Koeman under fire as Barcelona play Pique as STRIKER, Alonso to stop taking knee, Arsenal Noa Lang transfer chase

CLUBS are getting set to play in the Carabao Cup after a bumper weekend of Premier League action.

But transfer news still rolls on with Arsenal set to make a bid for Noa Lang.

Meanwhile European giants Juventus and Barcelona are both blundering to draws.

And Ronald Koeman has come under fire at Barca for playing Gerard Pique as a STRIKER.

Chelsea's Marcos Alonso will no longer take the knee before games, with the Spaniard preferring to point to the No Room for Racism badge on his sleeve.

Lionel Messi's slow start at Paris Saint-Germain continued on Sunday, despite the Ligue 1 side scoring an injury-time winner over Lyon.

The Argentine star was subbed off in the second half and brushed past manager Mauricio Pochettino's offer of a handshake.

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  • Etienne Fermie

    ROSE TO THE OCCASION

    Borussia Dortmund boss Marcos Rose is determined to keep Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham at the club.

    He said: "The two boys are currently players with us.

    “We are happy to have them and anything else is just rumours. In the summer, we will see how it goes for both players.

    “But I will do everything to ensure they stay. Tie them down (to new contracts)? No idea (what the future holds), let's see.”

  • Etienne Fermie

    LEGEND'S TERROR – by Natalia Penza

    Former Argentina footballer Roberto Ayala is recovering after being mugged in a violent robbery.

    The 48-year-old had nearly £5000 stolen from his car after his attackers threw paving stones at the vehicle to force him to stop before threatening him with guns.

    The terrifying incident occurred as the ex-Valencia and AC Milan centre-back, regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, was on a main road called Ruta 9 in the San Cayetano neighbourhood of the port city of Zarate 55 miles from Buenos Aires.

    Ayala, who scored seven goals in his 116 appearances for his country, was left shaken but unharmed.

    The father-of-four is understood to have been ambushed in the early hours of Monday morning as he motored along the Ruta 9 highway in his Renault Koleos van.

    Three armed attackers robbed him of cash after throwing missiles at him and causing a tyre blowout before fleeing on foot towards the San Cayetano neighbourhood.

    Local reports said the criminals, who appeared out of nowhere after forcing him off the road, made off with £4,800 and his mobile phone.

  • Etienne Fermie

    HAAL OUT WAR

    Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke admits they face a big challenge to keep Erling Haaland.

    He told Welt am Sonntag: “Of course it will be difficult.

    "I am not saying, however, that it is completely out of the question.

    “We'll do everything we can to keep our top players loyal to us in the future.”

  • Etienne Fermie

    RON CALL – CONTINUED

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer complained bitterly that Cristiano Ronaldo should have had two spot kicks at West Ham.

    But while refs’ chiefs believe camera angles show the Portuguese superstar did initiate the contact from Kurt Zouma for the second incident, there was a different view on the Coufal clash.

    It is understood that the view expressed to the referees at St George’s Park was that, on balance, that probably SHOULD have been a spot-kick and that the VAR would have been better to recommend a pitchside review.

    In both cases, Martin Atkinson made subjective, judgement calls, with VAR Darren England adjudging there was insufficient evidence to determine he had made a “clear and obvious error” in terms of how he read the situations.

    So far, there have been just 15 overturned decisions in the first five weeks of the campaign, compared to 21 over the same period last term.

    But only ONE goal has been chalked off for a VAR offside call – Mo Salah’s strike for Liverpool against Burnley in week two – with two goals allowed after the flag was wrongly raised.

    Seven penalties have been given after VAR intervention, four of them for handball offences, while three spot-kicks have been waived.

  • Etienne Fermie

    RON CALL – by Martin Lipton

    Premier League referees’ chiefs are pleased with the way VAR is working – despite a weekend of controversy.

    But referee Martin Atkinson probably should have been urged to check on the pitchside monitor for one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s rejected penalty calls at West Ham.

    Top-flight whistlers arrived at St George’s Park on Monday for a scheduled two-day debrief led by Mike Riley.

    Although United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers were unhappy with calls that went against their teams.

    PGMOL believes the new offside system and light-touch on contact has improved the decision-making process.

     However, it is accepted that Atkinson’s initial view of Vladimir Coufal’s challenge on Ronaldo may have been wrong.

  • Etienne Fermie

    LAUD-ED

    By Franco Panizo

    Phil Neville has lauded Romeo Beckham's start to life in the game as the son of David Beckham looks to break out at Inter Miami.

    Club co-owner Beckham told Neville, the Inter head coach and a former team-mate of David’s, that he wants Romeo to earn his place.

