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Emre Can may not play for Liverpool again after latest injury setback

The German international looks set to depart Anfield this summer.

Josh Kerr

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Emre Can
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool and German national team midfielder Emre Can has been consistently linked with an Anfield exit for the majority of the season, with the 24-year-old set to become a free agent once his contract expires in May.

The German international was injured with a back problem during the Anfield’s side 5-0 mauling of Watford back in March and the latest injury assessment conducted on Thursday did not look promising.

Reports in the Mirror suggested that it was possible that Can may not feature again for Liverpool before the season ends on May 13th, with the German out for both Champions League quarter-final clashes with Premier League champions-elect Manchester City.

The latest injury setback means the Reds’ clash with the Hornets could prove to be Can’s final game in a Liverpool shirt, with Italian giants and Serie A leaders Juventus one of the front-runners to claim the German’s services for next season, as reports in the Liverpool Echo infer.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The former Bayern Leverkusen player was forced to withdraw from the Germany squad for last month’s international friendlies against Spain and Brazil and he will be fighting to ensure he recovers in time for the World Cup in Russia.

The speculation surrounding Can’s future has been an unwanted distraction on Merseyside with seemingly few signs of progress from either side of the negotiating table.

At time, it also seems that the potential Anfield exit has impacted Can’s performances on the pitch.

The former Bayern Munich youth prospect has struggled to maintain a consistent level of performance and distractions off the field may leave Reds supporters to believe that it is time for the German midfielder to move on.

Manager Jürgen Klopp may have the accept that his fellow countryman will depart the club at a loss, leaving the club with a hole to fill in the summer when the transfer window re-opens.

Can’s departure could prove a breath of fresh air in the summer, with the club then left looking to find a long-term replacement, in order to cement and ensure complete solidity in a notoriously difficult central defensive midfield position.

Alternatively, he could be yet another important player that Liverpool let slip through their fingers, following the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez, who have all departed in recent years.

I am a freelance sports journalist currently studying sports journalism at Staffordshire University with a passion for all things football. I'm a keen supporter of Liverpool Football Club, as well as my local side Forest Green Rovers. I've worked for online newspaper VAVEL UK as well as a media assistant for Chester FC in the Vanarama National League.

Liverpool

£35 million-valued Gianluigi Donnarumma could solve Liverpool’s goalkeeping problem

Josh Kerr

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Gianluigi Donnarumma
Photo: Getty Images

According to reports from Italian outlet Corriere Dello Sport, AC Milan have slashed their asking price for highly-rated Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Liverpool are understood to be interested in the 19-year-old keeper and despite the rejuvenated form of Loris Karius, it is a move that will certainly interest Reds supporters.

The teenage goalkeeper is already being labelled as Buffon’s replacement for the Italian national side and, at such a young age, Donnarumma could have up to 20 years at the pinnacle of European football.

AC Milan had been requesting around £61 million for Donnarumma earlier in the year.

However, Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claims the San Siro club have significantly reduced that valuation, with the seven-time European Cup winners willing to settle for £35 million.

Milan are in desperate need to raise funds following a disappointing season in Serie A which saw them once again miss out on Champions League places.

(Photo by AK BijuRaj/Getty Images)

Considering his age and the fact he is already one of the highest rated goalkeepers in European football, the asking price comes at a bargain and Liverpool should undoubtedly swoop.

Loris Karius has improved massively since his return to the first team. However, the German goalkeeper still hasn’t managed to fully convince Reds supporters that he is the club’s long-term first choice keeper.

The addition of Donnarumma could also be beneficial for the 24-year-old keeper knowing if he isn’t meeting the required standard, there is one of Europe’s best keepers ready to take his place.

If Liverpool are to match Manchester City next season, they need to ensure their squad is at full strength. Also, Pep Guardiola’s decision to invest in a new goalkeeper last summer paid dividends and was crucial in them walking the league this season.

Reports regarding Donnarumma’s future come at a perfect time and an ideal price for Liverpool. With Roma’s Allison arguably too expensive, and the world-class Gianluigi Buffon at an age which won’t suit the Reds long-term, Donnarumma could be the perfect addition for Jurgen Klopp this summer.

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Stoke City

Four Stoke City youngsters who Gary Rowett could put his faith in next season

Martyn Cooke

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Gary Rowett
Photo: Getty Images

On Tuesday evening it was announced that Gary Rowett had been appointed as the new manager of Stoke City.

The 44-year-old has been tasked with building a team capable of making an immediate return to the Premier League and his first task will be to overhaul the playing squad during the summer.

Rowett will be handed a sizeable transfer kitty, which will be increased further through player sales, and the Potters will be expected to make a significant impact in the transfer market either side of the World Cup. Stoke supporters will be waiting with eager anticipation to see who their new manager attracts to the club and it is certain that a new-look team will line up for the first game of the season.

However, Stoke have a number of highly rated young players on their books and Rowett may also choose to look within the club’s academy in an attempt to provide some fresh energy and youthful exuberance.

