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Liverpool

Harry Wilson may be forced to leave Liverpool for first-team opportunities

Josh Kerr

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Wilson
Photo: Getty Images

21-year-old Harry Wilson has still yet to improve on his one appearance for Liverpool back in 2017 but with another pre-season at Melwood ahead of him does the youngster have a long-term future with the Reds?

The versatile forward has been with Liverpool since 2015 and has been one of the academy’s best young prospects in recent years. However, compared to the likes of Trent Alexander Arnold, he has failed to make his mark in Jurgen Klopp’s senior side.

The Wales international was outstanding in the Championship this season after a loan spell with struggling Hull City. His time at the KCOM Stadium saw him fire seven goals in 13 appearances for the Tigers to help Nigel Adkins’ narrowly avoid relegation.

Naturally, the youngster’s form in East Yorkshire has inspired a growing interest from outside of Anfield and, according to the Scottish Sun, he has emerged as a target for his former academy boss and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Wilson also recently won Liverpool’s Academy Player of the Year award for the 2017/18 season after his inspired performances for the Under-23’s in Premier League 2, but has this justified a long-term future with the Reds?

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Despite another impressive season, it is difficult to see Wilson even coming close to breaking into Liverpool’s starting eleven as the front three position are undoubtedly the club’s most influential.

It would take a world-class name to challenge for one of those positions.

Also, the additions of big money names like Fabinho and Naby Keita will make it difficult for Wilson even to make the substitutes bench, meaning an exit from Merseyside may be on the cards once again.

Ben Woodburn was another who shone in the 2017 season for Jurgen Klopp.

However, summer additions restricted Wilson’s fellow countryman to only one appearance all season for the Reds in 2018.

With the club’s current stance in Europe, it seems more likely that more established names will leave academy prospects frustrated at the declining number of first-team opportunities.

It is difficult for any young player to break into the Premier League, and it has become almost impossible for a youngster in the top-six.

Yan Dhanda realised the growing difficulty of breaking into the firsts, and this inspired a move away from the Premier League as he opted to join Swansea City in the Championship.

Alexander Arnold represents the exception. However, it took an injury to Nathaniel Clyne for his opportunity to arise.

Therefore, it would seem only a significant injury would provide hope for Wilson that there is first-team football available at Anfield.

Wilson’s time at the academy has been an undeniable success, although it would seem more likely that the youngster’s future would be better suited with a move away from Merseyside to establish his career elsewhere.

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.

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Atletico Madrid

Rafa Benitez should plot Fernando Torres reunion at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez should plot a reunion with his former superstar.

Jamie Watts

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Newcastle United are reportedly in the market for new forwards this summer, with Rafa Benitez identifying the Magpies’ attacking output as a key weakness last term, despite their impressive 10th place finish.

The Spaniard is calling for the club to back him in pursuit of a “10 to 15 goals a season” striker this summer, with the likes of Salomon Rondon (Northern Echo) and Bas Dost (the Sun) circulating around the Newcastle rumour mill.

However, both would likely break the Magpies current club-record of £16 million – for Michael Owen from Real Madrid in 2005 – and perhaps Benitez would be better served going for a former favourite.

Photo: Getty Images

Fernando Torres is a free-agent having left Atletico Madrid, following last month’s Europa League triumph and Newcastle should offer the 34-year-old a route back to England’s top flight this summer.

Under Benitez’s tutelage at Liverpool, Torres was widely recognised as one of the most formidable forwards in world football, and though his impact has diminished over the years, there’s no doubting the World Cup winner’s quality in front of goal.

Photo: Getty Images

The prospect of an elite level striker arriving at St James’ Park on a free transfer is a no brainier if the player can be convinced and the club should make it happen.  He knows the league inside-out, having made 212 appearances for Chelsea – where he won the Champions League – and with Benitez at Anfield, and he could instantly propel Newcastle’s attack to higher levels.

Becoming a crucial part of a new project on Tyneside would be enticing for Torres, as his unwavering desire and tenacity on a football pitch is something that cannot be questioned. And he doesn’t seem the type to move to the States or China in pursuit of one last pay-cheque.

He has all the attributes to become a cult-hero at Newcastle, and the club should act now.

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Liverpool

Blow for Liverpool as Real Madrid enter race for Roma goalkeeper Alisson

Jamie Watts

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Liverpool have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of a new goalkeeper this summer, as Real Madrid are set to enter negotiations for Roma’s no 1, Alisson, according to reports from Sky Sports.

The Brazilian international has been touted as Liverpool’s priority target since the summer window opened, just days after current stopper Lloris Karius cost Liverpool the chance of winning their sixth European trophy, with two huge blunders in Kiev.

Jurgen Klopp was said to be weighing up whether or not to make a move for the 25-year-old, having been somewhat deterred by the Italians’ hefty asking price of £80 million this week. And another huge obstacle has presented itself, in the form of defending European champions Real Madrid.

Photo: Getty Images

The Spanish giants are readying an initial bid, which is expected to be somewhere in the region of £43 million, but the bid will likely be rejected given the Romans’ stance, wanting almost double the amount – making Alisson the most expensive keeper in world football.

However Madrid are reportedly willing to include add-ons that amount to around £60 million, with Sky in Italy suggesting that personal terms are agreed between the player and club.

If Roma are stubborn on their prize asset, Madrid will likely elevate their interest in Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois – who has also been linked with a move to Liverpool – as the Belgian international enters the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.

Photo: Getty Images

The Reds will keep monitoring the situation of the Roma man, who registered 17 clean-sheets in Serie A last season, but will continue pursuing alternatives. Barcelona’s back-up stopper Jasper Cillessen is on the wish-list, according to reports from Don Balon, should Alisson decide to leave for the Spanish capital, or to stay at the Stadio Olimpico next term.

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Atletico Madrid

Will Liverpool regret missing out on Thomas Lemar last summer as Atletico agree deal?

Liverpool’s long-spanning target is set for a move to Spain.

Jamie Watts

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Atletico Madrid are said to have agreed a deal with Monaco to sign French winger Thomas Lemar this summer, according to a statement from the official club website, which will leave a number of Premier League sides feeling disappointed.

The 22-year-old is currently away on international duty ahead of the World Cup, but both clubs are reportedly keen on finalising the transfer before then, according to Sky Sports.

The news will come as a blow to Liverpool, who have closely courted the player for a number of years – notably throughout last season – with reports from the Express suggesting Lemar had chosen a move to Merseyside over Arsenal in January.

Photo: Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp reportedly made a £55 million bid for the player’s services last summer, but Monaco were unwilling to lose more key members of the team, having already lost Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea, Benjamin Mendy to Manchester City and Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain. That meant Lemar and new Reds midfielder Fabinho had to remain at the Stade Louis II for an extra season.

The Reds were likely to revisit their interest in Lemar this summer (the Express), after the collapse of Nabil Fekir’s highly anticipated switch, as Klopp looks to bolster his attacking options having been reminded that squad depth is a powerful thing in the Champions League final.

Rumours surrounding the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri (the Mirror) and Ousmane Dembele (the Express) suggest Liverpool are still prioritising bringing in high-profile attackers and Lemar certainly belongs in that bracket.

Photo: Getty Images

His best return came a year ago, with the former Caen forward amassing an impressive 14 goals and 17 assists in all competitions, sparking the initial interest from Europe’s elite.

A year on, the Europa League champions appear to have won the race, and Liverpool will have to look elsewhere.

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