Liverpool: Blow in race for Portuguese star; Odegaard latest; another club rejects Balotelli
Liverpool began their 2016/17 Premier League campaign in scintillating fashion over the weekend, securing a breathless 4-3 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The Reds’ defensive deficiencies were obvious, with left-back Alberto Moreno putting in another woeful display. However, with Jonas Hector signing a new contract at Köln, their chances of replacing the full-back before the window is out look to be diminishing.
There has been further transfer disappointment as well this weekend, with Portugal winger Joao Mario reportedly on the cusp of joining Inter Milan in a €45 million deal, according to Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
Mario, although an excellent work horse with considerable talent on the wing, would have been in a tough battle to get any game time at Anfield this season thanks to Liverpool’s already considerable attacking options. Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino were all excellent against Arsenal, and the signing of Mario might have just confused the situation for manager Jurgen Klopp.
Still, O Jogo stated that Liverpool, as well as Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain were willing to spend big on the Sporting Lisbon star, but Inter outbid the other sides by around €5 million. Mario would not have added a lot extra to the Liverpool side, but he should prove to be a very good signing for the Italian club.
However, another attacker may be on their way to Anfield, with Norwegian youngster Martin Odegaard set to leave Real Madrid on loan. Liverpool are said to have an offer on the table.
There are at least a dozen clubs in for Odegaard, but as a boyhood Reds fan, the 17-year-old may be most likely to plump for a move to Merseyside for the upcoming season.
But, similarly to the problems with any deal for the aforementioned Joao Mario, any move from Odegaard to Liverpool would likely result in a serious amount of time being spent on the bench, thus defeating the purpose of sending him on loan to get more game time.
Odegaard would likely be competing with Lazar Markovic and Sheyi Ojo for back-up positions in the squad. As supremely talented as he is, he has yet to make an impact at the Bernabeu and may lack the physical capabilities to make a sustained impact in the Premier League. This is probably a move best avoided by the Reds.
Finally, it appears that Mario Balotelli’s nightmare stay at Anfield may continue a little longer, after Sassuolo decided against launching a move for the Italian.
The Neroverdi join a burgeoning list of clubs who have rejected Balotelli, who scored a paltry one Premier League goal in a disastrous season on Merseyside. Italian news outlet Gazzetta World have said that Chievo are still interested in a loan move, but for Liverpool fans, it appears their Balotelli nightmare may continue a little longer.
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