Liverpool leading race to sign Christian Pulisic but Real Madrid and Barcelona remain in the hunt

David Cooper 12/02/2018
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The transfer window is heating up and we have our daily transfer gossip column to keep you in the loop.

Here, we look at the top headlines doing the rounds in Europe’s media on Monday.

MERSEYSIDERS IN FOR CHRISTIAN PULISIC

Liverpool will have to fork out at least €100 million if they are to land the Borussia Dortmund attacker this summer. Given the 19-year-old won’t be playing for USA in the World Cup, the Merseysiders are hoping to conclude a deal at the earliest opportunity and have reportedly already held preliminary talks with the player’s representatives.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

There is no doubt the American is one of the next big names in the game and an investment in the teen would be a wise move for Jurgen Klopp’s men. Liverpool will have to be prepared to battle with Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid for his signature though.

Pulisic is expected to leave Dortmund.

REAL STILL HARBOUR HOPES OVER THIBAUT COURTOIS

Real Madrid will move for the Chelsea star in the summer, with long-term target David de Gea seemingly staying put at Manchester United. Los Blancos are seeking a replacement for Costa Rican stopper Keylor Navas and Blues goalkeeper Courtois has made it known he wants to move back to the Spanish capital, where he previously plied his trade with city rivals Atletico. Some of the Belgian’s family are still based in the Spanish capital.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

The Whites have made no secret of the fact they’ll keen to sign a new goalkeeper and Courtois obviously fits the bill, with Chelsea’s indifferent form this season adding further fuel to the fire. There should be some movement on this transfer in the coming months.

Key man for Chelsea: Courtois.

MARIO LEMINA COULD LEAD SOUTHAMPTON EXODUS

The Gabon star could be one of first out of the door at Southampton, if the south coast are relegated from the Premier League. The 24-year-old penned a £16m deal at the Saints back in August from Juventus but hasn’t quite had the desired impact. A return to Serie A could well be on the cards while Arsenal could potentially rekindle their interest in the midfielder.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

The Red and Whites are in real trouble and sit in the bottom three, with rumours Mauricio Pellegrino could face the axe this month. While there’s still time to turn the season around, Lemina could be one of several first-teamers to leave come the end of the season if the club drop to the Championship.

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) jumps against Southampton's Gabonese midfielder Mario Lemina (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on February 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mario Lemina battles for the ball during Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool.

SPURS MONITORING BRAZILIAN PROSPECT DAVID NERES

Tottenham are monitoring the progress of the rising Ajax star, with the 20-year-old being one of Europe’s hottest prospects. The Brazilian ace was linked with Mauricio Pochettino’s men during the January transfer window but the Dutch giants were reluctant to part with the prolific forward. Spurs wish to add another striker to the ranks in the close season and provide support for main man Harry Kane.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

Neres is similar to Pulisic in terms of his age and that he is an emerging star, but it’s fair to say the striker is less known. That, though, is good news for the north London club as they are very much at the front of the queue to sign him.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 21: David Neres of Ajax takes on Sven van Beek and Tonny Vilhena of Feyenoord during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord at Amsterdam ArenA on January 21, 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

David Neres has impressed in the Eredivisie.

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Barcelona to battle with Real Madrid to sign PSG star Marco Verratti

David Cooper 11/02/2018
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The transfer window is heating up and we have our daily transfer gossip column to keep you in the loop.

Here, we look at the top headlines doing the rounds in Europe’s media on Sunday.

REDS IN FOR LEON BAILEY

Liverpool have made the Bayer Leverkusen winger their top summer transfer target and have reportedly ended their interest in signing Monaco star Thomas Lemar. Following the sale of attacker Philippe Coutinho, the Kop club are hoping to bolster their attacking options and have joined the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United in the race to sign the 20-year-old. The Jamaican international, who started his career with Genk in Belgium, is enjoying a stellar campaign with the Bundesliga side having netted 10 goals in all competitions, scaring defenders with his blistering pace.

RATING: 7/10

VERDICT

It won’t be an easy pursuit for the Merseysiders but they are leading the chasing pack to land Bailey. Indeed, the youngster has bags of potential and Liverpool are doing the right thing by identifying his talent early doors. His ability to operate either as a winger or central striker is a real feather in his cap so expect movement on this deal in a few months’ time.

Leverkusen's Jamaican midfielder Leon Bailey (L) and Berlin's Czech midfielder Vladimir Darida vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Hertha BSC Berlin, in Leverkusen, western Germany, on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Patrik STOLLARZ / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050 (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A real handful: Leon Bailey.

BARCA HAVE REAL INTEREST IN MARCO VERRATTI

Barcelona are set to reignite their long-term pursuit of the Paris Saint-Germain hard man at the end of the season. Blaugrana have been keen admirers of the Italian midfielder for some time, while arch rivals Real Madrid have also been tracking the Ligue 1 star. The Spanish giants are hopeful they can banish any ill-feeling between the two clubs following the protracted Neymar deal and secure the 25-year-old’s signature after the conclusion of the World Cup. Verratti fits the bill with Ernesto Valverde looking to build a youthful midfield and ensure veteran Andres Iniesta isn’t overplayed.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

The Verratti transfer saga hasn’t really slowed down since the summer and while he is a crucial man for PSG, the central midfielder isn’t expected to pass up the chance of moving to one of the big two in La Liga or indeed the Premier League. His future will definitely be sorted out at the end of the season.

Call and collect: Marco Verratti has several suitors (Getty).

Verratti won’t be playing in the World Cup this summer with Italy.

RED DEVILS CHANCE THEIR ARM WITH ALEX SANDRO PURSUIT

Manchester United and Chelsea will go head-to-head for the Juventus left-back at the end of the campaign, with the Red Devils emerging as the favourites to sign the 27-year-old Brazilian. Sandro has been a key performer for the Turin giants this term, showing his class going forward, as well as defensively. Although the Old Lady would command at least £50m for his services, Jose Mourinho is on the hunt for a new full-back to provide competition for Luke Shaw. The Blues, meanwhile, have struggled defensively this term and are looking for reinforcements regardless of whether or not Antonio Conte stays on as boss.

RATING: 8/10

VERDICT

Sandro is expected to be a big star at the World Cup and will no doubt have no shortage of offers but sources close to the player have suggested he is keen on a move to England, so Mourinho has a firm base in which to start negotiating from.

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David de Gea is not leaving Man United this summer, says Jose Mourinho

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Star goalkeeper and manager: David de Gea with Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho has no intention of allowing David de Gea to leave as Manchester United are trying to attract the best players, not lose them.

The Portuguese has bolstered his squad with a handful of stars each summer since succeeding Louis van Gaal and last month delved into the January window for the first time to bring in Alexis Sanchez.

The only exits to date have been out-of-favour players but Real Madrid continue to be linked with a move for outstanding shot-stopper De Gea, who was on the brink of a switch to the Bernabeu in 2015.

Zinedine Zidane’s men could instead move this summer for Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – a man who this week confessed his “heart is in Madrid” – but Mourinho is not interested in such talk as he looks to keep building his team.

“I don’t speak about Courtois,” he said of a player he managed at Chelsea.

“Do you think a club that is trying to attract the best players is a club that is open to sell their best players? Makes no sense.

“If you want to go to that level, we have to attract the best players like we did with Alexis, (Nemanja) Matic, (Paul) Pogba and so on, and don’t let our best players go.”

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