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Who is this 19-year-old Championship wonder kid being surveyed by Premier League giants? All you need to know

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Premier League Opinion: Scout Report – Bilal Brahimi

Middlesbrough are a club that have always been renowned for producing some of the best young talents that English football has seen. Their Rockliffe Park Academy has a long history for only developing the brightest, most talented players.

Players such as Lee Cattermole, Stuart Downing and James Morrison are living legacies of this famous football clubs. Even now, their production quality certainly hasn’t dropped. One player from their academy is now turning heads even at Premier League level.

Bilal Brahimi is a 19-year-old French left-winger who currently features mainly for the Boro U23 side although he did make a first-team appearance earlier this season. His exploits have attracted interest from both Liverpool and Newcastle United, as suggested by Hull Live

Background 

Brahimi was born in Paris, France on the 14th of March in 2000 and that’s where stayed until 2017 when he finally made the switch to a professional football clubs.

After spending time with multiple amateur clubs within Paris, he was signed up by Leixoes who play in the Portuguese 2nd division.

It was here that he was scouted by Middlesbrough and within a year of being in Portugal, he was given the opportunity to spread his wings as a footballer at the famous Middlesbrough academy. Since then, there’s been no stopping him as he’s turned into one of their brightest young prospects. 

Since he mostly represents the U23 side, he plays in the Premier League 2 and has scored once and assisted once in his 13 league appearances this season. His lone first team appearance came in August when he came on in an EFL Cup against Rochdale. 

Style of Play 

He is a tricky winger who loves to get on the ball but also displays amazing unselfishness in the final third. His ambition to pick out teammates is matched by his ability as the eventuality of a misplaced pass from the youngster is rare. 

Quite direct in his approach, he has the right attributes to develop into a tricky Premier League winger given the right training and nurturing. All this added to the fact that he also plays as a striker, means that he’s effectively guaranteed a future in the English game. 

The Way Forward 

Brahimi turned 19 just a week ago and pushing a player of such youth into making a difficult decision could have serious effects on his growth as a player and hence it would be best for him to stay at Middlesbrough for at least another season. 

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With that said, when clubs like Liverpool or Newcastle United come calling, irrespective of who you are, it will be really difficult to turn them down and with the right intentions, he can be turned into a superstar in the coming years.

Dragon Feeds

Surplus to requirement? – It’s high time for Liverpool to bid adieu to this £25m-rated flop as soon as possible

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Liverpool Opinion: The Reds should not hesitate to cash in on Dejan Lovren amidst AC Milan links

According to the Express, Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren has been lined up as a potential transfer target by Serie A giants AC Milan but the Reds have slapped a £25million price tag on the 29-year-old Croatian international.

Express understands Liverpool will only even consider selling Lovren if Milan come up with a £25 million bid this summer, with manager Jurgen Klopp not under pressure to sell any of his star players.

The same source claims that Liverpool are not going to push Lovren away from Anfield, given that the 29-year-old is one of the longest-serving players at the club. However, the Reds might be forced to rethink their stance should Milan table a bid that they simply can’t refuse.

Lovren, who made his move to Liverpool from Southampton back in 2014 for a fee of £20 million, played a key role for the club at the heart of the defence in his first four seasons but he fell out of favour since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, with Klopp preferring the partnership of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk at the back.

The long-term injury to Gomez opened the door for the 29-year-old to reclaim his spot in the team but he failed to do so, thanks to his fair share of problems with injuries.

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Cameroonian international Joe Matip played a more significant role for the Champions League winners at the back this past season, with the 27-year-old featuring 22 times in the Premier League, as compared to Lovren’s 13 league appearances.

However, Lovren continues to be one of the most esteemed figures at Anfield, having made a total of 170 appearances for the Reds in all competitions till date.

Lovren didn’t look at his sparkling best in the Premier League last season and the Croatian struggled for form and fitness over the entire course of the campaign, as the Reds clinched the Champions League title and finished runners-up to Man City in the league.

With Virgil van Dijk establishing himself as a world-class centre-back at Liverpool and youngster Joe Gomez winning the trust of manager Jurgen Klopp, it looks unlikely that the 29-year-old Croatian will play a significant role for the Reds next season, unless there is a grave injury crisis.

