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Liverpool chief Michael Edwards sent counter-offer as Dejan Lovren replacement deal close

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Liverpool are reportedly just £1.8million away from signing Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi. The Algerian centre-back is on the club’s radar as they look to fill the void of Dejan Lovren.

Mandi has established himself as a regular at the heart of the Betis defence and has impressed scouts with his consistency in La Liga.

The 28-year-old has also been capped 55 times by his country Algeria and has the kind of experience required to replace Lovren.

While the Croatian was not first choice at Anfield, he has made a big contribution towards their success in the Champions League and Premier League.

Lovren enjoyed a run in the side alongside Virgil van Dijk before Christmas when the pair were the club’s only fit and available centre-backs.

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While Mandi has a release clause of £25million, his club are willing to let the player go for £10.8m.

That’s close to what Zenit St Petersburg paid for Lovren, upon completing his switch to Russia.

Liverpool have also been linked with several other centre-backs.

Schalke’s Ozan Kabak is on Liverpool’s radar and Jurgen Klopp has received glowing reports from close friend David Wagner.

The defender has developed a reputation as one of the finest young players in the Bundesliga.

Ben White has also impressed Liverpool’s recruitment following a stellar loan spell with Leeds United.

He helped the club win the Championship and seal their return to the promised land, but is now set to rejoin Brighton.

Seagulls boss Graham Potter has ruled out a return to Leeds but Liverpool have shown an interest in his player.

“Absolutely 100 per cent,” Potter said when asked if White was ready for the Premier League.

“Yeah, I am (confident he will stay). He’s our player, he’s got a long contract with us. I have known Ben for a while, I have been aware of him, wanted to try and sign him when we were at Swansea.

“I know about his qualities. He’s a fantastic player. He’s done brilliantly at Leeds and helped them get promotion.

“That’s fantastic for them, fantastic for him but he’s our player and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

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What Man Utd’s plan for Jadon Sancho ‘has always been’ as transfer edges closer

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“Manchester United need a right winger,” Neville told Sky Sports’ The Gary Neville podcast.

“He’s a big, big talent, honestly he really is.

“I always think, particularly as a wide player, what would I have not wanted to have played against?

“The first thing is pace. And then you’ve got to think about, can he use his pace? Well yes he can, because he makes really good quality runs: the spin in behind, straight, but also the run inside in between full-back and centre-back – which I always think is the most difficult to mark.

“And then you think, well has he got quality on the ball? Could you just left him have it? Sometimes you’ve got quick players, let him have the ball.

“But when you let him have the ball, he can get it out of his feet and whip ridiculously good crosses in. So that’s when you’re thinking about the fact that you’ve got a real problem, as a full-back.

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Jurgen Klopp tipped to face key problem if Liverpool complete Thiago Alcantara transfer

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Liverpool hero John Barnes believes Jurgen Klopp risks disrupting the balance of his team if he brings Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara to the club.

Thiago is widely considered to be one of the most technically gifted midfielders in the world with experience playing for Bayern, Barcelona and Spain.

After seven seasons with Bayern, the 29-year-old is seeking a fresh challenge and is plotting a move to the Premier League.

Klopp has made clear he is an admirer for Thiago and is weighing up whether to add more midfield creativity to his team.

But Barnes feels the balance of Liverpool’s team is perfect at the moment and reckons Thiago’s arrival would leave them more vulnerable defensively.

“With the midfield being very workmanlike, they are a lot of points better off than everybody else,” he told the BBC.

“The reason you can have two full-backs attacking at the same time and three strikers is because they have three hard-working midfielders to protect that situation.

“If you get another creative midfielder and you want your full-backs and front three to attack, then maybe you are going to concede more goals.

“Manchester City have got how many creative players in their midfield? But Liverpool finished 20-odd points ahead of them. Maybe Manchester City should say: ‘Let’s get more hard-working players in midfield so we can catch Liverpool’.”

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Meanwhile, Andre Ayew has tipped Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster for a bright future after an impressive loan spell at Swansea.

Brewster’s loan with the Championship side came to an end last week when they were beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Brentford.

Following his arrival in January, the 20-year-old scored 11 goals in 22 appearances and formed a strong partnership with Ayew in attack.

Brewster will return to Liverpool for pre-season training ahead of the new campaign and will now be aiming to break into Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI, which Ayew has no doubts he is capable of doing.

“Rhian has everything to play for,” Ayew said. “He has goals, he has speed, and he has power.

“He is still young, and he has a few things to learn and improve on, but when we are talking about a pure finisher and talent in front of the goal, he has it all.

“He has everything a striker needs to get, and that is very important.

“When you are 19 or 20, and you see the season he has had. If he continues to work hard, he is going to be a top, top player.”

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Arsenal transfer news: Aubameyang contract problem, six players eyed, Coutinho condition

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Arsenal transfer news is pouring in with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Philippe Coutinho both subject to speculation. Mikel Arteta’s side is eager to improve his squad this summer in the wake of their FA Cup triumph. So Express Sport will now take a look at the latest gossip regarding the north London giants.

Aubameyang contract problem

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will snub any contract offer unless his wage demands are met, reports say.

The Gabon international’s currently deal expires in 2021 and, as of yet, he’s not signed a new contract.

And the Daily Mail say Aubameyang is unwilling to settle for anything less than £250,000-a-week.

It’s claimed he doesn’t want to be ‘lowballed’ in negotiations and that means Arsenal must stump up the cash.

If not, there’s a chance he may leave this summer. Should he stay, Arsenal then face the prospect of their talisman leaving for nothing in 12 months time.

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Six players eyed

In order to satisfy Aubameyang, Arsenal are supposedly planning to sign six players this transfer window.

Le10 Sport say the Gunners want Coutinho, who is primed to leave Barcelona with the La Liga giants determined to cut him loose.

Lyon pair Moussa Dembele and Memphis Depay are also being targeted, despite the latter previously flopping at Manchester United.

Wolves’ Raul Jimenez is another player being eyed, with the Mexico international shining in the Premier League this term.

And Thomas Partey and Allan Saint-Maximin, of Atletico Madrid and Newcastle respectively, are also being pursued.

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Coutinho condition

Arsenal could sign Coutinho this transfer window – but only on loan.

Barcelona want to get the playmaker off the books permanently, as they look to raise funds for a summer spending spree.

But the Mail say Arsenal could agree a loan deal for the Samba star instead, with the Gunners unable to afford the 28-year-old.

Coutinho is being offered to clubs around Europe.

But it’s Arsenal who appear to be in pole position to secure his signature.

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Arteta on transfers

Arsenal boss Arteta has claimed he’s given a plan to the Gunners hierarchy regarding potential transfer business this summer.

“I have presented my vision and my plans and all together we will try our best to get the club in the best possible position,” he said.

“I know how important it was as we needed to be in Europe.

“It is a must for our club and financially because it is a bigger step forward in order to allow us to do more things in the future and have a better structure financially.

“I am very pleased for both things – winning the trophy and having the option to play in Europe.”

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