France evolving to become one of the world’s best after stunning 2016

Paul Pogba pays homage to Conor McGregor's walk and David Alaba falls victim to Thiago's nutmeg in The Sweeper.

Deschamps has overseen an evolution in the France team.
International football waved goodbye to 2016 this week and, depending on where you are from, your country may have had a shocking year (like Netherlands), a disappointing one (like England or Belgium), or a great one above all expectations (like Iceland and Wales for example.)
For France, it was almost a perfect one. Les Bleus only lost one of their 16 matches this calendar year. The bad news was that it was the one they had to win: the European Championship final against Portugal in Paris.
As so…

‘Enjoy it while it lasts’ – Liverpool legend sends stark warning to fans amid Coutinho rumours

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes the club will not be able to keep the likes of Philippe Coutinho out of the clutches of Barcelona.

However, rather than bemoan the fact, Lawrenson urged fans to enjoy the brilliant football the Brazil international and his team-mates are producing which has turned Jurgen Klopp's side into genuine title challengers.

"Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid to a certain degree, Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich, are the clubs continually successful in Europe," Lawrenson told Press Association Sport.

"You can't keep those top players if those clubs come in for them.

"I don't think, apart from arguably Manchester City, anyone can stop them.

"The clever thing is to plan for it. Rather than say 'Coutinho might be going, what are we going to do?' you have something in place already."

Daniel Sturridge is another player whose future appears up for debate.

The England international has yet to score a Premier League goal this season and is no longer first choice up front with Roberto Firmino performing the central attacking role.

There have been reports he will seek to leave in January – which is highly unlikely as injury to Danny Ings has already left Klopp one striker light – but Lawrenson said the 27-year-old should sit it out.

"It is a fantastic position for the club to be in," said the ex-centre-back at a special Men United Arms Q&A event for Prostate UK in Preston.

"It's like Klopp 1, Sturridge 0 because when Klopp came the questions were about how he was going to get him fit and now he is fit he can't get in the side.

"But you don't do anything with him at the moment. You can bring him on and he will score you a goal out of nothing.

"You can't get players like him, he is different to what Klopp has and he would make one of the top team's stronger so why would you sell him?

"The only way you get rid of Daniel Sturridge is if you have someone lined up to come in.

"It's not a problem for Klopp – but it may be for Sturridge."

Lawrenson also dismissed criticism of Liverpool's inability to keep a clean sheet, with just one in the Premier League so far.

"(Manchester) City aren't great at the back. Arsenal look okay but I wouldn't seriously worry about Liverpool defensively," he said.

"They create so many chances in games so what if they concede a couple?

"They are going to win so many of their games playing this way it will just be immaterial.

"There are 19 teams in the league who would like to be where Liverpool are.

"For me I think it (the title) is between them, City and Arsenal – who are both in Europe – so it is all in Liverpool's favour. Enjoy it while it lasts – that's the way Klopp is."

:: Mark Lawrenson is supporting Preston North End manager Simon Grayson's epic cycling challenge for Prostate Cancer UK in 2017. Grayson, who lost a close friend Steve 'Garby' Garbett to the disease, is taking part in the 145-mile Football to Amsterdam cycling challenge in June for a second time. He will be joined on the ride by former England internationals Les Ferdinand, Terry Butcher, Viv Anderson and Tony Woodcock. Sign up to before November 22nd and get a £25 discount on registration by using the code 'PRESTON 25'.

Transfer Rater: Steven Gerrard to Celtic, Kostas Manolas to Chelsea

The latest rumours from the world of football.
Here are today's most talked about transfer moves and the likelihood of the transfer actually happening on a scale of 0.0 (player is going nowhere) to 5.0 (player is packing his bags), courtesy of Football Whispers. 
For more transfer news and rumours, go to Transfer Talk. 
Memphis Depay to Everton
Various new outlets report Memphis Depay is available for loan in January and, after the exploits of the Everton social media team, it appears the Merseysiders are really in for the player….

Atletico Madrid announce ¬3.9m profit as plans for stadium move continue

Atletico Madrid want to move into La Peineta for next season.
Atletico Madrid have announced an after tax profit of €3.9 million for 2015-16 and predicted that revenues for 2016-17 would hit €266m.
Atleti have struggled financially for decades but are in a more secure position after sustained success under coach Diego Simeone and the regularising of tax arrears, along with investment from Chinese group Wanda.
The results were announced at a private meeting of shareholders, where the accounts approved by a huge majority.
Chief executive Miguel Angel…

Wolfsburg’s Marcel Schafer may rule out MLS options after U.S. elections

Former Germany international Marcel Schafer is under contract at Wolfsburg until June 2017.
Former Germany international Marcel Schafer said he is reconsidering seeking a contract in Major League Soccer following the U.S. elections last week.
"The vote has started a thinking process," the Wolfsburg defender said.
Former Germany international Schafer, 32, is under contract at Wolfsburg until June 2017.
He said that initially he planned to look for an MLS contract next summer so he could spend the remainder of his career in the United States and be closer to his mother, who is based in Atlanta.

The Exploding Heads take a look back at the most memorable football tweets of 2016.

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