Tottenham Hotspur will reportedly attempt a £25 million swoop on Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson this summer in the hope their offer of Champions League football can tempt the midfielder to switch. Plus, the Reds are stepping up their interest in Piotr Zielinski.
According to the Sun's Alan Nixon, second-placed Spurs are ready to give manager Mauricio Pochettino their backing after a triumphant campaign and will offer the funds needed to lure Henderson away from Anfield.
The transfer has been discussed "at the highest level" of White Hart Lane, according to Nixon's report, and it's suggested a summer spending spree will convince Pochettino to remain in north London amid a swell of interest in his talents.
Henderson may be a tough target to rise away from Merseyside, though, given he stands as a senior Liverpool figure these days and recently celebrated his 300th appearance for the Reds (including friendlies):
Spurs would also be weakening a direct Premier League rival if they did manage to sign Henderson, but Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp undoubtedly would not be keen on the idea of selling someone so central to his squad.
England playmaker Henderson has continued his development since moving to Anfield from Sunderland in 2011, and it would likely need to be his decision to leave if he did open up to a move away this summer.
Klopp has the likes of James Milner, Emre Can, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva as options in midfield, while Marko Grujic will join at the end of this season, but Henderson, 25, is arguably more valuable to the squad than any of those.
Liverpool reportedly scouted the Poland international on Saturday as Empoli ran to a 1-1 draw at home with Sampdoria, where Zielinski played the entire 90 minutes, per Football Insider's Gianluigi Carrozzini.
The 21-year-old has started in all 27 of his league appearances for Empoli this season, which has led Bleacher Report's Jack Lusby to tip him as a potentially good pickup for the Reds:
Piotr Zielinski is a nice, under-the-radar addition, but not sure what role he'd play beyond backup in attack.— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) March 1, 2016
Zielinski has scored three goals and made four assists in Serie A this term and has played 2,350 minutes for Empoli—the second-highest total of any outfield player at the club.
Klopp unearthed such Polish gems such as Robert Lewandowski, Lukasz Piszczek and Jakub Blaszczykowski during his days at Borussia Dortmund, and Udinese's Zielinski may be the next emerging talent in his sights.