Bayern Munich

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Heynckes slams 'selfish' Aubameyang amid Arsenal transfer talk

The Borussia Dortmund striker has been back in the spotlight recently, with a rival manager at Bayern Munich blasting the attitude of a wantaway star

Pep Guardiola: If Man City had signed Alexis Sanchez it would have damaged the stability of the club

Pep Guardiola has claimed Manchester City would have damaged the stability of the club had they succumbed to the financial demands of Alexis Sanchez and his agent. Sanchez is expected to sign for Manchester United in the coming days, with Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan due to join Arsenal in return after bidding an emotional farewell to his United team-mates and club staff on Friday afternoon. Mkhitaryan and Sanchez trained with their current clubs on Friday but neither are expected to be included in the United or Arsenal match-day squads to face Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively on Saturday as their transfers near completion. The Telegraph revealed this week that United’s move for Sanchez will be worth up to £180 million, which includes a signing-on bonus of £20m to the Chilean as well as wages of around £510,000 a week before tax and a payment of at least £10m to the player’s agent, Fernando Felicevich. City had been the firm favourites to sign Sanchez after a long courtship, which included a collapsed £60m deadline-day bid last August, but Guardiola said the Premier League leaders pulled out of the race after balking at the spiralling cost of a deal that would have jeopardised the club’s wage structure and wider stability. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Argentina striker Sergio Aguero is City’s highest earner at present, on around £250,000 a week, but Sanchez’s salary would have dwarfed that, comfortably eclipsed the new £16m deal midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is on the verge of signing and risked upsetting dressing room harmony. “Normally we try to be stable with the wages of the players because I think it is good for the team and stability of the club,” Guardiola said. “I’ve never put pressure on a club when they believe it is too much. Immediately I accept that decision and move forward to find another solution. The stability of the club is the most important thing. “We’ve spent a lot of money, we can’t deny that. But in my period at Barcelona, my period at Bayern Munich and now here, I never pushed or pressured the club to say ‘I want those players’ when the club believes and says it’s too much. The stability of the club is the most important thing.” City are convinced Sanchez’s preference was to join them and feel his head has been turned by the money on offer at their rivals. Guardiola issued a warning to Sanchez by insisting it is a “mistake” for players to go ahead with a move they are not “completely committed” to but insisted he felt no anger towards the player he managed at Barcelona and congratulated United on their impending signing. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has said goodbye to his Man Utd team-mates Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I think if the player decides to move to another club, it is because they are completely committed to what they want to do in terms of salary, in terms of where they want to be, where they want to live, their family,” Guardiola said. “If they move on and they are not completely committed, it is a mistake for the player, for the manager and for the club as well. I think he is going to United so congratulations to both of them.” City are expected to recruit a centre-half this month, with West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans in their sights. They are also working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, with a view to the Brazilian joining at the end of the season, and will also aim to sign another centre-half and a striker in the summer. “We feel we need to invest in the summer, with three or four [players],” Guardiola said. “If we do it now we do it for the summer.” Man City remain interested in Jonny Evans Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho, the United manager, has warned his players not to allow the Sanchez saga to affect their focus against Burnley. “In this moment Mkhitaryan is our player, Sanchez an Arsenal player and with a match [against Burnley] I want to switch off and focus on the most important thing, which is the match,” he said. Mourinho said that he felt the January transfer window was “to help clubs that didn’t work well in the summer” but described Sanchez as a “special situation”. “The team is lacking nothing,” he said. “It [Sanchez] is just thinking about the improvement of the team in the future. If we have in our mind in the summer to improve the team in two or three positions, if you have the chance to do something now it means that you don’t do it in the summer.”

Exodus of Arsenal's superstars suggests players losing faith in Arsene Wenger

Arsenal often talk about the need to mute out all the external noise that surrounds a football club but it has actually been the increasingly-vocal internal voices that are offering the most damning judgement of all. What is the fourth distinct team of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as Arsenal manager is breaking up and the uncomfortable truth is that this is again, ultimately, not about outsiders losing faith, but losing players in whom he has invested such faith. Yes, money always plays its part but the question that must surely now occupy the minds of owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis is the extent to which those people in football who most count – the players themselves - now believe that Wenger can again inspire Arsenal to past heights. For all their lasting respect and affection, we can surely conclude that Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas did not. The same goes for Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. And now Alexis Sanchez and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain. We await the verdicts of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, who himself is out of contract in 17 months, but it is hard to feel vast optimism. Similar also applies to Hector Bellerin, who wanted to join Barcelona last summer. The contrast with the first decade of Wenger’s tenure, when big-name departures seemed to happen on Arsenal’s terms and were invariably followed by upgrades, is clear. Even the break-up of the Van Persie-Fabregas team was presented as something of an anomaly and a consequence only of temporary financial constraints. Robin van Persie left Arsenal for rivals Man Utd Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We had to sell our best players,” Wenger explained. “That's not the case anymore. Now we are competing with everybody on the financial front and I think we can keep our best players. The players make good money at this level wherever they play. I believe, personally – maybe I am a bit naive – that it’s more about getting to meet the players’ needs. That’s about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.” So was Wenger just naïve or is he simply unable to build a team that can satisfy the ambitions of star players? Two games feel especially pivotal. Defeat in the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City felt like the moment that Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie decided it would never quite happen for their group. Similarly, last season, even after the glorious missed chance to win the Premier League in 2016, a light seemed to go out in Sanchez during the 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Wenger also admitted that Ozil’s form subsequently suffered due to him being “really down for a while”. There are still doubts over whether Mesut Ozil will sign a new deal Credit: REUTERS Sanchez and Ozil, like Fabregas and Van Persie previously, are entitled to believe they can win football’s very biggest prizes and yet Arsenal are further away now than at any time since 1996. “Other teams have invested big money year after year and have also retained their best players and have kicked on,” said Sol Campbell, the former Arsenal defender. “But at the moment, Arsenal are not retaining their best players. This is a vital period. If you keep on selling your best players, some players might say: ‘Well, why do I want to go there? All their best players are leaving.’ I think teams go in cycles. Arsenal are in this cycle and they need to figure out how to get out of it – but it might take three or four years.”  It was certainly interesting this week to hear Wenger talk about how Arsenal must now refocus their strategy on finding the best emerging players and being the club that gives them both first-team experience and the best environment to maximise their potential. Arsenal fans crave success Credit: AFP It makes perfect sense, except that it rather jars against how players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs have all left over the past six months seeming unfulfilled. Oxlade-Chamberlain talked about “taking myself out of my comfort zone” and how “a kick up the backside would be good for me”. Walcott departed this week seemingly as far from the England team as when he joined aged 16 in 2006, at a time when working under Wenger was regarded as the optimum developmental decision. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool are regarded now as the leaders in this area. Arsenal must also address other more practical factors. With many of the key depatures, mistakes were made in the timing and size of initial contract offers. There is still a lingering sense that Ozil and Sanchez may both have signed had serious talks began much earlier. That was also the case with Nasri. Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly became frustrated last summer both at the speed of contract negotiations and Arsenal’s initial proposals.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal for Liverpool Credit: REUTERS An unexpected challenge also now awaits over Jack Wilshere who, from being peripheral to Wenger’s plans, is now in the final six months of his deal and being talked about as the next captain. “The fact that he has been away and come back - he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe,” said Wenger. “That is something that is important. He can be one of the leaders in the future.” Perhaps - but it is surely also a question of levels and, for all his passion and recent improvement, the extent to which Wilshere can be the catalyst for a return to Europe’s top table remains in doubt. It is what makes completing deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and especially Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so critical this month. If Wenger can sell Arsenal to a player with Aubameyang’s prolific goal-scoring record, he will at least have answered the question about whether he can still attract top players.  A fifth new cycle will also begin and, with it, the wider question of whether Wenger can still inspire his own players to truly believe in what has come to feel like a faded vision.

