Ex-Man Utd midfielder tells Liverpool to sign free Brazilian

Ex-Manchester United midfielder Kleberson has told Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to consider signing Dani Alves this summer.

The 34-year-old left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season and is still yet to sign a deal with a new club, though at the moment the strongest links appear to be with Antonio Conte’s Inter.

Alves has had spells in Spain, Italy and France – winning 42 trophies overall in the process – but is yet to try his luck in the Premier League.

Kleberson believes that the three-time Champions League winner would be a perfect signing for Liverpool, despite the fact they already have Trent Alexander-Arnold in that position.

“I wanted to get Dani Alves to join me in the MLS! He’s a phenomenal player with amazing quality,” he is quoted as saying by the Express.

“I feel maybe could fit in well at Liverpool and Klopp would like him as a style of player.

“He’s very technical, fast and has an incredible temperament in the big games. He’s a winner.”


Atletico agree permanent deal to sign Morata from Chelsea

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata will join Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal at the end of the 2019-20 season, the Premier League club have announced.

The 26-year-old is currently on an 18-month loan with Atletico, which began in January, and he will remain in the Spanish capital upon its completion.

The Spain international scored 24 goals in 72 appearances for the Blues after joining from Real Madrid for a fee of around £60million in 2017.

“We would like to thank Alvaro for his contribution and wish him the best of luck for the future,” Chelsea said in a statement on their official website.

Morata’s first-team chances at Stamford Bridge became increasingly limited under Maurizio Sarri and his loan move to Atletico earlier this year appeared to signal the end of his short-lived Premier League career.

However, with Chelsea currently serving a transfer ban which they are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, it was not clear whether new boss Frank Lampard would be willing to let Morata leave the club.

But, a deal has now been struck with Atletico, for whom Morata scored six goals in 15 appearances during the second half of the 2018-19 campaign as the Rojiblancos finished second in LaLiga.

Morata took to Twitter to declare himself “happy” to be remaining with Diego Simeone’s side.

He said: “Happy. It’s official. Now I will have time to return with work and goals all the effort of the club and the affection of the fans. Thank you!!!”


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Fabinho names Liverpool’s ‘big child’ who dominated Lukaku

Fabinho has picked Virgil van Dijk out as the player who has impressed him the most since arriving at Liverpool last summer.

The Brazil international did not start a match for Liverpool until the Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea in late September and by the start of November had played just six times, four of which were short substitute appearances.

But from that point on he got a run in the team and December’s 3-1 victory over United, which ended Jose Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford, was the game which proved to be the turning point.

Since then he has performed a pivotal role as the holding midfielder in the team and put in his best display in the 4-0 Champions League semi-final, second-leg comeback against Barcelona, made even more impressive by his level of control after being booked early on.

And since arriving from Monaco last summer for £39m, Fabinho has been particularly impressed by the commanding performances of Van Dijk.

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“One guy who impresses a lot is van Djik. I hadn’t particularly seen so many games of him. In the games I saw, I focused on the midfield there, I didn’t see much of him,” said Fabinho told Globo in their Hoje Sim Podcast.

“And man, since the preseason I arrived, following him like that, the guy is sovereign. No one beats him on the air. I think he’s been there for 64 games without being dribbled.

“He’s fast. And it’s funny that it seems like he doesn’t have to make efforts to run. He does it that way, like a big guy, and he easily gets to the ball. Air balls are funny. Because the ball comes and we just hear him shouting ‘VIRGIL’. And you can let it pass, whoever the attacker is.

“Against Manchester [United], he impressed me. Because we were going to play against [Romelu] Lukaku. I thought ‘hey Lukaku has his size, let’s see if he will hold up’. My god. Every air ball, it was ‘VIRGIL’, he would run over. You hear ‘VIRGIL’, you get out of the way, because he will come running over.

“I sit between him and Wijnaldum in the locker room. And Van Dijk is a big child. He just plays, makes jokes. He knows some words in Portuguese. Off the pitch he’s a very good guy. And on the pitch he is the guy who charges the most. Who charges everyone and everyone is like ‘okay’. And he’s not afraid of whoever he screams at. Gives everyone a scolding. He has a thick voice, you can hear him from afar.”


Arsenal consider three players as ‘sweeteners’ in £80m Zaha deal

Arsenal will consider including three players as part of a swap deal for Wilfried Zaha, according to reports.

The Gunners had a reported £40million bid for Zaha rejected with The Sun saying Arsenal wanted to pay the fee over five years while asking for ‘a hefty discount’ if they managed to reimburse Crystal Palace early.

That is understood to be nowhere near Palace’s valuation as they want closer to £80million for their most prized asset after selling Aaron Wan-Bissaka for £50m to Manchester United.

Arsenal‘s reported budget is widely reported to be only £40m – 0r £45m depending on which source you read – and the Daily Mirror claims that the Gunners have offered Carl Jenkinson, Calum Chambers and Mohamed Elneny to Palace ‘in the hope it will act as a sweetener’ in a deal for Zaha.

Unai Emery is ‘willing’ to let the trio leave if it means landing Zaha this summer with Jenkinson the one that could be of ‘particular interest’ to Palace having just lost their right-back Wan-Bissaka.

Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol recently hinted that Arsenal’s low budget is a bluff designed to get them a better deal: “Interestingly, we have read that Arsenal’s transfer budget this summer, because they have missed out on the Champions League, is just £45m, plus what they can raise from selling players.

“We have kept reading that, £45m. People are thinking ‘why are Arsenal trying to sign a player who Crystal Palace are saying is worth £80m, when they only have £45m?’

“What I have been told is that it suits Arsenal that people think they only have £45m, because when they get into negotiations over a player, the selling club is going to think Arsenal don’t have much money.

“What I have been told is that this is a bit of a smokescreen and Arsenal can go up to £70m to buy Wilfried Zaha. £70m is the point at which they would walk away.

“A deal that would be worth £70m in total.

“We just have to take it with a pinch of salt that Arsenal only have £45m. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We are not talking about £300m for Neymar, this is £70m in total. I think Arsenal can do that.”


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Man Utd want €100m Lazio man to lead midfield ‘revolution’

Manchester United are keen to bring in Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer, according to reports.

This old chestnut is back. The Red Devils were last linked with the Serbian in October while Jose Mourinho was still in charge at Old Trafford with United ‘confident’ they could seal a January deal.

Nothing came of the reported interest in the end with the price demanded by Lazio at one point going above the €150m mark.

However, United‘s interest is apparently back with SportMediaSet (via Sport Witness) claiming that Lazio’s sporting director Iglo Tare has flown to London to ‘settle once and for all’ Milinkovic-Savic’s future.

There are other English clubs understood to be interested – although the report doesn’t state which ones – with Tare there to listen to proposals with United ‘particularly’ interested in Milinkovic-Savic.

The 24-year-old ‘doesn’t really want to stay’ with Serie A side Lazio and United see him as the perfect addition for their midfield ‘revolution’.

Lazio are understood to want €100m for Milinkovic-Savic – who they demanded more for a year ago – but could accept as little as €80m.

The report insinuates that Milinkovic-Savic could be brought in before United sell Paul Pogba after the Serbia international sold his apartment in Rome.


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Neville feels ‘lucky’ to work with retiring England ‘legend’

Karen Carney’s glittering career will come to an end after England’s World Cup play-off on Saturday.

The 31-year-old midfielder announced on the eve of the Lionesses’ third-place match with Sweden that she was calling time on her playing days.

Carney, a winner of 143 England caps, says the time is right to do something else.

“I am incredibly proud to have achieved so much in the game but now is definitely the right time to retire,” she said.

A scorer of 32 international goals, Carney’s club career has taken in hometown side Birmingham, Arsenal, Chicago and latterly Chelsea.

She also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and won bronze at the 2015 World Cup with England, as well as lifting this year’s SheBelieves Cup.

“To have played for England was my ultimate ambition and to do so at four World Cups and represent Team GB at a home Olympics was beyond the wildest dreams I had when first starting out,” she added.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has made this all possible from my family and friends, everyone I have played for and worked with and, of course, the England squad and staff. I owe everything I have to all of them.”

England manager Phil Neville added: “Karen deserves all the plaudits that will come her way. It’s been a privilege to work with her over the past 18 months, but even more special has been the chance to get to know someone who is an incredible person and a special team-mate.

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“While she will not want a fuss, Karen is someone who deserves total recognition and respect as a true legend of the game.”

The FA plans to honour Carney’s achievements and contribution to the women’s game at a future international.

Only Fara Williams has won more England caps than Carney, and Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s women’s director, said: “Karen will be regarded as one of English football’s great names. Her humility, despite all she has achieved on the world stage, is one of many endearing qualities.

“She’s played a huge part in the Lionesses’ incredible progress on the pitch and the inspirational impact the squad has had off it.

“I know Karen will be much missed by everyone at Chelsea and England, but I’m certain she’ll stay in the game as she has so much to offer.

“She’ll always be welcome at Wembley and St George’s Park and it’s right and proper that we mark Karen’s wonderful career in a fitting way in the months to come. We’re all so very proud of her.”

England team-mate Beth Mead hailed Carney as a “legend”.

She wrote on Twitter: “A player who I looked up massively growing up and still to this day, learnt so much from this wizard. Absolute honour to train, play and to call you a team mate. Absolute legend, wish you all the luck in the future.”

Carney sat alongside Neville at his pre-match press conference at Nice’s Allianz Riviera on Friday.

And she said: “I’ve probably known for quite a while now. My mind still wants to do everything, but I don’t think my body can any more.

“My mind would want to continue until I was 100, but at some point your body tells you enough is enough, and I think I’ve got to that point.

“I remember reading a quote from (former Germany forward) Birgit Prinz, one of the greatest female players ever – she said you keep going until you’ve got nothing else more in the tank, and I don’t think I have any more.

“So that’s why I’m confident and I know it’s the right decision for me, because I feel I’ve given my heart and my soul for my clubs I’ve played for and especially my country. I don’t think there’s anything more I could physically or mentally give and I don’t have any regrets with how that has happened.

