Which club are likeliest to win the race to sign free agent-to-be Roberto Firmino has been revealed, though the Liverpool great may inadvertently spell the end for a struggling ex-teammate.
Just Mohammed Salah will remain from the fabled front three that helped fire Liverpool to their first Premier League title come the summer.
Sadio Mane left for Bayern Munich, while Roberto Firmino decided against signing a new contract at Anfield.
Factoring into his thinking was the notion he’s no longer a regular starter for Jurgen Klopp. Rather than sink further and further down the pecking order, the Brazilian has decided to pursue a fresh challenge elsewhere.
Firmino’s 11 goals and four assists this season show the 31-year-old still has plenty left to give. As such, there’s understood to be an abundance of suitors willing to bring him on board.
Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona are among the interested parties. From Italy, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan are all in the mix.
Now, a report from CalcioMercatoWeb has shed light on where Firmino is likely to line up next season.
They state it’s Champions League semi-finalists AC Milan who are ‘in the lead’. Inter and Juve are showing ‘strong’ interest, but a revamp in the forward line is emboldening AC to push hardest for Firmino.
The Rossoneri hope to tie explosive winger Rafael Leao and the ageless Olivier Giroud down to fresh terms. However, beyond that pair, AC’s attacking options could be thinned out this summer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of contract at season’s end, while Brahim Diaz will return to Real Madrid after three years on loan.
Elsewhere, former Liverpool hero, Divock Origi, has endured a torrid maiden campaign in Italy and is facing the axe after just one season.
Firmino in, Origi out at AC Milan
Origi joined as a free agent in 2022, though has struggled to adapt in Milan. The Belgian has just two goals to his name from 30 appearances and CMW state Origi looks ‘certain’ to be sold.
Firmino may therefore take Origi’s place in manager Stefano Pioli’s forward ranks and his potential arrival will reportedly be viewed as a ‘big coup’ for Milan.
While Firmino will unquestionably be missed at Anfield, it’s unlikely a direct replacement will be signed.
The Reds have already overhauled their forward line in recent windows, with Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez both arriving this season.
Diogo Jota can also play up top, and Goal’s Neil Jones claimed Liverpool are unlikely to add to their attacking ranks this summer.
Additions at centre-half, right-back and central midfield are far more likely.