Erling Haaland is the name on everyone's lips.

His exploits for Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund have sparked a frenzy among Europe's elite.

With Haaland attracting interest, Dortmund are making moves to replace the Norway international.

 

TOP STORY – ADEYEMI TO SUCCEED HAALAND?

Borussia Dortmund are working on a deal to sign Salzburg's Karim Adeyemi as a replacement for in-demand star Erling Haaland, according to Fabrizio Romano's Here We Go podcast.

Haaland is wanted all over Europe amid links with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

As speculation mounts over Haaland, Dortmund are reportedly preparing for his departure with a move for Salzburg sensation and Germany international Adeyemi.

Barca, Bayern and Liverpool are reportedly interested in Adeyemi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool lead the chase to sign Dortmund star Jude Bellingham, says The Mirror. As Europe's elite eye Haaland, Liverpool are looking to pounce on Bellingham who has been linked with Chelsea and United.

- Todofichajes reports head coach Mauricio Pochettino has lost the faith of the Paris Saint-Germain dressing room. Pochettino has emerged as United's rumoured top target to lead the Red Devils long term, with Zinedine Zidane tipped to replace him in Paris.

Bayern have joined the race to sign Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria, per Romano. Zakaria has been linked with Roma, Liverpool, City, Juve and Barca.

Milan and Barca are eyeing Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, per Romano. The Denmark international has been in contract talks at Stamford Bridge.

Sebastien Haller broke a Champions League record held by Erling Haaland when he gave Ajax the lead against Sporting CP on Tuesday, matching another feat previously only ever achieved by Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Ivory Coast international, who joined in January from West Ham, had difficulty in coming about goals during an 18-month Premier League stint.

His Champions League form has been stellar, though, and the penalty he converted against Sporting was his 10th goal of this season's group stage.

It made him the quickest player to reach double figures in a Champions League career, doing so in just six games. Norwegian star Haaland previously held that record, having got there in seven appearances.

Haller also became the first player to score in each of his opening six games in the competition.

Cristiano Ronaldo was already a Champions League veteran when he scored in all six of Real Madrid's 2017-18 group games. That made Ronaldo the first player to have netted in all of his team's matches at that stage of the competition in a single season.

Haller has now become the second man to achieve that feat, with the 27-year-old's eighth-minute spot-kick coming after he was fouled by Daniel Braganca.

It gave Ajax a 1-0 lead, but they were soon pegged back to 1-1 as Nuno Santos replied in the 22nd minute for Sporting. Antony restored Ajax's lead before half-time.

Ajax were already assured of winning Group C coming into the final game of the opening stage, with Sporting assured of finishing as runners-up.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice, including a late penalty, as Bayern Munich edged title rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in Saturday's thrilling Klassiker to go four points clear at the Bundesliga summit.

Lewandowski lost out to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or this week, but he continued to let his football do the talking, taking his goals tally against his former club to 26 – more than he has managed against any other team.

Both sides created at will in a gripping first half, but Dortmund – who led through Julian Brandt in the fifth minute – paid the price for costly mistakes as Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman ensured Bayern were 2-1 up at half-time.

A sumptuous Erling Haaland strike got Dortmund back on level terms, but after somehow not winning a penalty of their own, they conceded one themselves and Lewandowski converted to seal the win, setting a Bundesliga away goals record in the process.

A purposeful Dortmund start brought an early opener as Brandt – later withdrawn due to a nasty head injury – collected Jude Bellingham's lofted pass and finished emphatically having evaded Alphonso Davies.

But Bayern quickly hit back, Lewandowski clinically finding the bottom-right corner with his record-equalling 117th Bundesliga away goal after Thomas Muller charged down Mats Hummels' clearance attempt.

Several chances were wasted at either end thereafter, but Bayern managed to take a lead into the break.

Another botched Dortmund clearance – this time Guerreiro smashing into Hummels' midriff – saw the ball fall for Coman and he drilled home.

Dortmund restored parity again just after the interval, Haaland curling a gorgeous effort out of Manuel Neuer's reach and in off the right post.

They should have had the chance to lead a few minutes later but Lucas Hernandez mystifyingly avoided conceding a penalty when appearing to commit a blatant foul on Marco Reus.

