football

Liverpool’s pursuit of Luis Díaz prompts Spurs to push for Dejan Kulusevski


Liverpool are trying to beat Tottenham to the signing of the Porto winger Luis Díaz and have made an initial offer of about £37.5m. Their bid includes easily achievable add-ons of about another £15m and a further £4m or so in bonuses less likely to be paid.

Díaz, a Colombia international with 31 caps, is one of the most exciting talents in Europe and has scored 14 goals in 18 league games this season. Porto rejected a £37.6m offer from Spurs this week for a player who has a £66m release clause.

On Thursday Tottenham suffered a transfer setback when Adama Traoré, one of Antonio Conte’s priority targets, agreed a move to Barcelona. It would be a further blow to their manager, who has repeatedly stressed the need for reinforcements, were Díaz to end up at Liverpool.

Spurs have opened an alternative avenue with a move to sign the attacking midfielder Dejan Kulusevski on loan from Juventus – the club at which their managing director of football, Fabio Paratici, worked for 11 years.

Kulusevski, 21, who can play on the wing or as a No 10, has been more in than out of the starting XI this season. The Sweden international cost Juventus €35m from Atalanta in January 2020. He was promptly loaned to Parma, where he had also spent the first half of that season, starring to the extent he was named as the best young player in Serie A.

Dejan Kulusevski (left) in action for Juventus against Roma this month.
Dejan Kulusevski (left) in action for Juventus against Roma this month. Photograph: Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Juventus, who have Kulusevski under contract until 2025, are expected to move players out after paying €75m for the Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic. They have turned down a €25m bid from Aston Villa for the midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur and rebuffed Tottenham’s approach to take him on loan.

The Spurs midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is wanted by Lyon to replace the Newcastle-bound Bruno Guimarães. Tottenham would want Lo Celso’s full salary paid and a loan fee to consider a deal.

The 25-year-old Díaz has twice played against Liverpool this season in the Champions League and is with Colombia for their World Cup qualifiers at home to Peru on Friday and away to Argentina on Tuesday. Liverpool are sending staff to South America so they are ready to do a medical before Monday’s transfer deadline if they get the go-ahead.

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With Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané turning 30 before the start of next season, Díaz is regarded by Liverpool as key to preparing for a future in which they will have to regenerate their forward line.

Liverpool have tracked Díaz for a long time and were preparing to move for him at the end of the season but Porto’s openness to selling this month, and competition from elsewhere, prompted them to accelerate their pursuit.



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