Liverpool to sign £25m Lallana before World Cup starts
Saints midfielder open to a move to Anfield, and Reds could also come in for defender Lovren
Midfielder Adam Lallana was a Southampton man when he was picked for the World Cup, but he could be a Liverpool player by the time he touches down in Brazil, according to the Liverpool Echo, which says negotiations over a move are progressing. No fee has been agreed between the two clubs, but the paper says Saints are willing to sell and that Lallana is "keen on a move to Anfield".
Liverpool began the bidding with an offer of £20m earlier in the month, but Southampton are holding out for £25m. And they could get their hands on even more cash if Liverpool also make an offer for defender Dejan Lovren, as the Echo suggests they might.
The future of Ashley Cole has taken another twist with Metro stating that Real Madrid are ready to offer the veteran defender "a two-year deal worth a whopping £10m". It was only yesterday that we reported that Liverpool and Inter Milan were chasing the 33-year-old Cole, who is out of contract at Chelsea, and as unlikely to sign an extension as Yaya Toure is to receive a birthday cake from Manchester City. According to Metro, Cole's former manager at the Bridge, Carlo Ancelotti, is "leading the race" for the left-back. An offer of £10m has allegedly been put before Cole and it's believed the prospect of one final lucrative pay day will be too good to turn down for a player who still remains convinced he can play at the highest level.
Talking of top quality defenders, Goal.com reports that Louis van Gaal has asked Patrice Evra "to extend his Old Trafford career". With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand on their way out of Manchester United this summer the new manager feels that he could do with the Frenchman's savoir-faire at the back when he takes charge in July. Goal.com says that while Van Gaal has "approved" the purchase of Luke Shaw from Southampton, he feels the teenage defender will need an old hand like Evra to help him settle at Old Trafford. However, Evra has yet to decide whether he will return for a tenth season in Manchester and the 33-year-old may seek a final challenge elsewhere. Juventus are said to be interested in him, as are Inter, particularly if they lose out in their bid to sign Ashley Cole.
In other news the Daily Mirror says that Liverpool and Arsenal are both taking more than a passing interest in Reading defender Jordan Obita. Described by the paper, inevitably, as a "starlet", the 20-year-old England Under-19s left-back has earned his spurs in the Championship and is now tipped for greater things in the Premier League. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is known to be on the lookout for quality blockers while the Mirror says that Arsenal "are impressed by Obita's potential".
Still with the Gunners and Talksport reports that Toulouse defender Serge Aurier has made it clear that he would find an approach from Arsenal nigh-on irresistible. The 21-year-old right-back, named in the Ligue 1 team of the year, is being lined up by Gunners' gaffer Arsene Wenger to replace Bacary Sagna, and Talksport claims he would cost as little as £7m to prise from Toulouse. Asked by Eurosport France about the likelihood of a move to the Emirates, the Ivory Coast international replied: "You can't really say 'no' to Arsenal. It's a club with history, with a French manager, who has welcomed many French players. Arsenal are always thereabouts when it comes to trophies and a club that plays in the Champions League."
Finally, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has vowed the club will hang on to Ross Barkley this summer even if he becomes a global star thanks to his appearances for England in next month's World Cup. Manchester United and Chelsea have both been linked with the 20-year-old playmaker in recent weeks but Martinez sees Barkley as a key component in the Toffees squad next season. "It would be wrong for him (to leave this summer)," Martinez told the Daily Mail. "Ross is a phenomenal talent, probably the best English talent I have ever seen, but he is not the finished article yet... It's our duty to protect him and I know Everton is the perfect place for him for the next 12 months."