Hoffenheim have completed the signing of striker Munas Dabbur from Sevilla for a reported fee of €12million.

The 27-year-old Israel international has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Bundesliga side and will link up with the squad in their training camp in Marbella.

"I'm absolutely delighted that the transfer to TSG worked out," Dabbur told his new club's website.

"Hoffenheim are an exciting team in one of the strongest leagues in the world. In recent years, I've come to see Hoffenheim as a club that offers footballers outstanding prospects to continue their development, and I can't wait to make my own contribution to this club's history."

Dabbur shone for Grasshoppers in Switzerland and Salzburg in Austria, but he made only nine appearances in all competitions under Julen Lopetegui at Sevilla, with all three of his goals coming in this season's Europa League.

He had been linked with a possible move to Premier League side West Ham before finalising a deal with Hoffenheim that reportedly includes an additional €2m in add-ons.

"Munas is a class striker – agile, quick reactions, precise timing, good technique and dangerous finishing," said Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen.

"Furthermore, he's a strong character and speaks outstanding German, which will definitely help him settle in quickly."

Head coach Alfred Schreuder added: "Munas is a special footballer whose potential and international experience will undoubtedly enhance our play."

Dabbur could be involved in this week's friendly matches with Feyenoord and ADO Den Haag.

His first chance to appear in the Bundesliga will be at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on January 18.

Oliver Kahn feels incoming Bayern Munich goalkeeper Alexander Nubel has taken a "very courageous step" by agreeing a move to Bavaria to challenge Manuel Neuer for the number one spot.

Last week Bayern confirmed Nubel, 23, would be joining the Bundesliga champions on a free in July upon the expiration of his contract with Schalke.

That was the very transfer Neuer made in 2011, though his presence as Bayern's number one and captain means Nubel may struggle for playing time initially.

Former Bayern keeper Kahn, who has returned to the club as a member of their executive board, had advised Nubel to remain at Schalke last April because he had not earned his stripes internationally.

"Back then I wasn't involved in decisions regarding transfers," Kahn told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Every player has to go his own way. He expressed that his way is to come to Bayern Munich; he wants to establish [himself] in a few years as the number one.

"But he wants to learn first from a great goalkeeper as Manuel Neuer is and to take this step you need to be very courageous. It's a very courageous step he decided to take here.

"At the moment we shouldn't think too much about it because we have to focus on the second part of the season, we want to show great performances and we need Manuel Neuer at his best, as we have seen in the first part of the season and recent years."

Neuer, 33, has a contract at Bayern until 2021 and he said Nubel's impending arrival would not affect discussions over a new deal.

A controversy over who occupies the spot between the posts for Bayern could therefore be forthcoming, with Kahn adamant his club made the right decision to acquire Nubel.

"I think we all know what a great talent Alexander Nubel represents, which qualities and abilities he has, so it was a smart and strategic decision to get him if Alexander Nubel is free," he added.

"To have such a great goalkeeper on board is a good sign. Alexander Nubel said he will put himself into the second row to start learning from Manuel Neuer, about whose qualities we don't have to talk about at all.

"He is world number one goalkeeper for many years and well-deserved number one of FC Bayern Munich. He secured lots of titles for FC Bayern Munich.

"For someone like me, who comes to this club after a break, I can speak freely and can discuss and give out my thoughts.

"We will see how we will handle this situation. At the moment, the full focus should be put on the second part of the season."

Whatever advice Kahn chips in with, it is likely to be delivered in a more measured tone than the one he delivered during his 14 years as a Bayern player.

"I think emotions are important - emotions on the pitch for me were an important part and as I saw others on the stands, they are also very emotional," said Kahn, who is due to replace Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as club chairman at the end of 2021.

"I have seen a lot of other things, many business-related things and there you don't see that many emotions and it doesn't help very much.

"Many might wonder, not seeing me so emotional any more. The emotion that I showed back on the pitch, it helped me, but you won't see me doing the same things with the board of directors."

With Manchester City's Premier League title defence in tatters and a mounting injury list in defence, Pep Guardiola's side need reinforcements.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have been struck down by injuries this season, leaving City with limited options in defence.

