Conte readies his Manchester United pitch

Antonio Conte is putting together a pitch for the Manchester United board in case they part ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Conte wants to ensure he is thoroughly prepared for any opportunity to take over at Old Trafford and it is understood he has a blueprint in mind for how he would improve the side quickly, in order for them to challenge for honours this season.
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Conte and Zinedine Zidane are the outstanding candidates if United do look for a new boss, with doubts about rumoured target Brendan Rodgers’ suitability because of links to Liverpool. Erik Ten Hag of Ajax is thought to be the only coach that would be considered who is currently in a job.
Conte’s vision of how to improve United will no doubt include information on transforming them defensively, adapting the style of play and advising on players that could strengthen the squad - but at this stage people close to him admit they are unsure whether he will get his chance to apply formally for the post.
United have been extraordinarily loyal to Solskjaer until now, as we addressed last week, but the manner of the defeat to Liverpool rocked the club’s foundations.
They do not want to give up on the work that has gone on with Solskjaer up to this point but for the first time, with briefings on the security of his role falling quiet for a long while on Monday, it appears there has been some deep thinking going on at the highest level.

Chelsea consider De Ligt, Kounde as Rudiger, Christensen edge towards exit

Chelsea are revising plans for defensive signings in 2021 as Antonio Rudiger is increasingly likely to leave while Andreas Christensen has added further concern.
They had already deep worry over Rudiger committing his future to the Blues and he is now believed to have serious interest in the Premier League, with Manchester City taking a big interest in his situation.
It was expected that Christensen talks were going to be more straight forward but he is now stuttering over a new contract too, with the defender looking for more in wages than initially expected.
There is still a chance talks could lead to him signing but in the meantime Chelsea are drawing up contingency plans for both the January and summer transfer windows in order to identify opportunities to strengthen them at the back.
They had already tried to sign Jules Kounde last summer, with an eye on this exact problem opening up.
He is still on the radar but there are other names now coming into the thinking as they carefully consider how they would rebuild the back line, with Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta's contracts also expiring.
Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt is someone they are interested in, though a package for him would be huge, while Pau Torres has been discussed internally.
Rudiger already had the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich on his tail but such is his status right now - he is considered one of Europe’s most in-form centre-backs - more clubs are starting to take interest.
City are understood to have lodged their interest most recently while Tottenham are also keen and Liverpool are being kept in the loop over his situation.
Sources believe he is most likely to leave Chelsea and that means the club have to start seriously thinking about who will come in.

Antonio Rudiger.

Image credit: Getty Images


Fonseca confident on landing Newcastle job, target five immediate loans

Paulo Fonseca’s Newcastle vision made a good impression as he outlined how to save them short term - and then made clear how he could build for the future.
His pitch for the manager’s job included listing five potential loan signings he believes can make a big impact for January.
It is unclear how long the process is going to take as Newcastle plot to name Steve Bruce’s successor - yet Fonseca believes he has given himself a great chance.
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