Christopher Nkunku has long been on the various of Europe's big clubs, but this season has been a breakout.

The 24-year-old France attacker has contributed an extraordinary 17 goals and 15 assists in 30 league appearances for RB Leipzig this term.

Investcorp's reported takeover of Milan from Elliott Management, and the consequent injection of funds, has reportedly put Nkunku in Milan's sights.

 

TOP STORY – NKUNKU ON MILAN RADAR

A change in ownership is allowing Milan to go after RB Leipzig's Cristopher Nkunku, the Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting.

Milan's Scudetto charges in recent years have fallen short up front despite the quality of their midfield, but the change of ownership can dictate a change in transfer strategy.

Meetings with Sassuolo for Gianluca Scamacca and Hamed Traore could be scuppered because the likes of Nkunku would become available.

Any such moves would reportedly not rule out a transfer for Liverpool striker Divock Origi that is already in the works, however.

 

ROUND-UP

– Liverpool have identified Barcelona's 17-year-old talent Gavi as a potential target in an attempt to bolster their midfield at the end of the season, Sport is reporting.

– The Reds are also prepared to offer a new contract to Sadio Mane, whose current deal expires at the end of next season, per Football Insider.

Arsenal are interested in signing Lille's Kosovo attacker Edon Zhegrova, according to Sky Sports.

– Newcastle United have shown renewed interest in Torino defender Gleison Bremer, who is also on Arsenal and Tottenham's radar, Tuttomercato reports.

With Manchester City and Liverpool facing off in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Premier League's attention turned to the race for a top-four spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Norwich City 3-2, with the Red Devils taking full advantage of 1-0 defeats for Tottenham and Arsenal against Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton respectively.

Elsewhere, Watford's slim survival hopes were dealt a blow as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brentford.  

Stats Perform takes a look at some key Opta facts from the day's games.

Manchester United 3-2 Norwich City: Ronaldo racks up yet another treble

Ralf Rangnick's side delivered another disjointed performance at Old Trafford, yet they did enough to secure a 13th win in their past 16 Premier League games against the Canaries.

Ronaldo was the star of the show, the Portuguese superstar plundering the 60th hat-trick of his professional career for club and country.

The 37-year-old has now scored 20 or more goals across all competitions in each of his past 16 seasons at club level – a run that started in the 2006-07 campaign during his first spell at United.

His first goal was teed up by Anthony Elanga, who is 17 years and 81 days younger than Ronaldo. It is the greatest age gap between a United goalscorer and the player who assisted him in Premier League history.

Teemu Pukki had given Norwich hope of a memorable result when he pulled the visitors level at 2-2 from 2-0 down, the Finland international becoming the first Canaries player to score 10 or more goals in two different Premier League campaigns (11 in 2019-20 and 10 in 2021-22).

As is so often the way, though, Ronaldo had the last word.

Tottenham 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls leave it late to edge out blunt hosts

Spurs missed the chance to strengthen their grip on fourth position as they suffered a third home defeat in their past six home Premier League games – as many as in their previous 14 on home soil.

Despite starting with the in-from trio of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski in attack, Spurs did not manage a single shot on target. It was the first time they had failed to do so in 21 Premier League games, since November last year against Everton.

Brighton's winner came in the 90th minute through Leandro Trossard, who has now scored six goals in the top flight this season – his best-ever season return in the competition.

Graham Potter's side have now won consecutive away league games for the first time since September 2021 and are unbeaten in three Premier League games, winning the last two, after losing each of the six before that.

Southampton 1-0 Arsenal: Wasteful Gunners punished by Saints

Arsenal missed the chance to pull level on points with Tottenham after a third consecutive Premier League defeat, having lost just two of their previous 13.

The Gunners dominated at St Mary's, taking 23 shots and enjoying 76 per cent possession. There have been 11 instances of a team failing to score having taken 20 or more shots in a Premier League match this season, with Arsenal responsible for three of those.

They were undone by Jan Bednarek's goal on the stroke of half-time, the first they have conceded from a corner situation in the top flight this season.

Bednarek has now scored four goals in 27 Premier League games this season, which is one more than he scored in his previous four campaigns combined (three in 100 appearances).

