rate of 69.23 per cent from 39 attempted tackles in LaLiga. Alexander-Arnold had a 61.82 per cent success rate last term, so there has been a marked improvement.

The youngster's set-piece delivery could also be a miss for England, with Alexander-Arnold having created 21 goalscoring opportunities from corners or free-kicks in the league this term – only four players have managed more in the top flight.

A SUPER TALENT

Explaining his decision, Southgate conceded Alexander-Arnold was "unfortunate" to miss out, though he singled out Matty Cash of Aston Villa and Luke Ayling of Leeds United as examples of the strength in depth England possess at right-back, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not even mentioned.

Wan-Bissaka's international future is up in the air, with reports the Manchester United defender may choose to represent DR Congo having been consistently overlooked by Southgate, but the England boss has no doubt over Alexander-Arnold's long-term importance to the Three Lions.

"There's some areas of the pitch where we've got incredible competition for places," Southgate told a news conference.

"Trent has been very unfortunate. The last few weeks he's definitely taken steps in the right direction. Reece and Trippier have had exceptional seasons. Kyle is in great form.

"Matty at Aston Villa, Luke at Leeds. It's a remarkable position of strength. What I said to Trent – I've made that same call to Kyle and Kieran in the past, their response was a good one.

"Trent is a super talent and I'm certain he'll play a big part with England in the future. We could be sat here [for the Euros] and he's with us."

What does the future hold for Sergio Aguero?

With his Manchester City contract expiring at the end of the season, Aguero is no closer to re-signing.

Premier League rivals Chelsea could be ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA KEEPING TABS ON AGUERO

Chelsea are tracking Manchester City star and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero, according to the Daily Mail.

Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season and the City forward has been tipped to join LaLiga giants Barcelona.

But Premier League rivals Chelsea are reportedly eyeing a move for City's all-time leading goalscorer.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports City and Chelsea are both interested in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud. Tottenham and Everton have also been linked with the Germany international.

Juventus are eyeing a move for star Atalanta wing-back Robin Gosens, claims Calciomercato. Gosens has starred for Atalanta, who value him between €35-€40million.

- FootMercato says Paris Saint-Germain want Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier as former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino seeks a reunion.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Manchester United have not made a bid for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. United have also been linked with RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White.

- In-demand Dortmund star Erling Haaland has a "crush" on Madrid but El Chiringuito insists no club is close to signing the Norwegian. Haaland has been linked with Madrid, Barca, United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Juventus.

Jurgen Klopp believes "slapstick" mistakes have left Liverpool in a position where it will be almost impossible for them to qualify for the Champions League through finishing in the top four of the Premier League. 

Liverpool's 1-0 win over Wolves on Monday leaves them five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with nine games to go. 

The champions' disappointing defence of their Premier League title has been hampered by injuries and haphazard play at the back. 

Centre-backs Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all long-term absentees while Jordan Henderson, who has often played in a makeshift role at the heart of the defence, has been sidelined with a groin injury. 

The lack of a settled line-up at the back has contributed to Liverpool committing more errors leading to goals (9) than any other team in the division. 

And, with Chelsea unbeaten in 10 league games since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach, Klopp does not see the Reds reaching Europe's elite club competition via what is typically the most achievable route. 

Speaking to Lothar Matthaus in an interview for SportBild, Klopp said: "The opponent usually doesn't need a lot of chances against us because we make big mistakes, insane ones that can almost be described as slapstick. 

"On the other hand, we create a lot of chances. In the 'expected goals' we are still second behind Manchester City in the Premier League, but far from them in the ones we actually scored.

"This problem has been going on throughout the season.

"I like to be an optimist, but in the league it is almost impossible to qualify [for the Champions League] in the competition for the places that we have. 

"At Tottenham, Gareth Bale is now playing again, and they are also in the running. Plus City and Manchester United, who are far away. Chelsea is on the rise.

"Reaching Champions League qualification through the league will be difficult, we know that."

Klopp also cast doubt on Liverpool keeping their place in the Champions League by lifting the trophy this season. 

