Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is ready to cut a ruthless line through his midfield wishlist after reportedly crossing another name off his list of targets after Jude Bellingham.
The Reds are in serious need of rebuilding this summer after a hugely-difficult campaign. Indeed, they currently find themselves eighth in the Premier League and in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League. Furthermore, they will also finish the season without a trophy after seeing their hopes of silverware ended early in all three cup competitions.
And for a side who came a few games away from winning the quadruple last season, the drop-off has been stark.
Worryingly for Klopp, his side has never finished lower than fourth in his six full seasons in charge prior to this one.
However, the German is adamant he is still up for the task and will now oversee a heavy summer of rebuilding.
The main focus of his team strenghtening will be on midfield. The Reds have surprisingly been overrun in that area this season on a few too many occasions. Normally an area of strength, a series of fresh faces will likely come through the door.
Indeed, both Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will depart this summer – and more names could even follow.
To that end, we understand that some big names may depart in order to help with their rebuilding.
Klopp crosses Matheus Nunes and Bellingham off Liverpool transfer list
Klopp’s No 1 target has long been touted as Jude Bellingham. However, reports emerged on Tuesday evening that the costs involved for the England star, together with the scale of Liverpool’s rebuilding needs, means he is no longer on their list.
Indeed, with a transfer package that will likely top £120m, Liverpool are reportedly no longer chasing the Borussia Dortmund star.
However, they are not short of alternatives and Wednesday’s Transfer Gossip claims a big push for Alexis Mac Allister will now be made.
Another name strongly touted with a move to Anfield is Wolves star Matheus Nunes.
But according to Goal’s Neil Jones, the Portuguese star has also seen his name struck off Klopp’s wishlist.
Furthermore, Jones claims that, in addition to Mac Allister, Klopp is on the trail of five other stars to boost his midfield.
“As for Liverpool, they are well aware of the need for a significant overhaul of their midfield options this summer, and with Champions League football unlikely next season, and Bellingham now seemingly a no-go, the Reds face a major challenge to bring in the kind of quality required to help the club bounce back from what has so far been an appalling campaign,” Jones wrote.
Turning attention to their wanted list, he added: “They are keen to sign Chelsea’s Mason Mount. But interest in Wolves’ Matheus Nunes is understood to have cooled.
“Nicolo Barella of Inter Milan, Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich and Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners are all admired. So too is Luka Sucic of Salzburg.”
Liverpool target Barella looks the real deal for Inter
Of the names Jones mentions, it is probably Barella whose name will excite Liverpool fans the most.
Inter Milan have endured a difficult season on the domestic front and are currently sat fifth in the table. That leaves them in danger of missing out on next season’s Champions League. And the financial implications of that suggest a firesale of their biggest stars, including Barella, may well be needed.
However, in this season’s Champions League, the Nerazzuri are flying. And Simone Inzaghi’s side have put themselves in a strong position to reach the semi-finals of the competition. That comes after a 2-0 win away to Benfica in the first leg of their quarter-finals on Tuesday evening.
Their first goal in Lisbon came from Barella too; the Italian heading home after a fine move. It was the seventh goal of the season, while he also has six assists from 39 appearances.
An all-action midfielder, reports suggest Inter are willing to sell Barella for a reduced £43.8m (€50m) this summer.
Understandably, he is now emerging as a serious target for Klopp this summer. And Inter’s apparent change in stance has seen the Reds focus on the 26-year-old ahead of triple-the-fee Bellingham.
Should Inter complete the job against Benfica, they will face Italian competition in the semi-finals too. Indeed, either AC Milan or Napoli lie in wait with one Serie A side almost guaranteed to reach the final.