Saturday 10 December 2016

Klopp ready to move for hot Leicester prospect after Moreno's European capitulation

John Percy

Published 22/05/2016 | 09:46

Liverpool are ready to open talks with Leicester over a deal for Ben Chilwell this week, as Martin Skrtel heads for the Anfield exit.

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Chilwell has been identified as a priority signing in Jurgen Klopp’s summer revamp and negotiations are expected to start within the next few days.

Liverpool are keen to sign the England U21 international ahead of Premier League rivals Arsenal and will have to pay a significant fee for a player seen as one of England’s brightest young talents.

The 19-year-old left-back has only made three appearances for the champions but Leicester have already rejected two offers from Arsenal over the past 12 months. The last offer came in January, believed to be an initial £5 million plus £2 million in add-ons, so Liverpool will have to be prepared to beat that.

Chilwell has been offered a new deal worth around £18,000 a week by Leicester but the Midlanders are aware of growing interest and a sale appears inevitable.

Liverpool are quietly confident of closing a deal and Alberto Moreno’s dismal performance in Wednesday’s Europa League Final has only heightened the need to strengthen in that position.

Klopp has been aware of Chilwell for some time, receiving a recommendation from Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner after the defender’s loan spell at the John Smith’s Stadium this season.

Chilwell is currently away with Gareth Southgate’s England U21s for the tournament in Toulon, impressing in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Portugal.

Skrtel, meanwhile, will become one of the first high-profile casualties of Liverpool’s summer shake-up by ending his eight-year association with Liverpool.

The Slovakia international has informed Klopp that he is ready to leave Anfield and is considering an offer from Turkish club Besiktas.

Skrtel, 31, has struggled for regular opportunities this year and told friends this week that he has accepted his departure is inevitable.

His agent, Mithat Halis, confirmed: “Skrtel is considering a move to Turkey and he is open to the option of playing here.

“Fenerbahce made an offer last season, Besiktas want Skrtel and make no secret of this. Turkish sides have been trying to sign him for five seasons but this summer he could make the move.”

Liverpool are also closing in on the signing of Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius for £4.7 million.

Karius, who spent time with Manchester City as a teenager, will provide competition for Belgium international Simon Mignolet.

Telegraph.co.uk

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