Liverpool are again being linked with a move for one of Germany’s rising stars, while Juventus will battle Manchester United for an unsettled Lazio star, according to Wednesday’s newspapers.
LIVERPOOL WANT BRANDT – BUT SUMMER SWOOP MORE LIKELY
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is expected to make a move for Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt in the summer.
Reports claim the Leverkusen star has emerged as Klopp’s top target and suggests Liverpool hope to secure a deal to bring the player to Anfield in the summer.
Brandt is under contract until 2019 and his current deal contains a €12.5million (£10.7m) release clause that activates in 2018.
Leverkusen are in talks to extend the player’s contract and raise his transfer fee higher, though Liverpool Echo journalist James Pearce claims the Reds are hopeful of agreeing a deal to sign the player before then.
And although Liverpool will have to battle Manchester City, AC Milan and Juventus for his signature, Pearce is confident Liverpool will land their man.
Asked if he expects Liverpool to make a move for Brandt in the summer, Pearce said: “Yes, I do.
“Klopp is a big fan and would have bought him in this window if Leverkusen had been willing to sell.
“Liverpool will be hoping that unlike (Christian) Pulisic, Brandt doesn’t pen a new deal.”
Brandt revealed earlier this month that he hopes to sort out his Leverkusen future at the end of the season – claiming that negotiations over a new deal are ‘annoying’.
“We’re constantly in good talks,” he said.
“If it were up to me, the summer would be the right time [to renew].
“I don’t want to deal with this forever.
“It gets annoying and performances will suffer because of it.”
Brandt has made 23 appearances in the Bundesliga and Champions League this term, scoring three goals and providing six assists.
JUVENTUS TO RIVAL MAN UTD FOR LAZIO STAR
Juventus are set to go head-to-head with United and Milan for Lazio’s Keita Balde Diao.
Calciomercato claims United have turned their attention towards the Lazio star after PSG beat them to the £25million signing of Benfica winger Goncalo Guedes.
The 21-year-old has already expressed a desire to leave the Italian capital and Lazio’s president has put a £26m price tag on him.
And while Juventus are also weighing up a move for the Keita, Jorge Mendes, agent of both the player and United manager Jose Mourinho, is said to be angling for a move to Old Trafford.
The Spanish-Senegalese man has scored five Serie A goals this season, adding one assist.
Juventus are betting on the fact that Keita’s deal expires in 2018, which will force Lazio to lower his price… or lose him for nothing.
Keita has already showed that he means business, recently leaving his team’s Christmas dinner as president Lotito got up to make a speech.
AND THE REST
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is weighing up two offers from Southampton and Spartak Moscow, according to reports (Daily Express)
Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has warned Diego Costa he will be selling out if he moves to China (Daily Mirror)
Former Blue Joe Cole admits an injury to Costa could derail Chelsea’s title hopes (Daily Express)
Tottenham are close to agreeing the sale of defender Federico Fazio to Roma, according to reports (Daily Express)
Sam Allardyce could be set for reunions with Yann M’Vila and Chris Samba at Crystal Palace (Daily Mirror)
Manchester United’s France striker Anthony Martial, 21, will not be allowed to join another club on loan this transfer window (Daily Express)
M’Vila will cost £10m move from Rubin Kazan, while Allardyce has re-opened talks for Arsenal right back Carl Jenkinson (Daily Mail)
Philippe Coutinho will agree a five-and-a-half-year contract that will make him the club’s highest-paid player (Daily Mirror)
Swansea and Hull are battling it out to sign Inter Milan’s Italy international centre-back Andrea Ranocchia to help them fight relegation (Daily Mirror)
Manchester City’s fit-again England midfielder Fabian Delph has dismissed talk of a move away from the Etihad before next Tuesday’s deadline (Daily Mirror)
Hull are interested in signing Genk’s 19-year-old Jamaican winger Leon Bailey, who is valued at £10m (Daily Mail)
Watford striker Odion Ighalo is being lined up for a move to China before the end of the window (Daily Mirror)
Everton have seen an improved £8m offer for Werder Bremen midfielder Thomas Delaney rejected (Daily Mirror)
Newcastle United are in talks with Swansea to sign winger Modou Barrow (Daily Mirror)
Iceland midfielder Birkir Bjarnasson will today sign for Aston Villa (Daily Mirror)
Southampton have received a devastating blow with fears Virgil van Dijk is out for up to three months. The Holland centre-back injured his ankle against Leicester at the weekend (The Sun)
Pep Guardiola is already making noises about staying at Manchester City beyond his three-year contract (The Sun)
Antoine Griezmann’s brother has continued to tease Manchester United fans by posting a picture of Old Trafford on Twitter (The Sun)
Fiorentina striker Mauro Zarate’s move to Watford is being delayed so that Wednesday’s Coppa Italia game with Napoli counts towards the 29-year-old’s current suspension (Hertfordshire Mercury)
Lionel Messi is yet to be offered fresh terms regarding a new contract despite opening talks mid-way through January (The Sun)
Dimitri Payet is being given 24-hour protection after his windows were egged by angry West Ham fans (The Sun)
Payet has been excluded from the winter training camp in Dubai as West Ham prepare for life without their star man (Daily Mail)
Stoke’s 31-year-old midfielder Charlie Adam is being targeted by Turkish club Fenerbahce (ESPN)
Oliver Burke is excited to be linked to Crystal Palace, Leicester and Middlesbrough but the £13m winger is enjoying life with Bungesliga side Red Bull Leipzig (The Sun)
Slavisa Jokanovic has dropped his interest in Ross McCormack – after being warned off him by the Fulham dressing room (The Sun)
Manchester United are looking to make Old Trafford the second biggest stadium in Europe with an 88,000 capacity (Daily Mail)
Sunderland have enquiries for Everton pair Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson (Daily Mail)
Southampton have offered £14m for Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini (Daily Mail)
Manchester City loanee Enes Unal is making a name for himself on loan at Twente in the Dutch league and could soon be ready for the Premier League (Daily Mail)
Everton have ruled out a January exit for James McCarthy after he turned down Sunderland (Daily Star)
Aston Villa chairman Dr. Tony Xia has hinted the club are about to announce the signing of three players – with another one possibly to follow (Daily Star)
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has returned to full training ahead of the EFL Cup semi-final clash with Hull City (Daily Star)
Newcastle are still trying to clinch a deal to re-sign winger Andros Townsend (Daily Star)
Preston striker Eoin Doyle is set to join League Two promotion-chasers Portsmouth on loan (Daily Star)
Liverpool can regain their swagger, says Georginio Wijnaldum ahead of their EFL Cup semi-final second leg with Southampton (Daily Telegraph)
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has identified Espanyol’s 35-year-old keeper Diego Lopez, on loan from AC Milan, as a potential replacement for Thibaut Courtois, 24 (The Sun)
Arsenal have received a boost in their quest to sign Alexandre Lacazette who is waiting for the right time to move, according to France team-mate Samuel Umtiti who left Lyon last year (Daily Telegraph)
Mark Warburton warns Barrie McKay he won’t leave Rangers on the cheap and slams a ‘lack of appreciation for the Scottish market’ (Daily Record)
Aberdeen last night sealed a deal to take Ryan Christie on loan from Celtic until the end of the season (Daily Record)
Gordon Strachan last night revealed he hopes to have Scott Brown back in his Scotland squad for the win-or-bust World Cup qualifier against Slovenia in March (Daily Record)
Derby have won the race for the signature of St Mirren winger Kyle McAllister (Daily Record)