Premier League • England

Julian Ward working on two midfielder deals as report claims Liverpool out-muscle rivals to top star

Aurelien Tchouameni, Monaco midfielder speaks to the press before Ligue 1 game v Paris Saint-Germain

Liverpool are reportedly looking to sign a new midfielder this summer – with sporting director in-waiting Julian Ward seemingly working on two prospective targets.

The Reds are enjoying a stellar campaign to date and are very much in the hunt to win four trophies. Indeed, they underlined their Champions League credentials with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Inter Milan that nudges them towards the quarter-finals. That win in the San Siro led Inter boss Simone Inzaghi to make this big claim about the Reds.

As Jurgen Klopp knows, however, no team can afford to stand still and the evolution of players is important to any top side’s success. To that end, outgoing sporting director Michael Edwards made one final recent splash with the addition of Luis Diaz.

Diaz already looks the part and is being tipped to help emulate Gerard Houllier and steer the Reds to a welcome success.

However, Klopp is also intent on strengthening his midfield options. While James Milner is being offered a new deal, the future looks less certain for Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Furthermore, Jordan Henderson is now in the autumn of his career after more than a decade’s service to the Reds.

To that end, reports in Thursday’s Paper Talk laid open the possibility of the Reds snatching free agent Paul Pogba.

A deal for Pogba would represent a hugely-controversial move given the rarity of players moving between the clubs. It’s also, on the face of it, highly unlikely to happen.

However, as per Tuttosport, via Sport Witness, Liverpool are looking at another free agent in Franck Kessie.

Tchouameni prefered to Kessie

The Ivorian star is out of contract at AC Milan this summer and an attractive target for a number of top clubs. He is reportedly on the radars of Tottenham, PSG and Barcelona. Juventus are also reportedly eyeing his signature.

However, Tuttosport claims it is Klopp and Liverpool who have been ‘very close’ to Kessie.

That said, the report now suggests Liverpool have their gaze fixed on another deal in Aurelien Tchouameni.

The 22-year-old midfielder is earning rave reviews for Monaco this season. Indeed, he’s widely seen as one of French football’s best prospects. However, Monaco appear powerless to prevent him leaving if a big bid comes their way.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus to battle for Tchouameni

Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus to battle for Tchouameni

Aurelien Tchouameni is attracting a lot of attention from big clubs around Europe but Monaco have warned their player will cost a lot of money to clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus

To that end, Tchouameni will reportedly carry a £50m asking price this summer.

Klopp is reportedly an enormous fan of Tchouameni and is doing all in his power to bring him to Anfield. Indeed, reports suggest Ward is tasked with a securing a deal to bring in the seven-times capped France star as their marquee summer signing.

That’s a claim recently backed up by The Athletic, who recently stated Liverpool have out-muscled Chelsea to lead the hunt for Tchouameni.

Tchouameni in, Naby Keita out

The arrival of Tchouameni will likely appear to spell bad news for  Keita.

The Guinean signing in a £52.75m deal in summer 2018, but has rarely shown his true qualities at Anfield.

As such, El Nacional recently stated Keita ‘will’ be among Liverpool’s departures this summer.

Klopp is apparently behind the decision, with the German ‘ordering’ Keita to ‘begin to look for a new team’. Their headline also reads Klopp ‘doesn’t want him in Liverpool’ any more.

Keita’s contract expires in the summer of 2023. If the Reds have no desire to offer an extension, selling this summer looks increasingly likely.

Both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are reportedly keen. Juventus are also reportedly considering an approach.

READ MORE: Huge opportunity emerges for Liverpool, as superstar ‘radically’ changes transfer plan