Liverpool have made contact with Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo and told him of the key role Jurgen Klopp wants to give him in the team, according to a report.
The 22-year-old is one of a number of shining lights at the La Liga club this season. Following a switch from big-money signings to a major focus on youth and homegrown talent, Araujo has proven his worth.
The Uruguayan, who has already made 53 outings for Barcelona, has become a key part of the team. In fact, head coach Xavi has reportedly made him a cornerstone of his side going forward.
Chelsea are also in the hunt for Araujo, who the Blues believe can give them vital attributes.
However, the Daily Mail, citing reports in Spain, have claimed that Liverpool have stepped up the chase for the centre-back.
Indeed, they have made contact with the player and his representatives, touching base over key areas.
Liverpool, led by sporting director Michael Edwards, have offered to double his wages to €6million (£5million) per year.
What’s more, on behalf of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, they have given Araujo assurances over a key role at Anfield. The defender would reportedly be guaranteed regular action in Liverpool’s rotatable back line.
Ultimately, the ambition of a proper trophy hunt under Klopp has attracted the player’s attention.
Araujo feels ‘very happy’ at Barcelona, the report adds, but also ‘a little disappointed’ with the club’s current project. The La Liga club’s financial struggles have affected their fight for trophies.
However, Barcelona still want to convince him to stay as his contract runs out in the summer of 2023. If they cannot do so, they would want to sell him next summer to avoid the risk of losing him for free in 2023.
Although, Barca president Joan Laporta has reportedly not yet opened talks with the player. This is said to have made his agent ‘greatly upset’.
Potential Liverpool defender shake-up
Liverpool boss Klopp has learnt from the lessons of last season, when all three of his senior centre-backs suffered long-term injuries.
As such, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate now regularly rotate alongside Virgil van Dijk. Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Phillips factor into that process too, but the former is currently out.
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Adding Araujo to his ranks would bolster Klopp’s ranks as he looks to avoid another injury crisis.
However, fringe star Phillips has barely played this season and reports have claimed that Newcastle are eyeing a raid for him as they look to beef up their own ranks in January.
Jurgen Klopp green lights Newcastle deal for Liverpool man as Howe fails in bid for Brighton star
Newcastle are reportedly in the clear to push through a deal for Liverpool’s Nat Phillips after their efforts to prise a defender away from Brighton were swiftly rejected.
The Magpies are gearing themselves up for a frantic end to the transfer window. With Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier brought in, Eddie Howe wants more quality on board to aide their survival fight.
Ideally, the Newcastle boss would like to strengthen three positions: midfield, centre-half and left-back.
His efforts to land a prized Germany man to fill his left-back void, however, have on Wednesday taken a signficant backwards step. That comes after a deal for Bayer Leverkusen left-back Mitchel Bakker also fell short.
The hunt to bolster the midfield, however, does look more promising. Indeed, Newcastle are seemingly in the mix to sign an exciting Brazil international.
Perhaps most pressing of all, however, is the need to add a new central defender.
So far, this has proven a month of frustration for Howe, with efforts to sign Diego Carlos, Sven Botman and James Tarkowski all failing to get over the line.
As such, reports on Wednesday morning claimed Newcastle had submitted an offer to sign Brighton’s Dan Burn. The 6ft 7in centre-half has done well for Graham Potter’s side in recent times. As such, the Magpies reportedly submitted an £8m offer to the Seagulls for the 29-year-old on Wednesday morning.
However, the Daily Mail reports that the bid has been swiftly rejected by Brighton.
As such, the Mail claims it is uncertain whether Howe will look to increase his offer in a bid to twist Brighton’s arm.
Furthermore, Newcastle could have more joy if they were to pursue a move for Phillips.
The centre-half, 24, has slid down the pecking order this season. Phillips answered the call last season when Liverpool’s campaign threatened to unravel amid a spate of injuries in defence.
Magpies chasing initial loan deal
Rhys Williams and loanee Ozan Kabak played their part, but Phillips became the main man at the back, helping to steer Liverpool towards Champions League qualification.
