Vertonghen: Tottenham Can Play In Europa League

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Tottenham are on the verge of crashing out of the UCL, but will try to stay in Europe by qualifying for the Europa League, according to Jan Vertonghen.

The North London club are playing their last UCL group game against CSKA Moscow, but will miss out on the last-16 and will only qualify for the Europa league with a win over the Russian club.

Vertonghen says Spurs remain hungry for continental football and tipped the club for a run to the Europa League final.

“I love playing in Europe,” he told a news conference. “Obviously I prefer to play in the Champions League but we have the squad and the fitness to cope with two games a week, and I prefer to play two games a week than just one, so we’ll do everything to win that game.

“We are very disappointed not to go through in the Champions League but Tottenham wants to win trophies, wants to compete at the highest level and the Europa League is a good competition, a perfect competition for us to compete for the final or to go as far as possible.

“As a club, we raised our standards and we’re all here for that. Since the manager came, we created a new mentality and there’s a lot of different things going on at this club that are very positive.

“The fact we are disappointed to be out of the Champions League is very positive, as that’s where we want to play and where we belong as well.”

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan Talks About His Relationship With Manger Jose Mourinho 

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan admits he expected to start more games for Manchester United this season but says it was not Jose Mourinho’s fault.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan moved to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund in a £26.3m deal in the summer but was taken off at half-time in his first Premier League start against Manchester City in September and did not feature again in the league until late November.

“There was no bad relation with him [Mourinho], it was always good but the problem wasn’t him, it was me,” he told Sky Sports News HQ.

“Now I understand why I have got my chance and I will keep it, I will hold it, because it is very important for me to play, to be a part of Manchester United.

“I was thinking that I would be here as a starting line-up player but when I arrived I saw that there were 25 players fighting for their place and I understood that it wasn’t going to be easy. I had a bad game against Manchester City but that is in the past so I kept working. I have done a great job to get my chance back and I think I did it a really long way until I start playing.”

Mkhitaryan has impressed in recent weeks and hopes his involvement in Mourinho’s first-team plans represents a turning point in his Manchester United career.

“I hope so because it is really very important to play in every game, doing your best, because if you are not going to do your best then you are not going to play in the next game.

“The manager has a lot of choice, he has five or six players in that position but I know that playing now I know what I have done bad in the past and what good I can do in the future. So I know how I can help the team and I will be doing my best.”

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Tottenham Preparing To Offer Defender Toby Alderweireld A New Contract 

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Tottenham are preparing to negotiate a new contract for Toby Alderweireld, according to Sky Sports.

It is understood that discussions will take place once the player is fully fit and back playing regularly.

Alderweireld has been out since October with a knee injury but boss Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he expects the Belgium international to feature against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League clash on Wednesday.

The centre-back, signed from Atletico Madrid in 2015, has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal at White Hart Lane.

Spurs are also understood to be in the process of renewing contracts for a host of first-team players, which includes club captain Hugo Lloris.

Last week, Harry Kane added his name to a long list of players that have signed new deals since the start of the season, including Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Dele Alli.

Pochettino has also dismissed reports in France that Alderweireld has a £25.4m release clause in his current deal.

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“Gelson Martins Won’t Be Leaving Sporting Lisbon Despite Interest From Barcelona And Real Madrid “- Agent 

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Barcelona and Real target Gelson Martins will not leave Sporting Lisbon in January, according to the player’s representative.

The winger has impressed this season and is reportedly a target for Spain’s big two.

However, Martins’ representative Ulisses Santos says neither club has produced an offer for his client.

“There is no proposal. He is a Sporting player and will continue being so in January. For sure, he will not leave. He has a long contract and will not leave,” he is quoted as saying in AS.

Martins is currently under contract at Sporting until 2021 with a €60m buyout clause. Santos has hinted that the wideman could sign a new deal soon.

He added: “We are in conversations and we will see what happens. The atmosphere is good and I am sure that we will reach a good understanding.”

According to A Bola, Gelson has a contract at Sporting until 2021, with a release clause set at €60m (£50.6m, $64.6m). Yet, Sporting reportedly want to hand him a new deal in order to increase that clause to €80m

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Football Headlines : All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips This Evening 

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Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has a €98m release clause in his contract, although it cannot be triggered by Premier League rivals Arsenal, according to Football Leaks.

