Liverpool may have ended their pursuit of Jude Bellingham, but an alternative midfield signing could be on the way to Anfield in the summer instead, according to reports.
With multiple positions in need to strengthening in the summer, the Reds' recruitment team decided that they will be better served to spread their summer transfer fund across the team, rather than spending the majority of the money on just one player in Jude Bellingham.
Set to finish outside of the Champions League places this season, Liverpool will have a smaller transfer budget to sign new players ahead of the 2023/24 season. However, Jurgen Klopp has identified a suitable alternative to the Borussia Dortmund star to slot straight into his Liverpool team.
According to Spanish publication Fichajes, Liverpool are eyeing Barcelona's Frenkie De Jong to come into the side.
With Barcelona once again needing to balance the books this summer - they reportedly need to free up €200 million from player sales and their wage bill - De Jong could present the perfect player to sell to Liverpool.
While the 25-year-old's contract runs until 2026, Barcelona could look to cash in on De Jong if presented with the right offer. Indeed, Manchester United worked hard to sign the Dutchman last summer, agreeing a transfer fee with the La Liga leaders, but De Jong chose not to leave.
An incredibly gifted technician, De Jong could still opt to leave should another summer of uncertainty preside, but it could be Liverpool, not Manchester United, working to bring him to England.
Liverpool's need for a midfielder is certainly a pressing issue, not least because Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner's contracts all run out in the summer, while Arthur Melo's loan deal at the club ends.
Quality is also of paramount importance, something De Jong has in abundance. His versatility will also help him slot into the side, as he's able to play from deep and dictate play, or in a more advanced role where he can provide killer passes to the abundance of Reds forwards.
Transfermarkt values De Jong at €60 million, an affordable price for an impressive player. A similar fee also ensures Liverpool can sign other stars, unlike the quoted £100 million plus figures for Bellingham.
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.