Watford 1-2 Brentford: Hornets' miserable home run continues

Pontus Jansson's 95th-minute winner for Brentford meant Watford became only the third team to lose 10 consecutive top-flight home games in a row, after Birmingham City in February 1986 and Sunderland in August 2005.

Alongside Birmingham, they are only the second to do so within a single season.

That run means Hornets boss Roy Hodgson is the first manager to lose his first five home Premier League games in charge of a club since Chris Ramsey with QPR in 2015.

Brentford, meanwhile, have won five of their last six Premier League games (L1) and have won three top-flight games in a row for the first time since September 1946.

Tottenham coach Antonio Conte was left baffled by his team's performance in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, as he struggled to surmise what went wrong.

Spurs came into the weekend on a run of four successive Premier League wins, a run that had seen them score 14 times and concede just twice.

Their display on Saturday was a significant contrast, as Spurs failed to get a single shot on target for the first time in 21 league games, and it dealt them a major blow in the top-four race.

They remain three points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, with the Gunners in action against Southampton later on Saturday.

Tottenham's underwhelming expected goals (xG) haul of 0.5 reflected their lack of invention and threat in attack, while Conte focused on Spurs' ponderous nature in possession.

He told BT Sport: "We started very slowly and in this type of game you have to move the ball more quickly. Maybe the weather? I want to find an excuse, but it was not a good game for us."

Leandro Trossard got the decisive goal late on with a tidy finish, and Spurs' inability to at least hold on to a point was another source of irritation for Conte.

Speaking in his post-match news conference, Conte added: "For sure not a good result for us. A lesson that we can learn is that there are games that if you are not able to win you have to not lose.

"It was very clear that it wasn't our day. It was important to get three points before our rivals in the race for the Champions League but the game was very difficult.

"It was a tactical game for both sides and Brighton were very good at closing the space. I think that we are able to do much better than his.

"Perhaps a draw was more fair but Brighton played a good game. If you win against Arsenal and Tottenham away, you know it's a good game."

Yet Conte was also philosophical about the situation, adamant Spurs must get used to the expectation that surrounds tussles like the one they are in for Champions League qualification.

"Once you reach a good position in the table, then you have to try to keep this position. It's a good experience for us to try to cope with pressure."

Tottenham were dealt a huge blow in the fight for fourth place in the Premier League as Leandro Trossard's late goal gave Brighton and Hove Albion a stunning 1-0 away win.

Spurs had the chance to stretch their advantage over Arsenal to six points ahead of the Gunners' trip to Southampton later on Saturday.

But they never showed any signs of doing that, Tottenham second-best throughout a largely uninspiring encounter that Brighton dominated.

The Seagulls got their reward in the 90th minute as Trossard's fine finish with the outside of the boot sealed a deserved three points and handed the initiative back to Arsenal – themselves beaten at home by Brighton last week.

 

Tottenham coach Antonio Conte believes forward Son Heung-min can get even better – and expects him to do so before the end of the season.

Son has 17 goals and seven assists in 28 Premier League appearances this season to tie his personal-best goals tally, which he set in 2020-21.

In a run of hot form, he has six goals from his past three league fixtures, with a brace against West Ham, a goal and an assist against Newcastle United and a hat-trick against Aston Villa – with Tottenham winning the three matches by a combined score of 12-2.

Both Son and the team are benefiting from Conte's new front three, partnering the South Korea superstar and Harry Kane with Dejan Kulusevski.

Since Kulusevski's Premier League debut in February, following his January move from Juventus, he ranks third in the division for goal involvements (nine), with only Son (12) and Kane (13) ahead of him.

Yet Conte sees room for improvement for Son, who is now over the calf injury that sidelined him in the first month of the year.

"We are talking about a really good player," he said. 

"I was sure that it was normal after an injury to need a bit of time to recover [to] the best possible condition and get back again into our idea of football again. But I was sure, because Sonny for us is a really important player and at the peak of his form.

"But he can improve, and that is my expectation – that he gives us from now until the end of the season a big push, and to try to finish his season in the best possible way. 

"Don't forget, one month ago I asked my best players, my more representative players, that now the team needed this type of player to take on the more important responsibilities. That role is also important for this.

