Jurgen Klopp has decided against signing unvaccinated players in January, with the Liverpool boss branding those who have not received a jab a “constant threat” to the rest of his squad.
Klopp is a passionate supporter of the COVID-19 vaccine programme and is convinced that getting it should be mandatory, at least from a moral perspective. Indeed, the Reds chief has confirmed that “99 per cent” of his current squad are fully vaccinated – with the UK currently tackling a surge in the Omicron variant.
Reds trio Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones missed the win over Newcastle on Thursday night due to suspected positive COVID-19 tests. Meanwhile, six of this weekend’s Premier League clashes have been postponed due to outbreaks.
With the January transfer window fast approaching and Liverpool tipped to strengthen, Klopp has said he will ensure any new signings are fully vaccinated in order to enter the club’s bubble.
The German coach has, however, admitted that no deals are currently lined up. That comes as a slight surprise, given that Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will be away at the African Cup of Nations for several weeks.
“We are obviously not close to signing a player so I did not think about it but then I thought about it and yes, it will be influential, definitely,” Klopp said when asked if the stance of transfer targets towards the vaccine might affect their suitability for Liverpool, as reported in the Daily Express.
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Too many problems to overcome
“In a situation like this, let’s take our situation. If a player is not vaccinated at all, he is a constant threat for all of us.
“He doesn’t want to be a threat, of course, it is not that he thinks, ‘Oh my God, I don’t care about the others,’ but he is and we have to find different scenarios.
“He has to change in a different dressing room, has to eat in a different dining room. The player has to sit in a different bus, he has to drive in a different car and from an organisational point of view, it gets really messy.
“If you really want to follow the protocols, it is incredibly difficult to do. If one gets Covid and he was in the last four days around him, he will be in isolation.
“What if we have to travel to a country to play international football and we come back, he has to self-isolate, all these kinds of things. Of course it is going to be influential.
“We have to do all these kinds of things. Like building extra buildings for unvaccinated players and it will not happen. Hopefully it will not be necessary in the future. That’s it.”
Klopp hails star’s killer instinct
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp has lauded Diogo Jota for developing a “proper killer instinct” up front for Liverpool in the past few months.
The Reds turned heads when bringing the forward in from Wolves for a flexible deal that will eventually reach £41million. Despite initial questions about how he would fare behind the club’s established front three, he has progressed impressively.
Nine goals in his first 17 games made him a firm contender to start alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Jota finished last season well too, after recovering from a nasty knee injury.
This season, though, he has continued in such form. Twenty goals in 10 games have seen him advance his claims to start, especially amid Roberto Firmino’s hamstring injury.
Speaking at a press conference, Reds boss Klopp lauded Jota for his further development.
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Jota in unstoppable form
“Diogo is an incredible player,” the manager said. “Players underrated or under the radar, I don’t know why you always ask me that. They are not under my radar.
“If people do that, how can I change that? Diogo is an exceptional player, Mo is an exceptional player. By the way Sadio Mane plays really good in the moment – he is just unlucky in the last moments.
“All of these boys have incredible quality. That’s why they come into these positions and they come in these situations.
“Diogo has developed in the last few months a proper killer instinct, that’s true. He is there in the moments, he’s in the right spaces. He brings himself into good positions.”
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Man Utd perform transfer masterclass with deal ‘confirmed’, star spotted at new club
Man Utd are on the verge of completing a deal to send Anthony Martial to Sevilla on very favourable terms, and the Frenchman has been spotted arriving in Spain.
The future of Martial was one of the biggest talking points at Old Trafford this month. The 26-year-old had a public spat with Ralf Rangnick after the German boss claimed Martial has refused to play.
Martial fired back on social media, stating he has never refused to don the club’s colours. Within a week, the saga was brought to a close, and Martial was integrated back into the matchday squads.
However, whether he would remain at the club beyond January 31 remained a mystery.
Sevilla had drawn the strongest links with a potential loan move. However, United’s high demands had seemingly dissuaded the Spanish side.
United were demanding the buying club pay 100 percent of the forward’s salary, as well as a hefty loan fee.
Man Utd bargain hard over Martial
Rangnick suggested the club were open to sanctioning a move, though only if the terms of the deal were in United’s favour.
Now, per transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Martial’s loan move to Seville is a done deal. The Italian tweeted the switch is ‘confirmed’ after posting a video of Martial arriving in Seville.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 25, 2022
The terms of the proposed move were revealed earlier on Tuesday, and they make great reading for United’s financial department.
