Liverpool will lose out to Benfica in the race to sign a midfielder Jurgen Klopp was ‘charmed’ by, with Fabrizio Romano revealing full details of the move.
A midfield overhaul will take centre stage at Anfield this summer. James Milner is on course to join Brighton, while Naby Keita was unveiled as a Werder Bremen player earlier on Friday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will bring the free agent exits to three. Elsewhere, Arthur Melo will return to Juventus once his loan expires and Liverpool will listen to permanent offers for Leighton Clarkson.
Alexis Mac Allister is the first player to offset the exits. According to Dutch outlet De Telegraaf, Klopp had his eye on Feyenoord’s Orkun Kokcu to become signing No 2.
Indeed, Klopp was described as being ‘charmed’ by the 22-year-old Turkish international who recently helped Feyenoord lift just their second Eredivisie title since the turn of the century.
The battle for Kokcu’s signature reportedly boiled down to Liverpool versus Benfica. However, according to Fabrizio Romano, Liverpool have lost out.
Indeed, the transfer guru tweeted Benfica are “closing in” on what is unquestionably a stellar coup for the Portugese Primeira Liga.
Romano added only the “final details” must be ironed out before the move officially crosses the line. However, the terms of the move have come to light.
Romano stated Benfica will pay Feyenoord €30m and the Dutch side have successfully inserted a 20 percent sell-on clause.
Benfica have added a clause of their own to protect their investment, with a release clause set at a whopping €120m.
A five-year contract running until 2028 will be penned and a medical has been booked. Barring any late drama, Kokcu will head to Benfica and not Liverpool.
Liverpool chasing plenty of alternatives
While missing out on Kokcu is a blow to Liverpool, they do have plenty of other irons in the fire.
Indeed, talks over the signings of French pair Khephren Thuram (Nice) and Manu Kone (Borussia Monchengladbach) have opened. Today’s Transfer Gossip brought news of a verbal agreement reportedly being forged with Thuram.
Both players were recently named on a five-man midfielder wishlist at Anfield by the Athletic’s Liverpool expert, James Pearce.
The others on the list were Romeo Lavia (Southampton), Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich) and Gabri Veiga (Celta Vigo).
One player Liverpool are not pursuing – despite claims to the contrary in Spain – is Barcelona’s Franck Kessie.