Liverpool are believed to be among a host of clubs interested in signing Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, whose contract is set to expire in 2018.
Goretzka has been regularly linked with the Reds as his deal at the Veltins-Arena runs out, though this was widely deemed as speculative.
The 22-year-old was claimed in May to have already agreed to join Bayern Munich, though he moved swiftly to deny this, saying: “I will deliver the facts when decisions are made.”
Schalke are said to be preparing a record offer for their key midfielder, with Bild reporting this to be worth €150,000 a week, along with a release clause.
But according to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool are among a host of clubs looking to poach Goretzka from Gelsenkirchen.
Neil Jones relates Goretzka’s situation to that of Emre Can at Anfield, with the Reds able to begin negotiations and agree a pre-contract deal with the midfielder from January.
And manning the Echo‘s live blog on Tuesday morning, Jones reinforced his claims by assuring that Liverpool’s interest is “genuine.”
Signing Goretzka would be a major coup for Jurgen Klopp, and particularly if Can is set to depart in 2018, with Juventus looming.
Goretzka is a bullish, roving midfielder at his best operating in a box-to-box role, and has recently showcased an improved ability to ghost into the box to score.
This season, he has scored three goals in nine appearances for Schalke, as well as one assist, while for Germany he has notched six in 12 games.
These have included in open play, as well as from penalties and free-kicks, too, including a stunning effort in September’s 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen.
His presence has kept Can out of a regular role in the midfield under Joachim Low, with Goretzka seemingly considered a bigger prospect for Germany at this stage.
The ideal scenario would be the pair working in tandem under Klopp, with their intelligence, physicality and versatility providing Liverpool with a dream midfield duo.
But if he is to be Can’s replacement, he is certainly an excellent option, particularly given he is a year younger than the Reds’ No. 23.
However, Liverpool would face a fight to sign him, as along with Bayern, the likes of Barcelona, Man United and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest in the past.