Hitzfeld: Favre could replace Guardiola at Bayern

The Swiss feels that his compatriot’s work at Gladbach proves he has the right footballing philosophy for the Bavarians

Former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld believes that Lucien Favre should be a prime candidate to succeed Pep Guardiola as coach should the Catalan decided to leave the Allianz Arena next year.

Guardiola’s contract expires at the end of the 2015-16 season and he has thus far remained non-committal on his future plans.

The ex-Barcelona trainer has been linked with Manchester City in recent weeks but Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is optimistic about the German champions’ chances of persuading the 44-year-old to extend his stay in Bavaria.

However, Hitzfeld feels his old side should start identifying potential successors now, claiming that Borussia Monchengladbach coach Favre has already proven his credential for the biggest job in the Bundesliga.

“Favre is a candidate for Bayern,” the Swiss said of his compatriot in an interview with told Sky. “Favre is a coach who has worked really well with Gladbach. He is certainly a candidate for Bayern when Guardiola eventually quits.  

“He is a coach that can play offensive football. He can get the best out of playes like [striker] Raffael, who I did not think would make the jump up from Zurich to the Bundesliga.

“Favre is good with these type of players and he will have a lot of artists like Raffael in Bavaria.”

Monchengladbach currently sit fourth in the Bundesliga standings, eight points clear of fifth-placed Schalke in the race for Champions League football.

Henderson signs new long-term Liverpool contract

The midfielder has committed his future to the club, having emerged as a key player under Brendan Rodgers in recent seasons

Jordan Henderson has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, the club has confirmed.

Henderson had been the subject of speculation regarding his future, with his contract set to expire in 2016, but the midfielder has now set his sights on challenging for the Premier League title.

“There has been talk about it for a while now,” he told the club’s official website.

“It’s brilliant news for me to commit my future to this football club – I really feel that it’s a good time for us to look forward to the future, with the squad we’ve got, the manager, the size of the club and the fans we’ve got. I really think, over the next few years, we can challenge and start winning trophies. 

“That’s the next phase; we’ve improved massively over the last few years, and I think the next phase for us is to start challenging for titles and trophies as well.”

#LFC are delighted to announce @JHenderson has signed a new long-term contract with the club. http://t.co/IJmAmFb05l pic.twitter.com/Jo7aoEqS6S

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 23, 2015

Henderson has made 48 appearances in all competitions thus far this season and captained the side in the absence of Steven Gerrard, with manager Brendan Rodgers hailing the midfielder as a “brilliant professional”.

“His dedication to his career and football in general makes him a role model to all young players,” he said.
“He has faced adversity in his time at Liverpool, but his improvement, growth and development is entirely down to his own hunger, commitment and willingness to learn and be better.
“The fact he has made such a long-term commitment to Liverpool is a sign of his belief in what we are looking to do here. He will have a crucial role to play as we look to take this side forward and look to add success to the progress we have made.”

Rodgers also hinted at potential new deals for Henderson’s team-mates, with Raheem Sterling one key player yet to commit his future to the club.

“I am very excited about our future and what this group can achieve together; today’s announcement is another important positive step forward,” he added.
“The owners are committed to creating a team that can grow, improve and ultimately win together. We have seen some very important contract renewals this season and I’m confident, under Ian Ayre’s stewardship, we will see further commitments made and more exciting talent secured and added to our squad.”

Hummels fed up of Manchester United talk

The Dortmund centre-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, but insists he does not want to talk about a potential Premier League swap

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels admits he is fed up of speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United.

The Germany international has been the subject of intense rumours throughout a disappointing season for Dortmund, who currently sit ninth in the Bundesliga standings. 

Goal understands that Hummels remains a long-term target for the Red Devils, but the man himself is tired of addressing the rumours having revealed he is considering a move away from Signal Iduna Park recently.

“I don’t want to talk about that topic constantly,” Hummels told Bild. “I did it a few weeks ago – and that must be enough.”

Meanwhile, members of the Dortmund hierarchy also refused to comment on reports linking the 26-year-old with a switch to Old Trafford.

Director Michael Zorc said of a potential bid from United: “I can’t confirm this.”

The club’s CEO Hans-Joachin Watzke told Bild: “The decision of where Hummels plays next season is only possible through BVB.”

Marotta: Juventus discussing Dybala deal with Palermo

The Argentine is set to leave Sicily this summer but the Bianconeri have acknowledged that it will be “difficult” to agree a fee with Maurizio Zamparini

Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta has confirmed that the club are in talks with Palermo over signing star striker Paulo Dybala but added that agreeing a deal is proving “difficult”.

Dybala has been one of the revelations of the Serie A season, having netted 13 times in 30 appearances, and his fine form has attracted interest from not only the Bianconeri, but also Inter, Arsenal and Chelsea, with the forward’s agent claiming that the Blues have already bid €41 million for his client.

Juve are desperate to strengthen their forward line, with top scorer Carlos Tevez reportedly considering returning to Boca Juniors, and are reportedly leading the race to land Dybala.

However, while Marotta freely admits that the Italian champions want to sign the forward, he is not getting his hopes up just yet as Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini is seeking €50m for his most prized asset.

“Dybala? We are speaking with Zamparini but the negotiations are difficult,” the Juve director is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Still, Juve have received a financial boost following their qualification for the semi-finals of the Champions League courtesy of their 1-0 aggregate win over Monaco.

Former coach Antonio Conte reportedly quit the club last summer because of a dispute over transfer policy, famously stating before his departure: “When you got and sit in a €100 restaurant, you can’t think about paying only €10.”

Marotta thus alluded to that comment and the negative fan reaction to Conte subsequently being replaced by Massimiliano Allegri while discussing the 0-0 draw at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday.

“I think of this group and how much it has grown in recent years,” he added. “I remember last July, when myself, president Andrea Agnelli and Allegri were being criticised.

“Now we’re sitting at the €100 table with great satisfaction and the knowledge that we’ve done extraordinary things.

“In these past few years, we’ve improved the quality of the squad.”

Moratta also said that while Juve have Liga leaders Barcelona, reigning European champions Real Madrid and German titleholders Bayern Munich for company in the last four of the Champions League, Allegri’s men should not be discounted.

“They are three heavyweights, but never say never…”