Barry Glendenning on 8 December 2017
Liverpool’s emphatic seven-goal hammering of Spartak Moscow left Emre Can in bullish form. Hair gleaming and plastered with product after his post-match shower, with the sweet scent of Lynx Java deodorant thick in the air, the German midfielder announced that Liverpool “are not afraid of any team” in the knockout stages of the Champions League. “If you want to go through to the next round you have to win, it doesn’t matter who,” he said.
Liverpool may, however, fear an Italian raid on Can in January. Speaking on Sky Sports Italy, Juventus legend Alessandro del Piero suggested that the 23-year-old is exactly what Juve need to bolster a midfield from which the injury-prone Sami Khedira is often absent. “Emre Can of Liverpool would be ideal, and he’s not even that expensive,” said Del Piero. “He could be the big name for Juve in January. They need somebody like him. He’s physically present and somebody like Emre Can would fit in very well with [Miralem] Pjanic and Khedira.” Reports in Italy suggest Internazionale are ready to go toe to toe with Juventus in the battle to lure Can, who would of course be cup-tied in Europe should he decide to leave Liverpool before his contract expires next summer, away from Anfield. Real Madrid are also believed to be interested, but the Rumour Mill reckons he’ll stay put until June at least.
Following his hat-trick against Spartak, Philippe Coutinho rather drizzled on the parade of ecstatic Liverpool fans by refusing to commit himself to the club until the end of the season. “I do not know how the future is going to be,” he que-sera-sera-ed. “What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.” If reports from Spain are to be believed there will be an offer of £127m from Barcelona, who haven’t been put off by their failure to sign the Brazilian playmaker during the summer.
Jean Michaël Seri was expected to move to Camp Nou in the last window but ended up staying at Nice after the Spanish league leaders cooled their interest. Despite missing a month of the season through injury, the Ivorian has been scouted extensively by Manchester City and Liverpool, who are both plotting moves in January. Arsenal are also among the favourites to make a Premier League player of Seri.
Chelsea want to add 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey to their stockpile of talented youngsters who may never play for their first team and are prepared to pay £20m for his services before loaning him straight back to the Bundesliga side. Chelsea are also making gooey eyes at 21-year-old Gremio midfielder Arthur, who is valued at over £40m, but Barcelona are reported to have the whip-hand in the battle for his heart and mind.
And yesterday’s whisper that Sam Allardyce is preparing a £60m bid for unsettled Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appears to have gathered traction. While the prospect of the Gabon striker rocking up at Goodison Park seems fairly unlikely, the manager who was capable of convincing Jay-Jay Okocha to sign for Bolton Wanderers is almost certainly capable of anything. With Aubameyang ready to leave Dortmund in January, Everton are likely to face competition from their Merseyside neighbours Liverpool in the race to secure his signature.