LIVERPOOL are eyeing up a move for £22million-rated Atletico Madrid defender Sime Vrsaljko… but could face competition from Napoli.
Vrsaljko, 25, is said to be leaning towards a move to Italy rather than England after struggling to break into the first-team in Spain this term.
Recently, Atleti boss Diego Simeone suggested he would be willing to sell the full-back, for the right price – around £22m.
Argentine boss Simeone said: “Sime is a big player and all big players have a value.
Liverpool move in on cut price £22million Atletico Madrid man
“We are happy when other clubs look at our players, this is normal and it is positive for us.
“The truth is Sime has been injured and when he has played for us he has done very well, but it is a fact that Juanfran has done superbly also.”
Vrsaljko has played just four times in La Liga this term – and 20 in total since signing a five-year deal the Los Rojiblancos in 2016.
Now Liverpool are hoping to swoop for the full-back, despite having a hatful of right-sided defenders on the books.
While Vrsaljko can play on the left, he is natural on the right, with the Reds – when all fit – boast Nathaniel Clyne and two of the hottest prospects in English football in that position, in Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
However, with Liverpool’s defensive frailties as they are, Gomez may switch to his natural central role in the coming months, while Alexander-Arnold is adept at playing in midfield.
Napoli meanwhile are looking to bring in Vrsaljko with star full-back Faouzi Ghoulam suffering an horrendous cruciate ligament injury.
The Reds won’t be tempted into a bidding war though, with club CEO Peter Moore revealing that is not “the Liverpool way”.
Moore recently claimed: “From the perspective of competing, we do things the Liverpool way.
“The chemistry that we build on the field – it’s not about buying the most expensive player.
“We haven’t been shy, obviously the Mohamed Salah purchase for many people has been the top acquisition of the season.
“We already have Naby Keita coming and I think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is doing a tremendous job.
“The investments are being made. It’s hard to knock what you are seeing on the field right now.
“What I will say, because I know you are leading up to the question about January, the club continues to look at acquisitions that will strengthen the squad.”