The Daily Mail claimed that Sevilla offered a £5million loan fee, as per Man Utd’s request. Furthermore, per Romano, Sevilla have offered to cover his salary until June.
What made that decision easier was the fact Martial has reportedly agreed to take a pay-cut to ease the move along.
There is not expected to be an option to buy included in the move. As such, United will be hoping Martial’s stint in Spain can mirror that of Jesse Lingard’s at West Ham last year.
If successful, Martial would return a superior player. He would also stabilise his transfer value – something that will please United if they seek a sale in the summer.
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Newcastle cave in to Man Utd, Lingard demands
Meanwhile, Newcastle are preparing one final push to sign Jesse Lingard and the winger is open to moving, but they still face an uphill struggle convincing Man Utd to sell, per a report.
West Ham and Newcastle have both been linked with acquiring Lingard on loan this month. While that is not as beneficial to Man Utd as an outright sale, it could at least boost their coffers if they can secure both a loan fee and the entirety of Lingard’s wages paid by the buying club.
And according to Sky Sports, that is exactly what Newcastle are now prepared to do. They report the Magpies are willing to pay both a loan fee and 100 percent of Lingard’s salary if a six-month loan can be agreed.
From the player’s end, Lingard would reportedly ‘welcome the opportunity’ to speak to Newcastle. Lingard is stated to have no intention of penning fresh terms at Old Trafford.
Furthermore, another impressive loan spell over the next half-season would up his negotiating power in the summer when it comes to signing a free agent deal.
Lingard is deemed ‘desperate’ to play regularly over the next six months. However, despite Newcastle agreeing to meet Man Utd’s two demands, a deal is not straightforward.
The Red Devils are yet to make a ‘final decision’ on whether to allow Lingard to leave this month. Despite his lack of gametime under Rangnick, he remains a superb option in reserve – should the call ever come.
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Newcastle make ‘concrete approach’ for Gosens alternative as top-half competition denied
Newcastle United are the latest Premier League club to be linked with Paris Saint-Germain outcast Layvin Kurzawa – but the transfer remains complicated.
Kurzawa has only played once for PSG this season and they are trying to offload him this month. However, the fact they extended his contract until 2024 just over a year ago is causing them problems.
Still, there are a number of clubs where there is a feeling Kurzawa may fit in. PSG are therefore trying to find the right solution for someone to take the 29-year-old.
Several sources linked him with a transfer to Chelsea earlier this month. The Blues need a new left-back while Ben Chilwell is on the sidelines with an ACL injury. Thomas Tuchel has given Kurzawa more appearances than any other coach from their time together at PSG.
But it soon became clear that they would not be interested in a reunion, forcing the French sellers to look elsewhere.
He was reportedly offered to Manchester City, who have a lack of depth at left-back in one of the only gaps in their star-studded squad.
But Get French Football News are now reporting that no club in the top half of the Premier League wants to take Kurzawa.
But they do confirm that Newcastle have made a “concrete approach” for the France international.
Whether it will lead to the desired outcome remains to be seen. PSG have asked Kurzawa’s agents to find him a new club, so are unlikely to turn down any offers. However, convincing the player is another matter.
Kurzawa’s family is settled in Paris and he does not want to uproot them, even though it means his chances of playing regular football are slim to none.
Whether Newcastle could tempt him with a high salary and a potential starting berth, only time will tell.
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Kurzawa could be Gosens alternative
Their interest in Kurzawa comes as reports reveal their pursuit of Robin Gosens is facing a serious threat.
Reports earlier this month stated the wing-back had agreed personal terms with Newcastle. It was then down to the Magpies to agree a fee with Atalanta.
According to Sky Sport, Newcastle have been preparing an official offer to Atalanta, who are seeking more than €25m.
But there is a growing chance Newcastle could miss out. Various sources have reported that Inter Milan are keen on Gosens.
In fact, Fabrizio Romano writes that Gosens is Inter’s “main target” for January. As such, they are accelerating talks.
Romano’s latest update confirms Inter are now leading Newcastle in the race and want an immediate agreement.
It will force Newcastle to look for an alternative target. For now, their current options at left-back are Jamal Lewis, Paul Dummett and Matt Ritchie.
They could add Kurzawa to their ranks but will have some work to do to convince him to leave Paris behind, no matter his footballing situation.
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