Merseysiders close in on summer signings of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Simon Mignolet, Luis Alberto and Christian Atsu as Brendan Rodgers adds to arrivals of Kolo Toure and Iago AspasBy Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Liverpool are close to signing four new players in a £42million splurge on the summer market, Goal understands.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has returned from his holiday in Spain to oversee the capture of midfield playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as well as wide forwards Luis Alberto and Christian Atsu.
The Merseysiders have already signed Kolo Toure on a free and agreed a £7.6m deal for the Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas that will be completed when it receives international clearance.
Liverpool also remain confident of signing top centre-back target Kyriakos Papadopoulos despite reaching a stalemate in negotiations with his club, Schalke.
It adds up to a massive overhaul of the first-team squad, which will be enhanced even further if Luis Suarez is successful in engineering a £40m-plus move, most likely to Real Madrid.
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The Merseysiders want as many of the new signings as possible in place for when the club return to pre-season training in a fortnights’ time.
The biggest statement to rivals clubs would be the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk’s versatile midfielder Mkhitaryan, who has gained an excellent reputation in club and international football for his ability to play a number of central midfield roles.
Liverpool and Donetsk are in advanced negotiations on the fee for the Armenian, with the Ukraine club holding out for £22m. Sources say the deal is now “60 per cent done”.
Anfield officials are also in talks with their counterparts at Sunderland about the fee for Mignolet, which is likely to be close to £10m. The deal is expected to be secured by the end of the week.
It is understood that Liverpool expect Pepe Reina to end his seven-year spell on Merseyside this summer as he holds out for a move to Barcelona, but the waters have been muddied by uncertainty over whether Victor Valdes will leave the Catalan giants.
Rodgers and Liverpool’s recruitment team have prioritised the signings of attacking players to fit into the manager’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.
Alberto is set to become the Reds’ third signing of the summer, with Liverpool confident of completing a deal for the 20-year-old at some point this week.
Sevilla are holding out for £6.8m for the youngster, who spent last season on loan at Barcelona, but a compromise is expected to be struck at around the £6m mark.
Liverpool are also targeting Porto winger Atsu, who has only 12 months remaining on his contract and could arrive at Anfield for a cut-price fee of as little as £4m.
The Merseysiders have not given up hope of landing Papadopoulos, even though no deal is imminent. His club Schalke are holding out for a £15m fee for the 21-year-old Greece international, but Liverpool are unwilling to pay more than £12m for the player and are willing to bide their time in order to get him.
Martin Skrtel is expected to be off-loaded if Papadopoulos arrives at Anfield.