Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 July 2018

Liverpool prepare a third bid for their next big transfer target....but their efforts may come up short

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the pre-season friendly match at the Aviva Stadium
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool are expected to lodge a third bid to sign Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline, but the French club are standing firm in their determination to hang on to the player.

The Anfield giants saw an initial bid of around £55m and then a second bid believed to be close to £65m rejected by Monaco, who have made it clear that they do not intend to sell the midfielder in this transfer window.

Monaco have already cashed in on a host of their big names this summer, with the bids from Arsenal and now Liverpool for Lemar rejected as the Ligue 1 side strive to hang on to some of the side that guided the club to a Champions League semi-final last season.

Their star man Kylian Mbappe is on the brink of a remarkable £166m move to Paris Saint-Germain, with the initial deal seeing the player move to the French capital on a one season loan deal before the permanent  transfer.

Monaco have also sold Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea and may also sell their Brazilian star Fabinho, who has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Chelsea.

“It’s dead because Monaco have closed the door definitely," confirmed Wenger as he spoke about his interest in Lemar last week.

"They are still on cases like Mbappe and Fabinho. They’ve already lost Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Bakayoko, so Monaco is at a stage where they have closed the door."

Wenger will have some questions to answer is Liverpool now sign a player he claimed was not for sale, but French sources are suggesting Monaco will only consider a deal if the offers that arrive are impossible to turn down.

Meanwhile, there has been a fresh round of speculation suggesting Liverpool may be close to finally landing their chief transfer target Virgil van Dijk, despite the persistent claims from his club Southampton that they will not sell the player in this transfer window.

Van Dijk agreed terms on a deal with Liverpool several weeks ago, even though he was not given permission by Southampton to speak to the Anfield club when he staged those talks.

That has led to a stand-off between Southampton and Van Dijk, with the player training with the club's under-23 side and missing their first three Premier League games of the season.

It would take a huge change of policy from Southampton to now sell Van Dijk to Liverpool, even if the Anfield club make an offer in excess of £70m. sources were told several week ago that an offer of more than £70m may tempt Southampton to sell the player, but they have always been adamant that a deal with Liverpool would not be considered due to the bad blood between the two clubs.

Liverpool did succeed in agreeing terms on a club record fee to sign Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita on Monday, but his arrival at the club in the summer of 2018 means fresh faces are still being chased by the Anfield club for this season.

Meanwhile, Liverpool insiders continue to insist they will not consider any deal to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, even if they succeed in signing their high profile transfer targets this week.

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