2WKN2WP Porto's Alan Varela during the UEFA Champions League match at Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal. Picture date: Wednesday February 21, 2024.

Senior Liverpool sources have responded to £60m midfielder transfer claim

Following claims that Liverpool could “intensify” a pursuit of Porto defensive midfielder Alan Varela, senior sources within the club have now responded.

After speculation a year ago, while Varela was still at Boca Juniors, it was claimed in April that “formal talks” had taken place over a transfer.

Those reports came from the midfielder’s native Argentina, while this week saw further claims from Spain, via South American journalist Eduardo Burgos.

Burgos wrote on Twitter that Liverpool were set to “intensify contact” for Varela, adding that “it is expected that they will soon open negotiations with Porto for his transfer.”

The natural No. 6 is reported to have been watched by club scouts on a number of occasions, and is available for around £60 million due to a release clause in his contract.

But per the Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst, those within the Anfield hierarchy are baffled by ongoing claims of interest in Varela.

“Senior figures have dismissed genuine interest and believe the 22-year-old’s agent to be the source of the reports out of South America,” Gorst writes.

While on paper Varela may have filled an obvious void in the squad Arne Slot has inherited, it is perhaps no surprise that these reports have been given short shrift by Liverpool.

He is far from the first such midfielder to have been touted to the Reds in recent transfer windows, with Manuel Ugarte, Joao Palhinha and Manu Kone also on that list.

2BBD79K Richard Hughes, AFC Bournemouth (PA Images)

There is yet to be any indication how Liverpool will approach recruitment as a new setup takes shape, though plans are being helmed by sporting director Richard Hughes, rather than Slot himself.

That could cast the net wider than under the previous regime, with more recent arrivals dictated by Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff themselves.

Portugal had been considered a regular source of targets including Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz, but perhaps Gorst’s update on Varela is evidence that this will now change.