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Newcastle now have Arsenal to keep at arm’s length in race for £58m attacking midfielder



Eder Militao Gabriel Jesus Lucas Paqueta and Casemiro before a Brazil match

Newcastle United are attempting to reunite Bruno Guimaraes with Lucas Paqueta – but will have to beat Arsenal to a second Lyon signing, a report has claimed.

Bruno Guimaraes was the most expensive signing of Newcastle’s first transfer window since their Saudi-backed takeover. The January addition had to be patient at first, but is beginning to get more gametime.

That said, there could still be an evolution ongoing in the kind of territory he plays in. At this stage, it is unclear whether Newcastle will be spending big again or not in the summer.

However, plenty of expectation remains. Therefore, there have been several reports about the kind of players that could strengthen their squad.

To add to their four permanent January signings, they may want a new first-choice goalkeeper. There is also a feeling that another striker and an extra defender could arrive.

But the spine of the team could be bolstered further with the signing of someone like Lucas Paqueta. The attacking midfielder has contributed nine goals and six assists from 37 games this season.

He has recently been revealed to be on their transfer radar ahead of the summer. Giving their own slant on proceedings, the Newcastle Chronicle are reporting that they are up against Arsenal for his signature.

The same happened with Bruno Guimaraes, when Newcastle won the battle. If their interest in Paqueta is genuine, they would be hoping for a repeat six months later.

Lucas Paqueta transfer costs revealed

To get their man, though, they would likely have to spend even bigger. The report claims Lyon want a fee in the region of £58m for Paqueta.

What’s more, the Brazilian would be holding out for wages worth £180,000 per week. The costs associated with the deal have even put off Paris Saint-Germain, it is claimed.

But Newcastle can pay whatever they like for targets after their own Middle Eastern takeover. Arsenal also remain in the hunt.

Newcastle head of recruitment Steve Nickson has watched Paqueta on several occasions. What’s more, the former AC Milan man can retain contact with Bruno Guimaraes.

In fact, Paqueta even attended a recent Newcastle match against Southampton to watch his compatriot and ex-clubmate – who went on to score his first goal for the club.

The foundations may be in place for a summer union. However, the competition from Arsenal – who may have European football on offer next season, whereas Newcastle will not in the immediate future, even if their plan is to get there one day – could cause issues.

For now, Paqueta is under contract with Lyon until 2025.

READ MORE: Newcastle bosses ‘growing increasingly hopeful’ of sealing massive transfer coup ahead of Prem rivals




Tom Barkhuizen breaks his silence following Preston North End departure




After five-and-a-half years at Preston North End, Tom Barkhuizen’s time at Deepdale has come to an end with the publication of the club’s retained list last week.

The 28-year-old was plucked from League Two side Morecambe in 2017 by the Lilywhites, with then-manager Simon Grayson believing that he could nurture Barkhuizen into a Championship player.

Barkhuizen was able to make the step up instantly, and under Grayson’s successor Alex Neil he barely missed a Championship game in the following seasons, but the 2021-22 season was one of frustration for winger.

Quiz: 24 facts every Preston North End supporter should know about their club – Can you score full marks?

In what year was PNE officially founded as a football club?

After featuring just 13 times in the league and suffering from multiple injuries which curtailed his season in January, Barkhuizen was among the crop of senior North End players set to be released this summer, despite Peter Ridsdale stating back in November that the club were in negotiations to extend his deal.

Barkhuizen has already been linked with a plethora of clubs since his release, including Derby County, Bolton Wanderers and Rotherham United, per an Alan Nixon report, and he’s broken his silence since the announcement of his departure last week with a message on Instagram.

“The last 5 and a half years have changed my life and I’ve made some brilliant friends along the way,” Barkhuizen wrote.

“Looking forward to what the future holds this summer. Thanks for the memories.”

The Verdict

Barkhuizen always gave 100 per cent for North End and spoke his mind in interviews, which may have annoyed some at the club, but it showed that he cared.

He was for sure at his best in his first couple of seasons at Deepdale, and who can forget March of 2017 where he scooped the Championship Player of the Month award just two months after arriving from Morecambe?

The last 12 or so months though will have proved frustrating for Barkhuizen, who was moved out to a wing-back position under Frankie McAvoy and he never looked completely comfortable with it.

A fresh start may be what Barkhuizen needs altogether, and he will no doubt find a club that gives him the opportunities he feels like he deserves.



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Injury Update on Mo Salah and Availability for Champions League Final




Liverpool recently lifted the FA Cup after defeating Chelsea in a thrilling penalty shootout on Saturday, but more than the joy of winning the cup, fans were left worried about the injury scare of Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Jota replaced the Egyptian international in the 33rd minute of the match after he sat on the pitch due to a groin injury.

The injury of Salah brought back the horrors of the 2018 Champions League Final for the Reds, who had already suffered heartache at centre stage. Initial expression from players and coaches also added some tension among the fans. Everyone wondered if the Egyptian king would play again this season or not.

According to their physio, Chris Morgan, he confirmed Salah suffered a groin injury before he sat on the pitch. Thankfully it was just tightness after the results from his scan, and he is likely to be available for the last of Liverpool’s matches.

Speaking to the media after the emphatic win, Klopp also addressed the situation by providing a positive update on both players who left the FA Cup Final prematurely, talking about their availability for the next game.

Salah was positive, which probably had a lot to do with his teammates sealing the victory for all of them and spoke after the match and said “I’m good”, after being asked about his injury. He also added that he would be available for the Champions League Final later this month.

Salah Is Key to Liverpool’s Quadruple Dreams

The Egyptian king has been a standout performer for Liverpool this season with 30 goals. The Reds are still in the race for the Premier League title and are in the UEFA Champions League Finals, and Salah will be their trump card in pursuit of glory.

Jürgen Klopp will now have to deal with a big injury crisis going into a must-win encounter against Southampton on Tuesday as Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah, and Andrew Roberson are unlikely to be available for 90 minutes.

In hindsight, his main focus will be on the UEFA Champions League Final at the end of the month in Paris. However, like in the FA Cup Final and Carabao Cup Final, Klopp has shown how he has the whole squad almost operating on the same wavelength and all sharing a common goal.



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