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CHELSEA have suffered a big blow in their pursuit of Norwegian wonderkid Erling Haaland, with the Dortmund start reportedly set to choose Man Utd, Man City or Liverpool.
We’ve also got all the latest from the Premier League, as well as an update on Cristiano Ronaldo’s future.
BET OF THE DAY: GET GARETH BALE TO SCORE OR ASSIST AGAINST FULHAM TONIGHT AT 40/1
Liverpool and Chelsea are underway at Anfield after a minute’s applause for former Red Ian St John who died earlier this week.
Manchester United legend Lee Sharpe has revealed he is ‘still not quite sure’ about Bruno Fernandes.
The 26-year-old Portuguese midfielder has netted 34 times and added 21 assists in 62 games since joining in January 2020.
Yet despite his talismanic performances for the Red Devils over the past 12 months, Sharpe – who won three Premier League titles with United – is still not sold on Fernandes’ contribution to the team.
He told Ladbrokes: « Over the last few months I’m not really sure you could say Bruno Fernandes has performed in the big games. I know everyone is raving about him, and I’ll probably get slagged off for it, but I’m still not quite sure about Bruno.
« He did come in and set the world alight but since then – apart from penalties – he’s not really done anything. For me, he seems to give the ball away far too cheaply and he’s not getting as involved as I’d like.
« Whether it’s down to where the manager is playing him or Ole’s instructions on what he wants him to do, he just doesn’t seem to be getting involved anywhere near as much as he used to. »
Dele Alli’s close range finish came off Tosin Adarabioyo and into the net after 19 minutes.
Fulham had a goal disallowed in the second-half after the ball hit Mario Lemina’s arm in the build up.
Richarlison’s second-half header was enough to prevent Sam Allardyce getting one over on his old team at the Hawthornes.
The Toffees leapfrog West Ham into fourth while the Baggies stay 19th and nine points from safety.
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford insists he would ‘relish’ competing with Erling Haaland for a starting place if the Norwegian joined the club.
Haaland, 20, is a boyhood Leeds United fan and as a teenager publicly talked about his dream to play for the Whites.
He has been linked with transfers to some of the biggest teams in Europe, most notably Manchester City and Real Madrid. And while a move to Leeds seems unlikely for the young superstar, Bamford believes it would only be a positive for everyone involved.
As well as being born in the city, Haaland’s father Alf-Inge played for Leeds between 1997 and 2000.
Alf-Inge also spent four years at Nottingham Forest in the mid-90s and three years at Manchester City in the early 2000s.
The Frenchman, 21, has also attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid with his stellar displays for the German side.
And the Gunners believe that they can muscle in to seal his signature under their rivals’ noses this summer.
According to the Standard, Arsenal are ‘tracking’ Konate in the hope that he becomes available for transfer at the end of the season.
Boss Mikel Arteta has been ruthlessly reshaping his squad this season, with defenders Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and William Saliba having all been allowed to leave either permanently or on loan last month.
And the Spaniard has this week confessed that Arsenal are already planning ahead for the summer window.
But the ball falls back to the Icelandic and he crosses it in again and Richarlison leaps like a salmon to nod home.
According to the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers’ side have been tracking the Bundesliga star for more than a year.
Jakobs can play anywhere down the left flank but has spent the majority of his time since breaking into the first team last season as a winger.
The youngster was nominated for the German top flight’s rookie of the year gong last season alongside Erling Haaland but was pipped by Alphonso Davies.
Bild claims they are two of just six clubs the Norwegian, 20, is willing to join this summer. But City believe they can lure Haaland to the Etihad having signed his dad Alf-Inge over 20 years ago.
Haaland has continued his incredible form this season with 27 goals in 27 games for Dortmund. He netted 16 in 18 games last term, and before that plundered 28 in 22 outings for RB Salzburg.
There are numerous teams competing for his signature, including City and Real. Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus are also interested.
And those six sides are the only ones Haaland will consider joining should Dortmund accept bids this summer.
That means Chelsea could be out of the picture, even though reports on Thursday claimed Thomas Tuchel has NOT been put off by Haaland’s stance.
Between the start of 2020-21 to New Year’s Day, Pep Guardiola’s squad had picked up just 26 points from their opening 14 games.
Simply put, their season was looking bleak with reigning champions Liverpool seven points clear of them and rivals Manchester United four points ahead in second.
But since the turn of the New Year, Manchester City have been utterly rampant. Unstoppable, in fact. Incredibly, Guardiola and Co have won ALL 13 of their Premier League games since January 1, picking up a maximum available 39 points.
