Transfer Gossip: Liverpool groundwork done for massive midfield signing but Chelsea still lurking; Tottenham reach agreement to sign playmaker

Craig Dawson, Jarrod Bowen, Declan Rice celebrate a goal for West Ham during Europa League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Olympique Lyonnais v West Ham United - Groupama Stadium, Lyon

Liverpool have laid the groundwork to complete a huge midfield deal this summer, although Chelsea could yet throw a spanner in the works, while Friday’s Transfer Gossip claims that Tottenham have reached an agreement to sign an attacking playmaker.

GROUNDWORK DONE FOR BIG LIVERPOOL MIDFIELD DEAL

Liverpool have reportedly already laid the groundwork for Declan Rice’s proposed move to Anfield next summer, although Chelsea could still throw a spanner in the works.

Jurgen Klopp has a longheld interest in the West Ham and England midfielder and is expected to revamp a Reds midfield that has struggled this season.

Indeed, the German could – if given the nod – complete a double deal involving Rice and his Three Lions teammate Jude Bellingham.

While that could cost anywhere from £150-200million, it’s thought that Klopp will be given the opportunity to rebuild a new Liverpool side despite the club’s struggles domestically this season.

Rice’s stock has been on the rise for some time. And although his levels have not been quite as high this term, the 23-year-old is still valued at over £100m.

However, the Reds face a major battle to land the player. Indeed, there have been reports a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ is already in place with Manchester United.

Chelsea still a major player in Rice chase

Chelsea remain the biggest concern for Liverpool though, as reported by Simon Phillips of Chelsea News.

The London club let Rice go as a youngster in 2014 and there is a strong feeling that the Hammers star has unfinished business at Stamford Bridge.

Moving to Chelsea also means the midfielder not having to uproot his family and move north.

The Blues could lose both N’Golo Kante and Jorginho at the end of the season, leaving a big void that Rice could fill.

The combative midfielder will be entering the final year of his contract next summer, meaning the Hammers will have one last opportunity to demand the fee they want.

It’s just a question of if he will still be running out at the London Stadium, starring in the Red of Liverpool or United, or be back in the blue of his boyhood club.

TOTTENHAM REACH AGREEMENT FOR ATALANTA STAR

Tottenham transfer chiefs have reportedly reached an agreement to sign Atalanta attacker Ruslan Malinovskyi in January.

The 29-year-old has scored 23 goals and laid on 23 assists in 111 Serie A appearances since moving to Italy from Genk in 2019.

And even though Spurs sit third and the Premier League and have qualified for the Champions League last 16, Antonio Conte is known to want a few more faces on board on the new year.

A centre-back and a playmaking midfielder are high on Conte’s wishlist, and it’s the latter position where Malinovskyi fits the bill.

Italian publication Il Giorno states that Tottenham representatives are already moving for Malinovskyi and could pay almost £13million to get their hands on the player.

The relatively low fee is down to the attacking midfielder being out of contract next summer.

The figure is also significantly lower than the £60m Leicester are demanding for James Maddison.

Malinovskyi also has Champions League experience, having played 18 games in the competition. He was also part of the Ukraine squad that reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 last summer.

But despite his impressive form over the last few seasons, Malinovskyi has only started four of Atalanta’s 12 outings this term.

It’s thought that his contract situation has led to his lack of starts. However, that could be resolved by Tottenham in the new year.

WEST HAM JOIN CHASE FOR BRAZILIAN WINGER

A number of Premier League clubs are keeping tabs on Brazilian winger Tete ahead of a potential January move, with West Ham the latest side linked.

Matheus Tete Cardoso Lemos, Shakhtar Donetsk celebrates a goal against Real Madrid

The Lyon winger, who is currently on loan from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, has long been a target of English clubs.

Southampton, Leicester and Brentford all explored moves of around £25million in the summer.

However, The Sun claims that the Hammers are now firmly in the running for the player and could swoop in January.

Tete has scored five goals and added three assists in 11 Ligue 1 outings this term.

However, the report adds that he is looking for a permanent move in January, which could end up being a loan-to-buy in the summer.

Shakhtar are known to be open to a deal given that Tete’s contract in Ukraine expires next year.