?Barcelona have submitted an initial offer for Chelsea defender David Luiz as Ernesto Valverde looks to add depth to his back line.
The Brazilian is said to have fallen out with Antonio Conte following his questioning of the manager’s tactics against AS Roma in the Champions League, and a subsequent knee issue has left him out of the side since late November, when the Blues beat Qarabag 4-0.
Danish youngster Andreas Christensen has since stepped up in his place and has been very impressive, leaving Luiz with quite the fight to regain his spot in the starting 11 even when fit.
Telefoot report (via the ?Metro) that while the reported fallout with Conte has put other teams on alert, with Real Madrid and Arsenal said to be considering moves, it is Barcelona who have made the approach – reaching out to Chelsea and proposing a loan move for the player.
The Primera Division leaders are soon to let Javier Mascherano join Chinese Super League side
Spanish radio station Catalunya Radio recently made claims of Luiz contacting Barca with a view to engineer a transfer during a recent trip to Spain.
The defender travelled to Barcelona to visit a knee specialist and is said to have taken some time to alert the club of his availability.
The Blues, who are well stocked at centre-back, with Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahil, Ethan Ampadu and Antonio Rudiger all available, are reportedly willing to offload Luiz.
We should have a clearer picture when the transfer window opens up next month, however.
El Clasico is one of world football’s most iconic games, with past encounters giving football fans some of the most gruesome and exhilarating moments in the history of the sport.
The two sides will meet once again this weekend, with – as expected – a huge amount at stake. A win for Barcelona would see them go 14 points clear of Real Madrid before Christmas and Real – who recently won the FIFA Club World Cup – will go into this game knowing that they must win in order to make up ground on their rivals.
Here’s a look at three key battles that could decide the game between Spain’s two giants.
3. Sergio Busquets vs Casemiro
These two holding midfielders will arguably have the most important role to play in this weekend’s Clasico.
Busquets has been pivotal in his role for nearly a decade and has always shown consistent composure when he’s on the ball. His distribution is also second to none, and when he’s in possession he is constantly looking to put Barcelona on the front foot.
The Spaniard will be aware that he has the experience advantage over Casemiro, but the Brazil international’s physical and attacking prowess makes him a tough match for Busquets. Casemiro is aggressive in his play and isn’t shy of a tackle or two, which could catch the Barca midfielder off guard if he’s not careful.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Gerard Pique
Cristiano Ronaldo has had a fairly underwhelming Primera Division campaign so far – scoring just four times in 11 games. However, if there was ever an occasion to get the best out of CR7, it’s most certainly a Clasico.
He often performs to the best of his abilities when it comes to the biggest games of the season, and what’s bigger than a must win Clasicofor Ronaldo and Real Madrid. The Portuguese forward knows that there can be no leniency when Madrid are attacking, but Gerard Pique will try his best to make sure Ronaldo has a quiet afternoon.
Pique has been part of a defence that has conceded just seven goals – the joint best in Europe’s top five leagues – in La Liga this term. Pique will want to impose himself by using his physical attributes to try and stop Ronaldo and co., but he will be aware that he’s in for a busy afternoon.
1. Marcelo vs Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has the most goals of any player in Clasico history with 24, and not many people are more aware of the Argentine’s abilities than left-back Marcelo. The Brazilian full-back has been at Madrid for a decade now, and will still find it extremely difficult to cope with the lively number ten.
Messi has had an eventful first half of the season – scoring 20 goals in 26 games in all competitions and hitting the woodwork more than a dozen times. He knows that if he can help his teammates in claiming victory then he’ll see his beloved Barca go 14 points clear of rivals Real after just 17 games.
Marcelo will need to bring his A-game if he hopes to have any chance of curtailing the threat which Messi poses, while trying to support Ronaldo inLos Blancos’attack.
?Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been caught up in an investigation by Spanish Police into the recent Catalan referendum.
The revelation comes on the same day that the whole of Catalonia descends on polling stations for an official snap election which could finally bring an end to the independence crisis in the area.
Guardiola – who has always been passionate about his Catalan heritage – voted in October’s referendum by post, a referendum that the Spanish government has condemned as illegal and unpatriotic.
According to reports from Catalan newspaper ?El Nacional, the former Barcelona boss was much more involved than first thought, as he was named in the Civil Guard’s report depicting those that participated in the rebellion.
The report states that during a march on June 11 2017, Josep Guardiola read a pro-independence manifesto in a “mobilization to defend the unilateral road”, with the intention to “mobilize all supporters of independence”.
This is unbelievable. The Spanish “justice” system is looking at “rebellion” charges for a whole host of people including Pep Guardiola for taking part in a demonstration. Rebellion charges carry a sentence of 30 years max. Wake up Europe, democracy is bleeding. #21D#Catalonia
— Steven Marwick (@SMarwickYes) December 21, 2017
Whether or not Guardiola will be punished for his actions remains to be seen, but City certainly won’t want their prized tactician embroiled in politically fueled scandal whilst they sit pretty at the top of the Premier League.
Under Pep’s guidance, City have won 16 games on the bounce and sit 11 points adrift of their Manchester rivals. They will be hoping that nothing more than a slap on the wrist comes of his actions, and this isn’t the bump in the road that they’ve been dreading.
Outlandish Report Claims Spurs Could Look to Sign Barcelona Superstar If Griezmann Moves to Camp Nou
Suarez enjoyed a stellar three years at Liverpool before joining Barcelona in 2014, where he continued to develop a reputation as one of the best strikers in world football.
Suarez has scored 130 goals and notched up 73 assists in 168 appearances for Barcelona, all helping them win two La Liga titles and a Champions League.
But with growing reports that Griezmann is set to join Barca in the summer, Suarez’s place in the team and subsequent future at the Catalan club are being thrown into doubt.
If Griezmann does end up making the move, Suarez could end up losing his untouchable status in the Barca team. And Tottenham are apparently looking to offer Suarez a fresh start in the Premier League.
Spanish outlet ?Don Balon are claiming that Spurs have made contact with Barca to make their interest in the Uruguayan officially known, ready to begin the transfer talks when the summer transfer window opens.
The report goes on further to state that Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is concerned that striker Harry Kane will eventually be lured away from the club and has identified Suarez as his replacement.
However, Suarez is apparently not interested in the move as he’d rather stay and fight for his place with Griezmann than be forced out of the club.
It would certainly be a huge coup for Spurs if they did manage to pull this deal off, but considering Suarez left the Premier League citing the British press’ vindication of him as his main reason, a return may not be that likely.
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