Liverpool announced the signing of forward Daniel Sturridge to a long-term contract extension on Friday, but more moves might be on the way. Brendan Rodgers’s side appear to be closing in on a deal for a promising young England midfielder.
Dele Alli of Milton Keyes Dons is set to join the club on an £8 million transfer, according to reports. The 18-year-old was drawing interest from the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United, and will officially join the club on Jan. 1, reports the Daily Express. Some have dubbed Alli “the English Messi,” an epithet from the media that has become increasingly frequent and absurd in recent years.
In his short professional career, Alli has enjoyed some success. He has represented England at the Under-18 and Under-19 level and has scored an impressive six goals in nine appearances in England’s third tier this season. Alli also played in MK Dons’ shock 4-0 League Cup win over Manchester United earlier this season. Further endearing him to fans at Anfield, he grew up a Reds supporter and has admitted to emulating a certain Liverpool playmaker.
“I am actually a Liverpool fan and [Steven] Gerrard is someone I look up to massively,” Alli told TheFA.com in September.
Liverpool are also in competition with United for the signature of Barcelona right back Dani Alves, according to Daily Star. The Brazilian star told Brazilian publication O Globo this week that he would leave the Catalans for a move to England this summer. Rodgers has used 20-year-old Javi Manquillo, who joined the Reds in August on a two-year loan from Atletico Madrid, as his featured right back this season, while Glen Johnson remains sidelined by injury.
The 31-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Camp Nou in the past two summers, having joined from Sevilla in 2008. But now looks set to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season. Alves has won every major trophy at Barcelona, including two Champions League titles and his repeated bursts down the right flank were a key part in the Catalan giants run of success. It is easy to see how he would fit into Rodgers’ attacking approach, however, his likely high salary demands would likely test Liverpool’s financial resources.
Alves made headlines on Friday by suggesting that the media was to blame for Brazil’s epic collapse in the 2014 World Cup, by claiming the press interfered with practice.
“We had good players but we didn’t prepare for the game against Germany,” Alves said in an interview with Brazilian newspaper Lance!, per The Guardian. “You look at other teams and they have 15 minutes of open training. And the press accepts that. But you don’t see anything like that in Brazil, where they cover the national team 24 hours a day. The press in Brazil gives you compliments if you win. You get a slap in the face if you lose. To me, that was the biggest problem for the Seleçao, the over-exposure.”
An IB Times staff reporter contributed to this report.