Premier League • England

First Liverpool signing explodes into life, with ‘strong’ move to see Klopp sign midfielder Man Utd couldn’t

Netherlands midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Ryan Gravenberch

Liverpool are closing in on their first midfield signing of the summer and it’s a player Erik ten Hag was desperate to bring to Man Utd earlier this season, per reports.

Midfield will unquestionably be the area of Jurgen Klopp’s squad that undergoes the greatest change this summer. Fabrizio Romano recently reported at least two and probably three new additions will come in the engine room.

Jude Bellingham was Liverpool’s primary focus, though the escalating cost of the deal, combined with the fact a centre-back and back-up to Trent Alexander-Arnold are also wanted saw the Reds pull the plug.

All manner of midfielders have been linked with moving to Anfield in the aftermath of the Bellingham news last week. Among them is Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch who was Ten Hag’s first choice when it came to midfield signings in January.

An untimely ankle injury sustained by Christian Eriksen in late-January forced United back into the market. Sky Sports reported at the time that Gravenberch was the player Man Utd enquired about first. That made sense given Ten Hag knows his fellow Dutchman well through their time at Ajax.

However, the Independent noted Bayern were unwilling to loan out a player signed just six months prior. United then turned their attention to Bayern teammate Marcel Sabitzer and the rest is history.

But fast forward to present day and Gravenberch may well be moving to the north west of England this summer, though to Anfield and not Old Trafford.

‘Strong’ Liverpool pitch pays off

A wholly encouraging update from Sky Sports’ Melissa Reddy has revealed Liverpool have made a ‘strong pitch’ to the player’s camp. Per the reporter, Gravenberch is ‘enthusiastic’ about joining Liverpool this summer.

The player’s primary agent, Rafaela Pimenta, previously met with Liverpool officials at the turn of the year. Liverpool’s interest in the Dutchman actually dates back to last summer while he was still with Ajax.

More recently, Liverpool have made contact with Gravenberch’s father, Ryan senior. Gravenberch’s father will play a big role in his son’s future, with Sky adding he ‘guides his career’.

Liverpool are not the only side showing interest in Gravenberch. However, in lieu of missing out on Bellingham, they’ve accelerated their back-up plans and a move for Gravenberch is gathering pace.

BILD’s Christian Falk recently claimed Bayern are insistent Gravenberch is not for sale. However, that is not a view shared by other sources and may be a simple case of posturing to help drive a hard bargain. Indeed, the Times state the 20-year-old can be signed for around £25m at season’s end.

Aiding that narrative is the fact RB Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer has already wrapped up a move to Bavaria for the summer.

His arrival, combined with the presence of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka leaves Gravenberch facing lengthy spells on the bench if he remains in Munich.

Sky added Ajax hold a seven-and-a-half percent sell-on clause in Gravenberch’s deal. As such, Bayern will hope to generate slightly more than they otherwise might have done to make up for the shortfall.

In any case, if a deal can be struck for around £25m or even up to £30m, Jurgen Klopp will be all smiles.

READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano backtracks on major Liverpool transfer claim, with Klopp intervention behind surprise U-turn