Liverpool agree $20 million deal to sign Spanish left back Alberto Moreno

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Liverpool are close to the signing of Sevilla’s highly-rated left back Alberto Moreno.

The 22-year-old Spaniard, who made Spain’s initial 30-man World Cup squad but didn’t make the final cut, is set to have a medical and will agree personal terms at Anfield in the coming days.

Brendan Rodgers’ side will pay $20 million for Moreno who has come through the academy at Sevilla and shone over the past two seasons in La Liga. On Tuesday he was in Cardiff as Sevilla lost 2-0 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and the entire squad and coaching staff said an emotional goodbye to Moreno who was said to be extremely popular after coming through the youth and reserve teams in Andalucia.

A short statement announcing the deal had been agreed for Moreno’s transfer was placed on Liverpool’s website.

Liverpool can confirm they have reached an agreement with Sevilla for the transfer of Spain international full-back Alberto Moreno.

The Reds will proceed with the formalities of finalizing the deal for the 22-year-old over the coming days and will make no further announcement until it is complete.

Moreno’s signing fits in with Rodgers’ philosophy and the way he has bolstered his ranks this summer. Alongside the likes of Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Divock Origi and Javier Manquillo, Moreno is young, has experience at the top level under his belt and plays the ‘Liverpool way’ which Rodgers has fostered over the past two seasons. The aforementioned quintet are all under the age of 26 and Rodgers will now sculpt them into playing the attacking, free flowing soccer fans of the Reds love to watch.

Liverpool’s problem area last season was in defense as they conceded 50 goals in 38 PL games but with the addition of Lovren and now Moreno set to join, Rodgers has addressed where he needed to strengthen. Defense. The only question now is as to what Liverpool’s best back four looks like. Glen Johnson or Jon Flanagan at right back? Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure, Daniel Agger or Martin Skrtel at center back? Moreno or Jose Enrique at left back?

Whoever lines up at the back for Liverpool, this season they have plenty of options in defense. That certainly wasn’t the case last term.

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.