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Mourinho gives update on Ibrahimovic’s future, transfer plans

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Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United’s top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be around next season.

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Ibrahimovic, 35, has a deal which runs out in the summer but Mourinho has stated multiple times that he believes the Swedish striker will stay at Old Trafford for another season.

Speaking ahead of United’s clash with Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Mourinho is defiant Ibra will remain in Manchester.

“I’m totally convinced that he is going to stay. He came with the intention of staying two years,” Mourinho said. “We are going to try to share with him in a fantastic way probably the last year of his career at the highest level. He came with the intention of two years and has been better than every expectation – maybe apart from his own. He knows we will try and improve next season for what will be the last year of his career at the highest level. I am convinced he is staying. No problem with his family. I offer him extra days off to go to Sweden, he never goes.”

It is likely Zlatan, who has scored 15 PL goals this season, has offers on the table from elsewhere to finish off his playing days. Perhaps Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League from 2018 onwards?

Wherever he ends up, Mourinho doesn’t expect plenty of ins and outs in the summer.

United’s Executive Chairman Ed Woodward revealed record revenue levels on Thursday as their quarterly financial report was released and he stated that there wouldn’t be much “churn” in the playing squad this summer.

Mourinho had to look up what churn meant but has added it to his vocabulary and agrees with Woodward that United’s transfer policy will be as follows.

“We know that we have a squad that like every squad needs changes, but we know also that our squad has potential. Our squad has good players, many of them in their best age of evolution,” Mourinho said. “It is not our philosophy, independent of the numbers, if we can spend 10 or 100 million. Independent of the numbers it is also the philosophy, the idea, we look at it in this way. We prefer to bring two, three, four players, but good players, players that feel an idea of football that we try to to play and improve our squad.

“We are not interested in selling six or seven and buy six or seven and from this six or seven only one or two or of the quality of the others we are selling. We are stable. We think that our market in the summer will be soft, natural. Some players to leave, some players to come but in a very natural way.”

There you go.

Expect a soft, natural summer transfer window, United fans. Cue the “Antoine Griezmann to United for $130 million” and “Six stars heading to United” reports.

In all seriousness, Mourinho is right. United probably need a new center back, right back and maybe left back, while also a strong defensive presence in midfield and a new striker to eventually replace Ibra should be top of the list. Apart from that, they’re good.

With Mourinho’s United looked solid as rock after going 15 games unbeaten in the Premier League, if they do finish in the top four (currently they’re two points outside of it) then that will obviously help them attract a better caliber of players.

Then again, with the financial figures we saw released earlier this week it’s clear to see their spending power remains untouched by a relatively dormant period on the pitch.

MLS Playoff bracket, dates set: Chicago, Vancouver host Tues.

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Major League Soccer’s playoff bracket is set. Our staff predictions are coming Tuesday before the first round match-ups, but here’s what we’ll be watching…

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The chase begins with Chicago and the Red Bulls, and San Jose heading to Vancouver. The Quakes drew the ‘Caps just over a week ago, on Oct. 15.

First round
(E3) Chicago vs. (E6) New York Red Bulls — 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(W3) Vancouver vs. (W6) San Jose — 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(E4) Atlanta vs. (E5) Columbus — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday
(W4) Houston vs. (W5) Sporting KC — 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Conference semifinals
(W1) Portland vs.  San Jose, Houston, or Sporting KC
(W2) Seattle vs. Houston, Sporting KC, or Vancouver
(E1) Toronto vs. New York Red Bulls, Atlanta, or Columbus
(E2) New York City vs. Atlanta, Columbus, or Chicago

Conference finals
Eastern Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 or 29
Western Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 30

MLS Cup Final
At finalist with best record — 4 p.m. ET Dec. 9

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Who will replace Koeman at Everton?

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Where will Everton turn in search of their next manager?

U23s coach David Unsworth is the front-runner to take over, according to several betting sites — not that we’d partake in such madness — and the 44-year-old boasts 312 career appaearances for the Toffees.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Ronald Koeman ]

As for who else could be in frame for the gig, there are names (quite) familiar and new.

David Moyes — This one is an eyebrow-raiser, as Moyes has had little if any success since leaving Everton and ended his time at Sunderland with a sexist takedown of a journalist. But the 54-year-old Scot spent more than 11 years at Everton before leaving for Manchester United, and it’s not like the Toffees wanted him to skip town. He was thrice League Manager of the Year at Goodison Park.

Sean Dyche — The Burnley boss has overachieved time and again at Turf Moor, and the Clarets are one of the smallest outfits the Premier League has ever seen. A move to Everton could be a big and safe enough step to warrant his affection.

Carlo Ancelotti — He’s said he’s not returning to a manager’s seat this season, but the Italian may relish the chance to take a skillful team and organize it into its rightful potential. And we think he’s do a magnificent job.

Chris Coleman — He’s waffled on staying in his position at Wales, and the club’s absence from this summer’s World Cup must have him eyeing the club scene. He’s hasn’t led a club since 2012, having led AEL, Coventry City, Real Sociedad, and Fulham.

Phil Neville — The Manchester United and Everton playing legend doesn’t have first chair experience, but may be able to rally the troops. His latest stint was as an assistant in brother Gary’s tough, short campaign at Valencia.

Although… his recent prediction record isn’t hot.

Longshots: Mikel Arteta, Luis Enrique, Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Sam Allardyce, Manuel Pellegrini, Frank De Boer.

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Three seriously injured, 120 detained in Bruges hooligan riot

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BRUSSELS (AP) Authorities are investigating a hooligan riot which seriously injured three people and forced Brugge police to detain 120 following the match between Club Brugge and Antwerp.

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Local police chief Dirk Van Nuffel says one policeman was among the seriously wounded as authorities sought to contain a brawl between Belgian fans reinforced by others who had come from the Netherlands.

By Monday morning all were released but investigators were still seeking to see who was at the core of the fighting. Van Nuffel says such hooligan fighting “hadn’t been seen for years.”

Everton fires Ronald Koeman

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A 5-2 home loss versus Arsenal sent Everton into the Premier League drop zone, and that’s apparently a bridge too far for the Toffees when it comes to their managerial position.

Ronald Koeman is out at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Who will replace him? ]

Everton sits 18th in the Premier League with eight points, it’s minus-11 goal differential second-worst in the top flight. Its 18 goals conceded are third-worst, and only three clubs have scored fewer goals than its seven.

The Toffees won two rounds in the Europa League, beating Ružomberok and Hajduk Split, but have lost to Atalanta and Lyon while drawing Apollon Limassol in Group E play.

Everton faces Chelsea in League Cup play on Wednesday before a critical early season match at Leicester City on Sunday.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

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