Liverpool are convinced they can bring Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham to Anfield later in the year. The German giants will sell Jude summer however Liverpool are working on a plan to bring him to the Premier league as early just after Christmas. Behind the scenes at Liverpool I am told the club is prepared to wait until next summer however they are beginning to put pressure on Dortmund and Bellingham’s agent. The club is experienced in these long term signing projects and they announced they had signed Naby Keita from RB Leipzig in August 2017 when he did not actually appear at Anfield until July 2018. The Anfield team specialising in bringing in high profile players are convinced, along with Jurgen Klopp, that Bellingham can become their new midfield general capable of taking them forward in the next few years.
Kane’s total belief in Conte
Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Khan was hoping to lure Harry Kane away from Tottenham this summer or at Christmas to replace Roberto Lewandowski and to partner Sadio Mane. In a complete turnaround Harry has now committed his future to Tottenham because he truly believes that Antonio Conte will deliver trophies to White Hart lane and that means more to the striker than anything else. He has been impressed this summer with Conte’s ambition and now chairman Daniel Levy has backed his manager by bringing in Richarlison,Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma. Harry is already talking excitedly about contesting the Champions League this season after Tottenham finished in the top four under Conte. I am told he is also talking about extending his contract until retirement in five years such is his faith in Conte.
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Tuchel admits exhaustion
I am concerned about Thomas Tuchel’s negativity as we go into the Premier League’s first 2022/3 matches this weekend. Tuchel says Chelsea are not ready but is now complaining that their pre-season tour was too exhausting and his players are tired. The Blues were away for two weeks in America. They just beat a Club America side, lost on penalties to Charlotte FC and were then soundly beaten by Arsenal before returning to Europe for two games against Udinese which they won. Klopp said, “It was a pretty long pre-season. Tiring and exhausting…and having to travel. There is a lot of positive stuff but we need to improve and we are not ready yet.”
Draxler to Newcastle as Maddison stalls?
I cannot make out where we are regarding Leicester’s James Maddison’s possible move to Newcastle. I contacted both clubs but received contradictory answers. Newcastle say they are determined to buy him and Leicester say he is not going anywhere unless the Baggies are prepared to pay £60million which is a long way from their opening offer of £35million. Maddison says he is willing to consider a mover. Newcastle’s most expensive player is Joelinton who signed for £39.6million.
As negotiations stall the Baggies have turned their attention to what would be their biggest signing of the season if they can do a deal. Paris Saint-Germain star Julian Draxler is their new target and the club are talking to the French giants and hoping to do a deal. Draxler had difficulties playing under sacked manager Mauricio Pochettino last season and is known to be open to a move.
Crazy offside flags to be phased out
I think we can all agree that most of us have felt angry when a goalscoring chance is wasted when the linesman delays raising his offside flag. Players on a run towards goal are often allowed to progress only to be flagged offside very late and often when the ball is in the net. The FA have seen sense and instructed assistant referees to be more decisive and if they think there is an offside infringement to raise the flag immediately and not allowe play to continue for another few seconds. The new rule will allow linesmen to delay only in cases when there is a). A clear goalscoring opportunity b). The offside decision is very marginal. If a goalscoring opportunity is not clear or the ball is passed out to the wing for instance, the assistant will flag immediately. Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson said in response, “When there is a clear and obvious offside by three or four yards, what is the point of playing on and the flag raised later?”
Spurs bring in stars to run Academy
If you want to bring on your youngsters then hire the best in the football to teach them. Spurs have done just that and brought in ex-Manchester City powerhouse Ya Ya Toure and Jermain Defoe to join their academy coaching staff. Toure will be in charge of the 16-year olds but will also assist with the 18-year-olds.
Jota is in for the long term
With Sadio Mane now at Bayern Munich Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is planning to rely more on Diogo Jota along with Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez’s as his striking force. The club is already negotiating to extend Diogo’s five-year contract signed in 2020.
Arrizabalaga to end nightmare
It looks like Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will finally end his disappointing stay at Stamford bridge. Talks are advanced for him to join Italian side Napoli. As the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa is unhappy being back-up to Edouard Mendy who has established himself as Thomas Tuchel’s number one. I understand that if the 27 year-old does join Napoli, Chelsea would pay a large amount of his £170k a week wages.
Around the clubs for the new season…
ARSENAL: Gabriel Jesus will be key and the striker is determined to make a big impression. Fans should be excited and he is definitely worth 20 goals this season say the club. William Saliba will take over as midfield general and Edu’s signings Marquinos and Zinchenko will increase the Gunner’s strength
CHELSEA: New owner Todd Boehly expects nothing less than a top four finish and Thomas Tuchel is under a lot of pressure to deliver. Sterling, Mount, Koulibaly, Silva and Kovacic will provide him with all the strength he needs. The Blues haven’t finished in the transfer window as yet and have still to replace Rudiger. Brighton’s Marc Cucurella could give Tuchel a strong left back. £20million has bought 18 year-old Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa although why he is coming has been questioned by insiders and fans.
LIVERPOOL: Diaz will explode onto the scene, Salah is back in form, Nunez is top quality and Carvalho has arrived from Fulham. I expect Liverpool to be a tough side to beat this season with Virgil van Dijk back to his best
MANCHESTER CITY: Guardiola is still there so that is most positive, Haaland has arrived and all eyes will be on the scoring sensation but of course the Premier League is the toughest to play in and he won’t find the goal as easy to find. Replacing Zinchenko should have been priority. Phil Foden has agreed a new long term contract worth £225k a week.
MANCHESTER UNITED: All eyes will be on Erik Ten Hag. Can he turn the giant club back into world beaters? Martinez is the only player likely to break into the team regularly. The Ronaldo saga continues and he will be crucial if he stays. Frenkie de Jong could still arrive in time for this season and United have upped their bid to £72million. Barca president Joan Laporta said he is interested in a deal offering De Jong if he can sign Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva who is top of manager Xavi’s list of players he wants at the Nou Camp. My sources tell me that de Jong thought deeply about joining Chelsea.
TOTTENHAM: Potentially the most exciting prospect as Antonio has achieved most of his wish list and he is as energy charged as ever. Bissouma, Perisic, Richarlison and Spence have arrived and of course Kane and Son are a lethal strike force.