Liverpool have been linked with Villarreal winger Samu Chukwueze as Jurgen Klopp looks to strengthen his attacking options ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The Reds are reportedly among several Premier League sides lining up a move for the highly-rated 22-year-old, according to Spanish publication La Razon.
However, the report claims that Chukwueze’s release clause of €80 million (£69m) is said to be a stumbling block for the English teams, although Everton are thought to be showing the most interest.
Klopp’s charges suffered a hugely disappointing 2020/21 campaign marred by a severe injury crisis at centre-back. However, Liverpool’s struggling forward line also contributed to their below-par performances.
While Mohamed Salah continued to put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino fell victim to a significant drop-off in form.
The normally dependable duo were well below their best throughout last term, and their backups, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri failed to adequately replace them when called upon.
Adding extra strength in depth across the front three is thought to be high up on Klopp’s priority list this summer, and adding Chukwueze to the Anfield outfit’s ranks would provide a significant boost to the German tactician’s ranks.
Although the Nigeria international’s statistics leave room for improvement, having bagged just 17 goals and provided only 17 assists in 119 appearances for Villarreal, his overall performances have been impressive.
Former Barcelona and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o has previously lauded the youngster after being impressed by the pacey forward’s potential.
“He is an incredible player who is growing in leaps and bounds,” said Eto’o, adding that improving his end product is Chukwueze’s next challenge.
“He is a quality player, and he needs to score more goals, but he has the quality and ability to be more than just a goal-scoring forward. Once he gets all of that he will be top.”
With Shaqiri heavily linked with an imminent exit, Chukwueze could be the ideal replacement, and director of football Michael Edwards must sanction a swoop over the coming months.
While his £69m buyout clause could prove to be a significant stumbling block, Edwards is a notoriously tough negotiator, and picking him up for a discounted price would be a very good piece of business.