Exodus of Arsenal's superstars suggests players losing faith in Arsene Wenger

Arsenal often talk about the need to mute out all the external noise that surrounds a football club but it has actually been the increasingly-vocal internal voices that are offering the most damning judgement of all. What is the fourth distinct team of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as Arsenal manager is breaking up and the uncomfortable truth is that this is again, ultimately, not about outsiders losing faith, but losing players in whom he has invested such faith. Yes, money always plays its part but the question that must surely now occupy the minds of owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis is the extent to which those people in football who most count – the players themselves - now believe that Wenger can again inspire Arsenal to past heights. For all their lasting respect and affection, we can surely conclude that Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas did not. The same goes for Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. And now Alexis Sanchez and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain. We await the verdicts of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, who himself is out of contract in 17 months, but it is hard to feel vast optimism. Similar also applies to Hector Bellerin, who wanted to join Barcelona last summer. The contrast with the first decade of Wenger’s tenure, when big-name departures seemed to happen on Arsenal’s terms and were invariably followed by upgrades, is clear. Even the break-up of the Van Persie-Fabregas team was presented as something of an anomaly and a consequence only of temporary financial constraints. Robin van Persie left Arsenal for rivals Man Utd Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We had to sell our best players,” Wenger explained. “That's not the case anymore. Now we are competing with everybody on the financial front and I think we can keep our best players. The players make good money at this level wherever they play. I believe, personally – maybe I am a bit naive – that it’s more about getting to meet the players’ needs. That’s about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.” So was Wenger just naïve or is he simply unable to build a team that can satisfy the ambitions of star players? Two games feel especially pivotal. Defeat in the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City felt like the moment that Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie decided it would never quite happen for their group. Similarly, last season, even after the glorious missed chance to win the Premier League in 2016, a light seemed to go out in Sanchez during the 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Wenger also admitted that Ozil’s form subsequently suffered due to him being “really down for a while”. There are still doubts over whether Mesut Ozil will sign a new deal Credit: REUTERS Sanchez and Ozil, like Fabregas and Van Persie previously, are entitled to believe they can win football’s very biggest prizes and yet Arsenal are further away now than at any time since 1996. “Other teams have invested big money year after year and have also retained their best players and have kicked on,” said Sol Campbell, the former Arsenal defender. “But at the moment, Arsenal are not retaining their best players. This is a vital period. If you keep on selling your best players, some players might say: ‘Well, why do I want to go there? All their best players are leaving.’ I think teams go in cycles. Arsenal are in this cycle and they need to figure out how to get out of it – but it might take three or four years.”  It was certainly interesting this week to hear Wenger talk about how Arsenal must now refocus their strategy on finding the best emerging players and being the club that gives them both first-team experience and the best environment to maximise their potential. Arsenal fans crave success Credit: AFP It makes perfect sense, except that it rather jars against how players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs have all left over the past six months seeming unfulfilled. Oxlade-Chamberlain talked about “taking myself out of my comfort zone” and how “a kick up the backside would be good for me”. Walcott departed this week seemingly as far from the England team as when he joined aged 16 in 2006, at a time when working under Wenger was regarded as the optimum developmental decision. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool are regarded now as the leaders in this area. Arsenal must also address other more practical factors. With many of the key depatures, mistakes were made in the timing and size of initial contract offers. There is still a lingering sense that Ozil and Sanchez may both have signed had serious talks began much earlier. That was also the case with Nasri. Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly became frustrated last summer both at the speed of contract negotiations and Arsenal’s initial proposals.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal for Liverpool Credit: REUTERS An unexpected challenge also now awaits over Jack Wilshere who, from being peripheral to Wenger’s plans, is now in the final six months of his deal and being talked about as the next captain. “The fact that he has been away and come back - he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe,” said Wenger. “That is something that is important. He can be one of the leaders in the future.” Perhaps - but it is surely also a question of levels and, for all his passion and recent improvement, the extent to which Wilshere can be the catalyst for a return to Europe’s top table remains in doubt. It is what makes completing deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and especially Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so critical this month. If Wenger can sell Arsenal to a player with Aubameyang’s prolific goal-scoring record, he will at least have answered the question about whether he can still attract top players.  A fifth new cycle will also begin and, with it, the wider question of whether Wenger can still inspire his own players to truly believe in what has come to feel like a faded vision.

