Klopp eyes tar­gets

Liver­pool man­ager de­ter­mined to sign top tar­gets as clubs con­tinue to strengthen their teams

The Witness - - SPORT -

LIVER­POOL man­ager Jür­gen Klopp is de­ter­mined to sign the club’s top tar­gets ahead of the new sea­son, say­ing he has 100% back­ing from the own­ers in a com­pli­cated trans­fer win­dow.

The Mersey­side club have al­ready re­cruited winger Mo­hamed Salah from AS Roma and striker Do­minic Solanke, whose con­tract ex­pired at Chelsea.

Bri­tish me­dia have re­ported that Klopp is in­ter­ested in sign­ing RB Leipzig mid­fielder Naby Keita, but a £57 mil­lion (R963 mil­lion) of­fer was re­jected by the Bun­desliga side.

“We pretty much have all you need. But at the end it is still busi­ness,” Klopp told the Bri­tish me­dia.

“You go out and see the car that you have been dreaming about your whole life ... you say ‘here is the money’ but they say to you ‘I don’t want to sell the car’. You say ‘but I have got the money’ but they say ‘I don’t want to sell’.

“They say ‘go for an­other car in an­other colour’ but you say ‘that’s okay but I want this’. Things like this hap­pen in life, not only foot­ball.”

Liver­pool are set to visit Wat­ford in their open­ing game of the sea­son on Au­gust 12.

MANCH­ESTER United man­ager José Mour­inho has sug­gested that striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic could yet be of­fered a new deal at Old Traf­ford.

The Swede was re­leased by the club at the end of the last cam­paign as he re­cov­ers from a long­term knee in­jury, but Mour­inho says if the for­ward can prove his fit­ness, he may yet make a dra­matic re­turn to the club.

“If the de­ci­sion is to stay and wait un­til De­cem­ber — he can’t be back un­til then — why not wait? We are speak­ing and chang­ing ideas.”

Ibrahi­movic scored 28 goals in 46 ap­pear­ances for United last sea­son be­fore he suf­fered a se­ri­ous knee in­jury in April that will likely keep him out un­til the end of the year.

AR­SE­NAL for­ward Alexis Sanchez should be left alone to de­cide his fu­ture, cap­tain Per Merte­sacker has said, as spec­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to swirl about the Chilean’s plans.

Sanchez, who was the North Lon­don side’s top scorer last sea­son with 24 league goals in 38 matches, is en­ter­ing the fi­nal year of his con­tract and is yet to sign a new deal.

“He needs a break now,” Merte­sacker told re­porters dur­ing the club’s pre­sea­son tour.

“He needs to re­lax. He has done a lot for us. He played al­most ev­ery game last sea­son and then the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup.

“You need to leave him alone to make up his mind [about] what he wants to do. It’s his de­ci­sion. If he feels good, com­fort­able, he can play with free­dom.”

Ar­se­nal won both their pre­sea­son friendlies in Aus­tralia and are cur­rently in China, where they will play Ger­man cham­pi­ons Bay­ern Mu­nich to­mor­row and Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons Chelsea on Satur­day.

WEST Bromwich Al­bion have com­pleted the sign­ing of Egypt de­fender Ahmed Hegazi on a sea­son­long loan deal from Al Ahly, the Pre­mier League side said yes­ter­day.

The 26­year­old caught the eye of Bag­gies boss Tony Pulis dur­ing the Africa Cup of Na­tions ear­lier this year, in which the cen­tre­back helped Egypt to a run­ners­up fin­ish.

West Brom have the op­tion to make the deal per­ma­nent at the end of next sea­son, and Pulis is de­lighted to have got his man.

ENG­LAND and Manch­ester City goal­keeper Joe Hart has been “hard done by” and de­serves more re­spect, West Ham United cap­tain Mark No­ble said amid me­dia re­ports link­ing the shot­stop­per with a loan move to the Lon­don club.

In a ca­reer span­ning more than a decade, Hart has made 348 ap­pear­ances for the Pre­mier League club and has 71 caps for Eng­land, but is not City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola’s first­choice keeper and spent last sea­son on loan at Italy’s Torino.

No­ble says the com­pe­ti­tion for a start­ing spot among the keep­ers at West Ham will in­crease if Hart ar­rives as he con­tends with Adrian and Dar­ren Ran­ dolph, and called for the 30­year­old to be given more re­spect.

“In my opin­ion, he [Hart] has been a lit­tle bit hard done by in re­cent years. He has been fan­tas­tic for Eng­land and for his club for the last 10 years, and he prob­a­bly de­serves a lit­tle bit more re­spect.”

SERIE A club Fiorentina have signed Bul­garia Un­der­19 in­ter­na­tional de­fender Petko Hris­tov from Slavia Sofia on a five­year deal.

