Transfer gossip: Man Utd suffer defender blow as City, Chelsea eye ‘next Messi’

Manchester United were intent on signing David Alaba before the Real Madrid star’s season-ending injury, while Manchester City are linked with a £100m Brazilian and the ‘new Messi’…

Manchester United’s defence looked uncharacteristically secure at Anfield, where Raphael Varane was named man of the match, while Jonny Evans was also impressive too.

Neither, though, are likely to be at Old Trafford next season, with seemingly only Lisandro Martinez guaranteed to stick around. Doubts persist over Harry Maguire’s future despite his fine recent form, while Victor Lindelof is approaching the end of his contract.

In a story which presumably was published before Real Madrid’s win over Villarreal on Sunday, Fichajes says United will revamp the centre of their defence by bringing in David Alaba

If that was the plan, it almost certainly won’t be now. Alaba was forced off against Villarreal after tearing his ACL. The Switzerland defender will undergo surgery this week and will miss the rest of the season.

Pep Guardiola said before the weekend that he could be in the market for a midfielder next month if Kalvin Phillips makes an exit from Manchester City.

Football Insider claims the champions are very keen on Douglas Luiz. But a deal will be difficult to do…

Arsenal are said to have made Luiz their priority for January or next summer if a mid-season deal is too tricky. Aston Villa value the Brazilian in the region of £100million, which hasn’t deterred City or Arsenal. But Villa are ‘adamant’ they won’t sell in the winter while they are flying high in the Premier League.

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Phillips is far more likely to be on the move. Liverpool and Newcastle have both been linked with the out-of-favour City midfielder but he could opt for a move to the continent.

Tuttomercatoweb reports on interest from Juventus, with Phillips understood to be open to a move to Turin.

City are also keeping an eye on Claudio Echeverri. Them and everyone else…

The ‘next Lionel Messi‘ is wanted by Barcelona, with Xavi on the record praising the River Plate prodigy, who will turn 18 at the start of next month.

Fabrizio Romano says City and Chelsea have been in touch with the Argentinian club to be kept abreast of developments. Echeverri’s release clause is worth £21.5million. Even that could be beyond Barca’s reach, with the Catalans hoping to pay in instalments.

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