Liverpool’s pursuit of Jamal Lewis received it’s first significant setback after Norwich City rejected the Reds’ initial bid of £10 million following reports from The ECHO.
Lewis, 22, has become the subject of interest in recent days with the Northern Ireland international identified as an option to help Andy Robertson with the workload next season.
Cover for the 26-year-old has been viewed as a priority by Jurgen Klopp during this summer window. Robertson has missed just four league encounters in total over the past two seasons and, with no natural deputy in the squad, rotating him even in times of exhaustion have been difficult.
According to The Telegraph, Norwich value Lewis at double that figure with the Canaries in no position to sell with the player contracted at Carrow Road until 2023.
Initial bid rejected
Norwich have proven firm negotiators in the past and their recently-confirmed Championship status will not dishearten their valuation for one of their most valuable assets.
James Maddison was an eye-catching Championship performer who was sold for a significant figure, without any Premier League experience, to Leicester City for £24 million, in the summer of 2018. It was a club-record sale and it has become their benchmark for future departures.
The major difficulty and determining factor in a deal being sanctioned is the valuation that Lewis has been deemed at by Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards.
Edwards values him at around £10 million after offering Norwich £8 million upfront, with a further £2 million to potentially follow in add-ons on Thursday evening.
Liverpool remain confident a deal can be agreed but are prepared to play the waiting game. After all, the Reds have a shortlist of other options should a deal for Lewis fall through.
According to reports from Sports Time, Liverpool are also monitoring Olympiacos’ Kostas Tsimikas. The 24-year-old has been scouted extensively by the Reds and could be a cheaper and more viable option.
The report claims that Olympiakos are looking for around £14m – £15m to land the Greece international.
Statistically, Tsimikas performs better than Lewis although there is a comprehensive difference in terms of league competitiveness.
However, Tsimikas does have Champions League experience under his belt which could be of interest to Liverpool next season.
According to WhoScored, in the six European group-stage fixtures Tsimikas featured in, he averaged an impressive 2.8 tackles per game as well 2.0 interceptions.
Offensively he was just as effective for his team providing an assist during a 3-2 defeat against Bayern Munich while boasting a commendable 1.7 key passes per game.
Judging by his stats, it isn’t difficult to see why a player with both defensive assurance and attacking flair has become the subject of interest for Liverpool.
Edwards and his recruitment team don’t often plump for the obvious choices but instead utilise key information that is provided by their research group, led by Ian Graham.
One thing is certain this summer, if Klopp is to miss out on priority target Lewis then a club as meticulously planned out as Liverpool will still have a number of viable options who can make a similar impact long-term.
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