Premier League • England

Barcelona circling as Liverpool pencil in talks to determine Klopp favourite’s future; decision will be his

Steve Pearson
Liverpool pair Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk

Talks to determine whether Roberto Firmino has a future at Liverpool will take place next month after an update was provided on Barcelona’s interest.

The Brazilian, 30, has been everything Liverpool fans could’ve hoped for and more since arriving from Hoffenheim in 2015. Firmino was converted into a No9, and while his goals output couldn’t match the likes of Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane, his all-around contributions ensured he was no less important.

Indeed, Jurgen Klopp stated in October that future scribes would “write books” about the way Firmino played centre-forward. 

However, the once unbreakable triumvirate of Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has since been penetrated by Diogo Jota.

The Portuguese has superseded Firmino in many of Klopp’s starting elevens this season. That prompted a report from El Nacional today that shed light on Barcelona’s interest.

Xavi’s side are reportedly on the trail of a €20million (£16.7million) deal. Now, responding to the news, Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg has updated the state of play.

Firmino “will decide for himself”

Firstly, Plettenberg stated that Firmino’s relationship with Klopp is “perfect”.

With that in mind, any decision on Firmino’s future will be his to make. In Plettenberg’s words, Firmino “will decide for himself whether to stay with Liverpool or not.”

Nonetheless, talks over precisely what path he will take will reportedly take place “in the next months.” However, Liverpool do not wish to “scare” Firmino away.

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Like both Salah and Mane, Firmino’s current contract expires in the summer of 2023. Given their relative importance to the team and Jota’s influence, logic would dictate the Reds would target extensions for their two wingers first.

Nevertheless, Liverpool fans hoping to see Firmino remain at Anfield for the long-term were given a positive conclusion.

Regarding Barcelona’s reported interest, Plettenberg described the speculation as “not hot.”

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Nantes ‘hoping’ Liverpool disrupt their striker deal

Meanwhile, Nantes are imploring Liverpool to make a bid for one of their strikers after calling foul on his proposed move to Eintracht Frankfurt, per a report.

Nantes striker Randal Kolo Muani has has attracted attention this season through his vibrant displays in Ligue 1. The links to Liverpool stemmed mainly from the German media when detailing Frankfurt’s pursuit of Muani.

Per Sport Witness (citing German newspaper Bild), the Bundesliga side have been courting the marksman since the beginning of the season.

With just six months left on his current deal, he is now free to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs. That is the opening Frankfurt were waiting for. The article (also citing Kicker) states Muani has ‘basically decided’ to move to Germany.

A medical is reportedly on the horizon for next week. However, Nantes are determined to avoid losing their frontman for nothing.

Per Sport Witness, Nantes are ‘threatening’ legal action against Frankfurt. That’s down to them believing the German side made ‘unauthorised contact’ with their player. Frankfurt reportedly deny that claim, but it has opened the door for rival suitors to pounce.

Liverpool, along with AC Milan and Freiburg are all listed as Muani’s admirers. Nantes are ‘hoping’ one of that trio will make a January offer that would ensure they don’t lose their striker for nothing next summer. And given their weak bargaining position, the inference is they would not hold out for a huge fee.

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