Liverpool’s chances of signing Diego Carlos from Sevilla this summer have received a lift after the LaLiga side were reported to have identified their preferred replacement for the Brazilian defender.
Carlos moved to Spain from Ligue 1 side Nantes last summer and has really caught the eye, appearing in 24 matches in all competitions to help the club into third place in the table and in with a chance of bringing Champions League football back to the Ramon Sanchez Stadium.
The 27-year-old’s displays, however, have not gone unnoticed and it’s been claimed that Liverpool were interested in signing the player in January and that the Reds had tabled an offer for his services.
According to Spanish news outlet El Desmarque, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is also casting eyes on Diego Carlos, whom he sees as an ideal long-term replacement for Sergio Ramos.
However, the source adds that Liverpool remain in the driving seat ahead of the summer window – whenever that may open – and are willing to do what it takes to beat their European rivals to his signature, with the player seen as the perfect foil to play alongside lynchpin Virgil van Dijk in the heart of their defence.
And while Carlos has moved to quell speculation he could be on the move this summer, Mundo Deportivo claims Sevilla have already begun the hunt for his successor in their side – with Porto centre-half Diogo Leite their No 1 option.
The 21-year old has been linked with a move away from the Estadio de Dragao despite limited opportunities with Porto and the Spanish paper claims boss Julen Lopetegui is a big fan.
The 6ft 4ins Portugal U21 international could be available for just €7m and, with Diego Carlos’ exit clause standing at €75m, could give Sevilla seriously wriggle room in the transfer market this summer.
Leite has also been identified by Valencia, but Mundo Deportivo believes Sevilla are frontrunners to sign him.
Speaking earlier this month about Liverpool’s reported interest in him Diego Carlos said: “I am clear that coming to Sevilla is already taking a very big step,” he told Estadio Deportivo.
“If I ever leave Sevilla, it would be to go to a much bigger club, because Sevilla is already a great [club].”
When asked if he has received an offer from Liverpool, Carlos said: “So far, my agent does not talk to me about those situations.
“I am not interested to know about other teams.
“I always tell him that, if he is going to tell me something, then it [must] be something firm. He should not come to me with stories, because I must have my head in Sevilla.
“I don’t want those things to cause me a distraction.”
Liverpool are said to be targeting the player as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who looks poised to leave Anfield this summer.
One man who had caught their was Leeds loanee Ben White, though their spies had outlined one key weakness that means an approach now looks unlikely.