Liverpool have been handed a major boost in their hopes of signing a €45m midfielder, while there has been a new twist in the Thomas Lemar saga, according to Thursday’s European papers.
LIVERPOOL HANDED MIDFIELDER BOOST
Liverpool have been given a boost in their reported pursuit of one Roma midfielder, if reports from Italy are to be believes.
Calciomercato claimed on Wednesday that Jurgen Klopp is ready to activate the €45million buyout clause in Kevin Strootman’s contract.
Fresh from selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a fee that could reach £142million, the Reds are in no mood to rest on their laurels.
Now, a report from TransferMarketWeb claims that AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco is considering selling the Dutch international due to his inconsistent performances this season.
In addition, the former Sassuolo boss is apparently keen on the idea of giving Lorenzo Pellegrini more game time in the midfield.
However, Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille are also reportedly interested in Strootman, who is currently on a deal with the capital club until June 2022.
LEMAR HOPES REIGNITED
Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim has opened the door for Thomas Lemar to leave the club this month.
The Ligue 1 club have always maintained that none of their stars would be leaving the Principality this month.
“We are not in the habit of doing major sales of players (in the winter transfer window),” Jardim said earlier this month.
However, the huge deal that has seen Philippe Coutinho leave Liverpool for Barcelona seems to have changed his mind over the future of the 22-year-old.
Jardim said: “Today, the market is open. You know how crazy the market is. Things happen that even a club like Monaco cannot say no to. It happened to Liverpool (with Coutinho).“
“Things are as they are. The numbers today are incredibly big. Everything can change. The things I can say today are not true tomorrow.
“In the last two transfer windows, last summer and this winter, the numbers have gone up enormously. I still want to keep Lemar. If I stay here for 10 years I want Lemar to stay with me for 10 years.
“He is young, he can still play for 10 years. He has a lot of qualities, I like him a lot.”
Both Liverpool and Arsenal are tracking the winger after both clubs failed with bids to sign the France star in August.
Lemar, who has three goals and four assists this season, turned his back on a move to Arsenal, while Liverpool could not agree a fee with Monaco for the £90million-rated star.
LIVERPOOL TURN TO AUBAMEYANG AFTER MOVE FOR NAPOLI ACE HITS BRICK WALL
The transfer rumour mill has gone into overdrive since Liverpool pocketed their £142million Philippe Coutinho windfall and there is once again plenty of speculation today about who the Reds will look to sign.
Plenty of names have been linked with the Merseysiders and reports in Italy have once again suggested the Reds will try for Napoli playmaker Dries Mertens.
With a €28million exit clause in his contract, the Belgian certainly represents an attractive option if Liverpool decide to pursue the deal.
However, Calciomercato have claimed Napoli have actively begun new contract talks with the 30-year-old and will look to either significantly increase his exit fee or remove it altogether.
The club are well aware the clause is currently set way too low for a player of his standing and it’s believed any Liverpool attempts to sign him will be thwarted by the new contract.
Meanwhile, multiple reports in both the German and English media believe Liverpool are ready to sign long-term target Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng this month.
Having managed the player for Dortmund, Klopp knows the player well and the club are reportedly willing to spend up to £70million to land the striker.
The striker has managed to score 13 goals in just 15 appearances in the Bundesliga this season but it is believed that he is unhappy at the club and is willing to force his way out of the club if Liverpool make their move.
The potential signing of Aubameyang – as backed by Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson – would see Roberto Firmino drop into a deeper role from his current role at the top of Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate.
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AND THE REST
Lucas Moura is reportedly “angry” with the €40m price tag Paris Saint-Germain have placed on him this month and will plead with them to cut it in half (UOL Esporte)
Jose Mourinho has reportedly held private talks with Justin Kluivert over a move to Manchester United (Sport)
Barcelona have sanctioned the €10m sale of defender Javier Mascherano to Hebei China Fortune (Diaro Gol)
West Ham are set to launch a bid for £20m-rated Basel defender Manuel Akanji, who has also been linked with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund (Kicker)
AC Milan director of sport Massimiliano Mirabelli has admitted the club won’t be making any new signings in January – but admits they could sell a player if they can make a rapid profit (Gazetta dello Sport)
Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli and Gerard Deulofeu’s agent met in Milan on Wednesday to discuss a move to the club from Barcelona. Napoli’s number one target, however, remains Bologna’s Simone Verdi (Gazetta dello Sport)
Real Betis are weighing up a move for free agent Patrice Evra (Le 10 Sport)
West Ham are reportedly set to bid £15m for Russian international striker Fyodor Smolov from Krasnodar (Sport Express)
Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu will become the most expensive African footballer of all time due to taxes added onto his move to China
Ajax director of football Marc Overmars has warned Napoli they’d be wasting their time trying to sign winger Amin Younes (Calciomercato)
Rafinha has met with Inter Milan as a move from Barcelona draws ever closer (Mundo Deportivo)
Jiangsu Suning FC midfielder Ramires has appealed for a move to Inter Milan to be pushed through as soon as possible (Sky Italia)
Inter Milan’s Slovakian defender Milan Skriniar says he wants to stay at the club for as long as possible, despite interest from Man City and Barcelona (MY Sports)
Real Betis and Getafe are set to do battle to land Mexican international defender Oswaldo Alanis (Futbol Picante)