Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reportedly been given the green light to further strengthen his ranks amid claims the Reds have opened talks over the major January signing of Piero Hincapie.
The Reds spent the summer rebuilding their midfield with four new names arriving to supplement a squad that saw six players depart. In a major reshuffle on Merseyside, it was out with the old and in with the new as James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain departed on frees, Arthur Melo was sent back to parent club Juventus and Jordan Henderson and Fabinho sealed big-money moves to Saudi Arabia.
Arriving in their place, the Reds spent a hefty £145.2m acquiring the services of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Waturu Endo and finally, on deadline day, Ryan Gravenberch.
With the Reds seemingly finished on their midfield strengthening for now, it is easy to forget that Klopp actually also went into the summer window wanting to bolster his defence.
To that end, the Reds boss is keen to find a long-term replacement for the ageing Joel Matip, who has looked past his best in recent times.
A free signing from Schalke way back in summer 2016, Matip has proved an outstanding servant to the Reds, making 190 appearances in his seven full seasons to date.
That figure would undoubtedly be higher had a string of niggling injuries not curtailed his availability to Klopp.
But in recent times, Matip appears to have lost a little edge to his game and he can no longer be considered first choice.
Klopp wants Hincapie to replace Matip at Liverpool
And with the 32-year-old’s deal expiring at Anfield next summer, Klopp was seemingly open to his exit during the summer if a suitable replacement was found.
Ultimately, time – together with the need to strengthen the Reds midfield – counted against Klopp’s plan. But thankfully, with the January window set to officially open for business in just 104 days, Klopp will soon have the opportunity to fix the issue.
To that end, reports in Spain claim Liverpool are working on a deal to bring in Bayer Leverkusen star Hincapie. The Ecuadorian is regarded as one of the Bundesliga’s best defenders, so will not come cheap.
The Merseysiders were linked with a move over the summer, though, after failing to make a concrete approach, the 21-year-old penned a new deal with Xabi Alonso’s side until 2027.
And while Bayer would be a tough nut to crack, the report claims Liverpool are hopeful of securing his signing for a fee of around €55m (£47.5m).
Despite his tender years, Hincapie already has 101 senior appearances to his name and has also collected 27 caps for his country, appearing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
And seen as having the potential to get even better, Klopp is reportedly delighted at being given further funds in January to pursue his signing.
Tottenham have also been linked with the South American in the past, though their interest faded after securing the signing of Dutch defender Micky van de Ven, who had also been on the Reds’ radar.