Kicking-off Saturday’s Southampton news round-up are reports from Italy suggesting Liverpool could hijack Napoli’s bid for Mexico international Hector Herrera.
It is claimed by Gazzetta that Napoli have offered the Porto midfielder a five-year contract. However, reports suggest the Portuguese outfit want €20million for the player, with the Serie A side’s current offer stands at €18million.
In light of delays, Jurgen Klopp’s side are expected to mount a late minute charge for the player’s services – a move that could see him playing at Anfield next season.
A combative, all-action midfielder, Herrera impressed for Porto last season with 14 goals and 14 assists in 34 appearances.
With midfield reinforcements expected at Anfield before the conclusion of the summer window, the Mexican international would be very well suited to Jurgen Klopp’s favoured playing style.
Herrera is capable of operating in a pressing system while being efficient in recycling possession. However, as the statistics prove, he is also a consistent threat in the final third.
Should he arrive on Merseyside, he would provide competition and tutelage to Emre Can, with whom he shares a similar playing style.
The 26-year-old’s experience of the European game would prove invaluable for his German counterpart, who many anticipate to be the future of the club’s midfield.
Meanwhile, according to quotes published by Fox Sports, River Plate’s president, Rodolfo D’Onofriohas, has confirmed Liverpool’s interest in versatile defender Gabriel Mercado.
The 29-year-old is currently playing for Argentina in the Copa America but any transfer could hinge on Mercado receiving a work permit.
D’Onofriohas says this hurdle can only be overcome if Argentina win the tournament but admits Jurgen Klopp is a fan.
“Klopp likes him,” D’Onofriohas told Fox Sports (via the Metro).
“But for Mercado to go to England, Argentina need to be champions. Winning a title with the national team would allow him to play in England.”
The 29-year-old, who plays his club football for River Plate, can play in a number of positions, including centre-back. However, he is best suited to a role on the right-side of defence.
Considering Klopp already has Nathaniel Clyne and Jon Flanagan at right-back, it comes as a surprise to see the German head coach targeting another player in this position.
While the latter’s injury history is a concern, he captained the Reds following his return to full fitness last term, which suggests he is seen by Klopp as having a bright future at the club.
This seems to be a very strange piece of speculation and one that is unlikely to come to fruition.
And, finally, the Mario Balotelli conundrum continues. Can Klopp get the best of the fiery Italian? Should he even waste his energy trying?
Well, the latest news surfacing suggest that Turkish Besiktas – the club with which he has been strongly linked – have denied they are interested in signing him this summer.
Somewhat understandably, after a failed debut season, Balotelli does not appear to have any future at Liverpool and the club are expected to offload him during the upcoming window.
However, they may struggle to find a suitor.
Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, was quoted saying Besiktas were close to signing the 25-year-old but the club’s sporting director Erdal Torunogullari has rejected the notion.
“We know Raiola well,” Torunogullari told the Mirror. “He’s even said Balotelli will go to Besiktas, but it’s not like that.”
“We’re not interested, our priority is to hold on to Mario Gomez.”
At this rate, Liverpool may have to pay someone to take the troubled striker of their hands…