As Liverpool run away with the title, City are eyeing an Inter star to rebuild their central defence.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGETING SKRINIAR

Manchester City have set their sights on Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to The Mirror.

Premier League champions City have struggled with injuries in defence this season as rivals Liverpool charge towards the title.

City are reportedly ready to buy in January and Skriniar – also a target for LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid – is on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says MLS outfit DC United want to sign Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric after Wayne Rooney's exit.

Juventus are "still hopeful" of signing Paris Saint-Germain loanee Mauro Icardi, reports Calciomercato. Icardi left Inter for PSG at the start of the season, having been linked to Juve and Napoli.

- Sky Sports claims Manchester United are interested in Leicester City star James Maddison, but are aware a January transfer will be difficult. Sky Sports also says the Red Devils are chasing Lille's Boubakary Soumare, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Madrid and Valencia.

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, according to Bild. Gotze's contract is set to expire and he has been unable to agree a new deal.

- TZ says Bayern Munich are interested in Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo, with the Bundesliga champions distancing themselves from RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann.

Erling Haaland said Borussia Dortmund's plan "triggered" him to pick the Bundesliga side instead of Premier League giants Manchester United.

Highly rated Norwegian striker Haaland signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Dortmund, despite strong interest from United.

United, along with RB Leipzig and Juventus, were among the admirers of Haaland – who scored 28 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions for Salzburg this season.

Haaland revealed why he opted to join Dortmund, with the 19-year-old sensation saying: "They just went direct and said 'we need you upfront, we like your playing style and we want to have you here'.

"I liked how they spoke to me then and that's what triggered me [to sign]. I just felt that me and Dortmund was a good match."

Haaland joins a Dortmund side fourth in the Bundesliga and seven points behind leaders Leipzig after 17 games.

Lucien Favre's Dortmund do not return action until January 18 due to the midseason break.

"To slightly get to know people better, to train good with the team and we'll see if I am good enough I will play and we'll just have to see, step by step," Haaland said of his aims at Dortmund.

"Of course, I want to play and I know I have something to give to the team. That's my main goal now to have smaller goals and to reach them and I know it will be good."

Manuel Neuer is thrilled with Alexander Nubel's impending arrival at Bayern Munich, but insists the goalkeeper's arrival will have no impact on his plans over a new contract. 

Nubel is set to follow in Neuer's footsteps at the end of the season, with Bayern having confirmed they have reached an agreement to sign the current Schalke goalkeeper on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has long been touted as Neuer's possible replacement for both club and country, though Bayern's captain is happy to welcome Nubel to Munich.

Neuer's deal expires in 2021, with the 33-year-old reportedly in talks over a new contract - negotiations he is adamant will be unaffected by Nubel's arrival.

"The Nubel transfer is irrelevant for my contract extension," Neuer told reporters at Bayern's mid-season training camp in Qatar.

"Of course I determine the requirements [of the contract]. I have the thoughts in my head, but of course I will not reveal them. Nothing comes out of me.

"It's a forward-thinking decision made by the club. Nubel is a top-quality goalkeeper.

"These factors are very important. It is therefore very important for me how the path with [coach] Hansi Flick continues.

"I have things I want to achieve with the team, and it's a lot of fun working together with Hansi. Together with the team, we can achieve anything.

"The club has always shown me appreciation. So far, we have not extended the contract, although I have no time pressure."

Germany's 1966 World Cup goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski has passed away aged 84, with Geoff Hurst and his former club Borussia Dortmund leading the tributes.

Tilkowski played in the famous World Cup final between England and West Germany at Wembley in 1966, in which Hurst scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for the hosts.

Hurst's second goal, which came in the 101st minute following a 2-2 draw in normal time, remains controversial to this day, as it was unclear whether the ball had crossed the line.

On Monday, Dortmund confirmed Tilkowski, who spent four years at the club between 1963 and 1967, winning the DFB-Pokal and the European Cup Winners' Cup, had died on Sunday after a long illness.

