Football rumours from the media

What the papers say

Real Madrid and Barcelona are preparing to go head to head in an audacious battle to lure defender Virgil Van Dijk and manager Jurgen Klopp away from Liverpool, according to AS. The Spanish football website says both clubs are becoming concerned that their status as European giants is fading. This coincides with Liverpool’s powerful start to the Premier League campaign, and after Klopp also guided them to the Champions League title last season. Van Dijk, who was bought by Liverpool for a defender’s world record of £75million, has been a star for the Reds in each of their five games this term.

Manchester United have joined in the race to sign Kosovo international Vedat Muriqi after watching him perform against England last week, The Sun reports. Tottenham are said to have been monitoring the 25-year-old during an impressive run of form for his club, Fenerbahce. But United are also now keen to sign the striker, having sent scouts to watch him in Kosovo’s 5-3 loss to England in Euro 2020 qualifier last week. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the lookout for more forward power, following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

England v Kosovo – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group A – St Mary’s
Kosovo’s Vedat Muriqi, centre, battles for the ball with England’s Michael Keane, left, and Declan Rice during last week’s Euro qualifier at Southampton (Adam Davy/PA)

United are also in the hunt to sign German superstar Toni Kroos from Real Madrid, according to Germany’s Bild newspaper. The Red Devils would be willing to pay up to £66.9m for the 29-year-old, especially with rumours circulating that Real Madrid might swoop to pluck Paul Pogba from United’s midfield. The English giants almost signed Kroos in 2013, but the deal collapsed at the last minute, and Kroos joined Madrid a year later.

Mario Mandzukic, who has been linked to English clubs including Manchester United, might be going to Qatar instead. Al-Gharafa are ready to offer him 6 million euros per season to leave Juventus, according to Italian website Calcio Mercato. Mandzukic is said, however, to instead favour a move to Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC, who have also made their interest known.

Christian Eriksen is rejecting repeated bids by Tottenham to convince him to stay at White Hart Lane while his agent angles for a move to Real Madrid, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. Spurs reportedly offered the Dane to the Spanish giants in the last transfer window, but Real were more interested in trying to sign Paul Pogba.

Social media round-up

The strongest players in Fifa 20 have been revealed https://t.co/t9DPINoRkspic.twitter.com/l51i3ifSIj

— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) September 15, 2019

Players to watch

N’Golo Kante: Could be a target for Real Madrid after their ex-Chelsea players Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois recommended their former Stamford Bridge team-mate to club bosses, The Sun says.

Nemanja Matic: The Manchester United midfielder could be on the way to Juventus in the January transfer window, the Daily Mirror says.

Logan Pye: Arsenal are set to win the race to sign the Sunderland 15-year-old next summer, The Sun reports.

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