Deal Close: Ligue 1 starlet could join Liverpool next month
Premier League giants, Liverpool have reportedly been sending scouts to keep tabs on Saint-Etienne wonderkid Saidou Sow.
The 19-year-old arrived at the Les Verts academy six years ago and has risen through the ranks to become a regular fixture of the first team under Pascal Dupraz.
Sow has already played 30 games for Saint-Etienne in all competitions, founding back of the net twice and providing one assist in the process, all of which came in the recently-ended Ligue 1 campaign.
The promising defender could not prevent Saint-Etienne from being relegated, though, as he did not play a single minute of his side’s two-legged playoff loss to Auxerre.
Sow’s emergence in the Verts side could therefore catch the attention of potential suitors, although the youthful defender stays under deal at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard until 2025.
According to L’Equipe, via InsideFutbol, the Merseyside Reds recently sent agents to keep track of Sow during the international break after a recommendation by Naby Keita.
Sow and Keita have spent time together in the Guinea setup since the latter earned his first national team call-up in 2020, and the Saint-Etienne man played the full 90 of last week’s 1-0 loss to Egypt.
Sow has now earned 11 caps for the Guinea national team, and Keita is believed to rate his compatriot highly after the starlet impressed against Mohamed Salah.
The Merseyside Reds bolstered their defensive ranks last summer with the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, however, English defender, Joe Gomez could head for the exit door this summer.
The Englishman only played a bit-part role in the 2021-22 campaign and has been rumoured with moves to the likes of Newcastle United and Aston Villa in the current window.
Liverpool keen on to sign in-demand Ligue 1 forward and €35m-rated Brazil international
Liverpool were allegedly among a host of sides ‘watching’ Reims forward Hugo Ekitike in Ligue 1 action recently.
The 19-year-old Frenchman has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League of late and Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United were said to be close to agreeing a January deadline day swoop.
Having failed to clinch transfer, the Reds, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea are also understood to have sent scouts to monitor the teenager, 90min reports.
The report adds that representatives of the Merseyside club were there to ‘cast an eye’ on the France youth international starlet.
This season Ekitike has netted 10 times and registered four assists in 22 outings across all competitions – including a goal with emissaries from all around Europe in attendance.
Rated at £5.4 million and under contract until June 2024 (Transfermarkt), the sum for signing the ace likened to Kylian Mbappe would be very small compared to the real thing.
In other news, Barcelona boss Xavi is reportedly poised to tie Liverpool target Gavi down to a fresh contract at Camp Nou.
His emergence has reportedly attracted the attention of the Reds, with the club preparing to activate his €50m (£43m) exit clause if Blaugrana cannot reach an agreement with the midfielder over an extension.
According to Sport, the manager is pushing for his side to agree a fresh deal with him with a significantly higher buy-out clause and wage, as the ace is reported to earn just £1.600 per week under his existing terms.
Man United and Liverpool have both made an approach for Ajax forward Antony Matheys, according to reports in Brazil. Brazil international has been one of Ajax’s standout performers under Erik ten Hag this campaign, scoring 12 goals and registering 10 assists in 33 games.
Man United are looking to strengthen their front-line after a woeful season, and it’s understood that the Dutch manager has identified Matheus as a signing who could immediately improve his team. Liverpool are also in the running to add Antony and have made a concrete approach ‘in recent weeks’ along with Man United.
Erik ten Hag has now worked with the 22-year-old winger for two campaigns at Ajax, and the attacker was quick to make an impact in the Eredivisie following his arrival from Sao Paulo in an £18.2m deal in 2020. Newcastle United have also made an approach, but the Brazilian attacker’s preference would be to join either Man United or Liverpool.
Erik ten Hag made his admiration for the South American attacker clear. ‘If Antony were to go, it would be a loss for Ajax,’ the Dutch coach said. ‘You have no one in the current squad who can take over his position. He is top class.’ The Brazilian’s current contract with Eredivisie giants expires in 2025.
