Everton Turn to Mikel Arteta as Search for New Manager Continues

​Everton are considering making a move for Manchester City assistant manager and former Toffee Mikel Arteta in their search for a new permanent boss.

The Merseyside club parted ways with Marco Silva in early December and placed Duncan Ferguson in charge of the side while they search for a new long-term manager.

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Club officials have considered a number of names for the position, but the ​Liverpool Echo claim that Arteta is the latest to have his name brought up in the ​Everton board room.

They are understood to have discussed ‘at length’ the idea of approaching Arteta, but they are yet to make a final decision as majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri is currently considering all available options.

Former ​Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti remains high on their wish list, while Unai Emery and David Moyes have both met with club chiefs over a potential move, but Everton are yet to make any real progress in the search.

Mikel Arteta

Arteta became a fan favourite at Goodison Park during his playing days. Between 2005 and 2011, the Spaniard made 209 appearances for Everton, racking up 35 goals and 33 assists from midfield.

However, Everton are not the only one of Arteta’s former employers who have taken a keen interest in him. ​Arsenal are understood to be incredibly keen on him as they look for their replacement for Emery.

The Gunners are believed to see Arteta as the ‘​leading candidate’ for their vacant managerial role, so Everton may be forced to act quickly if they want to win the race for his signature.

Pep Guardiola,Mikel Arteta

Fortunately for Everton, director of football Marcel Brands is said to have a good relationship with ​City counterpart Txiki Begiristain, which could help ensure that negotiations go smoothly.

As it stands, Ferguson remains in the dugout at Goodison. He led the side to a fantastic 3-1 win over ​Chelsea in his first game, and he will hope to use that momentum when his side travel to Old Trafford to face ​Manchester United on Sunday.


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Adam Lallana Poised to Leave Liverpool at the End of the Season

Adam Lallana is set to leave Liverpool once his contract expires at the end of the season after seven years on Merseyside.

The 31-year-old had been tipped to sign a new deal after impressing Jürgen Klopp at times this season, although his lack of game time since the start of the campaign left many feeling as though he was an expendable member of the squad.

Adam Lallana,Marvelous Nakamba

​Liverpool are understood to be closing in on a £7.25m deal for Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Takumi Minamino, who can operate in a similar role to ​Lallana. When asked whether the Japan international will take Lallana’s place in the squad, The Athletic’s ​James Pearce revealed that the Englishman is set to leave the club next summer.

I’m not sure if [Minamino] is viewed as the Lallana replacement but it certainly strengthens that area of the squad,” Pearce said. Lallana will leave at the end of the season.”

The Englishman has managed ten appearances in all competitions this season, but has started just two ​Premier League games as Klopp has struggled to find a place for him in Liverpool’s exciting attacking line.

Jurgen Klopp,Adam Lallana

His injury struggles have plagued his time at Anfield. Lallana managed just 13 league appearances last season, while he only made 12 in the campaign for that, and Liverpool have certainly moved on since Lallana was last able to play a major role for the team.

The likes of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner are well ahead of him in the pecking order, so a move away from the club at the end of the season certainly seems inevitable for Lallana.

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A return to ​Southampton has been suggested, while a spectacular switch to Paris Saint-Germain was bizarrely mentioned back in November (which is obviously not going to happen).

Clubs from ​Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League are also thought to be monitoring Lallana, so he will likely have no shortage of offers to choose between when he does eventually leave Anfield.


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Jürgen Klopp Names 5 Liverpool Youngsters Who Are Nearing First-Team Breakthrough

​Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has named five youngsters at the club who he believes are close to commanding a place in his first-team squad.

Klopp has not shied away from using his young players in cup competitions this season, while the Reds are even set to name a squad made up almost entirely of academy stars when they face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Tuesday.

Rhian Brewster,Neco Williams,Harvey Elliott

The boss penned a new contract on Friday, and he explained his reasons for doing so to the club’s ​official website. One factor in his decision was the recent development of the academy, and Klopp was happy to name five specific players who have caught his eye.

“We want to go, we had to go, to the academy to bring it closer together because that will be our future,” Klopp said. 

“In the moment we have four fantastic players really close to the first team: Rhian Brewster, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Neco Williams, plus we have Caoimhin [Kelleher] as a goalkeeper. That’s five boys who I would have no problem to line up tomorrow if needed. 

Curtis Jones - Soccer Player

“Curtis now had his first ​Premier League minutes and of course they have time as well to develop, but that’s four or five and we want to increase that number in the future.”

Klopp insisted that youth development is one of the most important parts of the club. Not only does it give youngsters the chance to make it at the top level, but it could also encourage some of the world’s most talented young stars to head to Anfield in the future.

“With Brexit and stuff like this then things will change, and for the youth departments as well – where can we get the players from?” he added.

Harvey Elliott

“So these players need a perspective and they need to feel ‘if I go to ​Liverpool then I have the best chance compared to all the other top six clubs, for example, to make my first steps in the Premier League’.

“That’s all very important and we are constantly thinking about ‘how can we solve the problem today and tomorrow?’ but we are also thinking always about ‘how can this club look when we are not here anymore?’ because this club is not only bigger than pretty much all other clubs, it’s bigger than us for sure as well so it needs to have a bright future and we are all working on that.”


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Jürgen Klopp Hints at Future RB Salzburg Dealings After Takumi Minamino Deal

​Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has suggested that he would be open to signing even more RB Salzburg players in the near future.