“I think probably a career highlight would be telling my mum when I was 11 that I would play for England, and then at 17 doing it.”

Neville said: “It’s something me and Karen have privately been talking about for the last six months.

“143 caps for England, 144 at some point tomorrow. It deserves the utmost respect.

“We at the FA have been speaking for a long time about how we recognise the legends of our game, and maybe in the past we haven’t done that.

“But I think over the last two or three years on both the men’s and women’s side, I think we’ve now started to recognise that things like this need to be celebrated and recognised.

“I feel incredibly honoured that I, in a short space of time, got to know one of our greatest players, and more importantly, what an amazing person. That makes me a lucky manager.”

Arsenal double boost includes unexpected £4.8m windfall

Arsenal are set to receive around £4.8m from Empoli’s sale of midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

Reports in Italy claim that AC Milan have agreed a £16m fee plus bonuses to sign Bennacer, who joined Empoli from Arsenal in 2017.

The Gunners included both a buy-back clause and a 30% sell-on fee in that deal, and are thus in line to inadvertently boost their paltry £45m transfer budget.

The midfielder made just one appearance in all competitions for the club, but will now be btheir biggest sale of the summer.

Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio says Bennacer is ‘one step closer’ to joining Milan after talks were held between the two Serie A clubs on Thursday.

The esteemed SempreMilan add that ‘everything is now in place’ for the deal to go through for a player Arsenal themselves reportedly considered re-signing earlier this month.

Another positive of the deal in an Arsenal respect is that Milan are now unlikely to continue in their pursuit of Lucas Torreira.

Calciomercato suggest that Bennacer is the ‘alternative piece for the Giampaolo puzzle’ after Torreira’s price proved too inhibitive.


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Liverpool ‘play the trick’ to land €50m target on the cheap

Liverpool are ‘betting more strongly’ than anyone for the services of Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo.

Firpo has emerged as an unlikely target for Liverpool after Alberto Moreno’s Anfield contract expired this summer.

Jurgen Klopp was said to be ‘relaxed’ about the rumours of a €50m move for the 22-year-old, who would provide competition for Andy Robertson.

But Mucho Deporte suggest the European champions are ‘betting more strongly’ than any other side for the Brazilian as they look for their second signing of the summer.

Liverpool ‘know that to achieve the transfer’ they must offer ‘at least’ €30m, which equates to roughly £26.9m.

But they will also ‘play the trick’ of offering Divock Origi in part-exchange, even though Betis ‘prefers all the amount of the transfer in money’.

Just sign Charlie Taylor, chaps.


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Liverpool ‘concerned’ as they ponder official FIFA complaint

Liverpool are debating whether to lodge an official complaint with FIFA over the potential tapping up of striker Bobby Adekanye.

Lazio signed Adekanye on Tuesday after he allowed his Liverpool contract to expire this summer.

The striker, signed by Brendan Rodgers from Barcelona in July 2015, admitted “that trust is no longer there” with Jurgen Klopp in March after first-team opportunities were not forthcoming.

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Adekanye added that clubs in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands were interested in signing him, with Lazio named specifically.

But FIFA rules dictate that players aged 23 or under – Adekanye is 20 – cannot negotiate a Bosman deal with foreign clubs during the final six months of their contract.

Liverpool suspect that Lazio spoke to the Nigerian long before completing the move, and the London Evening Standard say they ‘have expressed concern’ to FIFA over the transfer.

The Liverpool Echo adds that the European champions ‘are concerned’ the player ‘was approached’ before his departure, which will land them £240,000 in training compensation.


Leicester sign ‘very happy’ Perez from Newcastle for £30m

Leicester City have completed the £30million signing of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United.

The forward has penned a four-year contract at the King Power Stadium to become Brendan Rodgers’ second summer capture.

Rodgers had been looking for a versatile forward and PA understands the Foxes triggered Perez’s release clause.

Perez told LCFC TV: “I’m very happy and very pleased. I’m very proud to be part of the Leicester family and I can’t wait to get started.

“The club want to keep growing as much as they can and that’s something I like.

“I spoke with the manager and that was important. That made me feel very comfortable about the decision to come here.”

Perez joins right-back James Justin at Leicester after the defender moved from Luton earlier this month.

The Foxes are also determined to keep Harry Maguire, with Manchester United having made a £70million offer for the England defender.

Losing Perez is a further blow to the Magpies after former boss Rafael Benitez left the club following the end of his contract on Sunday.

Benitez joined Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang on Tuesday.

Perez scored 48 goals in 195 games for the Magpies after joining from Tenerife in 2014.

The 25-year-old was their 13-goal top scorer last season, including netting the winner in Newcastle’s 1-0 victory at Leicester in April.

Leicester boss Rodgers added: “I think Ayoze will be a wonderful addition to the squad. He’s quick, has a good eye for goal and he’s experienced in the Premier League too.

“I think he’s a player who will excite our supporters, and his style is one that I believe complements the options and quality that we already have here at the club.”

Newcastle are also braced for a bid from Manchester United for midfielder Sean Longstaff.

United are expected to make their move for the 21-year-old this week.


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