Hummels was not so lucky, however, with a VAR check deeming him to have handled at a corner. Lewandowski squeezed his winning kick just inside the post for another away goal, an outright Bundesliga record for the Pole, and a valuable win for Bayern.

Borussia Dortmund head coach Marco Rose has confirmed Erling Haaland is not fit enough to play a full part in this weekend's key Klassiker clash with Bayern Munich.

Haaland scored just seven minutes into his comeback from a six-week injury lay-off in last Saturday's 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.

That was the Norway striker's 50th Bundesliga goal, reaching the landmark in just 50 matches and becoming the youngest ever player to do so at 21 years and four months.

However, with just those 17 minutes of football to his name since sustaining a hip injury on October 19, Haaland will not be considered to play the whole game against Bayern.

"Erling himself knows his situation," Rose said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "He has had a good week of training behind him. 

"But we all know that we have to be careful a little longer. He will certainly not be ready for 90 minutes, so we will have to see how long he can go."

 

Haaland has averaged 1.12 goals per 90 minutes played in Germany's top flight, scoring 40 with his left foot, six with his right and four headers.

Since making his Dortmund bow in January last year, only Robert Lewandowski (70 goals in 56 games) has scored more Bundesliga goals than the ex-Salzburg man.

Indeed, no player in Europe's top five leagues has scored more goals in all competitions this season than Bayern striker Lewandowski's 25.

Despite his continued brilliance in front of goal, Lewandowski finished second to record-extending seven-time winner Lionel Messi at Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony.

Rather than feel sorry for himself, however, Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann is backing Lewandowski to be extra fired up against Dortmund on Saturday.

"I've already said that he's in great shape and it's not impossible that he could win this thing again," Nagelsmann said at his pre-match news conference. 

"He can't change the past. He's working every day on the present and the future gets created with his work in the present. I think it could be possible that he wins it someday.

"And I'm sure that, when you look at his current numbers without mathematical talent like me, it looks good for this season.  

"Therefore, I believe that he can do it and that those who vote will vote for him next year and say that he deserves the Ballon d'Or.

"It is important to accept this disappointment but also to take energy and motivation for other big performances. And I'm confident that he has this drive."

 

Against no team has Lewandowski scored more goals in all competitions than against former side Dortmund (24, level with his record against Wolfsburg).

Dortmund have lost their past six competitive matches against Bayern, but they enter this contest with six wins in their previous seven leagues games and are just a point behind Bayern.

Asked how his side go about beating reigning champions and current pacesetters Bayern at Signal Iduna Park, Rose said: "We need to play well in every department.

"I believe that Bayern have a clear structure with the ball and develop a goal risk from it with a lot of force. It is difficult to grasp. 

"It will be important to eliminate the offensive quality around Lewandowski and the wingers and to keep Munich out of the penalty area as much as possible."

Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo, dismissed a theory he could cash in on any deal for Erling Haaland, and threw in the odd curveball during his first news conference as Manchester United interim manager.

It was a lively start in the job for Rangnick, who takes charge of United for the first time when they face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

He faced questions from journalists for half an hour, giving media and fans an insight into what sort of a manager he may prove to be.

Here is a look at what the 63-year-old had to say on a wide range of topics:

THURSDAY'S ROLLER COASTER 3-2 WIN OVER ARSENAL

"You could see the potential that is in the team, but we have to do that more sustainably, to transfer the game away from our own box more into this area where we have our assets and our weapons in the team."

RONALDO BEING A KEY MAN IN HIS PLANS

"Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half, at the age of 36 he is an amazing, top professional. At his age, I've never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He's still a player who can easily make the difference. We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board. What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he's more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. The other team-mates will have to do the same."

FINDING THE RIGHT BLEND OF BRAIN AND BRAWN

"Of course it's train the brain. Modern football in the last 10 years has completely changed into a more physical, more athletic, more vertical, more high-speed ball game. If you watch games in early 2000s and compare it with now, you wouldn't believe it's the same ball game. It's completely changed, and in order to develop teams you need to not only train the bodies but also the brains."

