Liverpool’s interest in Leicester City winger Demarai Gray could see them activate a considerable release clause this summer.
Gray emerged as a possible option for the Reds back in February, with Jurgen Klopp identifying alternatives to his priority targets.
While Bayer Leverkusen star Julian Brandt remains high on the German’s list, and Borussia Dortmund duo Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic are distant hopes, further plans are required.
And England U21 international Gray, who has made 32 appearances for the Foxes so far this season, may be an eventual addition to Klopp’s squad.
According to the Mirror, the 20-year-old is available for £12 million this summer, due to a release clause in his contract.
This would eliminate the need for Liverpool to negotiate with Leicester, though they could face competition from both Everton and Tottenham.
Gray leaving the King Power would rest largely on game time on offer elsewhere, with the winger starting only 11 of his 32 outings this season, including just six in the Premier League.
Leicester will be without European football next season, so moving to a club fighting on four fronts could provide Gray with more minutes.
But the Reds activating his release clause this summer would be another questionable move.
Gray only made the switch from Birmingham City to Leicester in the January transfer window in 2016, joining Claudio Ranieri’s title challengers for just £3.7 million.
That his value will have shot to over triple despite having scored just two goals and assisted a further six in 46 games for the Foxes is an alarming indictment of the modern market.
But more troubling is the fact Liverpool were reportedly interested in signing Gray at the time he made the move to the East Midlands.
There were even claims as far back as 2014 that the Reds had agreed a first-option deal with Leicester for the winger, as part of Jordon Ibe’s successful loan spell at St Andrew’s.
Of course, Klopp was not manager of the Reds at the time, but sporting director Michael Edwards certainly was with the club, albeit in a different role.
While £12 million is far from the most significant fee given the shifting of wealth in the Premier League in recent years, it is still a large sum for a relatively unproven talent.
And if Gray is a genuine alternative to Brandt in the summer, rather than a supplement, it would represent a major gamble from Klopp.