Napoli chief De Laurentiis makes sensational Liverpool-Roma joint ownership claim over £67m Alisson deal

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has claimed Liverpool and Roma share the same owner.

The film producer made the accusation after he revealed that his side had made an offer for goalkeeper Alisson, who left the Italian capital to become the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, at the time, and join Liverpool in a £67 million ($87m) move.

The Brazilian became the second Roma player to move to Anfield in the last year as he followed the path of star attacker Mohamed Salah.

It took Liverpool time to get a deal for Alisson over the line as Roma felt they had been ripped off when Salah moved to Anfield for £36m ($46m) in the summer of 2017.

The two clubs are currently owned by Americans, with James Pallotta overseeing Roma and John W Henry’s Fenway Sports Group controlling the Premier League side.

And De Laurentiis, who is prone to making controversial claims, believes the connection between the two teams is more controversial than it would seem, suggesting that they are breaking UEFA rules, which state one owner cannot have more than one team in a European competition.

“Roma were dismantled and reassembled, I can’t evaluate them: I wouldn’t have sold Alisson, not even for €100m (£90m/$114m),” he told Corriere dello Sport.

“I had offered €60m (£54m/$68m) for him and they didn’t want to give him to us… But then I understood that he would go to Liverpool.

“I’ve always suspected that the real owner of Liverpool is also that of Rome. A little bird whispered it in my ear a few years ago. And if that is true, with a shared ownership they could not both compete in the Champions League.”

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Despite missing out on the goalkeeper and losing highly-rated coach Maurizio Sarri over the summer, De Laurentiis is confident heading into the new season under Carlo Ancelotti.

“I was struck by Ancelotti’s desire to return to coaching in a league that is returning to being competitive with the best leagues in Europe,” he said.

“I’ll quote a sentence from Carlo: ‘I’m not here to comb the dolls’. I’m a supporter of Ancelotti, I do not worry about him, I know he will need time but the fans are desperate, they want to win: we want to win but we will need patience.”


Juventus confirm Marchisio departure

Claudio Marchisio has left Serie A champions Juventus after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.

The 32-year-old midfielder, capped 55 times by Italy, made his first-team breakthrough in 2006-07 as Juve tackled Serie B in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal.

He spent the following season on loan at Empoli and returned to become a first-team fixture in Turin, making a total of 389 appearances, scoring 37 goals.

Marchisio won the first of seven consecutive Scudetti in 2011-12 and also has four winners’ medals from the Coppa Italia.

Injury problems have blighted him, however, particularly in the aftermath of a ruptured cruciate ligament suffered in April 2016.

“Today marks the end of Claudio Marchisio’s Juventus career following the agreed termination of his contract,” read a statement on Juve’s official website, in which the club paid a glowing tribute to their long-serving player.

“With every battle competed, every ripple of the net and every trophy raised, his childhood dreams kept coming true. In truth, we all lived our dreams side by side with Claudio. Watching him grow and become, year after year, a man, husband and father filled all of us Bianconeri with a unique sense of gratification.

“Having had the opportunity to accompany him on this path, to discover a homegrown champion, day by day, was quite simply a privilege and an honour.

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“And it will be a pleasure to keep following him, with whichever shirt he will wear in the future. For the black and white stripes, as we know, will always form an indelible part of him and his story.

“Thanks for everything, Claudio! We wish you the very best.”

Friday marks the transfer deadline for Serie A clubs, while Marchisio has also been linked to a potential MLS switch.


Liverpool defender Klavan set to join Cagliari in £2m deal

Liverpool have agreed to sell defender Ragnar Klavan to Cagliari in a £2 million ($2.5m) deal.

The Estonia international will travel to Italy on Friday to complete a medical and finalise personal terms as he ends his two-year stay at Anfield.

Goal revealed earlier this week that the Reds would consider offers for the 32-year-old, and Cagliari have seen off interest from Germany to land the experienced centre-back.

Jurgen Klopp has personally sanctioned the sale, with Klavan in the final year of his contract and keen to play regular first-team football. He turns 33 in October, and Klopp is keen to be fair to the player, who has been a consummate professional during his time at the club. 

With Joel Matip fit again after a thigh problem, and Dejan Lovren expected back at the end of the month, Klopp feels his options at centre-back are sufficient, especially with Nathaniel Clyne’s return enabling Joe Gomez to move inside from right-back.

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Gomez started for Liverpool against West Ham last weekend, and is seen as a centre-half, long term. That has been a key factor in the decision to allow Klavan to leave.

Klavan joined the Reds for £4m ($5m) from Augsburg in 2016 and went on to make 53 appearances, scoring twice.

His sale is likely to the be the first of a number in the next fortnight, with Simon Mignolet, Lazar Markovic, Pedro Chirivella, Marko Grujic and Divock Origi all facing uncertain futures. Exits for all, either on loan or permanently, could be sanctioned.


Barcelona confirm €12m Marlon exit as West Ham target heads to Sassuolo

Sassuolo have signed Brazilian defender Marlon from Barcelona for a fee potentially rising to €12 million (£10.7m/$13.6m).

The 22-year-old found opportunities limited at Camp Nou and was recalled halfway through a two-season loan spell with Nice in order to be moved on.

Though he made just two La Liga appearances, Barca have included a buy-back option in the deal for the former Fluminense man.

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Sassuolo have paid an initial €6m with the amount to be doubled if Marlon, who reportedly attracted interest from West Ham earlier in pre-season, plays 50 games for his new club.

The Blaugrana will receive 50 per cent of any future fee if he does not reach that mark.

The versatile ex-Brazil Under-20 international could make his Serie A debut at home to Inter this Sunday.