"I can only speak about Sonny in an enthusiastic way, because he is not only a top player, but he is a really good guy. He is very polite and a fantastic guy. When you speak with him, not only about football, it is good."

While he loves to see Son scoring goals, Conte emphasised his primary concern is about the team, and he would not prioritise helping his forward break records.

"Every record is important, and it is important to score three goals, but only if your team wins," he said.

"In the last game, if Sonny had scored three goals and we had lost 4-3, the player cannot be happy. The player has to think that, first of all, I am playing for the team. 

"We want to help Sonny to break every record, and it was the same with Harry Kane, but they know very well that the team comes before the individual’s goal tally.

"Our first target has to be a team target – to try to finish this season in the best possible way."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expects more "twists" as the Gunners fight with north London rivals Tottenham for Champions League qualification.

Arteta's side seemingly turned a corner in 2022 as they surged to fourth in the Premier League, but consecutive losses against Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion have handed the advantage to Spurs.

Antonio Conte's team sit three points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have played a game fewer, as the pair contest alongside West Ham for a place in England's top four.

But Arteta, speaking ahead of the clash with Southampton on Saturday, insists there should be more changes and drama expected as the season heads towards its conclusion.

Asked who was in control of the top-four push, he responded on Friday: "Whoever manages to win more games and play better.

"There's going to be some twists still for sure and the pressure and situation is going to keep changing between now and the end of the season. We have to be focused on us and what we have to do.

"Every game [is important], but obviously when you lose, the next game takes more importance and we know that."

Arsenal are set to visit Tottenham in the penultimate week of the season in what is being billed as a decider for the final Champions League spot, but Arteta does not feel more pressure despite the rivalry.

"I think it's related to our history and we want to be not fourth, but third, second or first, and that's what we have to do," he added.

"That's always within every supporter and anybody who has any connection with the club, so the moment you see the team doing better and having better aspirations, your tendency is to get excited about it and I think that's the right reaction."

Arsenal began their 2021-22 campaign with three consecutive league losses in August, and defeat at Southampton would reproduce the same unwanted feat.

Arteta's team are in much better stead now, but the Spaniard dismissed suggestions that the Gunners would have settled for fifth in the Premier League after their abject start.

"At the start of the season? You cannot take anything because you don't know how things are going to develop," he continued.

"You could ask me a week into the season or two weeks before, I could maybe give you a different answer, but no, no."

Alexandre Lacazette has not scored from open play in the league since a strike in December against Southampton, who he has been involved in seven goals in six top-flight appearances against.

Reports suggest Lacazette missed training in midweek, but Arteta assured there is a "good possibility" he will play, while he hailed Bukayo Saka, who is the only English player to have registered both 50-plus shots and 50 or more chances created in the competition this term.

"He's a great kid, and he has a really clear idea of what he needs to expect," he said of the England international. "The better he does, the more difficult they are going to try and make it for him, that's for sure.

"I think he needs the protection that all the players need at this level, nothing different, nothing special.

"The best players and the talented players are always going to be, closely looked at, and they are going to close the space and they are going to be tight on them.

"Bukayo has to recognise that is going to be the case. Referees have to recognise that as well, early in the game, and then try to protect them."

Thanks to the FA Cup semi-finals, matchday 33 in the Premier League is a bit more spread out, with just six games taking place at the weekend.

A further six games are scheduled for midweek, so there is a chance to get some of those pulling double duty in your fantasy team.

Whether your interests lie in the title race, the top-four scuffle or the relegation battle, there promises to be entertainment for everyone.

Therefore, it is time for Stats Perform to give you some suggested picks for your team using stats from the wonderful people at Opta.

HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham v Brighton and Hove Albion)

As odd as it sounds after a 4-0 win, had it not been for Lloris' heroics between the sticks last time out, Spurs could very well have lost against Aston Villa.

The Spurs captain made seven saves in the first half at Villa Park to keep Steven Gerrard's team out, with the visitors scoring four from their five on target in an afternoon of ruthless efficiency that had Antonio Conte smiling.

Only Alisson and Ederson (both 17) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Lloris (12), while the Frenchman last recorded more shutouts in a single campaign in 2017-18 (15).

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City v Brighton and Hove Albion)

This feels like we're picking on Brighton, but the fixture computer has not been kind to them, pitting them against two of the league's most in-form teams this week.

