Liverpool have reportedly nudged themselves into pole position to land a long-term Erik ten Hag transfer target with a move to Merseyside now seen as more likely than Manchester United.
The two rivals are the two most dominant forces in English football and have a rivalry to match. United hold the edge domestically, winning 20 league titles to Liverpool’s 19. But in Europe, the Reds have six Champions League trophies to the Red Devils’ three.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have made themselves, alongside Manchester City, the dominant force in English football over the past five seasons. And that seems to have coincided with a period of struggle for United, with a string of managers all failing to recapture the heady days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
This season, however, has very much seen United leap back to the fore. Under the guidance of Dutch boss Ten Hag, Manchester United have the chance this season to replicate Liverpool’s trophy treble of 2001. With the Carabao Cup already in the bag, United can still add the FA Cup and Europa League to their cabinet.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have endured a season of struggle by their own usual high standards. Currently eighth in the Premier League, they have let slip their grip on the two trophies they won last season.
But in order to wrestle back some of that control, Liverpool are planning major changes this summer. And Tuesday’s Euro Paper Talk indicated a fantastic triple coup was being lined up, with a £114.8m midfield duo in their sights.
However, the first Liverpool signing this summer could be closing in – and it’s unlikely to go down well with United.
Liverpool move into Jurrien Timber transfer driving seat
The man in question is Ajax defender Jurrien Timber, who has been linked with United ever since Ten Hag’s appointment.
Indeed, he was the subject of a United approach last summer, before they instead switched focus to Lissandro Martinez.
However, reports in the Netherlands claim Timber is keen to push through a move away from Ajax this summer. But rather than a move to Old Trafford, it seems Anfield will be his next port of call.
Liverpool boss Klopp is desperate to bolster his defence this summer amid claims Joel Matip will be allowed to leave. Timber is seen as the perfect addition to bolster their backline and provide competition for Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez.
In addition, the presence of Netherlands teammate Virgil van Dijk has seemingly seen Liverpool win the race to sign Timber.
Furthermore, reports in his homeland claim Timber’s girlfriend is already ‘house-hunting in Liverpool’. And she has reportedly already scouted out a few potential properties to live in.
Klopp will undoubtedly look to strengthen his defence this summer with both Gomez and Matip suffering big drop-offs in form. And with a year left on his deal, it appears likely that Matip will be allowed to move on.
To that end, Klopp has been linked with a plethora of names to come into the defence. On the ambitious side, they are being linked with RB Leipzig’s £80m-rated star Josko Gvardiol.
Torino’s Perr Schuurs is another name in the frame. However, a move for his fellow Dutchman Timber would certainly make sense.
Capped 15 times by the Netherlands, Timber is rated at around the €50m (£45m) mark.