According to Telefoot, Liverpool will face competition from Lille, AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain if they wish to sign Santos midfielder Thiago Maia at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
What’s the story?
Tough-tackling midfielder Maia, who is rated at around €40m, has been linked with a move to Europe over the last couple of seasons, with the anchorman’s performances in Brazil believed to have attracted the attention of a host of clubs.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is said to be a firm admirer of the 20-year-old, who was part of the Brazil team that landed a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last summer.
Despite his age, Maia has already made more than 100 appearances for Santos in all competitions, and it is understood that he will seek pastures new this summer due to the growing interest in his services.
Liverpool were reportedly confident of beating their Premier League rivals to his signature, but according to Telefoot, Ligue 1 trio Lille, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain all have their sights on the deep-lying midfielder.
Do Liverpool need him?
It is always a gamble bringing players from South American football to the Premier League due to the physical nature of the English game, but Maia’s tough-tackling nature has the potential to make him a hero at Anfield.
Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum have both had impressive seasons for Liverpool, but there are question marks over the future of Emre Can, whilst Lucas Leiva could also be heading out of the club at the end of the season.
Liverpool’s lack of squad depth has been shown by the inexperience of their bench this season, and if Champions League football is secured for the 2017-18 campaign, there is no question that Klopp will need to boost his squad with both quality and numbers.
Klopp’s fast-paced attacking football and high-pressing relies on solidarity in the middle of the park, which has not always been the case this season, and their inability to keep clean sheets has been a problem throughout the campaign.
There will be bigger names than Maia linked with Anfield this season, but the Brazilian, whose Santos contract expires in 2019, is at the right age to seek pastures new, whilst his playing style would suit the Premier League more than the slower and Ligue 1.