Liverpool, Bayern and Barca battle over Salzburg youngster – Paper Round

The next Haaland?

Liverpool are already plotting their deals for the winter transfer window, with the Mirror (via Mundo Deportivo) reporting that the Reds are taking a closer look at Red Bull Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi. The 19-year-old has been linked with Barcelona and former club Bayern Munich, but Liverpool will look to gazump their transfer rivals by making a mid-season move. The report states that Liverpool’s hopes have been boosted by the fact that Barca “have reservations” over completing a deal with Salzburg, especially due to their “preferred route” of selling to their German peers RB Leipzig.

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Paper Round’s view: Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Takumi Minamino, Ibrahima Konate… what do all these players have in common? They have all played for RB Salzburg and Liverpool. Will Adeyemi continue the trend? The teenager is said to have attracted the interest of Barcelona and Bayern Munich too. Barca are notoriously struggling with their finances, but Bayern is an interesting option. Adeyemi spent two years with the German champions as a child and was born in Munich. Liverpool will need to move quickly and January would make sense for them as they are set to lose Mane and Mohamed Salah to the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Man Utd to hand Lingard a new deal

Manchester United have entered negotiations with Jesse Lingard over a contract extension at Old Trafford. The England international was linked with an exit all summer after impressing for West Ham United on a six-month loan spell from January, but Lingard ended up staying at his boyhood club. The 28-year-old’s current contract is set to expire at the end of this season and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to extend his stay at Old Trafford, admitting the club “see him as a Man United player in the future”.

Paper Round’s view: Lingard returned to Manchester United in search of first-team football following his scintillating loan spell in east London. He suffered a setback before the season started when he tested positive for Covid-19, but Lingard hasn’t started a match so far in this campaign. The arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo are likely to limit his chance even more… so why would he hang around at Old Trafford? It’s always difficult to leave your boyhood club, but the power will be in Lingard’s hands if he runs down his contract and leaves for free next summer.

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Fati in contract talks with Barca

Ansu Fati is edging closer to agreeing a contract extension with Barcelona, according to Marca. The 18-year-old, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, is keen on staying at the Camp Nou and his agent Jorge Mendes arrived for negotiations with the board on Thursday. The super agent is set to meet with club officials for a second time in the next few days in order to agree the final details of the contract extension. Fati’s current deal is set to expire in the summer of 2022, but Barcelona have the option to trigger an extension.

Paper Round’s view: This is exactly what Barcelona need to be doing now. The Catalan club have to identify which players are going to be part of the rebuild – and Fati is ready to be the poster boy of the new Barcelona era. The teenager was handed the number 10 shirt, which was inherited after the shock exit of Lionel Messi this summer. That pretty much shows him how much faith the club have in him. That shirt means more than any contract or pay rise, but it will be music to the ears of Barca fans when they hear the confirmation of a new deal for Fati.

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A new role for Foden

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly exploring the possibility of giving Phil Foden a new tactical role this season. The Telegraph reveal that the 21-year-old has been deployed in a central-midfield role during training, despite excelling in a wide-forward position throughout last season and at the European Championships for England. Foden could be set to join the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva in the deeper role after compatriot and left-sided forward Jack Grealish joined City for a £100-million fee during the summer transfer window.

Paper Round’s view: City really do have an embarrassment of riches in their squad. There were questions on whether Grealish would be used in a central-midfield role upon his arrival at the Etihad, but it looks like he will take up the left-forward position, meaning that Foden will be forced to adjust. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for Foden. His work-rate, creativity and calmness on the ball are all traits that could see him excel in central midfield too. It’s tough competition, but there’s tough competition everywhere in the City squad.

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Rodgers says it would be a 'crime' if Leicester players dont 'learn' from Napoli draw

Brendan Rodgers feels his Leicester side will learn from letting a two-goal lead slip against Napoli in the Europa League.

The Foxes made a fine start to their European campaign and were in control when Harvey Barnes netted on 64 minutes to add to Ayoze Perez’s early opener.

However, Napoli fought back superbly at the King Power Stadium – and two goals from Victor Osimhen earned the Serie A side a point.

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Rodgers felt there were positives to take from the performance, and wants his side to learn the lessons of throwing away a lead.

