Newly promoted Brighton & Hove Albion are reported to be “quietly confident” of sealing a deal to sign Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez.
The Seagulls have been regularly linked with a loan move for the 20-year-old, who joined the Reds from Charlton Athletic back in 2015.
Gomez has endured a series of injury problems throughout his time on Merseyside, most notably an ACL rupture suffered months after his arrival.
But now working back to full fitness ahead of next season, the versatile defender faces a decisive campaign as he looks to secure his future under Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp is said to be a big admirer of Gomez, and scouted him while manager at Borussia Dortmund, with recent reports suggesting the German was still undecided as to his next move.
But according to Brighton publication the Argus, Chris Hughton is hopeful of sealing a deal for the England U21 international.
They claim the Sussex outfit are “quietly confident they are firmly in the running,” but Liverpool are in “no rush” to sanction a loan.
Gomez is far from first choice in Klopp’s defensive ranks, however, and a temporary switch could benefit him next season.
It may well be that Gomez’s chances of a move depend on Liverpool’s ability to sign another centre-back this summer.
Southampton‘s Virgil van Dijk was Klopp’s priority target before the Reds were forced to publicly end their interest earlier in June.
But reports this week have hinted that Liverpool could still revive their interest in the Dutchman, who would require an offer of at least £50 million.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Lazio’s Stefan de Vrij have also been touted as possible targets, and any arrival could allow Gomez to leave on loan without impacting Klopp’s options at the back.
Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are also available, with Lucas Leiva likely to leave, and adding any of Van Dijk, Koulibaly or De Vrij to that trio would provide Klopp with a strong group.
Gomez could then leave to join Brighton, Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth or Newcastle United for the season, with a view to replacing Klavan in 2018/19.
The Estonian has two years left on his current contract and, at 31, is seemingly content with a squad role under Klopp.