Man United set to challenge Liverpool over signature of Christian Pulisic

David Cooper 13/01/2018
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The transfer window is well and truly in full swing!

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

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

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CHRISTIAN PULISIC

Manchester United are set to challenge Liverpool over the signature over Christian Pulisic, according to the Independent.

The 19-year-old Borrusia Dortmund star has been in impressive form for club and country – and is an icon in the American sports market.

While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a keen admirer, he could face stiff competition from Man United.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

Liverpool have longed been linked with a move for the USA star and it looks more likely Pulisic could sign for the Anfield outfit than Jose Mourinho’s side.

At Anfield, Pulisic would be guaranteed regular game time and have the best platform to help him develop as a player.

If he was to put pen to paper on a deal at Old Trafford, there is the possibility he could be spending a lot of the season sitting on the bench.

JONNY EVANS

Manchester City and Arsenal are set to battle it out for West Brom defender West Brom, according to the Daily Mail.

The Gunners reportedly had a £25 million bid turned down for the Northern Ireland international in August, with the Baggies demanding more than £30 million for their star defender.

West Brom have set Evans a deadline of January 28 to make up his mind whether he wants to stay at the Hawthorns or not.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

With Per Mertesacker set to retire at the end of this season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is prepared to move for Evans.

It would make sense for Evans to move to North London as he would be guaranteed a starting place at the Emirates Stadium.

Although Pep Guardiola has expressed an interest in the 30-year-old, he may not be guaranteed a starting place if he moved to the Etihad Stadium.

MALCOM

Arsenal hopes of landing Malcom have received a significant boost after Tottenham have pulled out of the race to sign the Bordeaux wonderkid, according to Daily Star.

Arsene Wenger considers the Brazilian as the best young player in Europe and wants to sign him next summer.

However, Bordeaux are believed to be looking for more than £55 million for the Brazilian star – a fee Arsenal would be unwilling to pay.

The 20-year-old has been one of the mainstays in a struggling Bordeaux side this season, scoring seven goals and providing four assists in 18 games.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

Although his club are languishing in 15th place in Ligue 1, Malcom has been taking the league by storm with his glittering footwork and passing ability.

With Alexis Sanchez set to leave the club this month, Malcom could inject more class in an already star-studded attack.

Although £55 million is an expensive asking price, the North London hierarchy believe a fee of £33 million could be enough to get the deal over the line.

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Real Madrid target Eden Hazard may need to leave Chelsea to progress, says Claude Puel

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Eden Hazard

Leicester boss Claude Puel has questioned whether Eden Hazard would need to leave Chelsea to become the best player in the world.

The Foxes chief gave Hazard his professional debut when he was a 16-year-old at Lille in 2007.

Hazard has starred for Chelsea since moving from Lille in 2012, winning the Premier League twice, and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

The Belgium international has been quoted by the Daily Mirror saying he is ready to sign a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

And, ahead of their reunion when Leicester travel to Chelsea on Saturday, Puel remained unsure over Hazard’s long-term future.

Puel said: “He can continue to make progress. After, I don’t know if he has to stay at Chelsea or not – is that a problem?

“But I think he can continue to develop as a player. He has all the qualities to play for all the great teams in Europe, of course.

“He can make the difference, so for me he is a top player in Europe.

“The team is around Eden because he is the most important player for them. It is not possible to stop him because he cannot play in just the same position.

“He can play wide or striker or come back to take the ball. He can make always penetration and the difference, it is just important to have a good structure and organisation around him.”

Hazard has also won the EFL Cup and Europa League at Stamford Bridge while also being named the Premier League Player of the Year in 2015.

But Puel could always see the player’s ability when the pair were together at the Metropole.

“He is a fantastic player and he improves a lot,” he said. “But he had the same quality at 16 when he started in the first team at Lille, it was the same.

“Of course now he has more consistency in his game but always he is fantastic in his play and has the ability and capacity to make good penetration and give good assists.

“Eden is a fantastic player but I wouldn’t man-mark him.

“If we just keep concentration on Eden, other players can make the difference also. A good response is always a collective response with a competitive organisation.”

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Arsene Wenger hopeful of Mesut Ozil renewal with Man United target Alexis Sanchez destined to leave

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Arsene Wenger's legacy at Arsenal is crumbling.

Arsene Wenger is hopeful the blow of Alexis Sanchez‘s impending exit from Arsenal will be softened by Mesut Ozil agreeing a new deal.

Sanchez, out of contract at the end of the season, is poised to leave the north London club this month with Manchester City and Manchester United both in the race to sign him.

Wenger has admitted for the first time that it is unlikely the Chile international will sign a new deal with the Gunners, but is confident he can convince Ozil to stay.

Ozil, who could miss Arsenal’s Premier League clash at Bournemouth on Sunday with a knee complaint, has just six months to run on his current deal.

But Wenger insists the former Real Madrid playmaker can be persuaded to commit his long-term future to the Emirates Stadium.

Asked if he was more optimistic that Ozil will agree a new deal than he was last summer, Wenger replied: “Yes. There is still an opportunity for him [Ozil] to stay.

Ozil

“These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well. So they want a combination of the two that big clubs can give them.

“Incidentally he’s won trophies with us. So he wants to fight as well for the Premier League, that’s normal when you are at that level.”

The rejuvenated Jack Wilshere, whose contract is also due to expire in the summer, is set to agree terms on a new deal following a string of strong performances.

“It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract, but we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left,” Wenger added.

Sanchez, Ozil and Wilshere all have six months to run on their respective deals, while Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott – who looks set to end his 12-year association with Arsenal this month – are all out of contract at the end of next season.

Alexis Sanchez 5

And Wenger believes the recent huge hike in transfer fees increases the likelihood of players running down their contracts.

“Honestly I believe, with inflation we have at the moment, players going to the end of the contract will happen more and more,” Wenger added. “For one simple reason: the transfers are too high.

“If a player doesn’t find a massive club, he will have to go [to the end], and even if you don’t want to extend his contract, the players will want to go to the end of their contract.

“So what is the player’s calculation? Okay the club wants £50million, £60m, because they want to replace me, they have to spend £50m or £60m, it will not happen, so I wait and I take a chunk of that contract in signing-on fee.

“That’s the calculation of the agent. What do the agents do? The agents say to the club, I bring him to you at the end of the contract, but you give me a big agent’s fee.

“So that basically, slowly, it’s killing the transfers. And you will have more and more players going to the end of their contract because of that.”

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