EXCLUSIVE: Gvardiol leads Liverpool's four-man defensive shortlist

Jacque Talbot
Jacque Talbot
  • Updated:
  • 4 min read
Josko Gvardiola, Croatia, World Cup 2022
© ProShots

Liverpool have an interest in Josko Gvardiol but believe they will struggle to purchase him over their rivals, FootballTransfers can reveal.

The centre-back is also liked by Real Madrid and Manchester City, and with the Reds having Jude Bellingham and Matheus Nunes as being their top summer targets, the side believe they do not have the financial might to bring the highly rated youngster in as well.

RB Leipzig have a buyout clause in his contract (2024) worth €110m and they will ask clubs to meet that entirely.

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Consequently, Jurgen Klopp and the recruitment staff have drawn up a preliminary list of other left-sided defensive targets ahead of the next window.

Antonio Silva of Benfica is on their shortlist, as is Goncalo Inacio, who’s at Sporting CP, and Jarrad Branthwaite, now at PSV Eindhoven on loan from Everton.

Sources in Portugal have told FootballTransfers that Inacio may be a couple of years off the Premier League level but that Sporting would be open to a move. They have also informed us that there has been no serious level of enquiry yet for either Primeira Liga player at this point, with the upcoming window some months off yet.

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Silva is one of Jorge Mendes’ clients and there’s an anticipation that he will soon get a move to England’s elite division, however.

Branthwaite is hugely impressing those in the Netherlands. His loan spell there - something he really pushed for over the summer - ends in June. In addition to Liverpool, there is also ‘serious interest’ from Roma we are told. Everton may favour selling to the Italian side owing to their rivalry with the Reds.

Other Liverpool targets

Bellingham remains Liverpool's number one target
© ProShots - Bellingham remains Liverpool's number one target

Bellingham still prefers a Liverpool move above all else but missing out on a Champions League place could prove a sticking point.

As we revealed last month, Liverpool have set aside a budget for the player and the club’s hierarchy have already had contact with the player’s side, with meetings taking place in their London offices last year. We understand there is similar contact with the younger Jobe Bellingham. Those close to the brothers have a good relationship with Liverpool but, especially in the case of the younger sibling at Birmingham City, they are trying to keep things out of the public domain as much as possible.

Mason Mount has been in direct contact with the Reds. Chelsea have been unable to seal a fresh deal with the England international despite another round of talks taking place in January. He is a huge target but the Blues are still trying to seal his future at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, Kouadio Kone of Borussia Monchengladbach and Khephren Thuram of Nice are still being monitored after Liverpool opted not to make a move in January. Sources in France anticipate Thuram leaving this summer window and the Ligue 1 side are not expecting to recoup a massive fee for him.