Liverpool are reportedly making plans to sign West Ham star Nayef Aguerd in the January window – and believe they can beat Manchester City to his signature by axing a popular long-serving star in the process.
The Reds spent the summer rebuilding their midfield after waving farewell to six stars since the end of last season. And while the exits of James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the ineffective Arthur Melo were long prepared for, the sales of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson came much more out of the blue.
That left Liverpool in something of a desperate hunt for reinforcements with Jurgen Klopp ultimately making four signings – the last of which in Ryan Gravenberch only arrived on deadline day – to reinforce his engine room.
The Netherlands international will be hoping to make his Liverpool debut at Wolves this Saturday, with Klopp now left to figure out how best to accommodate the Dutchman alongside fellow new boys Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister and Waturu Endo.
It’s definitely a nice problem to have and Liverpool finally have plenty of fresh faces to select now in their midfield against troubled Wolves.
However, it is easy to forget that Klopp actually went into the summer window also looking to strengthen in defence. Indeed, the Reds boss also had a new centre-half and a new right-back on his shopping list. And it was only when Fabinho and Henderson left that Klopp’s attention was diverted to his midfield instead.
However, The Sun claims Klopp will revisit his plan to strengthen his defence in January. And they claim he is targeting a move for highly-rated West Ham centre-half Aguerd when the transfer window re-opens in just 112 days.
Liverpool face Man City competition for Nayef Aguerd
The Morocco international only arrived at the London Stadium in summer 2022, and, after taking him to establish himself, has since made himself one of David Moyes’ first-choice selections.
Indeed, the 27-year-old has made 33 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring three times, but finally beginning to justify the £30m fee West Ham paid Rennes for his services.
Now, however, and amid reports that Manchester City have also added Aguerd to their list of targets, it is Liverpool who are now planning an approach.
The Hammers, though, won’t part ways with Aguerd easily and will expect to double their money on a player now approaching his peak form.
That said, the paper claims Klopp will put all his energies into rebuilding his defensive unit next. Seven-season veteran Joel Matip is now 32 and has arguably let his standards drop in recent times.
His fellow defender Virgil van Dijk is also the same age and there are signs too that he is not quite the formidable force he once was.
However, with Matip’s deal expiring next summer and with the former Cameroon international no longer first choice, it is he whose place Aguerd would take.
Aguerd tipped to replace Matip at Liverpool
To that end, Liverpool are reportedly ready to listen to offers for the former Schalke man, who could see out his days back in the Bundesliga.
Any deal for Aguerd, who was linked with a move to Saudi Arabia over the summer, would see a positional change for Van Dijk. Often selected as the left-sided centre-half, the signing of the left-footed Moroccan, would allow Van Dijk to potentially revert to the right-side of the central defensive line.
As a result, the 30-times Morocco international will likely become a top target of Klopp in January with a sizeable offer likely to give West Ham something serious to think about. And an immediate route into the Liverpool first team could hand them an immediate advantage over City, who paid big money to sign Josko Gvardiol there over the summer.