Hurst, England's hero of their only World Cup triumph, led the tributes to Tilkowski on social media, posting on Twitter: "Very sad to receive a call earlier to let me know that Germany's goalkeeper from 66 World Cup, Hans Tilkowski, has died.

"Terrific player for his club, Borussia Dortmund, and country and a very fine man, I very much enjoyed the time we spent together over the years.

"Sending kindest thoughts especially to his family, very touched that they called to let me know, and sincere condolences to all his friends and fans. Very sad indeed."

Bayern Munich interim coach Hansi Flick expects Jerome Boateng to remain at the club despite strong links with Arsenal.

Boateng, 31, has been at the club since joining from Manchester City in 2011 and was first-choice at the back for the first few years.

But fitness problems began to have an impact in 2015-16 and he is yet to play more than 20 Bundesliga matches in a single season since.

This term Boateng has featured in nine of a possible 17 league matches and, with Bayern looking more towards young players in most areas of the team and Arsenal in need of defensive reinforcements, the experienced centre-back has been linked with a departure.

Flick has doubts about him leaving, however.

"Jerome is a player of Bayern Munich and I will not concern myself with any rumours, that's what I did the last years," he told reporters.

"Jerome came back to training well-prepared, he prepared himself on holiday. So, I am curious what the next week will bring.

"But I will not concern myself with thoughts if he will leave the club or not. He didn't say anything regarding that and we are constantly in an exchange.

"We have to see how these things develop, but right now I cannot picture it [Boateng leaving]."

Bayern are on their mid-season break and will not return to competitive action until January 19 when they visit Hertha Berlin, with the defending champions trailing leaders Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga title race.

Bayern Munich are not interested in selling David Alaba, according to interim head coach Hansi Flick, who described the Austria international as a leader.

Alaba impressed at centre-back alongside Javi Martinez, Benjamin Pavard and Jerome Boateng in a string of Bundesliga victories before the mid-season break, and his performances fuelled speculation over a possible move to Chelsea.

But Flick, who has overseen five wins and two defeats in the league since being placed in temporary charge of the champions on November 3, said there were no plans to allow the versatile defender to leave the club.

"Alaba is doing very well at centre-back at the moment," Flick told reporters at the club's training camp in Doha.

"He's not for sale.

"He can lead a team, he showed that. He fulfills the criteria of a player who can marshall a defence."

Flick was reluctant to comment on the signing of goalkeeper Alexander Nubel from Schalke in a deal that will see the 23-year-old arrive in Munich at the end of the season.

Manuel Neuer has been ever-present in goal for Bayern this season and Flick said he is happy with Sven Ulreich in the role of deputy to the Germany international.

Nubel is seen as a potential long-term successor to Neuer, but Flick said: "I'm not interested in that now.

"Bayern took the chance to bring a talented goalkeeper to Munich. But Nubel will be a Bayern player in July.

"I'm satisfied with the current situation and Sven Ulreich is doing very well. Competition enables performances."

Bayern Munich have confirmed Serge Gnabry hurt his Achilles during training on Sunday, though defender Lucas Hernandez was able to return to action.

Hernandez has been out since October after undergoing ankle surgery but the World Cup winner is closing in on a comeback.

The France international took part in circuit training with his team-mates but did not participate in the ball work and tactics sections of the session.

While Hernandez's return boosts Bayern, the Bundesliga champions were dealt a blow when Gnabry pulled up in Doha.

"Gnabry has an issue with his Achilles tendon," coach Hansi Flick told reporters at a news conference. 

"He had to stop today's running session early. We have to take that very seriously and hope that he returns soon."

Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman and Javi Martinez missed the mid-season training break due to injuries, with long-term absentee Niklas Sule also unavailable for the trip.

A group of young players - Joshua Zirkzee, Sarpreet Singh, Leon Dajaku, Oliver Batista-Meier, Chris Richards and Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi - were added to the Bayern group that went to Doha.

"We have filled the squad in order to make training as competitive as possible," added Flick. "It's our job to lead these boys into the first team.

"We will not let players play that are not at 100 per cent. We have to build Kingsley up carefully.

"Robert has top conditions at home. When we are back in Munich on January 14, we hope that he will be fit again."

