Massimiliano Allegri 1 Massimiliano Allegri has rubbished reports he could take over at Manchester United.The Juventus head coach won the Serie A title at the end of his first season in Turin, also guiding the Bianconeri to the Champions League final where they were beaten by Barcelona.Recent reports in Italy have suggested the 48-year-old might be approached to replace Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, but Allegri has insisted he is committed to Juve for at least one more campaign.“I have a contract running until 2017,” he told the Corriere dello Sport during his preview press conference for Friday’s game at Lazio. “I’m happy here and I’m focused on Juventus’ objectives.“They are much more important than these rumours which come from elsewhere.“In a month the transfer window will be open, so that’ll please you and you’ll be able to move on!“It’ll be a difficult match at Lazio and our mission there will be to move up another place in the table.”
12 Out: Arouna Kone (Everton) – £4.7m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Newcastle (A), Stoke (H), Tottenham (H). Everton have a decent set of fixtures over the next eight days; not the easiest or the most difficult. However, if you thought Arouna Kone was going to be a cheap alternative to Romelu Lukaku after his hat-trick against Sunderland in November you were very wrong. Kone hasnt scored since and simply cant justify his place in one of your forward positions at this vital time. In: Yohan Cabaye OR Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) – £6.6m OR £6.2m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Bournemouth (A), Swansea (H), Chelsea (H). Palaces appealing set of Christmas fixtures have tempted us to recommend you purchase one of their attacking midfielders as well as defender Pape Souare. The question is which one? Both Cabaye and Bolasie have been inconsistent this season, but seem likely to return to form against the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea. We cant split them buy both? In: Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – £8.3m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Southampton (A), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (H). In contrast, Theo Walcott appears to have promptly rediscovered his form after returning from a long-term injury. Walcotts goal against Man City on Monday night showed the Englishman to be back to his best and, with home matches against Bournemouth and Newcastle coming up, he could quickly turn into a point-scoring machine. 12 12 Out: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) – £5.6m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Irrelevant because hes injured and out for six weeks! 12 12 Out: Christian Benteke (Liverpool) – £8.2m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Leicester (H), Sunderland (A), West Ham (A). Like Kone, you just cannot afford to have Christian Benteke occupying one of your striker spots at present. Benteke has picked up no goals and just one assist since the end of October if that doesnt jingle your alarm bells, we dont know what will! Out: Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle) – £7.1m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Everton (H), West Brom, (A), Arsenal (A). After scoring four goals against Norwich, many people put Georginio Wijnaldum straight into their fantasy teams thinking they had found a hidden gem. Unfortunately, it hasnt worked out like that and the Dutchman has scored just one goal in his eight appearances since! Out: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – £8.5m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Leicester (H), Sunderland (A), West Ham (A). Liverpools next three matches are not the hardest, but not the easiest either. Since returning from injury, Philippe Coutinho has failed to make an impact on his sides 2-2 draw with West Brom and shocking 3-0 defeat at Watford. With strength in depth so important over this period you cant afford to have expensive midfielders that just arent pulling their weight! 12 In: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) – £5.9m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Norwich (H), Watford (A), Everton (A). Although away trips to Watford and Everton might not look like the easiest of matches for a Premier League defender at present, Spurs Toby Alderweireld is still a worthy long-term replacement if you have to replace the injured Martin Skrtel. 12 In: Pape Souare (Crystal Palace) – £4.5m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Bournemouth (A), Swansea (H), Chelsea (H). Meanwhile, Crystal Palaces Christmas fixtures appear to suit a defender down to the ground. At £4.5m, Pape Souare is not a very expensive gamble and could return some serious points over the next eight days. 12 12 12 12 In: Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – £9.3m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Newcastle (A), Stoke (H), Tottenham (H). And who better to replace Kone with than his free-scoring team-mate, Romelu Lukaku? Lukaku has netted in his last seven consecutive league outings and is fast approaching Vardy territory he really is a must have this Christmas! Out: Allan Nyom (Watford) – £4.7m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Chelsea (A), Tottenham (H), Man City (H). Allan Nyom is one of the most transferred defenders so far this week, but it seems those who are buying him have failed to spot how tough Watfords set of festive fixtures actually are! We’ve been waiting all year for it and it’s finally here… The festive period of Premier League fixtures starts on Boxing Day!There’s also something minor happening the day before, but that’s nowhere near as important.So, let’s get planning as we’ve got three games in eight/nine days to prepare for and, as we all know, only the fittest Fantasy Premier League managers will survive.With the festive fixtures coming thick and fast, strength in depth is certainly important. Top managers will without doubt be rotating their sides and your fantasy team must be prepared for this.So, to see which Fantasy Premier League players are a ‘must have’ this Christmas, click the right arrow above… 12 In: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) – £9.0m – Click the right arrow for more advice – Next three fixtures: Next three fixtures: Southampton (A), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (H). Walcotts hitting form, Arsenal are hitting form and even Olivier Giroud is hitting form again with four goals in his last five matches. Its a Christmas miracle! The Gunners fixtures over the next eight days provide plenty of opportunity for the Frenchman to continue his goalscoring with Walcott and Ozil providing the support in place of the absent Sanchez and Cazorla.
