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Ansu Fati is ‘close to agreeing a new Nou Camp contract’

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Barcelona club president Joan Laporta reportedly is eager to wrap up a new deal for Ansu Fati with the Catalans desperate to hold on to the No 10.

The club began contract talks months ago with the 18-year-old to extend his current deal which runs until June 2022.

The youngster has expressed his desire to continue at the Nou Camp and his agent Jorge Mendes is in Barcelona ready to continue negotiations, leaving the club optimistic over seeing a deal over the finishing line soon, according to Marca.

Barcelona want to offer Fati a new deal that reflects his new found prominence in the squad.

It was reported last month that Mendes had received an extension offer from Barcelona after the club’s football director Mateu Alemany had been working on a proposal for a month and a half.

Mendes and the club reportedly have been in constant communication and have discussed that the contract will not be long-term on the basis that it will be reviewed later once Barcelona’s economic situation has improved.

Barcelona’s disastrous finances were laid bare after they were given just a €98million (£85m) salary cap by LaLiga for the 2021-22 season – a seventh of Real Madrid’s €739m (£638m) allocation.

Fati has become one of Barca’s greatest attacking strengths, particularly in the wake of the loss of talisman Lionel Messi.

He inherited Messi’s infamous No 10 following the Argentine’s departure and has swiftly replaced the Nou Camp veteran as Barcelona’s most prized asset.

He made his debut during the 2019-20 campaign and has not stopped breaking records at the Nou Camp since.

With the Blaugrana, Fati has become the youngest player to score a LaLiga goal, to start and to score at the Nou Camp, to score and provide an assist in LaLiga and to score in the Champions League.

But his progress was halted when he sustained a serious knee injury during a match against Real Betis back in November 2020, leaving him sidelined for 10 months.

However, he returned to action in September and marked it with a goal in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Levante after coming off the bench in the 82nd minute.

Fati is just one member of a trio of youngsters Laporta is keen to tie down to the Nou Camp.

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13 goals before 19 years old! Ansu Fati betters Messi’s stats

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Ansu Fati has not stopped breaking records since his emergence, both with Barcelona and with the Spanish national team, with numbers that better those of Leo Messi when he entered the professional scene.

Against Valencia he achieved another feat, becoming the Barcelona player with the most goals before the age of 19, with 13 strikes.

He is followed by Bojan Krkic, with 12, and Leo Messi, with seven. The young attacker managed seven goals in his debut season and four in the last campaign, of which he missed the majority due to injury.

His numbers are right up there with those of Messi as, at 18 years and 351 days old, Ansu has 15 goals for Barcelona while the Argentine, at the same age, had eight goals.

Ronald Koeman took Ansu off on 59 minutes due to his recent return to injury, but also because the Clasico is coming up this weekend and the teenager is already a pivotal player.

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Jurgen Klopp: Salah better than Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says, on current form, Mohamed Salah is the best player in the world after the Egyptian shone in the 5-0 win over Watford.

After scoring one of the most memorable goals of recent years in the draw with Manchester City two weeks ago, Salah was at it again at Vicarage Road, scoring a breathtaking effort and setting up two other goals in the 5-0 win over Watford.

It was Salah’s 10th goal of the season – he has scored in Liverpool’s last eight games.

Klopp was in no mood for dampening down the praise afforded to Salah, calling him the best player in the world.

He told BT Sport: “His performance was massive today. The pass for the first goal was great and the second goal was special. He is top. We all see it. Who is better than him? We don’t have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance. But right now, he is the best.”

When asked for his assessment of the overall performance, Klopp added: “It was good! I cannot say differently. After international break, it is hard to find the rhythm after playing different systems, but the boys were so good despite only having one session before today. I think Watford had ideas, but we didn’t let them play. The goals were really brilliant, there was great attitude, energy and character.”

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Leicester 4-2 Man Utd: Foxes stifle Red Devils’ desperate hope for an EPL win

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Manchester United’s 29-game unbeaten away run ended in dramatic fashion as Leicester triumphed 4-2 in a six-goal thriller at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Mason Greenwood slammed the visitors into the lead after a clever one-two with Bruno Fernandes, before Foxes midfielder Youri Tielemans found the top corner from the edge of the box to level just after the half-hour.

The game exploded late on, when Caglar Soyuncu, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy netted in the space of six minutes to swing the game decisively in Leicester’s favour.

The result leaves United behind fourth-placed Brighton and outside the Champions League spots, with Brendan Rodgers’ side moving up to 11th.

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