Steven Gerrard believes Jude Bellingham should steer clear of continental Europe's top clubs and come to Liverpool.

Former Reds midfielder Gerrard has offered to take Bellingham out for dinner and tell him about what he could achieve by moving to Anfield.

Bellingham has long been touted as a big-money target for the Reds, and Gerrard believes the 19-year-old would be more likely to flourish with Liverpool than with Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

The attraction of Liverpool may be diminishing, with Jurgen Klopp's team looking highly unlikely to qualify for the Champions League through the Premier League route this season.

They may yet get there by winning the Champions League, but that looks a fantastical prospect given they face Real Madrid in the last-16 stage, and given Liverpool's general form has been terribly patchy this season. A 0-0 draw at Anfield against Chelsea on Saturday left the Reds rooted in mid-table, a worrying distance behind the top four.

"All he needs to do is send his diary to me, when he's got a free day," Gerrard said, while working as a pundit on BT Sport. "I'll fly to Dortmund personally, I'll take him out for a nice dinner and we'll talk about it."

What is beyond dispute is that Bellingham's skill set and dynamism would improve Liverpool's midfield, with Klopp's experienced campaigners Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara not the force they once were. Gerrard described that area as "a little bit stale".

Gerrard said: "I'm sure Jude is bright enough to see there's a stand going up here, this is going to be a 60,000-seat stadium, they've got one of the best five managers in the world, they've won the Premier League of late, they've been in Champions League finals of late, they pay very well here – that's a fact."

Bellingham plays at an 81,000-capacity ground with Dortmund so Anfield is small by comparison, but there are undoubtedly aspects of a move to Liverpool that might appeal.

Dortmund are struggling domestically this season, too, so Bellingham would not be giving up the prospect of likely league titles in Germany, particularly given Bayern have dominated there for the last decade.

But he might have transfer options where winning major trophies would appear more likely than if he were to move to Merseyside.

Even though Bellingham has been playing in Germany for three seasons, and flourishing in the Bundesliga, Gerrard feels the former Birmingham City player belongs in England.

"I think it's important he stays in this country," said former Liverpool captain Gerrard. "He's 19 years of age.

"You talk about Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich; I know he's doing it at Dortmund now, but them clubs are at a higher level than Dortmund and you can get swallowed up.

"There's a lot of stars, and you can get swallowed up by making a move too soon.

"In my opinion, staying around England, staying around this country, getting developed, there's still growth in him, and he can evolve, and I think staying in England until a certain age until he hits his peak years is very important for the boy now."

Xavi was "in a state of shock" following news of former Barcelona star Dani Alves being arrested on suspicion of carrying out a sexual assault.

Brazilian right-back Alves was arrested in Barcelona on Friday after it was alleged he assaulted a woman in a nightclub bathroom.

The 39-year-old denied committing the offence when he spoke to Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 in early January.

Alves, who has also played for Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla, gave a statement to the Mossos d'Esquadra police force on Friday before the public prosecutor's office requested that he should be detained and not granted bail.

He has been kept in prison while investigations continue, and his contract with Mexican club Pumas UNAM has been terminated.

Xavi, a former Barcelona team-mate of Alves, signed the defender for a short second Barcelona stint last season.

Speaking in a Barcelona pre-match press conference on Saturday, Xavi said: "It is difficult to comment on a situation like this. I am surprised, shocked, in a state of shock.

"It is a matter of justice. Justice will dictate whatever."

Alves became the oldest player to feature in a World Cup match for Brazil when he played against Cameroon in Qatar last month.

Xavi has challenged Ansu Fati to prove he can be a leader for Barcelona while suspended striker Robert Lewandowski waits to return.

Fati only played the closing moments of Barcelona's 3-1 Supercopa de Espana final win over Real Madrid last Sunday as the club landed their first trophy since Lionel Messi left in August 2021. It was Xavi's first trophy as Barcelona coach.

The 20-year-old Fati was a substitute again for the Copa del Rey win over Ceuta on Thursday, coming on to score the third goal in a 5-0 rout.

His bit-part role is something Fati may have to accept given Lewandowski is a seemingly guaranteed starter when available to head coach Xavi. This weekend sees Lewandowski serve the second part of a three-game ban.

Gavi, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele have featured off the Polish striker, with Raphinha and Ferran Torres also getting chances.