“Disappointed with the end result, especially after we were 2-0 up,” Foxes boss Rodgers told BT Sport. “There were lots of exciting moments in the game. The two goals were outstanding.”

Rodgers felt match-sharpness played a part as his side fatigued as the contest progressed.

“I think we tired a little bit,” Rodgers said. “There were some players getting minutes into their legs.

“There are things for us to improve on at this level against top teams and one is keeping the ball better.

If we can keep the ball more for longer periods then you won’t tire so quickly.

“The effort and mentality was very good. It is a shame we could not close it out.

“There were so many good parts.

“The crime is not giving away the two goals, the crime is if you don’t learn. It is something I am sure this young team will do is learn.

“It was a great football game to watch and a game that we can learn from.”

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'It’s been terrible' – Nuno downbeat as Bergwijn and Lucas add to Tottenham injury woes

Nuno Espirito Santo has lamented Tottenham’s run with injuries after Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura joined a mounting list of players in the treatment room.

Spurs drew 2-2 at Rennes in their Europa Conference League opener on Thursday evening.

It was a decent point against lively opposition roared on by a vibrant crowd, but the draw came at a cost as Bergwijn and Lucas Moura picked up ankle injuries.

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Both are doubtful for the meeting with Chelsea on Sunday, and have joined the likes of Son Heung-min and Eric Dier in the treatment room.

Nuno does not yet know the extent of the problems facing his wingers, but is frustrated by the recent turn of events.

“It feels painful, it feels really bad,” Nuno said when asked about Bergwijn and Lucas Moura. “They are being taken care of by the medical department. But it’s been tough.

It’s been terrible. I must be honest. Let’s not hide behind nothing. After the Watford game, everything that has happened has not been very good for us.

“But this is football and we know it’s a moment we have to overcome. Today, we tried to show the players solutions, thinking about the game on Sunday. But it’s about overcoming obstacles. That will make us stronger for the future, for sure.”

Nuno picked up the Manager of the Month award for a perfect run in August, but Spurs were beaten by Crystal Palace after the international break and have a big London derby with Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

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FIFA says majority of fans in favour of more frequent World Cups

A FIFA poll on the feasibility of changing the frequency of World Cups showed the majority of fans in all age groups want it to be kept on four-year cycles.

FIFA polled 15,000 people in 23 countries, as it seeks to push forward with its proposal for a World Cup every two years.

The world governing body released a statement saying the majority of respondents are in favour of increasing the frequency of World Cups, however this figure is the combination of the 11%, 30% and 14% who want a tournament every one, two or three years respectively. 45% of those polled are in favour of a World Cup every four years.

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In a statement, FIFA said: “Based on initial results, the following conclusions can be drawn:

“The majority of fans would like to see a more frequent men’s FIFA World Cup; of this majority the preferred frequency is biennial. There are considerable differences between the so-called traditional markets and the developing football markets and younger generations in all regions are more open and interested in change than older generations.”

When age is factored in, every group is overwhelmingly in favour of keeping things as they are at the moment.

FIFA added in its media release on Thursday that an expanded survey involving 100,000 people is currently underway.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is heading up FIFA’s push for a World Cup every two years, with the proposal receiving pushback from UEFA and the European Leagues – which represents the continent’s divisions, including the Premier League.

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England climb to third in FIFA world rankings

England have ascended to third in the world rankings following the latest round of internationals.

Following their run to the final of Euro 2020, England returned to action in World Cup qualifying – and Gareth Southgate’s side claimed 4-0 wins over Hungary and Andorra before a 1-1 draw with Poland.

The seven-point haul was enough to lift England to third in FIFA’s rankings, which is their highest position.

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England were last at third in 2012 when Roy Hodgson was at the helm.

Belgium retained their spot at the top of the rankings, with Brazil in second place.

Wales are unmoved in 19th place following a win over Belarus and draws with Finland and Estonia.

Scotland rose four places to 45th on the back of wins over Moldova and Austria, with Northern climbing by the same margin to 47th thanks to wins over Lithuania and Estonia.

Republic of Ireland dropped from 47th to 50th after a loss to Portugal and draws with Azerbaijan and Serbia.

