Chelsea join Arsenal and Barcelona in race to sign Lyon star Houssem Aouar

David Cooper 24/11/2018
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The winter transfer window is a little over a month away, but that hasn’t stopped the rumours of various players potentially being on the move.

Across the world of football, there remains plenty of activity and stories that have football fans talking.

Here, we look at the latest transfer deals that could happen when the market reopens in January.

HOUSSEM AOUAR

Chelsea have joined Arsenal and Barcelona in the hunt to sign the highly-rated Lyon midfielder, the Daily Mail claims.

The 20-year-old has been in stunning form over the past two seasons since breaking into the first team at Groupama Stadium and has drawn the attention of Europe’s elite over the past year.

Maurizio Sarri want to bolster his creative options amid uncertainty over the future of star man Eden Hazard, while Pedro and Willian are 31 and 30 respectively.

The Blues also remain in advanced negotiations for Borussia Dortmund flyer Christian Pulisic.

MICHY BATSHUAYI

Marseille are interested in re-signing the Belgian international, according to Le10Sport.

The 25-year-old spent two seasons with the Ligue 1 side before signing for Chelsea in 2016.

Reports in Spain have suggested the misfiring attacker may have his loan spell at Valencia cut short, and Marseille look to be interested in sealing a move in January.

Batshuayi was a fan favourite during his spell in the south of France, scoring 33 goals in 78 matches for Les Phocéens.

EDINSON CAVANI

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that he would like to coach the PSG striker amid reports linking the 31-year-old with a return to Stadio San Paolo.

The Uruguayan international, who has spent six seasons at the Parc des Princes, is ready for a new challenge with those in Naples keen on securing his services.

Cavani has established himself as one of Europe’s best forwards since joining the Ligue 1 champions in 2013, scoring 179 goals in 257 matches in all competitions.

“I have trained many champions, but not yet him,” said Ancelotti when asked about Cavani. “Would I like to? I like to train good players, he is very much [a good player].”

0730 Cavani

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Maurizio Sarri hopeful Eden Hazard will sign Chelsea extension

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Eden Hazard

Maurizio Sarri has reiterated his optimism that playmaker Eden Hazard will extend his contract, after midfielder N’Golo Kante committed his future to Stamford Bridge until 2023.

Hazard’s contract runs until June 2020 and his future has been debated since the World Cup.

The Belgian has said he is in a quandary about whether to extend his deal or seek a “dream” move to Real Madrid.

Sarri is optimistic Hazard will stay.

“I don’t know the evolution of the new contract. I think we can do (an extension),” said the manager.

Asked if he was optimistic Hazard would commit to Chelsea, Sarri added: “I hope so.”

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Liverpool must resist temptation to sign Barcelona bad boy Dembele

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Don’t fix what isn’t broken. The old adage applies here.

Last season, Liverpool were among the most fearsome attacking sides in Europe and while they’ve strengthen their squad over the summer, it came at a price – and that isn’t just referring to the £168.25 million they splashed.

The new arrivals coupled with the growing familiarity between players who broke through last season has made for a far more stable unit. While they’ve also lost a little bit of what made them so unpredictable, the solidity gives them the look of serious title contenders.

There’s nothing like a renegade, high-profile young talent to come in and disrupt such harmony and at the moment, Ousmane Dembele is just that.

In the summer of 2017, the Frenchman became Barcelona‘s most expensive signing of all-time with his move from Borussia Dortmund costing them £135.5m with add-ons.

He’s shown glimpses of his extraordinary ability since but his time at Camp Nou has largely been blighted by injury and poor form.

Of late, Dembele’s attitude has been called into question with reports emerging of him showing up late for training or other events on multiple occasions. His poor diet has also been a cause for concern while he is known to play video games to the extent that it interferes with his professional life, something that’s also been hampered by his failure to learn enough Spanish.

Because of his blistering pace and mesmerising dribbling ability, Dembele seems like he would be a good fit on the pitch for Liverpool and that’s where most of the transfer speculation stems from. It also helps that Jurgen Klopp has previously worked with the 21-year-old at Dortmund.

However, that’s precisely why the German coach should be well-versed with the baggage Dembele brings along with him. The France international forced his way out of Dortmund rather unprofessionally, even trashing the house he was renting at the time, one owned by Klopp.

Liverpool’s front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are clearly there to stay with all three players extending their contracts in the last seven months. Xherdan Shaqiri has very carefully been bedded in but even then, the subtle tweaks to the team in shape and personnel has seen Mane and Firmino endure barren runs.

As of now, the trio are still functional and will no doubt return to firing on all cylinders but their modest form at the start of this season shows how easily that fluidity and telepathic understanding in the front line can be disrupted. Dembele has the potential to obliterate it.

The Reds may be tempted to get the better of Barcelona in the transfer market after the Catalans poached two of their finest players in Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho in recent years. The prospect of snapping up Dembele for a cut-price fee will certainly seem enticing for the Merseyside outfit.

However, what they’ve built under Klopp in the last 18 months or so is far more important. Anfield now proudly houses a side with serious strength in depth, a formidable starting line-up and perhaps most crucially, a genuinely happy squad brimming with team spirit.

Jurgen Klopp is familiar with Dembele.

Jurgen Klopp is familiar with Dembele’s baggage.

Premier League clubs who would consider signing the Barcelona winger are those playing catch-up, who are willing to take a gamble to gain an edge – like Arsenal or Manchester United. Liverpool on the other hand, are engrossed in keeping pace with Manchester City at the top.

If tamed, the sky is the limit for a talent like Dembele but he’s not worth risking everything over. Liverpool must keep their eye on the prize and recognise the Barca bad boy as little more than an unwanted distraction.

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