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Transfer news: Liverpool eyeing Barcelona defender Martin Montoya as Brendan Rodgers aims to strengthen Premier League title assault

Reports claim that the Reds' managing director Ian Ayre flew to Barcelona to try and negotiate a deal for the Spain Under-21 international

Liverpool are reported to be in talks with Barcelona regarding a possible move for defender Martin Montoya in January as Brendan Rodgers looks to strengthen his defence.

Montoya, a Spain Under-21 international, can play in both full-back positions, and his current deal with the Catalan club runs out in the summer.

Both the 22-year-old and his agent have spoken of their desire to extend his stay at the Nou Camp, but The Guardian are reporting that Liverpool are keen on negotiating a deal that will see Montoya move to Anfield on a permanent basis in January.

He has featured sparingly in the Barcelona first team due to Brazilian Dani Alves’s excellent form in recent seasons, and although talks over a new contract have taken place, Rodgers remains hopeful that a deal can be made, with managing director Ian Ayre heading to Barcelona on Thursday to negotiate a transfer fee.

Rodgers has identified the full-back positions as specific areas that require strengthening, even though he added four defenders to his squad in the summer through Aly Cissokho, Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure and Tiago Ilori.

The impressive Merseyside derby performance of 20-year-old Jon Flanagan last weekend doesn’t appear to have convinced Rodgers that the side can maintain their Premier League title challenge without bringing in fresh faces, although the possible addition of Montoya could see him deployed on the left after Jose Enrique was ruled out for at least 10 weeks after having surgery on his right knee.

That leaves just Cissokho, Flanagan and Glen Johnson as specialist full-backs available to Rodgers, although both Sakho and Toure have played on the left and right respectively during their short time with the club – Rodgers started with all four of his centre-back options in the same team in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton back in September.