Koln sporting director Jorg Schmadtke has hinted that a £15 million bid from Liverpool might be enough to test his resolve with left-back Jonas Hector.
According to German outlet Kicker (h/t the Daily Star's Marc Williams) the Reds received a boost in their pursuit of Hector when Barcelona seemingly ended their interest in him by acquiring Lucas Digne. Schmadtke said: "There has not been any direct contact with Barcelona over Hector. I cannot say £15 million is not enough for him, because I never received such an offer."
Left-back has been a problem area for some time at Anfield, with Jose Enrique failing to make the grade and Alberto Moreno frequently proving a defensive liability.
Hector would be an outstanding candidate to provide an upgrade on the Reds' current options, as he is not only incisive going forward but solid defensively as well.
Bleacher Report UK's Jack Lusby believes he'd be a strong acquisition:
Indeed, he had an excellent season in the Bundesliga which saw him called up for Joachim Low's Germany side at UEFA Euro 2016. Here are some of his domestic highlights:
As WhoScored.com revealed, the left-back is particularly good at preventing deliveries into the box:
Here's a look at some of his other impressive numbers for club and country in recent times, per Squawka:
|Jonas Hector 2015-16 Bundesliga and Euro 2016 Stats|
A move to Liverpool and the chance to work under manager Jurgen Klopp would likely be quite tempting for the 26-year-old, probably more so than another mid-table finish with Koln.
The Bundesliga outfit could be receptive to offers, so Liverpool should test the waters.
In other news, the Reds are running out of time if they hope to sell Mario Balotelli to a Chinese Super League team. According to Filippo Bonsignore of Italian outlet Corriere della Sera (via Sport Witness, h/t James Cambridge of the Express), the transfer window in China closes on Friday.
There may yet be time for a deal, though, as "talks have now been revisited" according to Cambridge, with the striker having no future at Anfield.
The 25-year-old is younger than the majority of the European-based players who've been lured to the Far East, but after netting just three goals last season whilst on loan with AC Milan, his options will be limited.
China may not provide Balotelli with the best platform to rebuild his career, but it's clear that he needs to leave Liverpool this summer.