For context, West Ham have picked up the second-highest points tally in 2021… with just 22 from their ten games. Man Utd, meanwhile, have earned just 21 points from 12 matches – a mere 1.75 points per game.
That has seen City move from four points behind to a staggering 14 points ahead – an 18-POINT swing.
Fulham and Tottenham have kicked off at Craven Cottage and you can follow SunSport’s LIVE match blog HERE.
And West Brom and Everton are also up and underway at the Hawthornes in the other 6pm kick-off.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is out of his depth at Manchester United, according to ex-Red Devil Lee Sharpe.
The Norwegian has been in charge at Old Trafford since 2018 but Sharpe thinks his old club would have been better going for a more experienced name.
He told Ladbrokes: « I have to say I’ve never really thought Solskjaer was the right man for the Manchester United job. Yes, he’s done a good job, but I think he’s done as well as he can do, to be honest.
« The board have backed him, they’ve given him money to spend, but he’d never have been my first choice, purely because of that lack of experience.
« If you’re one of the biggest companies in the world outside of football, you’re not going to employ someone for such a big role the way United have done with Ole.
« If you look at his experience of the Premier League, he managed Cardiff – then he went to Molde in Norway for a little bit. So to then come in to one of the biggest clubs in the world off the back of that record, I think he’s a little bit out of his depth. »
Former Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has revealed he used to tease Lionel Messi about the one trophy he will never win.
Rakitic, 32, returned to Sevilla last summer six years after he had moved away to join Barcelona.
And during his time with Messi at the Catalan club Rakitic would jokingly wind the Argentinian up by insisting he would never be able to win the Europa League.
Speaking to AS, he said: “I was talking to Messi and I told him ‘You have won everything, you have scored many goals.
Rakitic won the Europa League in his final season with Sevilla before joining Barca in 2014.
Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother Dolores has revealed she thought she was going to die when she suffered a stroke this time last year.
The 66-year-old was rushed to hospital on March 3, 2020, in her native island of Madeira after suffering an ischemic stroke.
Captioning a photo of her on Instagram in the hospital captured 12 days after her stroke, she said: “A year ago today I saw my life almost running between my fingers.
“And luckily I managed to hold on to a light, a light that pulled me up, a light that stubbornly insisted that it was just another obstacle to be overcome and another story of overcoming to tell.
“I never spoke openly about what actually happened, just because I recovered to almost 100 per cent people think that nothing happened or that the scare I gave my children and those who really love me was small.”
Gerard Pique has been ruled out with a fresh knee injury following his heroics for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.
A knock sustained late in Wednesday night’s win over Sevilla appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary, with the defender treated on the side of the pitch before playing on.
Barcelona secured their place in the Copa final by overcoming a 2-0 first-leg deficit, thanks largely to Pique’s late header that forced extra-time.
But tests carried out on Thursday morning confirmed the 34-year-old will be out of action – with no return date set.
A club statement read: “A medical evaluation and tests carried out this morning have shown that Gerard Pique has sprained the Medial Collateral Ligament in his right knee.
Former Manchester United star Lee Sharpe thinks his old side are too reserved against the big teams.
The ex-midfielder was speaking to Ladbrokes ahead of United’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday and urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be a bit more attacking.
He said: “I think against the big teams, Man United are just too reserved; they don’t seem to really go for it.
“They show far too much respect to their opponents and Solskjaer generally plays two holding midfielders or has an extra player sitting a little deeper so there’s less of an emphasis on going forward.
“I’d really like to see them go for it more and attack against the bigger teams, but equally they’ve got to start scoring more against the smaller sides in the division.”
Pep Guardiola has finally told Phil Foden how to become a regular starter for Manchester City: Calm down.
He is yet to become a permanent figure in Guardiola’s City outfit – making just 13 starts this campaign despite such impressive cameos on the pitch. But now, the Spanish coach has opened up on how Foden can change this – and remarkably it involves sprinting LESS.
Guardiola said: “He is a top, top player, but he is still playing football in one rhythm. He has to combine different rhythms to be an exceptional player.
“He makes all the actions in one explosion. When you play in the middle you have to be calmer. But maybe it is because he is 20-years-old. He has an incredible energy to do everything. This is normal.
« It doesn’t mean he is going to change now. That comes with time and seasons. The game by game. He will realise what he has to improve in that position. The rest of him is a top player.
“He is so good in his individual action but he has to understand the game in a global when you want to play in the middle. It is not that he cannot do it, but because he is still 20-years-old. Every player is better at 28 than when they were 20. »
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sweating over who to play at centre-back against Manchester City on Sunday.
United travel to the Etihad in the Manchester derby and their manager will wait until Sunday to decide whether Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly plays alongside Harry Maguire.