Only Gabriel Jesus (seven) has more assists for City in the Premier League this season than Joao Cancelo (six), as many as in his previous three league seasons combined.

As well as that, Cancelo is part of a staunch City defence that has conceded the fewest goals in the league this season (20), and against a Brighton side that has scored fewer goals (28) than all except Burnley (25) and Norwich (20), will be confident of a clean sheet on Wednesday.

JAMES MADDISON (Newcastle United v Leicester City, Everton v Leicester City)

Maddison is somewhat of an enigmatic player and, not that long ago, was struggling to start in Brendan Rodgers' strongest line-up.

However, he has already equalled his goal involvements tally for the entirety of last season in the Premier League (13), with the former Norwich man only bettering that in 2018-19 (14).

Indeed, he has either scored or assisted in each of his last three league appearances (one goal, two assists), last doing so in four such games in January 2021 (three goals, one assist).

CHRIS WOOD (Newcastle United v Leicester City, Newcastle United v Crystal Palace)

It has hardly been an electric start for life on Tyneside for Wood since his January move, though goals drying up for his former club and relegation rivals Burnley has been a positive added factor for the Magpies.

The New Zealander scored a crucial penalty in the 1-0 win against Wolves last time out, though, and he is looking to bag in consecutive league games for the first time since May 2021 (run of three).

Also, only against West Ham (seven) and Wolves (six) does Wood have more Premier League goals than he has previously managed against Leicester (four).

Manchester City and Liverpool are going from one blockbuster meeting to another, and an FA Cup semi-final awaits on Saturday for Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

It would be easy to assume this is almost customary when teams are as dominant as City and Liverpool have been domestically of late, but it is not strictly the case.

Their Wembley showdown will be just the third FA Cup semi-final clash of the Premier League era between teams who have begun the day in the top two of the latter competition.

Considering this is the 30th season of the Premier League, it goes to show such showdowns cannot be taken for granted.

It has been even more rare for the eventual top two in the Premier League to contest an FA Cup final, with Chelsea denying Manchester United a double in 2006-07 in the only example of that game coming to fruition.

Here, Stats Perform looks back at the two previous FA Cup semi-finals to feature the then current Premier League top two. Could City and Liverpool, packed with attacking talent, produce drama to match these thrillers?


1999: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal (replay, after 0-0 in first game), Villa Park

Memorable moment: David Beckham scored from 30 yards, and Peter Schmeichel saved a Dennis Bergkamp penalty, but the replay in front of a smattering over 30,000 fans at Villa Park will be remembered almost exclusively for Ryan Giggs' chest hair. Sorry... goal. Yes, definitely for his goal.

Injury limited Giggs to just 24 league appearances that season, and he managed just five goal involvements across those games (3 goals, 2 assists), the fewest he would have in a Premier League campaign until 2012-13 and 2013-14, his twilight final years as a player.

After Beckham's fine first-half opener, Arsenal drew level in the 69th minute when Bergkamp scored from similarly long range with the help of a deflection, and United were in trouble when Roy Keane was sent off five minutes later. Schmeichel came to the rescue with a spot-kick save after Phil Neville tripped Ray Parlour at the death in normal time, and then it was over to Giggs. Vintage Giggs.

Early in the second half of extra time, a stray pass from Patrick Vieira was intercepted 15 yards inside United's half by Giggs in left midfield. From there he snaked through a weary Arsenal rearguard, showing remarkable close control of a bobbling ball on a pitch that was cutting up, before smashing a shot past David Seaman at his near post. Off came his shirt, Giggs celebrating wildly, United on their way to the final.

What came next: United had been a point ahead of Arsenal and third-placed Chelsea in the Premier League title race, and it remained close all the way, with victory over Tottenham on the final day making sure Alex Ferguson's side won that title. They carried off the FA Cup too, goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes earning a 2-0 win over Newcastle United, and the most special moment came at Camp Nou, where Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck late to give the Red Devils a famous 2-1 success over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, and the first and only such treble by an English club. City might match that this season, while Liverpool could even top it, having already won the EFL Cup, with the FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League still in their sights.

