Liverpool chase Yilmaz, Ilicic, Mertens to relieve striker crisis

Burak Yilmaz

Brendan Rodgers in the hunt for strikers after Borini injury, Man Utd face Lewandowski fight

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:20 ON Fri 12 Oct 2012

THE NEWS that Liverpool striker Fabio Borini is out for several weeks with a foot injury, leaving the club with one senior striker to call on, has inevitably prompted a flurry of speculation about who Reds manager Brendan Rodgers could buy in the January transfer window to alleviate the crisis at the club.

First name off the rank is Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz (above), who joined Galatasaray from Trabzonspor in the summer. Although he has only been with his current club for a couple of months Talksport suggests that Rodgers is lining up a £14m bid to lure him to Anfield. The 27 year-old scored 34 goals in all competitions last season and has 21 Turkish caps under his belt.

Next up is Palermo's atacking midfielder Josip Ilicic. The 24-year-old Slovenian has been "coy" about his future since it emerged that Liverpool might be interested in him, according to Sky Sports. It's claimed that Reds sent scouts to watch him in action against Genoa a couple of weeks ago.

"The summer is well over and the transfer window reopens in January, which is far away. Now I am a Palermo player, I don't know what will happen in the future. We will see," he said.

Back with Talksport and another player who could help alleviate the crisis at Anfield is Dries Mertens, one of the clutch of impressive young Belgian players currently plying their trade around Europe. Although he operates mainly as a winger Mertens has already scored five goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league this season, which is five times as many as Borini has managed. He is also being targeted by Spurs, claims the website.

Elsewhere, and Juventus are determined to wrest Robert Lewandowski out of the grasping hands of Manchester United, says Talksport. The 24-year-old striker is one of the hottest properties in Europe after his 30 goals last season helped Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title.

Alex Ferguson has long been an admirer of the prolific Pole, but now Juventus are muscling in on the action. Apparently sporting director Fabio Paratici will fly out to Warsaw on Tuesday to watch Lewandowski run riot for Poland against England in the World Cup qualifier. A January bid is sure to follow and it's believed that unless United can match Juventus's big money offer Lewandowski will be heading to Turin in the New Year.

Calcio Mercato claims that Inter Milan will sneak up on the blindside next year and snatch midfielder Nuri Sahin from under Liverpool's nose. The Real Madrid playmaker arrived at Anfield on a season-long loan from the Bernabeu having failed to cut the mustard with Jose Mourinho.

So far it's all gone well for the 23-year-old Sahin, who's scored three goals for the Reds and formed a lively partnership with Steven Gerrard. But so well has Sahin been playing for the Merseysiders that Inter Milan have taken a fancy to the Turkish international and are rumoured to be lining up an audacious offer.

New Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni is said to be particularly enamoured with Sahin and wants to build a team round his silky skills next season.

The Sun reports that Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber wants Frank Lampard to head Stateside. Intense speculation surrounds the future of the 34-year-old Chelsea midfielder, but the Sun says Lampard is being courted by a host of American teams.

"Frank Lampard's a great player. He has a great history with the sport," said Garber. "If he decides he wants to play in Major League Soccer, I'm sure any club would be happy to have him on their roster."

Finally, the worst club in the football league has pulled off quite a coup – by signing Dutch legend Edgar Davids as player-coach. Barnet lie bottom of League Two without a win to their name this season and yet somehow they've persuaded the 39-year-old Davids to join them in north London.

The Daily Mirror reports that Davids, who won 74 caps and played for the likes of Juventus and Barcelona, confirmed the news in a press statement: "I'm happy to explore my possibilities and share my knowledge and experience with Barnet Football Club. I am very excited about the challenge ahead." · 

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