Premier League • England

Liverpool open talks with surprise defender to leave Prem rivals trailing, as brand new transfer strategy takes effect

Colombia youth international Kevin Mantilla

Liverpool have entered talks over a move that would bring a Colombian defender to Anfield in the summer, and a report has claimed the potential deal signals the beginning of a shift in transfer strategy.

The Reds’ primary focus come the summer is expected to revolve around midfield signings. Fabrizio Romano recently suggested two new faces could arrive in the engine room. In an exclusive interview with TEAMtalk, reporter Ben Jacobs delivered an extremely encouraging update on Liverpool’s pursuit of Jude Bellingham.

However, a club like Liverpool must always keep one eye on the future and the emergence of Stefan Bajcetic has shown how millions can be saved in the market.

The young Spaniard is keeping far more established names out of Jurgen Klopp’s best 11 at present. Bajcetic, 18, was plucked from Celta Vigo’s academy in 2020 for just €250,000.

But per Football Insider, many Premier League sides – Liverpool included – are beginning to turn to the South American market instead of Europe as they seek out stars of the future.

The change stems from difficulty signing youth talents post-Brexit. As such, Liverpool kept a close eye on the recent South American Under-20 championship and liked what they saw from Colombia’s Kevin Mantilla.

The 19-year-old plies his trade for Colombian club Independiente Santa Fe and was among the stand-outs for his country in the recent tournament. Indeed, the report claims he ‘dazzled’ in the competition.

Mantilla is a centre-half by trade, though is equally adept at operating at right-back. He operated mainly at full-back in the tournament in which Colombia finished third.

Football Insider state Liverpool have ‘opened preliminary talks’ over a move that would see Mantilla move to Merseyside in the summer.

The Reds are understood to have already held a meeting and hope to fend off interest from Premier League rivals.

Indeed, it’s noted there is ‘rival interest’ from other top flight clubs, though who they are isn’t specified.

Mantilla is left-footed and at present, Jurgen Klopp does not have a single left-footed centre-half in his ranks.

There’s also been rampant speculation Joel Matip could be axed at season’s end. The veteran centre-half will turn 32 over the summer and will also enter the final year of his contract at that time.

A bid of £15m could be enough to see Liverpool cash in while they still can.

READ MORE: Man Utd to rival Liverpool for Chelsea star being cruelly phased out as Barcelona also enter hunt