Premier League • England

Liverpool in clear to finalise controversial signing after prime suitors drop out of hunt for Premier League star

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool have been given a great opportunity to sign a Premier League player and in turn solve a problem facing Jurgen Klopp after one of their transfer rivals publicly dropped out of the chase.

Liverpool have begun their summer transfer dealings with the capture of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton. Mac Allister had been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea, but ultimately it was Liverpool who got to him first after deciding on the Argentine World Cup winner as a great alternative to Jude Bellingham.

As per various reliable sources including The Guardian and BBC Sport, Liverpool have spent just £35m when buying the star. Although, BBC Sport claim the deal could rise to £55m depending on add-ons. Mac Allister has penned a five-year contract at Anfield and says he is eager to win more silverware after playing a crucial role in Argentina’s triumph in Qatar.

Liverpool are now turning their attention to the next potential arrival on Merseyside. Klopp needs another midfielder to join his squad due to Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all departing. As such, the Reds are preparing to hold talks with the agents of French pair Khephren Thuram and Manu Kone.

While midfield is Klopp’s priority, and for good reason, the manager is also eager to bolster his centre-back options. Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are both 31 years old, while Joe Gomez is prone to injuries. As such, Liverpool need a new centre-half to partner Ibrahima Konate going forward.

This is where Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite comes in. Surprisingly, Branthwaite emerged as a target for Liverpool and Man Utd earlier this year amid his great performances while on loan at PSV.

READ MORE: Liverpool transfers: Signing No 2 on the way with contact made and Klopp ‘serious’ about move for €40m title winner

The England U21 international will soon return to Goodison Park. In a recent interview with Dutch source Voetbal Primeur, he revealed how he would be open to returning to PSV.

But Marcel Brands, the Eredivisie club’s director of football, has effectively ruled them out of the running. When speaking to fellow Dutch outlet Eindhovens Dagblad (via Sport Witness), Brands said: “Financially this [Branthwaite’s signing] will be difficult to achieve, I expect.”

Liverpool in pole position after PSV fall behind

It seems PSV will only be able to take the defender back to the Philips Stadium on loan. But they may be beaten to the capture by Liverpool.

Club chiefs at Anfield will be delighted to hear PSV do not have the funds to sign Branthwaite. This puts them in a great position to sign the 20-year-old, though they will have to put up a decent amount of money to reach an agreement with local rivals Everton.

Man Utd may have previously expressed interest in Branthwaite, but it seems they are eyeing up alternative options now. Kim Min-jae and Axel Disasi are both high up in Erik ten Hag’s thinking as the Red Devils boss aims to bring in a new centre-back who can compete with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane. Harry Maguire, meanwhile, is the subject of a transfer tussle between Aston Villa and Tottenham.

It would be a very controversial move if Branthwaite did decide to cross the city divide and join Liverpool from Everton. However, as long as Branthwaite gets assurances he will player under Klopp, the move would make sense for him. Everton only just avoided relegation to the Championship this term, while Liverpool managed Europa League qualification and are eyeing a Champions League return next season.

Meanwhile, Thursday’s Transfer Gossip includes Liverpool being interested in a Real Madrid man who could be ousted by Bellingham.