Fellaini heads to China

Belgium international Marouane Fellaini has ended his stint at Manchester United and moved to the Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng.

The midfielder joined United from Everton in the summer of 2013 for £27.5million and featured in 177 matches for the club, scoring 22 goals.

During his time at Old Trafford, Fellaini won four trophies – the FA Cup, Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League.

A brief statement on United's official website read: "Everybody at United thanks Marouane for his service and wishes him well for the future as he completes his move to Shandong Luneng Taishan FC in China."

The 31-year-old recently signed a two-year deal with United which was not due to expire until the end of next season.

Meanwhile, interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial will both be available for Sunday's Premier League clash against Leicester City, who drew 1-1 at Liverpool on Wednesday.

Pogba appeared to pick up a knock during the 2-2 draw with Burnley, while Martial missed the match due to an injury he picked up in training.

Solskjaer confirmed: "I don't think there's anything with Paul. Anthony has done some rehab work, so I would imagine he would be available to be involved."

Marcos Rojo remains sidelined but Chris Smalling, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard could all feature against the Foxes.

"I watched Leicester's game on Wednesday and it is a team full of energy and pace," added Solskjaer.

"So of course, they defend well, because they drop back and defend, so it's hard to break them down and they've got the pace up front with [Jamie] Vardy, [Demarai] Gray, [James] Maddison and [Marc] Albrighton.

"[Also] Leicester beat Chelsea, so it's going to be a tough challenge, but we like challenges."

United, 7/4 to finish in the top four this season, can be backed at 23/20 to beat Leicester.

No rapid return for Fellaini

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated that Marouane Fellaini will not be able to play for Manchester United for several more weeks because of a calf injury.

The 31-year-old Belgium international missed last weekend's 1-0 victory at Tottenham and looks set to be sidelined until mid-February.

Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo will also sit out Saturday's match against Brighton but Alexis Sanchez is available.

The Chile international has struggled with several niggling injuries in the last two months and had to be substituted in the FA Cup clash against Reading earlier this month.

However, Solskjaer said: "Alexis has trained all week, so hopefully he comes through the session today [Friday] and will be available.

"Chris and Marcos have just started running lightly so they're not fit yet. Felli is the long-term one who is out. He'll be out for a few weeks.

"There are not many issues. I think there are some small niggles as there always are at this time of the season."

United have won their last five Premier League matches and can now be backed at 7/4 to finish in the top four this season. They are available at 3/10 to beat Brighton at Old Trafford this weekend and 8/1 to edge to a 2-1 victory against Chris Hughton's team.

Fellaini downplays rival gap

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini claims the 12-point difference between the Red Devils and Premier League leaders Manchester City is not a true reflection of the gap between the clubs.

United have endured a mixed start to the season under manager Jose Mourinho, while City are flying high at the top of the table with Pep Guardiola.

Despite the current 12-point gap, and City’s recent 3-1 victory against United in the Premier League, Fellaini is adamant there is not a huge difference between the rivals.

Fellaini said: "I don't think so. I remember when I arrived in England it was a top four, now it is a top six, so every year it is more difficult.

"Next season we will see how it changes and in two and three years I think every year it is more difficult, the intensity is higher, so that's why the Premier League is attractive.

"Manchester City are strong, but I think they will lose. Ok, they are very good and they have good players but it's possible to beat them. We lost, but we have the second game at Old Trafford and we will see."

United are 7/2 to finish in the Premier League top four, while City are 1/4 to retain the crown.

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Mourinho rues defensive errors

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho warned his side that they must cut out the mistakes, having been beaten 3-1 in the derby clash with City at the Etihad Stadium.

The Red Devils were 2-0 down to the Citizens shortly after half-time, before pulling a goal back through an Anthony Martial penalty, before Ilkay Gundogan put the game to bed four minutes from time.

And Mourinho felt that his team had given a decent performance, but had been punished heavily for their defensive mistakes.

He told Sky Sports: "I think it is not a bad performance at all. It was a performance with mistakes and we paid for it – all three goals are our mistakes. Against a team like City, if you make mistakes you will get punished."

Of his side's Premier League hopes for the rest of the season he added: "We are outside the top four, how can we speak about the title?

"Let's fight to close the gap to jump into the top four. If we jump into the top four, then let's see the difference."

United are currently priced at 7/2 to finish in the top four, with Arsenal 6/4 and Tottenham Hotspur 1/2.

Meanwhile, Mourinho also admitted that his plans had been upset by the absence of midfielder Paul Pogba due to a slight knock.

The Portuguese concluded: "It is not for me after defeat to speak about a player who is not here. Of course we missed him, it did affect our plan because Marouane Fellaini had to start.

"He is not in a condition to play 90 minutes. His effort was magnificent, but he is not in a position to play all 90 minutes."

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Martinez expects Fellaini to feature

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez expects midfielder Marouane Fellaini to be fit for Manchester United's major Premier League showdown with Chelsea.

