Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Mario has been the subject of interest from a number of Premier League clubs following an impressive showing in the 2015/16 season. Liverpool are the latest to join the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in their pursuit of the 23-year-old.
Joao Mario is reportedly another of Liverpool’s growing list of midfield targets, with the Reds intent on bringing the much sought-after Portuguese to Anfield. Portuguese publication A Bola report that Klopp and Liverpool have turned their attention to Joao Mario after missing out on Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze and Udinese’s Piotr Zielinski.
After an impressive domestic season that saw him feature in 45 games for the club, Joao Mario deservedly earned a place in Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad. The 23-year-old is tipped to be among the star performers at the European Championships and that could go some way towards determining the kind of bid the Reds have to table if they are to beat their rivals to their man.
Christian Benteke wanted by Chelsea
The Times report that Liverpool’s £32.5 million flop Christian Benteke is a wanted man at Chelsea as the Blues identify potential alternatives to Romelu Lukaku should they miss out on the signing of their former striker. With Diego Costa’s Chelsea future in doubt, Antonio Conte reportedly wants Lukaku as his replacement. The Belgian spent a year in the Blues’ youth set-up before loan spells at West Brom and Everton earned him a permanent move to Goodison Park.
However, should the Blues fail to land the Everton forward, Conte plots to put Benteke out of his misery at Liverpool by bringing him to Stamford Bridge. The Belgian forward has only netted 9 goals in 29 games for the Reds and with the Merseysiders keen on doing away with the former Aston Villa man, Chelsea could find Benteke a far cheaper alternative to the £65 million-rated Lukaku.
Liverpool set to miss out on Piotr Zielinski
Liverpool’s move to sign Zielinski from Udinese has dragged on for months, with the 22-year-old first linked with a move to Merseyside in March. Despite repeatedly underlining his ambition to join Klopp’s squad, Zielinski is yet to secure a deal with the Reds, and according to reports in Italy, this may prove costly.
Mondo Udinese claim that with relations strained between Liverpool and Udinese’s owners, the Pozzo family, following a disagreement regarding their valuation of striker Jerome Sinclair — who joins the Pozzo-owned Watford on a free transfer this summer — talks have broken down. Furthermore, with Udinese valuing Zielinski at £10 million, the Reds are said to have reservations over moving for a player who is still relatively untested.
Skrtel set to complete £7 million Besiktas move
Martin Skrtel looks primed to complete a £7 million move to Turkish champions Besiktas, with the defender rapidly falling down the pecking order at Liverpool in the past year under Jurgen Klopp. The 31-year-old’s injuries played a part in the dip in his performance levels as the Slovakian lost his place to Kolo Toure, even in the absence of Mamadou Sakho.
With Joel Matip arriving in the summer, Mamadou Sakho being available after clearing his name and Liverpool looking for further defensive reinforcements in the market, Skrtel’s position in the side doesn’t promise to get any better. Skrtel leaves the club as the senior-most of the current crop of players, having made 320 appearances for the club since arriving at Anfield in 2008.
Joe Allen “very close” to Swansea return
According to the South Wales Evening Post, Swansea are closing in on a deal under £10 million that will bring Joe Allen back to the club. The Welsh midfielder followed Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool in 2012, but has failed to nail down a regular spot in the first team ever since his arrival. Allen has largely played second fiddle to the likes of Steve Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and now Emre Can in midfield.
The 26-year-old played a bit-part role throughout 2015/16, and despite his excellent form, looks set to leave the club after the European Championship. The Swans hierarchy see Allen as a future captain and can promise the midfielder a key role under Francesco Guidolin. Watford have also been linked with a move for Allen this summer, but a return to the Liberty Stadium seems more likely at this juncture.