United and City linked with Sevilla defender while Luiz is wanted by Real Madrid

Alex Rea 29/11/2017
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Wanted man: Sevilla defender Clement Lenglet

The transfer window may not open again until January 1 2018 but that hasn’t put an end to plenty of speculation throughout Europe.

Here, we take a look at three big stories dominating the headlines on Wednesday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

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CLEMENT LENGLET

Manchester United and Manchester City are taking a look at Sevilla defender Clement Lenglet, reports the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has a contract until 2021 and reportedly has a buyout clause worth £28million.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

Barcelona have been linked with the France U21 international with his ability on the ball and his adeptness at bringing the ball out of the back seeing him naturally rumoured to be moving to Camp Nou.

He’s quickly developing into one of the most talented defenders in Europe and the two Manchester clubs won’t be alone in their pursuit of Lenglet.

AHMED HEGAZI

Liverpool are exploring the possibility of signing West Brom centre-back Ahmed Hegazi, according to ESPN.

On loan from Egyptian club Al Ahly, Leicester are also interested with West Brom having an option to make the deal permanent for €5million.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

One position Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be in for in the January transfer window is centre-back and Hegazi has been a tower of strength since joining West Brom.

The link up with fellow Egypt international and good friend Mohamed Salah would be one of a variety of reasons the 26-year-old swaps clubs in the New Year.

Ahmed Hegazi (r) in action against Newcastle in midweek

Ahmed Hegazi (r) in action against Newcastle in midweek

DAVID LUIZ

Chelsea defender David Luiz is a shock target of Real Madrid, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Luiz has fallen down the pecking order with the Premier League champions after Andreas Christensen’s emergence as a first-team regular and could be moved on in January.

RATING: 7/10 

VERDICT

Injuries and the inconsistent form of Jesus Vallejo have left Real looking dreadfully short at centre-half and Luiz could be the man to bolster their backline.

The Brazilian was frozen out of the first-team fold altogether by boss Antonio Conte after a falling out but despite returning to the squad has been sat on the bench for the last two Premier League games.

Chelsea defender David Luiz

Chelsea defender David Luiz

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Gareth Bale back with a bang as Real Madrid survive Copa del Rey scare

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Bale is back: Gareth Bale crosses in the cup tie with Fuenlabrada

Gareth Bale provided a brilliant assist on his return from two months out with injury as Real Madrid advanced to the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Tuesday.

The Welsh forward delivered a sensational cross for the first of Borja Mayoral’s two goals in a 2-2 draw with third-tier Fuenlabrada at the Santiago Bernabeu, as Zinedine Zidane’s team won 4-2 on aggregate.

Fuenlabrada, trailing 2-0 from the first leg, threatened to cause a famous upset when Luis Milla fired them ahead on the night in the first half, but Mayoral struck twice following Bale’s introduction on the hour.

The Welshman’s impact now means he leads Madrid’s assist charts this season despite only playing around 700 minutes less than his teammates, according to Andrew Gaffney.

Alvaro Portilla levelled late on for the visitors but Real took their place in the next round alongside Celta Vigo, Levante and Leganes, while La Liga strugglers Malaga crashed out following a 3-2 aggregate loss to second-division Numancia.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Do Liverpool have an angry Sadio Mane and other talking points ahead of trip to Stoke

Alex Rea 28/11/2017
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After an exhausting 1-1 draw with top-four rivals Chelsea on Saturday, Liverpool return to action with a trip to Stoke.

The Reds have beaten the Potters in their last four Premier League clashes with their last defeat a final-day 6-1 massacre in the conclusion of the 2014/15 season.

The complexion for both clubs has changed decidedly since then, though, with Jurgen Klopp’s side battling for a Champions League spot and Stoke sitting just three points above the drop zone.

Ahead of the game at the Bet365 Stadium, we examine the three key talking points.

MIDFIELD ROTATION?

Jordan Henderson should wear the No0 such has been the topic of debate surrounding the Liverpool captain and the number.

Indeed, Henderson has copped significant criticism from fans in recent weeks with the nadir arriving against Chelsea.

According to whoscored.com he failed to make a single successful key pass, clearance, tackle or interception.

Now, the numbers seemed harsh and since then they appear to have been debunked by the Liverpool Echo’s Andy Kelly, but regardless no stats are required to argue just how vapid Henderson been recently.

For a player in the pivot to misplace passes, be poor positionally and then also struggle defensively it’s simply not good enough.

Fortunately for Klopp he has a plethora of options for his midfield three.

Adam Lallana has returned from injury, Gini Wijnaldum is fresh after starting on the bench against Chelsea and Emre Can could return to the first-team fold, too.

The trip to Stoke could see the German boss change it up in midfield.

Henderson struggles to get a grip of Hazard

Henderson struggles to get a grip of Hazard

DOES KLOPP HAVE AN ANGRY MANE ON HIS HANDS?

Sadio Mane has since insisted his mini spat with Klopp at full time was nothing more than an impassioned chat with his boss but after being dropped on Saturday you had to wonder if there was more to the story.

“He [Klopp] asked me to play on the right side and one time I tried to ask for the ball in the number nine position,” Mane told Sky Sports News.

“Mo [Salah] was on my side and the coach was shouting ‘Sadio come onto the right side'”

“After the game I told the coach it was easier if you told Mo to come in because he was close to you.

“But it was friendly, it was not because I was unhappy or something else. There was no problem, I was just communicating and explaining that to him after the game.”

So the ambiguity has been dropped but Mane would have had every right to feel aggrieved considering he didn’t join the action until the 89th minute.

Alongside Mohamed Salah, the Senegalese forward has been the driving force of Liverpool’s attack but you would suspect the Egyptian will be rested on Wednesday with Mane coming back into the frame.

WILL REDS CROUCH AND HIDE?

Liverpool’s vulnerability in the air from set-pieces and crosses is a well examined weakness and it could be under the microscope when a former player lines up against them.

Peter Crouch is fresh from a signing a new one-year extension and he’s been an effective substitute for Mark Hughes this season.

Two of his three goals from the bench this season have come via his head – breaking one unwanted and wanted record along the way.

Crouch owns the Premier League record for most headed goals (52) and also substitute appearances (143).

The 36-year-old will likely begin the game in his usual spot with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting the man spearheading Stoke’s 3-4-2-1.

But with Xherdan Shaqiri’s crossing ability there’s every chance Crouch could come back to haunt his former side should he make a 10th appearance from the bench this season.

Stoke frontman Peter Crouch

Stoke frontman Peter Crouch

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