Official: Newcastle sack Steve Bruce

Newcastle United have finally sacked manager Steve Bruce in the aftermath of becoming one of the richest football clubs in the world.

A statement from the Magpies on Wednesday confirmed his departure, with the club claiming the decision had been made by “mutual consent” – despite Bruce previously remarking his desire to stay at the club under their new owners, the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund.

“Newcastle United can confirm that Steve Bruce has left his position as head coach by mutual consent,” read a statement.

“He leaves the Magpies after more than two years in charge, having steered the club to 13th and 12th-place finishes in the Premier League and reaching the quarter-final stage in both the Emirates FA Cup and Carabao Cup during his tenure.

“Newcastle United would like to place on record its gratitude to Steve for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.”

Graeme Jones will lead the team on an interim basis, starting with Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

Thomas Tuchel explains reason for Romelu Lukaku’s goal drought

Thomas Tuchel believes having too many games are wiping the smile off his players’ faces.

And the Chelsea boss claims record £97.5million signing Romelu Lukaku is ‘mentally tired’ and has been ‘overplayed’.

He said: “I feel Romelu is a bit overplayed. He played in too many competitions over the summer with his country.

“He played the Nations League and he is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he never takes it easy. He wants to be out there and win.

“He wanted to have a good outcome for the European Championship with Belgium and now in the Nations League it was a huge match for him, it meant a lot personally to play for his country so he takes it seriously.

“If that does not work well he always puts it on his shoulders. He reflects about it and I feel him mentally tired.”

Thomas Tuchel confirms Chelsea ‘talking regularly’ about signing Erling Haaland, reveals how he plans to pair him with Romelu Lukaku

Thomas Tuchel has sparked excitement among Chelsea fans by admitting the club are ‘talking regularly’ about the potential of signing striker Erling Haaland.

Haaland is widely regarded, along with Kylian Mbappe, as the most exciting attacking talent in world football, and he is expected to leave Borussia Dortmund in the coming months with a relatively-affordable £64million release clause in his contract.

After Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku in the summer for £97m, many believed they would no longer be in the hunt for Haaland, but boss Tuchel has confirmed that it is still a possibility – and that he would have ‘no problem’ playing both in the same team.

Speaking in an interview with SportBild, he said: ‘We have talked about Haaland a couple of times also in the transfer window. It looked unrealistic and not possible to do.

“Of course we talk regularly about him because he is a fantastic player and a profile at Dortmund, which is a big rival for us in the Champions League.”

The interviewer then asked whether the presence of Lukaku would stop the deal from happening, and Tuchel replied that he would have ‘no problem’ using them together in a front two.

When pressed again about the possibility of signing him in the coming months, Tuchel added: “Let us see what will happen the next weeks.”

Newcastle join two other Premier League clubs in chase for Chelsea star

There are reports Newcastle and Leeds have joined Burnley in the race to sign Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.

The former England man, 27, was expected to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer after spending last season at Aston Villa.

But a move failed to materialise, with the Everton academy graduate staying in West London.

According to The Sun, Burnley are keen to sign Barkley on loan in January in a bid to boost their survival hopes.

But they are reportedly set to face competition.

90min claim that Leeds and Newcastle also see Barkley as an attainable option.

The 33-cap star spent a brief period on loan at Elland Road in 2013 – playing four matches under Neil Warnock.

As for the Toon, new chiefs are busy putting together a list of attainable players that can aid their battle against the drop.

Barkley features on that list, with intermediaries having already reached out to the Magpies to offer his services.

Newcastle are also interested in Ruben Loftus-Cheek – but the 25-year-old could yet have a future at Stamford Bridge.

The academy graduate has made six appearances for the Blues in all competitions this term, including starts against Southampton and Brentford in their last two Premier League games.

Diego Simeone reveals reason he rejected Jurgen Klopp handshake after Atletico Madrid home loss to Liverpool

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has explained the rationale for snubbing post-game handshake with Jugen Klopp after the Champions League defeat to Liverpool at Wanda Metropoloitano.