1 Sandro in action for QPR Tony Pulis has confirmed West Brom are working on a deal for QPR midfielder Sandro.The Baggies have made an offer to take the Brazilian on loan, with a view to a permanent transfer.“We’re interested in Sandro but nothing’s been done yet so that’s ongoing,” said Pulis.“Whether we can do a deal or not we’ll have to wait and see. We’re working on it if we can get a deal done we’ll get a deal done.”It is understood that QPR have already accepted the proposal for Sandro and West Brom are hopeful of completing the deal on Friday.That would mean Sandro being available for Saturday’s FA Cup game with Peterborough.Sandro has made 11 appearances for Rangers this season but has not played for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side in 2016.
Lionel Messi 1 Lionel Messi has been named Spain’s La Liga player of the month for January – the first time he has won the award.The award has been given out since the beginning of the 2013-14 Primera Division season, but the five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner had not won it until now.The Barcelona forward finally won the award at the 23rd time of asking after scoring six goals in as many league games in January.The 28-year-old struck a hat-trick against Granada as well as scoring in victories over Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid to take his total of league goals for the season to 12.Messi is only the second Barcelona player to win the award following Neymar’s success in November.Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award twice since it began in September 2013, as have Atletico pair Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann and Real Sociedad striker Carlos Vela.
The city of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union have reached a settlement allowing the homeless to sleep on city sidewalks, according to City Council President Eric Garcetti. Under the settlement, the Los Angeles Police Department will not arrest people for sleeping on city sidewalks between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. That policy will remain in place until the city is able to build 1,250 affordable housing units. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
“There are mixed weddings, almost every week,” she said, adding that she attended one last week between a Sunni woman and a Shiite man from a prominent family. “Nobody at the party felt it was strange, or questioned their marriage,” she said. In Damascus, the home of Sundus al-Dulaimi, a 50-year-old Sunni from Anbar province, reflects the spirit which Iraqis seem to have kept alive outside their ravaged country. Al-Dulaimi was hosting four members of a Shiite family. In June, she opened her doors to Kurdish friends, she said. Iraqis have several explanations for the explosion of sectarian hatred back home. Some accuse the Americans of setting Iraq’s communities against one another in a divide-and-rule strategy. Others point to the role of al-Qaida in Iraq – whose suicide bombings targeted Shiite civilians – and the Shiite militias that took vengeance on Sunnis simply because of their sect. “Even in Baghdad, it is the government and the militias who are behind these disputes,” Adnan said. “We hear that there are many mixed Sunni-Shiite marriages back home.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Back in Baghdad, “being Sunni or Shiite is an issue that a lot depends on – including your life,” said Saad Kadhem, a Shiite from the Iraqi capital. “The situation is different when you are out, because people see things differently. But inside Iraq, people are still blinded by hatred and grudges they carry against one another.” The phenomenon is not unique to Iraqis. A decade ago in the Balkans, Serbs and Muslims would kill each other on the front lines around Sarajevo but hang out together in exile in Germany or Austria – far removed from the hatreds back home. In Syria, Jordan and other countries with large Iraqi refugee