Barcelona have opened talks with Flamengo over a deal for midfielder Lucas Paqueta – the man Jurgen Klopp had reportedly seen as the latest player to fill Philippe Coutinho’s shoes at Liverpool.
The player has been strongly tipped up as a January target for the Reds boss, whom Premium Sport suggesting the German viewed the 21-year-old as a long-term replacement for Coutinho and a viable alternative to Nabil Fekir, whose move to Anfield broke down over a disagreement over his fee following a medical issue this summer.
But according to Spanish daily Sport, Barca are now in the driving seat to sign the playmaker, who earned a first call-up to Brazil’s national side in August.
The player’s release clause stands at €45m (£40.5m) and Sport believes Barca are more than willing to pay that for the 21-year-old, who has carved out a reputation for himself in South America as a big-game player.
With seven goals in just 36 appearances for his club, Lucas is seen as very much one for the future, though it would come as a blow to Liverpool if Barcelona nipped in ahead of them to sign them just 12 months after landing Coutinho in a £142m deal.
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