After missing out on Mohamed Salah to Chelsea per Dominic Fifield in The Guardian, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers seems to have turned his attentions elsewhere in his pursuit of a much-needed midfield player.
The Reds are weighing up a move for Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez and Rodgers has already held informal meetings with the player's father ahead of a potential move to Merseyside per Alan Nixon in the Daily Mirror.
Niguez, who is currently on loan at Rayo Vallecano from Los Colchoneros, is thought of as a major prospect in the Spanish game and has attracted interest from a host of teams in England. Manchester United coach Phil Neville has been to watch the 19-year-old in action for Vallecano, per David McDonnell in the Daily Mirror, whilst interest from Arsenal and Chelsea has also been muted per Nixon in the Daily Mirror.
Whilst missing out on Salah will have obviously been a blow for Rodgers, Niguez is a player who is much more akin to the team’s current requirements.
He is a young player who is at his best in the centre of midfield and is thought of as a potential box-to-box type player. Niguez has also occasionally filled in at centre-back for Rayo during this campaign.
That gives you an idea of where his main qualities lie at the moment; he is a dynamic player who reads the game very well for someone so young.
Niguez certainly doesn’t lack confidence on the ball either, and whilst his passing can often be wayward and a little erratic, there is certainly enough positive attributes there for Rodgers to take a chance on this burgeoning talent.
Nixon states that whilst the player has a release clause of £20 million in his Atletico contract, Liverpool feel as though a figure of £12 million would convince the Madrid outfit to relinquish his services.
A signing at this late stage of the campaign would give Rodgers and his team a major boost after a window which has seen no players come in as of yet.
The Reds are locked in a battle for a Champions League spot and whilst they currently occupy fourth spot in the Premier League, they have Tottenham, Everton and Manchester United breathing down their necks.
Rodgers will be aware of how a prosperous January window can galvanize a team in the second part of the campaign. This time last year, Liverpool brought in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho to the club, and they helped the Anfield outfit to a very strong second half of the season.
In his time at Swansea too, Rodgers drafted in Gylfi Sigurdsson on loan. The Icelandic international came in and gave the club a huge lift, helping the team to avoid a relegation battle and eventually finish comfortably in mid-table.
Looking at Liverpool’s current situation and standing, you could argue that it is even more imperative that they strengthen mid-term this time round. The injuries are starting to stack up and they are becoming increasingly reliant on the exploits of Sturridge and the mercurial Luis Suarez.
With Lucas Leiva out of the side through injury, Liverpool are lacking their only out-and-out defensive midfield player.
Bringing in a young, talented player like Niguez could not only fill a gap left by the Brazilian grafter but give everyone at the club a boost ahead of what promises to be an intriguing end to the campaign.
At 19 years old, Niguez would be much more likely to see action at Anfield as opposed to Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, as the Nixon report suggests are interested. If Rodgers can refine his game and aid his progression, the young Spaniard could be a mainstay of this Liverpool team for many years to come.