Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool beat Manchester United to world class star but Mourinho tees up Michael Carrick replacement and defensive deal: Premier League transfer rumours

Liverpool have beaten Manchester United to the signing of a long-term target, according to the latest transfer rumours.

French star THOMAS LEMAR has reportedly agreed to join the Reds, choosing a switch to Anfield over a move to Old Trafford. That's according to Yahoo Sport, who, citing sources close to the Monaco player, say he would welcome the move providing the clubs can agree a fee. It might not be all good news for Liverpool, however, with the same report claiming that the club will today hold discussions over PHILIPPE COUTINHO's potential move to Barcelona. They claim that the Reds have signalled their 'readiness' to sell the midfield maestro and that Lemar could be the man to replace the Brazilian.

Meanwhile, there are other rumours that may sit better on a Manchester United palate. First up is the report that Napoli defender FAOUZI GHOULAM is on the verge of a move to Old Trafford. Spanish outlet Sport, via the Express, claim that a deal is close for the 26-year-old Algerian full-back and that DALEY BLIND could be the man to make way, with Barcelona and Real Madrid reportedly interested.

United have also reportedly identified a replacement for Michael Carrick and they could bring him in on a swap deal. Inter Milan are reportedly keen on bringing Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Italy and are prepared to offer JOAO MARIO in a swap deal, according to the Mirror. And that could tempt United as the Metro claim boss Jose Mourinho has pinpointed the Portuguese star as the successor to Carrick's midfield throne.

Speculation around Alexis Sanchez's Arsenal future is mounting after boss Arsene Wenger appeared to signal he is open to offers if a replacement can be found in time during the January transfer window. The Daily Mail reports that the Gunners could be tempted by offers of more than £25million - with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly showing the most interest in the 29-year-old.

It does not look like Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini will be reunited with his former manager Antonio Conte at Chelsea, according to the Daily Mail. It was thought a move might be possible in the January transfer window but Conte has accepted the 33-year-old will finish his career at the Italian club, the paper reports.

Meanwhile, David Luiz, 30, and Michy Batshuayi, 24, could leave Stamford Bridge, if they so choose, the Telegraph claims. Conte has hinted he will not get in the way of the players should they want to move, the papers says, but the boss also does not feel there are enough resources in the squad to afford losing any players on loan or permanently without finding replacements.

Players to watch

Alex Sandro look set to be heading to Chelsea, the Mirror reports. The Blues had hoped to bring the Brazilian to Stamford Bridge last summer, and having made him a key target ever since, now look poised to push through a £50million deal this month. The paper says the club are hoping to get their bid in before rivals Manchester United. 

Atletico Madrid's Nicolas Gaitan appears to be in high demand, with Southampton, Everton, Crystal Palace and West Ham all keen to bring the 29-year-old to the Premier League, the Daily Express claims. With Diego Costa and Vitolo signing for the Spanish side, it is thought the midfielder could be up for grabs at a bargain price.

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