Liverpool zero in on £35m replacement for fading star whose exit won’t be a surprise

Liverpool trio Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip and Fabinho

Liverpool trio Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip and Fabinho

A highly-rated Serie A star has rocketed to the top of Jurgen Klopp’s wish-list at centre-half, and a report has revealed why Liverpool hold a transfer advantage over two equally keen rivals.

The bulk of business at Anfield this summer is expected to come in midfield. Fabrizio Romano reported “at least” two and more probably three new midfielders will arrive.

However, the trusted journalist also claimed a new centre-half and a full-back – presumably to provide competition for Trent Alexander-Arnold – are also wanted.

Liverpool’s centre-back ranks are currently filled to the brim. However, that’s a situation that could quickly change over the coming months.

Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams are all on the books right now. However, Matip, Phillips and Williams have all been linked with leaving.

Of the three, Matip would arguably be the most surprising given his stellar displays for the Reds in recent seasons. But per the Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle, a Matip exit should not take Liverpool fans by surprise if sanctioned this summer.

Writing in a recent Q&A when asked about Liverpool’s centre-half plans, Doyle replied: “I think Nat Phillips will leave in the summer and wouldn’t be surprised if Joel Matip departs, so a new centre-back is being assessed, yes.”

Matip’s form has fallen off a cliff this term and he’s poised to enter the final year of his contract this summer. If Liverpool don’t wish to tie a player who’ll turn 32 in August down to a long-term deal, a sale this summer would make sense.

Goal, Football Insider and have all gone on record to state a Matip departure is possible at season’s end. If given the boot, Liverpool would reportedly seek to collect between £10m-£15m for the transfer fee.

Liverpool eyeing one of Italy’s best

But in the event Matip is ousted, a new centre-half will be required. On that front, Italian outlet Calciomercato put Liverpool firmly in the mix for Atalanta and Italy sensation, Giorgio Scalvini.

The 19-year-old already has four senior caps for Italy to his name. He earned those chances on the back of superb form at club level for Atalanta over the last season-and-a-half.

Scalvini has started every Serie A match he’s been available for in 2023. He’s missed out on two occasions, though they were through suspension and injury respectively.

Calcio state Scalvini is ‘at the top’ of Liverpool’s watchlist with regards to centre-half recruits. However, the Reds aren’t alone in that regard.

Inter Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid all like what they’ve seen too. With good reason, Scalvini is labelled ‘the most promising young defender in Italian football’.

Scalvini is under contract until 2027, thus putting Atalanta in a strong position to fend off the vultures. However, money can and often does talk in football and it’s claimed a €40m (approx. £35m) bid might be enough to change Atalanta’s tune.

Due to that sizeable valuation, it’s claimed a move within Serie A to either Inter or Juve is unlikely.

A move to a more cash-rich club overseas is deemed a likelier prospect, something that’ll be music to the ears of Jurgen Klopp, but not so for Joel Matip.

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