    The 19-year-old followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a professional footballer this month – albeit with no public announcement – and made his debut for the Miami side’s sister team Fort Lauderdale on Sunday night.

    Beckham Jr made his debut on Sunday, starting and playing 79 minutes in a 2-2 home draw with South Georgia Tormenta.

    Neville said: “I think the first thing that David said to me was, 'You have got to be harder on him than anyone else'.

    “He has got to work harder than anyone else to get into that team because there will be questions, there will be expectations on his shoulders.”

  • Etienne Fermie

    ON GARD

    Gary Neville has insisted that Jesse Lingard should have quit Manchester United in the summer.

    The 28-year-old attacker reignited his career on loan at West Ham last season.

    Lingard returned to haunt his old club by coming off the bench on Sunday to fire United to a 2-1 win.

    After the match, Neville told his Sky Sports podcast: "I still maintain he should've left but he will have his moments.

    “I was happy to see how he bounced back after what happened in Europe in midweek.

    “To bounce back and score the winner is a fantastic moment for him.”

  • Gary Stonehouse

    GOOD MORNING FOOTBALL FANS

    Barcelona are reportedly preparing a triple swoop that includes Manchester United star Paul Pogba, whose contract runs out in the summer.

    Barca are also keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig ace Dani Olmo next summer.

    That is according to Mundo Deportivo, who report that Barca have set their sights on the trio after managing to reduce their wage bill from 100 per cent to 80 per cent of their total income.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal are preparing a £20million bid for Brugge starlet Noa Lang ahead of the January transfer window.

    Lang enjoyed a sensational campaign with the Belgian champions last season with 17 goals and 11 assists.

    The winger has carried that superb form into the start of the new campaign where he has already hit the back of the net four times and registered another four assists.

    And he also stood out in the Champions League last week when he was named man of the match in his team's 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain.

    According to Fichajes, the Gunners are impressed with the 22-year-old Dutchman and are thus keeping tabs on him.

    And PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino played down a rift with Lionel Messi and defended his decision to substitute the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    Pochettino said after the Parisians’ last-gasp victory over Lyon, which saw Messi refusing a handshake offer from the former Tottenham boss: "I think we all know we have great players in this 35-man squad.

    "Only 11 can play, we can't play more. The decisions in the game are made for the good of the team and each player.

    "Every coach thinks about that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes players like it and sometimes they don't.

    "At the end of the day, that's why we're here. These are decisions that have to be made by the coach.

    "As for his reaction, I asked him how he was, he said he was okay. That was it. That was our exchange."

    Finally, Chelsea star Andreas Christensen is ready to sign a new deal with the club – after initially being offered a pay cut, SunSport's Duncan Wright reports.

    Christensen has finalised talks with the Blues as the finer points over a new deal, thought to be worth £120,000-a-week, are now being completed before an official announcement.

    And it is a fitting reward for the way the 25-year-old has responded to being touted around for sale 18 months ago to now being a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge.

    But SunSport understands the Denmark international had initially been so under-valued by the club they tabled an initial contract offer which was lower than the current £78,000-a-week he earns.

  • Kostas Lianos

    ARTETA CRITICISM

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is "out of his depth" despite the Gunners securing back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season, according to Garth Crooks.

    Crooks wrote on his BBC column: “The problem for the Gunners is they look miles from where they really should be right now, and the biggest culprit seems to be the manager.

    “Mikel Arteta appears out of his depth.

    "He has talented players at his disposal and on occasions against Burnley they showed it"

  • Kostas Lianos

    FOR A REAS-SOUM

    Brighton star Yves Bissouma revealed he didn't leave the Seagulls because it wasn't the right time.

    Bissouma was linked with a host of different teams, such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, in the summer.

    The midfielder said: “I didn’t go this summer, maybe it's because it’s not my time to go.

    “When my time will come, it’s my time, but I’m happy in Brighton, I’m enjoying playing football.

    "My dream is like every player, I want to play in the Champions League, I want to be champions.

    "I want to compare myself on the top level, not just with other players"

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    MAN OF THE AUR

    Manchester United are keeping tabs on Monaco ace Aurelien Tchouameni ahead of the January transfer window.

    That is according to Transfer Market Web, who report that United are ready to join Chelsea and Juventus in the transfer war for Tchouameni.

    The midfielder is one of the most highly-rated young talents in the world following a string of impressive performances in Ligue 1.

    The 21-year-old France international has already registered 56 appearances across all competitions for Monaco

  • Kostas Lianos

    FIRM CLAIM

    Liverpool star Roberto Firmino will be the first of the Reds' famous front three to leave Anfield because of Diogo Jota's success, according to former Chelsea ace Tony Cascarino.

