Roberto Firmino to Liverpool: Reds steal a march on Manchester United after opening talks over move for Hoffenheim forward

Firmino appeared to be on his way to United but reports in Brazil have revealed that Liverpool are closing in on his signature

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The Independent Football

Liverpool are in talks to sign Manchester United transfer target Roberto Firmino after holding talks with the Brazil international's representative, according to reports.

The 23-year-old Hoffenheim striker appeared to be on way to United, with the club reported to have opened negotiations with a £13.1m offer. His agent fuelled those rumours last week when he confirmed that the Firmino is on his way to England, but it was soon revealed that Liverpool were hoping to hijack any deal with a higher offer.

The Bundesliga side are hoping to receive a fee closer to the £20m mark, and Liverpool were considering a move for the Brazilian that would see them move ahead of their Premier League rivals in the bidding war.

 

Brazilian newspaper O Globo  are reporting today that Liverpool have already opened official talks over a move, with the fee set to be at least €25m (£17.7m).

However, any move for Firmino is likely to be delayed due to his commitments at the Copa America with Brazil. The forward did his chances of a move the world of good when he netted the winner against South American rivals Venezuela at the weekend to send the Selecao through to the knockout stages of the competition.

Officials at Anfield are optimistic that Firmino will agree a five-year-contract once a fee is negotiated, and will go a long way to addressing the serious issues Liverpool had in front of goal last season with their strikers failing to hit anything close to their best.

Doubts remain over the futures of Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini, while Mario Balotelli could yet be on the move given his dismal debut year with the Reds. There are also fears over Daniel Sturridge’s long-term fitness after he suffered from serious calf and thigh injuries last season, and manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to bring in sufficient back-up to the England international should the worst strike again.

Firmino-Willian.jpg
Firmino celebrates his goal against Venezuela with Willian

Liverpool have already been the most active Premier League club in the transfer market so far this summer, having already completed the signings of four new players for a combined fee of less than £10m, given that both James Milner and Adam Bogdan joined on a free transfer.

Striker Danny Ings has also agreed to join the Reds after seeing his Burnley contract expire, although the club will have to pay around £6m in compensation given that he is under 24 years of age, and the completed £3.5m signing of Charlton defender Joe Gomez on Saturday saw the club press on with their summer plans.  

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