Villarreal have attempted to outmuscle AC Milan in the race for departing Liverpool hero Divock Origi, whose stance is clear according to a report.
Origi will be leaving Liverpool this summer when he reaches the end of his contract. He has been on their books since 2014, gaining cult-hero status during that time. His role in their Champions League triumph of 2019 will always be remembered.
But the 27-year-old has largely been restricted to a bench role since. Therefore, he has decided to move on elsewhere in search of more regular gametime.
It has not been much of a secret as to where he will end up next. AC Milan are expecting to announce him as a new arrival in the near future.
However, there was almost a late disruption to their pursuit. According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Villarreal tried to hijack the deal for the Belgium international.
In fact, the La Liga outfit have been willing to offer Origi a bigger salary than the one he would be receiving in Milan.
Despite their attempts, though, Villarreal will not be able to welcome Origi this summer. Instead, he has told them he is signing for Milan, no matter what.
Origi will therefore compete with former Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud. There is also a chance he could share a pitch with Zlatan Ibrahimovic if the Swedish legend signs a new contract, despite a ligament injury.
Divock Origi in advanced talks with AC Milan
Divock Origi looks set for Italy switch as AC Milan talks advance
Villarreal will have to look elsewhere in their search for a new striker. Currently, they have Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcacer, Boulaye Dia and Arnaut Danjuma at their disposal.
As for Liverpool, the void left by Origi will be more of an emotional one for their fans, than a technical one on the pitch. He failed to start a single Premier League match in his final season at Anfield.
AC Milan may be best choice for Divock Origi
While Villarreal would have been an interesting option for Origi, he is likely to make a bigger impact for Milan.
Villarreal have a few decent options up front. As for Milan, Giroud and Ibrahimovic remain dangerous players but are beyond their peak years.
If all goes well for Origi, he could become Milan’s main man for the next few seasons. It would be a good way to spend the prime years of his career.
And by signing for a title-winning side in Serie A, he will have the chance to add to the extensive medal collection he has built up as a Liverpool player.