Liverpool are ‘willing’ to activate a centre-back’s release clause and beat Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United to his signature, though the move might not worry United who are homing in on a defender deal of their own, per reports.
“As I’ve previously reported here, we know Man Utd want a top centre-back for 2024, so we’re going to see a lot of names linked,” said the trusted reporter.
Liverpool, meanwhile, seemingly have no intention of offering Joel Matip a contract extension.
The 32-year-old will become a free agent at season’s end and per The Liverpool Echo, ‘no efforts to agree fresh terms have been made’.
Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly is a player Liverpool are known to admire. The left-footer’s versatility – being capable of also operating at left-back – appeals to The Reds.
Over at Old Trafford, Romano listed Goncalo Inacio (Sporting Lisbon), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Jean-Clair Todibo (Nice), and Edmond Tapsoba (Bayer Leverkusen) as four players Man Utd are watching.
Inacio is also on the watchlist at Anfield and per a fresh report out of Spain (as cited by The Manchester Evening News), it’s Liverpool who are prepared to act on their interest and bring the defender to England.
It’s claimed Liverpool are ‘the favourite’ to sign the 22-year-old left-footer. Real Madrid and Barcelona are also in the mix, but it’s Jurgen Klopp’s side who are ready to put their money on the table.
Inacio’s contract at Sporting contains a release clause worth €60m (approx. £52.6m). Per the report, Liverpool ‘intend to bet very strongly on Inacio’ and are ‘willing to pay what it would cost’. In other words, they’re ready to trigger the release clause.
Klopp’s stunning guarantee aids Liverpool chances
Symbolising Liverpool’s apparent faith in Inacio, it’s them remarkably claimed part of Liverpool’s pitch will be guaranteeing Inacio a starting role at Anfield.
Virgil van Dijk remains undroppable at centre-half, meaning it would be Ibrahima Konate who drops to the bench if Inacio were signed.
However, given Inacio is left-footed, it may also be that Van Dijk is shifted from left centre-back to right centre-back for the first time in his Reds career.
The Spanish report claims Liverpool’s willingness to guarantee Inacio a starting role is what gives them an advantage over Real Madrid.
Furthermore, Liverpool’s ability to pay the release clause is what gives them the upper hand over Barcelona.
The piece does not specify whether Liverpool would activate Inacio’s clause in January or wait until the summer.
Man Utd accelerate different defender pursuit
One might expect news of Liverpool being wiling to pay big for Inacio to irk officials at Old Trafford.
However, another of the targets Romano mentioned appears to have become United’s No 1 priority in January anyway.
Per The Mirror, Man Utd have made Nice’s Todibo their primary focus in January and a £40m move will be made all the easier through the influence of Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
The British billionaire is primed to purchase a 25 percent stake in United and also owns French club Nice.
As such, The Mirror suggest Ratcliffe holds the key to unlocking Todibo’s transfer and once his partial takeover is ratified, a January move will take shape.