Here, The Boot Room all highlights four young players that Rowett may look to include in his plans for the new season.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Tom Edwards

Having been born and raised in Stafford, Edwards became the first local player in almost a decade to make a first-team appearance for Stoke when he was handed his debut against Manchester City in October 2017.

The 19-year-old has been at the club since the age of eight and his undoubted potential has been no secret. The defender was voted as the under-18’s Player of the Year in both of the previous two seasons whilst playing a key role in the team’s run to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup last year.

Edwards made seven starts for the first team over the Christmas period and emerged as Mark Hughes’ first choice right back. His performances, at a difficult time for the club, were hugely impressive and were characterised by calmness under pressure, robustness in his defensive play and overlapping runs.

The arrival of Paul Lambert in January saw Edwards return to the academy side as the Scotsman elected to place his faith and trust in experience rather than youth.

However, Edwards has already demonstrated that he is capable of playing first team football and he will be hoping that Rowett will reinstate him into first-team proceedings.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Julien Ngoy

The 20-year-old is one of Stoke’s most highly rated young forwards and has been on the periphery of the first team squad for the last two seasons.

He joined the club in the summer of 2014, electing to move to the Bet365 Stadium over a host of top-flight European clubs, and emerged as a dominant force academy football whilst also becoming a central figure for the Belgian young international sides.

Ngoy was handed his debut as a late substitute against Arsenal in December 2016 and made five further appearances over the subsequent twelve months. He spent the second half of the current campaign on loan at League One side Walsall, scoring three goals in thirteen games and helping the Saddlers to avoid relegation.

The Belgian is powerful, strong and pacey whilst also having an acute instinct in front of goal. Having already experienced the Premier League and life as a first-team regular at Walsall, now may be the time for Ngoy to make his breakthrough at Stoke.

Thibaud Verlinden  

Another Belgian youth international, Verlinden joined Stoke in the summer of 2016 having risen through the ranks at Standard Liege.

The 18-year-old is highly thought of at the Bet365 Stadium and his speed, agility and low centre of gravity combined with his technical brilliance makes him one to look out for in the future. Furthermore, the diminutive winger has already been around the periphery of the Stoke first team squad and has been named as a substitute on multiple occasions.

Verlinden has spent the current campaign on loan with FC St. Pauli but has made a minimal impact in Germany and has only made a handful of appearances for the club’s reserve team.

However, the fresh start at Stoke under the stewardship of Rowett may be just what the Belgian needs to kick-start his professional career.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Tyrese Campbell

Campbell began his football career with Manchester City’s academy but chose to turn down a professional contract with the club in the summer of 2016 in order to sign for Stoke. The Potters were ultimately ordered to pay £1.75 million for his services by a tribunal.

However, the 18-year-old has been the star of Stoke’s academy structure during the previous two years and, even at this early stage, he appears to be worth every penny of that fee.

Campbell was a prolific for the under-18’s team last season, with his goals firing the side into the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup, whilst he finished the current campaign as the top goal scorer in Premier League 2. His 18 strikes saw him shortlisted for the Premier League 2 Player of the Season award.

The 18-year-old was handed his first-team debut in February 2018 against Leicester City and subsequently made three further substitute appearances prior to the end of the campaign.

Campbell has emerged as one of the most prolific young forwards in the country and next season may be the perfect opportunity for him to make his mark in first-team football.

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Tottenham Hotspur

How can Victor Wanyama revive his Tottenham career after ruling out exit?

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Photo: Getty Images.

2017/18 was a fairly impressive campaign for Tottenham on and off the field as the side adjusted well to playing at Wembley and secured a third placed finish, but one man who ended the season disappointed was midfielder Victor Wanyama.

The Kenya international played only 24 games, only 12 of those starts, and saw himself relegated to the fringes of the team for much of the campaign, sparking speculation that his future at White Hart Lane may be at threat.

“I don’t respond to rumours and all those are rumours to me, I still have a contract with Spurs and that is what I want to see through,” he told Goal.

“I did not have a good season with the team because of injury and my aim now is to work hard during this break and return for next season even stronger and help them perform even better.

“I am happy at Tottenham and I am committed to the team. I am not aware of anything and I am very fine and happy where I am.”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The holding midfielder will now focus on rebuilding his fitness and getting back into the team, showing the kind of brilliance that was clear for all to see in fits and bursts such as with his goal of the season finish at Anfield.

There is clearly a role for the 26-year-old to play in Tottenham’s squad and if Moussa Dembele’s future is uncertain, he could be one of those set to benefit the most and will have an automatic spot in the team when fully fit.

Having forced Mauricio Pochettino to reconsider his deployment of Eric Dier, moving the England man into defence or in a two man holding role to fit Wanyama in, it’s clear that the coach is a fan of his former Southampton player.

Building fitness and consistency will be crucial for Wanyama and doing so in time for pre-season could be pivotal. If he can do that and get a strong warm-up and preparation under his belt ready for when his team-mates return from World Cup duty, he can start the season in the team and make a statement of intent early on.

Few doubt Wanyama’s quality and no-one will want to see him depart, even if the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea come calling as Goal suggest, but he will have to repay Tottenham for keeping the faith in him throughout a season of frustration for him and show what he can do on a regular basis.

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