Man Utd to resist sacking Solskjaer

Manchester United are prepared to stick with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite their inconsistent start to the 2020-21 season. The Independent report that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward still trusts the 47-year-old and that the Glazers policy is to stick with the manager until it is "mathematically impossible" to qualify for the Champions League. However, the highly-rated pair of Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri are both "hugely interested" in the idea of taking over at Manchester United. Pochettino has been out of work since being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur last November and Allegri left Juventus in the summer of 2019.
Ligue 1
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Paper Round's view: Yes - Solskjaer is underachieving but he could probably be given more time. It's easy to forget that he reached three cup semi-final last season as he failed to delivered any silverware or even reach the finals. The major headache for United is that Pochettino and Allegri are both available. The Glazers don't need to sack Solskjaer - but can the club afford to miss out on the opportunity to hire a world-class manager? No. It's time to stop thinking with their hearts and start thinking with their heads. Sack Solskjaer and hire Pochettino. He might not have won a trophy in his career so far - but with United's financial freedom he could build something special at Old Trafford.
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Solskjaer 'declines' to comment on United job speculation

Dortmund prepare new Haaland contract

Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed he is "quite optimistic" that star striker Erling Haaland will agree to sign a new contract at the club. The 20-year-old only joined the Bundesliga club earlier this year in the winter transfer window, but there have already been rumours of a departure to Manchester United or Real Madrid. Watzke believes it would be a "mistake" if Haaland were to leave Dortmund next summer and has refuted claims of a release clause in the Norwegian's contract. Bild report that there is a £65 million clause which can be activated from the summer of 2022.
Paper Round's view: Haaland is smashing it at Dortmund and he's not even been at the club for a year - so why would he leave? He had the opportunity to join Manchester United in January but went to Dortmund instead - which has worked wonders for his development. The Yorkshire-born striker still has time to move to a bigger club, but he's in no rush. He's only 20 years old. A potential move to Real Madrid once Karim Benzema moves on would make a lot of sense and it could be a one for 2022. Maybe Dortmund should work on trying to increase the alleged release clause if they offer Haaland a new deal.
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Jota was Liverpool’s ‘Plan B’

The Mirror have revealed that Diogo Jota was actually Liverpool's 'Plan B' in the summer transfer window. The Portuguese forward has enjoyed the start to his career on Merseyside since arriving from Wolves in September, with seven goals in 10 appearances - including a hat-trick against Atalanta in the Champions League this week. However, the Mirror state that Jota was not Liverpool's first-choice signing. Jurgen Klopp was keen to add Timo Werner to his squad, but Liverpool elected not to join the race for his signature and the German striker went to Chelsea. Additionally, the Premier League champions weighed up a move for Watford winger Ismaila Sarr before signing Jota. The Reds ended up paying just £4 million up front in a deal worth up to £45 million for the 23-year-old.
Paper Round's view: Sometimes things just work out perfectly and the Jota transfer seems like one of those things. Liverpool faced financial difficulties during the summer transfer window due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Klopp continually stated that the club couldn't afford to spend on Werner and Liverpool ended up selling the likes of Dejan Lovren, Ki-Jana Hoever and Rhian Brewster to balance the books after signing Thiago Alcantara and Jota. The Portugese forward's playing style seems to fit Klopp's philosophy more than Werner and there are serious questions being asked about Roberto Firmino's place in Liverpool's previously-untouchable front three.
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Diogo Jota of Liverpool FC celebrates his second goal with his team-mate Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC

Image credit: Getty Images

Pickford to remain England number one

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has put his support behind Jordan Pickford as he confirmed the goalkeeper's position as England's number one. The 26-year-old has struggled for form so far this season at Everton and was even dropped to the bench by Carlo Ancelotti in the Toffees' 2-1 defeat at Newcastle last Sunday. However, Southgate stated that Pickford's performances have been "excellent" for the national team and even admitted that there are no "serious" challengers for the number one jersey. Burnley's Nick Pope and Manchester United's Dean Henderson have both been included in the latest England squad alongside Pickford for the upcoming international break.
Paper Round's view: There was always going to be questions about Pickford's performances for Southgate - but the England boss is right. Pickford has been in good form for the national team. The Everton goalkeeper has dropped some clangers for his club side, but he has been dependable for Southgate. The Three Lions manager might've been a bit harsh to his other goalkeepers though. Yes - Dean Henderson hasn't been playing many minutes for Manchester United, but Burnley's Nick Pope performed well for England against Wales in October. The problem that Pope faces is that Pickford's distribution is much more superior - and this is vital to Southgate's philosophy. But to say he isn't a serious challenger is very harsh.
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Premier League
Man Utd to step up managerial search with Pochettino and Ten Hag contenders - reports
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Spurs in talks with PSG over potential swap deal involving Ndombele and Wijnaldum - reports
23/01/2022 AT 14:11