Now it seems Fati may get to start against Getafe in LaLiga on Sunday, with Xavi saying: "He plays a decisive role in the team. He makes a difference and has that great communion with the goal.

"He is decisive and is being important for the team, and more so in the games that Robert is not there due to suspension he has to be a reference."

Barcelona are on a high after the Supercopa success, with Xavi saying: "This victory against Madrid means a lot to us, it gives us confidence and morale and makes us believe more.

"Now is the time to maintain our level and compete and fight for the three remaining titles."

They have LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League still to play for, having been knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage, with Xavi determined to wring everything out of his players.

"You have to keep demanding and even increase the demands," the coach said. "Now it's easy to relax, and you have to avoid that and make everyone feel important.

"You can play better. The game against Madrid was excellent and brilliant, but you have to keep up the level."

Xavi said there are fitness concerns over Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong ahead of Getafe's visit to Camp Nou.

"They're available, but they're having problems again," Xavi said. "We can't play with players who are at 80 per cent. Every game is a war, it's a final."

Barcelona headed into the weekend with a three-point lead over Madrid at the top of the table, also knowing they had not lost at home in their 17 previous games against Getafe (W13 D4).

The Catalan giants no longer have Memphis Depay in their ranks after he made a move to Atletico Madrid this week, with the Dutch forward having told Xavi he was "not comfortable" and needed to play more often.

Xavi is unsure whether he will be able to make signings before the January transfer window closes given financial fair play limitations, but he said it "wouldn't be a problem" if there is no further movement on that front.

Pumas UNAM have terminated Dani Alves' contract after the former Barcelona defender was arrested on sexual assault charges.

Alves was arrested in Barcelona on Friday after it was alleged he sexually assaulted a woman in a nightclub bathroom.

The 39-year-old, who became the oldest player to feature in a World Cup match for Brazil when he played against Cameroon in Qatar last month, has denied assaulting the woman.

According to widespread reports, Alves – who has also played for Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla – gave a statement to the Mossos d'Esquadra police force before the public prosecutor's office requested that he should be detained and not granted bail.

Spanish news agency EFE reported how that application, plus a private prosecution brought by the woman who made the allegation, would be put to the investigating judge to determine whether Alves is kept in prison while investigations continue.

Subsequently, Pumas confirmed on Friday, via a short statement on their website and a media briefing from club president Leopoldo Silva, that they had terminated Alves' contract.

Alves joined Mexican side Pumas in 2022 after his second spell at Barca came to an end.

Memphis Depay is eager to repay the faith shown in him by Atletico Madrid following his move from Barcelona.

Depay fell down the pecking order at Camp Nou and signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Rojiblancos on Friday.

Atleti are paying an up front free of €3million to Barca for the forward, who was due to be out of contract in July, potentially rising to €4m.

Depay is determined to make a big impact in the Spanish capital..

"Everything has gone great," he said. "I have had a good conversation with the coach [Diego Simeone] and I am eager to show what I can do.

"It's a very big club, with an impressive history. I've a heard a lot of good stories from them. They wanted me to be here. [That] has been very important."

On his meeting with Simeone, Depay revealed: "The most important thing [is] he wants me to feel t home.

"That makes me excited. He is known [for] his passion for the club and now he wants me to be as ready as soon as possible. He liked me when I was at Lyon."

Depay also touched on conversations with Antoine Griezmann, who previously played with him at Barcelona before returning to Atleti.

"He told me many good things," he added. "The people are nice, [but[ it wasn't a surprise. They have welcomed me with open arms [and] I want to play with the team now."

Dani Alves was arrested on Friday by police in Barcelona after it was alleged he sexually assaulted a woman in a nightclub bathroom.

The former Barcelona and Brazil right-back gave a statement to the Mossos d'Esquadra police force before the public prosecutor's office requested that he should be detained and not granted bail.

Spanish news agency EFE reported how that application, plus a private prosecution brought by the woman who made the allegation, would be put to the investigating judge to determine whether Alves is kept in prison while investigations continue.

Alves, 39, has also played for Paris Saint-Germain, Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla, and returned for a second spell at Barcelona last season, before joining Mexican team Pumas UNAM.

The incident under investigation is alleged to have happened on the evening of December 30.

In a video sent to Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 earlier this month, Alves denied assaulting the woman.

Real Madrid and bitter rivals Atletico Madrid will duel for a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals after being paired in the last eight.

Los Blancos survived a scare on Thursday as they came from 2-0 down at Villarreal to win 3-2 thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Dani Ceballos.