Everton have been given a boost after reports emerged claiming Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte has rejected the offer of a new deal at St Mary’s.

Everton director of football Steve Walsh has returned to the King Power Stadium to lure the Foxes’ European scout Dave Worthington to Goodison Park.


Spurs have begun discussions with Toby Alderweireld’s agent about extending the Belgium international’s stay in north London.

West Ham are lining up loan moves for Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini and Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in January.

None of Tottenham’s first-team squad have buyout clauses in their deals at White Hart Lane, according to the club.


Manchester City are prepared to offload goalkeeper Joe Hart – who is currently on a season-long loan at Torino – for as little as £10m at the end of the campaign, but only if the England international moves abroad, according to reports in the British press.


Sunderland will have to battle with Rangers for the signature of young Motherwell midfielder Chris Cadden.

Newcastle are hoping to sign a creative midfield player in January, with Porto’s Hector Herrera believed to be their first-choice target.


West Brom are keen to hand midfielder Chris Brunt a contract extension in January, say reports.

Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack, who has struggled in front of goal so far this season, “faces a pivotal four weeks” to rescue his career at Villa Park, according to reports in the British press.

West Brom have joined Southampton and West Ham in the race for highly rated Montpellier playmaker Ryad Boudebouz.


West Brom are trying to convince Saido Berahino to put pen to paper on a new deal at the Hawthorns as manager Tony Pulis claims he could be a £30m frontman.


Stoke boss Mark Hughes has reignited his interest in Malaga striker Sandro Ramirez, although the Welshman faces competition for the former Barcelona player’s signature from Southampton, say reports.

Stoke have joined the race for AC Milan’s 16 year-old centre-back Moris Sportelli, according to reports in the Italian media.


Southampton central defender Jose Fonte has admitted he is frustrated with life on the South Coast as questions grow over the Portuguese’s future at the Saints.


Hull have suffered a blow after it emerged they are set to be without record-signing Abel Hernandez until after Christmas with the Uruguay international striker facing a hernia operation.


Blackburn Rovers manager Owen Coyle is confident striker Sam Gallagher, who is on a season-long loan from Southampton, will remain at Ewood Park until the end of the campaign.


Fenerbahce and AC Milan are hoping to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding Cesc Fabregas’ future at Chelsea by taking the Spain midfielder on an initial six-month loan deal in January, with a view to then signing the player permanently in the summer, say reports.


Derby and Newcastle want to sign Rangers midfielder Josh Windass in January.


Bob Bradley’s position as Swansea boss is under threat with the club currently undertaking a review about how the Swans can move away from the relegation zone, according to reports.


Reading are lining up a swoop for Brentford striker Scott Hogan, say reports.


Manager-less Rotherham United are studying dozens of job applications before choosing their next head coach.


On-loan Chelsea defender Nathan Ake says he is more than happy to see out his season-long loan spell at Bournemouth.

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Contract Talks Between Southampton And Manchester United Target Jose Fonte Breaks Down 

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Jose Fonte’s contract talks with Southampton have broken down, according to ESPN.

The Portugal defender, who is captain of the Saints, is entering the final 18 months of his contract at the club.

He has been linked with a move to Manchester United in the past in the British press.

Fonte is angry that Southampton were not willing to offer him a longer contract when they tabled a pay rise to £80,0000-a-week after he helped Portugal win Euro 2016.

The Saints skipper is 33 later this month and the club were happy with the length of his deal, which expires in June 2018.

“There’s no contract on the table,” said the centre-half.

“There was in the summer, they offered me a pay rise. They didn’t offer me a new contract.

“They offered me a pay rise, which I’m entitled to discuss with my agent and entitled to say no to as well.

“I’m entitled to have my own opinion, so apart from that, that’s it.”

Fonte is also annoyed at being left out of Saints’ Europa League campaign by boss Claude Puel.

“Of course I’m disappointed,” he said. “I want to play every game.

“I’m fit to play every game. I’m always on the dance floor – I’m always fit. I worked really hard last year to play Europa League.

“I have to accept the decision from the manager and be ready when I’m called to play.

“If I’m called to play Europa League, I will be there, as simple as that. It is frustrating, but it’s football. Like the manager said, he wants people to be 100 per cent fit for every game. You have to accept the decision and move on.”

