Liverpool Reportedly Watching Martin Hinteregger and Keita Balde Diao
Liverpool’s scouting network has reportedly identified two targets to boast the club’s long-term future in the shape of Red Bull Salzburg defender Martin Hinteregger and Lazio teenager Keita Balde Diao.
Brendan Rodgers has established a well-structured scouting system since arriving at Liverpool and has already brought bright young talents like Philippe Coutinho and Tiago Ilori to the club.
Now the Reds are eyeing up 21-year-old defender Hinteregger, who is also the target of Arsenal and Juventus according to Peter Guy of the Liverpool Echo:
Capped four times at Under-21 level, the versatile defender has been monitored by Juventus in recent weeks.
However, the Serie A side will face a battle to land Hinteregger as Liverpool and Arsenal both have a long-standing interest in him.
Rodgers is a firm believer of having a depth of options at centre-back and has already added Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure and Ilori to the names of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.
However, the Liverpool boss remains keen to introduce the 3-4-2-1 formation on a more regular basis at Anfield, therefore creating an even greater need to have at least six centre-backs—two for each position.
Liverpool need to put Toure back in middle of back four. Already the defence's leader.— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) September 25, 2013
Hinteregger, at 21 years of age, is not the tallest centre-back at 6’ 1” but he is already a regular at club level and comfortable on the ball—a prerequisite for a Rodgers defender.
Also on the radar is former Barcelona youth Keita, according to Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail, who reports Liverpool recently sent scouts to watch the 18-year-old striker:
Rodgers’ staff would have raised a positive eyebrow this week as Keita set up Brazilian midfielder Hernanes in just his second appearance for the Rome-based club’s senior side, his first off the bench just five days earlier.
Keita had grown up at Barcelona’s famed academy but paid the price for placing an ice cube in the bed of a teammate, according to Yorke’s report.
Where do Liverpool most need to strengthen?
Spanish-born, Keita can play for either Spain or Senegal and he cost Lazio €300,000 despite his young age.
Liverpool currently have a shortage of genuine forward options, with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge only supported by the underwhelming Iago Aspas this season.
Keita has notable pace and scored 47 goals for minnows Cornella last season. However, it is questionable whether Liverpool should be eyeing such an inexperienced player when it is clear they are struggling for goals this term—having scored only five in as many league games.
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