Premier League • England

Liverpool revealed as only club close to signing attacking midfielder with €150m release clause

Liverpool target Georgiy Sudakov

Liverpool have been closely linked with a Shakhtar star

Liverpool have come ‘really close’ to completing the signing of Georgiy Sudakov from Shakhtar Donetsk despite a six-way battle unfolding for the attacking midfielder, a report has explained.

Sudakov signed a new contract with Shakhtar last month, meaning he is now protected by a €150m release clause (equivalent to £127.7m), but various clubs across Europe have been queuing up for the 21-year-old.

According to Calciomercato, Liverpool are the ‘only’ suitors to have come ‘really close’ to signing Sudakov so far, having recently been paying a lot of attention to the evolution of their midfield.

If Sudakov is still on Liverpool’s radar ahead of the summer transfer window – and the implication is that he is, despite their recruitment team and manager changing – they will face plenty of competition for him.

The Italian report claims Juventus and Napoli are interested in the playmaker, but there is an awareness that he might be beyond reach for Italian teams.

More likely contenders for his signature could include Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in addition to presumably the leading admirers, Liverpool.

And that kind of move could appeal to Sudakov, who has admitted his ambition is to arrive in one of Europe’s top five leagues. Speaking to Sport Italia, he has cited the Premier League as one of the most ‘incredible’.

Liverpool or Manchester City could become the ultimate destination, then, but he may have to be patient since his new deal is due to last until 2028.

READ MORELiverpool, Newcastle surge into race for classy Tottenham linked winger available for reduced fee; summer bidding war likely

How has Sudakov been doing for Shakhtar?

Since progressing from the Shakhtar academy into their first team, Sudakov has scored and assisted 14 goals each within 90 appearances (15 of which have come in the Champions League).

Comfortable on either foot, he tends to operate in behind a striker, but can feature in a more orthodox central midfield role or even wide on the left.

Whether there is still room for him at Liverpool will depend on how their system changes under a new manager next season, following the summer resignation of Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool’s midfield welcomed in Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch and Dominik Szoboszlai last summer. If there is room for another addition, it might realistically be a more defensive midfielder than Sudakov, but only time will tell.

It is worth noting that Sudakov is unlikely to cost the full value of his release clause. A fee of €150m seems ambitious for a player with his relatively limited experience, but will mainly be there to protect Shakhtar.

It could also be a sign of how strongly they believe in Sudakov’s potential, which could lead to him stepping up to a club of Liverpool’s level in the long term.

DON’T MISS – The frightening XI Liverpool could select if Ruben Amorim takes charge in the Anfield dugout