Who is Leny Yoro? Liverpool face Man United transfer competition for £100m teenager

Leny Yoro in action for Lille
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Philippe Lecoeur/FEP/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Liverpool will be preparing for the summer transfer window which opens on Friday as a new era begins at Anfield, and fresh reports have emerged regarding a move for one of Europe's most exciting defenders.

Arne Slot will be the Reds' new head coach and will be looking to shape the club's first-team squad in his image after succeeding legendary German manager Jurgen Klopp. Rumours are already swirling about which players Liverpool could target this summer.

The centre-back department has been the area of the squad that has arguably seen the most speculation around potential reinforcements, and one player already being linked with the Reds is Leny Yoro, who has been valued at €100m by Lille president Olivier Letang.

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The Lille centre-back has been tipped to make a big-money move this summer, with the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester United also supposedly in the race for his signature. According to French news outlet L'Equipe, Liverpool have moved ahead of PSG in the battle to sign Yoro this summer; however, it has also been stated that Real Madrid may have the edge over the Reds.

So what more do we know about the latest defender to be linked with a move to Liverpool?

Yoro is a product of the Lille academy and has progressed through the club's youth ranks to become a first-team regular this season. The 18-year-old was handed his senior debut in May 2022 when he was just 16 years old; he replaced former Manchester United star Angel Gomes as a late substitute in a 3-1 win over Nice in Ligue 1.

Before that, Yoro had featured for Lille's 'B team' in the fifth tier of French football. The centre-back was also a regular figure for Lille's Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League, featuring four times in the 2021/22 season when he was just 16-17 years old.

Now Yoro has established himself as a first-team regular for Lille, featuring 44 times in all competitions this season. The defender has just five caps for France across Under-23 and Under-21 levels after being handed his debut by Thierry Henry.

What has been said about Leny Yoro's future at Lille?

Lille boss Paulo Fonseca was recently full of praise for Yoro and the ability the defender has at such a young age. Fonseca also made a prediction about Yoro's future, which could hint at a transfer this summer amid links to Liverpool.

"To me the players don't have age, they have quality," he told BBC Sport in April. "Because here we don't have the possibility to buy very expensive players, we find a way to make the young players grow.

"I believe Leny [Yoro] in the next year will be at one of the best clubs in Europe. He started here at 16 with us. He is very ambitious, but very disciplined.

"He grew a lot but he is a kid with a big maturity, with big quality. He's very focused, very concentrated, he wants to learn every day and I have no doubt in modern football he will be one of the best central defenders in the world."

Real Madrid 'favouirtes'

European champions Real Madrid are seen as favourites to secure the signing of Yoro, according to the Athletic's David Ornstein. He adds that the Reds and Man United are 'actively pursuing a deal' in what is seen as a 'unique market opportunity'.

"Liverpool + Man Utd actively pursuing deal to sign Leny Yoro from Lille," he said on X, formerly known as Twitter. "#LFC & #MUFC see Real Madrid as favourites but pushing hard for 18yo centre-back - viewed as unique market opportunity separate to other targets. #PSG keen too."