Liverpool FC have identified Atletico Madrid’s talented midfielder Koke as the player they want to bring in next summer to replace departing captain Steven Gerrard.

The Merseysider’s long serving captain Steven Gerrard is joining MLS side LA Galaxy next season and Liverpool would need a player to fill his boots, as difficult as the task maybe. Brendan Rodgers has spoken on various occasions in recent times about the need to get ready-made player to do the job, rather than stick with the club’s policy of acquiring young and raw talents and letting them develop over a couple of seasons.

Spanish Journalist Manolete has reported in Spanish newspaper AS that the Reds are keen to acquire the services of Koke. The report claims ‘sources in England’ suggest that Liverpool see Koke as the ideal replacement to replace Gerrard when he leaves the club at the end of the season.

Koke started his footballing career at Atletico and progressed from the youth ranks to the senior side. He would make his 200th senior appearance for the Rojiblancos in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona on Wednesday night. The midfielder was an integral part of the Spanish side which won the La Liga last season and was a finalist in the Champions League. Koke’s great performances last season earned him acclaim from all over Europe and he also earned the call-up to the senior Spain side. He was awarded the ‘La Liga Player of the Month’ in October 2013.

The 23 year old has a €60m buyout clause in his contract and Atletico Madrid will most definitely not let one of their main players leave the club for cheap so the team trying to get him would have to pay that buy-out clause. Barcelona were unsuccessful in their attempts to get the player to Camp Nou, last summer.

Manchester United and Manchester City are also reportedly interested in the player and are likely to make a summer move for him. If all three parties are interested in the player, one would expect any potential departure from Atletico to come at an eye-catching price.

Koke has recently spoken about interest from other clubs and his desire to play for Atletico for a long time in the future

The 23 year old said, “I’m cool about it, I see life in red and white. I’m happy here, the club is growing and I’m growing with it. I don’t see any time or place when I’d leave. I’m happy to make Atlético fans happy, and I’d like to stay here forever but in football you never know. But if everybody is happy with the arrangement I’ll be at Atleti for many years.”

THT Verdict- Very Unlikely

Liverpool have been linked with many players as potential Steven Gerrard replacements and this story seems far from credible as its sources are very vague. If the Reds’ interest in genuine, it would be very exciting for the supporters as Koke is undoubtedly one of the brightest footballers in current times. However, Liverpool would have to spend a huge sum on the player if they were to attract him to join them. Moreover, the side’s finish in the league and whether they do get a top 4 place would also matter as the player would definitely not switch to a side that can’t offer Champions League football to him.