Liverpool are reportedly facing a battle from Merseyside rivals Everton in their summer pursuit of Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente.
According to a report by Basque newspaper Noticias de Gipuzkoa, Liverpool are showing an interest in signing Real Sociedad centre-back Diego Llorente. The Reds are ready to offer the La Liga outfit €30 million for the Spanish international, but face stiff competition from Everton in his pursuit.
Defence has arguably been the strongest suit for Liverpool this season, despite boasting of attacking gems such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. But, a closer look at the Reds’ defensive department would suggest that they could perhaps, do with a centre-back.
While Joe Gomez is tipped for a bright future at Anfield, his tryst with injuries mean a third regular option is needed to partner Virgil van Dijk. Currently, those options for Jurgen Klopp are Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.
Lovren has had his fair share of highs and lows at Liverpool, but has never quite managed to project himself as a constant presence at the back for the Merseyside club. Matip, on the other hand, has been on a resurgent run this season, but has been prone to making some inexplicable errors in the past.
Thus, signing a top-class centre-back in the form of Diego Llorente, who has previously been linked with Liverpool, might be in the best of interests for the Reds, if they are to continue taking steps towards providing a colossus presence in the Premier League title race year after year.
Llorente came through the ranks at Real Madrid, but could never manage to establish himself as a regular at the Bernabeu. And, after being sent out on loan to Rayo Vallecano and Malaga, the player went on to join Real Sociedad in the summer of 2017. Fair to say, the move has ended up being a success.
Over the last season-and-a-half or so, Llorente has been a regular for La Real, amassing 52 appearances across all competitions while also constantly being in the fray for the Spanish National Side. So, it is no wonder that he has become a target for Liverpool, who are now in the market for a centre-back.
The Reds have also been linked with Matthias Ginter lately, but if the report is anything to go by, their interest in the La Liga-based defender seems to be more serious. The Basque newspaper has suggested that Liverpool are set to table a €30 million bid for the 25-year-old, although they will have to contend with a battle from Everton.
The Toffees have aggressively recruited centre-backs over the last two years, having signed Yerry Mina, Ashley Williams, Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma (loan) over the last couple of summer windows. Keane has gone on to become a regular, but Zouma could return to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell, while Williams reportedly has no future at the Merseyside club.
That leaves Everton with Mina as the only long-term option alongside Keane, which explains the interest in Llorente. But, with Liverpool set to launch the offensive for the player, their local rivals will have to move quickly in his pursuit, and it will be interesting to see if either Merseyside club manages to land the La Liga superstar in the summer.