Transfer Gossip: Liverpool, Man Utd caught cold by Prem rival in race for Brazil midfielder

Liverpool’s long-term pursuit of Andre could end fruitlessly if Fulham get a surprise deal with Fluminense over the line, while Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants Anfield experience at Old Trafford…

LIVERPOOL LOSE GROUND OVER MIDFIELD TARGET
It was widely expected that Liverpool would have the signing of Brazil midfielder Andre agreed by now, if not yet sealed before the end of Fluminense’s season. Manchester United have also been sniffing around the 22-year-old, but it seems both have been overtaken in what was thought to be a two-horse race.

Apparently, Fulham have emerged as frontrunners to land Andre, with the Evening Standard reporting that Cottagers’ chief executive Alistair Mackintosh was in Brazil last week for talks over a £30million move.

Liverpool wanted to sign Andre in the summer when they were told to come back at the end of the year once Fluminense had wrapped up their campaign. Jurgen Klopp still wants to reinforce his engine room despite signing three midfielders, while United are on the hunt for a replacement for Casemiro amid the Brazil veteran’s struggles for form and fitness.

Fulham’s need is sparked by the likely loss of Joao Palhinha in the summer, with Bayern Munich expected to return for the Portugal midfielder after they were left hanging on deadline day. Of course, if Liverpool and United miss out on Andre, they could simply rival Bayern for Palhinha, which would suit Fulham down to the ground. Bidding war!

RATCLIFFE EYES EX-LIVERPOOL CHIEF
At Old Trafford, the focus is on what happens next once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment is confirmed and the billionaire can get to work on fixing United.

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One of his first jobs, apparently, will be to hire a new sporting director. John Murtough’s position is seemingly in peril, with a number of candidates lined up to come in.

High on the list is said to be Michael Edwards. The Independent says the former Liverpool chief is ‘admired’ by Ratcliffe and his INEOS group, but there are doubts Edwards wants to return to the game full-time.

MAATSEN FANCIES A REVERSE PALMER
Ian Maatsen’s decision to swerve Burnley in the summer is looking more astute by the week…

The Chelsea defender spent last season on loan at Turf Moor but when the Clarets sought to sign him permanently in the summer, Maatsen opted to stay at Chelsea, despite the presence of Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

The 21-year-old has struggled for game time but Pochettino remains a fan and the Blues are thought to be keen to arrange a new contract. But Manchester City are also keen on Maatsen.

Not surprisingly, according to Football Insider, the thought of joining the Treble winners rather appeals to the youngster. Maatsen will enter the final 18 months of his contract in the new year, which could squeeze Chelsea into doing business with City.

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