Guardiola to Manchester United talk does not worry Van Gaal

Rumours linking the Catalan coach to the Premier League club are “not interesting” as far as the Dutch manager is concerned

Louis van Gaal says he is not interested by rumours linking Pep Guardiola with the Manchester United manager’s job.

The Bayern Munich head coach has stated his desire to join a Premier League club once he leaves the Allianz Arena at the end of the season.

Manchester City are the current favourites to land the former Barcelona boss, but United have been credited with an interest in his signature, with Guardiola having professed a desire to take charge at Old Trafford in the past.

Van Gaal understands the appeal that England’s top flight has for Guardiola, although he would not be drawn on the rumours that he will be replaced by the man he coached himself at Camp Nou.

“I have said that two years ago that it is not so strange,” he said. “You have to set your goals as a manager, because managers also have ambition and Pep Guardiola has that ambition and wants to to see the culture of the Premier League, just like I did.

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“I have already said that I am at the end of my career, so for me it is not so interesting. For me, what is interesting is how I take care of Manchester United and I still have one year to go after this season.”

United brought back Adnan Januzaj from Borussia Dortmund this week after he failed to make an impact during a loan spell at Signal Iduna Park.

Van Gaal insists he has faith in the Belgium international’s abilities and has challenged him to earn a spot in the first team again once he has proven himself ready for the Under-21 side.

“I believe in Adnan. It’s better he is here to show his talent,” said Van Gaal.

“First, he has to show his fitness in the Under-21s. We have to wait and see if he can play on Monday [away to Reading].”

Van Gaal’s men host Sheffield United in the FA Cup third round on Saturday – a competition they have not won since 2004 – but the Dutchman does not consider their long wait for the trophy to be an anomaly.

“I don’t think this is crazy as that is football, you can win some and you can lose some,” he said. “I think the FA Cup is very difficult to win and we have seen that already last year when we play against Yeovil and Cambridge United. Every match is difficult to win, no matter what level you have to compete with.”

The former Netherlands boss has also dismissed suggestions that his side have adopted the more attacking approach demanded by the club’s supporters, though he hopes his attackers now have more confidence.

“We are always playing attacking football, only now we have scored and that is the difference,” he added, referring to the 2-1 win over Swansea City. “That shall give more confidence and we have still to see that because one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

“I hope we progress because I see it in the training sessions, but you have to show it on the pitch.”

'Every day new nonsense comes along' – Sammer on Gotze to Liverpool

Rumours linking the Bayern man with the Premier League are mere “nonsense”, according to the German club’s sporting director

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has branded speculation linking Mario Gotze with a move to Liverpool as “nonsense”.

The Germany international has been linked with a possible reunion with former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

But Sammer was brusque in his assessment of the latest talk surrounding the 23-year-old’s future, telling Sport Bild: “Every day new nonsense comes along. That is all I am going to say on this.”

Gotze has been continuing his rehabilitation work at Bayern’s training camp in Doha, having been out of action since October due to a serious groin injury.

Sammer hopes Bayern can welcome him back to the first team soon but stressed “we must not take any risks there”.

“We need to get into the best possible condition, physically and mentally, as soon as possible,” he added.

Sammer had earlier dismissed the idea that only replicating the treble of 2013 would be enough to satisfy Bayern Munich’s aims this season in what is Pep Guardiola’s final campaign in charge.

“After 2013, we already have to bring home the treble again? I’ve never head such rubbish,” he said.

Neuer named world's best goalkeeper for third year in a row

The Bayern Munich stopper defeated Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon and Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo and has now completed a hat-trick of titles, with David De Gea finishing fourth

Manuel Neuer has been named the World Goalkeeper of the Year for the third year in a row.

Bayern goalkeeper Neuer beat off competition from runner-up Gianluigi Buffon and third-placed Claudio Bravo to reclaim the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS)  award.

Experts from 50 countries cast their vote in the competition, and Neuer earned 188 points, a remarkable 110 ahead of his Juventus rival, while Bravo received only 45.

“Of course I am happy about this triple. But titles with my team are more important to me,” he told Bayern’s official website.

Premier League goalkeepers David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois came fourth and fifth respectively, with Petr Cech sixth.

Marcelo Barovero, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Iker Casillas and Daniel Subasic round off the top 10.

'Hazard fully focused on Chelsea amid Real Madrid link'

The Belgian reportedly wants to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, with Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain the three frontrunners for his signature

Eden Hazard’s father, Thierry, insists his son is “completely focused” on Chelsea amid reports linking the Belgian with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

Reports had claimed that last season’s Premier League Player of the Year has already decided to quit Chelsea at the end of the season, with Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all keen on the midfielder.

“Eden is completely focused on Chelsea,” Hazard’s father told Het Nieuwsblad.

“Even with Chelsea he still has ambition. Winning a title might be hard, but finishing in the top three is still possible.”

Hazard Sr. also believes his son is suffering injuries due to Chelsea’s busy schedule over the winter period.

“Eden now has two injuries in quick succession,” he said.

“I am convinced that his current groin injury related to the hip injury he sustained earlier this season. These injuries happen because he plays a lot of games.

“Eden plays a kind of football where you have to be one hundred percent. Therefore I hope that he takes the time to hit top form again. He is at an age that he must organise his season and his games wisely.”

Kirchhoff completes Sunderland switch

The 25-year-old defender moves to the Stadium of Light to try and save the embattled club from the drop

Jan Kirchhoff has completed his move to Sunderland from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

The 25-year-old has signed an 18-month deal with the Premier League strugglers after sealing a transfer for an undisclosed fee.

Speaking to the club’s official website, manager Sam Allardyce said: “Jan has a very good pedigree and even though he is still relatively young he has experience of football at the highest level, including the Champions League.

“He has real versatility as a player, being comfortable in both the centre-back and midfield roles. He is desperately keen to experience the Premier League and our job now is to do everything we can to help him settle and adapt quickly to life in English football, so he can have a positive impact on our squad.”

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Kirchhoff had earlier revealed he rejected the chance to stay in the Bundesliga in favour of seeking a new challenge in England.

“I had several options. There were requests from the Bundesliga, but I didn’t really consider them or to stay at Bayern,” he told Kicker.

“I’m looking forward to playing in England and the new challenge.”

Kirchhoff made only one brief DFB-Pokal appearance for Pep Guardiola’s side this season.

The centre-back, who has been beset by a string of injury problems in recent seasons, had spent time with Schalke in the last two campaigns in a bid to recapture top form and fitness.