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Who is this England U21 international on Liverpool’s radar? The ideal replacement for Alberto Moreno?

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Lloyd Kelly scout report: Should Liverpool sign the youngster?

According to The Sun, Premier League sides Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United are interested in signing Bristol City defender Lloyd Kelly. The Merseysiders are believed to be leading the race to land the youngster’s signature.

The Bristol Post reports that Jurgen Klopp’s side is believed to have sent out scouts to watch the 20-year-old in action during the Robins’ 2-0 defeat away at Leeds United in November.

But who is the highly rated defender and why is he attracting interest from the top-flight clubs?

Who is Lloyd Kelly?

Born in Bristol on October 6th, 1998, the athletic 20-year-old defender came through the Bristol City youth academy. He made his debut in a 5-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle in the Carabao Cup in August 2017.

Kelly succeeded Joe Bryan in the Robins’ starting XI, following his summer switch to Fulham. He has been one of the breakthrough stars of this Championship campaign, having started 16 league games under manager Lee Johnson. He has scored once in City’s 4-2 loss away at West Brom in September and was heavily involved all three goals during their 3-2 win at Ipswich Town.

This highlights the youngster’s attacking intent, a prerequisite to play in Klopp’s gegenpressing system. Kelly also made several appearances for the England U20 side before earning his first cap with the U21s last month. The Bristol-born defender played over an hour in the 5-1 victory over Denmark in November.

He has also trained with the senior England squad and Bristol City will be in a strong negotiating position should they decide to sell Kelly. The Robins recently tied him down to a new contract which runs until 2021 – with the option of a further year.

What is his playing style like?

According to Whoscored, Kelly has averaged 1.4 tackles per game, recording 0.9 interceptions and making 2.4 clearances as well. The youngster is also a threat while surging forward with 1.2 successful dribbles per game, 0.3 key passes per game and 0.6 shots per game.

Kelly can dribble, cross and play long balls over the top to attacking players. He is also strong in the air, standing at 6ft 3in. He is a good and intelligent reader of the game and has impressive concentration levels for his age. His long legs allow him to challenge for the ball and make interceptions by throwing out his left foot while staying balanced.

He has already featured 18 times for the Robins this season which is more than the 11 appearances he made during the whole of the last term.

Should Liverpool sign him?

Having dropped out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up following Andrew Robertson’s emergence, Alberto Moreno will be out of contract in the summer. The Spaniard could leave as a free agent and the Anfield club are in dire need of a new left-back. The highly-rated Championship youngster fits the bill perfectly to succeed the ill-fitting Spaniard in providing cover for Robertson.

Read More: Liverpool re-igniting interest in this £38m creative ace would be a shrewd move by Jurgen Klopp

The versatile England U21 international can also play as a centre-back. Both Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have struggled to convince and seem far from being Virgil van Dijk’s long-term partners at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. Joe Gomez has been impressive this season but Kelly could provide cover at centre-back as well, having played there three times already this season.

 

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Bristol City

Bristol City have done the right thing by orchestrating a £4m deal to sign this Premier League sensation permanently in the summer – Here is why it is a shrewd move

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Kasey Palmer

Why Bristol City are right in signing Kasey Palmer from Chelsea

According to a report in Sun Football, Chelsea youngster Kasey Palmer is set to join Bristol City on a permanent deal for a fee around £4m in the summer. The 22-year-old played for Blackburn Rovers in the first half of this season, but arrived at Ashton Gate last month.

Palmer hit three goals in 17 appearances for Rovers before leaving Ewood Park. The midfielder has been in good form for Lee Johnson’s men as they move up the table towards a potential top-six finish.

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Kasey Palmer

At the time of joining Bristol, his move was supposed to be at the club till the end of this season, but it seems that Lee Johnson and his men would keep him for the upcoming seasons as well. And as per the report, Palmer will also be happy to play for the Robins on a long-term basis.

Here’s why this is a fantastic move for the club:

Palmer’s quality would be beneficial for the team in the midfield

Predominantly an attacking midfielder, Palmer can play on either wing or as a wide midfielder. His versatility is always a plus to the manager, helping him to select the midfield structure around him. The 22-year-old is good at passing the ball accurately, dribbling past opponents in tight spaces, possess a turn of pace to break the lines and stride forward towards the goal.

The loanee from Chelsea also has the physicality to brush off players and keep possession of the ball. The one thing he needs to learn is the art of being involved in the game even when he doesn’t have the ball. The youngster still has time to adapt to that part of the game and be an absolute bargain buy for Bristol City.

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Palmer could be better suited to playing as an attacking midfielder in Lee Johnson’s 4-1-4-1 system and operate as one of the wingers in the flat 4-4-2 formation. Just some evidence as to how the player could help the manager in team selections.

Read More: Bristol City cannot afford to let Norwich sign this 27-year-old free agent – Here is why the Robins should beat the Canaries in the race

Conclusion

Bristol City have been in good form in the past couple of months, as a result, they are currently sixth in the table and on course to finish in the playoff place. If they manage to get Premier League promotion by the end of this season, the quality of Palmer could be used in various ways. Even if they stay in the Championship, the addition of the 22-year-old on a permanent basis would boost this team’s propensity.

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Why Sheffield United would be better off selling their veteran star amidst interest from Championship clubs

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Leon Clarke

Why Sheffield United should sell Leon Clarke amidst interest from other clubs

According to a report from Bristol Post, Sheffield United’s veteran striker Leon Clarke has emerged as a potential transfer target for fellow Championship outfit Bristol City. The report further adds that along with Lee Johnson’s Robins, there is significant interest in the 33-year-old forward from the likes of Hull City, Millwall FC and Wigan Athletic.

