RUDIGER TO LIVERPOOL?
Even with Joel Matip arriving in the summer, the consensus is that Liverpool need another centre-half. That centre-half could be German centre-half Antonio Rudiger, who has impressed on loan at Roma from Stuttgart. With a £7m fee already agreed, the Serie A club is expected to buy the 23-year-old. But they could make a tidy profit by then selling Rudiger to a Premier League club, with Chelsea and Liverpool both said to be interested. Italian reports are linking Liverpool with a £15m bid for a player who has started Germany’s last three international friendlies.
Germany coach Joachim Low recently said of Rudiger: “He was originally a central defender, but he can also play on the right and I can see him in a variety of positions. He can play in either role, depending on what the team and the coach needs, and he knows how to do it well also.”
CHELSEA OUT OF STONES ‘RACE’?
We missed this one on Sunday but the Express are ‘exclusively’ claiming that Chelsea are unwilling to pay Everton’s asking price for John Stones, which could be set to rise north of £50m. Of course they’re unwilling to pay £50m for John Stones; everybody should be. According to the Express, this ‘could leave Manchester rivals City and United to slug it out to sign Stones, although he is also on Barcelona’s radar’. Are we still buying this nonsense? Stones is part of a defence that has conceded eight goals in the last three games and 52 all season – comfortably more than West Brom or Crystal Palace.
RENATO SANCHES COULD COST £63M
Obviously, like the Antony Martial deal, Manchester United will only ever pay £63m for Portuguese international Renato Sanches if he was a massive success. But the deal agreed by Manchester United and Benfica – as claimed by European football bod Andy Brassell – involves half of that money being paid up front for an 18-year-old central midfielder who has played one season of football. That’s a sh*t-ton of money. Sanches was sent off at the weekend against Maritomo so could conceivably have played his last game for Benfica before a massive move.
AND THE REST
Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri has targeted free-scoring Pescara striker Gianluca Lapadula to help out Jamie Vardy…Riyad Mahrez is set to stick with Leicester City despite interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs…Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City are among the teams chasing French teenager Ousmane Dembele…Arsenal have made a bid for Bolton defender Rob Holding – and hope he’ll be their first summer signing…West Ham have offered teenager Reece Oxford a new deal to try to fend off serious interest from Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United…Steve Walsh, the man behind Leicester City’s key signings of Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante, has agreed a new contract…Ajax boss Frank de Boer would ‘love’ to join Everton this summer, according to his agent…Brendan Rodgers has not yet agreed a deal to return to Swansea City – but he remains the frontrunner in the race to be the club’s manager next season.