Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s former agent reveals how close he came to joining Liverpool

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was close to joining Liverpool back in 2013 (Picture: Getty)The former agent of Henrikh Mkhitaryan has revealed that the Arsenal star was once close to joining Liverpool.

Mkhitaryan, 29, completed a move to Arsenal in January in a deal which saw Alexis Sanchez sign for Manchester United.

The Armenian has scored two goals in 12 appearances for the Gunners.

Dimitry Seluk, who represented Mkhitaryan when he was a youngster at Metalurh Donetsk, has lifted the lid on a disagreement he had with the club’s ex-owner Oleg Mkrtchyan which stopped Liverpool signing the midfielder.

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He claims that Mkrtchyan sold another of his clients, Aras Ozibiliz, to Spartak Moscow for €8million but pretended the fee was only €2million – and this is why he parted ways with Mkhitaryan.

This is when Mino Raiola took over as Mkhitaryan’s representative and the Armenia international was sold to Borussia Dortmund over Liverpool.

‘Eventually, we parted ways with him [Mkhitaryan] because of that whole situation,’ Seluk told These Football Times.

The Armenian made his name at Borussia Dortmund (Picture: Getty)‘And that’s when Henrikh’s sister, who had been working with UEFA for years, introduced him to [Mino] Raiola.

‘Obviously, by that time, Mkhitaryan had already become a well-known player, and when Borussia Dortmund offered Shakhtar €27million for Henrikh, suddenly Raiola was all over him.

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‘Although I had already talked to Liverpool who were also interested in Mkhitaryan and wanted to sign him.

‘If Mkrtchyan hadn’t lied to me and we hadn’t parted ways with Henrikh, he would have been a Liverpool player.’

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Mohamed Salah beats Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick to best goal of the Champions League quarter-finals

Cristiano Ronaldo’s overhead goal (Getty)In a show of the quality of the Champions League quarter-finals, Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle goal was not deemed the goal of the round.

Instead that accolade has gone to Mohamed Salah for his dinked finish in the second-leg of Liverpool’s win over Manchester City.

After each round of the Champions League, fans are asked to vote for their goal of the round.

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Following the latest set of ties, 39% of fans voted for Salah’s away goal at the Etihad which effectively guaranteed Liverpool’s path to the semi-finals. The Egyptian received the ball after good work from Sadio Mane, pushed it wide to the left and then dinked it past Nicolas Otamendi into the net.

Mohamed Salah found the net with a Messi-esque finish (Getty)

Salah celebrates (Getty)It meant Ronaldo’s stunning strike had to settle for second place with 30% of the vote. The Real Madrid striker scored against Juventus with a bicycle kick that left Gianluigi Buffon rooted to the spot.

Ronaldo acknowledges the fans who applauded him (Getty)More: Liverpool FC

The Juventus fans stood to applaud it and many called Ronaldo’s goal one of the greatest strikes in Champions League history – but it seems (at least officially) Salah’s was even better.

MORE: PFA Premier League Team of the Year announced

Why Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham should battle for second place in the Premier League

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are in third behind Manchester United and ahead of Tottenham (Getty)With Chelsea and Arsenal off the pace, the Premier League top four already appears decided with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham occupying the places.

With the spots comes Champions League qualification and following a change of rules from Uefa, all four sides will go straight into the group stage of the competition.

It’s a change from previous years when the team that finished fourth were required to come through a qualifier, as Liverpool did against Hoffenheim this season.

But despite the change, precisely where each team finishes will still have consequences.

Manchester United currently occupy second place (Getty)More: Football

Champions League revenue

Depending on where a team places will affect their share of the TV money for being in next season’s Champions League.

The money generated from BT Sport’s rights deal is split into two halves.

The first half is shared out with the champions claiming 40%, runners-up on 30%, third getting 20% and fourth 10%.

The second half of the money is determined by the number of games played in the competition, thus rewarding the team that performs the best.