    Cascarino told talkSPORT: "All three of them, Firmino, [Mohamed]Salah and [Sadio] Mane have played a high level of football, over a number of seasons.

    "It was who was going to have the knock-on season. I would say Firmino didn’t have the season we know he is capable of – Salah was the best of the three last season.

    "Maybe Jota coming into the club upset the dynamics of the three in some bizarre way because Jurgen [Klopp] played him, at times. He came in and hit the ground running.

    Certainly one will go, it will be who will be the first one to go? At this moment in time, it looks like Firmino"

  • Kostas Lianos

    NO WAY

    West Ham coach Kevin Nolan insists he wouldn’t sell Manchester United and Chelsea transfer target Declan Rice for £100million.

    Nolan told the BBC’s Football Daily Podcast: “When you’re in the room with Declan Rice, you know you’re in the room with Declan Rice, but he doesn’t make you feel uneasy. He’s one of those kids who wants to learn, wants to get better, always willing to take advice on, always willing to try and get better and want to get better.

    “The biggest thing for me as a coach is he listens to me, he respects me for what I’ve done, but I feel that this lad can go on and I feel he’s already done more than I have in terms of England appearances, being in Europe and things like that.

    “He’s going to keep going because his athleticism. He trains every day, he wants to train every day, he can hit it from one side of the pitch [to the other] with his right foot or his left foot. He can run with the ball, he’s got everything that you could possibly wish for as a footballer and plus he’s got a good footballing brain where he’s now learning for West Ham, and he’s done it with England, he’s now learning how to control games.

    “When you watch him play, he just seems in control of everything. For me, he’s going to get better. Putting a price tag on him, I wouldn’t sell him for £100m”

  • Kostas Lianos

    BLUE BEAUTY

    Chelsea star Andreas Christensen is ready to sign a new deal with the club – after initially being offered a pay cut, SunSport's Duncan Wright reports.

    Christensen has finalised talks with the Blues as the finer points over a new deal, thought to be worth £120,000-a-week, are now being rubber stamped before an official announcement.

    And it is a fitting reward for the way the 25-year-old has responded to being touted around for sale 18 months ago to now being a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge.

    But SunSport understands the Denmark international had initially been so under-valued by the club they tabled an initial contract offer which was lower than the current £78,000-a-week he earns.

    That deal runs out at the end of this campaign and though the west Londoners were happy to keep him as a squad player at the time, they felt his role on the fringes was not worthy of a top salary.

    Since then, the defender has made such dramatic strides, particularly under Thomas Tuchel, he is now seen as integral to the defence.

    And when it came to a centre-back being offloaded it was Kurt Zouma who got the chop, joining West Ham in a £29.7million move last month

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    CAS-T HIM

    Lucas Torreira, who plays on loan for Fiorentina from Arsenal, claims his time at the Gunners cost him an international call-up from the Uruguay national team.

    Torreira said: "I want to play as much as possible and help Fiorentina this season.

    "We must continue like this. Now, I will continue with a great desire to work, grow and make myself available to the manager to be ready.

    “At Arsenal, I had little continuity of late, which also cost me the call-up to the Uruguay national team in the last chunk of the World Cup qualifiers.

    "With a cool head, maybe it was better this way, because I had more time to work at Fiorentina and to fit into the manager’s plans.

  • Kostas Lianos

    SOUNESS ON KANE

    Graeme Souness argued shortly after Tottenham's loss to Chelsea that Harry Kane no longer plays like a centre-forward.

    Souness told Sky Sports: "Jose Mourinho was credited with finding a new position for him where he came deep and got on the ball. Kane is someone who can see a pass and is a lovely striker of the ball but I would offer a different argument.

    "It really came home to me in the recent England game against Poland, when the ball was going wide he was making no attempt to get into the box. He's looking for the ball to be rolled back to him.

    "For strikers, as they get older, they like to drop deeper as they don't want to be up against the centre half. That's what I see in Harry Kane. I hope I'm wrong but he's not playing like a centre-forward.

    "Right now he's playing in midfield and he needs someone to point out to him that he's a striker"

  • Kostas Lianos

    KEANE ON KANE

    Roy Keane was also critical of Tottenham's struggling star Harry Kane.

    Keane told Sky Sports: "He has scored goals this season for his country but for me today it was more his body language.

    "He's your top man and the guy you'd hang your hat on even when you're having an off day. That's when you've got to create an argument and knock somebody over. I never see him digging anyone out, ever.

    "My concern is that there's a bit of a hangover from the summer. You want your striker to lead the line.

