By Wayne Veysey

1st Jul, 2016 | 1:12pm

Report: Spanish club kick off battle for Liverpool target with £42m-plus-player offer

By Coral Barry

Atletico Madrid are set to spark a potential bidding war with a £42million-plus-player offer for Liverpool target Gonzalo Higuain, according to a report.

The Napoli forward and Serie A record breaker has made it known to potential suitors that he is available and his agent has confirmed he will not be signing a new deal with the Italians.

Now, Spanish football publication Marca claim Atletico will be the first of a line of clubs interested in Higuain to make a move.

Napoli are said to be eager to do a deal before Higuain’s massive release clause of €94million, around £78million, expires in two years time.

Higuain is under contract with Napoli until 2018, but after the striker bagged 36 goals in Italy to break a 66-year-old Serie A record last season, his stock has never been higher.

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Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move for the Argentine, but do not have the prospect of Champions League football to offer Higuain.

Jurgen Klopp is on the hunt for a top-class frontman after concerns about Daniel Sturridge’s fitness were raised during his first season in charge.

The Merseysiders have been tipped to move for Higuain and were hopeful that Klopp could sell the striker the project of what he is trying to build at Liverpool.

Napoli are said to be open to a £50million plus player deal and are not expected to accept Atletico’s opening bid.

In other Liverpool news, a Barcelona attacker has given the Reds his answer over a potential move.