Harry Kane’s Tottenham look virtually certain to be in the Champions League next season (Getty)The importance of where a team finishes in the Premier League is highlighted by Chelsea’s revenue from this season’s Champions League. Despite going out at the Round of 16 stage to Barcelona, they have earned nearly as much (£55million) as Liverpool (£57m) who have reached the semi-finals (should Liverpool go all the way they can expect to land a total of £71.7m). But because the Blues topped the Premier League, they picked up a heftier reward than fourth place Liverpool.

Champions League revenue for 2017/18

Liverpool – £57m*

Chelsea – £55m

Manchester City – £54m

Tottenham – £52m

Manchester United – £37m

*Could potentially earn up to £71.7m 

Premier League revenue

In addition to the revenues to be made in the Champions League, the Premier League rewards teams with prize money dependent on where they finish in the table. Each place is worth approximately £2m, meaning a difference of £4m between the sides that finish second and fourth.

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So while a top four finish looks virtually guaranteed for the current quartet, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham currently split by just three points, there remain some serious rewards to play for.

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Liverpool & Manchester United target Jorginho’s agent confirms Premier League interest

The passing maestro is a wanted man after a stellar campaign with Napoli (Picture: Getty)The agent of Napoli midfielder Jorginho has welcomed interest from the Premier League amid continued links with a summer move to Liverpool or Manchester United.

The Brazilian-born Italy international is being targeted by a host of teams in England after a stellar campaign for Napoli, though his side are likely to fall just short of beating Juventus to the Serie A title.

Although Jorginho is settled and happy in Naples, his agent, Joao Santos, is anticipating contact from Premier League sides this summer.

Jorginho has averaged over 90 passes per game this season in Serie A (Picture: Getty)‘We’ll talk about his contract situation at the end of the season,’ Santos told RMC Sport. ‘If the club wants to do something, we are ready to talk after May 20.’

He continued: ‘Jorginho is happy at Napoli, he is first choice in a team that is challenging for the Scudetto.

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‘He is also first choice in the Italy squad, so it’s only normal some English clubs will ask for information. Having said that, there is nothing official.’

Liverpool have been linked with Jorginho – who has averaged more passes per game than any other player in Serie A – as a replacement for contract rebel Emre Can should he leave.

However, both Manchester clubs are also keen; Jose Mourinho wants to reinforce his midfield and free up Paul Pogba, while Pep Guardiola wants cover and competition for Fernandinho.

Jorginho got Liverpool fans very excited on Tuesday when he ‘liked’ a post on Instagram which suggesting he should sign for the Merseysiders this summer.

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The Premier League have created an official playmaker award

The new Playmaker award will be handed out at the end of the seasonThe Premier League have announced the creation of a new official award to recognise the best playmaker of the season.

The Playmaker award will go to the player with the most assists in the Premier League.

It’ll be handed out for the first time at the end of this season.

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The award will sit alongside the prestigious Golden Boot and Golden Glove gongs which recognise the players with the most goals and clean sheets respectively.

Kevin De Bruyne is currently on course to win it (Getty)The new prize looks almost certain to be won by a Manchester City player, with Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva occupying the top three slots in the assists chart with just a few games of the season remaining.

Premier League assists

Kevin De Bruyne – 15

Leroy Sane – 12

David Silva – 11

Dele Alli – 10

Christian Eriksen – 9

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 9

Paul Pogba – 9

Mohamed Salah – 9

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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who holds the record for the most assists in a Premier League season with 20, has welcomed the introduction of the prize.

‘Scoring goals is one of the best feelings a player can have on the pitch. Of course, that would not be possible without the playmakers creating those chances. It is amazing that Cadbury [who sponsor the ward] and the Premier League are celebrating playmakers in this way.’

