Premier League • England

Barcelona offer Liverpool blockbuster swap as Slot considers axing Klopp favourite

Jurgen Klopp favourite Luis Diaz could depart Liverpool for Barcelona this summer

Jurgen Klopp favourite Luis Diaz could depart Liverpool for Barcelona this summer

Liverpool manager Arne Slot will soon have his first major decision to make since taking charge amid claims Barcelona are to offer the Reds a straight swap deal that would involve Luis Diaz trading places with one of the Blaugrana’s unwanted stars this summer.

The Merseysiders are preparing for a new era at Anfield after Dutchman Slot was chosen as the successor to the hugely-popular Jurgen Klopp, who decided that, after nearly nine seasons at Liverpool, it was time to step away and recharge his batteries. And while Klopp will now be enjoying a long sabbitical from the game at his luxury Majorca villa, his replacement at Anfield has now started work on how to ensure the success that he built continues in much the same way.

However, as usual with any new manager, there will be a fairly wholesale change of the playing squad, with the Dutchman likely to have his own ideas on the type of player who can make the Reds even better than before.

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And an early indication into Slot’s ruthless streak has already been illustrated with two Klopp favourites in Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara both shown the door this summer after their deals ran their course at Anfield and it was decided against offering either player an extension.

In terms of incomings this summer, TEAMtalk understands a sizeable transfer kitty will be at Slot’s disposal this summer and he’s believed to have made the additions of a left-sided centre-half and a defensive midfielder his two transfer priorities.

A new goalkeeper will also be sought with Adrian having rejected a new deal and with No 2 Caoimhin Kelleher the subject of a firm offer from Celtic; Wolves are also keen.

Liverpool transfers: Barcelona offer Luis Diaz swap deal

However, the biggest departure could yet be to come with Liverpool attacker Diaz now emerging as the top summer target for LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona.

The Catalan giants endured a frustrating season after finishing second in the table – 10 points behind champions Real Madrid – and having also crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-finals stage to PSG.

That led to the departure of Xavi as coach after something of an on/off saga at the Camp Nou; the legendary figure having already been replaced by Hansi Flick in the dug-out.

Xavi had made the capture of a new winger a priority this summer and his main target was Athletic Bilbao’s excellent Spain star Nico Williams.

However, with Xavi now departed the transfer power shifted towards sporting director Deco, the Portuguese has instead turned his attention to Liverpool man Diaz.

Earlier this week it was claimed that Barcelona were optimistic they could prise the Colombia winger away from Anfield this summer if they offered Liverpool their money back on their initial investment.

Now reports in Spain claim Barca are ready to make their move for Diaz – and plan to offer Liverpool a straight swap for Raphinha in the process.

The Brazil winger moved to Spain in summer 2022 for a deal worth £58m after add-ons and following a brilliant two-year spell with Leeds. And while he has performed admirably at Barca – he scored 10 goals and added 13 assists in 37 appearances this season – he has never been fully appreciated by the club or their supporters.

And with outstanding 16-year-old talent Lamine Yamal playing 50 times in his breakthrough season – also winning an astonishing six caps for Spain – it seems Raphinha’s days are numbered.

Diaz would welcome Barcelona move

Now Slot will have to decide whether the swap deal would work for Liverpool, but on paper, it would appear to be a move that would indeed suit all parties.

Liverpool have never quite seen the consistent best from Diaz, who has been hampered by injuries and personal issues since an initial £37.5m (£50m with add-ons) move to Anfield in January 2022.

He has scored 24 times in 98 appearances for the Reds since that move and was always one of Klopp’s most popular players, selected more often that not and appreciated for his workrate by the German.

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Diaz’s father has never hidden his desire to see his son move to one of the LaLiga giants, though Fabrizio Romano has moved to shut down such suggestions.

However, the suggestion from Spain that is, if Barcelona came calling, the player would love to make the move if the opportunity presented itself after a difficult time of things on Merseyside.

And if the Reds can take Raphinha back to the Premier League as part of that agreement, Slot could be ready to make his first huge statement on the transfer front since taking charge at Anfield.