Liverpool linked with swoop for Belgian star Zakaria Bakkali
Liverpool, 20/1 to win the Champions League this season, are set to test the resolve of Dutch giants PSV with a bid for bright young Belgian Zakaria Bakkali.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is rumoured to be keen to lure the precocious talent to Anfield, and add the fleet-footed winger to an ever-growing, talented core of young players.
A PSV academy product, Bakkali is fast and technically gifted, and would be a signing in-line with Rodgers’ recent transfer philosophy, joining the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Lazar Markovic at the club.
Despite a recent double swoop for seasoned Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, the former Chelsea youth coach’s transfer policy seems to favour potential over experience.
With his contract at PSV due to expire next summer, Bakkali is available for a fee reported to be in the region of £6m. He would represent a bargain for Rodgers, who should have significant funds to spend following the departure of talisman Luis Suarez.
The youngster plays predominantly on the left, so would compete with new signing Markovic and England whizz Raheem Sterling for a spot.
Liverpool are also supposedly close to convincing Bakkali’s compatriot, World Cup sensation Divock Origi, to plump for a summer switch to Anfield. If both starlets link up at Liverpool, they will join an influx of Belgian talent, with exciting young attackers Adnan Januzaj and Romelu Lukaku already shining in the Premier League, alongside more established performers like Eden Hazard.
Bakkali, 18, has also attracted attention from Liverpool’s rivals Spurs, and La Liga side Valencia, but it is thought the Reds are in poll position to land the much sought-after attacker.
As the youngest Eredivisie player to ever score a hat-trick, the rapid wideman went on to make 22 total appearances for PSV, in what was his debut season, last term. He is part of an impressive set-up at the Dutch club, who also face the prospect of losing 20-year-old Netherlands international Memphis Depay.
A host of Premier League suitors are apparently looking to poach Bakkali’s clubmate, who netted twice at the World Cup for Louis van Gaal’s side, including the winning goal against Australia, and also found the back of the net 14 times for PSV last season.
Bakkali, meanwhile, has one cap for Belgium already, making now an ideal time for Rodgers to step in and snap up the teenager, before other clubs take a closer interest.
Liverpool, who are 10/1 to win the Premier League this season, need to keep adding quality to their squad, and the potential acquisition of Bakkali would be a step in the right direction.