Rumoured to be on Jurgen Klopp‘s list of midfield targets for the summer, Ilkay Gundogan and Granit Xhaka could both be headed elsewhere.
Klopp is set to add to his midfield ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, with Marko Grujic already primed to return from a loan spell with Red Star Belgrade this summer, and Empoli’s on-loan Udinese talent Piotr Zielinski a widely reported target.
Gundogan and Xhaka have both been linked with moves to Merseyside since Klopp’s arrival in October.
But according to reports this week, both could join other Premier League clubs.
Borussia Dortmund star Gundogan is believed to be the subject of interest from Man City, with Sky Sports reporting that soon-to-be manager Pep Guardiola is looking to make the Germany international one of his first signings.
City and Dortmund are said to be in “advanced negotiations,” but remain at odds with their respective valuations.
According to Andy Burton, Dortmund value Gundogan at around £36 million, with City prepared to pay £28 million, but with Guardiola “determined” to finalise a deal and personal terms worth £90,000 a week agreed, that gap will no doubt be bridged.
This would be a blow to Liverpool, with Gundogan the ideal midfield partner for Emre Can and a player with strong ties with Klopp—though whether a deal was likely is questionable.
Xhaka admitted back in February that a move to the Premier League would be a “dream,” while a month earlier Klopp was rumoured to have held a meeting with the 23-year-old’s representatives as he looked to add him to his squad this summer.
But with Arsene Wenger in need of midfield reinforcements, with Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky all set to leave the club this summer, Xhaka has emerged as his priority target.
The Bundesliga side are believed to be looking for £32 million for the former FC Basel man.
Despite this, Wenger is said to be “confident of reaching an agreement,” as he plots to employ Xhaka in a key role.
At £32 million, Xhaka would be a considerable risk for Arsenal, and this lofty fee may have deterred Liverpool if they were exploring the possibility of signing the Swiss this summer.
But with both Gundogan and Xhaka both possessing the qualities needed in Klopp’s midfield, in tactical intelligence, off-ball tenacity and nuanced creativity, this would be a disappointing eventuality for the Reds.