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Real Madrid’s  €8 Million Bid For 17-year-old Striker Alexander Isak Rejected 

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Real Madrid have failed with an €8m offer for Swedish wonderkid Alexander Isak, reports Expressen.

The 17-year-old, who has been likened to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is arguably Europe’s most-coveted young striker, with Bayern, West Ham and Chelsea also among his admirers.

European champions Real are very keen on the teenager and tabled an €8m offer, although it was turned down by the forward’s current club AIK. Madrid had hoped to finalise a deal before Christmas.

Isak is under contract until 2018.

AIK sporting director Bjorn Wesstrom has said: ”There are a lot of rumours and speculation about Alexander right now.

”As usual, we do not comment on anything surrounding it.

The European Champions are likely to come back in with an increased offer but Chelsea are confident they can beat the Spanish giants to Isak.

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“Arsenal Must Win Trophies Or Risk Losing Alexis Sanchez” 

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Arsenal need to win a trophy this season if they are to convince Alexis Sanchez that his future lies at the Emirates, says George Boateng.

“Let’s not forget where the boy came from,” he told Premier League Daily. “He came from Barcelona, a top club, always guaranteed to be in the Champions League and where he was closer to winning trophies than he is now at Arsenal.

“It’s not about the money when you are a player like Sanchez, believe me. He’s had a fantastic career and a decent wage for the last 10 years.

“So in his case, it’s about prestige and achieving success. If Arsenal want to keep him they need to secure silverware.

“That will give them a chance to fend off interest from the European big guns if they can say to Sanchez ‘Look, you can stay here and win trophies with us.’ Without that, it will be difficult.”

Boateng believes Sanchez has been “lethal” in a more advanced role this season, and says he is suprised that it has taken Wenger so long to adjust the Chilean’s position.

“Sanchez has been amazing this season so far and his performance against West Ham just sums him up. His ability and control of the ball is just immense, not just against West Ham but in previous matches as well,” the Dutchman added.

“People forget this season he has travelled all the way to South America and he comes back and gives 90 minutes on the pitch (against Manchester United) and he often either gives an assist or scores.

“I start to wonder how it has taken Wenger so long to figure out that when he plays up front he is even more lethal.”

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Arsene Wenger Planning Bid For AC Milan Striker Carlos Bacca 

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​Arsenal are preparing an offer for AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca, according to reports in the Italian press.

The Rossoneri are understood to be happy to let the Colombian player leave in the January transfer window, with the 30-year-old having scored just six league goals so far this season.

Arsene Wenger is looking to improve his attacking options ahead of the title run-in in the second half of the season.

And reports claim that the Gunners boss sees the Colombia international as the right addition to his squad.

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella has also failed to rule out the striker’s exit two weeks ago.

‘Can Bacca leave in January? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s too early to talk about it,’ he said.

‘We won’t talk about the market. For now, Bacca is a Milan player.’

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‘Won’t Be Long’  :Bayern Munich Close To Announcing New Robert Lewandowski Contract 

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Robert Lewandowski will sign a new contract at Bayern shortly, according to his representative.

The Poland striker has been a key player for Munich since joining them from Dortmund on a free transfer in 2014.
He has been linked with European champions Real at various times over the past few seasons, but he is set to commit his future to the Bavarians.

Speaking to Kicker, his agent Maik Barthel said: “It’s not too long before we sign [a new contract].”

His current deal expires in 2019, but his club are acting fast to keep their star man and are expected to make him one of their highest paid players.

Back in August, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – the Bayern’s CEO, told Bild: “We have had several talks with his agents, we’re ready to extend it. We certainly won’t sell him.

“We are always ready to extend contracts prematurely and adjust their conditions to the present situation and market value.

“We won’t be able to pay wages similar to those at Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

“We are paying very good salaries, but these clubs pay crazy wages in some cases.”

So far this campaign, Lewandowski has struck 16 times in all competitions, but his goals have failed to propel Carlo Ancelotti’s men to the top of the Bundesliga, with RB Leipzig taking Germany by storm and are currently topping the table by three points, going undefeated in the process.

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Report : Lionel Messi Advices James Rodriguez To Quit Real Madrid 

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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has reportedly urged James Rodriguez to leave Real Madrid once and for all to showcase his talent.

Lionel Messi is said to have sought out James Rodriguez following Saturday’s 1-1 El Clasico draw and told him to move on.