But the signing of Ibrahima Konate and the return of their injured stars has seen Phillips marginalised this year. He is yet to play a single minute in the Premier League this campaign. As such, talk of a January exit began to swirl.
West Ham are among those keen, but are yet to make their move.
Now, as per the Liverpool Echo, Newcastle are ‘considering’ a loan move for Phillips before the winter window shuts.
This deal would include an ‘obligation to buy’ in the summer if the Magpies stay up. Liverpool’s asking price for Phillips is still £15m.
Klopp won’t stand in Nat Phillips way
Jurgen Klopp, while he would prefer a cash sale now, is unlikely to stand in Phillips’ way.
The Reds have recalled Williams from Swansea as cover, allowing Phillips to head out the exit door.
On the Englishman, Klopp said in December: “We cannot keep Nat Phillips forever, that’s clear. We needed him, just to be safe, for that half-year.
“We will see what happens in the window. He was fine doing it because he’s a great guy.
“People love him because of his heading but with his feet he is unbelievable. He’s a late starter, but his development is unbelievable. I would sign him for any club except Liverpool, because we have him.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle turn to Everton man as centre-back options dwindle
TEAMtalk understands that Everton defender Yerry Mina has emerged as a January transfer target for Newcastle United.
Eddie Howe’s primary defensive targets have so far been Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Lille star Sven Botman, but neither of those deals were possible.
Sevilla’s Diego Carlos has since emerged as the number one target. However, that deal has not yet been agreed and Newcastle are looking at other options instead.
Now we can reveal that one of those the Magpies are keen on is Colombian ace Mina, although the recent sacking of Rafa Benitez could see the situation complicated.
Newcastle do still have room in their squad for two domestic loans – and Mina could fill one of those berths.
But it remains to be seen whether Everton would be happy to potentially strengthen a rival who are only seven points behind them in the table and still sit in the bottom three.
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Newcastle, West Ham join Szalai chase
Meanwhile, West Ham and Newcastle United have joined the list of clubs keen to sign Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai in the January transfer window.
The centre-back, who turns 24 on Thursday, has garnered plenty of attention this season with his displays in Turkey. The Hungry international has made 17 starts among 19 top-flight appearances for the Yellow Canaries. And many top clubs have taken note.
Barcelona were linked in November last year but Chelsea seemed at the front of the queue for his signature. A report in early December claimed the Blues had all but sealed a deal for the stopper.
That was because Hungary manager Marco Rossi seemed to confirm that he was off to Stamford Bridge.
Asked about his squad, the 57-year-old Italian said: “It’s hard to name just one player, but right now I see very well Attila Szalai, who plays for Fenerbahce, but I think he is joining Chelsea.”
However, just a day later, Fenerbahce issued a rebuttal.
“The allegations regarding the transfer of our player Attila Szalai, which have been made public in the last few days, based on foreign press and social media, do not reflect the truth,” a statement read.
“Our club has not made any transfer negotiations regarding our successful football player Attila Szalai. Our player continues his work completely concentrating on the goals of our team. We present it to the public.”
That news opened the door for other clubs to get involved and the Hammers have now been linked, per Sky Sports. David Moyes is in the market for a central defender following Angelo Ogbonna’s season-ending injury.
And Szalai ticks all the boxes, as he is also a left-footed defender and is a decade younger than the Italian. But the north-east outfit are also keen.
Szalai to solve Newcastle problems
Newcastle are involved in a relegation fight after winning just one Premier League fixture this term. They have been unable to see out games from winning positions.
And that was the case again at the weekend. They let slip a 1-0 lead, with Joao Pedro bagging late on to earn Watford a point.
Eddie Howe needs to improve his rearguard if he is to prevent the Magpies revolution hitting the buffers in May. Szalai, capped 23 times by Hungary, would not break the bank.
He is valued in the region of £17m – a price that has also attracted Serie A giants AC Milan.
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