Rumour Has It: Real Madrid and Barcelona interested in Liverpool's Bajcetic

By Sports Desk February 22, 2023

Liverpool midfielder Stefan Bajcetic has reportedly caught the attention of LaLiga powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Bajcetic, 18, scored his first Premier League goal in a short substitute appearance against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, and after impressing in a pair of January FA Cup starts, he forced his way into the first team.

He has started their past four Premier League fixtures as well as Tuesday's Champions League Final rematch against Madrid, indicating a rapid rise in the eyes of Jurgen Klopp.

The Spaniard left Celta Vigo in 2020 to head to the Premier League, but his home country could soon come calling to bring him back.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL TEEN CAPTURES IMAGINATION OF EUROPE'S ELITE

According to Fichajes, both Barcelona and Madrid "have been closely following his evolution", and they believe Bajcetic possesses the qualities necessary to perform at the highest level.

Barcelona reportedly view him as "an ideal piece to form a future midfield with Pedri and Gavi", while Madrid would like him to be the successor to ageing veterans Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

His contract ties him to Anfield until 2027, but the Spanish giants could try to test his transfer value as soon as this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail is reporting Aston Villa will listen to offers for 30-year-old goalkeeper and World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez after the season with the hope that a significant transfer fee could fund a mini-rebuild.

– Leicester City will look to sell James Maddison at the end of the season if they can not convince him to sign a new contract, with Manchester City, Newcastle United and Tottenham named as interested parties, per Football Insider.

– According to The Telegraph, 31-year-old midfielder N'Golo Kante will sign a new contract to remain at Chelsea.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Inter will look to move on from wing-backs Denzel Dumfries and Robin Gosens at the end of the season, with Dumfries a potential piece in a swap deal for Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku.

– According to the Evening Standard, Saudi Arabian clubs – including Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr – are circling 30-year-old Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha with the belief he would be open to a Middle East move for the right price.

Related items

  • Mauricio Pochettino not expecting a vulnerable Man City in FA Cup semi-final Mauricio Pochettino not expecting a vulnerable Man City in FA Cup semi-final

    Mauricio Pochettino warned his Chelsea players not to expect to come up against a vulnerable Manchester City side when the teams meet in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.

    City go into the game off the back of playing extra time against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night before eventually being knocked out on penalties, leaving less than 72 hours recovery time ahead of stepping out at Wembley.

    Pep Guardiola has had to deal with fatigue amongst his ranks in recent weeks, with midfielder Rodri admitting to needing a rest earlier this month. He was subsequently left out of the team for last weekend’s win over Luton at the Etihad Stadium but returned to the starting XI for the defeat to Real.

    They are still in contention to retain two of the three trophies they won last season, holding a two-point lead over Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League title race in addition to Saturday’s meeting with Pochettino’s side as they seek a third FA Cup triumph in six seasons.

    Chelsea will return to the scene of their Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool in February, after which they were heavily criticised for failing to overcome a Reds team decimated by injury.

    Jurgen Klopp’s side triumphed in extra time despite finishing the game with four highly inexperienced academy graduates aged 21 or under on the pitch.

    And Pochettino insisted there will be no easy ride for his players as City lick their European wounds.

    “The good example is Liverpool,” he said. “People were talking about too many injured players, how many young kids they had playing. Look what happened after.

    “From our point of view, we are going to compete against Manchester City. If you ask me about their situation, I can give my opinion, but we are not talking about that. We are going to compete against them.

    “Today we were preparing, doing meetings, about the Manchester City that played against Real Madrid, that played against us in the Premier League.

    “We are not talking about playing one (City line-up) or playing another. For me, the strength of Manchester City is that they keep the same idea and the same philosophy.

    “In the last five, six, seven years, even with different players, they play in the same way, they have the structure to dominate and to create chances and to win games and to win trophies.

    “I understand the situation is tough for them after playing 120 minutes in the Champions League. Emotionally, you expend a big energy. It’s about how they recover now.

    “They are going be competitive and they have an amazing staff that look after the players. They’re going to put 11 players that will play with full energy to try and win the game.”

    Pochettino will have Enzo Fernandez available for selection after he missed Monday’s 6-0 demolition of Everton.

    The manager said the World Cup winner’s fitness will be carefully managed following reports this week in Argentina that he requires a hernia operation.