Thierry Henry during his time at Arsenal (Getty)Henry continued: ‘I personally enjoyed providing assists more than scoring. Being able to provide those moments for your team mates brings great joy and I’m sure this award will inspire many more in the future to create great chances and even greater goals.’

MORE: PFA Premier League Team of the Year announced

PFA Premier League Team of the Year announced

Liverpool striker Mo Salah (Getty)The PFA Premier League team of the year has been announced, with the leading contenders to win the PFA Player of the Year award – Mohamed Salah and Kevin de Bruyne – in the side.

Salah is joined in attack by Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Man City striker Sergio Aguero.

In midfielder, De Bruyne is accompanied by his Manchester City team-mate David Silva and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen.

The defence is made up of two Man City players – Kyle Walker and Nicolas Otamendi, plus Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen.

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea completes the team.

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🙌 PFA Premier League TOTY! @OfficialPanini
GK | David De Gea RB | Kyle WalkerCB | Jan VertonghenCB | Nicolás OtamendiLB | Marcos Alonso MID | David SilvaMID | Kevin De BruyneMID | Christian EriksenFWD | Harry KaneFWD | Mohamed SalahFWD | Sergio Agüero
🏆 #PFAawards
— PFA (@PFA) April 18, 2018

Arguably the most notable exclusion is Leroy Sane, who is the only one of the six players shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award not to be included.

His team-mate Raheem Sterling, who has scored 17 Premier League goals this season, may also feel aggrieved.

At left-back, Manchester United’s Ashley Young may have hoped to be included.

PFA Premier League team of the year

GK | David De Gea RB | Kyle Walker CB | Jan Vertonghen CB | Nicolás Otamendi LB | Marcos Alonso MID | David Silva MID | Kevin De Bruyne MID | Christian Eriksen FWD | Harry Kane FWD | Mohamed Salah FWD | Sergio Agüero

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The attacking trio of Salah, Kane and Aguero reflects the top three players in the Premier League scoring charts with 30, 26 and 21 goals respectively.

De Bruyne has been exceptional this season, helping Manchester City to the Premier League title. He leads the assist charts with 15 goals. Eriksen has produced nine assists while Silva has 11.

Number of players by club

Manchester City: 5

Tottenham: 3

Chelsea: 1

Manchester United: 1

Liverpool: 1

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Liverpool receive Dejan Lovren injury boost of Roma clash

Dejan Lovren has given Liverpool a boost ahead of their clash with Roma.(Getty Images)Liverpool have received a major injury boost with Dejan Lovren ahead of their Champions League clash with Roma next week, according to reports.

Jurgen Klopp’s side host the Serie A club at Anfield in the first leg of their semi-final tie next Tuesday.

Lovren was forced off in the latter stages of Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, with Klopp confirming that the Croatian centre-back will undergo tests.

But according to the Liverpool Echo, Lovren has only suffered from muscle tightness in his leg and is set to be fit for the fixture against Roma.

Lovren has impressed alongside Virgil van Dijk. (Getty Images)More: Football

Liverpool are already without Joel Matip, who is sidelined for the remainder of the campaign with a thigh injury.

Lovren has impressed at centre-back alongside Virgil van Dijk, who joined in a £75 million deal from Southampton at the start of January.

The report also claims that Joe Gomez is closing in on a return to full training.

The 20-year-old has not featured since the international break after suffering an ankle ligament injury in England’s friendly against Netherlands.

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Liverpool plotting move for Barcelona target Clement Lenglet

Liverpool are interested in signing Clement Lenglet (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are eyeing a move for Sevilla star Clement Lenglet, according to reports in Spain.

Lenglet, 22, has only made 67 appearances for Sevilla since joining the club from Nancy in January 2017, but the defender is already being linked with with a big-money switch away from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

The Frenchman is firmly on Barcelona’s radar, with the La Liga giants preparing for Samuel Umtiti’s possible departure, and Liverpool are understood to have stepped up their interest.