Liverpool are through to the last eight having comfortably seen off RB Leipzig, and they won the competition under Klopp just two seasons ago. 

But asked about the possibility of them regaining the European title, Klopp replied: "You don't usually win the Champions League itself in a year with injury worries as big as we have."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has clarified his stance on the Germany job.

Klopp ruled himself out of contention for the international role last week after incumbent Joachim Low announced he would depart after Euro 2020.

That remains the case, with Klopp committed to Liverpool.

But after seeing some of the reaction to his comments, the 53-year-old stressed he was not ruling himself out forever and that it was simply a question of timing.

"The important thing is: I didn't say that I didn't want to become a national coach, but that I couldn't – that is a huge difference," Klopp said to Sport Bild. 

"It would without question be a great honour [to take on the legacy left by Low].

"But this is my sixth year in Liverpool and there is a very clear commitment. 

"I have an important role here and I've built incredible relationships with people I work with on a daily basis. 

"We rely on each other. Can I say 'I'll be gone by then' [a specific time]? That won't work.

"The timing is not right. I am very sorry if I've let people down with it, but I can't just step out of my responsibilities."

Asked about who should replace Low – who took the job in 2006 – Klopp felt Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick "would fill the role excellently" if interested.

But Ralf Rangnick stands out as his favourite candidate.

"I think Ralf Rangnick is an extraordinary coach, especially for an association [the DFB] in which they have been trying to change things for years," said Klopp.

"Ralf could push a lot of things. I think he is a very good choice. 

"He is a great coach, who was always ready to think outside the box and to tweak structures."

Cristiano Ronaldo is more likely to return to Manchester United than Real Madrid, while Chelsea are desperate to land Erling Haaland.

Ronaldo, 36, is out of contract at Juventus in 2022 and his future has again become a talking point.

Two of his former clubs, United and Madrid, have been linked with the Portugal star.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD RETURN MORE LIKELY THAN MADRID FOR RONALDO

A return to Manchester United is more likely than Real Madrid for Juventus star Ronaldo, according to Tuttosport.

The report says Madrid president Florentino Perez has not opened the door for a Ronaldo return, due to the club's interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Ronaldo starred at United between 2003 and 2009 before shining in Madrid for nine seasons.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea look desperate to land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Daily Star reports Chelsea are prepared to again do business with Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, in a bid to sign the forward. Chelsea fell out with Raiola after Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United over them in 2017.

- Could Paulo Dybala and Antoine Griezmann be set to swap places? CalcioMercato reports there is an idea for Dybala to leave Juventus and join Barcelona, with Griezmann heading to Turin.

- Liverpool seem set to strengthen ahead of next season. Eurosport reports the Premier League champions are thinking about a move for Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge.

- Manchester United have reportedly received a transfer boost. The Sun reports Sevilla have lowered their asking price for defender Jules Kounde to around £50million (€58.4m).

Where will Erling Haaland be playing in 2021-22?

That is the question everyone is asking as clubs queue up to sign the Borussia Dortmund goalscoring machine.

Manchester United are reportedly determined to prise the Norway international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET SIGHTS ON HAALAND

Manchester United have settled on Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as their centre forward priority in the transfer market, according to Manchester Evening News.

United tried to sign Haaland before he joined Dortmund from Austrian champions Salzburg last year.

Eyeing a long-term replacement for Romelu Lukaku, with United veteran Edinson Cavani linked to Boca Juniors after signing a one-year deal at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and football director John Murtough have agreed to target Haaland.

Haaland has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, LiverpoolManchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

It comes after United reportedly received little encouragement of the possibility of signing Tottenham star Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has an agreement in place to sign a new one-year deal with the LaLiga champions.

- Arsenal are keen to keep Martin Odegaard – on loan from Madrid – beyond the 2020-21 season, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily star says Donny van de Beek wants to quit United. Van de Beek only joined from Ajax at the start of the season but he has been unable to cement a spot in the starting XI.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel wants to keep Antonio Rudiger as the Blues seek to avoid losing him on a free transfer in 2022 by offering a new contract, reports the Daily Mail.

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