Exodus of Arsenal's superstars suggests players losing faith in Arsene Wenger

Arsenal often talk about the need to mute out all the external noise that surrounds a football club but it has actually been the increasingly-vocal internal voices that are offering the most damning judgement of all. What is the fourth distinct team of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as Arsenal manager is breaking up and the uncomfortable truth is that this is again, ultimately, not about outsiders losing faith, but losing players in whom he has invested such faith. Yes, money always plays its part but the question that must surely now occupy the minds of owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis is the extent to which those people in football who most count – the players themselves - now believe that Wenger can again inspire Arsenal to past heights. For all their lasting respect and affection, we can surely conclude that Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas did not. The same goes for Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. And now Alexis Sanchez and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain. We await the verdicts of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, who himself is out of contract in 17 months, but it is hard to feel vast optimism. Similar also applies to Hector Bellerin, who wanted to join Barcelona last summer. The contrast with the first decade of Wenger’s tenure, when big-name departures seemed to happen on Arsenal’s terms and were invariably followed by upgrades, is clear. Even the break-up of the Van Persie-Fabregas team was presented as something of an anomaly and a consequence only of temporary financial constraints. Robin van Persie left Arsenal for rivals Man Utd Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We had to sell our best players,” Wenger explained. “That's not the case anymore. Now we are competing with everybody on the financial front and I think we can keep our best players. The players make good money at this level wherever they play. I believe, personally – maybe I am a bit naive – that it’s more about getting to meet the players’ needs. That’s about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.” So was Wenger just naïve or is he simply unable to build a team that can satisfy the ambitions of star players? Two games feel especially pivotal. Defeat in the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City felt like the moment that Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie decided it would never quite happen for their group. Similarly, last season, even after the glorious missed chance to win the Premier League in 2016, a light seemed to go out in Sanchez during the 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Wenger also admitted that Ozil’s form subsequently suffered due to him being “really down for a while”. There are still doubts over whether Mesut Ozil will sign a new deal Credit: REUTERS Sanchez and Ozil, like Fabregas and Van Persie previously, are entitled to believe they can win football’s very biggest prizes and yet Arsenal are further away now than at any time since 1996. “Other teams have invested big money year after year and have also retained their best players and have kicked on,” said Sol Campbell, the former Arsenal defender. “But at the moment, Arsenal are not retaining their best players. This is a vital period. If you keep on selling your best players, some players might say: ‘Well, why do I want to go there? All their best players are leaving.’ I think teams go in cycles. Arsenal are in this cycle and they need to figure out how to get out of it – but it might take three or four years.”  It was certainly interesting this week to hear Wenger talk about how Arsenal must now refocus their strategy on finding the best emerging players and being the club that gives them both first-team experience and the best environment to maximise their potential. Arsenal fans crave success Credit: AFP It makes perfect sense, except that it rather jars against how players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs have all left over the past six months seeming unfulfilled. Oxlade-Chamberlain talked about “taking myself out of my comfort zone” and how “a kick up the backside would be good for me”. Walcott departed this week seemingly as far from the England team as when he joined aged 16 in 2006, at a time when working under Wenger was regarded as the optimum developmental decision. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool are regarded now as the leaders in this area. Arsenal must also address other more practical factors. With many of the key depatures, mistakes were made in the timing and size of initial contract offers. There is still a lingering sense that Ozil and Sanchez may both have signed had serious talks began much earlier. That was also the case with Nasri. Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly became frustrated last summer both at the speed of contract negotiations and Arsenal’s initial proposals.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal for Liverpool Credit: REUTERS An unexpected challenge also now awaits over Jack Wilshere who, from being peripheral to Wenger’s plans, is now in the final six months of his deal and being talked about as the next captain. “The fact that he has been away and come back - he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe,” said Wenger. “That is something that is important. He can be one of the leaders in the future.” Perhaps - but it is surely also a question of levels and, for all his passion and recent improvement, the extent to which Wilshere can be the catalyst for a return to Europe’s top table remains in doubt. It is what makes completing deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and especially Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so critical this month. If Wenger can sell Arsenal to a player with Aubameyang’s prolific goal-scoring record, he will at least have answered the question about whether he can still attract top players.  A fifth new cycle will also begin and, with it, the wider question of whether Wenger can still inspire his own players to truly believe in what has come to feel like a faded vision.

