By Matt Farr
Liverpool have identified West Ham’s Pedro Obiang as a potential solution to their defensive-midfield problems, according to a report.
The Sun claim that Jurgen Klopp is set to make a move for the 24-year-old enforcer in the summer, as part of his plans to undergo a major overhaul of the squad.
It is also believed that the Anfield chief wants to add at least four new players to his ranks, to re-establish his side as a threat in both the Premier League and Champions League.
Obiang has been a consistent performer for West Ham this season, and has appeared in 26 matches for the east London club.
His performances have caught the eye of Klopp, who wants to strengthen his midfield options with veteran Lucas Leiva expected to depart at the end of the season, and amid ongoing criticism of Emre Can.
Klopp is set to continue to monitor Obiang’s progress over the next couple of weeks, with club scouts having already alerted him to his potential value as a deep-lying midfielder.
Given his importance to Slaven Bilic and West Ham, coupled with the two years left to run on his contract in the summer, it is believed that Liverpool will need to offer a fee in the region of £18million to land Obiang.
That fee would be well within their financial reach, and a more reasonable fee than for many of their other targets.
But Klopp will have to act fast as West Ham are preparing to open negotiations over a contract extension, in light of the growing interest in his services.
Football Insider verdict
The results since the new year have highlighted the fact that Liverpool’s squad is still quite some distance away from reaching its full potential, and changes will have to be made in the summer. Klopp could show more ambition by looking at someone with a bigger reputation on the world stage than Obiang, but the Spaniard is already a tried and tested success in the Premier League; so would be a superb addition. His consistency for West Ham this season has been hugely important, and while he may not be considered a ‘major upgrade’ on the likes of Can or Lucas, he has already been doing a better job and is still worthy of consideration. A chance to further build his reputation is the next logical step for Obiang, and one that Liverpool should pursue.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Merseyside club have been issued an emphatic response in their pursuit of this Serie A star.