2017: Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham, Wembley

Memorable moment: Nemanja Matic sealed the spoils for Chelsea with a remarkable 30-yard drive into the top corner, as the Premier League's then London elite met at Wembley.

Chelsea were four points ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham at the top of the table, with Antonio Conte looking good to mark his first season in England with silverware. They had a double in their sights too, and although Tottenham twice came from behind to cancel out two goals from Willian in this semi-final, thanks to Harry Kane and Dele Alli, it was Chelsea who prevailed thanks to substitute Eden Hazard's sizzling low strike and a remarkable finish from Matic 10 minutes from time.

Fed a short pass by Hazard, Matic lashed an unstoppable left-footed drive into the top-right corner, thudding in off the underside of the crossbar.

What came next: Chelsea duly wrapped up the league title with two games to spare as Tottenham reluctantly settled for second, seven points off the pace in the final reckoning. But for all their domestic dominance up to that point, a savage twist arrived in the FA Cup final, where Arsenal awaited them. Arsene Wenger's Gunners finished only fifth in the Premier League, but they had kept something in reserve for Wembley as goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners the trophy.

Conte got his hands on the FA Cup a year later but was sacked before the new season began; after returning to football with Inter, and landing a Scudetto in Milan, Conte could not resist a return to London when Tottenham came calling last November.

Along with Brenden Aaronson and Luka Sucic, Karim Adeyemi is part of a young core enjoying a breakout season at Salzburg.

In his third season in the Austrian Bundesliga, the 20-year-old has come up with 16 goals and three assists in 24 league appearances, and earned his first international cap for Germany last September.

Reports also suggest that a return to Germany at domestic level is imminent.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND CLOSE IN ON ADEYEMI

Borussia Dortmund and Salzburg have reached a basic agreement over the transfer of Karim Adeyemi, according to reports from Sky Sport Germany.

After several rounds of talks, this week has finally seen a breakthrough between the two clubs, with €35million the reported fee the two clubs have agreed on.

However, Dortmund are still to arrive at a point that satisfies Adeyemi and his representatives on personal terms.

According to the report, all three parties are looking to finalise the deal, but RB Leipzig, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain also remain interested.

ROUND-UP

Harry Kane is set to turn down a move to Manchester United, with Erik ten Hag reportedly due to take over at Old Trafford instead of Kane's former boss Mauricio Pochettino, the Mirror reports.

– United have been given a boost in their pursuit of Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger however, as talks with Barcelona have reportedly stalled, according to the Sun.

Newcastle United have targeted Sevilla's Diego Carlos as a viable alternative if Sven Botman opts to join Milan, per the Chronicle.

– Football Insider reports Villarreal are seeking to permanently sign Giovani Lo Celso from Tottenham, having had the 26-year-old on loan since January.

– Meanwhile, Football Insider also reports that Manchester City have made Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni their top priority to replace Fernandinho.

Antonio Conte claimed Champions League qualification would be life-changing for Tottenham ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Conte also reiterated, however, that Tottenham face a difficult challenge to secure a place in Europe's premier competition, insisting another four clubs were also competing for fourth spot.

Spurs have won four consecutive league games to move into the Premier League's top four, the last two of those by four goals (a 5-1 win over Newcastle United and a 4-0 victory at Aston Villa). Another four-goal win would make Conte's team the first side to win three successive Premier League games by four goals since Manchester City in September 2017.

Tottenham will be confident of extending their excellent form against the Seagulls, who have lost on all four of their Premier League trips to Spurs. Only against Bournemouth (five wins from five) do Spurs have a better 100 per cent home record in the competition.

Ahead of Saturday's clash, Conte said watching this week's Champions League fixtures really brought home how important it is for his side to mix it with Europe's elite.

"The Champions League is a competition that every club, every player, every manager wants to play and for this reason it's important to have this great goal," Conte said. 

"[It] changes your life if next season you are going to play in the Champions League, instead of playing UEFA [Europa] League, [Europa] Conference League, or nothing. 

"The team is ready to fight until the end in this race. This race is not easy. It's very, very important to finish in the top four in England because it means that you have reached a great result for the club.

"Yesterday and two days ago we watched how important it is to play in the Champions League and how fascinating these games [are]. I'm sure that in my players there is a great desire to be protagonists in this competition.

