REDS EYE ACE DUBBED ‘FRENCH BALE’

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

LIVER­POOL man­ager Bren­dan Rodgers has his eye on bag­ging the French Gareth Bale.

The Reds are track­ing Alexan­dre La­cazette – and his club boss reck­ons he is bet­ter than Welsh wizard Bale.

The 23-year-old has scored 19 goals in 20 matches for Lyon.

Pres­i­dent Jean-Michel Aulas said: “You can’t put a fig­ure on it.

“What’s the name of the Welsh­man at Real Madrid? I think that Alexan­dre is a lot bet­ter.

“But Alexan­dre does not have a price, so it’s point­less think­ing of one.”

Manch­ester City were in­ter­ested in the hot­shot, but their £28mil­lion move for Wil­fried Bony has left the door open for Liver­pool to swoop.

Lyon are des­per­ate to hang on to their prized as­set as they aim to be­come a force in the Cham­pi­ons League again.

Aulas said: “Our goal is to be­come a top Euro­pean club in the next five years and that’s why we don’t want to sell him.”

Kop de­fender Jon Flana­gan is clos­ing in on a re­turn from in­jury.

The de­fender has been out all sea­son with knee trou­ble but hopes to re­turn next month.

And the 22-year-old is rel­ish­ing the chance to fight for his place, de­spite the sum­mer ar­rival of full-backs Al­berto Moreno and Javier Man­quillo.

Flana­gan said: “When I saw that we signed two full-backs I im­me­di­ately thought, ‘I need to up my game now’.

“I know I need to con­sis­tently do well if I’m to get into the team and then stay there.

“I want to keep de­vel­op­ing as a foot­baller. That’s why not be­ing avail­able has been so frus­trat­ing.

“But com­pe­ti­tion for places doesn’t bother me. I’m al­ways up for the fight.” Lo­cal lad Flana­gan is a popular fig­ure among Reds fans and he says they have spurred him on since his surgery back in Septem­ber.

He said: “It’s great to hear the fans haven’t for­got­ten me.

“When you hear that, you know peo­ple are root­ing for you and want to see you back play­ing again. It gives me even more mo­ti­va­tion to get back out on the pitch as soon as pos­si­ble.

“I’ve been out for what has felt like a re­ally long time. It’s been frus­trat­ing.

“When the rest of the lads have trav­elled to away games, I’ve been in hav­ing treat­ment or do­ing re­hab work.

“That is one of the down­sides of foot­ball that peo­ple don’t see.

“Once you are in­jured, your sched­ule changes com­pletely. You have to rest on dif­fer­ent days and work on other ar­eas. It’s not nice, but it has to be done and will be worth all the ef­fort.

“I have got into the team be­fore and kept my place. Now I need to do that again.” COME­BACK: Flana­gan is de­ter­mined to win back his start­ing place

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