The Reds are understood to be on the verge of completing ​a £7.25m deal for 24-year-old Japanese forward Takumi Minamino, who impressed during his two meetings with Liverpool in the Champions League this season.

Takumi Minamino

When asked to comment on the deal, Klopp insisted (via Metro) that he would only speak once everything was completed, although he could not resist praising some other members of the Salzburg squad.

“There is nothing else to say about it actually,” he said. “We speak about it really in the moment like we do about all transfers, potential transfers and whatever, you know when it’s sorted. Not earlier. So there’s nothing really to say about it. 

“He’s a very good player, I can say that. But I saw a few very good players in the Salzburg team to be honest – much more than I wanted, especially in the first half! Yeah, that’s it.”

Hwang Hee-chan,Georginio Wijnaldum

Minamino was one of his side’s top performers in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to ​Liverpool, but there were also impressive showings from the likes of forward Hwang Hee-chan, centre-back Jérôme Onguéné and midfielder Enock Mwepu.

The Reds have also been linked with a move for 19-year-old midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai in the past, so there could be plenty of players who caught Klopp’s eye during the game.

Current Liverpool stars Sadio Mané and Naby Keita have both previously played for Salzburg, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Reds’ hierarchy were keeping their eye on the production line in Austria.

Juergen Klopp

Klopp, who penned a new contract until 2024 on Friday, has previously hinted that he would be ​prepared to spend whatever he needs to to sign the right players in January, which is likely why the cut-price Minamino deal was too good to turn down.

Liverpool are said to value the Japan international at over £20m, so his bargain release clause of just £7.25m appears to have made life much easier for the club.


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Predicting Real Madrid’s Starting XI for Their La Liga Clash With Valencia

​Real Madrid will be looking to keep the pressure up on table-toppers Barcelona on Sunday as they travel to Valencia.

Should Madrid and Barça win their matches this week, they will head into the Clasico level on points, with the Catalonian club just two goals superior.

They face Valencia, who currently sit in eighth place, and eight points behind Real Madrid. However, they have won four from five games, so this will not be an easy ride for Los Blancos.

Added to that, Zinedine Zidane has a number of key players missing, with Eden Hazard, Marcelo, Marco Asensio and James Rodriguez all injured.

So, how will they line up?


Goalkeeper and Defenders

Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – The Belgian goalkeeper has been Zidane’s preference this season, although he has missed three games in La Liga. However, Valencia are no pushovers and the boss will want his best 11 on the pitch, so Courtois should start.

Alvaro Odriozola (RB) – With very limited game time this season, Real Madrid’s full-back crisis might provide Odriozola’s chance at proving himself to Zidane. After receiving a red card against Mallorca, the Spanish defender has not featured for six league games, but with very limited options, he may well get his first league start since October.

Raphael Varane (CB) – Arguably one of the best defenders on the planet, Varane has formed a fantastic partnership with Sergio Ramos. He has started all but three league matches this season as Zidane likes to rotate his options. He boasts six clean sheets in 12, and would be a huge miss to the side.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Ramos has only missed out on 30 minutes of league action this season, and does not look like sitting out any time soon. With three goals to his name, he provides a threat from set pieces and acts as the wall in front of Courtois. It would take an injury or suspension for Zidane to drop his captain.

Dani Carvajal (LB) – Carvajal is integral to the way that Real Madrid play, and this has been proven by his four assists and one goal this season. With Alvaro Odriozola on his tail and gaining minutes in the cup, Carvajal has stepped up his game and cemented his starting place. However, considering the injury to Marcelo and suspension for Ferland Mendy, Carvajal would have to shift to the left-hand side.


Midfielders

Casemiro

Casemiro (CM) – The Brazilian midfielder is bound to start against Valencia, as he has missed just 30 minutes of league football this term, much like Ramos. As he links the defence and midfield, he plays a crucial role in Real Madrid’s system. The only thing that would stop Casemiro from starting would be injury or suspension.

Toni Kroos (CM) – Kroos has started 12 of the 14 games that he has featured in this season, and only failed to come on once. His range of passing and technical ability is indispensable to Los Blancos, which has been prevalent with the amount of minutes that the German has played.

Federico Valverde (CM) – The 21-year-old has been something a revelation this year. Valverde struggled to break into the side earlier in the season, but has thrown himself into contention for a starting place with some impressive displays. He has started three of the previous four, and looks set to showcase his abilities again.


Forwards

Karim Benzema

Gareth Bale (RW) – The most contentious inclusion within this whole prediction, but Bale might feature against Valencia. Injuries to Hazard, Asensio and Brahim Diaz has left Madrid lacking in depth up front, and Bale has been rested for two matches. Although tensions are high between the two parties, he has started all but one game that he has featured in.

Karim Benzema (ST) – Since Cristiano Ronaldo departed for Juventus, Benzema has stepped up his game. The Frenchman has managed 11 goals in 14 matches in La Liga so far, as well as four assists. He has missed out on only one game this term, and has lead the line superbly. Zidane will not bench his top scorer for this crunch tie.

Vinicius Junior (LW) – The young Brazilian has found it tough to gain momentum this season, but has started Real Madrid’s last two matches in all competitions. Much like Bale, he may profit from his sides lack of depth on the wings and get some form going. However, with one goal and one assist in nine matches, he will have to perform.


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