Liverpool transfer stance after €60m bid accepted and Richard Hughes 'opportunistic' vow

Arne Slot and Richard Hughes
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Sitting alongside Arne Slot at his media unveiling as Liverpool’s new head coach last week, incoming sporting director Richard Hughes made an honest admission about the Reds’ transfer plans.

“It's been great to work with Arne,” he told the gathered media. “Clearly, it was a difficult position at first as we both had jobs to finish where we were and, of course, there was an important season to finish at Liverpool.

“Since then we've been in communication daily on many things, logistics, organisation and, of course, preparing the transfer window, which is something we will know more about as we go on.

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“Clearly, the more time we spend with the current squad - which we're both delighted to have inherited, it's a very talented squad. We need to improve and we need to improve on the training pitch, first and foremost.

“With the window open we will always be opportunistic if we can, if we can improve certain areas as we go we will look to do that.”

That opportunistic approach is nothing new for Liverpool, having, in recent years, regularly pounced to take advantage of a transfer release clause, snap up a quality player when suddenly made available for transfer or land a target for what they consider to be a bargain fee.

The arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch arguably all fell into such boxes last summer, while the same applies for previous signings Cody Gakpo, Fabio Carvalho, Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate, Thiago Alcantara, Takumi Minamino, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alisson Becker, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Diaz is arguably the most opportunistic of them all. Signed in a deal worth an initial £37m from FC Porto in January 2022, the Colombian had originally been earmarked as a signing for the following summer.

However, their hand was forced after Tottenham Hotspur opened negotiations with the Portuguese outfit. Confirming the forward’s availability and negotiating the fee in the process, Liverpool were then free to swoop in and hijack the transfer from under Spurs’ nose, safe in the knowledge Diaz favoured a switch to Anfield.

Two and a half years on and a similar opportunity could technically be about to present itself as the Reds continue to monitor the situation of Lille defender Leny Yoro.

The 18-year-old is already known to be available for transfer ahead of his contract expiring next summer, and Liverpool are poised to pounce if given encouragement that he would accept a move to Anfield.

Of course they are not alone, with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid also interested in the young centre-back.

And following reports in France suggesting the Red Devils have had a bid accepted for the Frenchman, the ECHO’s sister site the Manchester Evening News report that Lille have accepted an offer worth between €60m and €70m from United for Yoro.

Consequently, the going price for the defender is set. But unlike the case with Diaz in 2022, in this instance, such a bid is currently not expected to trigger Liverpool into action.

The Reds’ transfer stance regarding Yoro remains unchanged. It is understood that club bosses still expect the defender to move to Real Madrid, with the La Liga giants reported as his preferred destination throughout this transfer saga.

Madrid are reportedly said to be happy to wait until 2025 to sign the defender on a free transfer if Lille don’t agree to a package worth less than £60m with them, well aware that Yoro favours a move to the Bernabeu.

As a result, the decision will come down to the player. While Lille might push him towards Old Trafford, he has so far waited for Real Madrid throughout the summer. If that continues to remain his stance, despite the Ligue 1 side perhaps hoping an accepted bid elsewhere would force the La Liga outfit to meet their demands, then nothing changes.

The Red Devils’ bid for the defender could ultimately trigger a resolution when it comes to the player’s future, forcing the involved parties’ hand one way or the other.

Following United’s bid, Liverpool will no doubt continue to monitor the situation, lying in wait just in case Yoro’s Real Madrid resolve falters. Consequently, Hughes' opportunistic transfer vow could also be about to be tested.

But as far as the Reds are concerned he is still expected to move to the Bernabeu, with United set to be left disappointed as a result despite their accepted €60m-€70m bid.