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Top 5 Targets: Liverpool In For André & De Vrij?

 • by Tom Bodell
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After the early excitement caused by the club-record capture of Mo Salah from Roma, it has gone a little quiet for Liverpool in the transfer market.

The £10million addition of Andrew Robertson from Hull City was shrewd and much-needed; the Scot will give James Milner competition for the left-back slot which has been missing for the last year.

But the Reds are not lacking ambition. RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keïta and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk are well-publicised and long-term Liverpool transfer targets.

Here we analyse the top five Liverpool transfer rumours, using the Football Whispers Index, which rates the probability of each rumour out of five.

Liverpool transfer targets

Naby Keïta – 3.5

Liverpool’s interest in the Leipzig midfielder has been one of football’s worst-kept secrets. One of the stars of last season as RB finished Bundesliga runners-up to Bayern Munich, Keïta is believed to be keen on a switch to Anfield.

The Reds, for their part, are prepared to pay a club-record fee for the Guinean midfielder – that much is clear. But RB have already turned down two offers – despite reports claiming a £66million fee had, briefly, been agreed.

What might help push the move through is the breakdown in relationship between club and player. Director of football Ralf Rangick has questioned Keïta’s application in training and the player was involved in a brief clash with Diego Demme at training.

Football Whispers have been told Rangnick is determined to block Keïta’s move to Anfield as he holds a grudge against Arena 11, the player’s agent, who are a client of former RB player Sadio Mané – now at Liverpool.

The 59-year-old was not happy about the way they conducted themselves during the winger’s sale to Southampton and appears desperate to seek retribution by blocking Keïta’s exit.

Virgil van Dijk – 3.4

Another long-running saga in the Anfield corridors of power surrounds Southampton defender van Dijk.

The centre-back, one of the stars for the Saints over the last 18 months, had looked set to become the latest Southampton player to head north to Liverpool.

However, the South Coast club threatened to report Liverpool to the Football Association over an illegal approach for the Dutchman earlier in the summer. The Merseysiders immediately apologised and the the deal looked dead.

Or is it all one giant smokescreen? Much like Keïta, the player has his heart set on Liverpool. So much so that talk of interest from Manchester City and Chelsea has dwindled.

Van Dijk is doing his bit to force through the move and was left behind when the Saints headed for France as part of their pre-season preparations last month. Liverpool will have to pay a premium if they go back in for the former Celtic man, but he’s worth it.

Benjamin André – 2.0

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One alternative to Keïta appears to be Rennes midfielder André. Reports in the French media suggest Liverpool are keen on the 26-year-old. However, the Liverpool Echo claims that is not the case.

At £15million he would certainly represent a cheaper option than Keïta but Jürgen Klopp appears as keen on the Leipzig man as the player is on moving to Anfield.

André only signed a contract extension in June and, amid growing speculation about his next move, the former France Under-21 cap appears content to remain in France.

“There is a project here that everyone knows,” he said. “I was at one point in my career where I had to make decisions, I had one year left.

“There were other options but [the fact] I am no longer the youngster made me want to continue with the Rennes.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 1.9

When the Chinese Super League transfer window closed Aubameyang’s options appeared to diminish. The Borussia Dortmund striker, off the back of the most prolific season of his career, was a wanted man.

Yet with Chelsea signing Álvaro Morata and Paris Saint-Germain splashing a world-record £198million on Neymar, he is facing up to another season at BVB.

Unless, that is, Liverpool are interested. The 26-year-old bagged an incredible 40 goals in just 46 appearances last term and there is no doubt he would improve the Reds’ attack.

But he is too much of a poacher and in Roberto Firmino, Klopp has a No.9 that, while far from prolific, knows the intricacies of the German’s tactical masterplan. It is unlikely Aubameyang would fit into that.

Stefan de Vrij – 1.6

The Dutchman appears to be an alternative to countryman van Dijk if Liverpool cannot complete a deal which would likely cost them north of £60million.

Reportedly an Everton transfer target too, de Vrij is certainly not of the same calibre as the Southampton defender. But in three years since trading Feyenoord for Lazio he has proven his mettle.

Liverpool shipped a worryingly high 42 goals last season and Klopp will be desperate to reduce that number if the Reds are going to become serial top-four occupants once more.

Sky Italia claimed in June that Liverpool had seen a bid of £17.2million rejected with Lazio holding out for a figure of around £30million. De Vrij was understood to have submitted a transfer request at that point.

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