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Celtic fall to defeat at Real Betis in Europa League opener

Celtic’s Europa League campaign kicked off in disappointing fashion as they let a two-goal lead slip to lose 4-3 at Real Betis.

The Bhoys made a rapid start in Seville and were in control through a goal from Albian Ajeti and Josip Juranovic’s penalty.

Juan Miranda’s quicksilver feet set Betis on the comeback trail as he danced through the Celtic defence to cut the deficit on 32 minutes.

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Juanmi’s first of two on the night levelled the contest on 35 minutes. His second followed hot on the heels of Borja Iglesias putting Betis ahead – with Anthony Ralston‘s late header proving a mere consolation for Celtic.

Bayer Leverkusen came from behind to beat Ferencvaros 2-1 thanks to goals from Exequiel Palacios and Florian Wirtz, with the result meaning Celtic are joint-bottom of Group G.

An own goal from Thomas Strakosha was enough for Galatasaray to beat Lazio 1-0, while the other game in Group E saw Lokomotiv Moscow and Marseille draw 1-1. The Russian side earned a point when Faustino Anjorin’s goal on 89 minutes cancelled out a Cengiz Under penalty.

Crvena Zvezda are top of Group F after beating Braga 2-1, while FC Midtjylland and Ludogorets drew 1-1.

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Solskjaer expects Cavani to return from injury next week

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects Edinson Cavani to return to training with Manchester United next week.

The Uruguayan, who had a successful first season at Old Trafford, suffered a muscle injury in a friendly with Stoke City.

As such, his only appearance for United so far this season was a 37-minute cameo from the bench against Wolves in August.

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Solskjaer says the Uruguay international is making good progress, and could feature against West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

“Edinson will hopefully start training with us after the weekend, maybe Monday, so maybe [he’ll be] involved on Wednesday,” the United boss said.

United have Cristiano Ronaldo back at the club to lead the attack, so there is less pressure to rush Cavani back.

Solskjaer wants the 34-year-old to be firing on all cylinders when he returns, and feels Cavani has a huge role to play.

“He had a fantastic season last season, the impact he made when he got his fitness,” Solskjaer said. “He struggled with niggly injuries early on.

We feel that to get the best out of him this season we need to get him 100 percent fit and not rush him.

“We’ve got a strong squad that will cope with having to let players heal and not risk any further injuries.

“I see Edinson having a massive impact, he’s that type of personality and player. He can’t wait to play and he’s working really hard to get back on the pitch.”

The meeting with West Ham in the cup next week is the second of a double header at the London Stadium, as they first travel to the capital to face the Hammers in the Premier League on Sunday.

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Leicester City v Napoli – Follow LIVE

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Trump loses thrilling US Open Pool battle with Theron

Judd Trump’s involvement in the US Open Pool Championship is over following a ding-dong battle with Jason Theron in Atlantic City.

After suffering a chastening defeat at the hands of Jason Shaw, Trump dropped into the losers’ side of the bracket.

He found in South African player Theron an immovable object, going down in a thriller 11-10.

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Trump did not look out of place, and pulled off a jump shot – something he felt he would be unable to do at the start of the tournament – and the experience will be invaluable should he continue to mix pool and snooker.

The 2019 world champion took the opening rack, showing his snooker prowess with a cute cannon on the three ball and a long pot on the nine.

Trump knocked in two balls off the break in the second rack but ran out of position, and Theron stepped in to level. It was a sign of things to come.

Trump secured racks three and four to open up a cushion, but it was the only time in the contest there was more than one rack between them.

The sixth rack saw Trump draw on his snooker skills, with a brilliant snooker setting up a clearance.

In the eighth, Trump pulled off a jump shot to pot the two ball, but it did not reap any rewards as Theron levelled the match.

The players shared the next nine frames, and in the 18th Theron had a huge slice of luck as he laid a fortuitous snooker – for which he apologised – and it allowed him to clear up to level at 9-9.

Trump led again at 10-9, moving him within a rack of victory, but he left the two ball in the jaws of the pocket in the 20th to allow Theron to level.

The roles were reversed in the final rack, as Theron laid a superb snooker. Trump found the escape, but could not get the two ball safe and the South African cleared up advance.

Trump will now shift focus to the Northern Ireland Open, with the world number two set to defend the title in Belfast starting on October 9.

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