Xavi unveiled as Barcelona boss, Eddie Howe Newcastle contract EXCLUSIVE, Chelsea transfer news LATEST

XAVI has been unveiled at the Nou Camp after taking over as Barcelona boss.

Even former boss Pep Guardiola has headed back to his former club ground to celebrate the appointment of his ex-midfield general.

Eddie Howe is set to be named as Newcastle manager after travelling North East to finalise his contract, SunSport can exclusively reveal.

Former Bournemouth and Burnley manager Howe, 43, will replace Steve Bruce at the helm after spending most of his career as a player and boss on the South Coast.

Aston Villa have parted ways with manager Dean Smith after a run of five defeats on the spin.

Meanwhile, Brazilian superstar Neymar reached the landmark of 400 career goals as PSG overcame Bordeaux 3-2 on Saturday night.

The striker now has an impressive 88 goals in 126 appearances for the Ligue 1 giants, as well as 70 international strikes to his name.

Back in the Premier League, Daniel Farke watched Norwich beat Brentford for their first win of the campaign – but the German was axed just hours after the victory.

We've also the very latest from Chelsea who are eyeing a swoop for Attila Szalai in January.

Get all the latest football news, updates and transfer gossip below…

  • Justin Lawrence

    SPECIAL CON

    Tottenham star Sergio Reguilon is convinced that new club boss Antonio Conte is the 'Special One'.

    The moniker belongs to Jose Mourinho who brought Reguilon to White Hart Lane, but the defender reckons Conte is also special although he's just arrived at the club.

    Reguilon said: “The gaffer is special.”

    “He loves training hard but now we don’t have a lot of time to work on the things he wants on the pitch. So we did a lot of meetings with videos this week."

  • Justin Lawrence

    FACE THE MUSIC

    Xavi has been unveiled as Barcelona's new manager – but he might not have been impressed with the choice of Nou Camp music.

    The Catalan legend has made an emotional return to the club to succeed Ronald Koeman who was sacked after 14 months in charge.

    The 41-year-old was unveiled to his adoring fans at the club's stadium today.

    But before he was wheeled out, the Tannoy boomed with the hit song 'Another One Bites The Dust'.

    Xavi will be hoping it is not an ominous sign with the LaLiga giants sacking four bosses in the last two years.

    The Spaniard has signed a two-and-a-half year deal at Barca.

  • Justin Lawrence

    SEE YOU SOON 

    Denmark international Kasper Dolberg has temporarily pulled out of international duty after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

    Dolberg received the news just recently as he underwent several medical tests after "feeling a bit off the last couple of weeks".

    However, the Nice star has been reassured by doctors that with the right treatment this will have no effect on his football career.

    The centre-forward is now trying to get used to the new remedy and agreed with Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand that it would be best if he sat out the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against the Faroe Islands and Scotland

  • Justin Lawrence

    TOON TARGETS

    Eddie Howe is finally set to be named Newcastle boss following the blockbuster Saudi takeover on Tyneside.

    SunSport revealed the ex-Bournemouth manager is on his way to St James’ Park to put pen to paper on a new deal.

    And he will be handed a transfer war chest the likes of which the club nor their new manager has ever seen before.

    Reinforcements are almost certain to arrive in January as the Magpies scramble to escape the drop and aspire to European football.

    Ahead of Howe’s arrival on Tyneside, two Manchester United stars Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard are said to be on his shortlist.

  • Justin Lawrence

    CONTE'S THE MAN

    Tottenham defender Ben Davies has revealed that Spurs stars are desperate for Antonio Conte to succeed as boss.

    Conte came in to replace axed head coach Nuno Espirito Santo and Davies reckons the club will get it right under the Italian's tutelage.

    Davies said: “He is a world-class manager who is going to bring his ideas in, and he is going to work us hard to make sure we do it right.

    “And as players, we’re desperate to get going with him.”

    “We’ve only had five days with the new boss, but I’m sure over the coming months we will be working hard and trying to be the best we can be. There is no doubt he can get us there.

    “We haven’t been at our best. But he’s got an idea of how we can be there.

    “I am sure after the international break we are going to be working very hard to get it right.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    PUL-ING STRINGS 

    New Genoa boss Andriy Shevchenko could move for Chelsea star Christian Pulisic and Manchester City ace Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports suggest.

    Shevchenko replaced Davide Ballardini in the Grifone's dugout and has his work cut out for him as the club is hovering in 17th position – just a place above the relegation zone.

    According to Secolo XIX, the AC Milan legend has been reassured by the owners that investment will be made to boost his new squad.

    The Ukrainian head coach is determined to raise the bar at the Luigi Ferraris with some high-profile additions and is looking into his former club Chelsea.

    The 45-year-old is reportedly keeping tabs on Pulisic, who recently returned from injury.

