Tactical Insights

Liverpool blitz Barcelona for superb midfielder coup with triple swoop on; Man Utd near brilliant signing of Uruguay star


Liverpool hope to push through the €40m signing of a Euro 2024 star set to face England, with an explosive winger and a quality goalkeeper to follow, Leeds are in talks with Real Betis over a double €9m deal, while Manchester United are growing in confidence they can sign a classy Uruguay star for €35m.

SLOT SIGNALS INTENT TO SIGN STAR SET TO FACE ENGLAND AT EURO 2024

Liverpool manager Arne Slot has given the green light to sign Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka with the Serie A side willing to cash in on the midfielder.

Slot is now ensconsed in his office at their Kirkby training base as he starts work as Jurgen Klopp’s successor and draws up a list of priority transfer targets for Liverpool.

In his preliminary talks with sporting director Richard Hughes and CEO of football Michael Edwards, the Dutchman has made clear of his wish to focus on two priority positions, with a left-sided centre-half and a new holding midfielder right at the top of his wishlist.

Indeed, we understand that Slot feels Liverpool’s inability to properly replace Fabinho last summer is a real area of weakness in their squad and a list of would-be options has been drawn up.

However, reports in Spain claim Slot has now given favourability to a move for Lobotka, whom has been cleared to leave Napoli by new boss Antonio Conte.

To that end, the Serie A side are willing to cash in on the Slovakia midfielder if their asking price of €40m (£33.9m) is met.

With the funds, Conte is looking to sign Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and reunite with the Dane at the Diego Maradona Stadium.

Lobotka, contracted to summer 2027 with the option of an extra year, has been with Napoli for five years now after making his name with Celta Vigo.

Strongly linked with a move to Barcelona this summer, it is Liverpool who are now leading the race for the 29-year-old’s signature.

He has made 163 appearances for Gli Azzurri, scoring just twice, though his work in front of the defence, rather than getting forward, are clearly his best strength.

Liverpool fans should next get a look at Lobotka on Sunday when he lines up for his country in their last-16 clash against England at Euro 2024.

Liverpool transfers: Deals for Lookman and Bento to follow

The Reds are hoping to make it a double raid on Serie A after also taking a strong look at Atalanta winger Ademola Lookman in recent weeks.

Slot could look to freshen up his attack amid claims he will not stand in the way of Luis Diaz leaving Anfield this summer.

And in his place, the likes of Nico Williams has been strongly tipped for a move to Anfield.

However, reports in Italy claim Slot actually prefers a move for London-born winger Lookman, who is no stranger to the Premier League having previously starred for Fulham, Leicester and the Reds’ arch-rivals Everton.

Atalanta, though, will insist on a significant fee if they are to part company with the 26-year-old, who famously scored a hat-trick as Atalanta beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the Europa League final – the Germans’ only defeat in an otherwise perfect season.

Indeed, Lookman scored a total of 17 goals and added 10 assists over 45 appearances – his best ever return in the game.

Now his ability to play off either the left wing or through the middle has attracted Slot and Calciomercato reports that preliminary talks have been held between the two clubs over a potential deal.

Atalanta reportedly value the 23-times capped Nigeria international in the €60m (£50.8m) bracket, though would prefer to sell him rather than their other big prized asset in Teun Koopmeiners.

Liverpool are also very much in the market for a new goalkeeper this summer with Caoimhin Kelleher pushing to leave and with Adrian due to re-sign for first club, Real Betis.

And after scouring the market for a list of would-be options, it’s reported in Brazil that Slot and Co have settled on Athletico Paranaense goalkeeper Bent.

The Brazil international, who knows Alisson Becker well and has been recommended to the Reds by their No 1, has been the subject of an approach from Inter Milan this summer.

But after their €15m offer was rejected, they walked away from the deal to instead pursue a deal for Genoa goalkeeper Josep Martinez.

Nonetheless, Liverpool believe a deal is there to be done for a similar price if the deal can be structured in a way the Brazilian like and it’s also reported talks are already underway over a transfer to Merseyside.

