Liverpool chief Michael Edwards is preparing to launch a £26million summer bid for Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul in order to beat Inter Milan to his signature, according to reports. The Reds are in the hunt for reinforcements ahead of next season, with boss Jurgen Klopp eyeing an overhaul of his current squad in order to launch a renewed Premier League title bid.
The Merseyside club have recently seen their efforts to defend last year’s triumph derailed in devastating fashion, with defeats in each of their last four outings all but ending the possibility of successive domestic titles.
A new midfielder appears to be a priority for Edwards and Klopp, with Georginio Wijnaldum set to leave the club at the end of the season upon the expiry of his current contract.
De Paul, who has found the net on five occasions this season, has reportedly been tracked by Liverpool for some time but Italian giants Inter are also said to be keen.
However, the Reds appear to have edged ahead of I Nerazzuri in the race for the 26-year-old’s signature.
Inter would be unable to match Liverpool’s £26m offer as a result of their precarious financial position, according to Tutto Udinese.
The report claims that although Udinese are open to letting De Paul leave, they could decide to hold out for their asking price of around £34m.
Despite this, the gap between valuations is said to be ‘bridgeable’, suggesting that the Serie A side could be tempted to sell for less.
Klopp is believed to be a huge fan of the player, who remains contracted to his current employers until 2024.
Leeds United came close to signing De Paul during the summer transfer window but could not agree a fee with Udinese.
The midfielder would offer creativity and an additional attacking threat to Liverpool’s ranks, but it remains to be seen whether the Reds will push through a move for his signature ahead of a number of other reported targets in the middle of the park.
Lille star Renato Sanches and Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Goncalves have also been linked with the Merseyside club in recent weeks.
De Paul previously revealed that he rejected the possibility of a January move, but expressed doubt as to whether he would remain with Udinese for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t know when my last day here will be,” he told the club’s official website earlier this month. “I will give everything for Udinese until that moment.
“There were many rumours about my future in January, but I immediately met the director to tell him I wanted to go nowhere. I closed doors for everyone.
“My daughter was born here, and my son is going to be born here, he will be Friulano.”
De Paul has established himself as an important player for Udinese over the last few years, directly contributing to 14 of his side’s goals last season which helped to retain their top-flight status.
The Argentina international’s versatility makes him an attractive proposition, with De Paul equally as comfortable sitting in front of the back four as he is in a creative role in the middle of the park.