£75m for Van Dijk a good buy for Liverpool, says Pep

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool have spent well in paying £75 million for Virgil van Dijk, because he thinks high-quality players work out cheaper in the long run.

Guardiola was interested in signing Van Dijk from Southampton, but missed out after Liverpool agreed a deal on Wednesday, with the player making the move officially when the transfer window opens on January 1.

City’s manager has spent heavily on defenders himself since his arrival at the Etihad Stadium in July 2016.

Before the start of this season, he brought in Benjamin Mendy from Monaco in a deal that could be worth £52 million, Kyle Walker from Tottenham for an initial £45 million, and Danilo from Real Madrid for £26.5 million.

That came a year after he spent £47.5 million on signing England centre-back John Stones away from Everton.

“Liverpool took an amazing player,” said Guardiola.

“Van Dijk is an exceptional central defender, that’s a price we’ll see (again) in the future. Sometimes the cheaper players are more expensive than the expensive players. If he played six or seven years at a high level it would be cheap. If he played not well, more expensive.

“John Stones, when he came here, people said he was too expensive. Now he’s too cheap. It always depends on the value of what happens on the pitch.”

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Barcelona prepare January bids for Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann

David Cooper 29/12/2017
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The transfer window may not open for another three days but that hasn’t put an end to plenty of speculation throughout Europe.

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

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

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PHILIPPE COUTINHO AND ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

Barcelona are reportedly prepared to sell five players to fund the signings of Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann in 2018, according to AS.

The Catalan giants were relentless in their pursuit of Coutinho after losing Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in August – and are widely expected to table another €120 million plus bid next year.

Ernesto Valverde’s side are expected to lure Griezmann to the Camp Nou, despite Manchester United also interesting in securing the Frenchman’s services.

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Coutinho is no doubt the best possible replacement available to help fill the gap left by Neymar and create a trident with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

With Griezmann showing flashes of class in recent weeks for Atletico Madrid, it is unlikely both players will be signed together due to their substantial transfer fees, with Coutinho looking the more likely option to put pen to paper in 2018.

LEON GORETZKA

Liverpool remain part of five clubs interested in signing Schalke star Leon Goretzka, according to Bild

The German publication suggests Jurgen Klopp’s side have an advantage over other potential suitors due to his friend Joel Matip being at Anfield.

Despite widespread reports that Bayern have already secured a deal with Goretzka – who is out of contract at the end of season – Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus are ready to nip in and agree a deal with the German international.

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VERDICT

Goretzka is one of the stars of German football after his stunning displays for Joachim Low’s side in the Confederations Cup during the summer.

With Bayern Munich considered front runners to sign him, the 22-year-old could opt to pursue a new challenge in the Premier League instead as Liverpool look for a midfielder capable of pulling the strings for years to come.

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Southampton eye moves for Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge

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Southampton are looking to bring Theo Walcott back to the South East following the sale of Virgil van Dijk, the Mirror says.

The club have reportedly expressed an interest with Arsenal in a bid to secure a loan or transfer deal for the £140,000-a-week forward in January.

It comes on the back of the sale of van Dijk to Liverpool for £75 million, but the Saints may need to look elsewhere to spend their cash with Everton and West Ham also said to be interested in the 28-year-old.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge could be swapping places with former team-mate Virgil van Dijk, with Southampton also said to be interested in bringing the striker to St Mary’s in a loan deal until the end of the season.

The Telegraph reports that Southampton are looking to bolster their attacking positions and with Sturridge finding it difficult to make the starting XI at Liverpool, he could be tempted by Mauricio Pellegrino’s apparent offer.

Everton are hoping to bring Cenk Tosun to the Premier League for £25 million, the Mirror claims.

Following the departure of Romelu Lukaku, the Toffees have struggled to find a suitable replacement, but Sam Allardyce appears hopeful the Besiktas forward could be his first signing as new boss at Goodison Park.

As David Moyes looks to strengthen West Ham, Borussia Dortmund forward Andre Schurrle appears to be a key target for the January transfer window, the Guardian says.

Along with bringing back Reece Oxford from a season-long loan at Borussia Monchengladbach, Schurrle could help the Hammers in defence on a short-term loan, the paper reports.

Also on David Moyes’ radar is Stoke and Wales midfielder Joe Allen, according to the Mirror.

The 27-year-old’s versatility in midfield is attractive to Moyes as he looks to rebuild his side in the January transfer window, the paper reports, though it remains to be seen whether Swansea will reignite their interest in the player after losing out in the summer.

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Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon has sparked interest at home and abroad, it is reported.

According to talkSport, Real Madrid are looking to the 17-year-old after a recent run of good form, but the LaLiga giants could face competition from Manchester United and Tottenham come January after previously admiring the youngster during his time in the Championship.

Danny Ings appears to be in high demand, with West Brom, West Ham and Newcastle all said to be keen to sign the 25-year-old.

The Independent reports that Alan Pardew is looking to the Liverpool star in a bid to salvage the Baggies’ goal drought and avoid relegation.

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