BREAKING NEWS: Man Utd agree late loan deal for Ighalo

Manchester United have clinched a surprise move for former Watford striker Odion Ighalo.

Ighalo is joining United on loan for the rest of the season but there is no option to buy in the deal, Omnisport understands.

United, who finally signed Bruno Fernandes for a fee of £46.5million (€55m) and a potential further £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons on Thursday, were eager to bring in a striker prior to the end of the transfer window.

With Marcus Rashford out injured, United were said to have had an approach for Josh King rebuffed by Bournemouth before turning their attention to Ighalo.

The Nigeria forward has spent the past three seasons in the Chinese Super League, scoring 10 league goals for Shanghai Shenhua last term after two prolific campaigns with Changchun Yatai.

But the 30-year-old will now bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attack, with United just managing to get a short-term loan deal completed before Friday’s deadline.

An official announcement from United will come later, but it is understood all aspects of the deal have been agreed.

Ighalo has Premier League experience, having scored 16 goals for Watford in 55 top-flight appearances between 2015 and 2017.

Championship: Rooney stunner helps Derby crush in-form Stoke

Wayne Rooney helped fire Derby County to a 4-0 Championship win on Friday to check Stoke City’s resurgence under Michael O’Neill.

The Potters had claimed 10 of the previous 12 points available in league action under Northern Ireland manager O’Neill to kick clear of the relegation zone prior to the trip to Derby.

But Derby have been outstanding at Pride Park this term, losing just twice in the league, and a fourth straight home success was ultimately secured with ease.

Martyn Waghorn stooped to head in Craig Forsyth’s cross after 21 minutes, and Chris Martin slammed high past Jack Butland from Duane Holmes’ pass three minutes later.

Former England captain Rooney netted his first Derby goal in a defeat to Luton Town earlier in the week, but the 34-year-old made sure of victory this time with a delightful 20-yard free-kick midway through the second half.

There was time for the Rams to add further gloss to the scoreline, Rooney feeding substitute Jayden Bogle, who thrashed into the top-left corner.

Meanwhile, Friday’s other Championship fixture saw Reading hold Cardiff City to a 1-1 draw in the sides’ second of three meetings in 10 days.

Reading led through Yakou Meite after just eight minutes and protected their advantage until the 70th minute, as Callum Paterson rescued a point for hosts Cardiff.

Chelsea youngster Lamptey joins Brighton and Hove Albion on permanent deal

Chelsea youngster Tariq Lamptey has joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The 19-year-old defender made his first-team debut for Chelsea in their Premier League win at Arsenal last month and has featured as a substitute in both rounds of the FA Cup.

He has now completed a switch to the south coast, with Brighton confirming the signing of the England youth international for an undisclosed fee, reported to be in the region of £4million.

Lamptey, also capable of playing in midfield, is now looking to prove himself in the top flight.

“It was a really tough decision to leave as I’ve been at Chelsea since the age of seven and seen it all the way to the under-23s, and then the first team,” he told his new side’s official website.

“It was a proud moment when I made my Premier League debut, but I felt that it was the right time to start a new chapter and come to this brilliant club.

“The manager and the club have shown great faith in bringing me here. I just hope I can repay their trust, and help the club reach their goals and objectives.

“They are a team on the up with a great fanbase, training ground and stadium and they have everything I need to become a better player.”

Brighton are 15th in the league and travel to fellow strugglers West Ham on Saturday.

The Seagulls have also recalled striker Jurgen Locadia from a loan spell with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, with the Dutchman having scored four goals in 11 league appearances this term.

Milan raid Anderlecht for Belgian midfielder Saelemaekers

Milan have signed Belgian midfielder Alexis Saelemaekers from Anderlecht in a “dream” move for the youngster.

The 20-year-old has moved to San Siro on loan until the end of the Serie A season, with Milan having secured an option to then sign Saelemaekers permanently.

Saelemaekers has caught the eye for Anderlecht and is an under-21 international who the Belgian club believe has a bright future.

Milan said on their website that Saelemaekers would meet his new team-mates on Saturday before being presented at a news conference on Tuesday.

Anderlecht sporting director Michael Verschueren said: “Alexis caught the eye of a great club this season. It’s wonderful for him and it’s also a good sign for our training of youngsters.

“At his age, it’s a dream you couldn’t help but want to experience.

“I understand that fans would have preferred him not to go. But that’s football today. When the big clubs like AC Milan knock on the door, you have to do the right thing.”

Milan, who welcomed Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the club in January, are on a high after winning their past three league games to climb to eighth in Serie A.

They also reached the Coppa Italia semi-finals with victory over Torino on Tuesday.

