By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Liverpool have joined Chelsea in the race to sign Shakhtar Dontesk winger Alex Teixeira, Football Insider sources understand.
Anfield chief executive Ian Ayre has flown to Florida for talks about a deal in which they would sign the star this month.
As revealed by Football Insider, Chelsea have have been in contact with Teixeira’s representatives and have offered a contract to the prolific attacking midfielder.
But the Londoners have been unable to agree terms with the Brazilian sensation and have turned their attention to landing his countryman Alexandre Pato.
A Liverpool source has told Football Insider that Ayre will meet with Donetsk officials at their winter training camp in the USA in an attempt to strike a deal before the January transfer window closes.
Liverpool are willing to pay £24.6million for Teixeira, but Shakhtar are holding out for a fee closer to £40million.
Manager Jurgen Klopp wants attacking reinforcements after losing three of the team’s four senior strikers to injury for most of his reign and due to the ongoing difficulties experienced by Christian Benteke.
Teixeira is an attacking midfielder who can play in all three positions behind the centre-forward and is renowned for his eye for goal.
He has scored a staggering 22 goals in 15 league matches this season, and has struck 26 times in 26 appearances in all competitions for the Ukranian club.
Teixeira is not yet a full Brazil international but he has scored three goals in seven games for the country’s Under-20s.
Earlier this month, Shakhtar’s manager Mircea Lucescu revealed he wouldn’t stop the player from leaving.
Lucescu told Shakhtar’s official website: “At the moment, Alex is Shakhtar’s player. We’ll see in the summer, [for] now there’s no point talking about it.
“This year, he needs to play so that he grows even more, despite the fact that Alex’s level is very high even today. In this case he will be even more in demand.
“At the moment there are no official proposals, so it makes no sense to talk about it. If there is an offer that will satisfy both the player and the club, I will fully support his move. I want to see my players perform in the best, top teams in Europe.”
Teixeira joined the club from Vasco Da Gama in 2010 -and has been persistently linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
If he was to depart, Teixeira would become the latest Shakhtar star to join one of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Douglas Costa and Willian joining Bayern Munich and Chelsea in recent seasons.