DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 30: Alexis Mac Allister of Argentina speaks to the media in the post match press conference after their sides victory during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 on November 30, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA)

Mac Allister to Man City rubbished – Brighton boss admits he “deserves” move

As quickly as they emerged, claims Man City were pursuing Alexis Mac Allister were then rejected, as Roberto De Zerbi spoke on his future again.

Mac Allister is widely believed to be closing on a move to Liverpool this summer, with reports in Argentina suggesting a deal has been agreed.

The latest from his native country is that the Reds will pay around £60 million for the midfielder, who will sign a five-year contract worth £100,000 a week with the option to extend that by a further year.

However, Monday evening brought claims from sources both on Merseyside and elsewhere in England that Man City were now entering the race.

The Mirror‘s David McDonnell was among those to report this line, which was parroted minutes later by the Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst.

Mac Allister was positioned as a possible successor to Ilkay Gundogan, with Gorst claiming the Argentine “has been circled as a high-quality replacement,” meaning Liverpool would “go head-to-head” over his signature.

2M90NC7 Brighton's Alexis Mac Allister with World Cup winners medal and replica cup acknowledges fans before the Brighton v Liverpool game 14th January 2023

It certainly seemed convenient, particularly with more reliable reports of the transfer already being close, and Fabrizio Romano soon rubbished these claims.

On Twitter, Romano wrote that Man City are “not in the race” and that there had been “no talks or concrete contacts.”

This Is Anfield understands this to be the case, with suggestions of interest from Manchester more likely part of negotiations between Liverpool and Mac Allister’s camp.

It is an often-used tactic for agents to fuel speculation in the press when discussing terms over their client with a club, effectively forcing the hand of those hoping to sign the player.

Mac Allister is represented by his father, Carlos, who has been in negotiations with Liverpool since April.

The club’s pursuit of the World Cup winner will have predated this, of course, though their pursuit of Mac Allister comes after the decision to pull out of a move for Jude Bellingham.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 14, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (C) gets away from Brighton & Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brighton are hard negotiators, but a release clause in the 24-year-old’s contract – which Romano claims is a “fixed amount” – means once that is activated the power is in the player’s hands.

Speaking on Monday, Brighton manager De Zerbi again admitted that the club were expecting to lose “big players” this summer, as they “deserve” to play for elite sides.

“I think we will lose some big players, but it’s right, no?” he told the Press Association.

“Because they deserve to play for other targets in another team.

“But we have to be ready to bring in other big players with the policy of the club.”

Brighton have already signed forward Joao Pedro from Watford, and are lining up midfield additions in free agents James Milner and Mahmoud Dahoud.