Football Back Pages: Bayern's big decisions, the chase for Sancho & MORE
What's making headlines from around Europe's top leagues.
BAYERN MUNICH PREPARE FOR BIG CHANGES
There have been several significant changes at Bayern Munich this season, and more could be yet to come in the summer.
With Niko Kovac sacked as manager and Uli Hoeness retiring as president, Bayern now must consider the futures of Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller.
Both players are out of contract in the summer of 2021, leaving Bayern the options of extending their deals, selling them, or letting them leave as free agents.
There is also the matter of finding a manager given Hansi Flick was appointed only to the end of the season when he took over from Kovac.
CHELSEA AND MAN UTD TO BATTLE FOR SANCHO
There is a growing expectation Jadon Sancho will return to England from Borussia Dortmund, and it will happen sooner rather than later.
Turning in excellent performances for Dortmund, the former Manchester City youth player has been strongly linked with Chelsea and Manchester United.
There is always the chance a club like Real Madrid could launch a bid for Sancho, who is expected to fetch at least €120 million in the transfer market.
SETIEN: ALL CLUBS HAVE PROBLEMS
The timing of the public fallout between Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal could not have been much worse for new Barcelona manager Quique Setien.
While he tries to get results and the confidence of the players, Setien is also left to answer the probing media, and is trying to maintain a football focus.
I know that in any club like this there are problems. In all clubs around the world, for sure. But there are things I will never be able to control.
There is surely pressure building on Setien, too, having lost first place on La Liga table to Real Madrid and eliminated from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.
SPALLETTI TURNED DOWN AC MILAN
Given his record with Roma and Inter Milan, it seems Luciano Spalletti would be a good option for any Serie A vacancy.
Indeed, Spalletti has revealed he was approached by AC Milan after his sacking by Inter at the end of last season, but the Nerazzurri still held him under contract.
That claim has been denied by Inter, declaring it would have negotiated a settlement with Spalletti, but the manager was not interested.
GUARDIOLA’S EXPIRING CONTRACT NO PROBLEM
With 18 months to run on his contract, Pep Guardiola could be on the home stretch of his tenure as Manchester City manager.
Which raises questions about whether potential signings will have second thoughts if Guardiola has not committed to City beyond 2021.
The club is stable and the club moves forward. It was always really good before I came here so there has to be other issues and the club has to be good in those terms to convince the players and their agents.
Coming to the end of his fourth season at City, a fifth campaign will make it the longest stint of Guardiola’s managerial career, spending four seasons at Barcelona and three at Bayern Munich.
COSTA AIMS FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN
Out of action since November due to a back problem, Diego Costa is closing on a return to the Atletico Madrid line-up.
In fact, Costa is aiming to be ready for the Champions League tie against Liverpool, hoping to add to his two goals from 15 outings this season.
But it is likely Atletico will be missing Kieran Trippier for the first leg of the Liverpool tie after the defender underwent surgery to treat a groin problem.
OUSMANE DEMBELE OUT FOR THE SEASON
The dreadful run of injuries continues for Ousmane Dembele, a hamstring tear ruling him out for the rest of Barcelona’s season.
Bought for €125 million in 2017, Dembele’s Barcelona career has been destroyed by injuries, restricting the winger to just 74 outings.