LINKS TO ERLING HAALAND, AND RUMOURS OF A BONUS IF HE SIGNS THE DORTMUND STAR

"This is nonsense, obviously. Of course, there are no such clauses in my contract. It doesn't make sense now to have speculation about possible new players. Erling Haaland is a fantastic striker. I know it best myself because I was together with the people at Salzburg at the time [that Haaland played there] and I was also a little bit involved in the move from Molde to Salzburg, therefore I know what kind of player he is. In the meantime, the whole world has realised how good the player is. We have so many top players in the offensive department that we don't need to speak about any other players."

HIS LONG-RUNNING LOVE AFFAIR WITH ENGLISH FOOTBALL

"I studied English at university to become an English and PE teacher back in the late 70s, early 80s. I also lived in Brighton with a host family and at this time I fell in love with English football. In the early 80s I took the fast train from Brighton to Victoria Station and I watched every three days a home game in the old Highbury, in the old White Hart Lane or even in Liverpool – I went to Goodison Park. Since then, I have always very much cherished the way teams are supported and even yesterday, I think this is absolutely unique. You will find very, very few football clubs in the world with that much support. This is for me football in the purest sense, as it was in those times. It's more than exciting to now be part of that atmosphere."

HOW UNITED CAN PROGRESS UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP

"I think to gain control of games in the future it's got to do with playing proactively. You have to just make sure you have the biggest chance to win the next game, then step by step let the players participate, they have to go together with me. They have to follow not only my instructions, but they have to buy into the idea I can offer them how we should want to play in the future. This is what it's all about and it has to happen step by step."

HOW TO COMPETE WITH CHELSEA, MANCHESTER CITY AND LIVERPOOL

"If you look at the top three teams, they seem to be very stable and they have top coaches. If you see how they play and keep winning in style, controlling games, this is something that we have to develop. When, for example, Jurgen [Klopp] came to Liverpool and the squad he inherited at the time, I'm sure it was definitely not a better squad than the one I inherit now at Manchester United."

SLOWING DOWN UNITED'S TURNOVER OF MANAGERS

"There have been changes in management, about five or six managers since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left [in 2013], so it was difficult for the club to gain continuity with regard to signing new players, developing and sticking to the DNA of the club, and I think this is vital in modern football that you do that. For me, it's not that unusual that there were so many changes. For the future, and I think we have the same opinion, the board members and myself, it's important that this is developed in the future, that there will be not that many changes in management."

COULD THE INTERIM BECOME PERMANENT?

"We have never spoken about what might happen in the summer. Right now, I'm fully aware that they might be looking for a new manager. If they will then speak with me about that, we will see. Maybe if they ask me my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended to them that it might be a good idea to keep working with me [as coach] for one year, but this is all hypothetical."

Thomas Muller said it was "definitely a disappointment". Jurgen Klopp was left confused. Lothar Matthaus "doesn't understand the world any more". Even Lionel Messi used his victory speech to suggest France Football issue a retrospective 2020 award.

Whatever your views on the Ballon d'Or this year, chances are you saw Messi beating Robert Lewandowski to the prize and thought it was at least worthy of discussion. Robbed of the chance to claim it last year when France Football cancelled it – hence Messi's magnanimous suggestion to the organisers – Lewandowski suited up for this year's gala having scored 53 goals in all competitions in 2021, at least 15 more than anyone else, with a new single-season Bundesliga scoring record in his pocket and yet another league title with Bayern Munich. And all after winning the treble the season before. And it was only good enough for second place.

Now isn't the time for Lewandowski to dwell on disappointment, though. There's the small matter of the Klassiker on Saturday: Bayern are only a point above Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, a real title race is on the cards again. Plus, Dortmund have fit-again Erling Haaland back among the goals – and ready to give chase to Lewandowski's goalscoring benchmark.

After the Ballon d'Or disappointment, and with Dortmund and Haaland breathing down his neck, this would be a good time for Lewandowski to start laying a claim for the 2022 prize...

 

Meisters at work

There are some great rivalries in the Bundesliga, but this game is truly a German institution.

Dortmund and Bayern have met each other 129 times – it's the most frequently played match in German professional football history. Bayern have lost more often to Dortmund than any other side (32 times); likewise, nobody has beaten BVB as often as Bayern (63 times).

