Liverpool have reportedly had a £10 million bid for Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen rejected by the Catalan giants, who are hoping for twice that if they're to part with the German.
According to the Daily Mirror (h/t Jack de Menezes of the Independent), the Reds' interest comes "despite handing a new five-year contract to current No. 1 goalkeeper Simon Mignolet earlier this month."
Bleacher Report's Dean Jones ran the rule over the latest on Liverpool's attempts to sign the goalkeeper:
The 23-year-old is currently Barca's cup and Champions League goalkeeper, but in La Liga, he finds Claudio Bravo firmly ahead of him in the pecking order. He has made just four appearances in the competition this season.
Football journalist Dermot Corrigan believed the stopper struggled to shine in the Chilean's absence:
Ter Stegen not exactly making best of chance to impress in all comps with Bravo out injured.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) September 20, 2015
Ter Stegen remains a reliable and highly promising young player, though, while at 27, Mignolet should be firmly approaching, if not already at the peak, of his powers, yet the Belgian has been unable to consistently shake off his inconsistent and error-prone reputation.
Football journalist Rafael Hernandez hailed Ter Stegen's potential and highlighted his distribution as a particular strength:
Ter Stegen is one player set for stardom, incredible goalkeeper and adds just too much to Barça’s backline with his passing game.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 13, 2016
Bravo will keep his spot as starter in the league and ter Stegen in the cup, it’s a privilege having two reliable goalkeepers.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 13, 2016
Though De Menezes noted the young 'keeper is unhappy with his current level of game time—something not likely to be an issue at Anfield, as he would almost certainly unseat Mignolet—it would seem like a strange decision from Barcelona to allow him to depart—even for £20 million.
Bravo will be 33 by the end of this season, while Ter Stegen will only be 24. While Bravo is also a strong player—hence his status as the club's La Liga No. 1—it would make more sense to keep the more long-term option at the club.
If Liverpool can snap him up, they will have done an excellent bit of business and addressed a key problem area.
The club are also looking to improve their goal output, having scored just 30 goals this season—only two more than the uninspiring Manchester United—and to that end, they are pursuing Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Alex Teixeira.
According to Gustavo Hofman of ESPN Brasil (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson), the Reds are nearing an agreement with the Ukrainian outfit after seeing a bid of £24.5 million turned down. Though they are hoping for £38 million, "the negotiations have been going well and the player [sic] and should be concluded very soon."
Football writer Dave O'Connell welcomed the move and noted that along with Ter Stegen, the capture of Teixeira would see Liverpool making full use of the money earned from the sale of Raheem Sterling:
If reports are true, Teixeira and Ter Stegen could be got for a combined total of £58M. Only £9M more than we received for Sterling. #LFC— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) January 26, 2016
If reports in Brazil are to be believed Alex Teixeira is set to become a Liverpool player. Could reach a cup final tonight too. Happy days.— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) January 26, 2016
The Brazilian is a creative and versatile attacking player who can operate across the advanced midfield positions, but unlike many of his compatriots who play similar roles, Teixeira is a consistent performer.
Teixeira has scored 26 goals in as many appearances this season and assisted on a further five, per Transfermarkt.
Will Liverpool finish in the top four if they sign Ter Stegen and Teixeira?
The 26-year-old has also featured 45 times in the Champions League, so if Liverpool qualify for the competition at the end of the season, his experience will be hugely helpful next season.
It seems likely the club will tie up the deal before the end of the window, and his arrival would give manager Jurgen Klopp a wealth of attacking midfield options, including Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana.
Despite being favoured so far under the German, Lallana would seem most likely to make way for Teixeira, though with Christian Benteke struggling to fit into the team, he could opt to push one up front or play them as a false nine in place of the Belgian.
The defence still needs to be a priority for Liverpool, but Teixeira is an excellent player who can add plenty of firepower to a team often struggling to blow others away.