Liverpool are reportedly "leading the chase" among Premier League clubs to sign Yaya Toure this summer, after bookmakers slashed odds on the Ivory Coast midfielder leaving Manchester City for Anfield, while the Reds are also in the hunt to sign AS Roma's Leandro Paredes.
Metro's Jamie Sanderson provided quotes from Ladbrokes News spokesman Richard Marsh on Sunday after odds of the midfielder moving to Liverpool were reported at 5-1: "Pep’s arrival all but spells out the end for Yaya Toure at Man City, and if he sticks around in the Premier League, it’s Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp who are leading the chase."
Pep Guardiola will arrive at the Etihad Stadium when he leaves the Bayern Munich helm this summer, and it's possible he could choose to sell Toure again after offloading him to City from Barcelona back in 2010.
However, Toure's agent, Dimitry Seluk, spoke to the Sun's Antony Kastrinakis on March 16, and he demanded a new contract for his player before assuring fans the 32-year-old wouldn't play for another English club:
In the next week, we must find a solution about whether Yaya will prolong his contract with City or he will go to another club. But if he leaves City, it will surely not be for another English club.
Supporters love Yaya, and he loves them. He does not want to play against City with another English club. How can he go to another English team and forget the love City fans have showed him?
They hired a plane with a banner to say "Happy Birthday, Yaya." He will never forget that.
Those comments put a dent in Liverpool's hopes of recruiting the player, not to mention the fact City will most likely drive a hard bargain for their star, who has just over one year remaining on his current contract.
There is the question, however, as to how much an ageing Toure could improve Klopp's engine room. Toure will turn 33 before the end of this season, while Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and James Milner have formed an impressive midfield core, as noted by Bleacher Report's Jack Lusby:
Liverpool's fluid midfield proving the BT Sport dunces' "I couldn't tell you what position he plays" pre-amble to be total BS.— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) March 2, 2016
Combined with his reported £220,000-a-week wages and any transfer fee the Reds would have to pay for Toure, an investment in him may be considered too big a risk for Liverpool to take this summer, despite their tag as favourites.
Elsewhere, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Monday the Merseysiders are ready to battle against City for the signature of Roma midfielder Paredes (h/t Sky Sports).
GianlucaDiMarzio.com translator David Amoyal added the Reds have taken their scouting process one step further and have sent representatives to watch the youngster in action:
Paredes has also been linked to Manchester City, now Liverpool scouting him in person— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) March 6, 2016
Klopp is entering his first summer transfer window in charge at Anfield, and there's a chance some players may be deemed surplus to requirements, with the likes of Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva on the fringes this season.
Paredes is a former Argentina under-17 international who made 29 appearances for Boca Juniors before embarking on his Italian adventure, but the Premier League will reportedly come calling for his talents this summer.