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Is Barcelona’s Rafinha the perfect fit for Liverpool’s attack?

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Rafinha

As Liverpool‘s transfer activity continues to take one twist and turn after another, Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo have made the latest sensational claim as they suggest that the Reds are interested in a deal for Brazilian midfielder Rafinha.

What would he bring to Anfield?

Rafinha is an attacking midfielder who has bags of creativity. Not known for his pace, but rather his skill and vision. He often prefers to drift wide or sit just behind the front line and create chances and opportunities for others to finish.

He does also represent a goal threat, with seven goals last season despite only starting 18 games all season. He has a mean finish from distance and is known to appear in the right place at the right time with his movement in and around the box.

The biggest criticism of the midfielder, who is brother of Bayern Munich star Thiago Alacantra, is that he lacks consistency. That has prevented him from becoming a regular at the Camp Nou and now, at 24 years of age, he may want to consider his options.

Is a move likely?

Liverpool are reportedly prepared to pay between €35 million (£31.3 million) and €40 million (£35.8 million). That wouldn’t be enough to activate his €75 million (£67.1 million) release clause, but it could be enough to pressure Barcelona into accepting an offer for their homegrown talent.

However, the Catalans would be under no pressure to sell if they allow Neymar to move to Paris Saint-Germain for £195 million, with plenty of money in the bank. Rafinha is also a candidate to step up in his place as part of the front three, and that sale might mean that Ernesto Valverde wants to hold onto his man.

There is no sign that Jurgen Klopp is desperately looking for a player of Rafinha’s style. Whilst he has been on the hunt for a midfielder, the Brazilian is far more of an offensive option than many of the other names linked.

Rafinha to Liverpool
1.5
Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
Stranger things have happened but it seems unlikely that Liverpool would fork out such a fee for a player who would likely fill a role already heavily populated. He would most likely compete for a number eight role, already filled by Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho, or a spot on the right wing, where there are Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Barcelona

Tottenham round up: Jordi Alba emerges as target, huge blow in pursuit of Wilfried Zaha

A round-up of the day’s most interesting stories surrounding Tottenham

Jamie Watts

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Danny Rose replacement?

Barcelona’s star left-back Jordi Alba has emerged as a Tottenham target today, according to reports from SPORT.

Alba is currently away with the Spainish national team in Russia, and movement on negotiations is likely to be minimal while it remains that way. But, it seems Mauricio Pochettino could be plotting an audacious swoop for the 29-year-old.

Perhaps the club would be better served to stick with the now first team regular Ben Davies, especially when considering reports of £130 million as a buy-out clause for Alba – with his current contract running until 2020.

Photo: Getty Images

Wilfried Zaha pursuit all but finished

Long-spanning target Wilfried Zaha is reportedly nearing a contract extension with Crystal Palace, according to reports from the Express.

Pochettino was said to be chasing the Ivorian until deterred by Palace’s hefty £70 million valuation of the player, revealed earlier this month (Evening Standard). And now it seems as though the Eagles are edging closer to securing their star-man’s future at Selhurst Park.

The Daily Mirror are suggesting the club have even gone as for as to better Tottenham’s weekly-wage offer for the 27-year-old.

Photo: Getty Images

Lyon business significant?

Tottenham Hotspur’s move for Tanguy Ndombele (L’Equipe) may have inched a step closer, with Lyon now seemingly looking for his replacement.

Le 10 Sport in France have reported that Lyon are on discussions to sign Jean-Eudes Ahoulou from Strasbourg. Ahoulou, like Dembele, is a defensive midfielder who possesses great energy and tackling skill and his arrival at Lyon would surely free up Ndombele.

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Would Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele make Liverpool title contenders?

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his interest in the 20-year-old.

Josh Kerr

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Dembele
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool should make a move for the La Liga ace Ousmane Dembele if the Barcelona winger becomes available this summer.

Manager Jurgen Klopp spoke of his fondness for the 20-year-old in a press conference yesterday and suggested he may be interested in signing the French international.

In quotes reported by the Daily Mail, Klopp admitted he was interested in the former Borrusia Dortmund forward by saying: “Is he on the market? Now I’m interested.”

Klopp’s interest may not actually lead to the club pursuing Dembele.

However, with a current squad losing bodies by the day following a large number of injuries to crucial players, Dembele would be a perfect addition for the Reds.

Some would argue he even may be capable of challenging Sadio Mane in the club’s starting eleven.

(Photo by Cristina Quicler/Getty Images)

Reports linking the club with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann could spell concerns to the 20-year-old that he isn’t in Ernesto Valverde’s future plans.

The arrival of Dembele’s fellow countryman will make it significantly more difficult for him to keep his place alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Dembele endured a tough first season for the La Liga champions, which included only nine Primera Division starts due to a long-term hamstring injury.

Understandably, a club as competitive as Barcelona can’t afford to wait around for Dembele to fulfill his outstanding potential and, therefore, a move may make sense.

The world’s third most expensive player certainly has the talent to be one of the brightest stars in the game.

If Liverpool genuinely want him, they will have to fork out a lot more than the initial £96.8 million that Barca paid less than 12 months ago.

Following Barcelona’s drawn-out pursuit of former Reds talisman Philippe Coutinho, the tables could now turn.

This time, it would be Jurgen Klopp’s side testing the Catalan giants resolve in their attempts to pry away a once-prized possession for an astronomical fee.

Dembele was initially considered a panic buy after the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint Germain and the Catalan’s failure to sign Coutinho in the same window.

(Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Having now captured Coutinho, and with the club being linked with Griezmann, both of whom can slot into Barcelona’s famous front three, it is difficult to see what Dembele’s role in the team will be next season.

At just 20 years of age, the Frenchman is too talented to sit on the bench and with Liverpool proving themselves to be among the best in Europe this season, he could be the perfect player for Klopp to break the bank, to ensure the Reds continuing improving under his control.

With Naby Keita set to join this summer, and considering Virgil van Dijk’s immediate impact, the addition of another top player, in the form of Dembele, could be the move that allows Klopp’s side to seriously contend for the Premier League next season.

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Is Barcelona’s Andre Gomes the man to take West Ham to the next level?

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Photo: Getty Images

This season has been a disappointing one for West Ham as they have once again failed to match the rising expectations of fans and owners after their move to the London Stadium, but there could be hope in the summer with rumours of a sensation signing from Spain.

Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes is believed to be a target, according to the Mirror, as he looks for a fresh start after a disappointing two years at the Camp Nou.

The former Benfica and Valencia man has struggled to adapt since joining the La Liga leaders and has only been a bit part player this season, with the Hammers ready to make a move to bring him to London.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

There is no doubting that such a signing would be a coup given the quality of Gomes that he so regularly displayed before moving to Catalonia and he could benefit from moving to a club content with fighting for Europe, rather than titles.

The Portugal international relished his role as a leader in attack and the freedom that came with it in the past, so much so that it earned him his big-money move, and a deal taking him to West Ham could see him return to such a role.

David Moyes’ side have been sorely lacking creativity, particularly with Manuel Lanzini out injured and struggling for consistent form, and Gomes could be the man to help lead a charge back up the table next season after a disastrous 2017/18.

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