In lieu of this, the seasoned campaigner was dropped from the matchday squad for the Blades’ 2-2 draw against Norwich City this past week. Speaking of the striker, manager Chris Wilder said (h/t The Star):

“There’s been a few enquiries for Leon. So we left him out of the 18. There’d be no guarantee he’d have been in it anyway because I’ve got to pick right team and subs for each game.”

Sheffield United have been enjoying a solid season so far and have emerged as strong contenders for automatic promotion to the Premier League. Wilder’s Blades currently sit in the third position in the Championship table, six points behind leaders Leeds United and just three behind second-placed Norwich City.

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Leon Clarke

Club captain Billy Sharp has been leading the way for them, having already netted 18 goals so far this season from 27 outings – the second highest tally in the division just behind Tammy Abraham.

Summer signing David McGoldrick has proven to be a more than able support for the aforementioned striker, having scored 10 times so far, while Mark Duffy has also chipped in with goals from the midfield.

Clarke, however, hasn’t been at his prolific best this season. The 33-year-old striker was the third highest goal-getter in the Championship last season, with 19 times in 39 games. However, he has struggled to find similar form this time out. The veteran has scored just three times in the division this term, while setting up three more in 24 matches. The Englishman has failed to add to his tally in cup competitions either.

Sharp and McGoldrick are miles ahead of Clarke in the pecking order and with the arrival of Gary Madine on loan from Cardiff City earlier this month, the striker, who will turn 34 next month, has been pushed further down in the order of preference.

Clarke has been a solid presence for the Blades since joining from Bury back in 2016. The striker has netted 31 times in 91 appearances for Wilder’s side.

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Read More: A transfer blunder waiting to happen? – Sheffield United must forget about signing this £4m Norwich star and here is why

However, considering how ineffective he has been this season, coupled with the fact that Sheffield United are well-equipped in the attacking department, it would only make sense that they decide to cash in on the veteran forward in the ongoing window, more so considering the fact that he will enter the final year of his deal with the club in the summer and his value is likely to drop further.

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Bristol City

Bristol City cannot afford to let Norwich sign this 27-year-old free agent – Here is why the Robins should beat the Canaries in the race

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Bristol City should beat Norwich to sign free agent Jordon Mutch

According to a report from The Sun (h/t Bristol Live), EFL Championship clubs Bristol City and Norwich City are set to battle it out for the signing of midfielder Jordon Mutch.

The 27-year-old was released by Premier League outfit Crystal Palace earlier this month. And his availability as a free agent has sparked a flurry of interest in the English second division, with the Robins and the Canaries joining the hunt for the former England U21 international.

Having come through the youth ranks at Derby County, Mutch started out his senior career at Birmingham City, before going on to spend time with Cardiff City and QPR. The Englishman joined Crystal Palace back in January 2015 but has failed to make much of an impact at Selhurst Park.

Mutch has made just 31 league appearances for the Eagles and last played for the club in 2017. The midfielder spent half a season on loan at Reading where he made 9 appearances scoring one goal. He moved to MLS outfit Vancouver Whitecaps on loan in March last year but made just 17 appearances till the end of the season in December, owing to injury problems.

Mutch might not have played a lot over the past year, but has plenty of experience in England and has been part of promotion-winning teams in the past. Should Bristol City capture the midfielder’s signing or should Norwich do everything possible to beat the Robins to his signing?

Bristol City

A recent run of fine form has seen Lee Johnson’s side make their way to the 7th place in the Championship standings. The Robins find themselves just two points below Derby County, who occupy the final playoff position and will be looking to make further headway in the table in the coming weeks and strengthen their promotion hopes.

Kasey Palmer

Bristol City have a number of options in the midfield department with Marlon Pack, Korey Smith, Josh Brownhill and the young Liam Walsh, while Chelsea midfielder Kasey Palmer has joined on loan earlier this month, to provide cover to Jamie Paterson in the No.10 role.

However, Smith has spent over five months on the sidelines, having picked up a serious injury early in the season and is expected to return sometime next month, while Walsh too has been sidelined with an injury and is out till early February.

Norwich City

The Canaries have emerged as prime candidates for automatic promotion to the Premier League, as they sit in the second spot in the table, with 53 points from 28 matches – just a point shy of leaders Leeds United, although the Whites have a game in hand.

Daniel Farke’s side too are well stocked in the middle of the park with the likes of Moritz Leitner, Alex Tettey, Mario Vrancic, Kenny McLean, Louis Thompson while the likes of Todd Cantwell, Emiliano Buendia and Marco Stiepermann provide the creative threat from the attacking midfield role.

Throw into the mix the presence of Tom Trybull, and the young Ben Godfrey, one would think that Norwich are well covered in the midfield, despite Tettey being sidelined with an injury.

Verdict

Any team challenging for promotion needs quality depth in the squad across the pitch to tough out a long and arduous Championship campaign. And Mutch, despite concerns over his fitness, would provide just that, with his proven pedigree and the know-how of the division, having been part of promotion-winning teams in the past.

Norwich City have a couple of injuries in the midfield department, but seem more than well equipped to deal with the issues at the moment, given the number of options at Farke’s disposal.

Read More: Win-win situation for all parties involved – Here is why Bristol City should leave no stone unturned in pursuing this 28-year-old Preston ace

While Bristol City also have options in the middle, they could certainly make do with someone with Mutch’s experience, given that the likes of Walsh, Brownhill and Palmer are still young. And that is why the Robins should go all out to try and beat Norwich to the signing of the 27-year-old before the end of the month.

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