Reds thwarted by buyout conditions

Liverpool will step up their interest in striker Christian Benteke only if Aston Villa are prepared to accept less than £32.5 million.
Liverpool will step up their interest in striker Christian Benteke only if Aston Villa are prepared to accept less than £32.5 million.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON - Liverpool's overhaul of their squad shows no signs of abating even as buyout clauses stand in the way of their next transfer target.

With Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne set to become the Reds' sixth pre-season signing after deals had been put in place for Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez and Adam Bogdan, Brendan Rodgers is turning his attention back to attacking options.

The manager's prime target is Christian Benteke but he will step up his pursuit of the forward only if Aston Villa are willing to compromise on their £32.5 million (S$69 million) asking price.

  • Rodgers' spending frenzy

  • How Brendan Rodgers has operated in the transfer market since becoming Liverpool manager

    2012-13

    Players signed 7

    Money spent £49.9m (S$105m)

    2013-14

    Players signed 8

    Money spent £44.8m

    2014-15

    Players signed 9

    Money spent £116.9m

    2015-16

    Players signed 5

    Money spent £31.5m

Villa want the full fee in the exit clause within the Belgian's contract even though the 24-year-old has entered the final two years of his deal and made it clear he has no intention of signing a new one.

Liverpool are also monitoring Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca and have been told they will have to meet his €30 million (S$45 million) release clause if they want to sign the Colombian.

Bacca, who is on international duty at the Copa America, is under contract with the Europa League winners for another three seasons.

He scored seven goals in last season's Europa League, including two in the final against Dnipro, to add to the 20 notched in 37 appearances as Sevilla finished fifth in La Liga.

Bacca's agent Sergio Barila has warned Liverpool that they are not the only club in England to have been in touch.

"I spoke with Carlos on Wednesday night and we agreed we need a real solution," he said.

"Clubs are telling him not to sign anything until they have made an offer but we are still waiting.

"Liverpool and another English club are among those that have shown an interest but there are also clubs in Italy.

"What is clear is that they must meet the release clause but at this stage, nobody has."

Barila was in Italy last week to meet officials from Milan and Roma though it is understood that Bacca would prefer a move to England.

Manchester United have also been mentioned as a possible destination for the 28-year-old.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Reds thwarted by buyout conditions'. Print Edition | Subscribe