Liverpool are reportedly ready to promote from within rather than add Thiago Alcantara to their midfield ranks this summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been heavily linked with Thiago this summer, after the Bayern Munich star made it clear he wants a new challenge.
However, the Premier League champions have yet to stump up the cash to match Bayern’s £27m valuation, with the club keen not to overpay in a market impacted by Covid-19.
But amid the talk of Klopp needing to freshen up his midfield, observers would be forgiven for forgetting about another option the manager has at his disposal.
Marko Grujic has been back at Liverpool this summer, having spent four-and-a-half seasons on loan since arriving at Anfield from Red Star Belgrade in a £6.3million deal.
The 24-year-old has been given some playing time during pre-season, after making 31 appearances for Hertha Berlin last term during a second season on loan at the Bundesliga club.
There had been speculation Hertha would look to sign him permanently, with Liverpool seeking around £20m for his signature.
But Grujic’s agent has quashed talk of an Anfield exit, saying the Premier League champions now want to keep the Serbia international.
“Liverpool want to keep him. That could change in January at the earliest,” Fali Ramadani told Kicker , cited by Get German Football News.
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
The Reds remain keen on Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, but Georginio Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona.
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Grujic has shown his versatility while at Hertha, having played mainly in centre midfield but also on the right, as an attacking midfielder and as a holding player.
So while he wouldn’t bring the experience of an established top-level player like former Barcelona star Thiago, Klopp will be running the rule over him in terms of providing back-up to the likes of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho.
However, ex-Bayern Munich chief Uli Hoeness has suggested Liverpool will continue to monitor Thiago in the hope of landing him in a cut-price deal.
The Bundesliga club’s former president reckons the midfielder has already agreed a deal with either the Reds or their fierce rivals Manchester United.
“We offered him a great four-year contract but in the last minute he changed his mind and told us he wants a new challenge,” Hoeness told Sport1 .
“He probably has an agreement with Liverpool or Manchester United, or with both. Both clubs have not come to us with an offer.
“They are bluffing and want to blackmail us by waiting until the last week and then make a cheap offer.
“Bayern must decide whether they want to play this game or stand their ground and keep Thiago.”
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