    “We are not looking for heroes,” said Pochettino.

  • Emma Hayes: Chelsea not overthinking semi-final against ‘world-class’ Barcelona Emma Hayes: Chelsea not overthinking semi-final against ‘world-class’ Barcelona

    Emma Hayes insists Chelsea have not overanalysed “world-class” Barcelona ahead of their Champions League clash on Saturday.

    Chelsea have travelled to Catalonia for the first leg of their semi-final 12 months on from the two clubs meeting at the same stage of the competition.

    Barcelona prevailed 2-1 on aggregate on that occasion before overcoming Wolfsburg in Eindhoven to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.

    Chelsea boss Hayes, speaking ahead ahead of this weekend’s first leg at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, said: “Barcelona have been the top team in Europe in recent years.

    “Results have suggested that, they are world champions and European champions, but this is a football match and there’s two legs.

    “Our job is to get ourselves in a position where we can come here and give them competition.

    “You have to be in it to compete for it and you know that you’re going to face a team like Barcelona at some stage, and it happens to be at the semi-finals.

    “We understand the team, we understand the opponent, and we respect them. They are world class and have unbelievable players.

    “We’ve had a game Wednesday and we’ve only had the one training session today (Friday) so we’re not overthinking or overanalysing anything.”

    Chelsea have never won the Women’s Champions League with their best performance being a final appearance in 2021 when Barcelona thrashed them 4-0.

    Arsenal are the only English club to win the trophy, a distant 17 years ago in 2007.

    “We just have to keep building on our experiences in Europe,” said Hayes. “No player needs motivation to play this game.

    “Next week we get a little more time together on the grass to work on things between the two games, based on the learnings.

    “For this game we have to keep doing the good things that we’ve been doing throughout Europe this year.”

    Chelsea have received a double boost with England pair Millie Bright and Lauren James available for selection.

    Club captain Bright has not played since November because of a knee injury, while James sat out Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Women’s Super League.

    Hayes said: “I always come from a tactical perspective, first and foremost, from what the needs are for that game.

    “Of course, when you play three games directly after an international break, within a seven-day period, you have to utilise the squad.

    “We certainly know that no matter the team we put out, we’re highly competitive and Wednesday demonstrated that. So many players came in and added much-needed energy.

    “It’s not just the personnel, it’s about structures.

    “When you’re playing against an opponent who’s going to have over 70 per cent of the ball, they’re going to have control of the ball and the game in that regard, how you defend spaces is important.”

    Chelsea have confirmed the departure of Germany goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger to NJ/NY Gotham FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

    Berger, 33, made 114 appearances in five years at Chelsea and leaves the club having won four WSL titles, three FA Cups, two Conti Cups, one Community Shield and a Golden Glove.

  • Man Utd appoint Jason Wilcox as new technical director after leaving Southampton Man Utd appoint Jason Wilcox as new technical director after leaving Southampton

    Jason Wilcox has left Southampton to become Manchester United’s new technical director with immediate effect.

    The 53-year-old becomes a key appointment at Old Trafford as part of United’s off-field overhaul following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival at the club.

    Wilcox joined Championship side Southampton last summer as their director of football, making the switch from Manchester City where he developed a reputation for nurturing excellent young talent as well as recruiting some of the best prospects in the game.

    A United statement read: “Jason Wilcox has joined Manchester United as technical director with immediate effect.

    “He will work with all technical areas of the football department to achieve the highest standards of performance.

    “Jason was previously director of football at Southampton and before that academy director at Manchester City.

    “As a player he won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1995.”

    A Saints statement read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has reluctantly agreed to allow director of football Jason Wilcox to join Manchester United, having reached an agreement with the Premier League side on an acceptable compensation fee.

    “Whilst the club is naturally disappointed that Jason’s stay at Southampton has only lasted nine months, it wishes him well for the future.”

    John Murtough stepped down as football director at Old Trafford last week.

    United are looking to add Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth to their staff as Ratcliffe continues his off-field rebuild after taking a 27.7 per cent stake in the club.

    Wilcox will report to the sporting director, who will have overall responsibility for football performance, recruitment and operations.

    The PA news agency understands Darren Fletcher will continue to play a key role in the football leadership team working across the men’s first team and academy.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.