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There are reports that US Soccer is planning an alternative to next summer’ World Cup, featuring teams that failed to qualify for Russia 2018.

The list of nations missing from next summer’s tournament includes the Americans, Holland, Chile, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana as well as the Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

There are always big names always that miss out on qualifying for the World Cup, but this year’s qualification campaign has been especially brutal.

It is being billed as the wake-up derby, because both Real Madrid and Atletico need to stir from their slumber before the season gets away from them for good.

Barcelona could be 11 points clear of the loser in the Madrid derby, a result that will all but end their title hopes, and we are not even into November.

It is not just Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone who are under pressure in the first derby to be played in Atletico’s new stadium.

Jose Mourinho has announced that Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marcos Rojo will all be in the Manchester United squad for the match against Newcastle United this weekend.

Ibra has not played for seven months since rupturing the cruciate ligament in his right knee against Anderlecht, and was expected to be out until December at the earliest.

However, after three days of training with the first team at Carrington, Mourinho revealed that Ibrahimovic will complete a remarkable recovery by returning on the bench against Newcastle.

Giroud Has No Plans To Leave Arsenal In January

Olivier Giroud says he has no plans to leave Arsenal during the January transfer window, despite his inability to break into Arsene Wenger’s Premier League line-up.

Giroud has not started a single Premier League game this campaign, as Wenger prefers Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette, prompting speculation of a transfer when the winter market opens.

But Giroud retains the faith of France manager Didier Deschamps, who prefers Giroud ahead of Lacazette, meaning that Giroud does not have to leave for first-team football during a World cup season.

Lots of newspapers on Saturday are running stories linking Inter captain Mauro Icardi with a move away from the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in January.

Icardi signed a new Inter contract 15 months ago, and at the time the €110m buyout clause seemingly put him out of the reach of competitors.

But the transfer market changed this summer with the deals for Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Álvaro Morata, Ousmane Dembele and the failed transfer for Philippe Coutinho.

Suddenly €110m for a 24-year striker looks appealing to the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich and Suning have been slow to address his buyout clause.

Gareth Bale Injured Again

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, who has been out of action since the end of September, has been picked up another injury that is expected to keep him out until the new year.

“Gareth Bale felt some discomfort in his left leg at the end of Thursday’s training session and today underwent various tests carried out by the Real Madrid Sanitas medical team,” Real Madrid posted on its official website.

”He has been diagnosed with a strain to the middle third of the adductor longus muscle in his left leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed.”

It has been a difficult start to the season for Atletico Madrid. They are fourth in La Liga, winless in the Champions League, and in danger of an embarrassing exit in the Copa del Rey.

Atleti sits fourth in La Liga, level with Real Madrid on points but behind on goal differential. They are eight points back of leaders Barcelona after just 11 matches.

The Champions League has proven even more baffling, with Madrid in a distant third in Group C after a trio of draws, including two against Azerbaijani minnows Qarabak FK despite holding a man advantage at various times in both matches. With remaining games against Chelsea and Roma and a four-point deficit, it’s increasingly unlikely that Madrid will be destined for the drop to the Europa League, or worse.

Alvaro Morata will never close the door on a return to Real Madrid, but he wants to have a “great career” at Chelsea before departing.

The Spain international striker has made a strong start to life at Chelsea following a reported £70million move from Madrid, scoring eight goals and supplying three assists in 15 appearances in all competitions.

There was speculation about the 25-year-old’s long-term future when he revealed last month he was having difficulties adjusting to the “stress” of living in London, but he clarified his comments by saying he would be happy to remain at the club for 10 years.

Southgate: Jack Wilshere Isn’t A Number 10

England manager Gareth Southgate believes Jack Wilshere is being played out of position at Arsenal. Wilshere, who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, was left out of the England squad for upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil having played just 25 minutes in the Premier League.

While Wilshere has shinned in the Europa League matches this season, Southgate questioned how the former future of English football was being used by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

“Jack played as a number 10 all of last season on loan at Bournemouth,” Southgate said.

The most expensive squads in no longer belong in La Liga as a new report has concluded that Manchester City have supplanted Real Madrid and Barcelona as the most valuable squad in world football.

The Premier League leaders are only one of four club sides in the world with a squad valued at over €1billion in the study commissioned by the CIES Football Observatory.

City, who have four players that are considered to be worth more than €100 million, have a transfer value of €1.2bn.