Liverpool and Manchester City have both reportedly stepped up their interest in signing striker Hwang Hee-chan, who is currently on loan at Wolves.
A report in the Sunday Mirror claims that the Premier League duo have scouted Hwang several times this season, after a promising start to his Wolves stint this term. The Molineux outfit do have the option, however, of signing the frontman on a permanent basis from RB Leipzig.
The report adds that Wolves are currently scrambling to try and get a deal done, amid strong interest in the forward.
Hwang has scored four goals in eight Premier League outings this season. But that sort of form is not unknown to Liverpool, who have been tracking him for some time.
The South Korean put on a superb display when Jurgen Klopp’s man faced RB Salzburg in the Champions League in 2019.
Hwang famously sat Virgil van Dijk down in front of the Kop before smashing a fine finish. The other scorers for Salzburg that night were now-Reds star Takumi Minamino and prolific Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
Hwang even bagged an excellent assist for Minamino in a game that Klopp has seemingly not forgotten.
According to reports in Germany, the striker turned down Liverpool in favour in Leipzig in 2020.
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But it would appear that the Reds have retained their interest. To that end, they are ready to try and seal the deal again.
As for City, it’s no secret that they are still on the lookout for a new No 9.
Harry Kane remains their top target, with another bid expected in the January window. However, City have so far been priced out of a move for the England international.
A move for Hwang would come in considerably cheaper, although not perhaps with the same goals promise.
Liverpool star tipped for Newcastle switch
Meanwhile, a Liverpool player described as a “legend” by Jurgen Klopp “needs to leave” Anfield and would be ideal for Newcastle, according to Sam Allardyce.
The term ‘legend’ is often bandied around in football with reckless abandon. Even managers like Jurgen Klopp are prone to hyperbole at times, and that was never more evident than when Klopp hailed Divock Origi as a Liverpool “legend”.
“In 10 years’ time when we look back [Origi] will be a Liverpool legend. But he is too young to be already seen as a legend now so he has to play football,” said Klopp in September.
The German boss then went on to admit he was surprised that Origi didn’t leave in the summer. “To be 100% honest I thought he would maybe leave in the summer,” added Klopp. “But the football world is a crazy place and people obviously forgot how good he is.”
Origi has rarely been more than a bit-part player in red. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped him etching his name in Liverpool folklore.
Origi famously scored twice as the Reds pulled off a remarkable second-leg comeback against Barcelona to overturn a three-goal deficit. He then scored in the 2019 Champions League final and was later memorably on hand to nod home the winner against Everton after Jordan Pickford’s infamous howler.
Struggle for game time sparks Origi exit talk
However, despite his heroics, regular minutes at the expense of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have never been forthcoming.
That has led to persistent speculation he will depart with each passing window, yet Origi always remains.
But according to former Everton and Newcastle boss Allardyce, the time is now for Origi to make his mark.
Speaking to SportBIBLE (via the Liverpool Echo), Allardyce was asked who he’d buy if put in charge of Newcastle’s transfer warchest.
“I’ve always thought Origi needs to leave Liverpool,” the 67-year-old said. “And budget-wise, he’d probably be a lot cheaper than a Harry Kane, for example.
“Even though he’s done a brilliant job for Liverpool, he needs to be a first-team player every week. Perhaps Newcastle could give him that opportunity to flourish.”