Despite rumours Torino striker Andrea Belotti is about to receive a contract extension including a massive release clause, the Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United target is said to be available for a much more manageable fee of roughly £34 million.
According to Corriere dello Sport, Torino president Urbano Cairo maintains interested clubs will have to pay almost £80 million, about what Juventus paid to bring in Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli, to have any chance of landing the emerging star.
Per the report, Napoli have already made an offer approaching the reported price tag of £34 million, but Torino are holding off on selling Belotti until the end of the season.
Rumours of a massive new release clause for the 22-year-old have been floating for some time now, and even Torino manager Sinisa Mihajlovic believes some of the absurd figures being thrown around are well above what modern footballers are worth, per Calciomercato:
Today’s transfer fees are exaggerated. Players’ prices are determined by the market but I think that nobody’s worth as much, not even Paul Pogba or Gonzalo Higuain. If they’d worth as much they should score four goals per game and win games on their own. Then, if there are bidders willing to invest as much, presidents must include these kinds of release clauses.
Belotti is enjoying a breakout season in 2016-17, scoring 10 goals in the notoriously difficult Serie A already. The Italy international, who took the next step in his career when he signed for Torino from Palermo last season, has also found success on the international level, scoring freely for the Azzurri since his debut.
As shared by BT Sport’s Adam Summerton, the best is still to come for Belotti:
— Adam Summerton (@adamsummerton) November 12, 2016
The emerging star is an extraordinary, intelligent forward who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, but he’s so much more than just a poacher. Belotti has excellent physical tools and does a lot of his damage in open space or running in behind the defence, and he has some trickery in his arsenal he can use inside or outside the box as well.
He’s comfortable scoring with his left or right foot and has already grabbed his fair share of headed goals as well. Here’s a look at some of his highlights:
The Rooster’s ability to play in space and be effective on the counter attack makes him an intriguing fit for Liverpool, who play at a remarkably high tempo and could use another pure scorer who fits their playing style.
The Reds have a solid attack right now, however, and likely won’t be interested in a bidding war if Torino’s asking price is enormous.
Meanwhile, Liverpool Echo suggests FC Schalke full-back Sead Kolasinac could still be a bargain signing for the Reds, noting the Bosnian still hasn’t signed a new deal with the Gelsenkirchen-based outfit.
Kolasinac was one of many on a list of potential “Black Friday” bargains, including Jetro Willems of PSV Eindhoven, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting of Schalke and Rennes’ Paul-Georges Ntep, among others.
Liverpool have been linked with a ton of full-back options, but few seem as realistic heading into January as Kolasinac, who is in the final year of his deal with Schalke. Similar to the situation with Joel Matip last season, he’s expected to sign a pre-contract in January.
Per Bild (h/t Sport Witness), Schake have allowed the start of contract negotiations to take far too long:
Schalke having finally got themselves into a mild panic over the future of Sead Kolasinac. The panic is a little overdue, given the left back’s contract ends in June and from January onward he could sign a pre-contract agreement elsewhere, before moving on a free transfer in the summer.
Kolasinac has been part of Schalke’s recent revival, playing well in a 3-5-2 and impressing whilst going forward. Contract negotiations haven’t yet started, according to German newspaper Bild, but the player’s agent has been contacted by Schalke.
Kolasinac is a cost-effective but efficient option at left-back, a spot where manager Jurgen Klopp happens to be short on depth. The Bosnian could be one of the best value signings of the season, and regular followers of the Bundesliga are well aware of his quality.
If the 23-year-old is still without a long-term deal by the time the January window opens, the Reds would be foolish not to approach his agent and start talks on a pre-contract, or even a January move for a minor fee.