    The 2004 Ballon d'Or winner is also looking into some of Ukraine's best following his five-year stint as the national team's manager.

    Thus, Shevchenko is also monitoring Zinchenko who is struggling for minutes at City.

  • Justin Lawrence

    LIV IT OUT

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp clashed with a reporter in his post-match interview over the referee's decisions during Sunday's loss at West Ham.

    The Hammers ended the Reds' club record 25-match unbeaten run across all competitions with a 3-2 victory that saw them overtaking the Merseysiders in third place.

    However, Klopp appeared to be unhappy with certain decisions made by referee Craig Pawson at the London Stadium.

    The German head coach appeared unhappy that a foul wasn't awarded before Alisson's own goal and hinted that Aaron Cresswell should have been sent off after a rough challenge on Jordan Henderson.

    In an exchange with BBC Radio 5 Live, a reporter asked Klopp if Cresswell should have been sent off.

    To which the German replied: "My God. I'm not your puppy. Hopefully, you have an opinion yourself. All good."

  • Justin Lawrence

    PREM PILOT

    Four Premier League clubs have been given the go-ahead to trial “safe standing” this season.

    Chelsea, Spurs, Man City and Man United will be the top-flight sides taking part in the pilot in January.

    The first match will be Chelsea v Liverpool on January 2.

    Championship team Cardiff have also been given permission.

    Standing has been illegal in the top divisions since all-seater stadiums were introduced in 1994 following the death of 97 Liverpool fans in the Hillsborough disaster.

    If the trial is a success, other clubs will be able to apply for next season.

  • Justin Lawrence

    'THAT DOES SCARE ME'

    Australian left-back Josh Cavallo says he is 'very scared' to play at the Qatar World Cup after coming out as the first openly gay male footballer.

    The courageous 21-year-old opened up about his sexuality last month as he was tired of living a 'double life'.

    But Cavallo is now looking towards next year's Qatar World Cup, revealing he would be afraid for his safety should he be picked to play for his country.

    And he may 're-evaluate' his dream of playing in Qatar as his 'life is more important'.

    Speaking on the Guardian's Today in Focus podcast, Cavallo said: "I read something along the lines of that [they] give the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it's something I'm very scared [of] and wouldn't really want to go to Qatar for that.

    "And that saddens me.

    "At the end of the day the World Cup is in Qatar and one of the greatest achievements as a professional footballer is to play for your country, and to know that this is in a country that doesn't support gay people and puts us at risk of our own life, that does scare me and makes me re-evaluate – is my life more important than doing something really good in my career?"

  • Justin Lawrence

    CITY'S BETTER

    Ex-Manchester United star Kleberson wants to see West Ham's Declan Rice at Manchester City.

    Rice has been linked with a move to United over the past few months but Kleberson would rather see him playing at the Etihad.

    The Brazilian reckons Rice is a better fit for the set-up that City boss Pep Guardiola has put in place at the club.

    IKleberson told Paddy Power: "It would be good to see Declan Rice play for Manchester City as they base their play around keeping the ball for long periods of time, which is something that Declan Rice likes to do.

    "The style of play that Pep Guardiola creates would be perfect for him and the way Pep interacts with his players, is something that Rice would benefit from massively."

  • Justin Lawrence

    A RIGHT MESS

    Paris Saint-Germain chief Leonardo has spoken of his frustration at Argentina calling up Lionel Messi despite his knee injury.

    The 34-year-old, who hasn't featured for Les Parisiens since October 29, has been named in Lionel Scaloni's squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil.

    And Leonardo has hit out at the South American nation, while also voicing his displeasure at a clause in Messi's contract that allows him to prioritise international games over club fixtures.

    Much to the 52-year-old's annoyance, PSG are not able to block Messi from participating in national team matches.

    Leonardo said: "We do not agree to let a player go by selection who, for us, is not in physical condition or who is in the rehabilitation phase.

    “It is not logical, and these types of situations deserve a real agreement with FIFA.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    RODGER THAT

    Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is in pole position to replace Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to bookmakers Coral.

    Solskajer’s job is under threat following a string of poor results and Coral reckon the Norwegian is on borrowed time, with Rodgers being lined up to take his place.

    Coral have got Rodgers odds on at 10-11 to unseat Solskjaer, and they’ve got the United boss odds on at 4-7 to get the sack from his role.

    Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead said: “With five managers having been sacked already this season we are headed into record number territory and Ole remains in a perilous position.

    “He is odds on to be the next Premier League boss to go and in turn, Brendan Rodgers is odds on to replace him.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    STEVIE'S THE MAN

    Steven Gerrard is now the favourite to replace Dean Smith as Aston Villa boss according to bookmakers Coral.

    The Rangers manager's odds have been slashed from 7-4 when the firm first opened betting to evens.

