Championship side Reading are set to approach Liverpool with an offer to sign out-of-favour centre-back Tiago Ilori on loan until the summer.
Ilori has struggled to establish himself on Merseyside since his £4 million move from Sporting CP in 2013, and has spent the first half of 2016/17 with the Liverpool U23s after failing to secure a club in the summer.
But at 23 and needing competitive game time to further his senior career, Ilori looks primed to leave the Reds in 2017.
According to the Guardian, he will be offered a route out by Reading, managed by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam.
Stam is said to be interested in signing Ilori on a six-month loan, with the option to secure a permanent deal in the summer, when he will enter the final year of his Reds contract.
This would be Ilori’s fourth loan spell, having spent time with Granada, Bordeaux and Aston Villa previously.
However, reports in the summer claimed Liverpool were only interested in a permanent move then, hence Ilori ending up remaining on Merseyside and as part of the Reds’ Under-23s squad, so whether that has changed now we’ll see.
Reading are currently third in the Championship, six points behind second-placed Newcastle United with a game in hand.
Stam’s current first-choice centre-backs are Paul McShane and Liam Moore, with Jake Cooper and Danzell Gravenberch as backup options, but Ilori provides a step up in class.
The London-born Portugal youth international has made just three appearances for Liverpool since arriving at the club four years ago, but he is an impressive defensive talent, with speed, strength and composure.
His performances for Granada and Bordeaux were particularly accomplished, while when called upon for Jurgen Klopp‘s side in the FA Cup last season, he proved his worth.
However, he remains a brittle young player, with persistent fitness and injury issues hampering his development, and undermining any reliance on him at senior level.
This is likely why no club was willing to take him on a permanent transfer in the summer, with Liverpool hoping to avoid a loan.
But with their options limited at this stage, and likely seeking to recoup some of their investment, a temporary move to the Madejski Stadium seems worthwhile for all parties.
Ilori will be hoping this move finally kickstarts his career, under the tutelage of one of the Premier League‘s best ever centre-backs.