Marca is reporting that Barcelona are leading the chase to sign Matthijs de Ligt and Liverpool need to react to this by targeting a similarly good centre back.
The Spanish news outlet claims that unless there is an “unforeseen” change in plans, Barcelona will sign de Ligt and that all that remains to be sorted out is the issue of the player’s agent.
Mino Raiola, his representative, has been banned by FIFA for three months which means he will be unable to take charge of any of his clients’ transfers this summer.
For Liverpool, regardless of what de Ligt decides regarding Raiola, it looks increasingly unlikely that the Reds will be signing the exciting young defender.
Of course, Mundo Deportivo also reported this week that Barcelona are very worried that Liverpool might swoop in and steal the 19-year-old from them but we need to operate under the assumption that won’t happen.
If Jurgen Klopp is interested in de Ligt and somehow fails to persuade him that Liverpool is the best destination for him then the German needs to act quickly in identifying another target.
It’s likely that Klopp and his sporting director Michael Edwards will already have a list of potential alternatives and given Joe Gomez’s poor injury record and Dejan Lovren’s tendency to make damaging errors, signing a quality partner for Virgil van Dijk is massively important.
Joel Matip has been very impressive this season but the Cameroonian isn’t a long term partner for his Dutch counterpart.
There are several central defenders out there that would make acceptable alternatives to the £60million-rated de Ligt.
The ideal scenario would obviously be to sign de Ligt but as we’ve seen in the past, Liverpool deal quite well with missing out on their primary targets.
When the Reds were rejected by Mario Gotze, they signed Sadio Mane and when they were turned down by Julian Brandt, they recruited Mohamed Salah.
Michael Edwards is a world-class sporting director and he and his analytics will surely find the right man for Klopp.