Liverpool set to sign ‘young Pirlo’ from Barcelona despite Arsenal interest

Liverpool are looking to beat Arsenal to the signing of young Barcelona star Sergi Samper and look set to make a move for the midfielder this summer, according to Fichajes.net.

The 20-year-old defensive midfield ace is viewed as one of the best young talents in European football but has struggled to break into the Barcelona first-team and is now looking likely to leave the Catalan giants.

Samper, who has also been linked with a move to Arsenal in the past, has been compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo because of his incredible range of passing from a deep position and would be a great signing for the Reds.

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Brendan Rodgers will need to bring in at least one central midfielder this summer as Steven Gerrard is on his way to MLS with LA Galaxy, while Jordan Henderson is being targeted by Chelsea and Manchester City.

Samper may only be 20, but he has shown plenty of promise in Barca’s B team, and would want to see regular first-team action with a move to Anfield.

The Spaniard has made 27 appearances for the Barcelona B squad this season but he has been limited to just four outings for the first-team.

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He made his debut in the Champions League back in September, playing 90 minutes against Apoel Nicosia, and went on to make three appearances in the Copa Del Rey for Luis Enrique’s side.

Samper’s contract at Barcelona runs until 2017 but the player reportedly has a release clause of around £7 million and could be on his way to Anfield.

Highlights: Sergi Samper in action this season (via FootyScoutHD on YouTube):

Would Sergi Samper be a good signing for Liverpool?

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Three potential signings to replace Landon Donovan at LA Galaxy

With the recent retirement of Landon Donovan, the LA Galaxy has a huge hole to fill in their squad and an unoccupied designated player slot too. Though replacing the US soccer legend is no easy task.

Donovan leaves behind a great legacy with the Galaxy having recently lead them to his fourth MLS Cup title with the franchise and his sixth overall – the most titles won by any player.

However, it remains to be seen how LA will look to replace him. An attacking option is set to be added to the squad before the start of the new MLS season in March. Though they may wait until the summer if the right name is available then.

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Much of the post-Donovan chat has been on the permanent move to MLS for Erick Torres, but he has gone back to parent club Chivas Guadalajara in Mexico to help with their ongoing relegation struggle.

Bruce Arena may have to adjust his formation due to the loss of Donovan, which could expand the potential list of suitors.

His current 4-4-2 formation has seemed to work for some time now, but the loss of Donavan leaves a huge hole in the Galaxy squad.

Here are three potential replacements:

Darren Bent (Striker) – Aston Villa (England)

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England international striker Darren Bent has been somewhat of a forgotten man since Paul Lambert took over the reigns at Villa. And so Bent could do with a new challenge after seeing his starting place handed to Belgium front man Christian Benteke.

He could be a great partner for MLS MVP Robbie Keane, having previously played at Tottenham Hotspur as well as at Villa together. But this would mean re-positioning Gyasi Zardes from the Galaxy attack to accommodate Bent.

Ronaldinho (Attacking Midfielder) – Querétaro F.C. (Mexico)

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The World Cup winning Brazilian needs no introduction and a move to MLS giants LA Galaxy could be the swansong he deserves.

Ronaldinho can operate on either flank, through the middle or up front so he would be a suitable replacement for Donovan in terms of versatility. However, he doesn’t posses the defensive qualities of Donovan and so Zardes could be forced out wide to accommodate Ronaldinho’s arrival too.

Andrea Pirlo (Midfielder) – Juventus (Italy)

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Pass-master Pirlo is a World Cup winner like Ronaldinho and would further strengthen the Galaxy midfield. Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho could benefit by having Pirlo just in behind them to give them more freedom to attack.

He’s been linked with a move recently and the potential signing of Pirlo could would allow Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes to continue their lethal strike partnership, while giving them a player who can provide service from deeper.

Who do you think LA Galaxy will replace Landon Donovan with?