Recent history has been firmly on Bayern's side (even ignoring their nine consecutive league titles since Dortmund's last one in 2012). The champions have won each of the past six Klassikers, and all of the previous three on Dortmund's home turf. BVB have only lost four in a row at home to the same team on two occasions: against Hamburg from 1982-84, and against Juventus from 1993-2015.

 

Perhaps things will be different this time. After all, Dortmund have won seven home games in a row at the start of this season, something they have never achieved before. Beating Bayern would see them equal their club record of 12 consecutive home league victories, and few would argue it's impossible: with 30 points from 13 games, this is their third-best start to a season in the era of three points for a win.

With just a point separating them in the table, former Bayern defender Patrik Andersson certainly sees it being a close encounter. "First of all, when you see that Bayern lost against Augsburg, now it's only one point... I think it will be a decider, for the moment," he told Stats Perform.

"And also, for Bayern, a really important game before the big clash against Barcelona. And now Dortmund, having no chance in the Champions League, it is also a really important game for them. So, yeah, always a big clash."

Consider, too, Julian Nagelsmann's record against Dortmund. The Bayern boss has only managed one win in 11 Bundesliga meetings with Dortmund, his points-per-game average of 0.64 the lowest he has against any opposition. And while Bayern are enjoying their best Bundesliga season for six years (31 points in 13 games), scoring 42 times in that run – the second-best return in their history – they have managed precisely zero clean sheets in nine away league games. The last time that happened was in a 12-game run in 2010-11, during which Louis van Gaal was sacked as coach.

And that's before we come to Haaland, and the man in whose wake he treads – a pair who scored five of the six goals in the previous league meeting of these sides.

 

Tor-mentors in chief

Since the start of last season, Lewandowski has scored 73 goals in 60 games in all competitions, more than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues. His nearest rival, with 55 goals in 50 games, is Haaland.

Lewandowski's tally comes from a figure of 61.43 expected goals, meaning he is outperforming his expected output by 11.57, the biggest such differential in those top European leagues. Behind him come Karim Benzema on 9.33, Son Heung-min on 9.26, and Haaland on 9.11.

Among players to score at least 20 times since the start of 2020-21, Lewandowski boasts the second-best shot conversion rate (28.7 per cent). Top of that list is Haaland, the only man with a figure of more than 30 per cent (30.4).

By all meaningful measures, these two are the best goalscoring number nines in Europe, and have been for some time.

 

Haaland, of course, missed around a month of this season through injury and only returned against Wolfsburg last week. Naturally, he scored, becoming the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 50 goals and the only man to hit that milestone in as few as 50 games. Take away his league goals in 2021-22, and Dortmund would have six points fewer.

Lewandowski has already plundered 25 in just 20 games this term, 14 of which have come in the league. Without those, Bayern would be five points worse off, and we'd be talking about Bayer Leverkusen's chances of a first Bundesliga title.

Dortmund need no reminders about their old striker's prowess, of course. Lewandowski has scored 24 times against his former club, making them his favourite opposition alongside Wolfsburg. Should he score this weekend at Signal Iduna Park, he would match Klaus Fischer's record of 117 away goals scored in Bundesliga history – and in 83 fewer appearances.

 

For Lewandowski, this match represents a quick opportunity to remind everyone not only why he should have won this year's Ballon d'Or, but why he should be favourite for next year's, too. Firing Bayern to victory would also bolster their chances of a remarkable 10th league title in a row, and put in his place the young pretender to his throne as football's greatest marksman.

And make no mistake: Haaland is coming for that title, and more besides.

Karim Adeyemi is inspired by the former Salzburg stars who have gone on to establish themselves as household names in European football as he plots a move of his own.

Adeyemi joined Salzburg in 2018 after spending six years with his local side in Germany, Unterhaching. He had joined them shortly after leaving Bayern Munich's academy.

While he did not fit in with the culture at Bayern, Adeyemi developed into a highly sought-after talent at Unterhaching, attracting the attention of clubs such as Chelsea before ultimately becoming the most expensive under-18 German player ever at the time when joining Salzburg for €3million.

After spending a season and a half at sister club Liefering, Adeyemi returned to Salzburg in January 2020 and has steadily built up his minutes. The 2020-21 season was something of a breakout campaign as he scored seven times in 29 appearances, though in 2021-22 he has established himself as the club's latest star and a full international with Germany.