The 18­year­old, con­sid­ered to be one of the best young play­ers in the Balkan coun­try, was a key fig­ure in Bul­garia’s team at the Euro­pean U­19 cham­pi­onship in Geor­gia this month.

“I’m ready for this chal­lenge,” Hris­tov, who was a reg­u­lar at the seven­time Bul­gar­ian cham­pi­ons Slavia last sea­son, mak­ing 30 ap­pear­ances, said of his move to Italy.

BAROKA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mor­gan Mam­mila has con­firmed that the club have agreed a deal to sign Zam­bian striker Brian Mwila from Green Buf­faloes.

Mwila is set to ar­rive in the coun­try in the next few days to pen a three­year con­tract with Bak­gaga, fol­low­ing on from the re­cent sign­ing of Zim­bab­wean winger Tal­ent Chawapiwa and Tan­za­nian de­fender Abdi Banda.

Mwila scored in Chipolopolo’s 2­1 friendly win over Bafana Bafana at Moru­leng Sta­dium on June 13, net­ting with a pow­er­ful left­footed drive at the near­post past Ron­wen Wil­liams.

BRIS­BANE Roar have signed for­mer Italy and Mid­dles­brough striker Mas­simo Mac­carone as their mar­quee player for the next A­League sea­son.

The 37­year­old will head to the twice Aus­tralian cham­pi­ons from Em­poli, where he won his two in­ter­na­tional caps in 2002 dur­ing a first spell at the club.

“We are pleased and ex­cited to wel­come a player of Mas­simo’s cal­i­bre to Bris­bane,” Roar boss John Aloisi said. “His play­ing ca­reer is im­pres­sive and we are con­fi­dent that Mas­simo’s ex­pe­ri­ence at the high­est level will strengthen our al­ready tal­ented squad.”

MANCH­ESTER City have spent heav­ily in the close sea­son to strengthen an al­ready pow­er­ful squad and mid­fielder Ra­heem Ster­ling says win­ning the Pre­mier League is the top pri­or­ity.

City, who last won the ti­tle in 2014 and fin­ished 15 points be­hind cham­pi­ons Chelsea last sea­son, have added goal­keeper Eder­son for a re­ported £34,7 mil­lion, mid­fielder Bernardo Silva for £43 mil­lion and de­fender Kyle Walker for £50 mil­lion.

Ster­ling said all the pieces were in place for a ti­tle run.

“We need to be win­ning tro­phies; we need to be get­ting that Pre­mier League ti­tle back,” the 22­year­old told the club’s web­site.

City will be­gin their pre­sea­son cam­paign against Manch­ester United in the United States on Thurs­day in the In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­ons Cup.

AC Mi­lan have signed Argentine mid­fielder Lu­cas Biglia on a three­year deal from Serie A ri­vals Lazio for an undis­closed fee.

The 31­year­old won four Bel­gian ti­tles with An­der­lecht be­fore mov­ing to Lazio in 2013. He scored four goals in 29 league ap­pear­ances last sea­son as Lazio fin­ished fifth.

“AC Mi­lan are de­lighted to an­nounce the sign­ing of Lu­cas Biglia from SS Lazio. The player has penned a three­year con­tract through to 30 June, 2020,” the club said on their web­site.

“The Ar­gen­tinian is a qual­ity player with a strong tac­ti­cal sense. Biglia is im­por­tant on and off the ball, start­ing the move for the team, with great vi­sion of play and a tal­ented set­piece taker.”

OMAN in­ter­na­tional goal­keeper Ali Al Habsi has signed for Saudi Ara­bia’s Al Hi­lal from English Cham­pi­onship side Read­ing.

Al Habsi was the first goal­keeper from the Gulf re­gion to play in the English Pre­mier League, ini­tially spend­ing four years as Jussi Jaaske­lainen’s un­der­study at Bolton Wan­der­ers be­fore join­ing Wi­gan in 2011 af­ter a year­long loan pe­riod.

The high­light of the 35­year­old’s ca­reer came in 2013 when he won the FA Cup in the mid­dle of his five­sea­son stint with Wi­gan Ath­letic, which ended when he signed for Read­ing in 2015.

Al Habsi was able to join Al Hi­lal af­ter the Saudi Ara­bian Pre­mier League re­laxed rules on over­seas play­ers, per­mit­ting clubs to field for­eign goal­keep­ers.

NEW Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde laughed off the idea of bring­ing in new play­ers yes­ter­day, say­ing the best sign­ings were the play­ers al­ready in the dress­ing room.

“I’m more than happy with the way things stand,” said Valverde when pressed on the po­ten­tial sign­ing of Paris Saint­Ger­main mid­fielder Marco Ver­ratti.

“Happy with the play­ers, happy with their work and their at­ti­tude,” he said, as his play­ers pre­pare for their trip to the United States to­mor­row.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Swedish striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic is re­port­edly still in Manch­ester United’s long­term plans. At present he is re­cov­er­ing from a knee in­jury.

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