Liverpool have moved to hijack Tottenham Hotspur’s bid for Luis Diaz, making an offer close to £50million for the Porto winger.
The Reds had originally taken the decision to keep their powder dry in the January transfer window but have now opted to make the move for the Colombia international before Monday’s 11pm deadline after Spurs made their own advances this week.
Liverpool are looking to pay an initial fee of £37m with a further £12m in add-ons for a player who Jurgen Klopp had identified as a first-choice option for the summer of 2022.
Diaz is believed to have had a £67m release clause within his contract, but Porto have been forced to take a financial hit after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, meaning the Reds have been able to see a £37m offer accepted.
Anfield sources believe an early move for Diaz presents better value for the club with Porto looking for a fee in excess of £49m in the summer months, which was the winger’s original asking price.
It represents a significant piece of business for assistant sporting director Julian Ward as he prepares to make the step up when Michael Edwards leaves the club at the end of the season.
Diaz, who was joint top scorer at last summer’s Copa America alongside Lionel Messi, is believed to prefer a move to Anfield over the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Liverpool were linked with Diaz earlier this month by Colombian and Portuguese media but Klopp and his recruitment team were taking a long-term view to move for the 25-year-old at the end of the campaign.
However, with Antonio Conte keen to add to his Spurs squad before Monday’s deadline, the Reds decided to accelerate their plans and are now closing in on a big-money deal for Diaz.
The player himself is currently with his national team in South America as they prepare for games with Peru on Friday evening and Argentina on Tuesday and Anfield sources have been keen to stress Diaz’s arrival is yet to be rubber stamped on Merseyside.
However, it would represent a big coup for the club as they aim to freshen up their attacking ranks for the rest of the season with Liverpool still fighting on four fronts this term.