Liverpool have had an opening £36million offer for Kalidou Koulibaly rejected by Napoli, according to reports in Italy.
The Reds are desperate to bolster their central defensive options this summer and saw efforts to prise Virgil van Dijk from Southampton come to an embarrassing end after their public courting of the Dutchman.
However, they have quickly moved on from the saga by tabling an opening bid to Napoli for towering centre-half Koulibaly.
Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli claims in the Sports Review that they submitted an opening offer of £36.7million (€42million) to the Serie A side for the player, who has also been heavily linked with Chelsea.
Antonio Conte’s side had a £38million bid rejected last summer, while recent reports have suggested they are likely to raise their offer to anything up to €60million (£52million) to land their man.
However, the Italian club are determined to hold onto the centre-half and have rejected the latest approach from Liverpool.
The report also claims the Reds have spoken to the player’s representatives and are willing to offer Koulibaly a five-year deal worth £54,000 a week.
Speaking about his future just last month, Koulibaly said: “It would make me happy to come and play here [Premier League], but now I am at Napoli.
“In the future you never know but now I concentrate on my club and we will see next season what I have to do.
“I think I will stay in Napoli but you never know.
“I can’t talk about it now. We will see.”
Liverpool have also been linked with moves for Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson and Michael Keane of Burnley as they bid to bring in a new central defender.