Real Madrid are reportedly in talks to sign Inter Milan midfielder and supposed Liverpool target Mateo Kovacic, according to the Daily
The 21-year-old has established himself as one of the most promising and versatile midfielders in Europe currently, which may mean that Los Blancos have to pay as much as £25m to bring him to the Bernabeu, the Express claim.
That seems an exceptionally large price to pay for someone who will have to battle Toni Kroos and Luka Modric for a place in Rafa Benitez’s side. While he is also comfortable playing in an attacking role, the battle for a place is even more competitive the further up the pitch you move.
And while Brendan Rodgers will be disappointed to miss out on Kovacic, his arrival in the Spanish capital could see another of the Reds’ targets edge closer to the exit.
Asier Illarramendi – who is on Liverpool’s radar (via Telegraph) – is another of Benitez’s squad competing for a place in holding midfield. Although he made plenty of appearances last season, only a handful came from starts, and Kovacic’s arrival may lessen his chances of game time even further.
That may force the Spaniard to force through a move to Merseyside in the hope that the Reds can offer the first-team football he craves.