Truth emerges over £80.4m Liverpool deadline day swoop for Uruguayan star as three other Julian Ward targets are named
Reports that Liverpool made a whopping £80.4m deadline day bid for Federico Valverde have been cleared up – while reports are growing that another South American star is also on Julian Ward’s radar.
The Reds thought their summer spending was done with a club-record deal for Darwin Nunez, supplementing the additions of Calvin Ramsay and Fabio Carvalho. However, a plethora of injuries in midfield left Jurgen Klopp scrambling to sign a midfielder late in the window.
That is something they achieved with the deadline-day capture of Arthur Melo from Juventus. The Brazilian has moved to Anfield on a deal until next summer, with Liverpool having the option to make that move permanent.
The loanee has featured just once so far, stepping off the bench in the 4-1 Champions League hammering at Napoli. Now a bizarre report claims Liverpool may be ready to cut ties with the player at the first available opportunity amid a shock turnaround.
Truth be told, Arthur was probably Liverpool’s back-up option, with the Reds reportedly also keen on a deal for Denis Zakaria, who opted to join Chelsea.
It’s also been reported that sporting director Julian Ward tried to sign Valverde from Real Madrid on deadline day too. The Uruguayan star is a classy operator, and is highly-rated by Carlo Ancelotti. However, competition in the Los Blancos midfield means he’s not always guaranteed a regular start.
As such, it was reported that Liverpool launched an £80.4m (€93m) swoop for Valverde on deadline day.
However, 90min reports that officials at both Real and Liverpool have denied such a bid was ever made.
While there is no denying that Klopp is a huge admirer of the 24-year-old, they insist there was no contact made by the Reds this summer.
Liverpool won’t sign Federico Valverde as other targets emerge
They claim any contact that was made was likely to have been between intermediaries acting for both clubs.
However, no official contact was made as Liverpool instead turned their attention elsewhere. Furthermore, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos nearing the end of their careers, Federico Valverde remains a big part of their plans.
Indeed, the report claims that Ward had two other recommendations given to him ahead of the deadline. To that end, their scouts seemingly pushed for Ward to move for Ruben Neves and Konrad Laimer.
Ultimately, the Reds decided against negotiations for either so late in the window. Ward believed a deal for Neves with Wolves will have been too complicated so late in the window. And it was a similar story with RB Leipzig, who also made clear their intentions not to sell Laimer.
However, the Austrian’s deal does expire next summer and he may come into Liverpool’s thinking ahead of the January window.
A more modest target for Liverpool could also emerge in the form of Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes.
His form is reportedly attracting attention with Ward reportedly well aware of his talents.
As such, the Brazilian side could be vulnerable to his sale were the Reds to make a sizeable offer. Compared to Fabinho, Gomes has already made over 100 appearances despite being just 21 years of age.
Liverpool need midfield reinforcements
There’s little doubt that Liverpool need more midfield signings in the windows to come. As such, that is likely to be Ward’s main transfer focus in 2023 and beyond.
Jordan Henderson is showing signs of slowing down somewhat after struggling with hamstring injuries this season. James Milner is also surely in his final year at Anfield, despite his incredible fitness and stamina at the age of 36.
Thiago Alcantara is also the wrong side of 30 and he too has shown himself prone to injuries throughout his time at Anfield.
More pressingly, both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are both out of contract next summer. Neither are likely to sign renewals and it may be that Liverpool look to offload both in January before losing them on frees.
As such, midfield reinforcements are very much at the forefront of Liverpool’s transfer thinking. Thankfully, there are options out there for Ward and Co. To that end, a report claims the Reds could look to swap Oxlade-Chamberlain for Douglas Luiz in January.
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