Real Madrid are plotting a midfield revamp involving stellar stars targeted by Liverpool and Chelsea, and the threat to Thomas Tuchel’s plans is deemed ‘more serious’, according to a report.
Both the Reds and Blues have been tipped to make a major addition to their midfield ranks next summer. Liverpool opted against signing a direct replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum last summer, instead choosing to serve up greater opportunities for Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliot.
Nonetheless, with James Milner now 35 and both Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara the wrong side of 30, a move could be on the cards.
Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch is one stellar name who has been linked. The 19-year-old Ajax superstar-in-waiting is already a regular in the Netherlands national team.
A Spanish report detailed Liverpool and Real Madrid’s interest in December, and claimed the Reds were willing to stump up £42m in the summer.
Now, ESPN shed new light on the situation, and namecheck Gravenberch as a Real target once again.
They report Carlo Ancelotti’s side are ‘tracking’ the midfielder whose contract expires in 2023. At present, there is no sign he will pen fresh terms, indicating a sale may become inevitable.
Real Madrid pose greater threat to Chelsea
However, the more likelier candidate to bolster Real’s midfield is Chelsea target Aurelien Tchouameni.
ESPN describe Real’s pursuit of the Monaco destroyer as ‘more serious’. What’s more, he is already being tipped to replace Casemiro in the long run.
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Tchouameni is famed for his tough tackling and high number of interceptions per match. He possesses a relentless engine to combine with his defensive abilities, which previously saw him earmarked as an ideal addition to a Thomas Tuchel midfield.
Indeed, Sky Sports revealed earlier this month that Blues chief Marina Granovskaia had been tasked with acquiring the 21-year-old.
The French international is valued around the £50m mark, but Real may yet deprive Chelsea of their man.
Liverpool beat Man Utd, Tottenham to £50m winger
Meanwhile, Liverpool look all set to beat Premier League rivals Manchester United and Tottenham to the £50m signing of Porto winger Luis Diaz.
The PA news agency understands the Colombia international was manager Jurgen Klopp’s first choice for a summer transfer. However, growing interest from, specifically, United forced them to move early.
Liverpool are looking to push through a transfer which would see them pay an initial £37.5m. The deal will involve a maximum of £12.5m in add-ons. However, there remains a significant number of hurdles to overcome – not least that the player is currently in Argentina with his national team.
Liverpool are flying a team out to South America to expedite the deal. But a medical is already a considerable logistical issue.
But The Athletic report that the Reds look set to land the player, who will bolster an area where there is uncertainty around the future of key personnel.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will all be 30 this summer. And they will all be entering the final 12 months of their contracts.
Should the deal come off it would be a huge coup for Julian Ward. Ward will succeed sporting director Michael Edwards and this will be the first transfer he has taken the lead on.