Transfer Gossip: Pep Lijnders influential with Liverpool ready to usurp Man Utd for huge Dutch signing; Chelsea swoop for next Graham Potter arrival

Frenkie de Jong, Steven Bergwijn and Cody Gakpo Credit: Alamy
Frenkie de Jong, Steven Bergwijn and Cody Gakpo Credit: Alamy

Liverpool could beat Manchester United to a top-class star after Pep Lijnders called him their ‘missing link’, Chelsea are at the front of the queue to land a Brazilian attacker, while Wednesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Barcelona hope to sign a Manchester City defender.

PEP LIJNDERS INSTRUCTS KLOPP ON BIG LIVERPOOL MOVE

A journalist close to Pep Lijnders claims Liverpool will beat Manchester United to the signing of PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo after he was labelled Jurgen Klopp’s ‘missing link’.

Manchester United were close to signing Gakpo in the summer transfer window, while Leeds and Southampton also made approaches.

Gakpo was holding out for Manchester United as he did not want to drop out of European competition by joining Leeds or Southampton.

But Man Utd failed to meet PSV’s asking price. According to the Dutch club’s director of football, Marcel Brands, this sits at €50million (£43.6m) including bonuses.

This is the main reason why Gakpo did not link up with compatriot Erik ten Hag in August. However, the Red Devils are now looking towards a 2023 move for the versatile forward.

And Brands admits PSV have an agreement with Gakpo which means they will have to sell him once a big club submits a suitable offer.

This should have put Man Utd in a great position to complete the transfer, given they are one of the 23-year-old’s preferred destinations.

Unfortunately for them, Premier League rivals Liverpool are now lurking too. Brands recently threw a massive curveball into the transfer chase by stating Liverpool would be a great destination for Gakpo.

“Liverpool is a club that is always very focused,” Brands told ESPN NL. “Sometimes they get players for the next season in November.

“Would they be a good partner to send Gakpo in the summer? Yes, that’s right.”

Pep Lijnders to play big role in Liverpool swoop

And it seems Liverpool assistant coach Lijnders is keen to take Gakpo to Anfield, rather than let him join Man Utd.

Hans Kraay Jr., a former footballer turned TV presenter, claims to be close with Lijnders. And speaking on Good Morning Eredivisie (via the Daily Express), he made a huge revelation about why Gakpo could sign for Liverpool.

“Lijnders has said: ‘Gakpo is our missing link’,” Kraay Jr. admitted.

“He [Lijnders] is taken very seriously at Liverpool and he is one of the few people Klopp listens to.”

It appears Lijnders is working hard to convince Klopp and the Liverpool board on Gakpo. And given the coach’s close relationship with Klopp, it is a transfer which could well come to fruition.

Gakpo’s record speaks for itself. 13 goals and 17 assists already this campaign. That is an Erling Haaland-level of goal contributions.

And the fact he is available for less than £44m should make it a nailed on signing for Liverpool. It is not often teams are able to sign a high-quality attacker for under £50m in the current market.

Man Utd may be big admirers of Gakpo, but if Klopp is convinced on the Netherlands international, then Liverpool will pose a serious threat for his capture.

CHELSEA PUSHING FOR FORWARD DEAL

Chelsea are at the front of the queue to sign Endrick from Brazilian outfit Palmeiras, according to a report.

The 16-year-old striker is making waves in Brazil, having registered nine goals and one assist in just 12 appearances. Given his tender age, that is a frightening number of goal contributions.

Endrick is clearly set for bigger and better things and Palmeiras are ready to make some serious money on him.

Man Utd and Liverpool have previously been linked. But now it is Chelsea who are the English club pushing the most to land the wonderkid.

As per the Evening Standard, Chelsea are leading the race for Endrick and want to make him Graham Potter’s second signing as Blues boss. The club already has an agreement in place to bring in Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig next summer, reports claim.

Chelsea have held several meetings with Endrick, his agent and Palmeiras as they aim to get the move over the line.

However, they are facing serious competition in the pursuit. European giants Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also hoping to land Endrick.

The report claims Chelsea want to use their ‘financial might’ to tempt him to Stamford Bridge. But Real and PSG are two hugely rich clubs as well, so presumably they will be doing exactly the same thing.

Endrick looks set to pick up a huge pay rise when moving to Europe next summer, whether it be for Chelsea, Real or PSG. But fans will be hoping he gets plenty of opportunities when joining his next club, rather than being stuck in the reserves.

BARCELONA WANT MAN CITY STAR

Barcelona will try to improve their defensive ranks in January and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte is on their radar, according to a report.

City parted with £57m – a club record at the time – to bring in Laporte from Athletic Bilbao in 2018. The centre-back has gone on to play 161 times for City, helping Pep Guardiola’s team to win four Premier League titles and an FA Cup, plus several other trophies.

But City are now at risk of losing the France-born Spain international. Spanish newspaper Sport claim Barca will move in for Laporte if they fail to sign Athletic’s Inigo Martinez.

Laporte is Barca’s ‘plan B’ as Xavi likes him ‘very much’. Due to this, they are pushing the idea of completing his move, but only if Martinez remains with Athletic.

While Laporte has never gunned for a move away from City, the report claims he would welcome a switch to Barca. He is supposedly open to a ‘change of scenery’ after almost four years in Manchester.

The defender moving to Barca would see him reunite with former Citizens Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia. They both swapped the Etihad for the Camp Nou in 2021.

While Barca like the look of Laporte, it is hard to see him pushing for a transfer to them. At City, he can compete for the most illustrious trophies, while also winning several of them too.

Barca, in contrast, will play Man Utd in a Europa League play-off tie after finishing third in Champions League Group C. It is highly unlikely Laporte would want to drop out of the UCL this winter.

Meanwhile, Lijnders has jumped to the defence of Liverpool owners FSG amid claims they have put the club up for sale.

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