    Speaking on Gerrard's odds, Coral's Harry Aitkenhead said: "Steven Gerrard was linked with the Newcastle job but punters never truly got behind the idea, however for the Villa job he is now the firm favourite after strong support inside the first 24 hours our market has been open.

    "He is the clear market leader to be Dean Smith's replacement."

  • Justin Lawrence

    HOWE ABOUT THAT

    Eddie Howe is set to be named the new Newcastle boss TODAY.

    The former Bournemouth manager is travelling up to Tyneside to sign his contract, officially replacing Steve Bruce.

    Howe's arrival spells the end of Newcastle's manager search.

    The Magpies tried to lure Europa League-winning specialist Unai Emery back to England.

    But the Spaniard rejected the newly mega-rich side in favour of a stay at Villarreal.

  • Justin Lawrence

    CHONG BLOW

    Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer wants Manchester United to allow his club to stop making their loan payments on crocked star Tahith Chong.

    Chong returned to United after suffering a groin injury to get treatment, putting a halt to his loan switch to the Midlands.

    And Bowyer thinks its only right that United allow the Blues to stop paying for Chong’s services until he recovers and returns to them.

    He said: “That’s a conversation between the two clubs because Chong is supposed to be here until the end of the season.

    “The two clubs need to make a decision and an agreement regarding that conversation.

    “Hopefully they can come to an agreement that suits us and then we can maybe use that money somewhere else. That would be helpful.

    I’m not just turning my back saying that’s it, wipe him aside.

    “Hopefully we can come to an agreement with Man Utd, where we can stop the payments until he is fit, and then take them back on when he is fit.“

  • Justin Lawrence

    POCH JOB

    Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe has refused to publicly back boss Mauricio Pochettino.

    Pochettino's PSG job has come under scrutiny by critics this season who feel the Ligue 1 giants aren't playing well with the Argentine at the helm.

    But when Mbappe was asked if Poch should remain in charge, he said: "I'm not the person who should be talking about that and whether there's time or not."

    "It's the president, Leonardo and the directors who need to say that."

  • Justin Lawrence

    CONTE PASSION

    Tottenham defender Ben Davies has revealed his teammates are desperate to impress new boss Antonio Conte.

    Conte came in to replace Nuno Espirito Santo last week and has led the club to a win and a draw so far.

    And Davies admitted Spurs still have a long way to go, but will do their best to get it right with Conte at the helm.

    He said: “We’ve got a lot to work on.

    “We’ve got a lot to improve on but I think he’s a world-class manager who is going to bring his ideas in.

    “He is going to work us hard to make sure we do it right. As players, we’re desperate to get going with him now.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    MIC DROP

    Michail Antonio twisted the knife into irate Jurgen Klopp by insisting West Ham knew EXACTLY how to beat Liverpool – after Reds boss let rip at match officials.

    The Hammers scored a controversial opener as Liverpool keeper Alisson flapped a corner into his own net under pressure from Angelo Ogbonna.

    Alisson was also at fault for the other two goals Liverpool conceded, with Antonio claiming it was thanks to their plan to 'keep it away from Virgil van Dijk'.

    And Antonio claimed the Hammers had targeted Alisson, revealing: “The whole plan was stick it in straight on the keeper and we’ll challenge.

    “We saw they struggle with the ball coming in — all we had to do is keep it away from Virgil van Dijk.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    RICE COOL

    John Terry dubbed West Ham's Declan Rice the 'best in his position' after a masterclass against Liverpool.

    The defensive midfielder captained his side to a 3-2 win over Liverpool, which took them up to third.

    Rice's role next to Tomas Soucek in front of the back four proved pivotal in breaking down attacks and then hitting on the counter.

    And the England international won praise of the highest order in Chelsea icon Terry, who has only just joined Twitter.

    He tweeted: "Decland (sic) Rice is the best in his position in world football. What a player."

  • Justin Lawrence

    VILLA HUNT

    Steven Gerrard and Roberto Martinez top Aston Villa’s wishlist to replace axed Dean Smith.

    Villa’s owners pulled the plug on Smith yesterday after an alarming slide down the table following five straight Prem defeats.

    Chief exec Christian Purslow sacked Smith in a face-to-face meeting in the wake of Friday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

    Saints chief Ralph Hasenhuttl and Danish national team coach Kasper Hjulmand are also on Villa’s radar.

    They are seen as ambitious bosses who can help stop the rot — and fulfil the owners’ dream of returning Villa to the European stage.

    But John Terry’s lack of experience will prevent Smith’s former No 2 making a return to Villa Park as his replacement.

  • The Sun

    RICE, RICE BABY

    Declan Rice put in another commanding midfield display in West Ham's 3-2 victory over Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium this afternoon.

    Rice has played every minute of West Ham's 11 Premier League games so far this season and has also captained them in Mark Noble's absence.

