Deadline Day: Liverpool sign two defenders as Minamino joins Southampton

By Sports Desk February 01, 2021

Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements was always likely to dominate the headlines on transfer deadline day and so it proved as the Premier League champions made two late signings.

Centre-back Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End, while Liverpool made a further addition to the heart of their backline with the loan signing of Ozan Kabak from Bundesliga strugglers Schalke until the end of the season.

Those signings came on a day that saw Joel Matip ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees and Liverpool were forced to play Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back in Sunday's win at West Ham.

Heading for the Anfield exit door is Takumi Minamino, the forward moving to Southampton on a six-month loan deal having only joined Liverpool last January.

It came after Southampton loaned veteran Shane Long to promotion-chasing Championship side Bournemouth.

Bournemouth also sanctioned the departure of Joshua King to Everton for a nominal fee until the end of the season.

There were outgoings at Arsenal as well, with Shkodran Mustafi signing for Schalke on a short-term deal and Joe Willock going on loan to Newcastle United, who let DeAndre Yedlin leave for Galatasaray.

Arsenal also sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to West Brom on loan.

Turkish giants Galatasaray acquired Gedson Fernandes on a temporary deal from Benfica following an unsuccessful stint at Tottenham.

In Serie A, Parma landed Bayern Munich's teenage forward Joshua Zirkzee in a loan deal that contains the option to sign the 19-year-old permanently.

Atalanta are firmly in contention for a top-four finish in Serie A and bolstered their ranks for that push with the capture of Ukraine midfielder Viktor Kovalenko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roma can afford to have hopes of a title challenge and brought in teenage full-back Bryan Reynolds from MLS outfit Dallas on an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, to help them.

Frozen out at Juventus, midfielder Sami Khedira is back in the Bundesliga following a switch to Hertha Berlin, but one of European football's most exciting talents is heading to Italy after Udinese signed Jayden Braaf on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.

Elsewhere, Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny joined Celtic on loan for the rest of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion signed highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, West Brom loaned Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo and defender Teden Mengi moved from Manchester United to Wayne Rooney's Derby County on a temporary basis.

Related items

  • Pogba: Playing with Fernandes at Man Utd is a joy Pogba: Playing with Fernandes at Man Utd is a joy

    Paul Pogba says it is "a joy" to play with Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United.

    The World Cup winner has made an impressive return from injury in the past five weeks, scoring in the win over Milan and registering assists against Brighton and Hove Albion, Tottenham and Granada.

    Playing alongside Fernandes for United has been a particular thrill for Pogba since the Portugal international joined him at Old Trafford last year.

    Pogba says Fernandes can do everything and is delighted with how their understanding has developed on the pitch.

    "I enjoy playing with Bruno," Pogba said to MUTV. "He is someone who understands the game and understands the movement that can give you a beautiful pass.

    "He can finish too. He is all over the place, he can do everything really... except defending!

    "But really, it is always a joy to play him, to understand him. 

    "He understands me as well, he can take my position, I can take his position as well. I think he suits the team, he is a very dominant influence in our team."

    No United midfielder has played more times in all competitions than Fernandes since the former Sporting CP playmaker made his debut, with the 26-year-old making 71 appearances. 

    Pogba (48) ranks fourth on that list, behind Fred and Scott McTominay (both 58), while he has only started 34 times, mainly due to injuries.

    While he may no longer be the main man at United, Pogba was asked about his role in keeping up the dressing room morale and his dancing skills.

    Ahead of the Premier League match at home to Burnley on Sunday, Pogba said: "I'm just myself with the guys and if it can help them to be relaxed and be happy and have a good performance, then I will keep doing it obviously.

    "It is important to have a group that gel well together because football is teamwork and you have to be with everyone, you have to be connected, that is how you win.

    "When you are connected like this, it is easier to win."

    Asked if he or defender Eric Bailly had the best dance moves, Pogba replied: "It depends - Eric is the best African dancer, I'm more e-pop and American dance and stuff like this. 

    "We complete each other I will say!"

    Pogba and Fernandes are both expected to start against Burnley, against whom the France star scored the winner in a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor the last time the two teams met in January.

    United are therefore looking to complete their first league double over Burnley since the 1975-76 campaign.

    They are also bidding to win five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since they won their first six under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2019.

  • Happy Ronaldo still has more years at Juventus, says Pepe Happy Ronaldo still has more years at Juventus, says Pepe

    Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Juventus and looks primed to stay at the club for multiple years, according to his former Real Madrid and Portugal team-mate Pepe.

    The forward has 25 goals in 27 Serie A matches this season, topping the league's scoring charts, four clear of nearest rival Romelu Lukaku.

    Ronaldo has been prolific since signing for Juve from Real Madrid in 2018 and continues to be so at the age of 36, now three goals away from reaching 100 for the Italian club in all competitions.

    However, his future was thrown into the spotlight after Juventus once again failed to reach the latter stages of the Champions League this season, with Pepe and Porto knocking them out in the last 16.

    Domestically, Inter look poised to end Juve's run of nine straight Scudetto successes and Ronaldo has been linked with a move away amid speculation over Juve's financial situation and direction of their project.

    But Pepe thinks Ronaldo's accomplishments are being underestimated and sees him remaining at the highest level for the foreseeable future.

    Pepe was asked if Ronaldo would contemplate a return to playing in Portugal, where he started his career with Sporting CP.

    He told Novo: "Honestly, given how I know him, I don't know if he would tolerate the way many people talk about football in Portugal.

    "I think he is happy in Turin. He is the leading goalscorer in Serie A. Those who criticise him don’t know how difficult it is to score more than 30 goals every year.

    "What Cristiano can do is incredible. And I hope he will stay there for more years, giving joy to football lovers and representing Portugal very well, as he has always done."

    Ronaldo - defended by head coach Andrea Pirlo last week for throwing his shirt after failing to score in a win over Genoa - is under contract with Juve until June 2022, while at international level he has Euro 2020 and the World Cup coming up for his country before the end of next year.

    Juventus are away to Atalanta on Sunday, a team they have beaten only once in their last six meetings across all competitions.

    However, Ronaldo will be buoyed that Juve have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven away games against Atalanta in Serie A.

  • Smalling family 'shaken up' after armed burglary at Roma star's home Smalling family 'shaken up' after armed burglary at Roma star's home

    Former Manchester United star Chris Smalling has spoken of the "harm and distress" his family felt after an armed burglary at their home in Rome.

    Now playing for Roma, who will face United in the Europa League semi-finals, the 31-cap England international had his home raided in the early hours of Friday.

    According to reports in Italy, Smalling handed over three Rolex watches, jewellery and money to the three men who entered the property in the Appia Antica district of Italy's capital.

    Police were called after the terrifying incident, and 31-year-old Smalling wrote on Twitter on Saturday: "I'd like to thank everyone for your well wishes and support! My family although very shaken up are luckily unharmed!

    "Hoping these people can find a more meaningful way to live their lives without causing such harm and distress to others."

    Former United team-mate Marcus Rashford sent a message of support to Smalling on Friday, saying he was "so sorry" to hear of the break-in.

    Rashford added: "Thinking about you @ChrisSmalling and your lovely family. Can’t imagine how you're feeling but I hope you're ok."

    Smalling has been injured recently and did not play on Thursday when Roma edged past Ajax to reach the Europa League last four.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.