Premier League • England

Liverpool ahead of Man Utd, Chelsea in race for incredible transfer after showing ‘greatest interest’ in deal

Josko Gvardiol and Neymar

Liverpool are beating Manchester United and Chelsea in the pursuit of a high-quality international star after expressing the ‘greatest interest’ in signing him, according to reports.

Liverpool’s main transfer need this winter is to improve their ageing and weak midfield. They have several top-class players in mind, including Jude Bellingham, Enzo Fernandez and Sofyan Amrabat.

Liverpool have been in contact with Borussia Dortmund over Bellingham. And the 19-year-old would prefer to join them over Real Madrid or Man Utd, in a welcome boost for the Reds.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side need a contingency plan just in case they end up losing out on Bellingham. This is where Fernandez comes in.

He has been shining during Argentina’s World Cup campaign and is expected to start in the final versus France.

Liverpool recently began talks with Benfica about Fernandez’s prospective move. And reports emerging from Portugal even claim there is a pre-contract agreement in place between the player and Liverpool.

Third on their list of midfield targets is Amrabat. He would be the rather understated option, as he currently represents Fiorentina and is only valued at €10million (£8.7m) by transfermarkt.

Midfield isn’t the only position Liverpool need to improve, though. They could also do with adding to Klopp’s centre-back ranks.

Liverpool need successor for 31-year-old

Ibrahima Konate looks set to replace Virgil van Dijk when the 31-year-old leaves Liverpool or retires. But Liverpool must find a successor to Joel Matip, as he is 31 too and entering the twilight years of his career.

This is where breakout World Cup star Josko Gvardiol comes in. He was Croatia’s rock at the back as they reached the semi-finals of the tournament, only to lose 3-0 to Argentina.

Lionel Messi turned Gvardiol inside out with one brilliant run in that game. But other than that, the RB Leipzig star has been incredibly impressive. And it is hard to blame him for struggling to deal with Messi, as the genius has been causing other defenders problems for so many years.

According to transfer reporter Rudy Galetti, Liverpool have shown ‘the greatest interest’ in landing Gvardiol.

Liverpool battling Man Utd, Chelsea for huge signing

Man Utd recently stepped up their attempts to sign him from Leipzig. Chelsea, meanwhile, are being tipped to launch a massive January move for the 20-year-old.

But Galetti believes it is Liverpool who are pushing hardest to complete a deal with Leipzig. This sets up the possibility of Liverpool getting Gvardiol in a huge deal, one that could break the world record for a defender transfer.

Gvardiol previously had a £44m release clause in his Leipzig contract. But that was removed when he agreed fresh terms with the Bundesliga outfit in September.

Due to his exceptional performances at Leipzig and brilliant World Cup, it will now take a colossal fee for Liverpool, Man Utd or Chelsea to bring him in.

And his transfer could end up smashing the defensive world record, currently held by Man Utd’s Harry Maguire (£80m).

Whoever ends up signing Gvardiol, they will be getting a top defender with the potential to be world-class. He is very hard to get past and also possesses great ball-playing abilities. Plus, he can play as a left-back or centre-half.

Meanwhile, an Arsenal hero has told the Gunners to beat Liverpool to the signing of a midfielder.