Rumour Has It: Liverpool consider move for Bayern's Musiala as Bellingham alternative

By Sports Desk October 06, 2022

Real Madrid are keen on Jude Bellingham, and so too are Premier League giants Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Given the hot pursuit, some are said to be considering alternative targets, particularly Liverpool who had a quiet off-season in the transfer market.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds added Darwin Nunez, with Sadio Mane exiting, but they did not make a major midfield signing in the off-season.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL EYE MUSIALA AS BELLINGHAM ALTERNATIVE

Liverpool are among the clubs circling for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham. Should they miss out, they will turn to Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala, according to the Mirror.

Germany international Musiala spent time with Southampton and Chelsea in his youth and was capped by England at age-group level.

Sky Germany reports Liverpool are among several top clubs keeping tabs on the 19-year-old, although it is believed he has no plans to exit the Allianz Arena anytime soon.

ROUND-UP

– Tottenham are the latest club to join the race to sign Milan's Portuguese forward Rafael Leao, reports Calciomercato. Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with Leao who is set to receive a fresh contract offer from Milan.

– Calciomercato claims Real Madrid will rival Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, who are both keen on Inter defender Milan Skriniar. The Slovakian's contract ends in mid-2023, prompting interest, although Inter are trying to renew his deal.

– Marca claims Barcelona have reached an agreement to permanently sell Antoine Griezmann to Atletico Madrid for half of the €40m asking price. Griezmann is in the second season of a two-year loan deal, but Atletico have been playing him in on reduced minutes to avoid triggering a clause in his contract.

– Football Insider reports Arsenal are monitoring Marcus Rashford's situation at Manchester United, with the forward's contract to expire at the end of this season.

– Southampton are on the brink of sacking manager Ralph Hasenhuttl after managing only seven points from eight games to start this Premier League, according to the Telegraph. Hasenhuttl has been at the Saints helm since 2018.

– There is a manager merry-go-around with Nottingham Forest's under-pressure boss Steve Cooper in contention to replace Hasenhuttl at Southampton, claims the Daily Mail.

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    Joao Felix appeared to take a swipe at Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone by stating conditions with Portugal are more "favourable" than with the LaLiga giants.

    The Atleti forward has been linked with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano, with Los Rojiblancos chief executive Gil Marin believing a January exit is "reasonable" to expect.

    Joao Felix has scored 33 goals for Atleti since arriving from Benfica for €126million in 2019 - a tally only bettered by Luis Suarez (34) during that span.

    But the 23-year-old has a frosty relationship with Simeone, with the pair reportedly falling out earlier this season. 

    And he appeared to aim a dig at his club boss after Portugal booked their World Cup quarter-final place with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Switzerland on Tuesday.

    "The way you play here and at the club are different," he said. "When the conditions are favourable, things go better."

    Joao Felix set up two of Goncalo Ramos' three goals against the Swiss, becoming the third Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup game after Jose Torres - against Brazil in 1966 - and Bruno Fernandes - versus Ghana in this tournament.

    He saluted Portugal's most impressive performance so far in Qatar, where he feels confidence and concentration levels are high in Fernando Santos' side ahead of facing Morocco in the last eight.

    "The preparation was the same as the other games," he added. "We saw what was best and worst and played because of that, not losing our identity. We played a great game, perhaps the best so far.

    "We are focused and believe completely in us. I hope it's been shown that we have a great team, we know what we want. We have the support of everyone, and won't be held back."

  • Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role

    Goncalo Ramos is unsure if he will be picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in Portugal's World Cup quarter-final after a last-16 experience beyond his "wildest dreams".

    The Benfica striker was a surprise choice from the start in Tuesday's game against Switzerland but justified his selection by hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout.

    The pre-match focus was on Ronaldo's demotion to the bench, but Ramos hogged the limelight once the match kicked off.

    Even starting seemed improbable for the 21-year-old, who made his international debut in November, let alone scoring three times.

    "Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of being in the starting eleven in the knockout stages of the World Cup," Ramos said, but he does not know if he will keep his place for a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

    The forward added to RTP: "These are matters that are not for me. I have to work to the fullest and then you see what's going to happen."

    Ramos was named the player of the match and revealed Ronaldo's support in his post-match news conference.

    "Honestly, in our team, no-one talked about [Ronaldo being dropped]," he said. "Cristiano as captain did as he always does, helped us, encouraged us, not only to myself but to my colleagues."

    The level of Ramos' performance may have come as a shock to some, but not to team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

    "If you've never heard about him, it's because people are not aware of the quality of the Portuguese league," the Manchester United man said.

    "He has been doing really well in the Champions League, first in the group of PSG, so people should be aware of Goncalo, of his qualities.

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    Bruno Fernandes suggested Cristiano Ronaldo had been angry with Fernando Santos' decision to bench the Portugal captain, while he believes the veteran forward also would have thrived in the 6-1 win over Switzerland.

    Ronaldo came out of the Portugal XI following a moment of controversy in the side's previous match against South Korea, when he appeared to insult Santos after being substituted.

    Santos "really didn't like it at all" but insisted the matter had been "resolved" before naming Ronaldo among the substitutes against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup.

    Goncalo Ramos, drafted in to replace Ronaldo, scored a hat-trick in a stunning display at Lusail Stadium, while the Portugal skipper failed to net as a second-half substitute – though he did see an effort rightly ruled out for offside,

    Asked of Ronaldo's reaction following Santos' decision, Fernandes said: "It was like everyone else. Do you think anyone likes to be on the bench?

    "Jose Sa – he didn't play one minute, he knows that he's the third goalkeeper, but he's not happy to be on the bench.

    "Do you think Cristiano would be happy? If the manager in the next game put me on the bench, I would be angry."

    But Fernandes bristled at the idea Portugal had won specifically because Ronaldo had come out of the team.

    "We won the first two games with Cristiano in the first XI," the midfielder said. "If Cristiano had played, he could have scored three goals and nobody would be talking about Cristiano on the bench.

    "Cristiano is doing his job, he's doing his part, and he's happy with the result, because the goal for everyone is to go as far as possible.

    "I don't think people should be talking about the situation with Cristiano and why he's playing, why he's not playing.

    "When Cristiano plays and the team wins, nobody talks about that. When Cristiano plays and the team loses, everyone talks about that."

    Even as Portugal scored goal after goal in the second half, the crowd in Lusail chanted Ronaldo's name and jeered as they waited for his introduction.

    Fernandes added: "Cristiano is the most famous player in the world, of all time. No-one is more famous than Cristiano in sports. Not in football, in sports.

    "It's normal that people come to see Cristiano, cheering him and everything. I don't see any surprise in that. I don't know why anyone is surprised by that.

    "Cristiano is Cristiano. It's normal that people are cheering him, even if he's on the bench and not playing. It's a simple thing."

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