Footy Extras

Fluminense academy sensation appears on Liverpool radar

Brazilian media outlet UOL reports on the race for Fluminense starlet Kayky, who’s being followed by multiple European sides.

They name the likes of Liverpool, Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City in the competition for the 17-year-old ace, and for now, it seems the Ukrainian outfit is in the lead.

It’s understood the club sent a scout to South America a couple of weeks ago, and as the talks go on, there should be a bid in the coming days, with a deal similar to the one which took Joao Pedro to the Championship side, Watford.

Regarding the Premier League outfits, Manchester City are believed to be outsiders, with smaller chances of getting the player.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s team contacted Fluminense to get more information on the talent, as the clubs have a ‘good relationship’.

The Merseyside heavyweights have not yet taken things further.

UOL highlights the fact that the attacker is seen as a big talent not only by Fluzao but by the international media as well.

Since he only turns 18 in June, there is still a while until he would be able to move to Europe. It’s also not clear if the Reds or the Citizens would have problems getting him a work permit.

Elsewhere, Liverpool have been allegedly linked with a move for PSG attacker Kylian Mbappe and Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo are claiming that the Reds could ‘take advantage’ of La Liga giants Real Madrid’s financial problems and beat them in the hunt to sign the France international.

The report states that Los Blancos have been hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and they will need to cash in on two ‘heavyweight’ players in order to fund the signing of Kylian.

However, if the Spaniards are unable to raise the funds in the summer then they’ll be forced to wait and the Reds could swoop in.

Chelsea drop long-standing interest in £80m English midfield talent

Chelsea will allegedly not pursue midfielder Declan Rice following the appointment of Thomas Tuchel because the club believe they already have two stars to fill the defensive-midfield role.

West Ham also believe their city rivals will not continue their long-running pursuit of Rice after the sacking of manager Frank Lampard.

Declan was a top target for Frank during his time in charge at Chelsea.

However, the Blues relieved the club icon of his duties as boss on Monday.

Rice spent eight years in the Blues academy before leaving the club aged 14.

The Englishman has become an integral part of the Hammers side in recent seasons as well as a regular under Gareth Southgate for his country.

Reports had stated that Lampard viewed Rice as a long-term solution to the team’s defensive issues, playing at the back rather than in his more familiar midfield position.

However, Frank was unable to get a rumoured deal over the line for Rice and now he has left Chelsea, The Telegraph state West Ham are confident the Stamford Bridge outfit will no longer pursue the 22-year-old.

The report adds that there is no strong desire from the Chelsea management to sign Rice because of the asking price of over £80 million.

Tuchel is said to be a fan of Blues’ midfield outcast Jorginho, who is one of two stars in the Chelsea squad who can play in defensive midfield, with the France international N’Golo Kante being the other.

Chelsea senior figures believe the presence of the former Leicester City man and the Italo-Brazilian player mean a move for Rice is not necessary.

Chelsea confirm German tactician on one-and-a-half-year contract

Chelsea have reportedly moved swiftly to bring in Frank Lampard’s successor and have confirmed the appointment of the German tactician Thomas Tuchel as their new head coach.

Frank was sacked the day after guiding the Blues to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory over Luton Town but his side had won just one of their past five PL matches.

With Chelsea in ninth place, owner Roman Abramovich pulled the trigger on the club icon – ending his reign in charge after just 18 months. Thomas arrives with far more experience than his predecessor.

Tuchel won the DFB-Pokal during his time with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, having made his name at another German side Mainz, before winning two league titles, the Coupe de la Ligue, the Coupe de France, as Paris Saint-Germain manager, while also guiding them to last campaign’s Champions League final.

The German thinks there is a great foundation for him to build upon after Frank’s work. ‘I would like to thank Chelsea FC for their confidence in me and my staff,’ said Thomas after his appointment.

‘We all have the greatest respect for Frank Lampard’s work and the legacy he created at Chelsea.

‘At the same time, I cannot wait to meet my new team and compete in the most exciting league in football. ‘I am grateful to now be part of the Chelsea family – it feels amazing!’

Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia added: ‘It is never easy to change Head Coach in the middle of the season but we are very happy to secure one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel.

‘There is still much to play for and much to achieve, this season and beyond. We welcome Thomas to the Club.’

Official: Norwegian playmaker seals six-month Arsenal loan deal

Arsenal have brought in the Norway international Martin Odegaard on loan from the La Liga giants Real Madrid.

The 22-year-old midfielder joins until the end of the current campaign, providing the club with some much-needed creativity following the departure of the German star Mesut Ozil.

Martin had requested to depart the Santiago Bernabeu in January due to a lack of senior team minutes so far this season. Odegaard has played only seven times in the Spanish top-flight and is yet to complete 90 minutes for Los Blancos since returning from last season’s loan stint at Real Sociedad.

Sociedad had been linked with a swoop to take Odegaard back in January but a return became unlikely once the Gunners entered the race to sign him.

The Norwegian ace has been handed the No.11 shirt by the north Londoners, having worn the No.21 shirt at Madrid this campaign.

He could be in contention to make his debut in Saturday’s high-profile PL match against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.

Mikel Arteta will have to decide whether to throw him straight into his starting XI for that fixture or start Odegaard on the substitutes’ bench, depending upon the player’s fitness level.

Following that match, the London-based heavyweights will take in a trip to Molineux to face Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves on Tuesday, February 2.

The playmaker is also eligible to be included in his new side’s Europa League squad, with a last-32 tie with SL Benfica on the horizon in February.

Liverpool backed to fork out more than £100m for in-demand striker

John Aldridge wants his former club Liverpool to splash out in excess of £100 million on striker Erling Haaland as he thinks the Brazil international Roberto Firmino’s form is a ‘concern’.

Roberto has registered just five goals in all competitions this season and generally struggled to make a big impact on a couple of occasions.

Liverpool are on a five-match winless run in the league and have netted just once over that period, with the likes of No.10 star Sadio Mane and the Egypt international Mohamed Salah also misfiring.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund’s clinical striker Erling can’t stop scoring for the German outfit and has attracted the attention of Europe’s top clubs.

The 20-year-old has bagged 14 goals in 13 Bundesliga matches this campaign, and ex-Reds attacker Aldridge believes his former side should break the bank to land Haaland in the summer.

‘Roberto Firmino’s form has been a concern for some time, so I would encourage Liverpool to do all they can to sign Erling Haaland next summer,’ John told the Sunday World.

‘Liverpool don’t have a Plan B option in their forward line and as we have seen with their slump in form over the last few weeks, they don’t have a back-up plan when Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are not firing.

‘A player like Haaland would give them that variation and while he would cost in excess of £100m to sign from Dortmund, he is the man I’d like to see Liverpool go for.’

Arsenal want to bolster defensive options by landing Marseille star

Arsenal are interested in landing Marseille left-back Jordan Amavi, reports in France say.

Manager Mikel Arteta recently admitted that his team are ‘short’ in the position, having let defender Sead Kolasinac return to Schalke on loan.

Ryan Bertrand has been considered as a potential target, although Southampton are ‘confident’ that the Englishman will put pen to paper on a fresh contract at the club.

In his place, another former Aston Villa man has emerged as a genuine target.

According to a report from L’Equipe, the Gunners are among a trio of clubs hoping to tempt Amavi away from Marseille in the summer for free.

To do so they will have to fight off competition from Napoli and Crystal Palace, with the latter believed to have shown ‘the most interest’.

Marseille’s chief Pablo Longoria has been trying to persuade Amavi to extend his deal at Stade Velodrome but discussions have hit a dead end.

The 26-year-old joined Villa back in 2015 as a promising 21-year-old from Nice.

In November of that year, however, the player suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while on France U21 duty.

By the time he returned to fitness, the Villa had been relegated to the EFL Championship in woeful fashion.

He’d feature in 34 matches in England’s second tier upon his comeback, before signing for Marseille four years ago.

Amavi helped Andre Villas-Boas’ outfit to an impressive second place finish last campaign, but is now considering his options.