Rumour Has It: Barca remain keen on Lautaro Martinez, Chelsea eye Atletico's Oblak

By Sports Desk July 14, 2020

For most of the year, Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona.

Barca are eyeing a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez, though, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have impacted their transfer plans.

However, a blockbuster move could still be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA STILL WANT TO SIGN LAUTARO

Barcelona remain keen on signing Inter star Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, according to the front page of Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo.

Barca's interest in Martinez is well documented but a transfer has been put on hold as the LaLiga giants re-assess their plans after the Argentina forward's €111million release clause expired at the start of the month.

However, Barca head coach Quique Setien is reportedly considering three options in his pursuit to recruit Martinez.

Ousmane Dembele could be sold to raise funds or a swap deal involving Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti could be proposed to Inter, while a player plus cash offer including Junior Firpo is the third alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Chelsea are ready to swap goalkeepers. Unhappy with the world's most expensive keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea are ready to use the Spaniard as a makeweight in a deal to sign Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing in-demand Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, reports Tuttosport. The Hungary teenager has been heavily linked to Milan and Napoli, as well as Arsenal.

Ajax are hopeful of keeping star goalkeeper Andre Onana for one more season, claims De Telegraaf. Onana has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Barca.

- Journalist Nicolo Schira reports Napoli are confident of reaching an agreement with Lille forward Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian has been tipped to join the Serie A side, who have prepared a five-year contract worth €3.5m per season amid talk of an €80m transfer.

- While Osimhen could arrive, Napoli are set to lose Arkadiusz Milik. Calciomercato claims Italian champions Juventus are interested, while the likes of Atletico, Tottenham and Roma are also keen. Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is an alternative for Juve, as well as Atletico.

- According to Calciomercato, Edinson Cavani has turned down a move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. A free agent since leaving PSG, Cavani is reportedly wanted by Roma.

Everton and PSG both want to sign Napoli midfielder Allan, says Calciomercato. Napoli are looking to raise funds.

Manchester City will accelerate their rebuilding plans after having their Champions League ban overturned, claims the Telegraph. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – also linked to United, Liverpool and Real Madrid previously – is reportedly high on the list of targets, which includes Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Atletico star Saul Niguez.

Related items

  • Liverpool sign Jota: Champions look to the future – Assessing £45m recruit in Opta data Liverpool sign Jota: Champions look to the future – Assessing £45m recruit in Opta data

    Diogo Jota's arrival at Liverpool gives the Premier League champions some added depth as they turn an eye to the future.

    The forward's move from Wolves for a reported £45million was confirmed on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp continued to strengthen his squad.

    But with one of the world's best attacks in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino already in place, just where does 23-year-old Jota fit?

    With thanks to Opta data, we take a look at Jota, Liverpool's front three and what the future could hold.

     

    A back-up upgrade … for now

    There is no doubt Jota will need to bide his time behind Salah, Mane and Firmino.

    Salah and Mane scored 37 goals between them in the Premier League last season, with Jota's return at least more comparable to that of Firmino.

    Jota scored a goal every 328.1 minutes for a haul of seven, a better return than Firmino (333.4), while converting big chances at a superior rate (33.3 to 23.1) as well.

    But the Brazilian's selfless approach is often lauded and he provided his playmaking credentials during Liverpool's title-winning season. Firmino created 10 big chances and had eight assists, with Jota finishing with three and one respectively.

    While his goal and assist output may not compare, unsurprisingly, what Liverpool are getting is a player who is willing to take their man on. Jota attempted the fifth most dribbles in the Premier League last season with 151, although his success rate was just 43.7.

    It gives Klopp a talent to be nurtured, and some much-needed depth in attack with Divock Origi and Rhian Brewster linked with moves and Takumi Minamino still unproven after his January arrival from RB Salzburg. It may also provide the Liverpool manager with another option in midfield if needed.

    An eye to the future

    At 23 and having signed a reported five-year deal, Jota looks to be a player of the future for Liverpool. With Salah and Mane both 28 and linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, one could move on in the near future.

    Unlike Salah, who arrived from Roma in 2017, Mane caught the eye in the Premier League prior to his switch from Southampton.

    Mane turned 23 during the 2014-15 campaign – his first in England and the first of his two at Southampton. He has gone on to become one of the world's best players, but how does Jota compare to that Mane season, at the same age?

    Unsurprisingly, he is behind, but not by much. Mane finished that season with 10 league goals, one every 213.5 minutes, and had a better big chance conversion (40 to 33.3). But he created just four big chances to Jota's three and ended up with three assists (Jota had one in 2019-20), suggesting there is plenty for Liverpool to work with. Even Mane dribbled less (110 attempts), but he went at a success rate of 53.7. Southampton finished seventh that season, while Wolves ended up in the same spot in 2019-20. If Jota can get close to Mane's level in years to come, Liverpool will be pleased with their investment.

