?A number of top Premier clubs are interested in Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, who is in the final year of his contract with the Bundesliga club.
?Sport Bild have reported that Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are all interested in the 22-year-old.
Bayern Munich are believed to be favourites to secure his signature, however, after reports claimed they had agreed a deal with the player in May.
But now Barcelona have intervened, and are attempting to persuade Goretzka to consider a move to Catalonia.
There is also interest from the four aforementioned English clubs, although he is expected to make a decision between one of Bayern and Barcelona.
Barcelona are reportedly searching for a new creative midfielder, with Andres Iniesta approaching his 34th birthday and Ivan Rakitic his 30th.
Goretzka could be signed on a free transfer if his contract is run down, but Schalke have reportedly offered him a new five-year deal, worth €10m per year.
“I’d like to think that by the winter break we will have clarity,” Schalke sporting executive Christian Heidel has said.
The Germany international was at the centre of incessant speculation over the summer, and was forced to deny claims that he had agreed a deal with Bundesliga champions Bayern.
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“Honestly, it is really getting on my nerves,” he said, quoted by ?ESPN. “I can see why it interests people but I can only repeat once again, there’s nothing new to report with Munich. I have clearly denied there is an agreement in place — with any club. I can promise you this is the case.”
?Barcelona have overtaken rivals Real Madrid as the biggest spenders in La Liga, per data released on Tuesday.
According to the figures published by the Spanish league, the Catalan side have
Table courtesy ?Daily Mail.
Barca’s increased wage budget was significantly decreased by their selling of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain this summer. The Brazilian was on a
?Barcelona have been ridiculed on social media after their stars wore t-shirts showing solidarity with record signing Ousmane Dembele over his recent injury.
La Blaugrana’s starting lineup were mocked on Twitter after they posed for photographs, before their 6-1 demolition of Eibar on Tuesday, bearing the slogan ‘Courage Ousmane’ on t-shirts.
Dembele, however, is only out for four months with a hamstring issue sustained during the 2-1 victory over Getafe last weekend, and football fans flocked to express their amazement, confusion and banter up over the over-the-top incident.
There were those who just outright mocked Barcelona’s decision to stage such an unncessary ploy:
Just seen those “Courage Ousmane” shirts Barca wore yesterday. You’d think he suffered a life-altering injury ??
— KR (@kartikr99) September 20, 2017
And those who chose to put a more humorous slant on proceedings:
The Barca team wore this last night because Dembele is injured for a bit…
‘Courage Ousmane’ sounds like a pretty decent band name tbh ? pic.twitter.com/7WBSIL4j06
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) September 20, 2017
The wonderkid forward was signed for a fee that could eventually be worth up to £135.5m, and the ex-Borussia Dortmund starlet was expected to be the long-term replacement for the departed Neymar.
Just three matches into his senior career at Nou Camp, however, Dembele was struck down with a tendon tear around his left hamstring and was forced from the field of play as a result.
The France international underwent successful surgery to correct the problem in Helsinki on Monday, and will not be fit to return to first-team action until the turn of the year at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time football clubs have chosen to try and buoy their injured personnel with acts of unity, naturally.
Manchester City did likewise when midfielder Ilkay Gundogan suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury last December, while Manchester United stars wore t-shirts for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo after they sustained similar problems in April’s Europa League semi-final.
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Liverpool were also teased when their stars wore t-shirts supporting former striker Luis Suarez, who was handed an eight-match ban for supposedly racially abusing Patrice Evra back in late 2011.
?Footage has emerged showing that Ousmane Dembele may have been injured before the match against Getafe even kicked-off.
The French international hobbled off just 28 minutes into Barca’s match against Getafe, and the club later released a ?statement saying he
There are many explanations as to why Dembele got injured, some are blaming the condition of the pitch, Barca’s head coach ?Ernesto Valverde has blamed the Frenchman’s inexperience saying that the movement he made was too quick for the muscle to handle. However, these explanations may not have been as significant as first though.
Fresh footage has now emerged showing Dembele clutching his left thigh during the pre-game warm up and just seconds before kick-off.
This begs the question did Dembele know he was carrying an injury prior to the match even starting? Or were Barca aware of the injury yet decided to play him anyway?
Regardless of the answer, Dembele is now set to miss four months of action, and as a result will miss
?Barcelona reportedly tried to sign Atletico Madrid stars Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann this summer during what was ultimately a disappointing transfer window for the Catalan giants.
Barça lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, were consistently rebuffed in their attempts to land Marco Verratti and Philippe Coutinho, while €105m new signing Ousmane Dembele isn’t expected to play again until 2018 after sustaining a serious injury in only his third appearance.
And, according to Jose Ramon de la Morena from the Onda Cero network, Barça were keen on Saul and hoped to land the prized midfielder for €80m – the value of his buyout clause.
However, they encountered a problem when the 22-year-old committed his long-term future to Atletico with an astonishing new nine-year contract that will run to 2026. The buyout clause was also more than doubled to a reported €150m, ending Barça’s interest there and then.
Yet rather than give up completely, it is said Camp Nou officials then turned their attention to Antoine Griezmann, another player it seemed had an agreeable buyout clause.
Barça were apparently willing to pay the €100m figure to release Griezmann from his contract, but again found themselves short as a new contract for the Frenchman stipulated that for this summer only the clause would double to €200m.
It was clause engineered to temporarily protect the club from poachers at a time when they were unable to sign new players while still serving a FIFA-imposed transfer ban.
Barça did still allegedly make an offer, but the €140m bid was rejected by Atletico.
Griezmann will be free to move for €100m next summer and there is the possibility that he could yet end up with Barcelona, but Saul seems destined to stay at Atletico for life.