communities, Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds mingle and socialize – rekindling a bond of nationhood that the violence back home threatens to destroy. “The situation in Iraq didn’t affect us, Iraqis living in Jordan,” said Leila Adnan, a Sunni Muslim Iraqi housewife who fled to Jordan in 2003. “We socialize together, we exchange invitations to wedding parties and other social events.” She said Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites in Jordan still marry across the sectarian divide. DAMASCUS, Syria – A dozen Iraqi men – Sunnis and Shiites alike – sat around a table in a Damascus restaurant, singing, drinking and sharing a camaraderie all but impossible in the sectarian killing fields back home. “We can certainly choose our religious beliefs. But we have to realize the inevitable – that eventually we have to share everything in order to live in peace,” said Salam Mohammed, a 34-year-old Sunni from Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. More than 2 million Iraqis have fled their homeland to escape Sunni-Shiite reprisal killings. Once they reach the safety of Syria and other countries, many Iraqis shed sectarian bitterness and seek support from fellow countrymen regardless of religious sect.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PACOIMA – A 26-year-old man died and two other people were injured Thursday night in a single-car accident in Pacoima at Interstate 5 and the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway, the CHP said. The victim’s name is being withheld until his family could be notified. The crash, which was reported shortly after 11 last night, happened on the northbound 5 where it connects to the eastbound 118, according to the Highway Patrol. The vehicle reportedly left the roadway and went “30 feet over the side,” Gonzalez said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsInformation about the two injured victims was still not available, he added.
WASHINGTON – President Bush will visit the Mideast in early January as he presses the Israelis and Palestinians to restart moribund peace talks, a spokesman said Tuesday. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe announced the visit but would not release itinerary details. An Israeli television station said Bush would visit Israel. Last week, Bush hosted a high-profile Mideast conference in Annapolis, Md., where Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told international backers and skeptical Arab neighbors that they were ready to resume bargaining toward achieving an independent Palestinian homeland. Bush has held Mideast peacemaking at arm’s length for most of his nearly seven years in office, but argues that conditions in Israel and the Palestinian territories now are right for a more energetic role. He said Israeli and Palestinian leaders are ready to make peace, there is a wider and unifying fight against extremism fed by the Palestinian conflict, and the world understands the urgency. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsFundamental differences have led to the collapse of previous peace efforts: the borders of a Palestinian state, the status of disputed Jerusalem and the rights of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Israel said Tuesday it is seeking bids to build more than 300 new homes in a disputed east Jerusalem neighborhood, drawing Palestinian condemnations that the move is undermining the newly relaunched peace talks. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat sent an urgent message to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking her to block the project from moving forward. “This is undermining Annapolis,” he said. Negotiating teams were to hold their first session in the region on Dec. 12, and Olmert and Abbas plan to continue one-on-one discussions they began earlier this year. Many of the same nations and organizations attending the meeting in Annapolis were scheduled to gather on Dec. 17 in Paris to raise money for the cash-strapped Palestinians.
