Premier League • England

Ruthless Slot to let £49m Liverpool star talk to Euro giants with player ‘willing to fight’ for shock transfer

Luis Diaz and Dominik Szoboszlai of Liverpool next to the Barcelona badge

Luis Diaz and Dominik Szoboszlai of Liverpool next to the Barcelona badge

Incoming new Liverpool manager Arne Slot has reportedly cleared the path for one of the club’s most costly signings in recent seasons to depart Anfield this summer, with the green light given to open talks with Barcelona over a big-money move.

The Dutchman is already getting down to work at their Kirkby training base, despite not officially beginning work as the new Liverpool boss until June 1. Chosen as the successor to Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, there is no doubt that the Dutchman is stepping into some very sizeable shoes on Merseyside, with many fearing he has the near-impossible task of replacing the legendary German.

However, the 45-year-old has been chosen as his heir with good reason. And with CEO of football Michael Edwards selecting the departing Feyenoord boss for both his similar tactical approach to the game, as well as his similar man-management skills, all associated with the Reds will hope the post-Klopp drop off will not be as dramatic as many expect.

Slot is due to take a short holiday before fully assuming his role at Anfield, though discussions on the make-up of their squad – together with intended transfer targets and positions they need to prioritise – have already long-since taken place with both Edwards and newly-appointed sporting director Richard Hughes.

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To that end, Slot is reported to have requested Liverpool sign a new centre-half to replace the departing Joel Matip, a new midfielder in place of Thiago Alcantara, while a new goalkeeper could also be targeted if key squad player Caoimhin Kelleher moves on and amid growing claims that a switch to Celtic is on the cards for the Irishman.

Liverpool transfers: Slot ready to let Luis Diaz leave

However, there could also be changes in the Reds attack.

Darwin Nunez cut a frustrated figure in the closing weeks of the season, coming under fire for his profligacy in front of goal and with the Uruguayn star even deleting all association with Liverpool from his social media account, Instagram.

That fuelled suggestions the 24-year-old could leave and, while there is still some uncertainty over his situation, Slot is understood to have made it clear he sees Nunez as a part of his plans going forwards.

The same can also be said for Mo Salah, whom has been strongly linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, but remains very much central to Slot’s plans.

Thankfully for Slot, and all associated with Liverpool, Salah has made clear where he sees his immediate focus lying after making a big statement of intent over the 2024/25 season.

However, it seems the same cannot be said about Luis Diaz, with the Colombian, like Nunez, having also been linked with a move to Barcelona this summer.

The Blaugrana are shaping up for a major summer rebuild after parting with coach Xavi and having finished some way behind LaLiga champions Real Madrid. With a game to go, that gap stands at 12 points.

One position they do want to strengthen in is attack and with Ansy Fati, Ferran Torres and Raphinha among those seemingly up for sale, they have been tipped to make a move to sign Diaz as a replacement – with a move to one of the LaLiga big boys something his father clearly hopes will one day happen.

Slot will let Liverpool star join Barcelona

Diaz joined Liverpool in a £37.5m (€45m) move from FC Porto in January with a further £11.5m (€15m) in add-ons.

He has largely impressed for the Reds, scoring 24 times and laying on another 11 assists from 98 appearances – giving him a goal contribution every 2.8 games.

But the winger has suffered his fair share of injury issues too, having missed 188 days of football through last season with a bad knee injury.

Now according to reports in Spain, Diaz is ‘willing to fight’ for a move to Catalonia this summer and ‘dreams of a move’ to the Nou Camp.

And with Deco making moves for his signature behind the scenes having reportedly met with the player’s agent, Diaz’s future will seemingly become an almost-immediate cause for discussion with Slot when he officially begins work on Merseyside.

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However, with the 47-times capped Colombia international seemingly intent on departing Anfield, it’s claimed Slot and Liverpool do not see a transfer as a bad thing’.

That said, Liverpool will not give up on their star easily and are understood to have placed a sizeable price – possibly as much as €75m (£63.9m) on the winger’s head.

Barcelona could go as high as €50m, but only if they offload Raphinha first, and it’s claimed their sporting director Deco is prepared for a ‘tough negotiation’ with Liverpool, having also made a move for Real Betis midfielder Guido Rodriguez a priority signing this summer.