Liverpool could face stiff competition from La Liga giants Real Madrid in their summer pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt.
Brandt is expected to be a priority for Jurgen Klopp in the upcoming transfer window, with the Reds manager eager to add options to his attacking line for 2017/18.
The 20-year-old has been in fine form throughout the season so far, and would be an excellent addition to Klopp’s ranks.
However, due to his prominence in the Bundesliga, as well as the Champions League, Brandt is set to garner interest from further afield than Anfield.
According to Spanish publication Marca, Madrid sent scouts to Leverkusen’s 4-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, to run the rule over the young winger.
Brandt played 86 minutes at the BayArena, and shone, creating more chances (three) than any other player, with only Leverkusen’s Kevin Kampl (eight) completing more dribbles (seven).
He was a constant threat driving up the left flank, and coped well up against two of Atletico’s star performers, Sime Vrsaljko and Saul Niguez.
This is likely to have further convinced Madrid of his quality, though the intensity of their interest remains to be seen.
Liverpool would be wise to draw up a list of alternatives, however, given their lack of success in obtaining primary targets in recent transfer windows.
Piotr Zielinski eventually made the move to Napoli last summer, despite the Reds’ continued advances, while Mahmoud Dahoud is reported to be on the cusp of a move to Borussia Dortmund.
Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl denied this, however, but Dahoud could prove to be another difficult signing.
However, Leverkusen are currently languishing in eighth in the Bundesliga table, 20 points off the top and seven points off the Champions League places.
This could leave their top stars prime for the taking in the summer, including Jonathan Tah, Kai Havertz, Karim Bellarabi, Kevin Volland, Hakan Calhanoglu and Javier Hernandez.
Klopp is expected to oversee another busy summer of recruitment, particularly if the Reds secure European football for 2017/18, and he will be hoping to convince Brandt to move to Merseyside.