Liverpool are reported to have been in talks with Leicester City over a shock January swoop for Riyad Mahrez.
Reports in L’Equipe and picked up by most of the British press claim Jurgen Klopp has turned to the Algerian after Monaco rebuffed the Reds’ attempts to bring in Thomas Lemar from Monaco.
With Liverpool reportedly softening their stance over Barcelona’s ongoing pursuit of Philippe Coutinho, the 2016 Player of the Year has emerged as a genuine contender to fill the Brazilian’s void at Anfield.
Mahrez appeared certain to leave Leicester in the summer, but the Foxes’ desire to hold out for a £40million asking price scared off the likes of Roma and Arsenal, who were both sniffing round the player.
To his credit, Mahrez simply got in with the business of playing football and kept his nose clean as far as his wishes to leave the King Power Stadium was concerned.
And that attitude – as well as the Algerian’s dazzling abilities – are thought to have caught Klopp’s eye, with the reports claiming Liverpool will have no trouble meeting Leicester’s £40m asking price.
After a disappointing 2016/17 season, Mahrez has been back to his best this season, having scored and assisted seven goals in total, including laying on the opener for Jamie Vardy in Leicester’s 2-1 defeat at Anfield over Christmas.
The player is contracted to the Foxes until 2020, but in the modern market, the £40million fee represents something of a decent piece of business if the Reds can get Mahrez over the line.
Want news and features on the Reds on your Facebook timeline? Like our dedicated Liverpool page.