Exodus of Arsenal's superstars suggests players losing faith in Arsene Wenger

Arsenal often talk about the need to mute out all the external noise that surrounds a football club but it has actually been the increasingly-vocal internal voices that are offering the most damning judgement of all. What is the fourth distinct team of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as Arsenal manager is breaking up and the uncomfortable truth is that this is again, ultimately, not about outsiders losing faith, but losing players in whom he has invested such faith. Yes, money always plays its part but the question that must surely now occupy the minds of owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis is the extent to which those people in football who most count – the players themselves - now believe that Wenger can again inspire Arsenal to past heights. For all their lasting respect and affection, we can surely conclude that Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas did not. The same goes for Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. And now Alexis Sanchez and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain. We await the verdicts of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, who himself is out of contract in 17 months, but it is hard to feel vast optimism. Similar also applies to Hector Bellerin, who wanted to join Barcelona last summer. The contrast with the first decade of Wenger’s tenure, when big-name departures seemed to happen on Arsenal’s terms and were invariably followed by upgrades, is clear. Even the break-up of the Van Persie-Fabregas team was presented as something of an anomaly and a consequence only of temporary financial constraints. Robin van Persie left Arsenal for rivals Man Utd Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We had to sell our best players,” Wenger explained. “That's not the case anymore. Now we are competing with everybody on the financial front and I think we can keep our best players. The players make good money at this level wherever they play. I believe, personally – maybe I am a bit naive – that it’s more about getting to meet the players’ needs. That’s about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.” So was Wenger just naïve or is he simply unable to build a team that can satisfy the ambitions of star players? Two games feel especially pivotal. Defeat in the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City felt like the moment that Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie decided it would never quite happen for their group. Similarly, last season, even after the glorious missed chance to win the Premier League in 2016, a light seemed to go out in Sanchez during the 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Wenger also admitted that Ozil’s form subsequently suffered due to him being “really down for a while”. There are still doubts over whether Mesut Ozil will sign a new deal Credit: REUTERS Sanchez and Ozil, like Fabregas and Van Persie previously, are entitled to believe they can win football’s very biggest prizes and yet Arsenal are further away now than at any time since 1996. “Other teams have invested big money year after year and have also retained their best players and have kicked on,” said Sol Campbell, the former Arsenal defender. “But at the moment, Arsenal are not retaining their best players. This is a vital period. If you keep on selling your best players, some players might say: ‘Well, why do I want to go there? All their best players are leaving.’ I think teams go in cycles. Arsenal are in this cycle and they need to figure out how to get out of it – but it might take three or four years.”  It was certainly interesting this week to hear Wenger talk about how Arsenal must now refocus their strategy on finding the best emerging players and being the club that gives them both first-team experience and the best environment to maximise their potential. Arsenal fans crave success Credit: AFP It makes perfect sense, except that it rather jars against how players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs have all left over the past six months seeming unfulfilled. Oxlade-Chamberlain talked about “taking myself out of my comfort zone” and how “a kick up the backside would be good for me”. Walcott departed this week seemingly as far from the England team as when he joined aged 16 in 2006, at a time when working under Wenger was regarded as the optimum developmental decision. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool are regarded now as the leaders in this area. Arsenal must also address other more practical factors. With many of the key depatures, mistakes were made in the timing and size of initial contract offers. There is still a lingering sense that Ozil and Sanchez may both have signed had serious talks began much earlier. That was also the case with Nasri. Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly became frustrated last summer both at the speed of contract negotiations and Arsenal’s initial proposals.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal for Liverpool Credit: REUTERS An unexpected challenge also now awaits over Jack Wilshere who, from being peripheral to Wenger’s plans, is now in the final six months of his deal and being talked about as the next captain. “The fact that he has been away and come back - he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe,” said Wenger. “That is something that is important. He can be one of the leaders in the future.” Perhaps - but it is surely also a question of levels and, for all his passion and recent improvement, the extent to which Wilshere can be the catalyst for a return to Europe’s top table remains in doubt. It is what makes completing deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and especially Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so critical this month. If Wenger can sell Arsenal to a player with Aubameyang’s prolific goal-scoring record, he will at least have answered the question about whether he can still attract top players.  A fifth new cycle will also begin and, with it, the wider question of whether Wenger can still inspire his own players to truly believe in what has come to feel like a faded vision.

Pep Guardiola: If Man City had signed Alexis Sanchez it would have damaged the stability of the club

Pep Guardiola has claimed Manchester City would have damaged the stability of the club had they succumbed to the financial demands of Alexis Sanchez and his agent. Sanchez is expected to sign for Manchester United in the coming days, with Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan due to join Arsenal in return after bidding an emotional farewell to his United team-mates and club staff on Friday afternoon. Mkhitaryan and Sanchez trained with their current clubs on Friday but neither are expected to be included in the United or Arsenal match-day squads to face Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively on Saturday as their transfers near completion. The Telegraph revealed this week that United’s move for Sanchez will be worth up to £180 million, which includes a signing-on bonus of £20m to the Chilean as well as wages of around £510,000 a week before tax and a payment of at least £10m to the player’s agent, Fernando Felicevich. City had been the firm favourites to sign Sanchez after a long courtship, which included a collapsed £60m deadline-day bid last August, but Guardiola said the Premier League leaders pulled out of the race after balking at the spiralling cost of a deal that would have jeopardised the club’s wage structure and wider stability. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Argentina striker Sergio Aguero is City’s highest earner at present, on around £250,000 a week, but Sanchez’s salary would have dwarfed that, comfortably eclipsed the new £16m deal midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is on the verge of signing and risked upsetting dressing room harmony. “Normally we try to be stable with the wages of the players because I think it is good for the team and stability of the club,” Guardiola said. “I’ve never put pressure on a club when they believe it is too much. Immediately I accept that decision and move forward to find another solution. The stability of the club is the most important thing. “We’ve spent a lot of money, we can’t deny that. But in my period at Barcelona, my period at Bayern Munich and now here, I never pushed or pressured the club to say ‘I want those players’ when the club believes and says it’s too much. The stability of the club is the most important thing.” City are convinced Sanchez’s preference was to join them and feel his head has been turned by the money on offer at their rivals. Guardiola issued a warning to Sanchez by insisting it is a “mistake” for players to go ahead with a move they are not “completely committed” to but insisted he felt no anger towards the player he managed at Barcelona and congratulated United on their impending signing. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has said goodbye to his Man Utd team-mates Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I think if the player decides to move to another club, it is because they are completely committed to what they want to do in terms of salary, in terms of where they want to be, where they want to live, their family,” Guardiola said. “If they move on and they are not completely committed, it is a mistake for the player, for the manager and for the club as well. I think he is going to United so congratulations to both of them.” City are expected to recruit a centre-half this month, with West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans in their sights. They are also working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, with a view to the Brazilian joining at the end of the season, and will also aim to sign another centre-half and a striker in the summer. “We feel we need to invest in the summer, with three or four [players],” Guardiola said. “If we do it now we do it for the summer.” Man City remain interested in Jonny Evans Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho, the United manager, has warned his players not to allow the Sanchez saga to affect their focus against Burnley. “In this moment Mkhitaryan is our player, Sanchez an Arsenal player and with a match [against Burnley] I want to switch off and focus on the most important thing, which is the match,” he said. Mourinho said that he felt the January transfer window was “to help clubs that didn’t work well in the summer” but described Sanchez as a “special situation”. “The team is lacking nothing,” he said. “It [Sanchez] is just thinking about the improvement of the team in the future. If we have in our mind in the summer to improve the team in two or three positions, if you have the chance to do something now it means that you don’t do it in the summer.”

