Zinedine Zidane has admitted he won’t be the Real Madrid manager in ten years time, despite his achievements as a player.
After a successful start to life in the dugout, the Frenchman is suffering a rough patch having fallen 16 points behind league-leaders and arch-rivals Barcelona.
Pressure is mounting on the Madrid legend having won just nine of 17 league games so far this season.
However, having already brought the club two Champions League titles and a La Liga crown, the 45-year-old has more than earned time to turn things around.
Speaking to France Football after being named French coach of the year, he said: “Zinedine Zidane isn’t a player at Real Madrid anymore. That Zidane no longer exists.
“Now it’s down to Zinedine Zidane the coach to carve out a career. I’m not protected by what I’ve done as a player at this club. I know I won’t stay [in the job] for 10 years.”
Madrid sit fourth in the table and have failed to win three of their last four league games.
Despite the pressure, though, Zidane insists he’s not affected by the speculation surrounding his future.
“External pressure doesn’t affect me. I’ve wrapped a shield around myself; nothing can bother me,” he said. “I have many responsibilities but when I get home, I switch off. I know that many coaches aren’t able to take their minds off the job, but I do have that ability.”
Real lost further ground on Barca as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Celta Vigo on Sunday and Zidane now faces testing clash with sixth-placed Villarreal on Saturday.
Monaco’s Thomas Lemar looks set to leave Monaco after head coach Leonardo Jardim admitted he’ll struggle to keep the winger, with both Liverpool and Arsenal looking to secure his signature.
The Reds are on the lookout for a new midfielder having sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona this week. Lemar has attracted a lot of attention with his performances, and nearly completed a move to Arsenal in the summer, before the move eventually broke down.
The 22-year-old French international had previously been told by Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev he was not allowed to leave mid-season, but it’s looking increasingly likely the winger will leave during the January transfer window.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jardim said: “We are not used to selling in the winter, but the transfer window lasts until the end of the month and many things can happen.”
Monaco, currently second in the Ligue 1 table, lost key men Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy last season and have stressed they do not wish to sell Lemar, but a large bid may be too good to refuse.
SFR Sport's @Tanziloic on Thomas Lemar & Arsenal: "He is their priority to replace Alexis Sanchez... Monaco are not totally against the idea of an offer this month, but it would have to be a very big offer... I am told that Liverpool wouldn't make a big offer."— Get French Football (@GFFN) January 8, 2018
Both Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger are looking to strengthen their squads, with The Reds looking to replace Coutinho, and while Arsenal look to cover Alexis Sanchez who looks destined to switch to Manchester City.
Lemar has been included in Monaco’s squad for Tuesday’s Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final at Nice.
With the transfer window now open the rumour mill is in overdrive, so with that in mind, we take a look at the top stories doing the rounds in the media today.
SANCHEZ TO CITY ALMOST A DONE DEAL
Alexis Sanchez’s switch to Manchester City could be completed next week, according to the Express.
The deal is expected to cost City £30million with Arsenal looking to bank the cash and avoid letting the Chilean leave on a free in the summer.
The two clubs apparently entered talks this week and with Gabriel Jesus out for the foreseeable future due to a knee injury, Sanchez’s signing arrives at the right time.
We still feel it’s a little ambitious to say the deal will be done next week but it’s certainly starting to gather momentum with the two clubs at the negotiation table.
Any move will hinge on Arsenal’s ability to bring in a replacement, however, with Riyad Mahrez and Thomas Lemar linked.
PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO BATTLE FOR BAILEY
Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are set for a three-way battle to sign Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, reports the Mirror.
The 20-year-old Jamaican could command a fee in the region of £40million having exploded into life in the Bundesliga following a slow start after signing from Genk in January 2016.
January is traditionally a tough month to buy in and having contributed to 10 goals (six goals and four assists) in 14 appearances this season, Leverkusen will be desperate to ensure a key player doesn’t leave.
Having added an end product to his blend of pace and dribbling ability, Bailey has already caught the attentions of Chelsea but Antonio Conte’s side will be rivalled by United and Arsenal should Leverkusen’s soften their stance.
STURRIDGE IS UP FOR SALE
Liverpool will listen to offers for striker Daniel Sturridge in the January transfer window, reports ESPN.
West Ham and Southampton are two interested clubs with the Reds reluctant to let Danny Ings leave on loan now Sturridge is on the market.
Liverpool selling again in January without making another signing will send fans into a meltdown but perhaps it’s best for both Sturridge and the club a split comes to fruition.
He’s only made nine Premier League appearances this season and it’s clear his playing style doesn’t suit Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy. In a World Cup year and for a player of his quality, the 28-year-old deserves more minutes elsewhere.