Another day, another Paul Pogba story.

The Manchester United star continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Inter have reportedly emerged as a possible destination for Pogba, though United want a player in return…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT MARTINEZ IN POGBA DEAL

Manchester United want to swap midfielder Paul Pogba for Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to The Mirror.

Pogba has been linked with a return to Serie A champions Juventus and LaLiga giants Real Madrid as his future dominates headlines.

But a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter could be in the pipeline. However, the Italian club might have to part with Barcelona target Martinez to prise Pogba to Milan.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror also claims United have set their sights on Wolves forward Raul Jimenez after missing out on Erling Haaland, who opted to swap Salzburg for Borussia Dortmund.

- It comes as the Mirror says United are set to offer cash plus Jesse Lingard for Leicester City star James Maddison. The Sun, meanwhile, claims United want Toni Kroos in return if Pogba heads to Madrid.

- According to Sky Sport Italia, Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo is on his way to join Milan, with the LaLiga champions keen to agree a loan deal with a counter-option should they wish to recall him. Meanwhile, the Gazzetta dello Sport says Atalanta want to re-sign Milan centre-back Mattia Caldara.

- The Daily Express reports West Ham have emerged as shock contenders to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The star defender has been linked to United and Manchester City.

- Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa has said goodbye to Flamengo supporters via social media, prompting speculation in The Sun that the Inter-owned striker is on his way to either Chelsea or West Ham.

Chris Smalling is keen to secure a permanent deal at Roma and is ready to snub United should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempt to persuade him to return to Old Trafford, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

- The Mirror says Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are eyeing a loan move for Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez.

David Wagner has confirmed Alexander Nubel will no longer be Schalke's captain after the goalkeeper agreed to join Bayern Munich.

Nubel - touted as a possible long-term successor to Manuel Neuer - will move to the Bundesliga champions at the end of the season on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has signed a five-year deal with Bayern, which starts on July 1, having last month informed Schalke he would not be renewing his contract amid links to numerous sides, including Tottenham.

Schalke coach Wagner has now confirmed Nubel, who will be suspended when the Bundesliga resumes after the winter break due to a red card he received for an ugly challenge on Eintracht Frankfurt's Mijat Gacinovic in December, will hand the armband to midfielder Omar Mascarell.

"We have mutually agreed that Alex will step down from his role as captain," Wagner said in quotes reported on Schalke's official Twitter page.

"We looked at all the pros and cons and decided that it's better for the team if he gives up the armband. This way we avoid constant unrest.

"In the coming months, there are bigger things to think about than this. It cannot be that one player is put under the spotlight. Alex remains an important member of the group. We need to continue to completely support every player."

Wagner also confirmed the club do not plan to bring in a new goalkeeper to replace Nubel, with Ralf Fahrmann - who is currently on loan at Norwich City - and Germany under-21 international Markus Schubert considered as suitable options for next season.

"In Schubi and Ralf Fährmann, we have two great goalkeepers for next season. We needn't worry about this position," Wagner said.

Jochen Schneider, Schalke's head of sport, added: "We tried everything to convince Alex to stay. Unfortunately it didn't work out."

Nubel was appointed as Schalke's captain in August, replacing Fahrmann, after making 18 Bundesliga appearances in 2018-19.

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic says the club are "keeping all options open" with regards to January signings.

Reigning champions Bayern are third in Bundesliga at the midway stage, four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig after an indifferent first half to the campaign.

Hansi Flick has been placed in caretaker charge until the end of the season after replacing Niko Kovac in November and revealed last week he is after a new right-back.

Bayern set off for their training camp in Doha on Saturday, though injured stars Robert Lewandowski, Javi Martinez, Kingsley Coman and Niklas Sule were all missing.

And Salihamidzic intends to evaluate the squad before further discussing possible transfer targets with boss Flick.

"We keep all options open and see how the training camp is going, what the coach may need and then we will react accordingly or not," he told reporters.

Defender Jerome Boateng has been told by Flick he can leave this month should he wish, but the Germany international is part of Bayern's 26-man party in Doha.