Messi said to Rodriguez that he needs to find a new club to get regular football and prove to the world again he can justify a huge transfer fee, according to Sportskeeda.

Rodriguez was once again left on the bench in the showdown between Spain’s biggest sides.

Bernabeu boss Zinedine Zidane preferred Mariano Diaz as a late replacement for Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park.

James Rodriguez joined Real Madrid in July 2014, from Monaco after his excellent displays at FIFA World Cup 2014 impressed the Los Vikings.

Although the 25-year-old midfielder has a good start at the Los Blancos, he has been struggling with game time at the Bernabeu, since Zidane joined the club replacing manager Rafael Benitez.

The Colombian midfielder has run out of favor at the club and while the French manager is not happy with the player’s efforts, he believes that Rodriguez should not move out of the club.

The Real manager states that the midfielder will be an important player at the club and insists that he will get more game time in the future.

Rodriguez has made only 12 appearances this season, contributing with 2 goals and an assist so far. He played just 29 minutes in the La Liga since September 21st and although it was expected that Gareth Bale’s injury will put him ahead in the pecking order, nonetheless, the Colombian international was overlooked.

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What’s The Big Deal, It’s Just 60 Points… Right?

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WRONG! It’s not just 60 points.. Yeah alright, 22 different players had hit the 60 point mark in NBA games before now so why is this one special?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, the other Splash brother, catch and shoot specialist, scored 60 points in the 142 -106 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Now let’s talk about why I think this was just outrageously amazing, Klay scored 60 points in 29 minutes. TWENTY NINE MINUTES! Statistically, this is insane. You can’t even score 60 points in 29 minutes on NBA 2k (I dare you). For perspective, let me bring the greatest ever scoring game in NBA history.

On the night of March 2, 1962, the late great Wilt Chamberlain became the first and only player to score 100 points in an NBA game, that’s four 12 -minute quarters. Chamberlain scored 100 points in 48 minutes, that’s 2.08 points per minute. Klay scored 60 in 29, an average of 2.07 per minute. Amazing.

Now some might say, well Kobe scored 60 on his farewell game at the end of last season, that’s true but then Kobe played for 42 minutes and took an outrageous 50 shots also. Kobe’s shot 22 of 50 from the field, 6 of 21 from the 3 point line. Klay shot 21 of 33 from the field, 8 of 14 on threes for his 60.

60 points

The Warriors bench watch as Klay Thompson goes for 60

Klay Thompson joins Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as the only active NBA players with 60 or more points in a game and becomes the player with the highest career high on the Warriors roster as fellow superstars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both have career highs of 54 points. He also becomes the fourth Warrior in franchise history to put up 60 in a game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Joe Fulks.

Klay made history as the first player since the shot clock was introduced to score 60 points in less than 30 minutes.

60 points

One fun fact about the game, the Indiana Pacers has Monta Ellis guarding Klay, ironically, Monta Ellis left the Warriors to join the Pacers in 2012 and that move led to a then 22-year-old Klay’s ascent.

Take a look at his shot chart from the game.

60 Points

One can only wonder what would’ve happened if Coach Steve Kerr had let him play in the fourth quarter, would Klay have hit Wilt’s 100? or at least surpassed Kobe’s 81 points? but one thing is for sure though, Thompson now has one of the best scoring games the league has ever seen.

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Xavi Confident Lionel Messi Will Remain At Barcelona 

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Lionel Messi is happy at Barcelona and will not leave the Nou Camp, according to the La Liga champions’ former captain Xavi Hernandez.

“Messi is content at that football club and happy with his life,” Xavi said.

“It’s completely logical that many clubs will want to recruit him to improve their football, but I can’t see a situation where he leaves Barcelona. He’s so happy there.”

Xavi is Barca’s all-time appearance leader and was the heartbeat of the club’s midfield from 1998-2015, spending nine years in the first team alongside Messi, who made his debut in 2004.

“I’m in contact with Messi and I think he’s happy and satisfied. He knows Barcelona is the best club in the world for him and I can’t see him in any other club,” Xavi, who now plays for Al Sadd in Qatar, told radio station Cope on Friday.

Messi is Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer but has yet to commit to an extension on his current contract, which runs out in 2018. His buy-out clause is set at 250 million euros ($266.03 million).

