Liverpool are in danger of missing out on a top January target amid claims Erik ten Hag is ready to jump in and try and convince the player to sign for Manchester United instead.
The Red Devils manager was allowed to spend well in excess of £200m over the summer as phase one of his squad rebuild took place. And by and large, progress is there for all to see with United currently fifth in the Premier League standings. Excellent performances in the wins over Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal show exactly what they are capable of.
United, though, remain a little inconsistent as illustrated by losses to Brighton, Brentford and Aston Villa. As such, they will need to iron out those flaws if they are to break into the top four over the second half of the season.
And with the January window just around the corner, Ten Hag has the perfect opportunity to strengthen his squad further.
Top of his list of targets are a new right-back and a new striker. As far as a full-back goes, their No 1 focus is seemingly on Denzel Dumfries, though his fine showing at the World Cup looks to have seen his price inflate.
The Red Devils are also putting plans in place to bolster their strikeforce. With Cristiano Ronaldo having left, there is a huge gap to fill.
And while Cody Gakpo has been strongly linked, Monday’s Transfer Gossip claims Ten Hag fancies a Portuguese star instead.
With money to spend, Ten Hag is also debating possible additions in the goalkeeper and midfield departments too.
And there are a number of possible options for Ten Hag to consider as they look to beef up in the middle of the park.
Ten Hag to muscle in on Liverpool move for Ismael Bennacer
One man he is reportedly keen on is Leeds United’s Tyler Adams. However, while a January deal looks tough, a shock summer swoop may well be an option.
United are also keen on Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi. However, he can only leave if his sizeable exit clause is activated.
As an alternative, reports now claim Ten Hag is looking to hijack Liverpool’s proposed move for Ismael Bennacer.
The Algerian star is reportedly up for sale at AC Milan following a failure to agree a new deal. That arrangement currently has around 18 months left to run. As a result, Milan want him to commit to an extension now to avoid his valuation dropping.
Furthermore, the Rossonneri have been stung before with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Franck Kessie and Hakan Calhanoglu all leaving as free agents. As such, the reigning Italian champions do not want to be stung again.
To that end, reports over the weekend claimed Jurgen Klopp is keen to bring him to Liverpool. The Merseysiders’ midfield issues are obvious this season. The loan signing of Arthur Melo has not worked out. And that situation is likely to get worse with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita moving on in 2023.
As a result, they reportedly have a £35m offer on the table for Bennacer.
United put tempting offer on table to tempt star from Milan
However, Calciomercato now claims officials at United has been in contact with Bennacer’s new agent, Enzo Raiola, over a potential deal.
They write that United have already signalled they can match any bid for Bennacer. Furthermore, United are also reportedly willing to offer him a salary worth more than double the £25,000 a week he earns now.
The 44-cap Algerian has established himself as one of the best midfielders in Serie A. As such, a hefty pay rise is undoubtedly long overdue.
But whether that be at AC Milan, Liverpool or even United remains to be seen. And with the January window opening for business in just 27 days, Bennacer is certainly one to keep an eye on.