Liverpool ‘working on huge first summer signing’ as Slot ‘validates’ addition of star with 28 goal contributions

Joe Williams
Liverpool boss Arne Slot
Arne Slot would like to see Johan Bakayoko at Anfield next season.

Liverpool are hoping to make a new centre-back their first signing of the summer under new boss Arne Slot, according to reports.

The Reds are likely to see a few changes in the summer with Slot having his own ideas and Richard Hughes joining as the club’s new sporting director.

There have been rumours that a number of Jurgen Klopp’s players would follow him out the door but that now looks unlikely to happen as Slot sees Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold as a key part of his plans.

But Liverpool do have their first incoming in their sights with Football Insider claiming that the Reds are ‘working on signing a new centre-back signing who could be the first new arrival at Anfield this summer’.

Hughes and FSG’s CEO of football Michael Edwards – who used to be the sporting director at Liverpool – ‘view the capture of a new senior defender as a “huge” priority’ after Joel Matip recently left the club.

It is understood that Liverpool ‘have a shortlist of centre-back targets and they are likely to make moves for them now their season has finished’ with the Reds needing more depth in that position.

And there is another signing that Slot has ‘validated’ with PSV Eindhoven forward Johan Bakayoko – who has 14 goals and 14 assists in all competitions this season – ‘one of the names on the table’ at Liverpool this summer.

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Belgian journalist Sacha Tavolieri wrote on X: “Johan Bakayoko considered as one of the names on the table of Liverpool FC for this summer ! Bakayoko’s name has been validated by Barry Hunter and Arne Slot. #LFC like the player since March 2023. Belgian Red Devils wants in priority join a club which plays Champions League football.

“It’s very likely that his transfer from #PSV happened after #Euro2024 ! Transfer fee will be lower than the 50M€ PSV’s expectations. Borussia Dortmund & RB Leipzig are the other concrete possibilities for Bakayoko this summer.

“No news from #PSG so far. Reds conscious that they will have to apply also others plans like Raphinha (also on the short-list) on the right wing to replace Mo Salah’s in case of departure…

Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique expects Slot to have a “very tough first few months” at Anfield as work gets underway after succeeding Jurgen Klopp.

Enrique said: “To be honest, I don’t think Liverpool fans are going to be excited about anyone who goes to Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp until they see something good on the pitch,” he said. “The only manager I think Liverpool fans would have been excited about was Xabi Alonso, but obviously that’s not possible anymore.

“With Arne Slot, I don’t know whether he’s going to be successful or not. He’s done really well at Feyenoord, but Liverpool is a completely different club and a massive step up for him.

“People need to remember when Michael Edwards comes back in, Slot won’t have all the power like Klopp did. I’d like to see therefore what happens to the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah with their contracts and how the manager will be able to handle those situations.

“Liverpool need to really wake up this transfer window – you look at the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham who are continuing to grow, so Liverpool can’t afford to be too laid back this summer. It’s going to be a very tough first few months for Slot if he ends up becoming the new manager due to what’s going on with the club at the moment, but we’ll see what happens.”

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