Liverpool target summer swoop for young duo Byram and Kondogbia
Liverpool’s top four chances (6/1 with Coral) may have all-but gone following successive heavy Premier League defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal, after previously going on a great run, but the Reds are still eyeing up new recruits for next season.
The likes of young talent Sam Byram of Leeds United and Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia have been linked with summer moves to Anfield.
Right-sided star Byram, 21, has long been linked with a transfer to the Premier League, as the Whites’ academy product has highly impressed ever since his first team debut in 2012.
The England Under-20s call-up has been a key player for Leeds the past three seasons, alongside many other fellow Elland Road youth graduates and started as a right back, but has been used more often as a winger this term.
Southampton, who had a £4.5m bid rejected for Byram last summer, and Sunderland are also still reportedly interested in the youngster, but will apparently have to cough up about £8m to secure his services this time.
In 33 league Championship appearances this campaign, Byram has netted three times whilst playing further up the pitch, and made as many assists. Liverpool see him as a ready-made replacement for attacking full back Glen Johnson, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
France international Kondogbia, meanwhile, could be lined up in place of legendary Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who is to join MLS franchise LA Galaxy in the summer.
The 22-year-old Frenchman has been a vital part of Monaco’s success this season, despite suffering a hamstring injury for about two months. He tends to play in a further back midfield role, but has still managed two goals, one of which was in the Champions League against Arsenal at the Emirates.
But former Lens and Sevilla star Kondogbia is not known for his ability in front of net, and would provide excellent cover for Brendan Rodgers’ sometimes shaky defence, whilst also giving support to the attack.
While the Reds may be unable to catch up on the top four, and sit seven points behind Manchester City, they are still in the FA Cup. They face Blackburn Rovers in the semis, and are 9/4 to win the competition.