Liverpool will demand £12 million ($15.3m) for Ryan Kent this summer, with the young winger set to turn down the chance to join Leeds United on loan.
The 22-year-old is in demand following an excellent season with Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. Kent was voted Scotland’s Young Player of the Year having made 43 appearances for Steven Gerrard’s side, scoring six goals.
Leeds made a formal offer to take the Oldham-born wide man on loan next season, but sources close to the situation have told Goal that Kent’s preference would be to either stake a claim for a first-team spot at Liverpool or to join another club permanently.
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In terms of the latter, Liverpool believe a fee of £12m would be reasonable for a player of Kent’s experience.
The Reds have noted the transfer of Daniel James, the Swansea winger who joined Manchester United in a deal which could be worth up to £18m ($23m) deal earlier this month. James, 21, moves to Old Trafford on the back of just 43 first-team appearances, and had just a year left on his contract too.
Kent, in contrast, is contracted to Liverpool until 2022 and now boasts 125 senior appearances from spells with Coventry, Barnsley, Freiburg, Bristol City and Rangers.
Furthermore, the absence of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane for the bulk of the Reds’ pre-season fixtures means he would be likely to get a shot at impressing Jurgen Klopp, should he choose to stay.
Rangers would love to take him back to Ibrox, but are unlikely to match Liverpool’s asking price, while newly-promoted Aston Villa are among the clubs to have registered an interest in a permanent deal.
Middlesbrough is another potential destination. The Teesiders are set to appoint Jonathan Woodgate as their new manager, and the former Leeds and England defender enjoys a strong relationship with Liverpool’s recruitment team, including sporting director Michael Edwards. Boro were close to signing Kent in 2017, but missed out to Freiburg.
Leeds’ offer, it is understood, was loan-only, but should Marcelo Bielsa’s side offload talented teenager Jack Clarke – Crystal Palace and Tottenham have been linked with a move for the 18-year-old – they could return with a permanent offer for Kent.
It is anticipated that there will be significant spending at Elland Road this summer following Bielsa’s decision to stay at the club and fight for promotion once more.
Rangers, meanwhile, are favourites to land another Liverpool winger, Sheyi Ojo, on a season-long loan deal.
Ojo endured a mixed campaign with Ligue 1 side Reims, where he started just three games, and is keen for a positive loan spell to kick-start his career, much in the same way Kent has at Rangers, or Harry Wilson has done with both Hull and Derby.
Talks between Rangers and Liverpool have already taken place, but Ojo has been given time to consider his options as he enjoys a post-season holiday. Progress is anticipated in the next week.