Liverpool have rejected a third bid from Barcelona for star playmaker Philippe Coutinho, a source from the Premier League club confirmed yesterday. British media reports said Barcelona’s latest bid was worth around £114mn ($146.5mn), a significant increase on their previous offer of £90mn.
Liverpool have publicly stated that Coutinho is not for sale at any price and consider the figures being offered by Barcelona irrelevant. The 25-year-old Brazil playmaker, currently sidelined by a back problem, has submitted a transfer request. He signed a new five-year contract in January.
Barcelona have targeted Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele to plug the gap created by Neymar’s world-record 222mn euro ($260.8mn) move to Paris Saint-Germain. Speaking on Thursday, Barca general manager Pep Segura said deals for the pair were “close”.
But Liverpool are refusing to budge and Dembele, 20, has been suspended by Dortmund after going on strike in a bid to force through a move. Coutinho joined Liverpool from Inter Milan in an £8.5mn move in January 2013 and is the key creative figure in Jurgen Klopp’s team, scoring 14 goals in all competitions last season.
Spurs pay club record fee for Colombian Sanchez
Colombian international defender Davinson Sanchez became Tottenham Hotspur’s first signing of the close season yesterday when they paid a reported club record £42million (46mn euros, $54mn) to Dutch side Ajax.
The 21-year-old, who was a pivotal member of the side that reached the Europa League final only to lose to Manchester United, signed a six-year contract with last season’s Premier League runners-up. His deal, which will alleviate some anxiety amongst Spurs fans who were concerned at manager Mauricio Pochettino’s lack of activity in the transfer market compared to their title rivals, is dependent on him passing a medical and securing a work permit. Sanchez is capped twice by the senior side since making his debut last year.
Sanchez, who has also represented his country at different age groups, moved to Ajax from Colombian club Atletico Nacional in June, 2016, for £3.8mn. He made 47 appearances for the Dutch side, scoring seven goals.
Sanchez won Ajax’s Player of the Year Award in his only season at the club, which was previously won by Tottenham team-mate Belgian international Jan Vertonghen in 2012 and former Spurs star Rafael van der Vaart in 2002. He made his professional debut for Atletico Nacional aged 17 and was part of their Copa Libertadores winning side in 2016.
Matuidi completes move from PSG to Juventus
France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has completed a move to Juventus from Paris Saint-Germain, the two clubs confirmed, ending a successful six-year stint in the French capital.
Matuidi, 30, has signed a three-year deal in Turin with the Italian club saying they had paid 20mn euros plus a potential 10.5mn euros more in bonuses. Matuidi, capped 58 times by France, had joined PSG from Saint-Etienne in July 2011 right at the start of the Qatari takeover which revolutionised the club.
He played almost 300 times for PSG but has slipped down the pecking order this year. He almost left the club last year and now moves on with PSG needing to recoup some of their world-record 222 million-euro investment in Neymar.
Valencia sign defender Gabriel from Arsenal
Spanish club Valencia have completed the signing of defender Gabriel Paulista from Premier League side Arsenal on a five-year contract, both clubs said yesterday.
The 26-year-old centre back joined Arsenal from Spain’s Villareal in 2015 and has made 64 appearances for the London side, winning two FA Cup titles and one Community Shield. The Brazilian moves back to Spain for an undisclosed fee and will remain at the La Liga club until 2022, with a termination clause worth 80mn euros.
Defoe in line to start for Bournemouth
Jermain Defoe could make his first start for Bournemouth in 16 years at home to Watford today, manager Eddie Howe said. The former England striker left relegated Sunderland in the close-season and came on as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
He was on loan at Bournemouth as a teenager in 2000-01, famously scoring in 10 successive league matches. “Jermain felt a tightness in his groin after the Valencia pre-season game and he felt it before the West Bromwich game, but he is in contention to start,” Howe said.
Bournemouth finished ninth last season, rising from 16th the previous year in their first-ever campaign in the top flight of English football.
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