By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Liverpool have made an approach for Barcelona centre-back Jeremy Mathieu, according to a report.
French football site Get French Football News, citing Le Parisien, claim the Merseysiders are in contact with the representatives of France international Mathieu about a summer deal.
It is said that Besiktas have lodged a bid of £5.9million for the 32-year-old, but he would prefer a move to the Premier League.
— Florian Fieschi (@FloFieschi) July 16, 2016
Mathieu has two years remaining on his Barcelona deal but the club will listen to offers for him this summer after signing Samuel Umtiti, who is also a left sided centre-back, from Lyon for £21million earlier this week.
With Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano the established centre-back pairing at Camp Nou, Mathieu is likely to have a bit-part role if he stayed at the club.
By contrast, Liverpool have entered the market for a new centre-back after being hit by two defender injury blows ahead of the new season, according to a report.
The Liverpool Echo report that the club want an experienced defender to fill the void left by achilles injuries to Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho, and the departures of Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure and Steven Caulker.
Dejan Lovren and new signing Joel Matip remain the obvious candidates to strike up a defensive partnership for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but they would be left with no recognised senior cover in that position.
Liverpool could call upon versatile defender Andre Wisdom, 23, who has spent the last three seasons out on loan at Derby, West Brom and Norwich respectively, although he has struggled to make it as a first-team player.
Wisdom has been widely expected to leave Anfield this summer in search of regular football but a move could be put on hold until a new defender is secured.
Another 23-year-old Liverpool fringe defender Tiago Ilori could have been considered for the start of the campaign but he has been selected to represent Portugal at the Olympics in August.
In other Liverpool transfer news, Klopp will wrap up a £30million-plus transfer after a bid was submitted.