Steve Nicol sounds off on Liverpool as Coutinho closes in on a Barcelona move and Jurgen Klopp praises his back five.

The football world is awash with gossip. Transfer Talk is monitoring the whispers ahead of all the summer moves. Check out the latest deals and potential deals here.

TOP STORY: Barca ‘have Coutinho deal in the bag’

Barcelona, awash with cash following the world-record sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, have been linked with Philippe Coutinho for weeks — and now they believe they have his signature “in the bag,” according to a report in the Sun.

It reports that Barca “are confident of landing the Liverpool playmaker in a £90 million deal this week” and believe they can do so despite the Anfield club having already rejected a bid of over £70 million.

The Liga giants “are preparing a fresh five-year deal” for Coutinho despite Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp having stressed he is not for sale, with the Sun saying Klopp “faces a battle” to keep his biggest star, who missed the weekend friendly win over Athletic Bilbao with a back problem.

Meanwhile, the Mirror reports that Liverpool are set to abandon their interest in Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and “put their trust in the current centre-backs to provide the backbone in a title-challenging team.”

Van Dijk is reported to remain keen to move to Anfield, but the Merseysiders could opt not to pursue a transfer that would potentially cost as much as £60 million.

Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez is staying put at Arsenal and must respect the decision.

Sanchez set to see out Arsenal contract

After a summer during which one of the most recurrent sagas has been that of whether or not Alexis Sanchez leaves Arsenal, the Mirror reports that a conclusion has finally been reached — and Sanchez will be staying.

It says the Chile international “is ready to accept Arsenal’s hard-line stance and see out the final year of his contract.”

The news comes after Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had stressed that Sanchez was not going to be leaving, with the club running the risk that he could leave on a free transfer when his transfer expires next year.

The attacker has been strongly linked with both Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, but the Mirror says he is “dropping hints to teammates and friends that he is resigned to staying and leaving as a free agent — when he is likely to get an even more lucrative contract.”

PSG’s eyebrow-raising move for Neymar, the report says, “appears to have ended the French club’s realistic chance of getting Sanchez.”

Meanwhile, the Telegraph says we should expect more departures as Community Shield winners Arsenal trim their squad.

Striker Olivier Giroud continues to interest big-spending Everton, with England midfielder Jack Wilshere, on loan at Bournemouth last season, another who could leave North London before the start of the Premier League season.

Tap-ins

— It’s only right and proper that Brighton continue to strengthen ahead of their return to the top tier of English football, and the Mail reports that they will do just that with a move for PSV Eindhoven midfielder Davy Propper.

Chris Hughton’s Seagulls are poised to make a £3.5 million move for Propper, and the Mail says talks “are at advanced stage, with Brighton confident of sealing the Netherlands international’s capture before the start of the season.”

— Premier League duo Everton and Crystal Palace are interested in Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, the Chronicle reports.

It adds that Woodman, also reported to be a target for both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, is “attracting some serious interest,” with the England Under-20 international having signed only a four-year contract at St James’ Park last summer.



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