08 February 2022

Football rumours: Lionel Messi urged club to sign Sadio Mane before Barca exit

08 February 2022

What the papers say

Lionel Messi urged Barcelona to sign Sadio Mane last summer as the Argentina superstar weighed up his future at the Nou Camp, according to radio station SER Catalunya. However, no move for the Liverpool forward was forthcoming and Messi ended up joining Paris St Germain.

Meanwhile, Barca are considering Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde as possible targets for this summer as new boss Xavi looks to to reshape his defence, Sport reports.

Metro writes that West Ham boss David Moyes is trying to warn rival clubs off England midfielder Declan Rice by claiming that the 23-year-old is worth more than £100m. The paper says that Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have all been circling the Hammers star.

Manchester United were initially wanting £17m for Andreas Pereira (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)

Elsewhere, The Sun reports, via Brazilian publication Universo Online, that Flamengo have agreed to pay Manchester United’s asking price of £12m for Andreas Pereira. The 26-year-old midfielder has been on loan with the Brazilian club since last summer. United had initially wanted £17m for the player before Flamengo’s vice-president Marcos Braz reportedly flew into the UK to try to re-negotiate.

And the Manchester Evening News says that Manchester United midfielder James Garner is eager to return to the club next season. The 20-year-old is approaching his final months of a loan spell at Nottingham Forest.

Social media round-up

Players to watch

RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku has been linked to Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)

Christopher Nkunku: Sky Sport Germany reports that Arsenal have been dealt a setback in their pursuit of the RB Leipzig midfielder after the Bundesliga club insisted they have convinced the 24-year-old to stay for at least another season.

Karim Benzema: French football magazine Onze Mondial writes that the 34-year-old France striker has demanded a meeting with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez about his future. The publication reports that the prolific forward is concerned he may lose his place in the team to Borussia Dortmund’s Norway star Erling Haaland, 21.

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