Liverpool are reported to be favourites to sign PSV Eindhoven striker Donyell Malen – and plan to offload three of Jurgen Klopp’s unwanted stars to fund his capture.
Malen previously played for Arsenal at youth level, but after failing to break into the first team, returned to the Netherlands in 2017. Since then, he has made 110 senior appearances, scoring 51 goals and providing 22 assists.
That form has made him one of the most coveted forwards outside Europe’s top five leagues. Liverpool’s interest became apparent earlier this month.
According to Dutch publication Voetbal International, the Reds are leading the chase to sign the striker this summer. They claim Klopp wants to bring in the 22-year-old as a direct replacement for Divock Origi.
The Belgian seems destined to depart this summer, having fallen down the pecking order under Klopp. Origi has played for just 393 minutes for the Liverpool this season in all competitions. He has just one goal, in the League Cup, and one assist to his name in that time.
It will come as no shock to see Origi move on this summer in search for regular first-team football. Newcastle and more latterly Inter Milan and Leeds have been linked with a move for the Belgian. He’s also been mentioned as a makeweight in a possible swoop for Celtic frontman Odsonne Edouard.
Both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have struggled for form this season. Indeed, the Dutch outlet claims Malen is the man Klopp wants to put pressure on Firmino for his place.
Only VVV-Venlo’s Georgios Giakoumakis (24) has scored more goals than Malen (17) in the Eredivisie this season, with only six players producing more assists (seven).
It’s reported that PSV value Malen at around the €30m mark – a fee that would not be beyond Liverpool’s reach.
However, the Reds plan to finance the deal by offloading two other players, in addition to Origi.
Xherdan Shaqiri is another who has failed to establish himself as a regular at Anfield. The Swiss, a talented turn on his day, has been restricted to just five Premier League starts this season. Now 29, he finds himself someway down Klopp’s choice of regular starters.
Capped 10 times by Serbia, Grujic still has two years of his Anfield deal to run. And, speaking in January, he revealed his frustration at the club’s tough negotiating strategy.
“They certainly want to make money on me,” he said. “The English are quite demanding during the negotiations. They do not lack money and can close the amount they want. So it is with me.
“It was unrealistic that they asked for €20m for me, so the loan was the most realistic.”
Klopp told to bin off Firmino
Claims that Klopp wants to put more pressure on Firmino follow claims made by John Aldridge that the Brazilian’s best days are behind him.
Assessing their top-four prospects, Aldridge believes they need to replace Firmino to get back among the elite.
The former Reds striker also reckons Klopp must look past his blind loyalty to Roberto Firmino by replacing the Brazilian this summer.
“Liverpool’s top-four rivals presented them with a chance to get back in the mix to qualify for next season’s Champions League. However, they confirmed that they are not good enough to take it.”
“You look at Salah, Mane and, especially, Firmino and wonder whether they can get back to their brilliant best,” Aldridge told Sunday World.
“I have said before that Firmino is no longer producing the goods to justify his place in the team. If ever a game highlighted Liverpool’s desperation to sign a top-quality goalscorer, we saw it Saturday.”