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Sport suggests Jurgen Klopp views Clement Lenglet as the ideal centre-back partner for January signing Virgil van Dijk.

Lenglet has a £26million release clause in his contract at Sevilla.

The young Frenchman is attracting interest from Barcelona and Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

Clement Lenglet came up against Liverpool earlier this season (Picture: Getty)Sevilla boss Vincenzo Montella fueled rumours of a potential move in the summer by claiming that Lenglet has the quality to play for Barcelona.

‘He is a champion with a strong mentality and in the future he can definitely play for Barcelona,’ Montella said earlier this week.

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Lenglet has made 48 appearances for Sevilla this term and faced Liverpool in the Champions League back in November.

The youngster missed the Group E match at Anfield but starred in the return fixture as Sevilla salvaged a 3-3 draw.

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MORE: Manchester United target Jorginho ‘likes’ Instagram post saying he should join Liverpool

Manchester United target Jorginho ‘likes’ Instagram post saying he should join Liverpool

The Italy international appears to have welcomed a move to Anfield (Picture: Getty)Napoli star Jorginho has got Liverpool fans very excited by ‘liking’ an Instagram post suggesting he should move to Anfield this summer.

The Italy international is one of the most in-demand midfielders in European football after a stellar campaign for Napoli, who look set to just miss out on the Scudetto to Juventus.

Jorginho’s strong campaign has seen him linked with a host of top clubs, not least Manchester United and new champions Manchester City, but it may be a move to Anfield that he prefers most.

The Brazilian-born midfielder liked a post on Instagram in which a fan posted a compilation video of his season so far and asked, ‘Should we sign Jorginho?’

The post continued: ‘I think we should regardless of what Emre does. This man can definitely be a solid player and we all know what happened the last time we signed someone from Serie A.’

Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho are all fans of Jorginho (Picture: Getty)Mohamed Salah was the last player Liverpool picked up from the Italian top-flight, and the Egyptian has gone on to score 30 Premier League goals in his debut season.

Liverpool are expected to move for a midfielder this summer as they line up a replacement for Emre Can, who is stalling on a new contract and is likely to leave when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, United have been linked with Jorginho as Jose Mourinho looks to bolster his midfield and he has also been earmarked as a potential long-term successor to Fernandinho by Pep Guardiola.

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Monaco chief gives Liverpool advantage over Arsenal in Thomas Lemar transfer

Arsenal and Liverpool want to sign Thomas Lemar. (AFP/Getty Images)Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has claimed he would prefer to sell Thomas Lemar to Liverpool ahead of Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had a £75 million offer for the France international rejected by the Ligue 1 club last summer.

Arsenal were also keen on Lemar as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, who was on the brink of joining Manchester City, but Arsene Wenger’s side were unable to agree a fee for the 22-year-old.

Both Liverpool and Arsenal are expected to launch new offers for Lemar at the end of the season, and Monaco have hinted that they would be open to selling the midfielder.

Speaking to Telefoot, Vasilyev was asked about Lemar’s future and warned interested clubs: ‘Good luck to those who want him.’

Monaco’s vice-president says he would prefer to sell Lemar to Liverpool. (AFP/Getty Images)More: Football

Vasilyev was then pressed on a transfer fee which Monaco would accept for Lemar but the Monaco vice-president replied that the midfielder would ‘cost a lot’.

Telefoot also had a quickfire ‘do you prefer’ session with Vasilyev in which he was given a question and two options to choose from.

When asked if if would prefer to sell Lemar to Liverpool or Arsenal, Vasilyev replied ‘Liverpool’.

Lemar has three goals and eight assists for Monaco this season. (AFP/Getty Images)Lemar, meanwhile, has admitted that he was unhappy’ that his move to either Arsenal or Liverpool did not happen last summer.

‘I’m not going to hide it, I was a little disappointed. I try not to think about it,’ he said last month.

‘I’ve kept working so that these clubs come back during the next transfer window.’

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