It ensured Carlo Ancelotti's team bounced back from losing to Barcelona in the Supercopa de Espana final four days earlier.

Nevertheless, their route does not get any easier with Thursday's draw pitting them against city rivals Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Diego Simeone's side beat Levante 2-0 in Valencia on Wednesday, with Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente scoring in the second half.

It will be the first time Atletico and Madrid have tussled in the Copa since January 2015, when the former emerged 4-2 aggregate winners over two legs.

The competition remains on track for a Clasico final, though Barca will also have to get past tricky opponents to reach the last four.

Real Sociedad, who have won each of their past eight games in all competitions and are third in LaLiga, will visit Camp Nou.

La Real have a dreadful record away to Barcelona, however, last winning there in LaLiga way back in 1991.

The other two quarter-finals are also all-LaLiga affairs.

Last season's beaten finalists Valencia will meet Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla Stadium, while Osasuna – conquerors of defending champions Real Betis – play host to a Sevilla side who are battling relegation in the league.

The matches are scheduled across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

 

Copa del Rey quarter-final draw in full:

Barcelona v Real Sociedad

Osasuna v Sevilla

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

Valencia v Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona have confirmed they have the option to purchase Yannick Carrasco as part of the deal that saw Memphis Depay join Atletico Madrid.

Atleti announced the signing of Depay on Friday on a two-and-a-half-year deal after Diego Simeone's side agreed to pay Barca €3million up front with a possible €1m in add-ons.

LaLiga leaders Barca included a non-compulsory purchase option for Atletico winger Carrasco, who is in his seventh season as an Atleti player, either side of a short stint in China.

Reports from Spain suggest Barcelona will have to hand over €20m should they wish to sign the 29-year-old Belgium international.

Carrasco has played in 23 of Atletico's 26 games this season, 15 of those starts, and has the fifth-most goal involvements with five – four goals of his own and one assist.

Atleti have already allowed Joao Felix to join Chelsea on loan for the rest of the season during the January transfer window, while Matheus Cunha made the switch to Wolves.

Memphis Depay has completed a transfer to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona.

The Netherlands international, who was given permission to train with Atletico on Thursday, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Atletico are reportedly paying an up front free of €3million to Barca for a player who was due to be out of contract in July, potentially rising to €4m.

Depay joined Barcelona on a free transfer from Lyon ahead of the 2021-22 season, linking up again with Ronald Koeman, for whom he had played with the Oranje, but Koeman was fired by the Blaugrana at the end of October 2021.

Xavi was hired a week later and never appeared to have quite the same trust in Depay.

His first 11 LaLiga appearances were all as a starter, but after Xavi's appointment only nine of his next 17 top-flight outings came from the start.

Depay was hampered by the January 2022 arrivals of Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore.

While the latter two have since departed, the addition of Raphinha in pre-season brought more competition for places.

As such, Depay leaves having made just two LaLiga appearances this season and none since September.

Depay is a necessary addition for Atletico, however.

Joao Felix left on loan to Chelsea, while Matheus Cunha joined Wolves on a temporary deal that has reportedly already met the conditions required to make it a permanent agreement.

Despite winning neither of their past two games, Atletico are fourth in LaLiga, ahead of Villarreal and Real Betis on goal difference.

Depay could make his debut when Atletico host Real Valladolid on Saturday.

 

Newcastle United have reportedly pushed Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the top of their extended transfer wish-list.

Calvert-Lewin, 25, is in his seventh season with Everton, which has been highlighted by a pair of terrific seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21 where he combined for 29 of his 46 total Premier League goals.

He missed three months this past campaign due to a fractured toe, and spent the first two months of the current season on the sideline nursing a knee injury, resulting in only one league goal since May.

Despite his lack of production in recent months, Calvert-Lewin already has 11 senior international caps for England under his belt, and could be viewed as a depreciating asset due to Everton's struggle in the relegation zone.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE IDENTIFY CALVERT-LEWIN AS TOP FORWARD TARGET

According to The Sun, Newcastle want to secure Calvert-Lewin this month as he is "right at the top" of their list of targets.

The report states he is valued at £35million, and Everton are bracing themselves for bids as they sit 19th after just three wins from 19 matches.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph adds Newcastle are in discussions to send striker Chris Wood on loan to Nottingham Forest, as well as listing a number of players the club have expressed interest in.

