Premier League • England

Latest twist in Liverpool, Man Utd transfer hunt as club left ‘speechless’ by star’s demands

Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona

There has been another twist in Liverpool and Manchester United’s hunt for a Barcelona forward, according to one journalist.

Both Premier League teams have strong attacking options who could propel them to at least one trophy this season. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp can rely on Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota up front.

Roberto Firmino’s place in the first team has come under pressure from Jota in recent months. The Portugal international looks set for an important few weeks as Firmino has Covid and Salah and Mane are at the Africa Cup of Nations.

United, meanwhile, can utilise Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani. Wide forwards Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho are also at Ralf Rangnick’s disposal.

However, such are the demands of the Premier League that Liverpool and United may need to bolster their options soon.

And they could turn to Barcelona given the Spanish club’s dire financial situation. They are over €1bn in debt and had to take out a loan to afford Ferran Torres’ move from Manchester City.

Barca winger Ousmane Dembele will become a free agent in June as things stand. Xavi is keen to tie him down to a new deal, but there is a new stumbling block.

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Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenburg claims the Spanish manager was left ‘nearly speechless’ by Dembele’s wage demands.

The Frenchman apparently wants €43m (£36m) per year to sign on again, which equates to an astonishing £700,000 a week.

The update means Barca may be unable to sort out a new deal for Dembele. Liverpool and United will be on hand to snap up the 24-year-old, should he become available for free.

However, they will be hopeful of reducing his lofty demands before striking a deal.

Liverpool reject £7m bid for defender

Meanwhile, Football Insider report Liverpool have rejected a £7m offer for Nat Phillips.

The 24-year-old looks set to move on this month as he has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield.

West Ham are potential suitors, although they are yet to come forward with a bid.

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Watford have beaten them to it, putting £7m on the table. However, Liverpool have pushed it back ‘out of hand’, according to the report.

They want nearer £12m for the Bolton-born centre-half. Watford will now need to return with a better offer if they want to land Phillips.

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