Asked for an update on Boateng's future, Salihamidzic said: "He comes to the training camp like any other player and will train there normally."

Bayern won four successive matches heading into the mid-season break and return to action on January 19 with a trip to Hertha Berlin.

Salihamidzic, who is to be promoted to Bayern's executive board in July, insists that a domestic and European treble remains the target over the next five months.

"We have big goals," he said. "Our goal is always the Bundesliga and the Pokal. 

"We also want to fight our opponent in the Champions League and reach the next round. It will be difficult. But we now have enough time to prepare for Chelsea."

Bayern confirmed on Saturday that an agreement has been reached to sign goalkeeper Alexander Nubel once his Schalke contract expires at the end of the season.

Bayern Munich have confirmed an agreement has been reached to sign goalkeeper Alexander Nubel once his Schalke contract expires at the end of the season.

The 23-year-old informed Schalke last month he would not be renewing his deal amid links with a number of clubs, including Premier League side Tottenham.

Bundesliga champions Bayern announced on their official website on Saturday that Nubel has agreed to a five-year contract at Allianz Arena, starting from July 1.

Ex-Germany Under-21 international Nubel made the switch from Paderborn to Schalke in 2015 and has been dubbed in some quarters as the new Manuel Neuer.

He made headlines in December for an ugly challenge on Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Mijat Gacinovic, resulting in a four-match ban.

Schalke are fifth in the Bundesliga table and three points adrift of third-place Bayern, who recently placed Hansi Flick in caretaker charge until the end of the campaign.

Real Madrid are said to be close to signing yet another rising Brazilian star.

Zinedine Zidane's side have reportedly agreed a fee for Flamengo's Reinier, who could move to Spain this month.

Chelsea, meanwhile, may have to wait until after the season has finished until their top targets become available.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID TO SIGN REINIER FOR €30M

According to widespread reports, Real Madrid are close to finalising a deal to sign Flamengo's Reinier.

The 17-year-old could move to the Spanish capital in January and spend the rest of the season with Raul's Castilla team.

Reinier, who turns 18 on January 19 and will therefore become an easier deal to complete, will apparently cost €30m plus potential add-ons.

ROUND-UP

 - Chelsea want to sign Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner, but the Premier League club know they are likely to have to wait until the end of the season to complete the deals, according to Goal.

- Elsewhere in London, Sky Sports say West Ham have held talks with Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, a reported target for Manchester United. David Moyes said of the club's interest: "He is a name mentioned alongside many."

Inter are the latest team to be interested in Christian Eriksen, say Tuttomercatoweb. Directors Giuseppe Marotta and Piero Ausilio want to close the deal quickly but Tottenham's £30m asking price is a problem.

Nikola Kalinic has been offered to Newcastle United as he has struggled for football since joining Roma on loan from Atletico Madrid, say Marca.

- Still with Marca, Real Madrid have apparently earmarked three Lille players as potential signings for 2020: Boubakary Soumare, Victor Osimhen and Gabriel.

- Sky Sports claim Jan Vertonghen is now more likely to join Napoli from Tottenham this month, as Ajax have apparently cooled their interest in their former defender.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to appoint a new coach in the form of Anthony Pulis, the son of ex-Stoke City boss Tony. Pulis will work as assistant to Diego Alonso, say The Telegraph.

Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman and Javi Martinez will all miss Bayern Munich's training camp in Doha, which begins on Saturday.

Striker Lewandowski had groin surgery last month and will stay in Germany to continue his recovery, despite having initially planned to be part of the group heading for warm-weather training.

Coman, who has a torn capsule in his left knee, and Martinez, who has a muscle problem, will also miss the trip.

So too does Niklas Sule, who is continuing his recovery from a knee ligament tear sustained in October.

The Bayern squad comprises the available senior players and six youngsters: Joshua Zirkzee, Sarpreet Singh, Leon Dajaku, Oliver Batista-Meier, Chris Richards and Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi.

The Bundesliga champions will spend a week at the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, with interim head coach Hansi Flick promising "an intensive, tough training camp" before they return for a friendly against Nurnberg on July 11.

Their season resumes with a league trip to Hertha Berlin on January 19.

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