Liverpool are hoping to see off plenty of competition to sign an FC Rostov striker, while Everton have opened talks over a deal for one of Norway’s top young talents, according to Wednesday’s papers.
LIVERPOOL LINE UP SWOOP FOR IRANIAN STAR
Liverpool are lining up a move for FC Rostov forward Sardar Azmoun, according to reports.
The Guardian claims Reds boss Jurgen Klopp wants to bolster his striking options in the new year after losing Danny Ings to what looks to be a season-ending knee injury and with Sadio Mane set to miss at the minimum four games while on African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal.
Azmoun has been linked with several Premier League clubs, Everton and Stoke among them, having impressed for the Russian club since a controversial move from Rubin Kazan. The 21-year-old has also been watched by Marseille and Borussia Dortmund.
The report claims Liverpool, with the newly appointed sporting director Michael Edwards leading their recruitment department, have monitored the 21-year-old this season and have been impressed with what they have seen.
The Iran international has been in good form in the Champions League this season and has caught the eye with his displays.
Azmoun joined Rostov in February 2015 on loan from Rubin Kazan, who appealed to the Court of Arbitration – and lost – when his current employers triggered what Kazan claimed was a non-existent buy-out clause this summer.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp opened up on the possibility of spending money in January when he last week admitted the Reds “needed to be prepared”.
“We watch the market all the time and we need to be prepared for different situations and one of them is injuries. It (January) could be a moment when we approach the market,” said Klopp.
“It’s not about how many strikers. Three strikers is enough, I think. But when Sadio is away we will be without a winger.
“We do not have many wingers, I would say. Roberto Firmino could play as a kind of a winger which would then just give us two strikers. That’s how it is.”
EVERTON IN TALKS FOR NORWEGIAN YOUNGSTER
Everton are in talks with Norwegian club Odd BK over Rafik Zekhnini.
And the 18-year-old forward has been given permission to talk to the Toffees, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
Odd chief executive Einar Handlykken confirmed Norway U21 international Zekhnini had been allowed to open discussions with another club with the fee expected to be a record transfer for a Norwegian club.
“Rafik is not here today because he has been given permission to travel and meet a club that have shown interest in him,” said Handlykken.
“I will not comment on this other than that it is a top European club.”
The transfer talk comes the day after Everton chairman Farhad Moshiri promised he would back ‘ruthless’ manager Ronald Koeman in the January transfer window.
Everton have also reportedly checked on Bristol City’s Icelandic defender Hordur Bjorvin Magnusson.
AND THE REST
Olivier Giroud says he is unhappy with his situation at Arsenal and could leave at the end of next season
Everton have joined the race for Charlton wonderkid Ademola Lookman (Daily Mirror)
Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis is set to make his loan move to Marseille permanent in the January transfer window (Daily Mirror)
Jose Mourinho has reassured Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw they both have futures at Manchester United despite questioning their pain thresholds (Daily Express)
Chelsea will give manager Antonio Conte a huge transfer fund for the January window and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29, remains his number-one target (London Evening Standard)
Fabian Delph is hoping to be available for Manchester City by the end of the month after good progress recovering from groin surgery (Daily Express)
Leicester face competition from West Brom to sign in-demand Leeds left back Charlie Taylor (Daily Mirror)
Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini has pulled out of the Belgium squad with a calf injury (Daily Mirror)
Jack Wilshere says he almost lost his love for football while he was plagued with injuries (Daily Mirror)
Burnley and Aston Villa are interested in signing Joey Barton after his contract at Rangers was terminated (Daily Mirror)
Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel, 23, is set for another spell away from Stamford Bridge on loan (Daily Express)
Kurt Zouma is ready to make Antonio Conte’s Chelsea defence look even better after 10 months out with knee ligament damage (Daily Mirror)
Christian Eriksen claims he is being harshly judged because he is not scoring (Daily Mirror)
Manchester United have been made favourites with the bookmakers to re-sign Burnley defender Michael Keane. The 23-year-old left Old Trafford to sign a permanent deal at Turf Moor in January 2015 (Manchester Evening News)
Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe, 21, has received a pay rise of more than 2,000% as a result of his new contract. The player had been a target for Liverpool and Chelsea (RMC Radio)
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has revealed manager Jurgen Klopp’s training methods hardly involve any five-a-side and that the Reds are also doing double sessions during the season (Daily Mirror)
Hector Bellerin has signed a new six-year contract at Arsenal worth £30m (Daily Mail)
Harry Kane is in the frame to replace Wayne Rooney as the next England captain (Daily Mail)
Red Bull are planning to add to their portfolio of football teams around the world by buying an English club (Daily Mail)
Joe Allen is better than Gareth Bale, according to Wales fans and his team-mates (Daily Star)
Southampton boss Claude Puel has bemoaned the pressures on Premier League managers (Daily Star)
Cesc Fabregas will only leave Chelsea for a top European club – not for West Ham (Daily Star)
Fabregas, 29, has rejected a move to the Chinese Super League and is instead determined to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge (ESPN)
Robert Snodgrass lit the fuse for Friday’s World Cup showdown by declaring: The English want their own country to fail (The Sun)
Jack Wilshere has confessed he could be forced into leaving Arsenal (The Sun)