Liverpool land Lallana as Barca heap praise on 'noble' Suarez

Jul 1, 2014
Bill Mann

Spanish giants suddenly believe the Uruguayan is an 'honourable' man as they prepare for Anfield war

Liverpool may be preparing to say farewell to Uruguayan bad boy Luis Suarez, but Brendan Rodgers is working hard to ensure that the hole he leaves behind is adequately filled.

The latest summer arrival at Anfield is Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana who was unveiled as a Liverpool player after agreeing terms at the weekend. The deal represents more bad news for the Saints who have now lost all three of their England World Cup players, with Lallana following in the footsteps of Rickie Lambert and joining Liverpool, while Luke Shaw has upped sticks to move to Manchester United.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has also quit and his replacement Ronald Koeman will have to embark on a rebuilding exercise. For that he will need funds, but the Lallana deal is worth just £25m says The Guardian, less than the south coast club had been holding out for, and to make matters worse, £6.25m of the fee will go to Lallana's former club Bournemouth.

Liverpool's interest in Lallana may have been inspired by the realisation that Luis Suarez is unlikely to be around for much longer. Despite being banned untol the end of October he is still in Barcelona's sights, and his "apology" for biting Giergio Chiellini appears designed to appease the Spanish club rather than his current employers.

The Daily Mail notes that Barcelona's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was "unable to resist commenting" on the Uruguayan's statement of contrition. He said it showed the player had "honour" - something that few on Merseyside would agree with if Suarez does start agitating for a move.

Another new Barcelona signing, Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic was even more moved by his actions. He hijacked his own press conference to sing the praises of Suarez, notes the Mail. "To have the character and strength to apologise in front of the world shows what a noble person he is," said the Croatian playmaker.

As Arsenal continue to be linked with every player going – except, Gooners will be grateful to hear, Suarez – the latest rumours suggest the north London club are interested in signing Napoli wing Lorenzo Insigne.

According to the Evening Standard, Arsene Wenger is ready "to make a £20m bid for the 23-year-old" who was a member of Italy's World Cup squad in Brazil. That isn't the greatest advert for a player, although to be fair to the Azzurri they did at least manage to win a game, which is more than can be said of England. 

However the Standard reports that when asked by Italian radio station Radio Crc about the move, Insigne's agent Fabio Andreotti replied: "We have not been contacted by Arsenal for Lorenzo Insigne and Napoli has not notified us of this interest."

Pressed on whether a deal could be forthcoming in the weeks ahead, Andreotti said: "Lorenzo is a target of several European sides so it wouldn't surprise me if big clubs are interested in him. However, Napoli don't want to put him in the market." According to the Standard, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis "laughed" when he learned of Arsenal's £20m bid, although it's not clear if he was amused by the size of the offer or Arsene Wenger's Italian accent.

Still with the Gunners and reports that their hopes of signing Newcastle full-back Mathieu Debuchy have come off the rails.  A report in France on Monday hinted that the 28-year-old France defender, who anchored his country in yesterday's 1-0 victory over Nigeria, was angling for a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco. But when the suggestion was put to Newcastle, the club said they had no intention of selling the defender.

Debuchy arrived on Tyneside from Lille in January 2013 and was a standout performer last season despite Newcastle's difficulties. It's claimed that Arsenal would be prepared to stump up the £12m required to buy Debuchy, which would represent a tidy profit for the Magpies considering they paid only £5.5m for him 18 months ago.

Metro says that Newcastle might want to hang on to Debuchy but they're keen jettison Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux and Jonas Gutierrez. Trouble is "so far they are failing to find any buyers" and that's hindering their summer spending. Apparently Alan Pardew has drawn up a wish list, which includes striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga from Hertha Berlin and Montpellier's Remy Cabella – but until he can sell his troublesome trio he won't be able to cut any deals.

Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that Frank Lampard is heading Down Under to play for Melbourne City in Australia. The veteran midfielder, who left Chelsea at the end of last season, will spend six months in Oz playing in their A-League before joining Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC in March.

The Mirror says that the deal has been arranged by Manchester City, who own both franchises, and the 36-year-old Lampard will play alongside David Villa in Australia and then the States. In addition, Lampard's stint in Melbourne will reunite with former Chelsea team-mate Damien Duff, who recently signed for Melbourne City on a one-year deal.

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