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Surprise Norwich boss contender gets huge thumbs up from Norway coach

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Kjetil Knutsen 1

A surprise Scandinavian contender for the vacant Norwich City job has emerged with Norway boss Stale Solbakken endorsing the manager’s credentials.

After the sacking of Daniel Farke on Saturday – just hours after the Canaries recorded their first win of the season – they are looking for a replacement. The win over Brentford looked to have given Farke some breathing space. But he was axed – a decision that was reportedly made earlier in the week.

Stuart Webber said the decision “was not an easy one” and he did not want to disrupt the team ahead of the game against Brentford,

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Now sporting director Webber is hunting for Farke’s successor and Kjetil Knutsen has been named as a suitor.

Knutsen guided FK Bodø/Glimt to a 6-1 win over Jose Mourinho’s Roma team recently. The 53-year-old guided Bodø/Glimt to their first title success in 2020 in a record season where they lost only one game.

It’s worth mentioning that Norwegian TV station TV2 say “there has been no contact” from Norwich with the manager.

However, Norway national team boss Solbakken is not surprised to see Knutsen mentioned with the Norwich job.

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“He has shown he is ‘The Special One’, so it’s not so strange. When Bodø/Glimt has proven that they can assert themselves in Europe, it will always provide much more fertile ground for such speculation about other clubs,” Solbakken said, via Sport Witness.

“Bodø/Glimt have been a model club on how they have brought in players, put them into the system, player development and patience. In the last two years, it has paid off for them. So I do not think it is strange [speculation}.

“They have a sporting director who looks quite a bit to Scandinavia.

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“I know him pretty well. We met at the door at Wolverhampton – he on the way in, me on the way out. I’ve talked to him a lot, even when it comes to Mathias (Normann). He’s a good guy.”

Solbakken was asked whether he expected a call from Webber to get some background information on Knutsen.

He said: “No I do not. If that happens, I think he has done the preparation himself. So I do not think you should be afraid of that.”

Farke meanwhile, has released a statement after leaving the club.

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The German took over in 2017 and oversaw two promotions to the Premier League.

Norwich signed the likes of Milot Rashica, Ozan Kabak and Billy Gilmour in an attempt to strengthen their squad. But Farke paid the price for a poor start.

Farke said in a statement: “We, and by that I mean our coaching staff of Edmund Riemer, Christopher John, Chris Domogalla and myself, have had a great time at Norwich which has now come to an end.


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Farke: We’ll see you again

“We leave Norwich with great pride. Having worked for this exceptional club for almost four-and-a-half years means a lot to us.

“Our special thanks go to the fans who have always supported the team and us, making the many great moments at Carrow Road unforgettable. Two promotions to the Premier League together will connect us forever.

“Working with the players was a great pleasure during all that time. We had great trust in each other.

“We wish the team all the best. And we are confident that they will be successful as the team spirit in the dressing room is second to none.

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“Football is a short-term business. And for that we were quite long term in Norwich because it was made possible by Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Stuart Webber.

“Goodbye, Canaries. We’ll see you again.”

READ MORE: Norwich ‘open talks’ with Lampard who boasts rare advantage they seek

 

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Chelsea risk complete depletion after transfer update for tempted star Tuchel is relying on

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Jorginho and Marcos Alonso celebrate for Chelsea

Marcos Alonso remains a top target for Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, despite it being questionable as to whether Chelsea would sanction a transfer.

Chelsea are currently facing a shortage of players in the full-back positions. Alonso is their only natural fit on the left-hand side at present due to Ben Chilwell’s ACL injury. They have been trying to recall Emerson Palmieri from a loan spell at Lyon, but are struggling.

Therefore, the Blues continue to be linked with signing new left-backs in January. But now a further complication has arisen in the shape of Atletico chasing Alonso.

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According to Marca, Simeone still dreams of signing the Spaniard, whom he wanted at Atletico three years ago. Back then, the La Liga giants opted to sign Renan Lodi instead.

Now, Simeone is hoping to lure Alonso back to his hometown. The Atletico boss still feels a need to strengthen at left-back and Alonso has the traits he desires.

Marca (whose report is adapted by Sport Witness) claim a transfer is back on the agenda, then. Although whether that would appeal to Chelsea is debatable.

Alonso lost his place as a starter after Chilwell relied, but they are relying on him now until they can recover the Englishman’s services or sign another reinforcement.

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But the 31-year-old may be keen to make the move to Madrid. According to Marca, he would welcome the chance to play in La Liga.

Alonso came through the academy ranks at Real Madrid before making one La Liga appearance in 2010. He has never played in the competition since after spending his club career between England and Italy.

Spanish return appealing to Alonso?

Recent reports claimed he was keen to explore a future away from Chelsea to boost his chances of representing Spain at the 2022 World Cup. Alonso has five international caps to his name after debuting in 2018, including two last year.

He may now have hopes of playing club football in his homeland, rather than just representing their national team. And Atletico see him as a perfect fit.

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It is not yet clear if they will make a formal move, or how much they may offer. But if anything happens between now and the end of the month, it would heighten Chelsea’s dilemmas.

Atletico have Marcos Alonso alternatives

However, in an update that may allay any fears Chelsea have of losing Alonso, AS claim Atletico are also looking at Reinildo of Lille.

As cited by Football Espana, the report claims there have been discussions between the Spanish and French champions over his transfer.

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Reinildo is out of contract with Lille in the summer. So he could be available for a cut-price fee.

AS also list the versatile Daniel Wass of Valencia as a priority option for Atletico.

However, the Mattress Makers are also long-term admirers of Alonso, as Marca remind. Therefore, his future at Chelsea will still be in question unless Atleti sign one of the other options.

READ MORE: Chelsea bid ‘accepted’ as Tuchel nears stellar signing in favourite position

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Ranieri sack moments away with ‘stunned’ Watford chiefs ‘preparing’ new appointment

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Claudio Ranieri after a Watford defeat in January 2022

Watford are poised to sack manager Claudio Ranieri and have already begun sizing up replacements after being left stunned by their ineptitude versus Norwich, per reports.

The Hornets suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat to relegation rivals on Friday night. The contest had been hyped up as a potential relegation decider given how few points both teams have accrued against stronger opposition.

But despite home advantage, Watford looked off the pace throughout, and manager Ranieri could soon pay the price.

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Watford are not known for exhibiting patience when it comes to their hirings and firings. Indeed, Xisco Munoz was relieved of his duties less than two months into the season.

Now, according to the Telegraph, Ranieri is poised to follow suit after lasting just three months.

The newspaper state Watford are ‘ready to end’ Ranieri’s reign following their dismal Norwich defeat. The Italian is ‘close’ to being fired, and both staff and players are ‘preparing’ for the appointment of a new head coach.

Watford are deemed to be ‘already targeting replacements’, though the article does not speculate as to their identities.

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Ranieri sack due ‘this weekend’

With Watford’s players not due in for training until Tuesday, the article concludes Ranieri is likely to be sacked ‘this weekend’.

The Hornets have lost seven out of their last eight league matches. Their only non-defeat was a 1-1 draw with Newcastle last weekend.

TEAMtalk’s own sources have echoed the sentiments of the Telegraph report.

We have been told by more than one reliable source that Ranieri’s time is up. A final decision could come as early as tonight.

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READ MORE: Paper Talk: Man Utd seeking triple exit with trio of ‘mood killers’ facing axe

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