Transfer rumours from around Europe
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Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has reportedly been given a glowing reference by his former Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez regarding a front-running midfield transfer target. Villa are seeking their third signing of a January window which has so far left fans impressed, and rivals concerned.
Gerrard’s pulling power became abundantly clear when Philippe Coutinho signed on loan from Barcelona earlier this month.
The Brazilian remains the third most expensive signing of all time after his move to Barca in 2018, and he scored on his second Premier League debut against Manchester United.
Gerrard also got one over on his former foes, Everton, by snapping up left-back Lucas Digne in a £25million deal.
The Frenchman started at Goodison Park on Saturday as Villa battled to a 1-0 victory to compound the Toffees’ misery.
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With just over a week of the window left, Villa are supposedly chasing a new midfielder before pushing on for the remainder of the campaign.
According to The Telegraph, Juventus’ Rodrigo Bentancur is now the club’s number one target after seeing a £25m bid for Yves Bissouma rejected by Brighton.
At 24-years-old, Bentancur has already racked up 45 caps for Uruguay, where he has played alongside Suarez since 2017.
The midfielder’s compatriot has subsequently fed back to Gerrard, who he played alongside with Liverpool, and there were supposedly plenty of positive things to say about the man in Villa’s crosshairs.
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Having been snapped up from Boca Juniors as a youngster, Bentancur has featured almost 200 times for Juventus over the past four-and-a-half seasons.
Although not a regular goal-scorer, he has played in at least 30 league games for the Turin giants for the last three seasons, and is on course to repeat that this campaign with 17 appearances so far.
But that tally could be cut short this month if Villa keep pushing on their pursuit, and Sky Sports claim that negotiations are ongoing on a deal which could total £16m.
It remains to be seen how, if Bentancur made the switch, it would shake up Villa’s in-form midfield trio.
Douglas Luiz has been solid in recent weeks, while youngster Jacob Ramsey continues to go from strength to strength in claret and blue.
When it comes to John McGinn, Gerrard even had to bat away reported interest from Man Utd in a recent press conference, such is the strength of his recent form.
Bentancur is one of numerous possible midfield departures from Juve over the next few days, with Aaron Ramsey also on his way out, according to boss Massimiliano Allegri.
The Italian was much more dismissive about Arsenal target Arthur Melo, however, who may well be staying put after talk of a six-month loan deal.
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