Liverpool will reportedly duke it out with Arsenal for the signature of Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who is said to be targeting a return to the Premier League and has a north London comeback in his sights.
The former Tottenham Hotspur star wants a move back to England's top flight, according to Spanish outlet Diario Gol (h/t Chris Beesley of the Liverpool Echo), and Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is thought to be interested.
But Modric is also reported to be leaning toward a north London return after enjoying his four-year stint at White Hart Lane so much prior to his 2012 move to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The Croatia international turned 32 in September and may be viewed as an asset with an expiration date, but Yahoo's Andrew Gaffney recently suggested his age won't be of major concern:
Modric's reliance on passing and creation has seen him earn comparisons with the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Andres Iniesta, the former of whom won his last Scudetto with Juventus in 2015 at 36 years of age.
Liverpool or Arsenal may therefore overlook the Real star's advanced years if it meant adding one of Europe's best pass masters to their ranks.
Beesley noted Liverpool's impending acquisition of RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita as a potential replacement for Emre Can—who could leave for free in June—as an addition to an already burgeoning midfield contingent on Merseyside.
Modric has another two years to run on his Real contract, which expires in the summer of 2020, and ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan provided comments from manager Zinedine Zidane, who likely isn't ready to let the player go:
The veteran playmaker is one of the figures at the Bernabeu who has been present for all three of their UEFA Champions League triumphs in the past four years, and he would be missed in Madrid.
It seems particularly unlikely Real would sell key man Modric after such a disappointing season domestically, and Spanish football writer Simon Harrison remarked upon his ongoing influence in Spain's capital:
There isn't a team in the Premier League that wouldn't benefit from adding Modric to their squad, although it's debatable as to whether he would betray his old Spurs colleagues and make the move to rivals Arsenal.
Convincing the player to move to Merseyside may be problematic if Modric has his eyes set on London, but tempting Real into a sale at all this summer could be the bigger obstacle for any interested party.