Premier League • England

Edwards strikes gold as Liverpool near brilliant first Slot signing with three factors key

Michael Edwards is ready to bring in Teun Koopmeiners as the first Liverpool signing for Arne Slot

Michael Edwards is ready to bring in Teun Koopmeiners as the first Liverpool signing for Arne Slot

Liverpool are reportedly growing increasingly hopeful of securing the signing of Teun Koopmeiners this summer with three reasons emerging why the Reds believe they can make the Atalanta midfielder the first arrival of the Arne Slot era.

There will be tears aplenty and tissues at the ready at Anfield on Sunday when Jurgen Klopp takes charge of Liverpool for the 491st and final time. A charismatic leader, the German will exit the field after the Premier League match against Wolves knowing he leaves behind a lasting legacy at Anfield and as a bona fide club legend.

Stepping into his shoes will be no easy feat and, after much deliberation, it is Feyenoord coach Slot who has been selected as the man to ensure the drop-off post Klopp is not as serious as expected.

Chosen for his man-management skills and the similar way he approaches the game, the Reds have agreed to pay the Eredivisie side compensation worth up to €13m.

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Confirmation on his official appointment is expected to arrive a matter of hours after Klopp’s farewell and the Dutchman will inherit a squad about to embark on a return to the Champions League but one in which there remains quite a few issues to fix.

With that in mind Slot has already earmarked in conversations with CEO of football Michael Edwards of the squad additions the Reds need to focus on this summer.

To that end, a centre-half, a second-choice goalkeeper – with a once-capped England man backed to arrive should Caoimhin Kelleher depart – a left-back and a midfielder are likely to be top of the agenda come the summer window.

Liverpool make strides towards Teun Koopmeiners signing

A new midfield addition is likely to be key.

Thiago Alcanatara will depart Anfield at the end of his contract this summer after Liverpool decided that the Spaniard’s injury-record over his time on Merseyside – and in particular the last years especially – did not merit him earning a new deal.

There is also some doubts over whether summer 2023 signing Ryan Gravenberch will continue at Anfield into next season. A €40m signing from Bayern Munich, the Dutchman has failed to make a telling impression on Merseyside and is emerging as a transfer target for Galatasaray.

A tempting offer for his services could yet convince Liverpool to sell up.

As a result, adding to his midfield options is very much in Slot’s thinking and one player very much of interest to the Reds is Atalanta midfielder Koopmeiners.

The Netherlands international has been on Liverpool’s radar for some time; first recommended to the club as a possible target by Klopp in summer 2023.

Back then, Liverpool decided to pursue other options, though he has remained a player of interest and Liverpool have been encouraged by comments made by the player about wanting to leave Atalanta this summer.

Now their hopes of securing his signing have been given a significant boost.

Any deal for the 26-year-old will not come cheap off the back of an excellent season in Italy that has seen the player score 16 times and add another eight assists.

However, it is indeed Atalanta’s demand for €60m that puts Liverpool right at the front of the queue and severely deflates Juventus’ chances of beating the Reds to his signature.

Reds ready to meet €60m fee to sign midfielder

Such a fee would place him beyond Juventus’ reach and, despite their plans to offload the likes of Gleison Bremer, Matias Soule and Dean Huijsen this summer, the Bianconeri will also need to strengthen other areas of their squad too.

That £51.6m fee would not be seen as totally obsene to the Reds and, with Slot having previously worked with the player before and having made him captain at AZ Alkmaar, the player is understood to be open at linking up with his former manager again, this time on Merseyside.

As Tuttosport note, Koopmeiners’ agent Bart Baving is currently in Italy holding talks with Juventus over a potential deal. And while they could offer him a payrise to take his salary from €2.5m a season to €4m a season (£41,000 a week to £65,000 a week), he knows that his salary would catapult even higher were he to make the move to the Premier League and presenting Liverpool with another significant advantage.

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As a result, Edwards is reportedly ready to top any offer Juventus present for Koopmeiners with the deal likely to be relatively straight forward if Slot gives the green light for the move to go through.

And with Liverpool ‘have no problem satisfying’ La Dea over Koopmeiners’ asking price, nor paying him over and above what Juventus are capable of doing.

In short, both their financial mite, together with the presence of Slot puts the Reds well ahead in the transfer race and it’s widely expected in Italy that Koopmeiners will become the first major signing of the Dutchman’s Anfield reign.