Numerous big clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund have been linked with him in recent times, with the 19-year-old seemingly unlikely to be in Austria next season.

While some might urge him to be cautious and choose another club that will help his development, Adeyemi is aiming high.

Asked about Salzburg's impressive list of alumni, Adeyemi told Tuttosport: "It's true, in recent years a lot of young players have matured in Salzburg and then landed at the best international clubs.

"I'm thinking of Erling Haaland, but also of Sadio Mane and Naby Keita of Liverpool, or Dominik Szoboszlai, who moved to RB Leipzig.

"Obviously, I also have this goal: I would like the next stage of my career to be at a top club."

Adeyemi is enjoying a wonderful campaign and does appear to be outgrowing – or have outgrown – the Austrian Bundesliga.

The 19-year-old had previously been used across the front, but this term he has really nailed down a spot as Salzburg's main striker. He may not be the tallest, but he has bulked up, possesses immense speed and is proving a reliable finisher.

Adeyemi has 11 goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances – excluding penalties, his tally of nine is only slightly higher than his non-penalty expected goals (8.1 xG) as well, which suggests he is not just in the midst of a lucky streak.

His 26.8 per cent conversion rate is also the third-best in the division among players with at least 20 shots, evidence of impressive maturity in terms of shot selection, especially given his age.

Another key dimension to his style of play is running with the ball. He has attempted 14 more dribbles than anyone else in the division this season (79) and completed the most (32) as well – granted, his success rate of 40.5 per cent is not extraordinary, but it is worth remembering as a striker he will be attempting those dribbles in the most congested areas of the pitch.

In terms of end product at the end of a ball carry, only five players can better his 16 shot involvements (shots taken and assisted), and Adeyemi is well aware of the role Salzburg have played in nurturing himself and other young players.

"The experience at Unterhaching was very important, but for the first time I played at a really high level with Salzburg," he continued.

"It's a fantastic club for young people like me. They throw you in right away and give you the chance to get to a high level quickly.

"Competing for the title of the Austrian championship is very helpful for the growth of a young person, it gives you experience.

"Equally important is the possibility of being protagonists in international competitions. This year we are in the group stage of the Champions League for the third season in a row, a fact that is far from obvious for a club in a small league like the Austrian one.

"In the Champions League we face the best teams and top players in the world: these experiences are priceless."

Is Robert Lewandowski's time at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich coming to an end?

Lewandowski has called Bayern home since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2014.

However, the 33-year-old Poland international is reportedly ready for a new challenge.

 

TOP STORY – LEWANDOWSKI SET ON MADRID MOVE

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has ordered his agent to finalise a transfer to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Diario AS.

Lewandowski has repeatedly excelled for Bayern, where he has broken numerous records, while he was unfortunate not to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or.

Previously linked with a move to the Premier League, Lewandowski appears to be set on a switch to Madrid, where his former team-mate David Alaba now calls home.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport claims Fiorentina want to sell Dusan Vlahovic abroad but the Serbia international is not interested in Arsenal as he eyes Juventus. Vlahovic has also been linked with Manchester City, Manchester United, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Bayern. It comes as Sky Sport Italia says Fiorentina are close to signing Lille forward Jonathan Ikone.

- Interim United manager Ralf Rangnick will try to convince Erling Haaland to leave Dortmund for Old Trafford, per Bild. Rangnick and Haaland worked together at Salzburg. Haaland is a player in demand amid interest from Madrid, Barcelona, Juve, Bayern, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. Since Rangnick's arrival, United have also been linked with RB Leipzig pair Christopher Nkunku and Amadou Haidara, as well as Chelsea forward Timo Werner.

- Record reports Dortmund are keen on Benfica and Uruguay attacker Darwin Nunez amid uncertainty over the future of Haaland.

- Premier League champions City have scouted Bologna and Sweden sensation Mattias Svanberg, according to Nicolo Schira.

Neymar, Harry Kane and Erling Haaland are among the most notable players to have missed out on the top 10 of the Ballon d'Or.

The first 20 names from the 30-man shortlist have been announced, with Haaland just failing to break in at 11th, while Neymar is 16th and Harry Kane is down in 23rd.