Joel Matip did exceptionally well against the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the Champions League and it looks like the Cameroonian is way ahead of Lovren in the race to establish himself as the third-choice centre-back in Liverpool’s ranks.

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As things stand, Lovren is in danger of slipping down to fourth in the centre-back ranks at Anfield next season, and that could possibly see him make only a few sporadic appearances.

To put things into perspective, Liverpool have a reputation of playing hardball in the market even with the potential suitors for some of their less important players. The Reds pocketed £15 million and £26 million from the sales of Jordon Ibe and Mamadou Sakho to Bournemouth and Crystal Palace respectively and it looks like that they are going to do the same with Lovren.

In all honesty, Liverpool do not need to make too many changes to their ranks this summer, especially after spending a fortune last time around.

The Reds enjoyed a hugely successful campaign last term and it makes perfect sense for them to stay away from making any marquee signings. The Champions League victory over Spurs would certainly have boosted Liverpool’s transfer kitty and the potential sale of Lovren to AC Milan would also add some more valuable funds.

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Liverpool should consider themselves lucky if Milan decide to go ahead and meet their £25 million asking price for Lovren, which would see the Reds pocket a profit of £5 million from the Croatian’s sale.

Given that he is already 29, Liverpool would hardly get a better chance to make a profit by selling him, and with Lovren struggling for form and fitness, the Reds should definitely consider getting him off their books.

Lovren is unlikely to play a massive role next term and Liverpool should look to try and reinvest the funds from his sale in a young and talented defender, with a view to grooming him for a future first-team role.

Having already spent a fortune to build a first team full of international stars, the Reds now need to focus on bringing in promising youngsters to build a strong platform for continued success.

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The 29-year-old is at a point in his career where his powers are going to wane very soon and Liverpool can certainly do without him in their ranks next season.

Taking the aforementioned factors into consideration, offloading him for a sizeable fee would be a smart piece of business for the Reds.

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Liverpool

Liverpool shelling out €30m to sign this 28-year-old striker makes absolutely no sense for both parties involved

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Liverpool Opinion: Why Moussa Marega to Liverpool makes little sense for both parties involved

According to the Liverpool Echo, Champions League winnersLiverpool have been linked with a shock swoop for Porto striker Moussa Marega in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that the Portuguese giants are likely to hold out for a fee in the region of €30million to part ways with the 28-year-old.

Liverpool are not the only club to have been linked with a move for the Malian hitman, though, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that West Ham are also keen on securing his services.

Marega enjoyed yet another prolific season at Porto in the Portuguese top-flight this term and helped his club finish runners-up to Benfica in the Primeira Liga, whilst also playing a key role in their march to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The 28-year-old contributed with 21 goals and 11 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions for Porto and his scintillating run of form in front of goal and put some of the English clubs on red alert.

Marega has been a revelation in Europe since his move to Porto from fellow Portuguese outfit Maritimo in the summer of 2016 and boasts of an eye-watering record for his current club, having bagged 45 goals and 19 assists in 100 appearances till date.

Regarded as a powerful and versatile centre-forward, Marega is capable of playing virtually anywhere across the forward line. Essentially a centre-forward by trade, the 28-year-old has also been used as a supporting striker in a No.10 role and out wide on either flank over the course of his time at Porto.

A fast, sharp and agile striker noted for his athleticism, supreme upper body strength, aerial ability and direct style of play, Marega likes to run at defenders with aggressiveness and often taken them out of the equation with his raw power and brute force.

A natural finisher blessed with a keen for key passes in the final third, Marega is not only adept at scoring at will but he is also more than capable of using short exchanges to link up with his teammates.

The 28-year-old also catches the eye with his poaching instincts and awareness in front of goal, having showcased the ability to find the net with both feet and head.

Marega, who is set to add to his 18 caps for Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations next month, certainly deserves a chance to prove his credentials in the Premier League, having already showcased his skills in the Champions League against top-quality opposition.

Agreed, he has all the raw attributes to fit seamlessly into the style of play prevalent in England. However, the main question here is- Do Liverpool really need him? And, would a move to Anfield suit Marega?

Well, with all due respect to his abilities as a versatile and powerful striker, one can’t help but feel that Marega would simply be a glorified bench-warmer at Anfield.

