Football

Pool hoping to land van Dijk and Lemar

Klopp set to continue spending spree after signing Naby Keita for club record

Naby Keita in, Virgil van Dijk and Thomas Lemar next?

That is the dream scenario for Liverpool fans with the transfer window shutting tomorrow.

The Reds were set to hold further talks with Monaco as they try to reach a club-record deal for attacking midfielder Lemar.

The Liverpool Echo reported that the Reds' bid of around £65 million (S$113m) was rejected by the French champions, who are hoping to stop an exodus.

Monaco have lost three key members of their title-winning team this summer, namely Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, and midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea.

However, Liverpool are ready to tempt Monaco by increasing their offer for Lemar to around £75m.

The 21-year-old, who featured in France's 3-2 win over England last season, can also play on the flanks.

He scored 14 goals and provided 17 assists in 55 appearances as Monaco reached last season's Champions League semi-finals.

Playing a part in this deal could be Liverpool striker Divock Origi, who did not even make the bench for last Sunday's 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal.

Monaco are interested in the Belgium international, who could be used as a makeweight in the Reds' bid.

Meanwhile, talk of Southampton defender van Dijk joining Liverpool has intensified.

The Independent reported yesterday that the 26-year-old Dutchman remains hopeful of joining Juergen Klopp's team in this transfer window, although Chelsea and Arsenal could enter the fray, too.

Some British reports claimed that van Dijk, who has not featured for Southampton this season, had already agreed terms with Liverpool.

Manchester City were linked earlier, but are said to be focusing their efforts on West Brom's Jonny Evans instead.

The former Manchester United centre back could leave the Baggies in this transfer window, with Arsene Wenger also keen to bolster the Gunners' leaky backline.

If the moves for van Dijk and Lemar materialise, Klopp will be closer to completing his Anfield jigsaw puzzle, although the most recent piece acquired - Naby Keita - will join only next season after the Reds agreed a reported club-record deal of 
£48m with German side RB Leipzig.

Liverpool will also reportedly pay an undisclosed premium for the 22-year-old, who scored eight goals in 31 league appearances last term to help Leipzig finish runners-up in the title race.

Keita, who will be a pivotal figure in Leipzig's maiden Champions League campaign this term, said his present team remained his immediate priority but he was delighted to be joining such a historic club.

"I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer, when I will become part of a project that excites me greatly," Keita told the Liverpool website.

"My commitment to Leipzig remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club.

"I have given my all every time I have worn the shirt - that will be the case until the final whistle, in my final appearance.

"Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping Leipzig achieve great things this season.

"Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance."

Liverpool's previous transfer record was the £35m they paid Newcastle United to sign Andy Carroll in January 2011.

- WIRE SERVICES

liverpoolChampions League