Simeone stormed straight down the tunnel after his side lost 3-2 against Liverpool.

An end to end game unfolded as the Reds stole an away win, leaving Simeone fuming throughout.

The Argentinian, known for his theatrics, stormed down the tunnel after the full-time whistle was blown, infuriating Klopp who was waiting with an outstretched hand.

Klopp shook his finger in the direction of the tunnel before going to shake the hand of an Atletico player.

There were suggestions Simeone may have felt aggrieved after seeing his side given a penalty before the referee overturned the decision after consulting the VAR monitor.

Simeone, however, explained the incident as a mere miscommunication, as he generally doesn’t do handshakes after matches.

“I never shake hands after a match, because I don’t like it,” he said. “It isn’t healthy for either the one who wins or the the one who loses. That’s the way I see it.

“But now when I see him I will shake his hand without problem.”

Jurgen Klopp furious as Diego Simeone snubs post-match handshake after Atletico Madrid slump to Liverpool

Diego Simeone refused to shake Jurgen Klopp’s hand after seeing his Atletico Madrid fall to a 3-2 defeat by Liverpool in a dramatic Champions League contest.

The LaLiga champions saw Antoine Griezmann sent off, a penalty given against them and a penalty decision of their own overturned in a disappointing night for Simeone’s side.

After the game, the Argentine boss sprinted straight down the tunnel, refusing to shake the Liverpool manager’s hand.

Klopp did not seem impressed, holding out his hand and then giving a sarcastic thumbs-up when Simeone ran down the tunnel, but the German boss was keen to play down the incident in his interview with BT Sport.

He later reacted furiously to the suggestion from a Spanish broadcaster that he was angry at Simeone’s actions.

The German said: “Why was I angry? I am not such an idiot that you can [ask a] little bit question here. I was not angry at all.

“Have a look. I can imagine you want to make a story out of that, but I wanted to shake his hand, he [Simeone] doesn’t want it.

“In that moment I can understand that, he was running inside. He’s emotional, I’m emotional, and you are not a nice person because you want to make a story out of that.

“You said I’m angry, when was I angry? Now I am angry because of your question, come on.”

When the interviewer said he was serious, Klopp said ‘yeah yeah’ before walking away from the interview.

It also comes after Klopp told the media on Monday that he was not a fan of the Spanish club’s style of football.

BT pundits Peter Crouch and Joleon Lescott hit out at Simeone after the game for his refusal to shake the Liverpool manager’s hand.

Former Liverpool player Crouch said: ‘I respect him so much as a manager Simeone but I just think during the game, winding the crowd up, winding the players up, I understand it, but then not shaking hands at the end he lets himself down.’

Lescott described Simeone as ‘petty’ for his refusal to shake hands.

The ex-Manchester City defender said: ‘I think it’s petty. He handled himself well yesterday in regards to the remarks Jurgen Klopp made before the game but he didn’t seem phased by it.

“But then not to shake his hand and then run off up the tunnel was a bit cowardly in my opinion.”

(Watch Highlights) Ansu Fati, Depay, Coutinho save Ronaldo Koeman’s blushes as Barcelona return to winning ways after beating Valencia

Barcelona have got back to winning ways on their return from the international break as they sealed a 3-1 victory over Valencia at the Camp Nou.

Goals from the returning Ansu Fati and Dutch star Memphis Depay set the home side on course for the win before substitute Philippe Coutinho wrapped up all three points in the final minutes.

La Blaugrana endured a mixed run of form heading into the international break with boss Ronald Koeman finding himself under increasing pressure in Catalonia.

However, his players turned in a timely winning performance against Los Che, with the returning Ansu Fati right at the heart of it for Koeman.

The Spanish international cancelled out Jose Luis Gaya’s opener, with a spectacular first goal in over a year to bring Barcelona level, before winning a penalty to allow Memphis Depay to edge them in front.

