Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed their interest in signing Liverpool’s out-of-sorts centre-back Ben Davies, with a deal possible this summer.
Davies is yet to play a competitive game for the Reds following his £1.6 million move from Preston in February, and in truth he is never likely to.
The 25-year-old was not even relied upon in the injury crisis of last season, with loanee Ozan Kabak – whose standing under Jurgen Klopp was underlined as the club declined an £8.5 million permanent deal with Schalke – among those preferred.
Academy duo Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams ended the campaign as the regular starting pair, and both remain involved with the first team heading into the final week of pre-season.
Davies, meanwhile, is back in the UK having been permitted to depart the Reds’ training camp in Austria due to personal reasons, and was photographed at a friend’s wedding the day after his exit.
It has been claimed that the Englishman is now training with Liverpool’s under-23s – though that is as yet unsubstantiated – with there seeming no sign of a return to the senior setup.
Instead, Davies is due to leave on a permanent basis this summer if the right deal can be struck, with Sheffield United among the sides interested.
According to the Sheffield Star, Jokanovic has confirmed he is hoping to sign Davies along with Sampdoria midfielder Ronaldo Vieira, saying: “I am interested in both players.”
Liverpool have already turned down an initial enquiry from the Championship club, which was with a view to signing Davies on loan, though it had been claimed the sticking point was the Blades’ desire for an option to buy.
However, the Sheffield Star have been corroborated by Merseyside journalist David Lynch in reporting that the club are instead looking for a straight permanent sale.
Celtic and Bournemouth join Sheffield United in pursuit of Liverpool’s No. 28, though there is no suggestion of a price tag being set for Davies yet.
The Reds paid Preston just £500,000 upon his switch to Anfield in the winter transfer window, with add-ons taking that to £1.6 million if certain targets are met.
It seems unlikely that Liverpool will end up owing Preston the full fee, but any funds brought in will be subject to a 20 percent sell-on clause held by North End.