Liverpool’s interest in the Sporting Lisbon’s classy central defender Tiago Llori has hit a hitch which may severely hinder any attempts to sign him as a reinforcement for central defence.
Lisbon are currently unwilling to consider negotiating over more than 20 players who share the same representatives as their prized young forward Bruma – a talent linked to a number of Premier League clubs - because of problems in getting support in signing up the 18-year-old to a new contract.
Llori, who is a fast, tall defender with a big reputation in Portugal, is one of that group of players and the club’s general resistance to selling him explains why a figure of €20m (£16.9m) has been quoted – way beyond his realistic value. Liverpool do have an interest in the player and Sporting’s hand may be forced by their urgent need of money from the transfer market this summer. Sources in Portugal have suggested that Liverpool have offered €3.5m net (£2.9m) for the 20-year-old, who was born in London though who has played all of his youth football in Portugal, with the last seven years in Sporting’s youth ranks.
The club, who have distanced themselves from suggestions that they want to buy the Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama, remain some way off signing Shakhtar Donetsk’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan – for whom the Anfield club expect substantial competition from other European clubs. Shakhtar said Mkhitaryan had not turned up for pre-season training and insisted that he do so. “He did not come to the training session yesterday but he had to - we do not know why," Shakhtar's chief executive Sergei Palkin told Russian paper Sportsdaily.