Pep Guardiola: If Man City had signed Alexis Sanchez it would have damaged the stability of the club

Pep Guardiola has claimed Manchester City would have damaged the stability of the club had they succumbed to the financial demands of Alexis Sanchez and his agent. Sanchez is expected to sign for Manchester United in the coming days, with Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan due to join Arsenal in return after bidding an emotional farewell to his United team-mates and club staff on Friday afternoon. Mkhitaryan and Sanchez trained with their current clubs on Friday but neither are expected to be included in the United or Arsenal match-day squads to face Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively on Saturday as their transfers near completion. The Telegraph revealed this week that United’s move for Sanchez will be worth up to £180 million, which includes a signing-on bonus of £20m to the Chilean as well as wages of around £510,000 a week before tax and a payment of at least £10m to the player’s agent, Fernando Felicevich. City had been the firm favourites to sign Sanchez after a long courtship, which included a collapsed £60m deadline-day bid last August, but Guardiola said the Premier League leaders pulled out of the race after balking at the spiralling cost of a deal that would have jeopardised the club’s wage structure and wider stability. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? Argentina striker Sergio Aguero is City’s highest earner at present, on around £250,000 a week, but Sanchez’s salary would have dwarfed that, comfortably eclipsed the new £16m deal midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is on the verge of signing and risked upsetting dressing room harmony. “Normally we try to be stable with the wages of the players because I think it is good for the team and stability of the club,” Guardiola said. “I’ve never put pressure on a club when they believe it is too much. Immediately I accept that decision and move forward to find another solution. The stability of the club is the most important thing. “We’ve spent a lot of money, we can’t deny that. But in my period at Barcelona, my period at Bayern Munich and now here, I never pushed or pressured the club to say ‘I want those players’ when the club believes and says it’s too much. The stability of the club is the most important thing.” City are convinced Sanchez’s preference was to join them and feel his head has been turned by the money on offer at their rivals. Guardiola issued a warning to Sanchez by insisting it is a “mistake” for players to go ahead with a move they are not “completely committed” to but insisted he felt no anger towards the player he managed at Barcelona and congratulated United on their impending signing. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has said goodbye to his Man Utd team-mates Credit: ACTION IMAGES “I think if the player decides to move to another club, it is because they are completely committed to what they want to do in terms of salary, in terms of where they want to be, where they want to live, their family,” Guardiola said. “If they move on and they are not completely committed, it is a mistake for the player, for the manager and for the club as well. I think he is going to United so congratulations to both of them.” City are expected to recruit a centre-half this month, with West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans in their sights. They are also working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, with a view to the Brazilian joining at the end of the season, and will also aim to sign another centre-half and a striker in the summer. “We feel we need to invest in the summer, with three or four [players],” Guardiola said. “If we do it now we do it for the summer.” Man City remain interested in Jonny Evans Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho, the United manager, has warned his players not to allow the Sanchez saga to affect their focus against Burnley. “In this moment Mkhitaryan is our player, Sanchez an Arsenal player and with a match [against Burnley] I want to switch off and focus on the most important thing, which is the match,” he said. Mourinho said that he felt the January transfer window was “to help clubs that didn’t work well in the summer” but described Sanchez as a “special situation”. “The team is lacking nothing,” he said. “It [Sanchez] is just thinking about the improvement of the team in the future. If we have in our mind in the summer to improve the team in two or three positions, if you have the chance to do something now it means that you don’t do it in the summer.”

Exodus of Arsenal's superstars suggests players losing faith in Arsene Wenger

Arsenal often talk about the need to mute out all the external noise that surrounds a football club but it has actually been the increasingly-vocal internal voices that are offering the most damning judgement of all. What is the fourth distinct team of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as Arsenal manager is breaking up and the uncomfortable truth is that this is again, ultimately, not about outsiders losing faith, but losing players in whom he has invested such faith. Yes, money always plays its part but the question that must surely now occupy the minds of owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis is the extent to which those people in football who most count – the players themselves - now believe that Wenger can again inspire Arsenal to past heights. For all their lasting respect and affection, we can surely conclude that Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas did not. The same goes for Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. And now Alexis Sanchez and Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain. We await the verdicts of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, who himself is out of contract in 17 months, but it is hard to feel vast optimism. Similar also applies to Hector Bellerin, who wanted to join Barcelona last summer. The contrast with the first decade of Wenger’s tenure, when big-name departures seemed to happen on Arsenal’s terms and were invariably followed by upgrades, is clear. Even the break-up of the Van Persie-Fabregas team was presented as something of an anomaly and a consequence only of temporary financial constraints. Robin van Persie left Arsenal for rivals Man Utd Credit: GETTY IMAGES “We had to sell our best players,” Wenger explained. “That's not the case anymore. Now we are competing with everybody on the financial front and I think we can keep our best players. The players make good money at this level wherever they play. I believe, personally – maybe I am a bit naive – that it’s more about getting to meet the players’ needs. That’s about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.” So was Wenger just naïve or is he simply unable to build a team that can satisfy the ambitions of star players? Two games feel especially pivotal. Defeat in the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City felt like the moment that Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie decided it would never quite happen for their group. Similarly, last season, even after the glorious missed chance to win the Premier League in 2016, a light seemed to go out in Sanchez during the 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Wenger also admitted that Ozil’s form subsequently suffered due to him being “really down for a while”. There are still doubts over whether Mesut Ozil will sign a new deal Credit: REUTERS Sanchez and Ozil, like Fabregas and Van Persie previously, are entitled to believe they can win football’s very biggest prizes and yet Arsenal are further away now than at any time since 1996. “Other teams have invested big money year after year and have also retained their best players and have kicked on,” said Sol Campbell, the former Arsenal defender. “But at the moment, Arsenal are not retaining their best players. This is a vital period. If you keep on selling your best players, some players might say: ‘Well, why do I want to go there? All their best players are leaving.’ I think teams go in cycles. Arsenal are in this cycle and they need to figure out how to get out of it – but it might take three or four years.”  It was certainly interesting this week to hear Wenger talk about how Arsenal must now refocus their strategy on finding the best emerging players and being the club that gives them both first-team experience and the best environment to maximise their potential. Arsenal fans crave success Credit: AFP It makes perfect sense, except that it rather jars against how players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs have all left over the past six months seeming unfulfilled. Oxlade-Chamberlain talked about “taking myself out of my comfort zone” and how “a kick up the backside would be good for me”. Walcott departed this week seemingly as far from the England team as when he joined aged 16 in 2006, at a time when working under Wenger was regarded as the optimum developmental decision. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool are regarded now as the leaders in this area. Arsenal must also address other more practical factors. With many of the key depatures, mistakes were made in the timing and size of initial contract offers. There is still a lingering sense that Ozil and Sanchez may both have signed had serious talks began much earlier. That was also the case with Nasri. Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly became frustrated last summer both at the speed of contract negotiations and Arsenal’s initial proposals.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal for Liverpool Credit: REUTERS An unexpected challenge also now awaits over Jack Wilshere who, from being peripheral to Wenger’s plans, is now in the final six months of his deal and being talked about as the next captain. “The fact that he has been away and come back - he realises as well that life here is not so bad maybe,” said Wenger. “That is something that is important. He can be one of the leaders in the future.” Perhaps - but it is surely also a question of levels and, for all his passion and recent improvement, the extent to which Wilshere can be the catalyst for a return to Europe’s top table remains in doubt. It is what makes completing deals for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and especially Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so critical this month. If Wenger can sell Arsenal to a player with Aubameyang’s prolific goal-scoring record, he will at least have answered the question about whether he can still attract top players.  A fifth new cycle will also begin and, with it, the wider question of whether Wenger can still inspire his own players to truly believe in what has come to feel like a faded vision.