Fati did have a chance to make the game safe after the restart, only to be denied by a superb Jasper Cillessen save late on, but in the end substitute Philippe Coutinho wrapped up the win in the final minutes.

Koeman’s side now face Dynamo Kyiv in midweek Champions League action with Valencia back in action against Real Mallorca next weekend.

(Watch Highlights) Robert Lewandowski nets brace as Bayern Munich put Bayer Leverkusen to the sword

Bayern Munich ran riot against their hosts Bayer Leverkusen beating them 5-1 as they returned to the top of the Bundesliga.

Robert Lewandowski ended his longest goal drought since November to break the deadlock after four minutes with a sublime aerial backheel inside the box courtesy of a perfectly weighted Dayot Upamecano cross.

On the half hour mark, Lewandowski took his goal tally to nine for the season with a composed finish inside the box, completing a Bayern move that started at the back and cut through the Leverkusen team with pace and precision.

The floodgates then opened as within five minutes the visitors added three more goals. First Thomas Muller deflected the ball past Lukas Hradecky from a corner.

Then Serge Gnabry grabbed a quickfire double as his pace and clinical finishing skills proved too much for the Leverkusen defence.

The second half saw both managers make a collection of changes, no doubt conscious of their European commitments next week.

Bayer Leverkusen got a consolation goal on 55 minutes, when Patrik Schick latched on to a Florian Wirtz through ball. The Czech showed his strength and eye for goal as he slotted the ball past Manuel Neuer.

As the match wore on there was a clear drop off in intensity as the game was well and truly put to bed in the first half.

Paris Saint-Germain prepare for Kylain Mbappe exit, add Erling Haaland, others to shortlist of replacements

Paris Saint-Germain are preparing for the exit of Kylian Mbappe by adding Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, and Dusan Vlahovic to their shortlist of replacements.

With little progress made regarding a new contract between PSG and Mbappe, Le10 Sport reports that sporting director Leonardo has put together a three-man priority list of candidates who the Ligue 1 club will target should Mbappe leave.

The first on the list is Haaland, with PSG set to go all out for the services of the Borussia Dortmund star when his release clause of €75m comes into effect next summer. But if that fails, Leonardo has identified Bayern Munich talisman Lewandowski as the second-best option to replace Mbappe.

The 33-year-old is rumoured to favour a move to Real Madrid — who also lead the race for Mbappe’s signature — should he leave the Bundesliga, which would leave €70m-rated Vlahovic of Fiorentina as the final option on the shortlist.

And with Mbappe’s contract set to expire next summer, there could be movement in January if PSG hope to land a significant transfer fee for one of the most sought-after stars in football.

Man United set to rival Chelsea for Jules Kounde as defender takes vital decision about his future destination

Chelsea are set for serious battle against their Premier League rivals Manchester United as the Old Trafford club are reportedly poised to challenge the European champions for Sevilla star Jules Kounde.

The French international was heavily linked with a summer move to Stamford Bridge, ahead of the 2021/22 season, but the Blues refused to meet Sevilla’s asking price of €90m.

Chelsea are expected to revive their long term interest in him again during the January transfer window but they could be challenged in their pursuit of the 22-year-old.

According to reports from El Nacional via Football Espana, Kounde is not interested in a move to domestic rivals Real Madrid, and instead wants to test himself in England.

The Sevilla defender would prefer joining Manchester United to Chelsea.

That’s the claim from El Nacional, who even suggest the 22-year-old has asked his agent to hold talks with the Red Devils.

Kounde helped France win the Nations League this month, having joined Sevilla for £20million from Bordeaux two years ago.

United are likely to be in the market for another defender in the coming months despite bringing in Raphael Varane from Los Blancos in September.

Kounde remains under contract at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan until 2024, and despite Sevilla previously sticking to his €90m release clause, they could now lower that to around €70-75m.