Speaking about Matheus’ impact on the Ajax team earlier this month, Erik ten Hag said: ‘Without Antony it is all a bit less fast and dynamic on the right, which also makes it more difficult for the team. Then the spaces become a lot smaller.’
Jurgen Klopp is about to unleash Robert Lewandowski plan at Liverpool after £85m change
If there’s one thing for which Jurgen Klopp’s reign as Liverpool boss will ultimately be remembered, it’s goals. Lots and lots and lots of goals.
A total of 790 have been netted by the Reds since the German assumed control in October 2015, a club record 147 in the recently-completed season alone.
But a deeper dive into the figures reveals an astonishing fact that will prompt pause for thought among Liverpool supporters as they prepare to welcome imminent new signing Darwin Nunez from Benfica.
Less than 10% of those goals have been scored by a player who could be termed a traditional number nine. Divock Origi, while spending some time on the flank, would be considered thus, notching 41 of the 76 managed by a good old-fashioned forward under Klopp.
Daniel Sturridge is next on 25, after which there are slim pickings with Christian Benteke notching eight and one apiece for Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke. That’s it.
Of course, with Liverpool having racked up astonishing goal tallies season after season – they also managed three-figure returns in 2019/20 and 2017/18 – there has been little concern over the ability to ruffle the onion bag, the versatility of tactics and the talent of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, later followed by Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, giving the Reds one of the most feared strikeforces on the planet.
The signing of Nunez, though, represents a subtle shift in approach. Sure, the 22-year-old can operate on the left and featured eight times this season as a second striker – scoring twice against Barcelona from the position – but it’s as the focal point of the attack he has been employed most consistently throughout his career.
Breaking down packed defences was rarely a major issue for Liverpool last term – they only failed to score in six of 63 games, albeit three were cup finals – but the departure of Origi means the Reds had a hole to fill in terms of being able to call on a direct threat down the centre, even if Jota and later Mane were slowly transforming into one.
And given his eye-watering fee – it could eventually be a club record £85million – Nunez is going to play more often than not. Klopp, then, is likely to build an attack around a more traditional centre forward for the first time in his Liverpool tenure.
A step into the unknown for the Reds boss? Perhaps. But only in terms of his Anfield reign. After all, he knows how to get the best from an out-and-out striker. Just ask Robert Lewandowski, who spent four years working under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.
«He released that striker’s instinct in me,” the Poland international once said. “I didn’t know that I still had so much potential inside of me. He saw something in me that I couldn’t see.
«He taught me so much. When I arrived at Dortmund, I wanted to do everything quickly: strong pass, one touch only. Jurgen showed me to calm down – to take two touches if necessary. It was totally against my nature, but soon I was scoring more goals.
“When I had that down, he challenged me to speed it up again. One touch, bang, goal. He slowed me down to speed me up. It sounds simple, but it was genius, really.”
Lewandowski scored just nine goals in his first season at Dortmund. His next three saw 94, highlighting the reward of Klopp’s advice. And while the Liverpool boss will hope not have to work so hard at extracting top form from Nunez, nobody should be concerned at the forthcoming shift in attacking emphasis at Anfield.
Xherdan Shaqiri has already agreed €350,000/month personal terms as Lyon look to sign him but Burnley and Maxwell Cornet could hold the key to his future.
According to Sky Sports, Burnley have made a £12m offer to Lyon for Maxwell Cornet and if true, it could give the French side the funds necessary to improve their bid for Xherdan Shaqiri.
Last week, it was reported that the Ligue 1 outfit had made a €6million offer for the winger but Liverpool are holding out for at least €8million.
L’Equipe claims that Lyon and Shaqiri already have an agreement on personal terms which will see him earn €350,000/month should he be allowed to move to France.
Liverpool footballer Xherdan Shaqiri, pictured at the club’s Melwood training centre. The Swiss international player was transferred from Stoke City to Liverpool prior to the 2018-19 season. Born in Kosovo in 1991, he has represented Switzerland at three FIFA World Cups as well as being a Champions League `winner with Germany’s Bayern Munich.
