An old face to return and save the Old Lady?

Juventus are drawing up plans for a "worst-case scenario" in case the board are forced to sack manager Andrea Pirlo, should his bad run of results continue. According to the Mail, the Italian champions are "fully behind" their boss, but are still looking at alternative options for their former midfielder. Pirlo is "much loved" by his squad but his side suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday and the Old Lady have won just two of their opening five Serie A matches this season. Former boss Massimiliano Allegri is being touted as Pirlo's potential replacement, with club president Andrea Agnelli having an "exceptional relationship" with the 53-year-old.

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Paper Round's view: It would be quite a rash move on Juventus' behalf if they were to sack Pirlo and bring Allegri back. This is Pirlo's first senior management role and it doesn't get much bigger than Juve. The club need to be patient and stand by their coach. The 41-year-old has been thrown in at the deep end during a global pandemic, with key players such as Cristiano Ronaldo missing games after receiving positive Covid-19 tests. Juventus clearly have the strongest squad in Serie A and should bounce back once Ronaldo returns. Once Pirlo begins to steady the ship again, he will have to prove he can perform on big nights in the Champions League.

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Chelsea’s centre-back problem

The Athletic have assessed the centre-back problem at Chelsea ahead of the January transfer window. The west London club have a bloated squad after failing to offload a defender in the summer and now Blues boss Frank Lampard is stuck with five centre-backs. The Athletic believe that the experienced Thiago Silva is a nailed-on starter and Kurt Zouma is expected to stay at Stamford Bridge but the futures of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori are all questioned. Lampard would ideally allow one centre-back to leave the club in January.

Paper Round's view: Chelsea can blame the coronavirus crisis for the lack of outgoing transfers this summer. The financial impacts of the global pandemic meant that less clubs were willing to dip their toes into the transfer market - especially for players with huge contracts. Rudiger was linked with an exit to Roma and Tottenham but neither move blossomed, while Tomori rejected a late opportunity to join West Ham on a season-long loan on deadline day. An exit for one of those seems the most likely and the pair will both want to be playing first-team football ahead of next summer's European Championships. Maybe a loan move for either could work in January.

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Foden set for Three Lions recall

Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden is expected to receive a recall to the England squad for November's UEFA Nations League matches against Belgium and Iceland and a friendly against the Republic of Ireland. The 20-year-old was snubbed from the Three Lions' October squad following an incident where him and Manchester United's Mason Greenwood were both sent home for breaking Covid-19 regulations in Iceland back in September. England boss Gareth Southgate decided to punish the pair by leaving them out of the Wembley triple-header in October, but has opened the door for their returns next month. Greenwood may miss out on the upcoming squad due to his lack of playing time at United so far this season.

Paper Round's view: It will be great to see Foden back in the England squad. The youngster has been playing more minutes for Manchester City this season due to the summer exit of club legend David Silva. Foden's style of play is much-needed in the current England squad, which has lacked a creative spark in the centre of midfield at times. Obviously both him and Greenwood will deeply regret their mistake in Iceland, but the pair will be looking to leave that behind them ahead of next summer's European Championships. Greenwood will hope to receive a call-up too - especially if the squad is bigger than usual due to the added friendly at Wembley.

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Pereira handed new WBA contract

West Bromwich Albion have decided to hand Matheus Pereira a bumper new contract following his impressive start to the Premier League season, according to the Telegraph. The 24-year-old only permanently joined the Baggies back in August, after spending the entire 2019-20 season on loan at the Hawthorns. Pereira signed for £8.25 million from Sporting and was given a contract worth £30,000 a week. However, the Midlands side are preparing to increase his weekly wage to £45,000 per week, which would make the Brazilian winger one of the highest earners at the club.

Paper Round's view: It might seem strange to offer a player a new deal just two months after he signed his first contract, but West Brom are showing their appreciation for Pereira. The Brazilian has been one of the Baggies' shining lights since their promotion to the Premier League and it's nice that the club are rewarding him for his impressive performances. Additionally, West Brom are probably preparing for the fact that Pereira will have turned some heads. By handing him a new and improved contract, it will increase his market value. This means the Premier League side can demand a higher asking price if the 24-year-old were to leave the Hawthorns next summer.

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