    What about Sarr?

    As recently as Friday, Liverpool had been linked with a move for Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr and the Championship club reportedly wanted at least £40m, a similar price the Reds are apparently paying for Jota. However, the payment structures for the two differed and led to Liverpool landing the Portugal international over Sarr.

    The 22-year-old Sarr enjoyed a fine season, particularly considering Watford were relegated from the top flight.

    He was directly involved in more goals (five goals and four assists) than Jota and in fewer minutes, and converted his limited big chances at a better rate (40) while creating three times more. Sarr had a similar dribble success rate (45.2) but attempted far fewer (104) in his first season in the Premier League. There was little between the two in 2019-20, but Sarr's numbers were impressive in a struggling side and he helped end Liverpool's ‘Invincibles' bid with a brace against the Reds in February.

    Liverpool were getting a fine talent either way and Jota shapes up as an exciting long-term prospect at Anfield.

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool and Wolves could be set for another deal, Arsenal's shortlist includes four Rumour Has It: Liverpool and Wolves could be set for another deal, Arsenal's shortlist includes four

    Liverpool and Wolves could be involved in another deal, while Arsenal's shortlist reportedly includes four players.

    Premier League champions Liverpool confirmed the signing of Diogo Jota from Wolves on Saturday, with Ki-Jana Hoever heading in the opposite direction.

    But the business between the clubs may not end there.

     

    TOP STORY – WOLVES TARGET OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN

    Wolves are eyeing a move for Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, according to the Mirror.

    The report comes after Liverpool signed star midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich earlier this week.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived at Anfield from Arsenal in 2017, and made 43 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20.

    ROUND-UP

    - Arsenal could strengthen further. The Express reports the Premier League club have Lyon star Houssem Aouar, Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson and Brentford shot-stopper David Raya on their shortlist.

    - Staying in the Premier League and Goal reports Atletico Madrid attacker Thomas Lemar has interest from two clubs in England's top flight. Arsenal, Wolves and Everton have been linked with Lemar previously.

    - Manchester City are reportedly close to signing a centre-back. AS reports the Premier League giants are close to sealing a deal for Sevilla's Jules Kounde, a 21-year-old who is a France youth international.

    - Arturo Vidal is finally set to get his move to Inter. Fabrizio Romano reports Inter have agreed a €1million fee with Barcelona for the midfielder, while he also says veteran defender Diego Godin will join Cagliari next week.

    - After almost signing Daniel James in 2019, Leeds United could be set for another move for the attacker. The Sun reports Leeds are planning a move for James, who joined Manchester United in 2019.

    - Staying at Old Trafford and another exit is expected. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking for a new club for Sergio Romero with the goalkeeper upset about missing last month's Europa League semi-final loss to Sevilla.

  • MLS: Nani inspires Orlando City, Columbus win again MLS: Nani inspires Orlando City, Columbus win again

    Nani inspired Orlando City to an impressive win in MLS, while Columbus Crew are clear atop the Eastern Conference.

    Former Manchester United attacker Nani scored and provided an assist in Orlando's 4-1 thrashing of the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

    After Chris Mueller opened the scoring, he crossed for Nani to head in a second in the 24th minute.

    Given a chance to get back into the game, Chicago squandered it when Alvaro Medran had a penalty well saved by Pedro Gallese.

    Chicago took their next chance from the spot through Robert Beric early in the second half, but Orlando sealed their win late.

    Junior Urso scrambled in from inside the area after Nani's set-piece went uncleared, and the Portuguese attacker's pass later found Benji Michel to finish off in additional time.

    Orlando are second in the Eastern Conference, five points behind the high-flying Columbus Crew.

    Second-half goals from Pedro Santos and Gyasi Zardes saw Columbus record a 2-0 win over Nashville.

    Diego Valeri netted a brace as the Portland Timbers crushed the San Jose Earthquakes 6-1 at Avaya Stadium.

    Fresh off confirming the signing of Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami recorded a second win in three matches by beating Atlanta United 2-1.

    Elsewhere, a 10-man LA Galaxy fell to the Colorado Rapids 2-0 and Dallas also finished with 10 but recorded a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City.

    Haris Medunjanin scored directly from a corner in the 85th minute as Cincinnati beat the New York Red Bulls 1-0 and the Vancouver Whitecaps beat a 10-man Real Salt Lake 2-1.

    New York City drew 0-0 with the New England Revolution, DC United and Toronto played out a 2-2 draw, while the Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United did likewise.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.