Niko Kovac 'would be perfect' as Jupp Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich - Boateng

Niko Kovac 'would be perfect' as Jupp Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich - Boateng

Niko Kovac 'would be perfect' as Jupp Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich - Boateng

Niko Kovac 'would be perfect' as Jupp Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich - Boateng

Niko Kovac 'would be perfect' as Jupp Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich - Boateng

Although he admitted it would be a difficult to pull off, the Ghana international tagged his current manager as the 'perfect' fit for the Bavarians

Niko Kovac 'would be perfect' as Jupp Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich - Boateng

Although he admitted it would be a difficult to pull off, the Ghana international tagged his current manager as the 'perfect' fit for the Bavarians

Goretzka asks Schalke fans to not turn on him after agreeing Bayern deal

Bayern Munich announced a pre-contract agreement with Leon Goretzka on Friday and he has subsequently asked Schalke fans to go easy on him.

Heynckes praises Goretzka character as Bayern poised to sign midfielder

Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes praised Leon Goretzka's character as the German is set to sign for the Bundesliga giants in the off-season

Heynckes praises Goretzka character as Bayern poised to sign midfielder

Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes praised Leon Goretzka's character as the German is set to sign for the Bundesliga giants in the off-season

Heynckes praises Goretzka character as Bayern poised to sign midfielder

Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes praised Leon Goretzka's character as the German is set to sign for the Bundesliga giants in the off-season

Ozil's German Player of the Year crown passed to Kimmich

The Bayern Munich star has been recognised as his country's top performer in 2017, beating Julian Draxler and Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the prize

Kimmich named Germany’s 2017 Player of the Year

Germany's Player of the Year for 2017 is Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich, who beat Julian Draxler and Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the prize.

Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Goretzka chose Bayern over England, Spain and Italy – Heynckes

Bayern Munich beat a number of clubs from outside Germany to the signing of Leon Goretzka, according to a delighted Jupp Heynckes.

I would reject such players – Heynckes slams 'selfish' Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been back in the spotlight recently and Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has blasted his attitude.

Goretzka's Bayern move good for Bundesliga, suggests Rummenigge

Bayern Munich secured the signing of Leon Goretzka for next season, with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggesting it is good for the Bundesliga.

Leon Goretzka to Bayern Munich: Arsenal target agrees transfer at end of Schalke contract

Leon Goretzka to Bayern Munich: Arsenal target agrees transfer at end of Schalke contract

Liverpool target Leon Goretzka signs for Bayern Munich - which is good news for Manchester United and Chelsea

Liverpool target Leon Goretzka signs for Bayern Munich - which is good news for Manchester United and Chelsea

Liverpool target Leon Goretzka signs for Bayern Munich - which is good news for Manchester United and Chelsea

Liverpool target Leon Goretzka signs for Bayern Munich - which is good news for Manchester United and Chelsea

Schalke confirm Goretzka will join Bayern

Germany international Leon Goretzka will join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, disappointing a host of other clubs across Europe.

Football transfer news and rumours: 'Liverpool consider James Rodriguez as Coutinho replacement'

For a club with £142m cash on the hip, Liverpool are having real difficulty in spending their fortune. Liverpool have so far failed to make any real headway in signing a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left the club earlier this month.  The Reds were understood to be rivalling Arsenal in a bid to bring Brazil forward Malcom to the Premier League but any deal looks to be dead in the water after Bordeaux president Stephane Martin said no talks had been held with foreign clubs and the 23-year-old was not for sale. According to the Liverpool Echo Jurgen Klopp has instead given the green light to a swoop for Real Madrid midfielder, James Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, has six months left on his two-year loan deal with the Bundesliga champions, meaning the German club would need to send the midfielder back to parent club Real Madrid to enable any deal to be completed. James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month Credit: Reuters  Malcom looks destined to remain in Ligue Un for the foreseeable future after Arsene Wenger admitted the Brazlian was unlikely to leave Bordeaux.  "I don't think we are close to [signing Malcom]. I don't think [that it will happen in January], no," said Wenger in a press conference on Thursday. Malcom looks to be going nowhere this January Credit: AFP  According to Spanish daily, AS, another Real Madrid star could be making his way to the north-west of England after Jose Mourinho gave the 'thumbs up' to bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United. The publication suggests United could spend as much £350m in order to secure the Portuguese's services in the summer. There have been growing suggestions that Ronaldo is unhappy with new contract negotiations at the Bernabeu and has told his Real Madrid teammates that he is intent on a move back to the Premier League, with Manchester United his preferred option. Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United homecoming a genuine possibility?  Credit: Getty Images  Chelsea's search for a big number nine has seen them make an inquiry for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Italian football website, Mediaset Premium. They say the he Blues are in talks with the Serie A outfit over a possible deal for Brazilian full-back Emerson and have also asked about the availability of Dzeko. The former Manchester City front-man netted 29 times in the Italian top-flight last season. Edin Dzeko is one of many strikers being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge  Credit: EPA  Dzeko is understood to be one of many options being considered by Chelsea, with Christian Benteke, Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll also on Antonio Conte's 'big-man' wish list. The Sun say Theo Walcott's £20m move to Everton could bring Aaron Lennon's Goodison Park career to an end.  The arrival of Walcott means Lennon will fall further down the right-wing pecking order with Newcastle United reportedly willing to offer the England international a January lifeline. And the rest Leicester City have expressed their interest in signing Jonny Evans making it a three-way race for the Norther Ireland international with Man City and Arsenal already in talks.  Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario has turned the opportunity to join West Ham on loan. The 24-year-old has made only 15 appearances for the Serie A side this season but is keen to 'keep his options open'.  Juventus are keeping tabs on Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, according to The Sun. 