“I haven’t spoken to him about his new contract but if I was to bet, I wouldn’t expect Messi to go to another club. He could get more money elsewhere but I don’t think he is interested in just money, he is more concerned about stability,” Xavi added.

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Jamie Carragher Believes Arsenal Would Consider Replacing Arsene Wenger With Eddie Howe

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Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will “come into Arsenal’s thinking” as a replacement for Arsene Wenger when the Frenchman finally opts to end his spell in charge of the Gunners, according to Jamie Carragher.

“We want to see English managers getting good jobs and look at the job he has done at Bournemouth,” the former England international told MNF.

“The big thing for Arsenal when Wenger eventually leaves is, will it be a case of: ‘We want a shift, or do we want to continue building on Wenger’s philosophy?’

“If they are not winning titles or European Cups over the next few years – as I see Wenger staying and signing a new contract – then the issue for the board and the supporters will be they probably will want a change.

“But because Wenger is so influential and runs right through the club, how will that affect the club?

“So I am sure Howe will come into their thinking, but it is a big jump from Bournemouth to Arsenal as a manager. But if anyone in that bottom half has the credibility to do that, then by the way he has set up his team, Eddie Howe does.”

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Liverpool Payed Mario Balotelli £1 Million For Not Receiving A Red Card 

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Mario Balotelli was given a £1m bonus by Liverpool for not being sent off more than three times in a season, according to reports.

The 26-year-old signed for the Reds in August 2014 but scored just four goals in 28 appearances before being shipped out on loan to AC Milan the following season.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Balotelli’s contract featured a number of a series of incentives aimed at making him behave “in a manner befitting of a Liverpool player”.


Appearances: 16 (six as substitute)

Fouls per game: 1.8

Yellow cards: 5

Red cards: 0

Premier League statistics only 

His paperwork reportedly stated: “If during each season of the term of this contract the player is not dismissed from the field of play on three or more occasions for violent conduct, spitting at an opponent or any other person, for using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures and/or for dissent by word or action… then on the 30th June at the end of each season he shall receive a bonus payment of £1m.

Balotelli picked up seven yellow cards during the 2014-15 season and, after spending the following campaign in Serie A, saw his time at Anfield come to an end by being sold to French club Nice.

Liverpool offloaded Balotelli to Ligue 1 leaders Nice in the summer and he has enjoyed happier times after taking a substantial pay-cut.

Balotelli has seven goals in nine appearances in the French top flight and the Europa League this season.

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Duncan Watmore Ruled Out For The Rest Of The Season After Sustaining Knee Injury 

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Sunderland forward Duncan Watmore has been ruled out for the rest of the season after incurring cruciate ligament damage

Duncan Watmore suffered the knee injury during last weekend’s 2-1 win over Leicester City in the Premier League and had to be stretchered off.

A scan on Monday revealed the extent of the damage, which will keep him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Black Cats boss David Moyes has already lost Paddy McNair and Lynden Gooch to long-term injuries.

Duncan Watmore went down following a challenge from Christian Fuchs, despite the Leicester defender appearing to win the ball cleanly.

The clash resulted in Watmore being stretchered off, and Moyes feared the worst for the 22-year-old after the match.

“It’s his knee. We’ll need to get it assessed properly and find out exactly what it is, but it doesn’t look good for him at the moment,” Moyes said at the time.

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Bale Gives Update On Ankle Injury

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Real Madrid forward, Gareth Bale has given an update on his ankle injury after his surgery and it is positive.

The Wales international sustained an injury to the peroneal tendon of his right ankle in the 2-1 UCL win over Sporting CP.

He underwent surgery last week and is expected to miss at least four months of action, he has taken to social media to say he is feeling better everyday.

He said: “My recovery is going well. My ankle is feeling better every day.

“Good luck to the boys against Dortmund [in the Champions League on Wednesday] and I’ll be watching here from home. Hala Madrid!”

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Urges His Manchester United Teammates To ‘Fight Harder’

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Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has called on his teammates to “fight more” if they are to start turning draws into wins.

The Red Devils have won just one of their last five Premier League matches, with the remaining four all finishing with a share of the points.

The most recent of those came at Goodison Park on Sunday when a late Leighton Baines penalty cancelled out Ibrahimovic’s eighth goal of the season for a 1-1 draw.

