Premier League • England

Liverpool, Chelsea fall behind in striker hunt as Barcelona prepare €40m offer

Karim Adeyemi trying to get away from Diego Carlos

Barcelona are preparing to bid for Liverpool and Chelsea target Karim Adeyemi as early as this week, according to reports.

Adeyemi is stealing the headlines for Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. He is already on 11 goals from just 13 matches so far this season.

That includes two strikes in a recent 4-1 win over Sturm Graz, as well as the winner against FK Austria Wien last time out.

The centre-forward’s brilliant performances have seen him make his way into the German national team. He made his debut in September’s 6-0 thrashing of Armenia and even got on the scoresheet.

Adeyemi also featured against Romania and North Macedonia last month, but missed the recent international break due to quarantine issues.

The starlet, still just 19 years old, is following in Erling Haaland’s footsteps. He joined Salzburg in January 2019 and went on to score 29 goals in just 27 games, earning a move to Borussia Dortmund last year.

Sport Witness, citing German outlet Sport1, reveal that the race for Adeyemi’s signature is hotting up. Barcelona are willing to part with €40m (£33.7m) to sign him in January.

They are even preparing to bid at some point this week, such is the rush to complete a deal. The Spanish giants have struggled in attacking areas without Lionel Messi and believe Adeyemi could help to soften the blow.

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Despite Barcelona’s sudden emergence, Dortmund are still on the player’s trail. They believe a €35m (£30m) offer, plus bonuses, would entice Salzburg into a deal. Adeyemi could be tempted to join the German side as they are exceptional at blooding in young talent.

All of this is bad news for Premier League sides Liverpool and Chelsea. Adeyemi is thought to be Liverpool’s ‘dream’ capture as they look to find either Mo Salah or Sadio Mane’s successor.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have been looking to replace the out-of-form Timo Werner with Adeyemi.

It looks as though the two English giants will have to act incredibly fast if they want to get their man.

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Liverpool target has ‘scary’ potential – pundit

Meanwhile, pundit Roy Keane believes Jude Bellingham has ‘scary’ potential.

The England midfielder, 18, is Haaland’s team-mate at Dortmund. But Liverpool are hoping to prize him away with a big-money offer in 2022.

Bellingham played a full 90 minutes in Monday’s 10-0 thrashing of minnows San Marino. After the game, Keane said: “He’s got a great chance, the kid, we love everything about him.

“What he does on the pitch, the way he speaks off it, he’s playing week in, week out for a top club [Borussia Dortmund]. The potential in this kid is scary.

“I saw him recently playing in a Champions League game and he was producing passes… I didn’t think he had that in his locker quite yet.

“The potential for this boy, he’s a good size, he’s like a boxer, he’s a strong powerful boy. Gareth [Southgate] must be rubbing his hands.”

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