Of course, Liverpool won’t do themselves much harm by forking out 30 million to get the 28-year-old on board this summer and the Reds have every reason to look at him as a like-for-like replacement for Daniel Sturridge.

However, they need to understand that Marega would not necessarily fit into Jurgen Klopp’s plans, given the plethora of attacking talent already in the ranks at Anfield.

It’s hard to see Marega challenging the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino for a role in the first team and we all know that Klopp doesn’t tamper with his lethal front trio too often.

Arguments that Liverpool need good enough back-up for their prolific front three have already been nullified by the move to offer Divock Origi a new deal, whilst Xherdan Shaqiri continues to be a useful impact player from the bench.

Now, it would have been sensible for Liverpool to invest in Marega had they not already secured Origi’s long-term future at the club. Given that Salah, Mane and Firmino are all very much in their prime, Origi and Shaqiri will only be expected to play second-fiddle to them in the pecking order and Marega should not expect any better than that.

At 28, he doesn’t fit the bill of a promising youngster, meaning Liverpool are not really looking at him as someone for the future, meaning that making a move for him goes against all logic and reason.

Looking at things from the Marega’s point of view, the Malian is very much at the top of his game right now and he wouldn’t want his prime years to be wasted away by constantly warning the benches at Liverpool.

The 28-year-old has hit the 20-goal mark with effortless ease over the past couple of seasons at Porto and he deserves to lead the line for a top European club but a move to Liverpool would only stall his progress, given the level of competition for places in the attacking ranks at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp

As harsh as it might sound, it would be a pity to see him do next to nothing at Liverpool after enjoying such a prolific season in Portugal.

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Liverpool falling short of Man City in the Premier League title race had little to do with the depth and quality of their playing squad and a quite summer might just be the best possible thing for the Reds.

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Leeds Dragon

Leeds United going all out to sign this explosive 22-year-old Rangers target would propel Bielsa’s men towards promotion

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Leeds United Opinion: Why the Whites should go all out to sign Ryan Kent?

According to a report from the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds United are interested in signing Liverpool winger Ryan Kent.

The 22-year-old spent the last season on loan at Rangers from Liverpool and was a revelation for Steven Gerrard’s side, winning the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award.

Ryan Kent has been on the books of Liverpool since 2003, but the 22-year-old winger has yet to break into the first team. He has had loan spells at Coventry City, Barnsley, SC Freiburg, Bristol City and Rangers.

The 22-year-old is wanted back by Rangers, but he is open to a Leeds United switch. With three years remaining on his contract another loan could be on the cards for Kent, but Liverpool may consider his sale this summer. That being said, the Whites must go all out to sign Kent from the Reds.

After coming so close to winning promotion last season only to crash out in the play-off semi-finals, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has to bring back his squad together and have a go at promotion next term. The Yorkshire giants need more depth in the squad to tackle the rigorous demands of a Championship season and Bielsa would be well aware of that, having seen his team suffer from fatigue and injuries this past campaign.

One of the most important areas Bielsa must strengthen is the attack, with a speedy winger the need of the hour. They are in need of more attacking options, with Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe the only first-team forwards available to Bielsa. And thus, signing Kent from Liverpool would be the best move for both the parties.

Kent has just returned to Anfield following the most productive spell of his career thus far under the tutelage of Rangers boss Steven Gerrard in Glasgow in 2018-19. He ended the year with six goals and nine assists across all competitions, demonstrating brilliant pace, power and directness in Scotland.

At Leeds, the 22-year-old would certainly add plenty of pace and power on the wings, and would be a real threat against any Championship defence. The Liverpool starlet’s potential addition could see Pablo Hernandez move into a more suited, CAM role in Bielsa’s starting XI, and with Kent and Alioski either side of him, Leeds will be a huge threat going forward.

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Kent clearly has plenty of potential, and his attacking threat would be another welcome option for Leeds, who seemed to struggle in that area towards the end of the season.

Verdict

The progress Leeds have made in the past 12 months under Bielsa has been noteworthy and they aren’t far from finally ending their stay outside the Premier League. And signing a player of Kent’s quality would provide the Whites with the boost they need ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

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