Liverpool could reportedly use a secret weapon they have at their disposal to sweeten a deal for reported long-term transfer target Sandro Tonali next summer.
The AC Milan defensive midfielder is known to have been a target for Jurgen Klopp since 2019, and the German could finally get his man some four years on – if a swap proposal comes to fruition.
While Tonali was at Brescia back in 2019 their owner, former Leeds supremo Massimo Cellino, revealed that the Reds had enquired about the teenager.
He said, speaking in January 2019: “I want to keep the guy as much as possible. Is he ready? I don’t know; he’s 18 years old. A little while ago, however, Liverpool also contacted me.”
Tonali eventually moved to Milan 18 months later and has since gone from strength to strength.
The 22-year-old is now an established Italy international and a Serie A winner after Milan’s success last term.
After helping the Rossoneri lift the Scudetto last season, Tonali mentioned Liverpool star Thiago as his ‘inspiration’.
And now Klopp’s men could have the chance to pair the duo together at Anfield, according to milanlive.
The Italian outlet states Milan’s continued interest in Naby Keita gives the Reds the perfect bargaining chip to get Tonali on board.
The report adds that if Liverpool enable Keita to agree a pre-contract with the Italian outfit in January that could make things much smoother in their bid to bring in Tonali.
Keita is also known to be target for both West Ham and Newcastle. However, after a tough time adapting to English football, it’s thought he favours a move to a different league.
Midfield a big position of need for Liverpool
Liverpool are firmly expected to bring in at least one top-level midfielder next summer.
Indeed, Kloop’s engine room, once a huge strength of his side, is now looking more of a problem.
Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Thiago are all the wrong side of 30, while 29-year-old Fabinho looks a shadow of his former self this season.
Klopp wanted to bring Aurelien Tchouameni on board last summer but lost out to Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Jude Bellingham remains a major target, although a host of top clubs are chasing the England man.
The 19-year-old will also cost in excess of £100million, while there is no mention of a figure for Tonali.
The player is currently valued at around £45m, although if the Reds throw in Keita that fee would drop.