Julian Ward targets farewell Liverpool gift of Argentina star as former Man City man raises transfer belief

Julian Alvarez, Enzo Fernandez, FIFA 2022 World Cup - Doha, pilka nozna, Mistrzostwa Swiata, Poland- Argentina

Liverpool are ready to push hard for the signing of an Argentina star making big waves at the 2022 World Cup, with Julian Ward wanting to make his signing a farewell gift for the Reds.

The Reds sporting director has surprisingly announced that he is to step down after just one year in the role next summer. Working under previous incumbent, Michael Edwards, Ward ensured the handing over of the baton was seamless. However, his exit leaves Liverpool with a hole to fill, and a controversial former Arsenal figure is already emerging as favourite.

Before Ward finishes, however, he has been tasked with the job of finding Liverpool a new midfield. Both Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are to leave as free agents next summer. And with James Milner turning 37 next month, there are rising fears this too could be his last season.

In addition, both Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson are both into their thirties and btoh have suffered injuries this season.

As a result, Ward is seeking at least two new midfield additions.

Their top target is widely reported to be Jude Bellingham. The talented Borussia Dortmund teenager, though, will likely cost well in excess of £100m. Nonetheless, his skillset has the likes of Rio Ferdinand absolutely losing their mind.

Their second target to add to their midfield is seemingly Benfica star Enzo Fernandez. Since signing for Benfica over the summer, he has very quickly made a name for himself with some excellent displays.

Liverpool were keen on him before, but his superb displays for Argentina at the World Cup have only convinced them further.

Liverpool ready to push hard for Enzo Fernandez

Now O Jogo claims Ward is making the capture of Fernandez his top focus in 2023. He will make his signing a primary aim over the next two transfer windows and wants a deal sorted before he steps down.

The Reds are not alone in their pursuit for the player, however. Indeed, the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid are also reportedly keen.

Benfica, well aware of the growing interest in their player, are likely to seek a fee of around £70m for the star.

Liverpool’s hopes of signing the star, though, are being given a push forward by former Man City star Pablo Zabaleta.

Working as a pundit during BBC1‘s coverage of the Argentina v Poland game, he is tipping Fernandez to soon make a massive move.

“He’s been really good in both games,” Zabaleta said.

“He’s been one of the best players for Argentina. Despite only being 21, he’s been fantastic and I think next summer, he will go to a big club. He’s got vision, his passing and shooting ability is great. He can play as a number four but also as a number eight.”

Messi a big fan of Liverpool target

Fernandez’s progress has also been recognised by the legendary Lionel Messi, who appreciates all he brings to the Argentina side.

Speaking before their 2-0 World Cup win over Poland that secured a last-16 clash against Australia, Messi made clear his admiration.

“I know Enzo very well, here from the national team and I also played against him in the Champions League,” Messi said.

“He deserves it, because he’s a spectacular kid and a very important player for us. I’m very happy for him and for us, because the goal he scored gave us peace of mind in the game.

“We didn’t expect to start the World Cup with a loss, so we wanted to turn the situation around. Enzo’s great goal [against Mexico] ended the game and now we can face the game against Poland in a different way.”

Should Liverpool wrap up his transfer, it will represent a perfect way for Ward to sign off at Anfield.

At just 21 he looks a major star of the future. And a central axis of him and Bellingham could boss Liverpool’s midfield for the next decade.

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