Football transfer news and rumours: 'Liverpool consider James Rodriguez as Coutinho replacement'

For a club with £142m cash on the hip, Liverpool are having real difficulty in spending their fortune. Liverpool have so far failed to make any real headway in signing a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left the club earlier this month.  The Reds were understood to be rivalling Arsenal in a bid to bring Brazil forward Malcom to the Premier League but any deal looks to be dead in the water after Bordeaux president Stephane Martin said no talks had been held with foreign clubs and the 23-year-old was not for sale. According to the Liverpool Echo Jurgen Klopp has instead given the green light to a swoop for Real Madrid midfielder, James Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, has six months left on his two-year loan deal with the Bundesliga champions, meaning the German club would need to send the midfielder back to parent club Real Madrid to enable any deal to be completed. James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month Credit: Reuters  Malcom looks destined to remain in Ligue Un for the foreseeable future after Arsene Wenger admitted the Brazlian was unlikely to leave Bordeaux.  "I don't think we are close to [signing Malcom]. I don't think [that it will happen in January], no," said Wenger in a press conference on Thursday. Malcom looks to be going nowhere this January Credit: AFP  According to Spanish daily, AS, another Real Madrid star could be making his way to the north-west of England after Jose Mourinho gave the 'thumbs up' to bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United. The publication suggests United could spend as much £350m in order to secure the Portuguese's services in the summer. There have been growing suggestions that Ronaldo is unhappy with new contract negotiations at the Bernabeu and has told his Real Madrid teammates that he is intent on a move back to the Premier League, with Manchester United his preferred option. Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United homecoming a genuine possibility?  Credit: Getty Images  Chelsea's search for a big number nine has seen them make an inquiry for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Italian football website, Mediaset Premium. They say the he Blues are in talks with the Serie A outfit over a possible deal for Brazilian full-back Emerson and have also asked about the availability of Dzeko. The former Manchester City front-man netted 29 times in the Italian top-flight last season. Edin Dzeko is one of many strikers being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge  Credit: EPA  Dzeko is understood to be one of many options being considered by Chelsea, with Christian Benteke, Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll also on Antonio Conte's 'big-man' wish list. The Sun say Theo Walcott's £20m move to Everton could bring Aaron Lennon's Goodison Park career to an end.  The arrival of Walcott means Lennon will fall further down the right-wing pecking order with Newcastle United reportedly willing to offer the England international a January lifeline. And the rest Leicester City have expressed their interest in signing Jonny Evans making it a three-way race for the Norther Ireland international with Man City and Arsenal already in talks.  Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario has turned the opportunity to join West Ham on loan. The 24-year-old has made only 15 appearances for the Serie A side this season but is keen to 'keep his options open'.  Juventus are keeping tabs on Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, according to The Sun. 

Football transfer news and rumours: 'Liverpool consider James Rodriguez as Coutinho replacement'

For a club with £142m cash on the hip, Liverpool are having real difficulty in spending their fortune. Liverpool have so far failed to make any real headway in signing a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left the club earlier this month.  The Reds were understood to be rivalling Arsenal in a bid to bring Brazil forward Malcom to the Premier League but any deal looks to be dead in the water after Bordeaux president Stephane Martin said no talks had been held with foreign clubs and the 23-year-old was not for sale. According to the Liverpool Echo Jurgen Klopp has instead given the green light to a swoop for Real Madrid midfielder, James Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, has six months left on his two-year loan deal with the Bundesliga champions, meaning the German club would need to send the midfielder back to parent club Real Madrid to enable any deal to be completed. James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month Credit: Reuters  Malcom looks destined to remain in Ligue Un for the foreseeable future after Arsene Wenger admitted the Brazlian was unlikely to leave Bordeaux.  "I don't think we are close to [signing Malcom]. I don't think [that it will happen in January], no," said Wenger in a press conference on Thursday. Malcom looks to be going nowhere this January Credit: AFP  According to Spanish daily, AS, another Real Madrid star could be making his way to the north-west of England after Jose Mourinho gave the 'thumbs up' to bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United. The publication suggests United could spend as much £350m in order to secure the Portuguese's services in the summer. There have been growing suggestions that Ronaldo is unhappy with new contract negotiations at the Bernabeu and has told his Real Madrid teammates that he is intent on a move back to the Premier League, with Manchester United his preferred option. Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United homecoming a genuine possibility?  Credit: Getty Images  Chelsea's search for a big number nine has seen them make an inquiry for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Italian football website, Mediaset Premium. They say the he Blues are in talks with the Serie A outfit over a possible deal for Brazilian full-back Emerson and have also asked about the availability of Dzeko. The former Manchester City front-man netted 29 times in the Italian top-flight last season. Edin Dzeko is one of many strikers being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge  Credit: EPA  Dzeko is understood to be one of many options being considered by Chelsea, with Christian Benteke, Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll also on Antonio Conte's 'big-man' wish list. The Sun say Theo Walcott's £20m move to Everton could bring Aaron Lennon's Goodison Park career to an end.  The arrival of Walcott means Lennon will fall further down the right-wing pecking order with Newcastle United reportedly willing to offer the England international a January lifeline. And the rest Leicester City have expressed their interest in signing Jonny Evans making it a three-way race for the Norther Ireland international with Man City and Arsenal already in talks.  Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario has turned the opportunity to join West Ham on loan. The 24-year-old has made only 15 appearances for the Serie A side this season but is keen to 'keep his options open'.  Juventus are keeping tabs on Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, according to The Sun. 

