Despite rumours linking him with Manchester United, it is actually Liverpool who are leading the race to sign Cristian Romero, according to an update from Italy.
Romero has risen to prominence in Serie A over the last few years, earning a move to Juventus after a successful 2018-19 season with Genoa. He has never played for Juve since then, spending the following season on loan at his old club before a two-year loan at Atalanta.
Atalanta actually finished above Juventus in the 2020-21 edition of Serie A, with Romero a key part of their defence. Since they are likely to exercise their option to buy him, his future will soon be for them to decide.
Atalanta know his market value has risen much higher than what they are obliged to pay for him. Therefore, they want to receive a substantial sum if they are to let him go.
They reportedly told Man Utd that they would have to raise their offer above £50m. But it seems if anyone is going to act on their interest, it is not United, but their rivals Liverpool.
According to Calciomercato, Liverpool are more interested in Romero than United are. In fact, they are the ones to have made a concrete proposal.
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Liverpool are well stocked at centre-back at present, after struggling in that department due to injuries last season. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all ended the campaign on the sidelines.
In their absence, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams stepped up, while they have since completed the signing of Ibrahima Konate to add more quality there.
But Romero is another player with big potential who could join the new recruit at Anfield.
The report reminds that it would take at least €50m to tempt Atalanta into letting Romero go.
Liverpool to clear out defence?
If Liverpool really are interested in Romero, it would indicate they are planning to get rid of at least one of their own options.
Van Dijk’s future will be secure when he returns from injury, as should Gomez’s. Matip may face a less certain future, with the club having been advised to cash in. And the same would go for Ben Davies, who is yet to even play following his January arrival.
But perhaps the most likely candidate to leave is Phillips, despite endearing himself to the fans with his performances as a stand-in.
“I have loved every minute of it and would love to carry on playing for the club,” Phillips told the Liverpool Echo recently.
“But I’ve also got to take into consideration what is best for my career. That will depend on what role Liverpool see they do or don’t have for me and I’ll have to go from there.”