Transfer rumours as Coutinho to Barcelona for £130m is "very, very close"

Alex Rea 3/01/2018
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Making his exit: Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho

The transfer window is now open!

Here, we take a look at the biggest stories dominating the headlines today.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

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PHILIPPE COUTINHO

Philippe Coutinho has played his last game for Liverpool as Spanish outlet Sport have claimed a switch to Barcelona is “very, very close”.

The 25-year-old wasn’t in the squad for the Red’s 2-1 win over Burnley on New Year’s Day and is said to be reluctant to play so to avoid picking up an injury ahead of a move to Camp Nou.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

The rhetoric regarding Coutinho is changing every day with reports in England suggesting Liverpool will sell at £130million and outlets in Spain claiming the deal is all-but completed.

Barca are said to be increasingly confident of getting a deal over the line in January and at this point it’s probably in the best interests of all parties to have it completed as soon as possible. Another protracted transfer between Liverpool and the Catalan giants appears to be reaching its end.

SERGEJ MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has ruled out leaving Lazio.

The Serbia international is one of the most in-demand young midfielders in Europe with the Red Devils said to be planning a £95million offer.

However, speaking to Novosti he said: “I don’t think about leaving Lazio, because I’m very happy in Rome.”

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

The 22-year-old forms the fulcrum of Simone Inzaghi’s side having scored five goals in 17 Serie A appearances and with Lazio pushing for a Champions League spot it seems the likes of United and Paris Saint-Germain will be forced to bide their time.

Staying put: Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic Savic

Staying put: Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

ARDA TURAN

Barcelona forward Arda Turan has been offered to AC Milan and Everton, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The Turkey international is well out of favour at Cam Nou and is yet to make a single appearance this season.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

Besiktas are also said to be interested in signing the 30-year-old who will be desperate to get some first-team football back under his belt.

The winger’s agent has been speaking to clubs around Europe but it remains to be seen as to which club will bite.

Arda Turan in action against Man United in pre-season

Arda Turan in action against Man United in pre-season

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Herrera calls on Man United team-mate Lingard to shoot on sight

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Shoot on sight: Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard

Ander Herrera has encouraged Manchester United team-mate Jesse Lingard to adopt a shoot-on-sight policy while his purple patch continues.

England international Lingard reached double figures for the season by crashing home his seventh goal in nine games to cap a 2-0 victory over Everton on New Year’s Day.

Among United’s players only Romelu Lukaku has scored more times this term than Lingard, who managed just a single goal in the Premier League last campaign but has flourished over the past five weeks.

His unstoppable attempt against the Toffees, which was blasted beyond Jordan Pickford, was indicative of a man brimming with confidence and colleague Herrera wants Lingard to carry on trying his luck.

“It’s fantastic – when you are like that he has to keep trying to shoot, shoot, shoot,” the Spaniard said.

“I am not in that moment! I shot three times and I didn’t score but I will keep looking for that moment.

“Jesse has it now. He has to keep trying to shoot but the movements he does for the team are also amazing.

“He’s very quick at the moment as well. No one can catch him. We are happy for him.

“He wants to improve, he wants to be a fantastic player. You can see in every training session and he’s showing it in the games.”

Herrera was also impressed by the United players able to thrive in unfamiliar positions at Goodison Park, where a 2-0 victory for the visitors ended a four-game winless streak over the Christmas period.

Without injured pair Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial was switched inside from his usual wing position while central defender Victor Lindelof filled in at right-back.

“I think Anthony was fantastic as well,” Herrera added.

“He hasn’t played as a striker for a long time and he did fantastic. Juan (Mata), also as a midfielder coming to help us, Victor, out of position, did amazing. They are very good things we can take out of the game.”

The victory moved United back into second, although the gap to leaders Manchester City remains enormous.

Yet Herrera is concerned with ensuring United maintain their spot as City’s nearest challengers as fourth-placed Liverpool, who are now unbeaten in 16 games, and Chelsea are also firmly in the hunt.

“I think we played a fantastic game and we can be very happy,” Herrera said of the Everton performance.

“This is the way we have to face every game, it’s going to be a very tough battle to try to keep the second place. We will go for it.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Sergio Aguero wants Man City stay but says club will decide his future

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Here to stay: Man City striker Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero insists he wants to stay at Manchester City until his contract expires in 2020 – but says the club will make the decision.

There has been recurring uncertainty over Aguero’s future since Pep Guardiola took charge as manager in 2016, despite repeated assurances from the club he will not be leaving.

In December reports emerged from the club claiming Guardiola was pleased with the striker and determined to keep him, having been impressed with his workrate and determination to adapt to his methods.

But that did not prevent conflicting stories emerging suggesting the Argentinian, who became City’s record goalscorer this season, was unhappy about not always starting and was inclined to push for an exit.

Asked about this after scoring in City’s 3-1 win over Watford on Tuesday, Aguero told reporters: “I have until 2020, I think.

“The truth is that I hope to see out my contract and I’ll try to do my best from here until the end of the season, and after that we will see what happens with me.”

Asked further if he wanted to stay, the 29-year-old said: “For me, yes. Obviously my plan is not to change clubs.

“The truth is I’m very happy here but, as always, as I said before, the club has the last word.

“They’re the only ones who decide, because obviously the club is the one who makes the decisions, they are the ones who say you have to go or have to stay, so I’ll respect whatever they tell me.”

Aguero also said “everything’s fine” when asked about his relationship with Guardiola.

Aguero, who joined City in 2011, overtook Eric Brook’s 78-year-old record to become City’s leading goalscorer in November. He has since scored seven more to take his City tally to 185.

When asked about Aguero in December, Guardiola maintained his stance that the player would be allowed to stay as long as he wanted.

He said: “He is a legend. He will decide absolutely everything about his life and his future. I’m delighted to have him here.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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