Liverpool must keep Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho to win the Champions League or Premier League, says Adam Lallana

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Adam Lallana insists Liverpool must keep hold of players like Philippe Coutinho if they are going to compete at the highest level.

The Brazilian midfielder has been the subject of interest from Barcelona of late.

It’s been suggested that Neymar, who is linked with Paris Saint-Germain isn’t happy with a number of things at the club, one of them being the exodus of Brazilian players like Adriano, Dani Alves and Douglas.

Part of the thinking behind the move for Coutinho could be to appease the Brazilian talisman or perhaps to replace him should PSG trigger his €220 million release clause.

However, Lallana is desperate for Coutinho to remain at Liverpool.

“He’s a fantastic player so there’s no surprise there are teams interested in him,” the England international said.

The former Southampton player believes the Anfield outfit have high ambitions of winning the Premier League and Champions League and needs players like Coutinho to achieve that.

“If we’re going to win competitions like that (Champions League) or win the Premier League, we have to keep hold of players like that.”

Watch Lallana speak about his teammate in the video below.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte confirms Diego Costa was told he wasn't in the club's plans "in January"

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Diego Costa

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says Diego Costa was told in January he was not part of the club’s plans.

The 28-year-old Brazil -born forward has not travelled with the Blues squad for the pre-season tour of Asia, where they will play Arsenal in a friendly at the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Saturday before heading to Singapore.

Costa is reported to be keen on a return to Atletico Madrid, although the Spanish club are currently banned from completing the signing of players until January 2018.

Last season, Costa had a spell out of the side amid speculation over a big-money move to China and disagreements over his recovery from a back problem.

When the Spain international returned to the starting XI for the home win over Hull on January 22, scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 victory, Conte said Costa “wants to stay at Chelsea” and was “very happy to play with us” with the idea of a transfer “far from his mind”.

Costa went on to help Chelsea lift the Premier League title and also scored in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal at Wembley.

However, during international duty with Spain, Costa subsequently revealed he had a text message exchange with the Italian coach which made it clear his future was to be away from Stamford Bridge.

Conte, though, said on Friday he had clarified his position on the player at the start of the year.

“I don’t to like to talk about players that don’t stay here, but the only thing I can tell you (is) in January, the Costa situation was very clear, for the club, for him and his agent. For me the situation is closed,” the Chelsea boss said at a press conference in Beijing.

Chelsea are close to completing the £60million transfer of striker Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.

Morata was reportedly a transfer target for Manchester United until their recruitment of former Blues striker Romelu Lukaku, but has now travelled to London to finalise a move to the Premier League champions.

Italian Conte briefly worked with Morata when at Juventus and believes the 24-year-old – who scored 20 goals for the Spanish side last season as Real won both the LaLiga and Champions League – can bring something different to the Chelsea frontline.

“We have added a fantastic striker, even at a young age he has won a lot already and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the squad,” Conte said.

“I think for sure this is a good signing for us. He is a young player, but has a lot of experience, he went to Juventus and Real Madrid. He has a lot of experience and I think this is a good sign for us.”

Provided by Press Association

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Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho could be sold in next 10 days, says Pep Guardiola

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Bidding farewell? Kelechi Iheanacho.

Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho transfer deal to Leicester City is expected to be completed in the next 10 days, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

“He’s a young player. Like a manager, it was, is, an honour to work with him because he’s a guy where it’s not easy for him, because I didn’t give him a lot of chances. His behaviour, I never saw a guy like him. But he’s close to make a transfer. Maybe next week or the next 10 days it’s going to finish,” the Spanish boss said in a press conference ahead of City’s preseason game against Manchester United in Houston, Texas.

Guardiola added that the club will be inserting a buy-back clause in any transfer involving the 20-year-old Nigerian international.

“You have an option to have the opportunity in a few years to bring him back. But he’s a young player and we believe he deserves to play. He needs to play in that age and that’s why, him, with the club, we decided this is the best thing for him,” he said.

Iheanacho has scored 12 goals in 46 league appearances for City over the past two seasons.

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