"But we know very well that there are other teams that are really strong, Arsenal, [Manchester] United, West Ham, Wolverhampton, that they are in the same race with us, but we want to fight until the end, and we'll see what happens at the end of the season."

In-form Tottenham have scored at least twice in each of their last seven Premier League games – only once have they had a longer such run, doing so in 11 consecutive games between September and December 2011.

Conte conducted his media duties in person after his positive COVID-19 test had originally forced the club to plan a remote news conference, and was confident that having to distance from his players had not impacted Spurs' preparations. 

"I had mild symptoms after the game against Aston Villa on Saturday," he added. "Mild pain in the throat, then I wanted to have a COVID-19 test, and I was positive.

"Now I'm well, and it's okay. I attended training sessions this week from a distance because I didn't want to take any risks with the players. 

"My staff did a really good job, I trust in my staff, they are well prepared. The situation is under control. I'll be okay for Saturday, I'll be on the bench, in my place."

Conte was also asked about the condition of Matt Doherty, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained at Villa Park last Saturday.

The Italian called the absence of Doherty, whose six league goal involvements this season (two goals, four assists) can only be bettered by four Spurs players, "really bad news" but expressed his confidence in the other options in his squad. 

"This is really bad news for us because, as you know well, Matthew was improving game by game and becoming a really important player for us," Conte added. "He had great confidence. But, in football, this kind of situation can happen.

"It's a pity, a pity for him, and we are very disappointed. Now, we have to find the best solution. We have Emerson [Royal], Sergio Reguilon, [Ryan] Sessegnon in the squad, and we have to try to do our best until the end of the season."

After a cardiac episode at Euro 2020, there were questions about whether Christian Eriksen would ever be able to play football again, let alone at the highest level.

But less than a year after being released from his contract at Inter, the Denmark international is a hot commodity once again.

Since signing with Brentford on a six-month deal, Eriksen has displayed the quality that saw him net 69 goals over six and a half seasons for Tottenham, and now Premier League teams are circling.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE WANT ERIKSEN AS FLAGSHIP SIGNING

Tottenham have been linked with Eriksen in a potential reunion in the upcoming transfer window, but they are reportedly going to have to contend with Newcastle United, who wish to make him a "flagship" signing, per the Northern Echo.

Being out of contract, Eriksen will have his pick of potential suitors, yet Newcastle will likely have deep enough pockets to contend with anyone serious about adding the midfielder.

Since his return from the bench against Newcastle, Brentford have won all four Premier League matches in which Eriksen has played 90 minutes, including a 4-1 away win at Chelsea, where he scored.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is reporting Mohamed Salah is close to signing an extension with Liverpool that will pay him £400,000 per week.

West Ham have entered the race for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Calciomercato.

– 90min is reporting Edinson Cavani may be Manchester United's "secret weapon" in their quest to sign fellow Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez from Benfica in the upcoming transfer window.

Cardiff City and Tottenham are joint-favourites to land the services of Wales international Gareth Bale when his contract with Real Madrid expires in June, per Wales Online.

– According to the Chronicle, both Arsenal and Newcastle are heavily linked with Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta, who is expected to fetch a price of around £58million.

Tottenham have confirmed that head coach Antonio Conte has tested positive for COVID-19.

However, the club hopes the 52-year-old will be back in the dugout for Saturday's Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion in North London. 

"Antonio tested positive for COVID at the weekend and has been appropriately distancing," read a statement issued by the club. 

"We expect him to be symptom-free and in charge of the match on Saturday".

The club also confirmed Conte will conduct his pre-match media duties remotely on Thursday.

The Italian saw his in-form side hammer Aston Villa 4-0 in their last Premier League outing, with Spurs' top-goalscorer Son Heung-min helping himself to a hat-trick at Villa Park.

Conte has overseen a dramatic reversal in the team's fortunes after taking the helm last November, with Tottenham eyeing Champions League qualification after winning four consecutive Premier League matches to move into fourth-place in the English top flight.

Spurs have scored 43 goals in their 20 Premier League matches under Conte to date, winning 12, drawing three, and losing five. Throughout the competition's history, the only managers to see their teams score more goals in their first 20 games in charge at a club are Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea in 2009 (45) and Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City in 2013-14 (57).

