Football transfer rumours: Matthijs de Ligt to spurn Barcelona for Liverpool?

Paul Doyle on 8 May 2019

Compiling transfer rumours is an exercise fraught with peril because some of the stories simply will not stand the test of time. They will turn out to have been based on dud information or giddy impulses. They will be thoroughly discredited, just like all those declarations of the divinity of Lionel Messi. There is no mention in Wednesday’s papers about the influence of Barcelona’s god on the so-called miracle that took place on Merseyside on Tuesday night, even though Messi performed the role of hapless bystander to perfection. Verily, the lord works in mysterious ways, or not at all when the going gets too tough.

Having seen him wear the captain’s armband as his side fell to a second Champions League collapse in two years, the Mill half-expected to wake up to find that Paris Saint-Germain have slapped in a bid for Messi. But no, instead the only mention of the laughable French outfit is in connection with a purported bid from Real Madrid for young Kylian Mbappé, who some pundits think could eventually reach the same level of greatness as Cristiano Ronaldo or Divock Origi.

It would take a bumper offer to prise Mbappé from PSG but Real might be ready to throw the bulk of their transfer kitty at it, because there’s talk of them ending their pursuit of Eden Hazard on the grounds that Chelsea are asking for too big a fee. Some organs claims Hazard might have to get militant to get Chelsea to soften their stance.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are set to do battle with Barcelona again, this time for the services of the outstanding Lille winger Nicolas Pépé, who is expected to cost something north of £60m. The player is believed to prefer a switch to the Camp Nou. But that’s not the case of Matthijs de Ligt, who, according to questionable sources, is close to shunning Barcelona because he has taken a shine to the idea of forming an impenetrable partnership with Virgil van Dijk at club as well as country level.

Meanwhile, Jürgen Klopp is also said to be keeping a keen eye on the Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio in case Pépé takes the Barcelona option. And if he does that, then Manchester United will try to convince Philippe Coutinho to make an even worse decision.

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Elsewhere, if Chelsea decide to jilt the manager that has led them back to the Champions League, reached the League Cup final and possibly a Europa League final, then Roma will happily take Maurizio Sarri back to Italy. But if Sarri stays at Chelsea, he could find himself a new midfielder next season, as the club are monitoring Lille’s Thiago Mendes, as are Everton and Atlético Madrid.

PSV are prepared to listen to offers for a pair of wingers, namely the 21-year-old Dutchman Steven Bergwijn and the 23-year-old Mexican Hirving Lozano. The latter has attracted the interest of Arsenal and Liverpool. Finally, Ryan Babel will leave Fulham for Galatasary.

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