They include Calvert-Lewin's team-mate Anthony Gordon, Chelsea trio Conor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Manchester United's Scott McTominay.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Athletic are reporting Brighton and Hove Albion have rejected a £55m bid from Chelsea for 21-year-old midfielder Moises Caicedo.

– According to AS, Barcelona would like to sign 26-year-old Wolves forward Goncalo Guedes on a loan with a mandatory buy clause, but Italian journalist Matteo Moretto is reporting Guedes is in Portugal ahead of completing a loan move to Benfica.

Everton are in talks with Rennes about a loan with an option to buy 20-year-old winger Kamaldeen Sulemana, although the Ghana international is expected to cost in the range of £40m (€45m), per GiveMeSport.

– Bild are reporting highly rated 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Youssoufa Moukoko – who had interest from Chelsea and Barcelona as he entered the final six months of his contract – is in the final stages of signing a three-year extension with the German club.

Leicester City have offered £10m for 24-year-old Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar, who was a standout for Australia at the World Cup, per GianlucaDimarzio.com.

Xavi believes Barcelona have "no secondary players" among their squad, hailing their team effort after brushing aside Ceuta in the Copa del Rey.

A Robert Lewandowski brace, plus goals for Raphinha, Ansu Fati and Franck Kessie saw the Blaugrana sweep past their third-tier hosts on Thursday with a 5-0 victory.

Coupled with their rich form this term in LaLiga, where they have a three-point cushion over rivals Real Madrid, Barca look primed to challenge for silverware.

Former player Xavi, who has steered the club back to steadier waters since his return to Camp Nou, feels he has the team to pull off that pursuit successfully after their latest win.

"The team wants to win, the team is hungry," he said. "It is not easy to come to grounds like these [and win].

"We have been very professional, and we have shown that we have a great squad. For me, there are no secondary players.

"Here, we have players who have had important games for us, and who are going to have them. Marcos [Alonso], Jordi Alba and [Hector] Bellerin have been extraordinary."

Despite facing third-tier opposition, Xavi resisted the urge to rest several players days after victory in the Supercopa de Espana, and shortly before a return to LaLiga action against Getafe.

That included veteran forward Lewandowski, whose inclusion among an otherwise youthful team may have raised some eyebrows among fans.

Xavi was clear in his answer however, adding: "We did not want him to be unemployed for two weeks.

"He has shown us the professional that he is. For us, he is perfect, because he has also scored the goals."

One player not in Xavi's plans however is Memphis Depay, whose move to Atletico Madrid grew nearer on Thursday after the Dutchman trained with the Rojiblancos.

The coach suggested finding a replacement is more preferable than imperative, adding: "Memphis asked to leave.

"I don't know if it is official but he is going to Atletico. It wouldn't be a tragedy [if we didn't replace him] but it is better if we strengthen ourselves."

Barcelona sailed comfortably into the Copa del Rey quarter-finals thanks to a second-half splurge of goals in Thursday's 5-0 win over third-tier Ceuta.

The Blaugrana started slow at Estadio Alfonso Murube, but ultimately had few issues in sealing a place in the last eight.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice in the second half, either side of goals from Ansu Fati and Franck Kessie, to ensure Barca's progression was routine enough, with Raphinha having put the visitors ahead before the interval.

LaLiga leaders Barca are well in the hunt for a domestic clean sweep after their Supercopa de Espana victory over Real Madrid.

Despite naming a side littered with top-tier talent, Barca did not impose themselves as well as might have been expected throughout the first half.

The visitors struggled for clear-cut opportunities despite posting an overwhelming 69.8 per cent possession figure.

It was a piece of individual brilliance that unlocked their hosts four minutes before half-time, when Raphinha curled beyond Tomas Mejias.

Barca doubled their lead five minutes after the break, when Kessie picked off a wayward pass deep in Ceuta territory to set Lewandowski up for an easy finish.

Fati capped a fine solo run with a deft touch to put Barca 3-0 up, with Kessie turning from provider to scorer as he headed in from Raphinha's cross seven minutes later.

Lewandowski got his second in the 90th minute, drilling low into the corner to cap off an emphatic win after Kessi, Fati and Jordi Alba had gone close.

Memphis Depay was given permission by Barcelona to train with Atletico Madrid on Thursday as the teams negotiate a transfer.

Netherlands international Depay has struggled for playing time at Barca under Xavi and his contract ends at the end of the season.