Liverpool make contact to sign £50.4million versatile star who wants PL move – Report
Liverpool have already won a trophy and are flying high in all competitions this season. Based on current form, they should be able to win multiple titles in the current campaign.
To further improve the squad in the summer, reports indicate that the Merseysiders are looking to sign a versatile star in the form of Aurelien Tchouameni.
According to a report covered by Marca, the Monaco midfielder, who will be out of contract in 2024, is linked with a move away from the club and he wants to move to the Premier League.
The renowned Spanish source have stated that Real Madrid have been trying to reach an agreement with him but it seems that the player is destined to move to England.
It is stated that the likes of Liverpool and Man Utd have made contact and asked about signing and Tchouameni could consider joining one of them.
In recent years, the Reds have been miles ahead of their arch-rivals and would surely be a more attractive option for the Les Bleus star.
Tchouameni can effectively play in the defensive and central midfield roles. He has netted 3 goals and provided 2 assists thus far for Monaco this term. The 22-year-old was an important member of the France side that won the UEFA Nations League last year.
Earlier this month, Catalan source, Sport (via The Faithful), reported that it would take a fee of 60 million euros (£50.4million) to lure the youngster from the Ligue 1 side.
Liverpool have not replaced the likes of Wijnaldum and Grujic in the midfield as yet. In your view, should they offer £50.4million to sign Aurelien Tchouameni?
From France: Liverpool already preparing move for £36m-rated ‘complete player’ – report
Liverpool are still in contention to sign AS Monaco star Aurelien Tchouameni, according to a report from French outlet L’Equipe (via Sport Witness).
Fresh off the back of falling to defeat in Paris at the hands of Real Madrid, the Reds have seemingly been battling the La Liga giants off the pitch too for the capture of Tchouameni for some time.
Recent reports suggested that Los Blancos were in the box seat to sign the 22-year-old sensation, however, speculation continues to rumble on with Paris Saint-Germain also in the mix.
As per L’Equipe, translated by SW, Liverpool are believed to be preparing to ‘try their luck again’ following the final heartache.
It’s claimed that the Anfield club have ‘followed’ the eight-cap ace for a prolonged period and at one stage Tchouameni was ‘more tempted’ by the prospect of a move to work under Jurgen Klopp.
The report also states that Real Madrid have ‘recently improved’ their offer to sign the French youngster hailed as the ‘complete player’ by France national team manager Didier Deschamps.
After losing the 2018 Champions League final against the same opposition, Liverpool swiftly secured the capture of a midfield enforcer and now Klopp favourite, Fabinho, from no other than Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
Pulling off a nigh-on identical move some four years later would be just the tonic needed to boost morale amongst Reds fans.
Also predominantly operating as a defensive midfielder, Tchouameni would provide much-needed cover for the Brazilian in a position the Liverpool ranks are currently dangerous light in. Very strong aerially and in the tackle (WhoScored), the French powerhouse shares similar characteristics to Fabinho and would likely be viewed as the long term successor for the role.
Already boasting 17 goal involvements in just 133 domestic career outings, the £36million valued apprentice to be could even present a more well-rounded overall package than his potential Brazilian mentor.
Put simply, this is a battle for a high calibre player that FSG, newly appointed sporting director Julian Ward and Klopp himself should be pulling out all the stops to get over the line and get one over their conquerors in Paris.
Liverpool need to improve the quality and depth of their attack in the summer and once again, the name of Kylian Mbappe is in the lime light.
According to Le Parisien, the French international is still negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain over a new deal but he wants sporting guarantees from the Ligue 1 side, who once again failed in the Champions League.
The well known French news outlet have claimed that Mbappe has been looking to leave PSG since the summer of 2019 and he would like to see himself at Liverpool or Real Madrid, the two destinations tempt him the most because of the ‘myth they embody’.