The Hard Tackle takes a look at the latest Liverpool transfer news doing the rounds as the Reds eye Inter Milan duo while there’s a twist in the Georginio Wijnaldum tale.
With the summer transfer window almost upon us, Liverpool have sparked into activity quite early, having already confirmed the signing of French defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. The Merseyside giants are also closing in on the capture of African prodigy Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, although the 17-year-old will likely be loaned out to Sporting Lisbon until his work permit issues are sorted.
The transfer business at Anfield, though, is far from done as Jurgen Klopp & co. look to build a team that can topple Manchester City from their perch in England next term. The rumour mill is abuzz with reports of Liverpool eyeing new targets while some players from the current roster are getting linked with an exit from Anfield.
The Hard Tackle brings you the latest on some of the transfer happenings at Liverpool, as the Reds line up moves for title-winning Serie A duo while a fan favourite nears an exit.
Liverpool eyeing Inter Milan duo Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini
While Liverpool’s interest in one Inter Milan star in Nicolo Barella is well-established, Anfield Central comes up with a fresh report stating that the Reds also have their sights set on the Nerazzurri pair of Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini. The newly-crowned Serie A champions are staring at a potential fire-sale this summer owing to their financial plight, and the Reds seem to be intent on capitalising on the situation.
Martinez has been a prolific performer for Inter Milan over the past couple of seasons and played an integral role in their title triumph in 2020/21. And, Liverpool’s interest in the Argentine striker is very much understandable considering that Roberto Firmino had a disappointing season while Divock Origi is headed for an exit.
As for Gagliardini, the Italian could be viewed as a direct replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, who is bound for an exit. However, a move for the pair might be unlikely given as Martinez is valued very highly by Inter while the 27-year-old Gagliardini was hardly a regular last season at San Siro and might not be able to nail down a place in Jurgen Klopp’s aggressive, heavy-metal football at Anfield.
Wijnaldum turns down Barcelona; says yes to PSG
Speaking of Wijnaldum, it has been clear for quite some time that the Dutchman was on his way out of Anfield with his contract expiring in less than a month. And for the longest time, it was believed that the midfielder was bound for Barcelona, where he would be reuniting with his former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman.
However, that will not be the case according to the ever-reliable Fabrizio Romano. The Italian journalist and transfer expert has claimed that PSG have pulled off a late and successful hijack on the deal, at a point when Barcelona already had an agreement in place for two weeks and were planning a medical for Wijnaldum.
The French giants are said to have offered double the salary that had been put on the table by the Catalans. The Dutchman is now headed to Ligue 1, with Barcelona having no intentions of matching the package put together by Mauricio Pochettino’s side. The 30-year-old will be penning a contract till the summer of 2024 with Les Parisiens bringing an end to a successful five-year association with Liverpool.
Georginio Wijnaldum has decided to join Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona have NO intention to raise their bid after they agreement ready by 2 weeks and medicals planned. 🚨🇳🇱
Gini is now set to accept PSG proposal until 2024 with salary more than doubled [compared to Barça bid]. https://t.co/ImrYvlaMWg
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 6, 2021
Liverpool set for talks to sign Jonathan Ikone
Moving from an outgoing transfer to an incoming one, Liverpool are set to meet with the representative of LOSC Lille forward Jonathan Ikone this week over a potential summer transfer, reports Anfield Central. Rumours of the Reds’ interest in the 23-year-old Frenchman started doing the rounds over the past few days and it seems like they are set to act upon it quite quickly.
Ikone is coming on the back of a decent 2020/21 campaign during which he produced a tally of seven goals and seven assists from 48 outings, playing his part in Lille’s surprise Ligue 1 title triumph. At 23, the former PSG academy ace will only get better with time and experience and with Liverpool needing reinforcements in the attacking department, he has emerged as a viable target.
Versatile enough to play out on the flanks, through the middle or even as a No. 10, Ikone offers flexibility and youthful exuberance to the side. With the likes of Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino facing uncertain futures, the Frenchman would add that bit of depth in the final third. Lille, though, could demand a premium fee for their asset, given that he still has two years left on his contract with Les Dogues.
Harvey Elliott set for another loan exit?
While Ikone’s potential arrival could appeal to Liverpool fans, the prospect of including teenage prodigy Harvey Elliott into the first-team setup next season would possibly excite them more. However, that may not be possible for the upcoming campaign with the 18-year-old attacker being lined up for a loan move by newly-promoted Premier League side Watford, as per the Mirror.
Elliott, who signed for Liverpool in 2019 and has made nine senior appearances for the Reds, spent 2020/21 on loan at Blackburn Rovers, producing an impressive return of seven goals and eleven assists in 41 Championship appearances. While Klopp is yet to make a decision on the teenager’s future, there is a feeling that he could be loaned out for another year as he may not receive ample game-time by staying at the club.
Watford, who were at the receiving end of one of the goals scored by Elliott last term, are keen on offering him a temporary home. Such a move could work out well for Liverpool as the youngster will build on his experience from the Championship with a full season in the top-flight. Elliott may not be the only youngster headed for a loan exit, with right-back Neco Williams also being targeted by multiple Premier League clubs.