Alberto Moreno set to leave Liverpool on a free transfer

Liverpool are preparing to lose Alberto Moreno on a free transfer next summer – with youngster Adam Lewis in line to benefit most from the Spaniard’s departure.

Moreno’s Anfield contract is due to expire at the end of this season, and talks over a new deal have proven fruitless.

Liverpool are not currently in negotiations with the 26-year-old and his representatives, and the player is understood to be exploring alternative options. Moreno would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January 1.

He has made just one first-team appearance this season, starting the Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea last month, but remains a popular member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

He started last season as first-choice left-back, only to lose his place to Andy Robertson following an injury. Despite this, he finished the campaign having made 27 appearances in all competitions. His Liverpool total stands at 137.

Were he to leave for free, he would be the second player in as many years to do so, following in the footsteps of Emre Can, who joined Juventus in July.

Can, like Moreno, was recruited by Liverpool in the summer of 2014 as part of a significant re-building of the Reds’ squad under Brendan Rodgers. The former Sevilla man has, however, failed to convince both Rodgers and Klopp of his ability to nail down a regular place. James Milner, a midfielder, was preferred for the entirety of the 2016-17 campaign while Robertson’s status as first choice is now unquestionable.

Should Moreno depart – and it looks increasingly likely that he will – then Klopp will give teenager Lewis the chance to stake his claim for a place in his first-team squad.

The 18-year-old, Walton-born and who has already established himself as part of Neil Critchley’s under-23 squad, has been promoted to Melwood in recent weeks to train with the senior side, and is understood to have impressed Klopp and his staff with his quality and attitude.

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Lewis, an England under-19 international, was a team-mate of Trent Alexander-Arnold at schoolboy level, and Klopp sees similarities in the two players in terms of their technical abilities. Like Alexander-Arnold, Lewis has been used as both a full-back and a midfield player, though his long-term future undoubtedly lies as an attacking left-back.

Steven Gerrard, who coached him at under-18 level last season, was a huge fan and even enquired as to the possibility of signing him on loan for Rangers in the summer.

Lewis has been at Melwood during this international break, and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Rafa Camacho and Curtis Jones by making a more permanent move there in the future. Moreno’s expected exit should accelerate that process.

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Juventus consider new Mandzukic deal

Juventus are considering offering Mario Mandzukic a new contract until 2021.

The 32-year-old was the subject of much interest during the summer, and has since gone on to score four goals in seven Serie A outings so far this season.

Indeed, Mandzukic, who was a major part of Croatia’s second-placed finish in the World Cup, reportedly turned down a financially lucrative offer from Manchester United to remain in Turin.

And the Bianconeri are now ready to initiate talks with the striker over a new deal.

Having joined the club in 2015 from Atletico Madrid, Mandzukic earns €5 million per season (£4.4m/$5.7m), but could be in line for one final payday with the Serie A giants.

It is understood that Mandzukic is keen to remain at Juve, and has little interest in potentially re-entering talks with any interested parties.

Mandzukic retired from international duty following the World Cup, leaving coach Zlatko Dalic to mourn the leaving of a superb talent.

“I’m very sorry about it, maybe he thought he’d reached his dream and couldn’t do anymore,” Dalic said.

“I respect his decision, there’s nothing else I can do. We’ve lost someone who can score goals, but above all a fighter, the first line of defence.

“He won’t be easy to replace, so we know we need to find different solutions.”

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The forward is one of the most decorated strikers in world football, and has lifted three Serie A titles with Juventus, as well as three Coppa Italias and the Supercoppa Italiana.

Mandzukic also won the Supercopa de Espana at Atletico Madrid, as well as two Bundesliga titles at Bayern Munich, two DFB-Pokals, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

During his time at Juve, he has scored 38 goals in 138 games, and he has twice been voted the Croatian Footballer of the Year, in 2012 and 2013.

