Report: Liverpool make $25 million bid for Spanish star Alberto Moreno

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Liverpool are set to be busy bee’s in the transfer market this summer, as reports from Spain state they have a made massive bid for Sevilla left back Alberto Moreno.

The Spanish international is just 21 years old and impressed for the Europa League winners in 2013-14, so much so that Liverpool have tabled a $25 million offer to test Sevilla’s resolve and have also chucked in midfielder Suso as part of the deal. Moreno is currenlty part of Vicente del Bosque’s preliminary 30-man Spain squad for the World Cup and is one of the rising stars of Spanish soccer.

Moreno has attracted interest from Napoli, Chelsea and Real Madrid in recent months but it is thought Liverpool are trying to nip in ahead of the pack before the World Cup. Moreno still isn’t assured of a spot on the plane to Brazil with the Spanish national team, so Sevilla are said to be waiting for the outcome of that before deciding whether or not to sell their academy product on.

Right now Liverpool do need some extra depth defensively, with Jon Flanagan playing at left back all of last season following Jose Enrique’s time on the sidelines and on-loan Valencia full back Aly Sissokho returning to his parent club after some lackluster displays.

Getting back into the UEFA Champions League after a four-year exodus means Liverpool must strengthen their squad considerably and defense is the one area where they struggled considerably last season. After conceding 50 goals in the Premier League, the worst in the top five, they need help at the back. Big time.

With Liverpool still trying to buy midfielders Adam Lallana and Emre Can, from Southampton and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, both deals will be complex and the asking prices seem to be somewhat of a stumbling block.

Signing Moreno should be the priority over two midfielders, as the Reds desperately need reinforcements at the back with a hectic schedule coming their way next season domestically and in Europe. If Rodgers can pull this one of it would be a real coup for Liverpool as the top teams in Europe are chasing the hugely talented Moreno.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.