Liverpool have reportedly "made an approach" for Real Madrid star Isco, who is said to be happy about his future at the Bernabeu despite the signing of Toni Kroos and the arrival of James Rodriguez, as reported by Hugo Cerezo of Marca.
AS also reports Liverpool "have asked Real Madrid about Isco's situation," but indicates Sevilla and AC Milan are interested in the player. Both Spanish publications highlight Isco is willing to remain in the capital until his lack of game time is confirmed, meaning Liverpool's route to signing the playmaker may be difficult.
Cerezo notes a "litmus test" for the creative star as the competitive season begins. Rodriguez's capture, as confirmed by The Guardian, makes it extremely difficult for Carlo Ancelotti to guarantee Isco a consistent role in Los Blancos' starting line-up.
David Anderson of The Mirror highlights Brendan Rodgers' hunt for a "marquee signing" in midfield. He outlines Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Marco Reus as the Reds' top targets, all three of whom are currently linked with other clubs.
Most prominently, Vidal continues to be touted for a move to Manchester United. The Juventus star is said to have put his house up for sale, as per James Dickenson of the Daily Express, and he would represent a major coup for any club in the world.
Ben Jefferson of the same publication notes United are willing to offer Vidal the same wages as Robin van Persie to convince him to sign—approximately £250,000 per week—numbers Liverpool will struggle to match.
Which potential signing do Liverpool need most?
Former United midfielder Pogba is also allegedly being eyed for an Old Trafford move, while Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked, as reported by Charles Reynolds of The Independent. Real Madrid are said to be interested in the player but will most likely ditch any attempts to sign him after landing Kroos, as per Charlie Scott of the Daily Mail.
Jurgen Klopp recently confirmed that any reports of Reus leaving are "garbage," as reported by David McDonnell of The Mirror. While all three of the aforementioned "marquee" targets would drastically improve Liverpool's chances of landing silverware, major difficulties need to be negotiated before any can be considered a true possibility.
Rodgers' need to land a star name became more apparent when Luis Suarez's move to Barcelona went through. The Northern Irish boss "won't spend just for the sake of spending," but insists the club are "working hard behind the scenes to find players," as noted by Sky Sports.
The signings of Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic go some way to progressing the club after Suarez's departure. Loic Remy's likely arrival will also add much-needed pace and finishing ability to Rodgers' attack, providing Daniel Sturridge with an incisive strike partner to work alongside, as per Simon Rice of The Independent.
Defensive improvements are likely to be sought, with Atletico Madrid's Javier Manquillo the latest to be linked. Tony Barrett of The Times and The Mirror's John Cross describe the latest situation with regards to the 20-year-old right-back's future:
As reported in the Spanish media today, Liverpool are in for Atletico Madrid's Javier Manquillo. Hoping to get him on a season long loan.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) July 22, 2014
As mentioned last week, think the Arsenal and Manquillo trail has gone cold. A realisation he won't play much. Liverpool in box seat.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) July 22, 2014
Last season's second-place Premier League finish is going to be extremely difficult to replicate, but Rodgers is working hard on ensuring Liverpool continue to progress. The manager is targeting stars who can instantly improve his side while fulfilling a number of roles, providing himself with tactical options heading into the 2014-15 campaign.
Isco, or any of the big-name stars outlined, would certainly highlight Rodgers' seriousness. This summer's signings will play a major role in the club's progress and can hammer home the notion that Liverpool are ready to compete with England's elite across the coming years.