Liverpool are in pole position to sign Luis Diaz after completing a late £45m move for the Porto winger, who Tottenham are also in talks to buy.
The Colombia international was manager Jurgen Klopp’s first choice for the summer transfer window, but Liverpool have accelerated their plans due to strong interest from Spurs.
Liverpool are reportedly offering an initial fee of £37m, with bonuses included in the deal only to be triggered if Diaz becomes a big hit at Anfield.
Sky Sports News was informed that Liverpool had sent a team to Argentina, in anticipation of carrying out a medical examination there.
Diaz is expected to take part in Colombia’s World Cup qualifier against Peru on Friday night, before heading to Argentina for Tuesday’s second qualifier.
Tottenham have been locked in talks with Porto over Diaz this week, with the Premier League club ready to pay up to £46million.
Sources in Portugal suggest Spurs are ready to offer £37.6m for Diaz, with an additional £8.4m in performance-related add-ons.
Diaz, who signed for Colombia’s Junior side Porto in 2019, has 16 goals and six assists in 28 games for the Portuguese side this season.
Missing out on Luiz would be another blow for Spurs this month, after Wolves winger Adama Traore, who now looks set to return to Barcelona on loan, fell apart.
Spurs want to make at least one signing this month, and according to Sky in Italy, they are also in talks to sign Moroccan midfielder Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina on loan, with a €16million purchase option being discussed.
They could do more business if they are able to offload Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele or Giovani Lo Celso.
Paris Saint-Germain are closing in on an agreement to sign Ndombele on loan from Spurs, with an option to buy.
Analysis: Liverpool view this as a bargain
Sky Sports reporter Vinny O’Connor:
“Obviously it’s far from done and it could easily come to naught.
The deal Liverpool are considering for Diaz is said to be €45m (£37m) plus a maximum of €15m in bonuses. Klopp’s first choice for the summer was brought forward as it was clear the player would move on and not be available. It’s still far from over, but they’re trying.
— Vinny O’Connor (@VinnOConnor) January 28, 2022
“However, Liverpool see this as an excellent deal if completed – very close to a Diogo Jota-like fee. Besides, it’s much better value than the initial asking price of €60m.
“Diaz was Jurgen Klopp’s first choice for the summer, but they brought those plans forward because it was clear that if Liverpool didn’t act in that window, the player would move on.
“It’s not done and could still fall apart – the player is in South America with his national team, so closing the deal will be far from straightforward.
“However, if it does it’s a big blow for Julian Ward, who is due to take over from sporting director Michael Edwards this summer. It was a deal in which Ward was leading for the first time, but it’s fair to say that ‘He was strongly supported by Edwards who laid out the strategy to secure the player this month.’
What would Diaz bring to Liverpool?
A quick look at his title stats in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season suggests the 25-year-old offers a serious goal threat – but also offers so much more.
The winger ranks first in goals, shots and touches in the opposition box and is among the elite for regaining possession in the final third, creating chances, attempting quick breaks, jumping aerial, dribbling and passing in the attacking third.
The radar chart below puts those strengths into perspective, with the Colombia international hitting the outside edge across a range of attacking moves – representing the top 5% of wingers in Europe’s top leagues.
The maps below reduce his goal threat for Champions League appearances over the past two seasons and reveal that Diaz is most powerful in his preferred left channel, frequently creating chances for his teammates with diagonals in the box .
As well as scoring goals, his most striking attribute is overall play participation, with above-average passing numbers in the final third – but the graph below suggests Diaz also returns frequently to support the team .
Viewing his goalscoring and passing averages, Diaz emerges among an elite selection of players in Europe’s top leagues, with comebacks tied with Karim Benzema and Mohamed Salah.
His heatmap below emphasizes his work rate with concentrations of activity in his defensive half, while his ability to win possession up the pitch would certainly suit a high pressure style.
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