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Liverpool pull ahead of Arsenal in race for Monaco's Thomas Lemar

Clubs are slowly turning their eyes toward the summer window, and Transfer Talk has the updates on all the latest rumours.

Liverpool inch ahead on Lemar

Liverpool have edged ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign in-demand Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar, according to The Sun.

The Gunners agreed a deal in principle for the 22-year-old last summer for a reported £92 million, but Lemar turned down the move on deadline day and is now thought to be leaning towards a switch to Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp is a keen admirer of the France international and apparently views him as a long-term replacement for Philippe Coutinho.

Atletico Madrid have also been keeping a close eye on Lemar's progress, but Liverpool remain in the driving seat to secure his signature when the transfer window reopens.

Meanwhile, The Sun adds that Liverpool and Arsenal are also duking it out for Benfica midfielder Bryan Cristante.

The 23-year-old is currently on loan at Atalanta, where he has scored seven goals in 24 Serie A appearances this season.

Cristante started his career at AC Milan and is valued at around £27m after making his Italy debut last October.

Sessegnon set to pick Spurs

Fulham wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon hopes to join Tottenham in the summer as a host of clubs pursue his signature, reports the Daily Mirror.

The 17-year-old has been in fine form this season, notching 14 goals in the Championship as Fulham target a late push for automatic promotion.

Manchester United, Real Madrid and Liverpool have also been linked with big-money bids for Sessegnon, but it's believed he would favour a switch to Spurs.

The Mirror's story says the teenager is eager to work with Mauricio Pochettino, but could cost the north London club up to £50m.

Rakitic staying at Barca

Liverpool have suffered a blow in their bid to sign Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, claims TalkSport.

The Croatia international had been backed to leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season, but a recent upturn in form could now see him extend his stay with the La Liga leaders.

Rakitic has played a key role in Barca's rise to the summit in Spain, and will be looking to overcome Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16 next week.

The 29-year-old has caught the eye of Klopp, who is in the market for an Emre Can replacement, but now appears to be an important part of Ernesto Valverde's plans.


- Speaking of Emre Can, his agent has "blocked all negotiations" over the midfielder's future until the end of the season, reports the Daily Express. Juventus are desperate to sign Can when his contract expires in June, but the Germany international is keen to focus on his football until the end of the campaign.

- Newcastle are eyeing a move for Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas, according to the Chronicle. The 36-year-old is set to leave Porto at the end of the campaign for what could prove to be the last challenge of his career.

- Barcelona's bid for Brazilian sensation Arthur is off after the Spanish giants refused to meet Gremio's £45m asking price, claims The Sun. The 21-year-old had reportedly agreed terms with Barca only to be left in limbo ahead of the World Cup.

- Brighton have joined the chase for Lille defender Ibrahim Amadou, reports the Croydon Advertiser. The 24-year-old was close to signing for West Ham or Crystal Palace on winter deadline day, but ended up remaining in France for the rest of the season.

Matthew Stanger covers European football for ESPN and is the editor of The Set Pieces. Twitter: @MatthewStanger


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