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‘Modric transfer to Inter is fantasy football’ – Guardiola doesn’t expect Real Madrid star to move

Real Madrid star Luka Modric potentially joining Inter is “fantasy football” talk, according to Pep Guardiola.

Modric, 33, was heavily linked with a shock switch to the Serie A side in the off-season, but stayed with the European champions.

However, the Croatia captain continues to be a reported target for Inter, although a January move seems unlikely.

Asked about the possible switch, Manchester City manager Guardiola said any such talk at this stage was pure imagination.

“There is, what’s it called, fantasy football,” he said on Sunday.

“When you speak about a player leaving for next year, the market is closed now.”

Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio has also recently dismissed the possibility of Modric arriving in January , describing a transfer as “impossible”.

The Serie A side are set to be active when the window reopens in January but Ausilio said Modric will not be among the players the club look to bring in.

“We already have a strong squad. Now we are scouting, we are watching a lot of matches and we did well,” Ausilio told Sky Italia.

“I’m convinced that after having viewed these players we can be ready to add what is needed.

“Modric is impossible in January, but we know where to look. The most important thing for the next window will be quality.”

Mauro Icardi Inter 2018-19

Meanwhile, Ausilio confirmed Inter are in talks with captain Mauro Icardi over a new contract.

Icardi scored 29 Serie A goals last term as Inter secured a return to the Champions League, and the Argentina international has netted five in his last five appearances across all competitions this term.

The 25-year-old’s deal expires in June 2021, but Ausilio – who also announced that Marcelo Brozovic is close to agreeing a new contract – has revealed talks are underway regarding fresh terms.

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However, Ausilio affirmed that Inter are in no rush to pin their star man down.

“Icardi’s renewal? We are working on it, we aren’t hiding that fact,” Ausilio told Sky Italia.  “We saw each other and talked, we aren’t in a rush.”

Inter face city rivals AC Milan when Serie A returns after the international break at San Siro on October 21.

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Dzeko: Premier League return? You never know

Edin Dzeko is “happy” at Roma, though the former Manchester City striker could be open to a Premier League return.

Roma star Dzeko was close to moving back to England in January but his transfer to Chelsea did not materialise after winning two league titles with City in 2012 and 2014.

The 32-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international is settled in Rome as time runs out for him to return to the Premier League.

“Regarding the Premier League, maybe it’s too late,” he told Sky Sports News. “You never know.

“I had four and a half great years there, and had fun every minute of every game. I love the Premier League and England, so we’ll see. At the moment I’m happy in Rome.”

The forward scored 50 goals in 130 total appearances during his stay in Manchester, which lasted from 2011-16 following a stint with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.

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His best season came in 2013-14, as Dzeko scored 16 league goals while adding a further 10 in other competitions.

Since moving to Rome, the forward hasn’t slowed down, firing 78 finishes through 157 matches with the Italian club. 

Dzeko has scored twice in Serie A this season, while the veteran netted a hat-trick in Roma’s Champions League rout of Viktoria Plzen on matchday two.

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‘I’ll only play for France’ – West Ham’s Issa Diop ditches Morocco and Senegal for World Cup champions

West Ham United defender Issa Diop has stated his readiness to ‘play for only France and no one else’ at international level.

Diop, born in Toulouse, to a Moroccan mother and a Senegalese father is eligible to represent the reigning world champions and the two African nations at senior level. 

The 20-year-old who was part of France’s squad that won the Uefa European U19 Championship in 2016, is the grandson of Lybasse Diop – the first Senegalese to play in the French Ligue 1.

And after switching to the English Premier League this summer for a club-record fee, the former Toulouse centre-back is hoping to get a chance in Didier Deschamps’ squad in the future.

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“It has always been a dream to play for France. If it happens, it happens, otherwise too bad!, ” Diop told Ladepeche.

“I have always said that I will only play for France and for no-one else. Whether I’m selected or even if I’m never selected with the seniors, I will not play for another country.

“I was born in France, it’s France that I have everything for, so I do not see why I would play for another country.”

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