Football news – Man Utd appointment made, Klopp has exit plan

Vieira targets Premier League title win with Arsenal

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Manchester City and Manchester United will be looking to take one step closer to FA Cup glory this weekend as they host Burnley and Fulham respectively in the quarter-finals of the competition. That means Arsenal could steal a march on their rivals in their quest to lift their first Premier League trophy since 2004.

Off the pitch, the Red Devils have appointed the same architects who built Tottenham’s new stadium in north London as they consider their future stadium options. United could knock Old Trafford down and start again in their bid to keep pace with teams such as Arsenal and Pep Guardiola’s City. But the 13-time Premier League champions may instead decide to redevelop what they already have.

Elsewhere, Liverpool fans may be wondering whether Jurgen Klopp will still be in charge by the start of next season. The German has struggled to get the best out of his players this time around, with his team languishing in sixth position in the Premier League table after being knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in the week.

Meanwhile, if Arsenal defeat Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, they will move eight points clear of the Citizens at the top of the table. But Gunners manager Mikel Arteta has incredibly been mocked by Graeme Souness for trying to make his players feel comfortable on trips to away games.

There is also plenty of other football news to dive into – so stick around to follow Express Sport’s live updates below…

Liverpool poised to reignite Kovacic interest

Liverpool are poised to reignite their interest in Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic as Jurgen Klopp looks to put the disappointment of a dismal campaign behind him. Klopp is said to be a big admirer of the Blues midfielder and once compared him to a “Formula One car.”

According to 90min, Kovacic is a player the Reds will target as he’s appreciated by the Anfield club. Chelsea could be willing to let the player quit Stamford Bridge for a bargain fee as they have brought in a plethora of new players since Todd Boehly took over the club at the end of last May and may decide to slash their wage budget.

Ten Hag ‘rejected job approach’

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag turned down the advances of RB Leipzig back in the summer in order to move to Old Trafford instead, according to The Mirror.

The Dutchman was apparently approached by RB Leipzig, who were ready to offer him more money to take him to the Bundesliga, but ultimately decided to head to Old Trafford, where he has overseen a precipitous upturn in fortunes.

Ratcliffe set to match Qatar rival

Manchester United takeover hopeful Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to take the same decision as his Qatar rival Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani as the battle to take control of the Premier League club hots up. Both of the billionaires have made it through to the second stage of the bidding process and held talks with United officials last week in an attempt to edge closer towards a conclusion.

The Mirror report that the Qatari banking tycoon will launch an improved bid that exceeds the £4.5billion offer he made in February after discussions with United’s hierarchy reached a positive conclusion. And CBS Sports report that Ratcliffe is ready to follow suit having completed his first round of discussions.

Greenwood set to wed

Mason Greenwood has informed his family of his intention to marry his pregnant partner, according to The Sun. The Manchester United striker is apparently expecting his first child with his university student girlfriend this summer.

Greenwood was spotted out with his partner at the £600 per-night Langham Hotel in central London this week. The 21-year-old remains suspended by his club amid an internal club investigation. In February, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped charges of attempted rape, assault, and controlling and coercive behaviour made against Greenwood. But United have launched their own investigation to determine whether the academy graduate can remain employed by the club.

De Jong makes disappointing Man Utd admission

Barcelona ace Frenkie de Jong has distanced himself from rumours linking him to Manchester United by insisting he wants to stay at Barcelona “for many years.” The Red Devils came close to landing the midfielder last summer, but he ultimately opted to remain in Spain.

Speaking to TV3 ahead of Sunday’s El Clasico, De Jong said: “Hopefully I can play in the new Camp Nou. Barcelona has always been the club of my dreams and I want to stay here for many years. For me, the Camp Nou is the most beautiful stadium in the world. The plans for the stadium are very good.”

Sporting stars celebrated Arsenal scalp in nightclub

Sporting defeated Arsenal in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday night following a penalty shootout at the end of the second leg. And the victors celebrated their triumph with a booze-filled party in one of London’s top nightclubs.

Express Sport can reveal that Sporting decided to celebrate the memorable upset in style by heading to glamorous nightclub Reign in Piccadilly Circus, where bottles of champagne can cost up to £35,000. And they partied long into the night.

Arteta mocked

Graeme Souness has mocked Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for his attempts to make away matches more welcoming for his squad. The Liverpool legend says players in his day would have laughed at the innovative tactics the Spaniard comes up with.

“Is this what the modern game has become?” Souness wrote in the Daily Mail. “So Arsenal players arrive at Fulham, as it was last weekend, or Crystal Palace on Sunday to find their own clock is on the wall along with their own pictures and stickers?

“It’s madness and the kind of thing a manager can get away with while he is winning but not so much when he is losing. Arteta is doing a fine job but he has form for such nonsense.

“Last season he had ‘You Will Never Walk Alone’ played over the loud speakers at training to prepare his players for a game at Anfield. They lost 4-0 so that went well for them.

“When I walked into an opposing dressing room I didn’t want to feel comfortable. I didn’t want to feel like I was in my living room at home. I was at work. I was on enemy territory and I wanted to feel fired up.

“If I had arrived at an away ground to find a clock from Anfield waiting for me on the wall I would have burst out laughing. And I would not have been alone.”

Klopp’s exit plan

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made no secret that his time at Anfield will not last forever, opening up in recent years of his thoughts regarding an eventual exit. “I have absolute energy. But I have one problem. I can’t do ‘a little bit’. I can only do ‘all or nothing’,” Klopp told Kicker Magazine in 2019. “When I decide that I cannot do it any longer then I will take a break for a year.”

A year later he admitted he could return to Mainz in the future and even earmarked a leaving date. “Definitely to live, after my career. Most likely even to Mainz,” he explained to SWR Sport, adding he’d spend “four [more] years in Liverpool,” before heading back to Germany. “In five years the world can look very different again.”

Then Klopp later doubled down and conceded that he may retire upon leaving Liverpool and his impending one-year hiatus. “I’ll take a year off and ask myself if I miss football,” explained Klopp to SportBuzzer. “If I say no, then that will be the end of coach Jurgen Klopp. If one day I am no longer a coach, there is one thing I will not miss – the brutal tension immediately before the game.”

Man Utd appoint architects

United have appointed the same architects who built Tottenham’s stadium as they consider what to do with Old Trafford. The Daily Mail say the Red Devils are undecided when it comes to the future of their ground.

It’s possible United will choose to knock Old Trafford down and start from scratch, something that would signal the end of a remarkable era. But it’s also feasible they’ll stay and instead renovate and redevelop what they’ve already got.

Good morning!

Good morning and welcome to Express Sport’s live football blog. We’re set for a big day of Premier League and FA Cup football – so be sure to follow our updates throughout the day for all the latest news.

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