Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly pursuing the signature of former Real Madrid defender Diego Llorente.
According to a report from Spanish publication Cadena SER, Liverpool are set to battle fellow Premier League top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the signing of Real Sociedad centre-back Diego Llorente.
The 25-year-old Llorente came through the youth ranks at Real Madrid and had loan spells away at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga. He sealed a permanent move away to Sociedad in the summer of 2017, after having made just three first-team appearances for Los Blancos.
Llorente made a solid impression in his debut campaign with La Real, making 34 appearances and netting 7 goals in the process. The 2018-19 campaign has started on a slow note for him, however, as he missed a good chunk of the early season due to an ankle injury. So far this term, the Spaniard has featured just five times across all competitions.
Despite his injury-hit start to the season, Llorente has impressed each time he has taken the field. And his performances haven’t gone unnoticed, as the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham have taken an interest in him.
Liverpool reportedly sent out scouts for Real Sociedad’s last two league games before the international break kicked in, to keep an eye on the 25-year-old. And Llorente is believed to have made a solid impression, especially in the win against Levante last weekend when he particularly stood out.
While Joe Gomez has stepped up brilliantly for Jurgen Klopp’s side this term, there are concerns over the injury issues of Dejan Lovren, whereas Joel Matip has also struggled to reach the heights of his debut campaign at Anfield. As a result, Liverpool could be seeking defensive reinforcements, with their eyes now set on Llorente.
Tottenham too are on the lookout for additions to their backline amid concerns that Toby Alderweireld could be on his way out of the club in the near future. The Belgian came very close to leaving the North London outfit for Manchester United this past summer, but the deal fell through as the clubs failed to agree on a transfer fee.
Jan Vertonghen is in the final year of his contract with Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino’s side do have the option of extending it by another year, but are keen on putting contingencies in place should he decide not to prolong his stay beyond the additional twelve months.
To that end, Spurs have identified Manchester United’s Eric Bailly as a potential target and are now understood to be monitoring Llorente as well. Along with Liverpool and Tottenham, Newcastle United have also been credited with strong interest in the former Real Madrid man.
Llorente has a contract with Sociedad that runs till the summer of 2022. However, what makes him such an enticing option for Liverpool and Spurs is that the defender is believed to have a €30 million release clause in his contract, which is a bargain in the current transfer market. It remains to be seen, however, if either of the Premier League bigwigs act on their interest in the Spaniard.