Liverpool are set to make a surprise return for a midfield target that they missed out on last summer.
The Reds have recently pulled out of the race for Jude Bellingham according to multiple reports, admitting that they can't afford to compete for him. With Liverpool currently eighth in the table and staring at the prospect of missing out on Champions League football, splashing out over £100 million on one player is a luxury that Jurgen Klopp has decided he can't afford.
This has led to a plethora of midfield targets being linked with moves to Anfield – but now, Klopp could actually return to a star that he originally wanted.
The Mirror have made the bold claim that Liverpool will resurrect their interest in Aurelien Tchouameni, who they attempted to bring to the Premier League last season.
Back then, the Frenchman was at Monaco but chose Real Madrid over the Reds – just as Bellingham could well do this summer. Tchouameni has struggled to break into Los Blancos' midfield on a regular basis, however, seeing himself behind the evergreen Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the pecking order.
Tchouameni's countryman Eduardo Camavinga has featured far more for Real this term – albeit at left-back, at times – while Fede Valverde has moved from a right-wing berth under Carlo Ancelotti to slot in centrally, as he did in the 2-0 Champions League win against Chelsea this week.
The report states that the European Champions would not consider anything less than £90m for Tchouameni – some £30m cheaper than Bellingham could possibly cost – though a loan seems more realistic. The midfielder himself would likely not want to give up on his Bernabeu career a year in, while the opportunity of more game-time at the top level for a prospective talent would likely appeal to Madrid chiefs.
Real Madrid are believed to be in the market for new full-backs this summer, along with Bellingham as a potential midfield target and another forward to succeed the 35-year-old Karim Benzema in time.
Aurelien Tchouameni is valued at €90m by Transfermarkt.
More Liverpool stories
Liverpool's failed pursuit of Jude Bellingham has led to discussion over who is to blame, with This Is Anfield writing that the fault lies with both Jurgen Klopp and ownership FSG for FourFourTwo.
The Reds are looking at a number of possible alternatives, including Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich, Inter Milan star Nicolo Barella, Brighton midfielder Moises Caidedo and Chelsea fringe midfielder Conor Gallagher. Ex-Red Jose Enrique has questioned whether the Merseysiders even needed Bellingham, anyway.
Meanwhile, there could be significant outgoings from Anfield this summer. Mohamed Salah has apparently enquired about a move to Spain, Jurgen Klopp is a target for Real Madrid if Carlo Ancelotti departs and Roberto Firmino has reportedly agreed a deal with Los Blancos when his Liverpool contract expires.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.