Verschueren told Anderlecht’s website: “Milan conducted themselves very well in this matter with Anderlecht, so I think there are no losers.

“We obviously wish Alexis the best and we’re proud to have coached him here.”

Carrasco and Lemar included in Atletico squad for Real Madrid clash

Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Lemar have been included in Atletico Madrid’s squad for Saturday’s derby clash with Real Madrid.

Belgium international Carrasco has spent time training with Atletico and officially re-joined the LaLiga club on Friday in a loan deal until the end of the season.

Atleti boss Diego Simeone was unsure if the winger would be registered in time to feature at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he has been named as part of the 20-man group.

Simeone can also call upon Lemar this weekend as the midfielder – strongly linked with a January exit – has recovered from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the club’s last six matches. 

Club-record signing Joao Felix and fellow attacker Diego Costa remain absent through injury, while defenders Kieran Trippier, Santiago Arias and Jose Gimenez also miss out on selection.

Fifth-place Atletico are winless in their last two LaLiga matches, leaving them 10 points adrift of leaders Madrid, and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Cultural Leonesa last week.

Meanwhile, Madrid confirmed on Friday that Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Rodrygo Goes will play no part against Atleti, but Casemiro, Eder Militao and Isco have all returned to the squad.

Tuchel tells Cavani ´there are worse things´ than staying at PSG

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel insists Edinson Cavani could be in a worse position than having to stay at the club.

The striker had appeared set to leave during the transfer window, with his contract expiring at the end of the season and his place in the first team usurped by Mauro Icardi.

Atletico Madrid were favourites to sign the Uruguay star but reports in Spain suggest they pulled out of the deal due to demands from the player’s agent.

A Premier League move was also mooted, with Chelsea and Manchester United keen to sign a striker, but Frank Lampard appeared to confirm no new arrivals would be made on deadline day when stating Olivier Giroud would not be sold.

Tuchel had always been keen to keep Cavani, and he now hopes to see the 32-year-old regain top form as PSG keep up their pursuit of a clean sweep of domestic honours and Champions League glory this season.

“There are worse situations than staying at Paris Saint-Germain,” he told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 match with Montpellier at Parc des Princes.

“Edinson will feel good soon. He needs to regain confidence and rhythm – that’s normal for a forward.

“Edi is a great player for the club. The fact the group is not changing is positive because we are used to working together.

“Everyone has a chance to be first choice. Edinson missed several weeks due to injury and his situation. So, we have to be patient and not think he can bring his best game on Saturday.

“If he regains rhythm and confidence, he’ll be important for us. We’re going to help him regain all his abilities.”

Cavani has started just six games in all competitions for PSG in 2019-20, scoring five goals.

PSG are 10 points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 after 21 games.

Hazard, Bale and Rodrygo miss out on Madrid derby

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale are not in the Real Madrid squad for Saturday’s LaLiga derby with Atletico Madrid.

Brazilian forward Rodrygo Goes also misses out on the 19-man squad, along with Brahim Diaz and Nacho Fernandez.

Head coach Zinedine Zidane had suggested Bale and Hazard could be involved in the match at the Santiago Bernabeu after some encouraging signs in training this week.

Hazard has been out since November with an ankle injury, while Bale was hurt in the 3-1 Copa del Rey triumph over Unionistas de Salamanca last week and missed wins over Real Valladolid and Real Zaragoza.

Bale had been linked with a deadline-day return to Tottenham but Zidane insisted on Friday he was “not contemplating” such a move.

Casemiro, Eder Militao and Isco have all returned to the Madrid squad for the clash with Diego Simeone’s side.

Madrid are three points clear at the top of LaLiga after 21 matches, 10 points above Atleti, who sit in fifth place.

Sane moving ´surprisingly well´ but Guardiola won´t put a timescale on return

Leroy Sane is moving “surprisingly well” but there is no timescale for his Manchester City return.

Sane is back in full training for Pep Guardiola’s men having been on the sidelines since August after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Community Shield.

Guardiola was pleased with what he saw from the former Schalke forward on the training pitch but would not commit to a concrete date for Sane’s first appearance of the campaign.

“He moves surprisingly really well,” Guardiola told a media conference ahead of City’s Premier League clash with Tottenham.

Asked for a timescale, he added: “I don’t know, he needs a little bit more time I think so, but we’ll see.”

Sane was heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich when he injured his knee, having rejected the offer of a new contract from City, and talk of a switch has never really subsided.

However, there have been some suggestions that a move back to his homeland is not as sure fire as it once seemed.

“I don’t have any new news,” Guardiola replied when that speculation was put to him.