Widespread reports this week suggested Atleti are prepared to pay an initial €3million for Depay, potentially rising to €4m with add-ons.

While a deal has yet to be struck between the clubs, Atleti have confirmed talks are at an advanced stage, with Depay now training alongside his soon-to-be team-mates.

"Memphis, with permission from Barcelona, trained for the first time in Majadahonda while both clubs close their transfer," Atleti posted on their official Twitter page.

Depay joined Barcelona on a free transfer from Lyon ahead of the 2021-22 season, linking up again with Ronald Koeman, for whom he had played for with the Netherlands.

But Koeman was fired by the Blaugrana in October 2021 and his successor Xavi never appeared to have the same trust in the former Manchester United and PSV attacker.

Depay's first 11 LaLiga appearances were all as a starter, but after Xavi's appointment only nine of his next 17 top-flight outings came from the start.

He is set to become fourth-placed Atletico's first signing of a January window that has so far seen Joao Felix leave for Chelsea on loan and Matheus Cunha join Wolves.

Should the deal go through in time, Depay could make his debut against Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Manchester City have topped the Deloitte Football Money League for the second year running, with 11 of the world's 20 highest-earning clubs coming from the Premier League.

Reigning English champions City last year became just the fourth club ever to top the list, which examines the top-performing football clubs in terms of revenue every year.

City remained the world's highest revenue-generating club in the 2021-22 campaign – the first season in which fans returned to stadiums as coronavirus restrictions were eased.

They made £619.1million (€731m) over that period to finish ahead of LaLiga giants Real Madrid (€713.8m), while Liverpool climbed from seventh to their highest position of third after making £594.3m (€701.7m).

Fellow English clubs Manchester United (fourth), Chelsea (eighth), Tottenham (ninth) and Arsenal (10th) also make the top 10, with West Ham (15th), Leicester City (17th), Leeds United (18th), Everton (19th) and Newcastle United (20th) in the top 20.

It marks the first time in the report's 26 years that a single country has provided more than half of the rich list.

"The Premier League was the only one of the big five European leagues to experience an increase in its media rights value during its most recent rights sale process," said Tim Bridge, the lead partner in Deloitte's Sports Business Group.

"It continues to appeal to millions of global followers and its member clubs have a greater revenue advantage over international rivals."

Paris Saint-Germain (fifth), Bayern Munich (sixth), Barcelona (seventh), Juventus (11th), Atletico Madrid (12th), Borussia Dortmund (13th), Inter (14th) and Milan (16th) make up the rest of the top 20.

In the women's game, Barcelona generated the highest revenue (€7.7m) after winning the Champions League in 2021 and reaching the final last year.

Memphis Depay has been linked with a move away from Barcelona, having had a frustrating 2022-23 season.

The Dutchman has only made a handful of appearances for the Blaugrana, following an off-season of busy transfer activity at Camp Nou.

Depay had been linked with several clubs, including Premier League outfits Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Tottenham.

TOP STORY – MEMPHIS TO EXIT BARCELONA FOR ATLETICO

Depay will leave Barcelona to join Atletico Madrid with an agreement reached on a fee of approximately €3-4million, reports Fabrizio Romano.

The Dutch forward is set to travel to Madrid to complete the formalities and medicals soon.

According to Romano, the 28-year-old will sign a two-and-a-half-year deal with Atleti.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano claims Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer will undergo medical tests with Bayern Munich on Thursday, before signing his contract with the Bavarians with the deal done between the clubs.

– Sky Sport Italia claims Roma are willing to sell Nicolo Zaniolo in January at the right price, approximately €40m, as the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham United  and Borussia Dortmund circle.

Real Madrid are interested in Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho but the Red Devils have made an improved contract offer for the Argentinian, reports The Independent.

– Arsenal are happy to wait until the end of the season to pursue West Ham's Declan Rice, after missing out on Mykhaylo Mudryk, claims The Sun.

Tottenham have made a first bid for Sporting right-back Pedro Porro, which included a player plus guaranteed money, but the Portuguese club have turned this down, according to Fabrizio Romano. Sporting want €45m (£39m) with talks ongoing.

Chris Wood is on the cusp of joining Nottingham Forest on loan from Newcastle United, reports The Athletic. The deal would include an option to make the move permanent.

– West Ham tabled an offer for Aston Villa forward Danny Ings, reports The Telegraph.

Page 3 of 158
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.