Liverpool are preparing a raised bid for Shakhtar Donetsk's Alex Teixeira, as the Ukrainian outfit stand firm on their asking price for the forward.
According to Simon Mullock in the Sunday Mirror, Shakhtar have rejected the Reds' initial offer of £24.6 million and are holding out for Liverpool to meet their £37.6 million valuation, but the Anfield outfit are hoping to negotiate a £30 million-plus-add-ons deal.
The differing valuations from both parties seems to be causing something of an issue in thrashing out a deal, per Mullock's Liverpool source: "We haven’t walked away from it, but the valuations of both clubs remain far apart."
Teixeira himself has given Liverpool a boost by admitting he wants a move in the January transfer window, per Brazilian newspaper Globo (via MailOnline's Simon Jones):
I would like to move in this transfer window and have told them [Shakhtar] that. They have received a very good offer and they are working on a solution. But if I don’t go now then I will leave in the summer. After six years in Europe and with Shakhtar we are ready to move and I have spoken to my wife and daughter. It is my desire to move to a big league and I know that the English league is very strong. I am ready and I know that I will grow up a lot there. I am aware that two big clubs such as Liverpool and Chelsea are interested but I haven’t given my word to either of them.
However, with the Brazilian contracted to Shakhtar until 2018, there is no pressure on them to sell one of their star players now, and they will likely hold out until their valuation is met.
Teixeira could be a major asset at Liverpool, not least because of his goalscoring ability—he has netted 22 league goals in 15 appearances this season, per WhoScored.com.
Furthermore, he would seemingly fit better into manager Jurgen Klopp's setup than some of Liverpool's current attacking options, per Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe:
The 26-year-old could slot straight into the Reds' attacking line and be a big help in the second half of the season as they push for a top-four finish.
While £37.6 million is a lot of money, Teixeira could well be worth it, and it would be foolish for the Reds to miss out on the signing because they refused to meet the asking price.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are reportedly eyeing a move for Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as Klopp looks to bring in competition for current No. 1 Simon Mignolet.
According to Neil Moxley in the Sunday People, the Reds have enquired about Schmeichel's availability only to be told he will not leave the Foxes during the current campaign, but the Reds could return in the summer.
Schmeichel has played a key role for high-flying Leicester in their extraordinary 2015-16 campaign, putting himself alongside the likes of David de Gea and Hugo Lloris as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, per the Times' Henry Winter:
This is fast becoming the season of the keeper in @premierleague De Gea, Schmeichel, Cech, Hart, Butland, Lloris… (plus some poor keepers)— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) January 17, 2016
On the other hand, Mignolet has been a consistent source of aggravation for Liverpool and their fans.
Despite him recently signing a new five-year deal at Anfield, the Belgian is widely viewed as a key problem in the Liverpool side, per the Times' Oliver Kay:
Criticism of Mignolet often met with "Yeah, but he's a good shot-stopper." But for the past 18 months, he seems to have stopped very little— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) January 23, 2016
With back-up Adam Bogdan a consistent liability, though, Mignolet is effectively unchallenged in the No. 1 role, a situation that has to change if the Liverpool defence is to improve.
Would Schmeichel be a better No. 1 at Liverpool than Migonlet?
Schmeichel would certainly provide some excellent competition for Mignolet and would arguably be deserving of the No. 1 spot at Anfield.
The 29-year-old is experienced and has proven during the current campaign that he has the ability to perform at the highest level.
There remains a question, though, as to how he would be welcomed by the Liverpool faithful given that his father, Peter, is a Manchester United legend.
Indeed, per Moxley, the Red Devils have also been linked with Schmeichel and may have the edge if the two clubs go head-to-head for his signature.