Barry Glendenning on 12 February 2018
Juventus entertain Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday and will hope to keep their 16th consecutive clean sheet. Max Allegri’s side last shipped a goal on 22 November and are on a 10-match winning streak but will nevertheless have their work cut out to keep Harry Kane quiet at the Juventus Stadium. The Tottenham striker scores in more games than he does not and his failure to trouble the Wembley scoreboard operator in his side’s win over Manchester United three games ago was his only blank in his past seven games. One suspects he will be champing at the bit to test his mettle against a side that, according to admittedly spurious reports from Spain, are ready to do battle with Real Madrid for a player who has given no indication whatsoever that he wants to play for anyone other than his current club.
Still on Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino was uncharacteristically narky when quizzed about the absence of Toby Alderweireld in his post-match briefing following Tottenham’s win over Arsenal and has since omitted the Belgian central defender from the traveling party for the Juventus game. Alderweireld has just returned from a three-month lay-off with a hamstring injury, but despite declaring himself fit for the north London derby following Tottenham’s FA Cup replay win over Newport County, the 28-year-old was not named in the match-day squad. Chelsea and Manchester City are believed to be interested in Alderweireld, should he become surplus to requirements at Tottenham.
With Real Madrid due to face PSG in the Champions League on Valentine’s Day, the French side’s goalkeeper Kevin Trapp has been waxing lyrical about just how big his team-mate Neymar’s heart is. “He has a huge heart,” enthused the German in an interview with Bild. “He is incredibly nice and helpful. He’s anything but arrogant and is totally integrated into the team.”
Despite only moving to PSG in a low-key summer deal you probably heard very little about, the Brazilian has since been persistently linked with Real Madrid. The Spanish side’s full-back says it will happen, while Neymar’s compatriot and PSG team-mate Thiago Silva told Canal+ that he doesn’t know if another high profile move is in the pipe. “I cannot say anything,” he said, saying something. “I hope he stays with us, he still has a lot of things to do with us, and he has already helped us a lot, and thanks to him and the work we do together, we are even more famous.”
Liverpool’s need for a new goalkeeper has been well documented and reports over the weekend suggest Jack Butland could leave Stoke City for Merseyside over the summer in a £40m move. The 24-year-old may also find himself the centre of a bidding war, with Arsenal also believed to be interested in securing his services now that Petr Cech isn’t getting any younger.
Sam Allardyce seems unlikely to stay at Everton beyond the summer and will be replaced by Shaktar Donetsk’s Portuguese manager Paulo Fonseca. In other managerial news, Luis Enrique looks nailed on to manage in the Premier League next season, but may defy expectations that he’ll replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea by going to Arsenal instead. In the very unlikely event that Arsène Wenger finally steps down, the former Barcelona manager is being tipped as a potential replacement.