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who led Inter to their first Serie A title in 10 years last season, is just behind Haaland in 12th, while Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes did not make the top 20, finishing joint-21st in the voting.

Of players from Europe's top five leagues, only Bayern Munich centre-forward and Ballon d'Or favourite Robert Lewandowski scored more goals in all competitions than Haaland's 38, which the Norway forward netted at a rapid rate of one every 87.66 minutes.

While the Borussia Dortmund sensation, who scored his 50th Bundesliga goal in as many games on Saturday, can count himself unlucky not to feature higher up on the list, the same cannot be said for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

The Brazil forward, who finished third in 2015 and 2017, had an underwhelming, injury hit year in which he scored just 11 goals and recorded eight assists for PSG across all competitions, although he did reach the Copa America final with Brazil, losing out to club team-mate Lionel Messi.

Kane won the Premier League golden boot award in 2020-21, and topped the assist charts before helping England to a Euro 2020 final.

However, Tottenham finished seventh in the Premier League and the England captain - who had a prospective move to Manchester City break down - has only a solitary top-flight strike to his name this term.

Lukaku recorded the same tally as Kane, but did help Inter to a first Serie A title in 10 years, while Fernandes, who split 21st place with Inter's Lautaro Martinez, hit one less, but did also record 17 assists for United.

Manchester City's Ruben Dias, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling were placed joint-26th, 25th, 20th and 15th respectively, while 2018 Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric was 29th alongside Cesar Azpilicueta.

The Chelsea captain's team-mate Mason Mount was 19th, with Luis Suarez 17th, the Uruguay forward having played a pivotal role in Atletico Madrid's LaLiga success last term.

Italy defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini came 14th and 13th, with compatriot Nicolo Barella sharing 26th place with Dias and Villarreal's Gerard Moreno.

Barcelona youngster Pedri enjoyed a wonderful year, and was ranked at 24th.

The top 10 players remaining are: Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema, Kevin De Bruyne, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and Kylian Mbappe.

Ralf Rangnick has been confirmed as interim manager of Manchester United, meaning that thoughts can now turn to more important matters.

Yes, transfers.

While the 63-year-old is only set to be in the dugout until the end of the season, his deal includes a further two years in a "consultancy" role, meaning he will presumably have a say on comings and goings at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.

As well as showing his qualities as a coach and tactician during his career, Rangnick has also shown himself to be adept at identifying and recruiting talent, scouting the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Sadio Mane and Erling Haaland over the years.

While funds have been readily spent by United in recent times, it seems clear that the current squad needs more adding to it if they are to trouble their rivals for Premier League and Champions League glory any time soon.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform has taken a look at five players who may be near the top of Rangnick's wish-list over the next few transfer windows.

 

Gleison Bremer (Torino)

The Brazilian centre back has predominantly been linked with other clubs, including Liverpool, but his ability to win the ball high up the field as well as make interceptions regularly could make him an attractive prospect for Rangnick's pressing style.

Bremer has the most interceptions for a defender in the top five European leagues this season (51), and since the start of last season has made 121, which is almost twice as many as Harry Maguire (68) from just one more game played.

The 24-year-old has also won possession in the middle-third of the pitch (127) more often than any of United's current centre back options (Maguire 85, Victor Lindelof 78, Raphael Varane 62), which is something the new boss will likely be demanding of his players.

 

Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco)

Despite their pre-season spending, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to cross a defensive midfielder off his shopping list, with poor Scott McTominay and Fred continuing to be castigated by fans and pundits for not being Declan Rice.

Someone else who isn't Declan Rice is Tchouameni. The Monaco midfielder has been linked with a move to the Premier League for a couple of years now, and this could be the ideal club at the ideal time.

Of players to have played at least 40 games, only three midfielders in the top five European leagues have won possession in the middle third more often since the start of last season, while only five have made more interceptions, and only Frenkie de Jong (64.36) has a higher duel success percentage than his 62.06.

During his time recruiting for Red Bull Salzburg and Leipzig, Rangnick primarily focused on young players who can grow in the immediate term. Tchouameni turns 22 in January, and with Monaco missing out on Champions League football after losing in qualifying in August, they may be tempted to cash in on their star sooner rather than later.