ITALY STAR TO PICK BETWEEN ARSENAL AND TOTTENHAM

Star Italy defender Riccardo Calafiori will sign for one of Tottenham or Arsenal this summer with Juventus unable to match the €40m (£33.9m) offer from the Premier League duo, nor the wages on the table. (Tuttosport)

Arsenal are getting tough in negotiations with Sevilla for Albert Sambi Lokonga and insist they can only sign the Belgium midfielder on loan if any deal includes a purchase obligation. (AS)

PSG are ready to launch a firm move to sign Marcus Rashford this summer as they look to replace Kylian Mbappe and amid claims Manchester United want a fee in the region of €85m (£71.9m) for the 26-year-old forward. (various)

Wolves are closing on the signing of Celta Vigo’s Norway forward Jorgen Strand Larsen after agreeing a fee in the region of €30m (£25.4m) for the 24-year-old, who managed 13 goals in 39 appearances last season. (Fabrizio Romano)

Crystal Palace are ready to open talks with Juventus over a deal for unwanted wing-back Filip Kostic, who has been made available for a fee of around €15m (£12.7m) this summer. (Tuttomercato)

Nottingham Forest have burst ahead of Brentford in the race to sign Real Betis wonderkid Assane Diao, who is valued in the €30m (£25.4m) bracket by the LaLiga side. (various)

Bayern Munich are looking into a possible move for €50m (£42.3m) rated Everton midfielder Amadou Onana after being priced out of the race to sign Fulham’s Joao Palhinha. (Sky Germany)

AC Milan face competition from three unnamed Premier League sides for France midfielder Youssouf Fofana, who has been told he can leave Monaco for a fee of around €30m (£25,4m). (Corriere dello Sport)

Chelsea are on the cusp of announcing the signing of Barcelona striker Marc Guiu after the teenager passed a medical and agreed personal terms on a six-year deal at Stamford Bridge. (Fabrizio Romano)

LEEDS IN TALKS OVER DOUBLE €9M DEAL WITH REAL BETIS

Leeds are close to striking a double deal with Real Betis for the transfer of midfielder Marc Roca and defender Diego Llorente, who will move for a combined €9m (£7.6m) – a loss of nearly £21m for the Whites. (Estadio Deportivo)

Manchester United have been told to forget any chance of signing Barcelona midfielder Fermin Lopez, with the 21-year-old determined to stay at the Nou Camp in the wake of €30m (£25.4m) links to Old Trafford. (various)

Mason Greenwood has made it clear he wants to sign for Marseille next as a move away from Manchester United draws closer. The once-capped England forward has also held talks with Juventus, Lazio, Napoli, Valencia and Benfica. (The Athletic)

Everton defender Ben Godfrey has arrived in Italy to complete medical tests ahead of a cut-price €9m (£7.6m) move to Europa League winners Atalanta. (Sky Italia)

Juventus are willing to sell Dean Huijsen this summer but will demand a €30m fee with Newcastle, PSG and at least three Bundesliga clubs battling to land the 19-year-old. (Gazzetta dello Sport)

Napoli have made it clear they have no plans to sell Georgia winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia this summer with president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirming to the player’s agent he will be offered a huge new deal to stay at the Diego Maradona Stadium. (Fabrizio Romano)

Barcelona’s chances of selling Raphinha this summer are fading with the winger making it clear he does not wish to leave, having also failed to appoint a new agent in succession to Deco, and the now-Bluagrana chief placing a huge €80m to €90m fee on his head. (Mundo Deportivo)

Vitor Roque is strongly at risk of being sold after failing to convince the Barcelona hierarchy on his ability and with a number of English sides, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, all contacted over a possible deal. (Mundo Deportivo)

PSG STAR UGARTE WOULD “LOVE” MOVE TO MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United are set to raise their offer to €35m (£29.6m) for Manuel Ugarte after being told the 23-year-old would “love a move” to Old Trafford. Sir Jim Ratcliffe will prioritise the Uruguay star over Everton’s Amadou Onana. (L’Equipe)

PSG midfielder Manuel Ugarte, Man Utd badge

PSG midfielder Manuel Ugarte, Man Utd badge PSG midfielder Manuel Ugarte is a top target for Man Utd this summer

Unwanted Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is expected to re-sign for Real Betis this summer for a cut-price fee after Aston Villa turned down the chance to sign the Argentina star. (various)

Newcastle have been quoted a fee of €45m (£38.1m) by AC Milan if they want to pursue a deal for England defender Fikayo Tomori this summer. (Calciomercato)

Barcelona have cooled their interest in Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and will instead pursue deals for either Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino or Amadou Onana of Everton. (Mundo Deportivo)

Porto may miss out on the signing of Barcelona defender Mikayil Faye with the Portuguese side refusing to increase their €5m offer. Barca value the teenager at €15m and want a percentage on any future sale of the centre-half. (Fabrizio Romano)

Unwanted Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will hold transfer talks with both AC Milan and Napoli after his Euro 2024 involvement is over and having been cleared to leave Stamford Bridge for a fee of just €30m (£25.4m). (Gazzetta dello Sport)

Tottenham are looking to hijack Barcelona’s surprise interest in signing Hull winger Jaden Philogene, with the Blaugrana having already held talks over a loan-to-buy deal with the Tigers. (various)



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