“I scored but in the end it only got me and the team one point,” the 35-year-old Swede told United’s website.

“I would prefer not to score but win the game. We have to fight more and do more to get the three points we need.

“It was very disappointing obviously because the last couple of games in the league have not had the outcome that we wanted especially after a good performance.”

The Toffees draw sees United remain sixth in the Premier League table, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.

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FA Cup Third Round : Manchester United To Face Reading. Arsenal, Chelsea And Liverpool Also Get Lower League Opponents 

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Manchester United have been drawn at home to Reading in the third round of the FA Cup, while Arsenal will travel to Championship Preston North End.

Royals manager Jaap Stam played for the Red Devils between 1998 and 2001, winning the Treble with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger’s charges head to Deepdale in a clash of the two Invincibles – the only two clubs in English top-flight history to go a whole league season unbeaten.

West Ham United will host Manchester City in the pick of the all-Premier League ties, with Everton set to welcome Premier League champions Leicester City.

Chelsea and Liverpool will play lower-league sides, with the Blues hosting Peterborough United or Notts County, and the Reds travelling to League Two Newport County or Plymouth Argyle.

The 32 third-round ties will be played across the weekend of 6-9 January 2017.

FA Cup third round draw in full

Ties will take place between 6 and 9 January.

Ipswich Town v Lincoln City

Barrow v Rochdale

Manchester United v Reading

Hull City v Swansea City

Sunderland v Burnley

QPR v Blackburn Rovers

Millwall v AFC Bournemouth

West Ham v Manchester City

Brighton v Charlton or MK Dons

Blackpool v Barnsley

Wigan v Nottingham Forest

Birmingham v Newcastle United

Chelsea v Notts County or Peterborough United

Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday

West Brom v Derby County

Everton v Leicester City

Liverpool v Newport County or Plymouth Argyle

Wycombe Wanderers v Stourbridge or Northampton Town

Watford v Burton Albion

Preston North End v Arsenal

Cardiff City v Fulham

Stoke City v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Cambridge v Leeds United

Bristol City v Shrewsbury or Fleetwood

Huddersfield Town v Port Vale

Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa

Brentford v Halifax or Eastleigh

Bolton Wanderers v Crystal Palace

Norwich City v Southampton

Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon

Accrington Stanley v Luton Town

Rotherham United v Oxford United or Macclesfield Town

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Jamie Carragher Rules Out Joe Hart Joining Liverpool 

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Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher does not think Liverpool will sign Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart next summer.

The England international is currently spending a season-long loan at Serie A club Torino having been made surplus to requirements at the Etihad by new City boss Pep Guardiola.

“I’d certainly ask the question, and that is not just because of what we have said about [Loris] Karius in the last couple of weeks,” the former Reds captain told MNF.

“You are talking about a title winner, who has won it a couple of times. I do not think Hart is in the same class as a [Thibaut] Courtois or a [David] De Gea, but he is at the next level and really close to them.

“But the problem for Liverpool is that when you try and take a player like that from a City or a Chelsea, the wages are so high that could a goalkeeper come in and be your highest-paid player?

“Things like that cause a problem and it is easy to say: ‘Let’s go and buy him,’ but a manager will be thinking: ‘How does that affect the club?’

“Joe Hart quality wise? Of course, but I do not see it happening for Liverpool.”

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Mats Hummels Admits He Came ‘Very Close’ To Signing For Manchester United In 2014

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Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels has revealed he was “very close” to joining Man Utd in 2014.

The German, who signed for Bayern in the summer from Borussia Dortmund, was chased by United two years ago when under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal.

When asked if a deal to sign for United in 2014 was close, Hummels told the Daily Mail: “Yes, very close. There were talks, several times in the last few years.

“I had offers from England or one of the thre big Spanish clubs. But nothing got close like from England. Van Gaal wanted me but he wasn’t the only one.

“It is difficult for me to play in England now. I’m 28 next month and I’ve signed here for five years.”

Hummels also said he stayed on at Dortmund because of a loyalty to coach Jurgen Klopp, who’s now in charge at Liverpool.

“We wouldn’t have had that success with another coach in Dortmund, no way. He is very emotional. All the time, on the training pitch. He can’t settle down,” he added.

“How intense? Every day? 100 percent! The important thing is that when he thinks he made [a mistake], he can really apologise to a player — whether that is alone or in front of the whole team. If he says something inappropriate, he realises it afterwards.

