Lemar? Van Dijk? Liverpool ready to break £200m mark on watershed deadline day
Liverpool are primed to eclipse their transfer record twice more this summer as they try to add Thomas Lemar and Virgil van Dijk, who would both cost in excess of £70 million, to their late capture of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Having already broken their benchmark with an advanced deal for Naby Keita in excess of £50m and the recruitment of Mohamed Salah for an initial £36.9m, the France international and Southampton centre-back are the next big business the Reds would like to get over the line.
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The £35m recruitment of Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, which matches the club’s highest outlay prior to this window, is set to be officially announced by Thursday afternoon.
And while that transfer was being concluded at St George’s Park, Liverpool were attempting to accelerate discussions with Monaco over Lemar.
As Goal reported on Tuesday, it will go “down to the wire” and a fee has still not yet been agreed, but the Merseysiders are prepped to conduct all the formalities should they be successful in reaching an accord.
There was the possibility of including Divock Origi in negotiations as a makeweight for the attacker, but Wolfsburg have agreed to pay a loan fee of £6m as well as cover the Belgium international’s salary for the season. Marseille are also trying to motion for the 22-year-old, who has had no shortage of suitors.
Lemar, who is due to feature for his national team against Netherlands on deadline night, has vocalised his desire to play for Jurgen Klopp to the Ligue 1 champions.
Monaco are reluctant to sell him, but Liverpool are hopeful their persistence as well as a mega offer that could yet increase will soften their stance.
It is the opposite of Liverpool’s position with Barcelona over Philippe Coutinho. The club dismissed three bids without hesitation, have said they will reject another if it arrives and continue to insist he will not be sold this summer.
Lemar is not the only blockbuster transfer the Reds want to pull off in an ideal scenario.
If the delicate situation with Southampton around Van Dijk can be worked through tactfully, Liverpool are prepared to make him the world’s most expensive defender.
The south-coast club have been adamant the centre-back is not on the market now, but could perhaps be tempted by a landmark sum for a player that has stated his intention to leave St Mary’s for “the past six months.”
Both transfers would be incredibly difficult to secure, but the Reds have been tireless in efforts to enhance an already strong window.
Roma’s Emerson Palmieri, who was the initial left-back target for Liverpool this summer, is still of interest to the Anfield side. A deal is unlikely to materialise now, and if that’s the case, they will assess it in future.
A bid was being readied for the Brazil-born Italy defender, but he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on the final day of last season against Genoa.
In terms of outgoings, Crystal Palace are expected to make an improved bid for £30m-valued Mamadou Sakho, who already has a personal deal in place with them.
Meanwhile, Lazar Markovic and Origi are in line to secure temporary spells away for the season. Ryan Kent’s loan move to Hanover 96 is off with manager Horst Heldt saying Ihlas Bebou will be their “last transfer.”