Liverpool transfer news: £90m star prefers Anfield switch, Bid for Real Madrid midfielder and more - 22nd December 2017
Liverpool preferred destination for Thomas Lemar
According to the Independent, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are now believed to be leading the race for the signature of AS Monaco star Thomas Lemar ahead of their rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. The Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Ligue 1 since the summer and it looks like he could be on his way to the Premier League.
Klopp, who has been a long-term admirer of the winger, is ready to match the asking price of £90 million slapped on Lemar by Monaco in a bid to bolster their chances for silverware this season. With uncertainty looming over Philippe Coutinho's future amidst interest from FC Barcelona, the Reds are not wasting any time in turning their attention to a potent replacement.
However, Liverpool have made it clear that they don't have any intentions in selling any of their players and Lemar is identified as an option that can provide variety and assemble what could be one of the world's fastest attacking line-ups with help from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Dani Ceballos offered Anfield escape route
Liverpool are preparing a bid to sign out-of-favour Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to reports in Spain. Ceballos joined the Los Blancos in the summer from Real Betis and went on to impress for the Spain U-21 national team at the Under-21 European Championships in Poland, where he was named Player of the Tournament after helping his side reach the final.
Despite his glowing reputation at the youth level, the midfielder has failed to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu having just made two starts in the La Liga all season. There were even rumours about Zinedine Zidane not preferring the Spaniard in the first place and that the transfer was only completed under the influence of club president Florentino Perez.
If the reports are to be believed, Real Madrid have told the player's agent to look for a new club in January further implying that they won't be standing in the way of the move if their demands are met. Liverpool, on the other hand, have problems of their own with the contract situation of Emre Can and it seems likely that they will approach the player, who is adamant about leaving La Liga.
Liverpool enter the race for Manuel Akanji
Liverpool will go head to head with Borussia Dortmund to acquire the services of Manuel Akanji, according to several reports. The defender has been identified as a prime target who can add some much-needed steel to the Liverpool defence that has been under immense pressure this season.
The 22-year-old has emerged as one of Switzerland's brightest prospects over the last year or so and has been a regular for the FC Basel side that beat Manchester United this season to secure their smooth qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Akanji, who is under a contract with Basel till 2022, made his debut for the Switzerland national team in June and also featured in both legs of their World Cup qualifying victory over Northern Ireland.
Despite Klopp repeating on a number of occasions that he trusts his current crop of defenders, it is very evident that the Reds are already eyeing reinforcements in January. Liverpool will have to act quickly if they are to beat Dortmund, who are also in the hunt for a defender, to the player's signature in January.