Red Star announce accepted Liverpool bid for starlet Grujic

Carl Markham 24/12/2015
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Highly-rated: Marko Grujic.

Red Star Belgrade have announced they have accepted a £5.1 million (Dh28m) bid from Liverpool for their teenage midfielder Marko Grujic. The Serbian club claimed to have received three offers for the 19-year-old, from Belgian club Anderlecht, German side Stuttgart and the Premier League Reds.

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In a statement posted on their official website they revealed they had “unanimously accepted the offer of the English giants”, and had agreed a package that would see Grujic remain with them on loan until the summer.

Red Star said: “The board considered the offer and unanimously accepted the offer of the English giants. Liverpool will pay the money immediately, and the player would stay in Red Star until 01/07/2016.”

Grujic came through the academy system at Red Star and has represented Serbia at various youth levels, although he is yet to earn his first senior cap.

He could become Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s first signing at Anfield after the German took the reins in October, and Red Star insist the financial issues at the club meant they had to accept the Reds’ offer for Grujic.

The Serbian club, for whom the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Dejan Stankovic and Nikola Zigic have all played for, nearly went out of business 18 months ago and expect the sale of Grujic to ease their financial concerns.

As well as negotiating a 10 per cent sell-on fee, Red Star also revealed they met Grujic’s father’s wish to see him stay in Belgrade on a loan deal until the summer.

“Marko Grujic should go to a player that continues to develop in one of the biggest clubs in the world; the club is probably the dream of every player on the planet,” Red Star’s added.

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Hiddink demands desire from Chelsea's players

Nick Purewal 24/12/2015
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Demanding more: Guus Hiddink.

Guus Hiddink has warned Chelsea’s players they will face the axe if they do not show “great desire” to reverse the club’s miserable Premier League fortunes.

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Chelsea’s interim manager revealed he told his Blues squad to “look in the mirror” on Tuesday, as he plots the Stamford Bridge club’s path forward from Jose Mourinho’s sacking.

Hiddink has not ruled out helping Chelsea identify Mourinho’s long-term successor, but refused to be drawn on whether Didier Drogba would join his back-room staff.

Mourinho left Stamford Bridge last week with Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo citing a “palpable discord” with the players after nine defeats in 16 league matches.

“Yesterday I spoke fully to the squad and of course we talked a bit about the past,” said Hiddink. “Why I’m here, the reasons why we are down. But on the other hand I told them things happen in football and I want everyone to look in the mirror, not just for two seconds, but longer.

“And see what anyone can contribute from now on to raise us up. That was what I was emphasising, not to look back too much. There must be a great desire to play, yes? If you don’t have that desire, please knock on my door and we’ll talk – we’ll talk briefly.”

Former Netherlands boss Hiddink does not expect to remain at the club far beyond the end of the current season, as he reprises the caretaker role he first held in 2009.

The ex-Russia manager could help Chelsea chase Mourinho’s successor, with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone and Antonio Conte in the frame.

“At other clubs in the past I’ve been speaking from time to time with the board, but not in an official capacity,” said Hiddink, hinting at helping Chelsea’s board in their permanent manager search.

When asked if he would consider seeking the full-time job himself, Hiddink replied: “We spoke about until the end of the season. First we said let’s go to mid-May, and then let’s see. I will see what will happen. I shouldn’t be here, halfway into the season.

“That means things are not going as well as foreseen. But anyhow I’m glad to be back. I shouldn’t be here, but I am. That’s the reality of today’s situation, and I’m glad to be back.”

Drogba sat alongside Hiddink and club owner Roman Abramovich in Saturday’s 3-1 league victory over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. The 37-year-old continues to be linked with a role in Hiddink’s short-term set-up, despite remaining contracted to Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer.

Hiddink reiterated his admiration for Drogba, but insisted the club’s board would handle any extra back-room recruits.

“He’s a legend already in this club. “Other people have to deal with that, not me,” he said.

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US-led consortium targets Everton for £200 million buyout

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New ownership?: Everton.

Everton could be the latest Premier League club to take on American investors in a £200 million (Dh1.1bn) deal, according to a newspaper report.

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The Times claims John Jay Moores and Charles Noell have signed a head of terms agreement and are studying the club’s accounts ahead of a possible takeover that could be completed within six weeks.

American duo Moores and Noell have shown interest in a top-flight outfit before when they came close to acquiring a stake in Swansea earlier this year, only for a deal that would have seen them acquire a 30 per cent portion in the South Wales club collapse late on. Moores is a former owner of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres while Baltimore-based Noell co-founded JMI Equity in the early 1990s.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, 70, has been searching for new investment in a bid to try to keep up with the country’s biggest spending teams in Manchester and London, who have been able to challenge for major honours and enjoy Champions League wealth season after season.

Despite being unable to find the type of funding to close the gap between the Toffees and those richer clubs, it is understood that interest in Everton from various parties has never been keener and there is optimism that fresh investment could finally arrive at Goodison Park.

In their ‘Fab Four’ of John Stones, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku – all 22 or under – Everton possess some of the country’s hottest young prospects and they displayed a resolute attitude on Stones when Chelsea attempted to prise him away from Merseyside on multiple occasions over the summer.

That quartet, alongside the club’s history and fan base, would make them an attractive proposition for would-be investors, who might have to consider building a new stadium to create additional revenue.

Multiple Premier League clubs, including cross-city rivals Liverpool, have an American presence in their boardroom.

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