“He doesn’t take things personally. We had two big opinions, two big egos. Sometimes you can get into a fight but you know everything the next day will be okay. We could always talk about it.

“He was never like ‘I will never forgive you for this!’ The relationship I had with him was really important.

“I can’t say I am a Liverpool fan. I don’t have a club in England. I just want Klopp to win. If he was coach of another team, I would support them. I cheer for Klopp.”

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Granit Xhaka Defends His Inconsistent Start To Arsenal Career

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Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka says it has taken time to get used to life at Arsenal after his summer move from Monchengladbach.

“Well, actually, it’s normal when you come to a new club and country,” he said. “You need to get used to the language, the philosophy of the team, the squad, the coach.

“But I do feel very happy and comfortable here, and I know the potential I have. In football you just have to develop yourself.”

Wenger also said Xhaka is ready to make an impact in north London.

“He is adjusting,” Wenger said. “Coming to a new club, where there is a big competition for places… he has kept his focus and has done his job well every day. I believe he has adjusted to the intensity of the game already and the duels in the middle of the park.

“He has the stature to deal with that. He can bring a good balance between offensive efficiency and defensively as well. He has improved already all round.”

Victory over Xhaka’s former club at their St. Jakob-Park home will not be enough for Arsenal to leapfrog Paris Saint-Germain at the head of Group A if the Ligue 1 champions see off Ludogorets in France.

Ahead of the final matchday, the list of group winners set to be potential opponents for Arsenal in the round-of-16 is currently made up by Napoli, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Monaco, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus.

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Liverpool Now Favourites To Sign Inter Milan’s Geoffrey Kondogbia 

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Liverpool have been given a boost by the news that Inter Milan holding midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia looks set to leave San Siro when the transfer window reopens for business in January, according to reports in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The France international, 23, is contracted to the Serie A club until the summer of 2020.

However, it is understood the player has been given permission to leave the Nerazzurri in the new year along with the likes of Jonathan Biabiany, Davide Santon, Felipe Melo and Stevan Jovetic.

Inter are prepared to allow the France international to leave on loan next month, but it will include an option to buy for £18.5 million.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are reportedly at the front of the queue for Kondogbia, but the midfielder is also attracting interest from Marseille.

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Bolasie Sustains Knee Injury, Confirms Everton

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Yannick Bolasie will be requiring surgery after sustaining a knee injury, Everton has described as serious.

The winger was brought off in the 68th minute of the 1-1 draw against Manchester United and underwent scans for the problem.

The club have since announced that the 27-year-old has sustained cruciate ligament damage and will be operated on this week.

“Yannick Bolasie will undergo surgery after sustaining a serious knee ligament injury against Manchester United on Sunday,” an Everton statement said.

“Scans have now confirmed anterior cruciate ligament damage to the right knee. Bolasie will undergo surgery in the next few days.”

Initial reports have suggested that he could be out for the remainder of the season.

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West Ham Co-owner David Sullivan Discusses Slaven Bilic’s Future

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West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has called for the club “to stick together” in the aftermath of Saturday’s 5-1 home defeat to Arsenal that left the Hammers one place and point above the Premier League drop zone.

“Slaven [Bilic] cares passionately and this defeat will be hurting him as much as anyone,” he told the club website.

“I have no doubts that he is doing everything he can to address the situation and everyone is working together to ensure we turn our season around.

“Despite what some people have said, there is still a great spirit among the players and everyone is working towards the same objective

“We all need to stick together and get behind the team. We are all part of the West Ham United family and in hard times families pull together.

Sullivan added: “I and my family feel the same frustration and disappointment as you when we lose, and the same joy and elation when we win. It is the same for my fellow Board members. West Ham is in our blood, just as it is in yours.

“We all want the same for our fantastic club, and together we are stronger. Only by remaining united can we turn things around. We have shown this season that the players have the quality to compete against the big teams and we need to show the same mentality when we travel to play Liverpool on Sunday [live on Sky Sports 1].

“I am sure the players will not need any reminding about our famous 3-0 win at Anfield last season which was our first [away] victory [against Liverpool] since 1963, and it was a memorable day for everyone at the Club.

“We would now love to see a repeat performance and repay the fans for the magnificent support they show towards the team.”

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