Fellaini was absent as the Red Devils drew 1-1 in a friendly international with neighbours the Netherlands on Tuesday evening, but Martinez says he was just being cautious in omitting the combative former Everton man.

He told reporters: "He should be fine, it's just he wasn't 100 per cent.

"He's got an important game at the weekend and this wasn't the game to use players who weren't 100 per cent. We expect he should be fine in the next couple of days."

Fellaini, who moved to Old Trafford in the summer of 2013, has featured in all eight of United's Premier League games so far this season, making four starts and four appearances as a substitute.

On Saturday the Red Devils head to Stamford Bridge hoping to avoid a fourth straight defeat at the home of the Blues, with that run of losses also seeing United fail to get on the scoresheet.

The last meeting of the two sides came in the FA Cup final last season, when a first-half penalty from Eden Hazard proved enough to decide the Wembley encounter.

Chelsea can be backed at 7/10 to win the game on Saturday, with the visitors 14/1 to claim a 1-0 victory and 9/2 to keep a clean sheet.

The man from Manchester last won at the Bridge in October 2012, when Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez were among the scorers in a 3-2 success.

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Fellaini extends United stay

Belgium international midfielder Marouane Fellaini has pledged his future to Manchester United by signing a new two-year contract with the Old Trafford club.

The 30-year-old joined the Red Devils in the summer of 2013 after spending five years with Everton, and has since scored 20 goals in 156 appearances for United in all competitions.

Fellaini has helped his current club to success in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League and is confident that there is more to come from the men from Manchester in the coming campaigns.

He told his club's official website: "I am pleased to be continuing my journey as a Manchester United player.

"I made this decision because I am very happy here. Also, I feel like this team, under Jose Mourinho, still has a lot we want to achieve.

"I would like to say a special thank you to Jose for the faith he has always shown in me. My focus now is on the World Cup and (then) I am looking forward to a successful season ahead."

United have already been active in the summer transfer market, snapping up Portuguese defender Diogo Dalot from FC Porto and Brazilian midfielder Fed from Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk.

Last season Mourinho's side finished in second place in the Premier League last season, while they were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the FA Cup final and knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Sevilla.

United are 7/1 to win the Premier League title next season, with Liverpool available at 5/1 and Arsenal priced at 28/1.

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What an Epic Year that was in Serie A!

It’s been the league that has just kept on giving this season, and when the dust settled after an explosive finale, we saw Juve at the top, Napoli close behind and

Roma and Inter in the Champions League.

There were emotional scenes in Turin as Gianluigi Buffon hung up his gloves, and live football betting thrills in Rome where Inter grabbed a late, late top four spot. And the relegation scrap was a humdinger too, for football betting fans, as five teams battled for survival on the final day, with Crotone eventually losing out.

Napoli matched the Bianconeri stride for stride for much of the season, indeed the online betting sites couldn’t split them as late as April, but it was Max Allegri’s nous and his team’s experience, winning a seventh consecutive Scudetto, which took them over the line. Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri thought his side was right in the chase after an away win over the Old Lady in April, but defeat to Fiorentina the following week all but ended his hopes.

Sarri wasn’t happy that the fixtures dictated his team play after Juventus in 14 of the last 16 rounds, saying that they were constantly playing catch-up. And after his side condemned Crotone to the drop on Sunday, he hinted he may well be on his way, saying: “In life, everything comes to an end. Sometimes it’s better to finish stories while they are good.”

Cheer up, Maurizio!

Meanwhile, Juventus completed the double by spanking Milan 4-0 in the final of the Coppa Italia, and Max Allegri is now prepared to sit down with the Juventus board to discuss his future. He owes much of the season’s success, not only to his legendary defence but to the goals of strike partnership Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, who netted 22 and 16.

Did you bet online on Lazio to make Final Four in Serie A?

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi must be reeling after barely missing a UCL spot in Serie A

But I tell you what; if Sarri thinks he’s had a rough time then spare a thought for Simone Inzaghi, after his Lazio side lost a Champions League place at the last gasp of the season. Needing just a draw against Inter to hold on to fourth place, and with a lead going into the final 15 minutes….they lost and Inter took the prize. In the process Mauro Icardi matched Ciro Immobile as the league-leading scorer, following the Lazio star’s injury lay-off.

Now that is hard to take.

So, after holding a top four spot for much of the season, Lazio must make do with a Europa League place, where they will be joined by Milan, rejuvenated following the arrival of Gennarro Gattuso as boss, and Atalanta who finished seventh. With Gattuso in charge Milan looks a different prospect and could be worth watching next year as the boss tries to rediscover former glories.

And as the relegation battle drew to a compelling close, Cagliari, Udinese, Chievo and SPAL all won on the final day to send Crotone down to Serie B, along with Hellas Verona and Benevento, after a bruising campaign.

Who is joining Italy’s Elite?

