Liverpool have reportedly set their sights on Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente as they look to fill in the void left by the exit of Georginio Wijnaldum.
According to a report from Spanish publication El Gol Digital, Premier League giants Liverpool could be plotting a summer raid on La Liga champions Atletico Madrid for the signing of midfielder Marcos Llorente this summer.
A product of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente got a look-in into the side at the Santiago Bernabeu following a loan spell with Alaves. However, with Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric all ahead of him in the pecking order, the 26-year-old decided to make the switch to rivals Atletico Madrid in 2019 – a decision that has worked a treat for the midfielder.
Indeed, in his two seasons with Atleti, Llorente has grown into an integral member of the starting XI under Diego Simeone and essayed a key role in their La Liga title triumph in the 2020/21 season, finishing with a return of 13 goals and 12 assists from 45 games in all competitions. Despite being a central midfielder, the Spaniard has done the job as an auxiliary forward or even out on the right flank, showing great adaptability at the same time.
All these attributes have led to the interest in him rising, with Manchester United having been linked with a move for Llorente in the recent past while now Liverpool have emerged as a suitor for the Spanish international.
Liverpool have done well to quickly strengthen their defensive unit with the addition of Ibrahima Konate this summer. But the midfield department is one where reinforcements will be required this summer. The Reds have lost mainstay Georginio Wijnaldum as he signed for PSG upon the expiry of his contract while Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain face uncertain future as well.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, to that end, has identified Llorente as the ideal man to bolster the midfield this summer and fill in the void left by the Wijnaldum’s exit. The Reds will be very well aware of what the Spaniard can do, given as it was he who eliminated them from the UEFA Champions League in the 2019/20 season.
A move for the ex-Real Madrid midfielder, however, might not be straightforward considering that the 26-year-old is contracted with Atletico Madrid till the summer of 2024, with the La Liga champions likely to point at the €120 million release clause in case any club showed an interest in signing him.
The report, however, does add that the buyout clause amount is unlikely to be a problem for Liverpool. However, the Merseysiders have been careful spenders in the transfer market and it does seem highly improbable that they would be willing to shell out such a huge sum for the Atletico Madrid star. Instead, they could look at alternatives like Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Monchengladbach or AS Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini as well.