Premier League • England

Liverpool get green light to sign 33-goal star for Klopp’s goodbye gift as club director admits he ‘expects sale’

Johan Bakayoko of PSV is high on Liverpool wanted list

Johan Bakayoko of PSV is high on Liverpool wanted list

Liverpool have reportedly been given the green light to push through the signing of Johan Bakayoko from PSV Eindhoven over the summer, with Jurgen Klopp seemingly identifying the winger as a perfect goodbye gift for the Merseysiders.

The Reds are facing up to one of the most critical summers in their recent history as they chase a replacement for iconic and charismatic manager Klopp, who will depart Liverpool after a trophy-filled nine years at the helm. Finding a successor to the German is understandably becoming the priority focus for FSG and getting that next appointment right will be paramount for the Merseysiders’ American owners.

To aid their search, Liverpool have appointed a man described as the ‘world’s greatest leader’ to aid that hunt, with one coach also told it is his “destiny” to move to Anfield and succeed Klopp.

However, there are fears growing that the exit of Klopp could lead to something of a knock-on effect with some of the club’s best players of the last few years also said to be considering their futures as a result of the German’s departure.

And while Virgil van Dijk has moved to play down suggestions he could move on in the wake of his manager’s exit, uncertainty still surrounds the future of star man Mo Salah, who come the summer will only have 12 months remaining on his existing deal.

As they approach a crossroads over the future of Salah, a report on Tuesday revealed there is a growing possibility that the 31-year-old could depart – and amid talk that a £200m offer from long-term suitors Al-Ittihad could finally convince the Reds to cash in.

READ MORESeven Liverpool players that could follow Jurgen Klopp out of the exit door: Salah, Van Dijk…

Liverpool told deal for Johan Bakayoko is on

Realistically, Liverpool could probably not afford to turn down a world-record bid for the 31-year-old, especially knowing his value will only deteriorate the nearer he gets towards the end of his Anfield deal.

Finding a potential successor for their Egyptian superstar, however, is no easy task. But  given the Saudis saw an offer rejected offer for the player during the summer, and Liverpool have been warned that their interest in signing him has never faded, the Reds have had time aplenty to try and get that succession plan in place.

The likes of Leroy Sane and Takefusa Kubo have both been linked, though it’s reported recently that Klopp has a particular fondness to PSV flyer Bakayoko.

And now reports have strongly suggested that Klopp has recommended to FSG that the nine-times Belgium winger is, in his eyes, the perfect successor to Salah if it’s decided to cash in on the Egyptian star.

Touted as Klopp’s goodbye gift to the Reds, there is strong competition for the 20-year-old with Brentford seeing a summer offer turned down and with Manchester City also reportedly on his trail.

However, PSV director has given Liverpool and the rest of his suitors something of a lift after declaring he expects the Eredivisie leaders to cash in on their star man this summer.

“I don’t think Bakayoko will still play at PSV next season,” the club’s sporting director Ernie Stewart said to Dutch outlet Voetbalkrant.

“It’s unbelievable what Johan does for someone his age. He’s played 30 great games in the past few months. At PSV and at the Red Devils [Belgium national team].”

Bakayoko is rated in the €40m (£34m) bracket by PSV and has 17 goal contributions to his name this season, while he already has 33 goals to his name throughout his career from 133 senior games.

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