Liverpool Transfer News: Latest on Faouzi Ghoulam, Ezri Konsa Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

Napoli's French defender Faouzi Ghoulam celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A football match between Spal and Napoli at Paolo Mazza Stadium in Ferrara on September 23, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI        (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool will reportedly be forced to give up their pursuit of Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam, who looks set to sign a contract extension at the Stadio San Paolo. Meanwhile, the Reds are said to be tracking Charlton Athletic defender Ezri Konsa.

Ghoulam's current contract in Naples is set to expire at the end of this season, but Italian website reported an agreement over a new four-year deal "is pretty close."

The Algeria international arrived in Italy from French club AS Saint-Etienne in 2014 and has established himself as one of the best players in Serie A in his position, while the Reds have experienced some difficult at left-back.

Ghoulam's most recent exploit in Italy was scoring the winner in Napoli's 3-2 victory over SPAL on Saturday, and BT Sport commentator Adam Summerton was full of praise for the defender's contribution:

Liverpool fielded midfielder James Milner at left-back for most of last season after manager Jurgen Klopp lost faith in Alberto Moreno, but Andrew Robertson was signed from Hull City to reinforce the position over the summer.

Nevertheless, Ghoulam would represent a significant step up in the role, and Squawka recently detailed where he compares alongside one of football's most accomplished attacking full-backs:

Robertson has made a fine start to life at Anfield, while Moreno's performances have improved of late, meaning Ghoulam may no longer be considered as essential a recruit as previously thought.

Liverpool may still have a chance to go after his signature, as reported his new contract could have a €30 million (£26.7 million) release clause, although agent Jorge Mendes wants that sum taken down to just €18 million (£16 million).

Elsewhere, the Mirror (h/t Daily Star's Alex Harris) reported Everton and Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Charlton centre-back Konsa, and the League One club are preparing for offers this January.

The Reds were linked with targets at centre-back over the summer but missed out and have experienced difficulties in defence since, although Klopp told BT Sport his issues at the back are manageable:

The Merseysiders have recent transfer history with the Addicks and signed former Charlton starlet Joe Gomez in 2015, and the England under-21 international has made a promising start to life at Anfield when fit to play.

Konsa was a part of the England squad that won the Under-20 World Cup earlier this year, although there's no mention as to how much his signature would set either Everton or Liverpool back.