    "I've not got the stats to hand but I don't remember too many sprints or any chances. Like [Cristiano] Ronaldo today, strikers do depend on others creating chances for them but there's more to it than that.

    "If he's not doing his job, drag him off. You've got to put a marker down to the player"

  • Kostas Lianos

    NOT KEANE

    Roy Keane slammed Tottenham's performance against Chelsea and claimed Spurs made him "angry".

    Keane told Sky Sports: "I couldn't believe how bad Spurs were.

    "You can have an off day and sometimes you lose to quality but there was a lack of desire from Spurs for the second and the third goals.

    "I'm pretty angry from watching Spurs today. The difference in desire and wanting to win a football match we see with the second goal.

    "Chelsea won the ball back and Tottenham didn't do the basics. I'm talking about closing players down and putting your body on the line"

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    ALARM BELLS

    Harry Kane will be frustrated after Tottenham were convincingly beaten by Chelsea, claims Gary Neville.

    Kane failed to register a shot on target and has now gone four league games without scoring – he last endured such a dreadful run in 2015.

    Neville said on The Gary Neville Podcast: "It's never easy when a player wants to leave your club and everyone in the ground and in the dressing room knows that he wants to leave.

    "Things aren't going well. We had the stat at Crystal Palace where he'd played his first 90 minutes without a touch in the opposition box or a shot on target. Little things like that start to ring before the game.

    "There were alarm bells and now there will be further questions as he looked despondent towards the end.

    "He was playing against a very good team and he's been part of a Tottenham team in this situation for a number of years.

    "He'll be thinking, "I'm here again". He'll be thinking, 'I'm not going to challenge for the title again at Tottenham and I'm not even going to get into the top four". He wanted more.

    "He wanted to challenge for titles and this Chelsea team will challenge for titles"

  • Kostas Lianos

    PAUL-ING OUT

    Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini suggested the Bianconeri will not try to sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba next summer as they target "another type of player" like Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland.

    Cherubini said: “On the market we will look for players like Haaland before the final maturity.

    “Any investment will go in the direction of a young profile.

    "I plan to bet on another type of player.”

  • Kostas Lianos

    WHAT A MESS

    Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino played down a rift with Lionel Messi and defended his decision to substitute the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    Pochettino said after PSG's last-gasp victory over Lyon, which saw Messi refusing a handshake offer from the former Tottenham boss: "I think we all know we have great players in this 35-man squad.

    "Only 11 can play, we can't play more. The decisions in the game are made for the good of the team and each player.

    "Every coach thinks about that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes players like it and sometimes they don't.

    "At the end of the day, that's why we're here. These are decisions that have to be made by the coach.

    "As for his reaction, I asked him how he was, he said he was okay. That was it. That was our exchange"

  • Kostas Lianos

    RICE LATEST

    West Ham rate highly sought-after midfielder Declan Rice at £100million.

    Rice has been linked with a transfer to Manchester United and Chelsea ever since this past summer transfer window.

    But the Hammers are not willing to bargain over the England international and are demanding a hefty price.

    That means United and the Blues would have to splash the cash once more for the 22-year-old

    GETTY IMAGES
  • Kostas Lianos

    TRIPLE THREAT

    Barcelona are reportedly preparing a triple swoop that includes Manchester United star Paul Pogba, whose contract runs out in the summer.

    Barca are also keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig ace Dani Olmo next summer.

    That is according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim that Barca have set their sights on the trio after managing to reduce their wage bill from 100 per cent to 80 per cent of their total income.

    The Blaugrana were limited in their transfer business this summer due to the wage cap set by La Liga.

    But after losing Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain and Antoine Griezmann to Atletico Madrid the Catalans are now in a better position financially

  • Kostas Lianos

    LANG STORY

    Arsenal are preparing a £20million bid for Brugge starlet Noa Lang ahead of the January transfer window.

    Lang enjoyed a sensational campaign with the Belgian champions last season with 17 goals and 11 assists.

    The winger has carried that superb form into the start of the new season where he has already hit the back of the net four times and registered another four assists.

    And he also caught the eye in the Champions League last week when he was named man of the match in his team's 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain.

    According to Fichajes, the Gunners are impressed with the 22-year-old Dutchman and are thus keeping tabs on him

  • Kostas Lianos

    NEVILLE ADVICE

    Gary Neville believes the team with the best chances of winning the Premier League will be the one that overcomes Chelsea.

    That was a message to the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.

    The Blues have been on a roll ever since winning the Champions League title as they are undefeated in the league with four wins in five matches.

    Neville told Sky Sports: "If you are Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool or any other team that has aspirations to win this title, then you will fancy your chances if you finish above this Chelsea team because they look really, really good"

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