Premier League • England

Liverpool identify first Edwards signing as Reds burst into frame for €60m dynamo as heir to Klopp favourite

Liverpool CEO of football Michael Edwards is pushing to bring Teun Koopmeiners to Anfield this summer

Liverpool chief Michael Edwards is pushing to bring Teun Koopmeiners to Anfield this summer

Liverpool cannot yet be discounted from the race to sign Teun Koopemeiners from Atalanta this summer after reports in Italy revealed exactly how Michael Edwards plans to make the move happen and beat a European giant to his signature.

The Reds are preparing for major changes off the field with Edwards  – brought back to the club in a new CEO of football role – overseeing arguably the biggest period of change seen at Liverpool since the departure of Brendan Rodgers and arrival of Jurgen Klopp way back in October 2015.

Some nine years on, Klopp is now on the verge of saying farewell to the Merseysiders – his legacy as one of their greatest-ever managers very much guaranteed – with the hunt also very much on for his successor.

That focus has very much centred around Xabi Alonso and an eye-catching update on Tuesday has given the Reds renewed belief they can pull off a move for the Bayer Leverkusen coach.

Before any appointment is finalised, however, the Reds will usher in a new sporting director, with Scotsman Richard Hughes agreeing to make the move to Anfield, having left his technical director role with fellow Premier League side Bournemouth.

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Between Hughes, Edwards and whomever becomes Liverpool’s new manager, discussions will be held on the identity of players the club will look to bring into Merseyside this summer.

However, it seems Edwards has already set that ball rolling, having identified Koopmeiners as a potential first signing of his second spell at the club.

Koopmeiners for his part has already made clear his plans to move on from current club Atalanta, wheom he joined back in summer 2021 for a modest €12.9m from AZ Alkmaar.

Edwards plans to hijack Juventus move for Teun Koopmeiners

Discussing his plans to take his career to the next level, the 21-times capped Netherlands international stated earlier this month: “My fiancée and I are having a great time in Italy, but for some clubs in England I could even bear the rainy days there,” he told De Telegraaf.

“I hope options present themselves so I can think about it. I hope Atalanta gets a good fees for me, because I had a wonderful time in Bergamo.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t hear the news about the interest from Premier League clubs.”

However, despite Koopmeiners presenting Liverpool with a golden opportunity to seal his signing, a report on Monday claimed the Reds had fallen behind in their quest to land the Dutchman with another of his suitors, Juventus, agreeing terms on a €4.5m a year salary – around £73,000 a week.

That said, the Bianconeri still have many hurdles to cross before they can seal a deal – not least the apparent €60m (£51.5m) transfer fee they are reportedly seeking for the 26-year-old star.

As a result, la Gazzetta dello Sport claims Liverpool very much remain in the race to sign Koopmeiners, with Edwards ‘already in contact’ with La Dea over a potential deal.

And while Liverpool are yet to agree terms, the report claims they are seen as more financial viable than Juve and that Edwards remains in with a great chance of making the midfielder, who has 12 goals in 34 appearances to his name this season, his first signing of the summer.

Indeed, they proclaim Liverpool ‘do not feel out of the race’ for Koopmeiners, despite Juventus’ agreeing of personal terms and that the Merseysiders ‘will not be spectators’ in the battle for his signature this summer.

Liverpool transfers: Koopmeiners in; Klopp signing out

The report claims that Liverpool will run their final checks on Koopmeiners in the coming weeks and also will have a front-row seat to observe the player as the Reds lock horns with Atalanta in a mouthwatering Europa League quarter-final.

Should the midfielder shine in the two-legged affair and pass his ‘audition’, it’s believed Liverpool will them formally open talks with their Europa League opponents over a big-money summer signing.

And according to reports, a space in the Liverpool squad has already been freed up for Koopmeiners with popular midfielder Thiago Alcantara set to move on this summer at the end of his deal.

The Spaniard, a £25m arrival from Bayern Munich in 2020, has endured an injury-plagued year, managing just one appearance for the Merseysiders since last April.

Now it has been reported that, with his deal coming to an end, Edwards has already informed the agent of the £200,000 a week star that his time is up on Merseyside.

The midfielder has been linked with a return to former club Barcelona, as well as Inter Milan and Juventus, while speculation has also arisen about a potential move to Saudi Arabia, following in the footsteps of Jordan Henderson (the less said about that the better) and Fabinho, who both moved to the Gulf State last summer.

Thiago has made a total of 98 appearances over his four years at Liverpool and it remains to be seen if he will reach the century of games before his likely departure.

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