Shakhtar Donetsk have reportedly rejected a second Liverpool bid worth £28 million for attacker Alex Teixeira, but the Reds are boosted by claims Chelsea are “out of the running” for the Brazil international.
According to MailOnline's Simon Jones, Shakhtar will hold out for a fee close to their £38 million valuation of Teixeira. The player has already made it clear he wants to move to the Premier League, but Shakhtar have no intention of making things easy for the Reds.
Per Jones, Liverpool made an opening bid of £24.5 million for Teixeira, who has already scored an impressive 22 goals in 15 league matches. Manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to comment on the ongoing negotiations, while Teixeira told Globo Esporte he wants to leave as soon as possible, per 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.
Like Liverpool, the Blues are in dire need of an upgrade in front of goal after their horrid first half of the season. But while the two clubs seemed set to go head-to-head for Teixeira, most of the Chelsea chatter has died down in the last week. Therefore, it's no surprise Jones reported that the Blues are no longer in the running for his services.
Teixeira is but the latest in a long line of Brazilian talents groomed by Shakhtar, who are quickly gaining a reputation for spotting prospects in South America. Chelsea already have a former Shakhtar man on their books, as Willian was one of the first to use the team as a stepping stone to stardom.
Douglas Costa and Luiz Gustavo became the latest to leave Shakhtar last summer, with the former finding immediate success with Bayern Munich. Teixeira became the main attacking threat following his departure, and the 26-year-old has taken to his new role very well.
Here's a look at some of his highlights:
He does his best work as an attacking midfielder or second striker, where he gets to play off the main forward and use his raw athleticism to exploit the open space. Teixeira times his runs into the box to perfection, and he's a natural finisher in front of goal.
It's important to note that his numbers, while impressive, are obviously inflated from playing in the Ukrainian league, where Shakhtar face little quality opposition. Teixeira should keep on scoring in the Premier League, but he won't average better than a goal per match.
Bleacher Report UK's Sam Tighe thinks he would be a fantastic fit for Klopp's preferred system:
It’s important to note that while he has been pushed forward into a more advanced role, he is not playing a prima punta (No. 9) role in this side. He may be the main goal outlet, but there is an outright centre-forward occupying markers and creating space for him further ahead most of the time.
That means Klopp can only be thinking of one thing in attempting to sign him: He wants to play him just behind [Roberto] Firmino or [Daniel] Sturridge and truly begin crafting a similar system to his 4-2-3-1/4-4-4-1-1 at Dortmund. While Adam Lallana has been shown favour by the coach, his production (zero Premier League goals) is a massive concern considering the position he plays.
Landing Teixeira in January could prove tricky, as there's little time left to negotiate with Shakhtar, and the club seems determined to hold onto its star midfielder for now. The Reds have the spending power to meet Shakhtar's valuation, but they may prefer to take their time and wait until summer.
Meanwhile, Watford are reportedly hatching a plan to avoid paying Liverpool a fee of £5 million for the services of contract rebel Jerome Sinclair.
According to the Independent (h/t Daily Telegraph), the Pozzo family, who own the Hornets, as well as Granada and Udinese, could opt to sign the youngster for one of those clubs and loan him to Watford, circumventing a fee that would be set by an independent tribunal panel should Sinclair move to another Premier League club on a free transfer.
The 19-year-old seems destined for the exit door, and Klopp didn't hide his disappointment discussing the ongoing saga earlier this month, per the Times' Tony Barrett:
Klopp on Jerome Sinclair: "It's not important to get the highest wages of your career in your 1st year. It's important to get an education."— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 19, 2016
Losing the talented forward for just £5 million would be bad enough, but if the Pozzo family pulled off such a move and signed him for next to nothing, it would only hurt more for the Reds.
As reported by James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Sinclair is represented by Aidy Ward, the same man who engineered Raheem Sterling's move to Manchester City last summer.