Bilal Boutobba (right) in action for France’s Under-17s last season Arsenal are set to mount a pursuit for Sevilla target Bilal Boutobba, according to reports in Spain.The Marseille teenager has been on the Gunners’ radar since January and he recently rejected a new contract offer from the Ligue 1 club.Sevilla were leading the race to land the attacking midfielder but, according to Estadio Deportivo, the north Londoners are now ready to gatecrash the Spanish club’s plans.A France youth international, Boutobba made his senior debut at the age of 16 but has been kept back in the club’s second team this season.But that has not prevented Arsenal and Sevilla from continuing to scout the youngster. Both clubs are expected to make contact with the player before the end of the season to try and negotiate a free transfer. 1
Here are the top transfer-related stories in Wednesday’s newspapers and online…Manchester United supremo Ed Woodward missed the club’s flight to China to try to seal Paul Pogba’s world-record £100million move from Juventus. The Red Devils’ executive vice-chairman was scheduled to fly out to Shanghai on Tuesday with Jose Mourinho and his 25-man squad for the pre-season tour. Instead, he stayed behind to focus on a deal for 23-year-old Pogba which Mourinho hopes will be wrapped up by the end of the week. (Daily Mirror)James Wilson, Tyler Blackett and Will Keane are all likely to leave Manchester United this summer as manager Jose Mourinho continues to overhaul his squad. (Daily Telegraph)Striker Wilson is set to join Fulham in Jose Mourinho’s first departure at Manchester United. The 20-year-old will link up with Slavisa Jokanovic’s side on loan. (The Sun)Jose Mourinho has told Juan Mata he does have a future at Manchester United — but he will only play one game in three. Mourinho is also offering an olive branch to Marouane Fellaini. (The Sun)Despite the £32m signing of N’Golo Kante from Leicester, Chelsea remain in the market for another midfielder and they will push for Sporting Lisbon’s Euro 2016 winner Joao Mario , despite his £40m price-tag. (Daily Mirror)Newcastle United are interested in signing midfielder Lucas Leiva as part of the deal that takes Holland international Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool. Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez worked with Lucas during his time at Anfield and is a huge admirer of the Brazilian. Although Newcastle want £27m for Wijnaldum, a compromise package worth between £20-25m is likely if they get a Liverpool player in return. (Daily Telegraph)Arsenal have been put on red alert after Moussa Sissoko revealed he is eyeing a move to a Premier League club. The French ace was part of the Newcastle squad relegated to the Championship last term and he is expected to leave this summer. (The Sun)Atletico Madrid face disappointment in their bid to re-sign Chelsea striker Diego Costa and could turn their attention to Liverpool’s Divock Origi. (Bleacher Report)Chelsea forward Loic Remy will be targeted by Besiktas should the Turkish side fail to complete a permanent deal for Mario Gomez. (London Evening Standard)West Brom last night made a £4.5million bid plus add-ons to land Ciaran Clark from Aston Villa. Tony Pulis has targeted the Republic of Ireland centre-back to bolster his defence and has lodged a formal bid for the 26-year-old. (The Sun)Stoke are interested in signing the striker José Angulo from the Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle but face competition from clubs in Spain, France and Italy. (Guardian)Crystal Palace have £15million-rated West Ham striker Diafra Sakho in their sights. The 26-year-old Senegal star wants to leave Upton Park after falling out with the club’s top brass, and the Eagles – also keen on West Brom’s Saido Berahino – have joined Sunderland, West Brom and Swansea in chasing him. (Daily Mirror)Manchester City have made an official approach to West Ham about signing youngster Reece Oxford. The 17-year-old central midfielder, who shot into the public eye in an impressive display against Arsenal on the opening day of last season, is understood to be valued at £15m by the Hammers. (SkySports)Steve Walsh is set to be unveiled as Everton’s new sporting director in the next 24 hours. The Goodison club have pulled off a coup by capturing the man credited with much of the spectacular recruitment which helped Leicester pull off a miraculous title triumph last season. (Daily Mirror)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…?Paul Pogba package could cost Manchester United OVER £120million if Juventus can be ‘convinced’, talkSPORT toldSTUNNING transfer report: Manchester City to target Leicester ace Riyad Mahrez if they fail to land Leroy SaneTottenham FC transfer news: Georges-Kevin N’Koudou set for medical today as £10m deal agreedTottenham FC transfer news: Clinton N’Jie ready to snub interest from Marseille and fight for Spurs placeLiverpool FC news: Ragnar Klavan has Reds medical and set to seal £4.2m switch on WednesdayDiego Costa NOT for sale – Chelsea striker firmly in Antonio Conte’s plans, claim reportsArsenal FC transfer news: Bolton defender Rob Holding heading to Emirates in £2m dealArsenal BLOW! Gunners’ striker target Mauro Icardi in talks over new Inter Milan contract, reveals agent and wife – ‘He wants to stay!’Gonzalo Higuain latest: Napoli offer Arsenal and Juventus target huge new deal to remain at clubSporting Lisbon tell Chelsea and Manchester United to FORGET about signing star man Joao MarioManchester United and Chelsea to miss out on top target Andre Gomes as Real Madrid enter ‘advanced talks’ over Portugal starCONFIRMED: Burnley sign Iceland international Johann Berg Gudmundsson from Charlton AthleticCONFIRMED: Norwich City sign Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 hero Michael McGovern on free transfer