“You have to ask to [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain]. The last info I had, we offer him from long time ago, an offer, and all the time he reject it. After that, I don’t know any news.”

Centre-back Aymeric Laporte missed the last two games after making his return from a knee injury against Sheffield United on January 21.

“Laporte is okay, he had fatigue – he wasn’t injured. Maybe he can play against Spurs,” added Guardiola.

Pressed on his confidence Laporte will not have a setback, Guardiola said: “I would tell you if he had a problem I would tell you. I answer what is the truth.”

Mourinho wanted a striker but insisted Spurs must look to the future

Jose Mourinho suggested a quick fix might have been the wrong move as Tottenham looked set to miss out on strengthening their strike force on deadline day.

The Spurs boss saw hopes of signing Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose fail to result in a new arrival.

It meant that barring an unexpected late signing on Friday, Tottenham appeared as though they would go into the closing months of the season with Son Heung-min continuing to deputise up front.

They have attacking midfield strength from the likes of Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and new arrival Steven Bergwijn, who joined from PSV this week.

But Mourinho wanted an extra striker and both Giroud and Willian Jose would have added more of a physical presence to his forward line.

Spurs will be without injured England frontman Harry Kane until April at the earliest, a blow to their Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup prospects.

“I have to answer that yes it would be better with a striker,” Mourinho said.

“Yes, we would need a striker to have a better squad, to face the great challenges that we have in front of us in three different competitions.

“But we want to do things not to resolve the problems of today or tomorrow; we want things that are also good for the future.

“For example, Steven Bergwijn – I prefer to say Stevie – he’s the kind of player that is good for now but he’s also good for our future; he’s also good for the direction we want to go.

“With the difficulties of the market in January, it was really hard to find the striker that is good not just to resolve the problems of today but good also for the future of the team, so probably we are not going to do it.”

Mourinho jokingly opened his news conference ahead of Sunday’s match against Manchester City by attempting to ward off questions about signings.

As reporters prepared to engage with the former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss, Mourinho got the first word in.

He said: “First question: are you expecting any player until the end of the market?.

“First answer: no.

“Second question: are you happy with your market?

“Yes I am.

“Third question: don’t you want a striker?”

Gareth Bale’s agent again quashed talk of Real Madrid’s Welshman returning to Tottenham on Friday, with Mourinho seemingly set to save his transfer kitty for the close-season window.

Klopp eager to welcome back ´our boy´ Ings

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is relishing the opportunity to catch up with former Reds striker Danny Ings when Southampton visit Anfield on Saturday.

Ings’ time on Merseyside was ravaged by injury and he opted to relaunch his career at Southampton with a loan move in August 2018 which became permanent before the start of this season.

It has proved a shrewd move for Saints, with the 27-year-old scoring 14 times in 24 starts in 2019/20 to help Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men climb the table after a slow start and spark talk of an England recall.

Klopp was effusive in his praise for Ings but hopes he can be kept quiet this weekend with table-topping Liverpool looking to edge closer to their first league title in 30 years.

The Liverpool manager said: “Everybody here is so happy with the situation of Danny, he is still our boy.

“We celebrate the goals he scores, although that will be different tomorrow.

“Apart from the games against us, we cannot wish him any better. He is such a wonderful person.

“He didn’t have enough game time here for some good reasons and the decision he made to go Southampton was perfect. He needed time to get his rhythm back and now he is on fire, a bit like their whole team.

“We are happy to see him tomorrow, we wish him the best season of his life but not tomorrow obviously.”

Ings spoke earlier this week of the special relationship he enjoyed with the medical staff at Anfield, a point echoed by Klopp.

The German added: “That’s what these people do with every player. With Ingsy, he’s a very likeable person, very staff orientated, he had a very good relationship with all the staff members.

“When I came in in October 2015, he got injured in my first training session, not a good start, and from that moment all the medics worked their socks off to get him back.

“There were a lot of worries about him, but he’s a very positive person and seeing him now performing like this is wonderful.”

Liverpool have made just one addition in the January window – Takumi Minamino from Salzburg – but Klopp insists transfer talks are always ongoing for the longer term.

“No one here is relaxed,” he said. “At the moment we are not really busy with transfer decisions, but we are constantly in talks and exchanging ideas about what will help us in the long term.”

Asked how he could improve a squad that has dropped just two points in 24 league games, Klopp said: “It’s not easy but it’s possible.

“We just prepare for potential situations and we always try to strengthen.

“That could mean looking at our own squad. We believe we can do a lot with this existing squad.

“It would be really strange to improve easily a squad like this. It needs to be 100 per cent the right player.”