After making a surprise entrance into the race to sign Hoffenheim forward Roberto Firmino, reports from Brazil suggest Liverpool as a likely destination.
Liverpool joined rivals Manchester United in attempting to sign Hoffenheim’s high-potential Brazilian forward last week, but have now reportedly moved ahead in the race.
According to Brazilian publication Globo Esporte, the Reds are now “favourites” to sign the 23-year-old this summer.
The reports claims that Liverpool will beat United and Manchester City to Firmino’s signature.
A deal is far from complete, however, with Hoffenheim yet to agree a deal with any club, although they suggest that a fee of £18 million will be enough to seal his transfer, and talks are moving quickly.
They also claim that Firmino would sign with the Anfield club on a five-year deal, and would be complete once the forward returns from the Copa America in Chile.
As with all reports from sources further afield, the legitimacy of these claims could be questioned.
However, dedicated English-language Brazilian football Twitter account Selecao Brasileira has provided a glowing testimony to the credibility of reporters Marcelo Hazan and Richard Souza:
Firmino scored seven goals and made 10 assists in 33 Bundesliga games last season, and is able to play all across the front line including as a centre-forward.
He has the potential to become one of the best goalscoring midfielders in Europe.
Enjoying a positive relationship with compatriot Philippe Coutinho on the field, too, it can be argued that Firmino’s transition to life at Liverpool would be swift.
Could this be the big-name signing to replace the likely departing Raheem Sterling?