Meanwhile, Saturday's clash will see Tottenham bid for a fifth win in five Premier League home games against Brighton. Having won each of the previous four meetings on home turf, Spurs' only better 100 per cent record in the competition is against Bournemouth (five wins from five).

Paul Pogba's time at Manchester United is set to come to an end when his contract expires at the end of this season.

The France international arrived at Old Trafford in a £93million deal in August 2016, which at the time broke the record for most expensive transfer in the history of world football.

But after six seasons, Pogba appears destined for pastures new, and a giant from Ligue 1 is looking to win the race to his signature.

 

TOP STORY – PSG MAKE POGBA A PRIORITY

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to bring Pogba home to France, and are making him a "priority signing", according to Footmercato.

With the football world anticipating the exit of Kylian Mbappe from the French giants, there will be money to spend, and with Pogba available on a free transfer, his personal terms are reportedly "not so high".

In an injury-interrupted campaign, Pogba has played 18 Premier League matches this season, scoring one goal and providing nine assists.

 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are targeting Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, according to Sky Sports.

– El Confidencial is reporting Manchester City are ready to trigger the €60m release clause for Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino.

– According to Goal, Pep Guardiola is interested in bringing River Plate midfielder Enzo Fernandez to Manchester City after signing team-mate Julian Alvarez in January.

– Calciomercato is reporting that Juventus are entering the race for Ajax's Brazilian winger Antony, who also has interest from Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

Tottenham want to convert Dejan Kulusevski's loan deal into a permanent signing, in a move that will likely cost €35m, per Calciomercato.

– NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin have joined a consortium with Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca in a bid to buy Chelsea, according to The Daily Mirror.

Not a window goes by where Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's name does not emerge in transfer speculation.

The 27-year-old's contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season, but Juventus are keen to move on the long sought-after Lazio midfielder.

The Serbia international has only progressed under Maurizio Sarri, attracting reported interest from the Turn giants.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE RAMP UP CHASE FOR MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Milinkovic-Savic's agent Mateja Kezman has commenced talks with Juventus over a possible transfer from Lazio, according to Calciomercato.

The Serbian midfielder has long been a weak area since their appearance in the Champions League final in 2015, and multiple coaches in that period have not been conducive for personnel.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito famously placed an initial €100million value on Milinkovic-Savic, but it has reportedly dropped to €70m. It is perceived that price tag is still too steep a figure for Juventus, as a consequence of compatriot Dusan Vlahovic's signing in January.

It is believed that Lazio would be open to players in return as part of a packaged deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United and Arsenal have joined the race to sign Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, the Mirror reports.

- Erling Haaland has dismissed interest from Manchester United, believing they do not meet the Norwegian striker's ambitions, according to ESPN.

- Paris Saint-Germain are in talks to sign Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku, only a year after he joined the London club from Inter, per the Sun.

- Roma are interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, Calciomercato is reporting.

- Spanish international Marco Asensio is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, per Mundo Deportivo, with Milan and Tottenham interested.

Jesse Lingard's future with Manchester United is unclear.

The 29-year-old England international is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lingard had a brilliant loan spell at West Ham United last season but has remained out of favour at Old Trafford this term.

 

TOP STORY – ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR LINGARD

Lingard could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the Italian club joining the race for the forward, according to the Mirror.

Lingard is being pursued by West Ham following his impressive loan spell, while Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old.

Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus also have an interest in Lingard, with a move to Italy offering a lucrative alternative option.

English pair Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have enjoyed productive spells at Roma, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on loan from Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are moving on from their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe , who appears set to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, by turning their attention to landing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, claims the Mirror.

- Inter will make a move to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, following his August exit from the Italian champions, reports Football Insider. Lukaku previously expressed his regret at leaving Inter.

- The Sun claims that Arsenal and Tottenham will battle to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison who is rated at £60million and could be put up for sale.

- Danny Ings could be on his way out of Aston Villa as manager Steven Gerrard plans a clear-out, according to the Mirror.

- CBS Sports claims Liverpool and West Ham are no longer interested in Leicester City's Youri Tielemans, leaving the door open for Manchester United to land the midfielder.

- Juventus are circling for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho , reports Tutto Mercato.

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