Anderlecht youngster Dennis Praet is ready to make his switch to one of Europe's "top clubs," according to one of his international coaches, and Liverpool are said to be preparing a £22.5 million bid. Plus, the Reds are reported to be targeting Stuttgart's Timo Werner.
Belgium under-21 manager Enzo Scifo spoke to Italian outlet Fanta Gazzetta and claimed his charge is mature enough to make the kind of transfer he's long been tipped to complete (h/t Metro's Tom Olver): "About Praet, I can say he is ready to embark on an adventure with a top club."
Praet moved to Anderlecht from Genk at the age of 16, finishing his apprenticeship in the former's academy before graduating to the first team in 2011, where he has since become one of their stars.
Liverpool sold Raheem Sterling to Manchester City last summer before promoting Jordon Ibe to senior status in their ranks, but Olver's report claims the club are readying a £22.5 million offer for Praet.
Kristian Terreur of Belgian newspaper Het Leetste Nieuws said there may be little truth to the speculation, however:
Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland
@Andy_LFC_Palin Praet will leave at the end of the season. Only linked to Liverpool because Klopp said he liked him a year ago.1/18/2016, 4:41:27 PM
Manager Jurgen Klopp also has the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to rely upon out wide, but Roberto Firmino's move into a more centralised striker role may create room for another arrival in attack.
Olver also provided quotes from Praet's agent, Jacques Lichtenstein, who previously hinted his client had learned all that there was to learn in his current setting: "What can he gain by spending one more season at Anderlecht? He has already played for three years and has contributed to three back-to-back league titles."
One would be inclined to agree the 21-year-old has perhaps won all the trophies he could look to claim at Anderlecht, but that may be a reflection more on the quality of the team than him as an individual.
According to Belgian football expert John Chapman, Anderlecht president Roger Vanden Stock has claimed Praet is sidetracked by his pursuit of a transfer away from the club:
John Chapman @BelgoFoot
Anderlecht President Roger Vanden Stock says Praet chooses his matches & only thinks about a transfer. RVS also warns all to pull together.2/4/2016, 9:08:45 AM
Liverpool may do well to secure the talents of a player who's been treated as one of Belgium's hottest prospects for several years, but £22.5 million could be considered too steep for a player untested outside his native land.
A cheaper alternative to beef up Klopp's attack could be for Germany under-21 striker Werner, and Winner Sports reported the 19-year-old has been identified as a target for the Premier League giants (h/t the Daily Star's Jamie Anderson).
Werner has scored five goals and made five assists for Stuttgart this season, not to mention boasting a prolific record in each of the Germany youth teams he's represented, all the way from under-15s through to under-21 level.
Liverpool front man Christian Benteke became the club's second-most expensive purchase last summer when he joined for £32.5 million. However, confidence in his talents looks to be waning after he has played just 87 minutes in his last five Premier League outings.
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