Football transfer news and rumours: 'Liverpool consider James Rodriguez as Coutinho replacement'

For a club with £142m cash on the hip, Liverpool are having real difficulty in spending their fortune. Liverpool have so far failed to make any real headway in signing a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left the club earlier this month.  The Reds were understood to be rivalling Arsenal in a bid to bring Brazil forward Malcom to the Premier League but any deal looks to be dead in the water after Bordeaux president Stephane Martin said no talks had been held with foreign clubs and the 23-year-old was not for sale. According to the Liverpool Echo Jurgen Klopp has instead given the green light to a swoop for Real Madrid midfielder, James Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, has six months left on his two-year loan deal with the Bundesliga champions, meaning the German club would need to send the midfielder back to parent club Real Madrid to enable any deal to be completed. James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month Credit: Reuters  Malcom looks destined to remain in Ligue Un for the foreseeable future after Arsene Wenger admitted the Brazlian was unlikely to leave Bordeaux.  "I don't think we are close to [signing Malcom]. I don't think [that it will happen in January], no," said Wenger in a press conference on Thursday. Malcom looks to be going nowhere this January Credit: AFP  According to Spanish daily, AS, another Real Madrid star could be making his way to the north-west of England after Jose Mourinho gave the 'thumbs up' to bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United. The publication suggests United could spend as much £350m in order to secure the Portuguese's services in the summer. There have been growing suggestions that Ronaldo is unhappy with new contract negotiations at the Bernabeu and has told his Real Madrid teammates that he is intent on a move back to the Premier League, with Manchester United his preferred option. Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United homecoming a genuine possibility?  Credit: Getty Images  Chelsea's search for a big number nine has seen them make an inquiry for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Italian football website, Mediaset Premium. They say the he Blues are in talks with the Serie A outfit over a possible deal for Brazilian full-back Emerson and have also asked about the availability of Dzeko. The former Manchester City front-man netted 29 times in the Italian top-flight last season. Edin Dzeko is one of many strikers being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge  Credit: EPA  Dzeko is understood to be one of many options being considered by Chelsea, with Christian Benteke, Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll also on Antonio Conte's 'big-man' wish list. The Sun say Theo Walcott's £20m move to Everton could bring Aaron Lennon's Goodison Park career to an end.  The arrival of Walcott means Lennon will fall further down the right-wing pecking order with Newcastle United reportedly willing to offer the England international a January lifeline. And the rest Leicester City have expressed their interest in signing Jonny Evans making it a three-way race for the Norther Ireland international with Man City and Arsenal already in talks.  Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario has turned the opportunity to join West Ham on loan. The 24-year-old has made only 15 appearances for the Serie A side this season but is keen to 'keep his options open'.  Juventus are keeping tabs on Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, according to The Sun. 

Football transfer news and rumours: 'Liverpool consider James Rodriguez as Coutinho replacement'

For a club with £142m cash on the hip, Liverpool are having real difficulty in spending their fortune. Liverpool have so far failed to make any real headway in signing a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left the club earlier this month.  The Reds were understood to be rivalling Arsenal in a bid to bring Brazil forward Malcom to the Premier League but any deal looks to be dead in the water after Bordeaux president Stephane Martin said no talks had been held with foreign clubs and the 23-year-old was not for sale. According to the Liverpool Echo Jurgen Klopp has instead given the green light to a swoop for Real Madrid midfielder, James Rodriguez.  Rodriguez, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, has six months left on his two-year loan deal with the Bundesliga champions, meaning the German club would need to send the midfielder back to parent club Real Madrid to enable any deal to be completed. James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month Credit: Reuters  Malcom looks destined to remain in Ligue Un for the foreseeable future after Arsene Wenger admitted the Brazlian was unlikely to leave Bordeaux.  "I don't think we are close to [signing Malcom]. I don't think [that it will happen in January], no," said Wenger in a press conference on Thursday. Malcom looks to be going nowhere this January Credit: AFP  According to Spanish daily, AS, another Real Madrid star could be making his way to the north-west of England after Jose Mourinho gave the 'thumbs up' to bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United. The publication suggests United could spend as much £350m in order to secure the Portuguese's services in the summer. There have been growing suggestions that Ronaldo is unhappy with new contract negotiations at the Bernabeu and has told his Real Madrid teammates that he is intent on a move back to the Premier League, with Manchester United his preferred option. Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United homecoming a genuine possibility?  Credit: Getty Images  Chelsea's search for a big number nine has seen them make an inquiry for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Italian football website, Mediaset Premium. They say the he Blues are in talks with the Serie A outfit over a possible deal for Brazilian full-back Emerson and have also asked about the availability of Dzeko. The former Manchester City front-man netted 29 times in the Italian top-flight last season. Edin Dzeko is one of many strikers being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge  Credit: EPA  Dzeko is understood to be one of many options being considered by Chelsea, with Christian Benteke, Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll also on Antonio Conte's 'big-man' wish list. The Sun say Theo Walcott's £20m move to Everton could bring Aaron Lennon's Goodison Park career to an end.  The arrival of Walcott means Lennon will fall further down the right-wing pecking order with Newcastle United reportedly willing to offer the England international a January lifeline. And the rest Leicester City have expressed their interest in signing Jonny Evans making it a three-way race for the Norther Ireland international with Man City and Arsenal already in talks.  Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario has turned the opportunity to join West Ham on loan. The 24-year-old has made only 15 appearances for the Serie A side this season but is keen to 'keep his options open'.  Juventus are keeping tabs on Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, according to The Sun. 

Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their German first division Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen, in Leverkusen, on January 12, 2018

Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their German first division Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen, in Leverkusen, on January 12, 2018

Bayern Munich's James Rodriguez (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their German first division Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen, in Leverkusen, on January 12, 2018 (AFP Photo/SASCHA SCHUERMANN)

Robben relaxed over Bayern contract talks as other clubs circle

The father of Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has confirmed a number of clubs are interested in signing the Dutchman.

VIDEO: Bayern Munich Stars Call for VAR Help in FIFA 18 Free-Kick Challenge

​Football has really taken to this VAR thing, or at least we'd like to think so. Just this week, a 90min poll showed that a ​huge percentage of readers were in support of the technology. So it must be great, right? ​Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would certainly disagree, not with the notion that it's been a great project, but with the fact that it has been at all useful, despite being readily available. If anything, though, ​Bayern Munich's stars have benefited from the novel technology, albeit...

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