    The Hammers have won five of their last six in the league and now find themselves third, level on points with Man City and three behind Chelsea.

    They have also won three out of their four Europa League games, all of which Rice has also started in midfield.

    The 22-year-old, who also had a fantastic Euro 2020 with England, is rapidly establishing himself as one of the Premier League's best midfielders.

    And given team's new-found success under David Moyes, it would take an absurd bid to prize him away from the Olympic Stadium next summer.

    Manchester United are thought to be the frontrunners for Rice's signature, but Chelsea are also reportedly keen.

    Though as it stands, the player has shown no interest in leaving and appears to be fully focused on achieving as much as possible with West Ham this season.

  • The Sun

    ON RED ALERT

    Jamie Carragher claims Aaron Cresswell should have been sent off for his challenge on Jordan Henderson in the first half.

    "As soon as I saw the challenge, I just thought 'no, West Ham have got a problem here'.

    "We've spoken this season about a higher threshold in certain situations, but certainly not that.

    "That tackle is a tackle from our day, where you win the ball and you follow through and you saw 'well, I got the ball first'.

    "That is out of control, that is endangering an opponent and that is a red card."

    But Jack Wilshire disagreed, saying: "If you slow things down like that, it always looks worse.

    "I didn't think it was and I still don't think it is."

    Jamie Redknapp added: "When you go off your feet like that, you're endangering an opponent and it makes it so difficult."

    West Ham went on to win the game 3-2, inflicting Liverpool's first defeat of the season.

    And boss Jurgen Klopp was furious with the officials for their decision making throughout the game.

  • The Sun

    NO MERCY

    One in four of the incumbent Premier League managers when the season began has already lost their job.

    Watford's Xisco Munoz was the first to go after losing his job at the start of October after less than a year in the job – being replaced by Claudio Ranieri.

    Newcastle's Steve Bruno quickly followed after just over two years in charge at St. James' Park, with his side winless and in the relegation zone after 8 games.

    Former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe close to being appointed as his replacement and was spotted alongside Toon owner Amanda Staveley watching on as they drew 1-1 with Brighton yesterday.

    Nuno Espirito Santo has been replaced at Tottenham by former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who took charge of his first Spurs league game in a 0-0 draw with Everton today.

    Daniel Farke and Dean Smith were also managerial casualties this weekend, with both their sides in poor form and their respective owners deciding now is the right time to make a change.

    Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has been linked with the Aston Villa job, as well as former Roma and Everton managers Paulo Fonseca and Roberto Martinez.

  • The Sun

    'EXCESSIVE LAZINESS'

    Barcelona reportedly refused to play Philippe Coutinho against Celta Vigo because of his 'poor attitude' during his warm-up.

    The Brazilian was summoned from the bench and looked set to replace the injured Ansu Fati but was eventually snubbed by stand-in boss Sergi Barjuan.

    Fati went down injured just before half-time and Barjuan signalled to the former Liverpool man to get ready.

    But the cameras caught the 29-year-old's somewhat lackadaisical approach to the warm-up which angered his temporary boss, according to Sport.

    The Spanish outlet described Coutinho's approach as 'excessive laziness' as he slumped down the line.

    And it certainly didn't do him any favours as he ended up remaining on the bench for the rest of the game, with Alejandro Balde came on instead.

    After the game, Barjuan denied the incident had any bearing on his decision.

    He said: "I didn’t focus on any of that, I was watching the game, which was very demanding. In 10 days I’ve felt everyone gets along with me.

    "It’s clear that with those who haven’t played it’s harder. I’ve had to take decisions and he did not play today.”

    Barca are reportedly ready to accept an offer from Newcastle for Coutinho, which is rumoured to be an initial loan move with an obligation to buy.

    He is expected to be one of the first players through the door in January following Newcastle's £305m takeover last month.

    Credit: Getty
  • The Sun

    FROM HERO TO VILLAN

    Rangeros boss Steven Gerrard is among Aston Villa's top targets to replace Dean Smith at the helm, reports suggest.

    Smith was sacked following five successive defeats that saw Villa dropping to 16th place in the Premier League table.

    And Liverpool legend Gerrard is high on their list thanks to his impressive work in the Scottish Premiership, according to the Daily Telegraph.

    The 41-year-old won the title last season, which ended rivals Celtic's nine-year reign as Scottish champions.

    The legendary midfielder also took Rangers to the Europa League's Round of 16 last term and has them top of the league so far this campaign.

    But the former England international is not the only candidate for the hot seat at Villa Park.

    Reports suggest Villa are also keeping tabs on Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who issued the final blow on Friday with a 1-0 victory at St Mary's that led to Smith's dismissal.

    The Claret & Blue are also said to be monitoring Brentford's Thomas Frank and Denmark's Kasper Hjulmand.

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