 

Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig)

it was always inevitable that United would be linked with Leipzig players, so here's the first of two.

The new United boss will no doubt be familiar with Haidara, with the midfielder making his way through the Red Bull route of FC Liefering and Salzburg before Leipzig.

The Mali international arrived at the Red Bull Arena when Rangnick was in charge in the 2018-19 season, but due to a cruciate ligament injury, was only able to make nine Bundesliga appearances under the German.

Comparing him to McTominay and Fred, this season he has more chances created (9), more successful passes in the opposition half (317), more passes into the final third (95) and more dribbles completed (16).

It should be noted though that he has played two games more than McTominay and measures closely to the Scot in the first and last metric, with worse passing accuracy percentage in the opposition half (78.86) and tackle success percentage than both (38.46).

 

Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig)

Olmo has unfortunately missed most of the current season with a muscle injury, but combined with last term, there is a certain number that may interest the Red Devils boss.

Verona's Antonin Barak is the only midfielder to have won possession in the final third more often than Olmo's total of 44 in the top five leagues in Europe since the start of last season, made all the more impressive by the fact Olmo has played 12 fewer games.

The 23-year-old scored seven and assisted 12 last season for Leipzig in all competitions, and also impressed for Spain at Euro 2020, and having someone who so regularly wins the ball high up the field could be exactly the sort of thing Rangnick can build a new United team around.

 

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

Arguably the name likeliest to be linked with the Red Devils given it was Rangnick who apparently spotted his talents and brought him to Salzburg, before he burst onto the scene and headed for the German Bundesliga.

Rangnick was working as Salzburg's director of football when he was able to secure the signing of Haaland from Molde.

Of course, United already have Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, but both are hardly long-term solutions, while Haaland's former team-mate Jadon Sancho already resides in the red half of Manchester.

The 21-year-old has scored 71 goals in 70 games since moving to Dortmund (January 2020), the same amount as Ronaldo but in 15 fewer games.

You would imagine Haaland, his agent and his father would need to see some fairly drastic improvements at Old Trafford before committing his future there, but with Rangnick on board, the Red Devils will be hoping that to be exactly what happens.

Manchester City's forward pursuit has dominated headlines.

Since Sergio Aguero left for Barcelona, Pep Guardiola's champions have been targeting a replacement.

Karim Benzema could reportedly fill the void.

 

TOP STORY – BENZEMA TO CITY?

Manchester City want to sign Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, according to El Nacional.

Premier League champions City are desperate to bolster their attack, having missed out on Tottenham's Harry Kane following the departure of Sergio Aguero at the start of the season.

Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic have been linked, but Benzema – out of contract in 2023 – has emerged as an option.

 

ROUND-UP

- Nicolo Schira claims Bayern Munich are set to battle Chelsea for Federico Chiesa. The Italy international is on loan at Juventus from Fiorentina and set to join the Bianconeri permanently at the end of the season. However, if Juve fail to qualify for the Champions League, rivals could pounce.

Barcelona are eyeing a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, per Mundo Deportivo. Martial has found game time hard to come by at Old Trafford.

- SuperDerpote claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric would be open to leaving for City. Modric is out of contract at the end of the season. It comes after Marca said Los Blancos are not interested in United star and soon-to-be free agent Paul Pogba.

Marcelo Brozovic is set to re-sign with Serie A champions Inter, according to Tuttosport. Brozovic has been linked with United, Barca and PSG.

Erling Haaland must move on from Borussia Dortmund to take his game to the next level, according to former Bayern Munich defender Patrik Andersson.

Haaland joined Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg after the Bundesliga side met his €20 million release clause in December 2019.

Since then, the 21-year-old has registered 50 goals in as many games in the German top flight, netting 1.12 times on average per 90 minutes.

Indeed, since the Norway international's Dortmund debut on January 18, 2020, only Robert Lewandowski (98) has scored more than Haaland (71) among players from Europe's top five leagues across all competitions.

But Andersson, who racked up over 200 Bundesliga appearances across spells with Bayern and Borussia Monchengladbach, believes Haaland must move on to further his game.

Asked to compare Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Haaland, two-time Bundesliga winner Andersson told Stats Perform: "First of all, it was a question about Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Erling Halaand and talking about taking the next step to reach the next level. 