Lindelof was an unused sub for the Red Devils’ 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace yesterday and Solskjaer refused to confirm whether his back injury would keep him out against City.
After the Palace game, Solskjaer said: « Victor struggled with his back, you know when he plays on a Sunday night, that was a demanding game, he did really well and I didn’t want to play him if I didn’t have to.
« And Eric is more than capable and he’s played really and he’s played really well tonight as well.
“So [I’ll make a] decision on Sunday, I’m not giving [it] you now. Hopefully Victor’s back is OK, [now] that he’s had that rest that he needs.”
Juventus could be forced to sell Matthijs De Ligt in order to keep Cristiano Ronaldo happy in Turin.
Reports in Italy claim the former Real Madrid star is keen to extend his stay at the Serie A champions.
However, due to the financial repercussions of coronavirus, combined with Ronaldo’s sky-high wages, Juve could be forced to sell a big-name star.
Tuttomercatoweb state Ronaldo, 36, wants an additional year on his current contract – set to expire at the end of the 2021-22 season.
The European Court of Justice has overturned a previous ruling and ordered the two Spanish giants, plus Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, to pay back what was deemed “illegal state aid”.
And that will see all four clubs having to pay back £4.3m in taxes – just a fraction of the money they avoided over a 20-year period.
That came after the EC ruled that the Spanish Government provisions allowing them to pay five per cent less tax on their profits for two decades had been an unfair advantage over other clubs.
In 2019, an appeal to the ECJ’s General Court was upheld, with the tax regime declared to be “lawful”.
But now the full ruling has gone back to the original EC decision, determining the lower court was wrong in backing the tax situation and that the measures were effectively an “aid scheme”.
But Cardiff, rather than another English city, is likely to be given the chance to take up the four matches planned for the Aviva Stadium.
The FA of Ireland is becoming increasingly resigned to the fact that it will not be able to give Uefa its required guarantees of allowing fans into the Aviva Stadium by next month’s deadline.
Irish Government scientists are reluctant to open turnstiles to fans given the current state of Covid in the country.
And unless there is a change of stance in the next four weeks, it seems likely that the Irish will have to hand back the three group games and last-16 clash – which would involve England if Gareth Southgate’s team win their opening phase.
Arsenal are unhappy that Spurs have been given a leg-up by Uefa ahead of next week’s crunch North London derby.
The two clubs were drawn to play away in the Europa League next Thursday ahead of their crucial match-up at the Emirates on the Sunday.
But competition rules state that two games cannot be staged in the same city on the same day.
Spurs will now play at home in the first leg of their tie against Dinamo Zagreb.
Asked if it gave Spurs an edge, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said: “It does, but the decision has been made.
“We can raise our voices and we should do that because we want to have two teams playing in equal conditions. So I will probably take the decision and use it to help in our motivation.”
Liverpool have reportedly identified three possible replacements for Georginio Wijnaldum should the midfielder depart in the summer.
The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season with contract talks to extend his stay at Anfield believed to have reached a stalemate.
Despite heavy interest from Barcelona, the Holland international is understood to have reached an agreement to join Inter Milan.
And according to Goal, the Reds have already compiled a shortlist of players that can replace the ex-Newcastle ace.
They state that Borussia Monchengladbach star Florian Neuhaus is a serious option, as well as former Arsenal target Houssem Aouar who has impressed at Lyon this term.
Brighton’s Yves Bissouma is another player Liverpool are claimed to be interested in, though they could face competition from Manchester United.
He posted a shot of the abuse via his Instagram story which he captioned “Why we kneel”.
That refers to the custom of kneeling carried out by Premier League players prior to kick-off at matches this season to highlight the issue of racism.
Gary Neville has cast doubt over David De Gea’s Manchester United future after revealing a ‘big decision is coming soon’.
SunSport exclusively revealed last month that United plan to let either the Spaniard or Dean Henderson leave in the summer.
Dean Henderson helped earn United a point at PalaceDe Gea, 30, missed last night’s drab 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace for ‘personal reasons’, with Henderson stepping in.
It was the £120,000-a-week keeper’s first clean sheet in what was only his fourth Premier League appearance since being recalled from Sheffield United.
When pressed on De Gea’s absence, the United boss would only say: “That’s a private matter. [His return] will take the time it takes.”
Neville also chose his words carefully when asked on Twitter before the game if ‘time is over for De Gea in a United shirt?’. The former Red Devils skipper simply replied: “A big decision is coming soon.”
New Chelsea home kit ‘leaked’ with yellow badge as fans ask ‘do they hate us?’
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