Empoli returns to the top flight having romped home in Serie B, but there was last day drama as Parma won away to snatch the second automatic spot from Frosinone, who failed to beat Foggia at home and finished on the same points as Parma.

Morino Longo now needs to pick his team up for the nerve-jangling task of negotiating the play-offs, along with Palermo, Unione Venezia, Bari, Cittadella and Perugia.

Early Transfer Rumours

So Gianluigi Buffon has announced he will be leaving Juventus at the end of the season after 17 years and 640 appearances; and with no World Cup 2018 for Italy he can take a well-earned rest.

Buffon’s ex-team-mate Leonardo Bonucci is reportedly a target for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho tries to bolster his defence. Ever the entertainer is Jose!

Transfer rumours claim Marouane Fellaini and Emre Can will be playing Italian football games next season

EPL fans may have seen the last of Marouane Fellaini and Emre Can as they are rumoured to join Juventus next season

Juventus are ready to announce the arrival of Liverpool’s Emre Can as soon as the Champions League final is over, and another Premier League star, Marouane Fellaini, could be on his way from Manchester United to Milan.

Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij is off to Inter and, after conceding a crucial penalty in the two teams’ clash on Sunday, I bet he can’t get there quick enough!

There may be more bad news for Lazio fans though, as Chelsea is apparently sniffing around star striker Ciro Immobile, as Antonio Conte fancies him to partner Alvaro Morata. Now that would be kicking a set of fans when they are down.

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Lukaku sits out league finale

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku will not feature in the final two games of the Premier League season due to an ankle injury.

The Red Devils ace suffered the problem during the 2-1 win over Arsenal late last month and was forced to sit out the 1-0 defeat at Brighton last Friday, with Lukaku now hoping to be back in contention in time for the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

Midfielder Marouane Fellaini will also miss the trip to the London Stadium to take on West Ham on Thursday evening, but could be back in time for the final game of the Premier League campaign, at home to Watford on Sunday.

However, United will be boosted by the returns of defender Phil Jones and Alexis Sanchez for the clash with the Irons, as they aim to ensure finishing in second place in the table.

Boss Jose Mourinho told reporters: "In terms of injuries, it's Lukaku and Fellaini. They are the two players who are not available for tomorrow. Phil Jones is back, Alexis Sanchez is back and there are no more problems.

"Lukaku will not play in the last league game of the season, Fellaini might – it is a muscular problem and we will wait and see."

Meanwhile, Hammers boss David Moyes is happy to wait until the season is over before discussing a longer-term stay at the London Stadium, having guided his side away from relegation danger following his arrival in November.

He added: "We have always said that we will talk after the end of the season. We will wait.

"It was always the way I wanted it and I won't change my views until after we've got these two games out of the way."

Moyes has a number of injury absentees to cope with against United, with the likes of Javier Hernandez, Michail Antonio, James Collins, Winston Reid and Pedro Obiang all missing, while goalkeeper Joe Hart and forward Marko Arnautovic are doubtful.

West Ham are 18/5 to claim victory on Thursday evening, with the draw priced at 14/5, while United are available at 8/1 to secure a 2-1 win.

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Jose: Pogba dropping no big deal

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho played down his decision to leave Paul Pogba on the bench for the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford.

France international midfielder Pogba eventually entered the fray with 25 minutes left to play as United eased to victory thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez – his first for the club since joining from Arsenal.

And Mourinho was keen to play down the importance of his selection, telling reporters: "To sit on the bench one day is not the end of the world. The intention is not to punish anyone.

"To punish someone I also need someone to punish me, because we are a team. I made a few changes thinking about the characteristics of this game.

"Paul came on very well with a great attitude. No doubts for me, he is one of most talented midfield players in the world."

Meanwhile, Mourinho confirmed that Marouane Fellaini had undergone an operation on a knee problem earlier in the day, although he hopes to have the midfielder available again before the end of the season.

He added: "It's a small intervention in his external meniscus and I want to believe that, by the end of the March, he can be back.

"If he is back by the end of March, I hope we have a big April and a big May and we are still to play in more than one competition."

United are currently priced at 10/11 to win the Premier League without Manchester City this season, with Liverpool available at 11/4 and Chelsea 7/2.

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Fellaini faces spell on sidelines

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has urged Marouane Fellaini to sign a new contract as the Belgian nears the end of his current deal.

The 30-year-old former Everton star, who out of contract at the end of the season, is set to miss several weeks after suffering a knee injury in United's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Wednesday.

Fellaini has made 12 top-flight appearances this season but may now be sidelined until mid-March.

"I told him, 'sign the contract and shut up'," Mourinho said. "I told him, 'don't gamble too much, sign the contract before you know the extent of the injury'.

"It is not an ACL, a complete rupture of any structure of the knee.

"But we need him, the Champions League is arriving [United play Sevilla on 21st February] and lots of tough matches to play and probably we are going to lose him for a few weeks. Two, three, four or five, I cannot say at the moment."

United are 1/7 to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season and 14/1 to win the Champions League.