After Saturday’s loss to Sunderland, Ryan Giggs remains in the spotlight. In the wake of rumors about Louis van Gaal’s imminent appointment, the interim Manchester United manager was already questioned last week about his future with the club. Giggs turned the attention to the approaching match, but after Saturday, those questions came back ’round again.
What’s clear is this: Giggs will not be lacing up his boots for another club. When asked about the possibility, the Welshman answered, “For me it has to be playing for Manchester United or nothing. Money doesn’t come into it.”
It’s unknown, however, whether Giggs has a place in the squad under the (still unconfirmed) reign of van Gaal. Whoever does take charge of United will certainly bring in multiple new faces. Will the new manager take a chance on a contract extension for Giggs, who turns 41 next November? Or will the squad undergo a complete overhaul, with the old guard cast aside?
If the new manager chooses not to offer a contract extension, then next Tuesday’s game against Hull will be Giggs’ last at Old Trafford – as a player, anyway. After 24 seasons, 962 appearances, 13 Premier League titles and 34 trophies total, Giggs would be forgiven for wanting one last hurrah in front of the United fans.
But the manager is uncertain as to whether he’ll be part of the 18-man squad. ” I might have to put myself on the bench. The perfect scenario would be me coming on and scoring but football doesn’t work like that,” he said.
While the entirety of his senior career has been spent at Manchester United, Giggs is not naive enough to believe his managerial career will be spent in the same way. Calling himself a young man when it comes to management, he stated “You can never say yes or no,” when asked whether he might consider managing at a different club.
Columbus Crew star Ola Kamara is ready to leave the side, but he may not be moving inside of Major League Soccer.
[ MORE: FA Cup replay roundup ]
Metro.Us reporter Kristian Dyer says the Norwegian star is subject to a bid from a mid-table La Liga club. He’d been linked with a trade to Colorado as well.
Kamara, 28, came to MLS from Austria Wien and has since scored 34 goals in two seasons, a year after bagging 21 goals on loan for Molde in Norway.
Seventh place and 15th are separated by just four points in Spain’s top flight. Leganes and Espanyol are having the hardest time scoring goals, in terms of mildly educated speculation.
Could this January transfer window rival last season’s in terms of activity?
[ MORE: FA Cup replay roundup ]
Last season saw Crystal Palace save its season and Hull City nearly do the same, Morgan Schneiderlin head to Everton, Leicester find a decent N'Golo Kante replacement, and much, much more.
This season has been less active, though Ross Barkley has headed to Chelsea while former club Everton nabbed Cenk Tosun and Liverpool added Virgil Van Dijk.
The BBC has news involving Napoli which could affect two Premier League clubs. The Neapolitans apparently want Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who wants to be an every week starter, to be a prime part of their push to end Juventus’ Serie A stranglehold.
That would unseat Pepe Reina, who’s been long linked with a reunion with former boss Pepe Reina at Newcastle United. Napoli currently has Luigi Sepe as a No. 2 to Reina, though UEFA Europa League fixtures mean it’s no guarantee Mignolet’s arrival would allow Reina to leave town.
Sky Sports says Manchester City would like to see Fred as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. Fred went 90 minutes for Shakhtar Donetsk in a pair of UEFA Champions League contests against City, including the 2-1 home win over the Premier League leaders’ B-squad on Dec. 6. The 24-year-old has two goals and two assists in league play, and could cost more than $25 million.
Don Balon proffers news that could unsettle Arsenal fans, as Real Madrid is apparently entering the bidding for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Florentino Perez would like an upgrade to Karim Benzema for his struggling La Liga super powers, and goodness knows Real will tempt Borussia Dortmund’s bank account.
— The BBC also says Besiktas want Islam Slimani to join the club from Leicester City.
— Ola Kamara’s move from Columbus to another MLS team may be hijacked by La Liga.
Jose Mourinho is scheduling an extended stay at Manchester United.
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The 54-year-old has a contract through the end of next season, the dreaded third at a club for Mourinho, but reports say United is keen to keep him around through 2021.
Mourinho has not tasted a fourth season with a club despite winning league titles at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid.
The 2019-20 season at Old Trafford would be Mourinho’s fourth. According to the BBC:
Talks have progressed well and it is now just a matter of time before Mourinho commits to remain at Old Trafford beyond the expiry of his present deal in 2019.
Somehow, this feels it should be deemed another loss for Antonio Conte.
Ross Barkley was expected — and himself expected — to make his Chelsea debut on Wednesday, when the Blues host Championship side Norwich City in a third-round FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge.
Alas, the 24-year-old English midfielder has been ruled ineligible due to a lesser-known and -applied rules surrounding transfers and player registration.
[ MORE: Tuesday’s 3rd-round replay roundup | Wednesday preview ]
Barkley completed his move from Everton to Chelsea, for $20 million, on Jan. 5, the day before Chelsea and Norwich drew 0-0 at Carrow Road. In order to be eligible for Wednesday’s replay, Barkley is required to have completed his transfer prior to the noon cut-off the day prior to the original tie. While the time of official approval is unknown, Barkley’s move wasn’t announced by the club until after 5 p.m. in the UK.
As such, Chelsea will attempt to set up a behind-closed-doors friendly this week, in order to provide Barkley a bit of game action as he builds fitness and sharpness ahead of a potential debut against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Barkley hasn’t seen a single minute of first-team action this season after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the summer.