"You should never compare such good players because both of them are unique in their own way. Haaland is just at the beginning of a great career and Zlatan is at the other end. 

"But I think, what is football about? It's about winning, winning titles and he's had a really good development at Dortmund but personally, I think he needs to move to reach the next level. 

"When you play, for instance, for Sweden or Norway, you're not in the position to maybe win the World Cup or a European Championship, so for him winning big titles and maybe by moving to another league he could reach this little level."

 

Haaland has already reached a level above most of those at his age, given no other player has reached the 50-goal Bundesliga milestone in as few appearances or at such a young age (21 years, four months and six days).

Andersson appreciates the quality of the former Molde striker but believes he must find a team and coach befitting of his own personality to kick-on and reach the summit of world football.

"I think from his quality he is technically there, he's really strong, he's fast, he scores goals, he sets up players, but it's more about finding a really good team [and] surroundings," he continued.

"For him as a young player also, [it is important] to have a coach who really relies on him, to give him confidence, pushing him, so not so much talking about leagues."

The race to sign Erling Haaland may have taken another turn.

Norway forward Haaland is a hot property being pursued by a host of top clubs, with Manchester United among them.

Borussia Dortmund retained his services at the start of this season but the race is expected to heat up in the off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HOPEFUL OF HAALAND EDGE

The Mirror reports that the imminent appointment of Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United can give them the edge in the race for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Rangnick and Haaland worked together previously at Salzburg and United believe that relationship can propel them to the front of the queue.

Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all in the race to sign the 21-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

- PSG will not let head coach Mauricio Pochettino exit the club during the season amid links with Manchester United's vacant managerial role, reports Goal. The Argentine may be allowed to leave at the end of the season.

- Marca report that Real Madrid will not be signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in the off-season despite widespread speculation about a move.

- Sevilla are leading the race to sign Blackburn's Chile international Ben Brereton, according to The Sun. Rovers want £20m for his services.

- West Ham are set to launch a £7m bid to sign Burnley defender James Tarkowski,  report The Sun.

Erling Haaland needed just seven minutes to score on his return from injury, bringing up his 50th Bundesliga goal and reaching the landmark in record time.

Borussia Dortmund fought back from conceding an early goal to beat Wolfsburg 3-1 on Saturday, with star striker Haaland netting their third shortly after coming on from the bench.

The win took Marco Rose's team, temporarily at least, ahead of Bayern Munich and into top spot.

Haaland had been out of action since playing in Dortmund's 4-0 defeat to Ajax in the Champions League on October 19.

Though only passed fit for the bench, he wasted no time in netting his 13th goal of the season in just his 11th appearance, with the Norway forward stretching to cushion in Julian Brandt's cross on the volley.

 

Haaland's half-century of Bundesliga goals have come from just 50 appearances in the competition.

No other player has reached the milestone in as few appearances or at such a young age (21 years, four months and six days).

Haaland has averaged 1.12 goals per 90 minutes played in Germany's top flight, scoring 40 with his left foot, six with his right and four headers.

Since Haaland made his Dortmund debut on January 18, 2020, only Robert Lewandowski (98) has scored more goals than Haaland (71) among players from Europe's big five leagues across all competitions.

Erling Haaland has been passed fit to make his Borussia Dortmund return in the Bundesliga encounter at Wolfsburg on Saturday.

The prolific striker has been out of action since a 4-0 Champions League thrashing at Ajax last month due to a hip flexor injury.

Dortmund on Friday confirmed Haaland is in the squad for the trip to Wolfsburg, but will be on the bench and the club revealed he would be ready for a "brief shift."

England midfielder Jude Bellingham misses out after taking a knock to the knee.

Dortmund boss Marco Rose said: "Mo Dahoud feels good and is ready, the same applies to Emre Can. Youssoufa Moukoko is doing better, and he trained.

""Marius Wolf is here and Erling Haaland will be on the bus. Jude Bellingham is out, and with Rapha Guerreiro we have to wait a bit more."

Haaland has scored 13 goals in 10 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund this season.

Second-placed Dortmund are a point behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table and Rose will be expecting a positive response to a 3-1 defeat to Sporting Lisbon that ended their participation in the Champions League this season.

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