Liverpool identify Georginio Wijnaldum replacement ahead of January transfer window

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Liverpool are monitoring Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma ahead of the January transfer window as the Reds continue to search for a potential replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, according to reports. Wijnaldum will be free to strike a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of the Premier League from next month, with his current deal at Anfield expiring at the end of the season. 

Talks to extend the Dutch star’s stay on Merseyside have not progressed for some time, although Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen for the Liverpool hierarchy to make one final offer to the 30-year-old midfielder, who has once again proven vital this term. 

“I would be happy if he would stay here,” Klopp told reporters last month.

“I am pretty happy with Gini. You can see that when you see most of the line-ups! He always played well, that’s why he played so many games. And he has played plenty of positions, different positions.

“He’s in a good moment, thank God! Long may it continue.

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“There is nothing else to say about it. As long as nothing is decided, then everything is possible. I’m positive.”

However, the Premier League champions have drawn up a contingency plan if Wijnaldum, who has been previously linked with Barcelona and Juventus, does depart: Bissouma. 

The 24-year-old has impressed this season for Brighton despite the Seagulls struggles; Graham Potter’s side currently sit 16th in the top-flight table and are just two points above the relegation zone. 

A fee of around £30 million would be required – according to ESPN – to convince Brighton to sell the Mali international, who fits the profile of player sporting director Michael Edwards and the club’s recruitment team are interested in.

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However, Liverpool would likely have competition in the race to sign Bissouma, who joined Brighton from Ligue 1 side Lille in the summer of 2018 for a fee of £15 million. 

ESPN claims Manchester United are interested in the midfielder while Monaco and two unnamed La Liga clubs are also weighing up an approach for the Brighton star. 

Liverpool should receive a midfield boost in January even if Bissouma doesn’t arrive, though. 

Klopp has confirmed Thiago Alcantara, who has struggled with injuries since joining from Bayern Munich in the summer, is close to returning to first-team training. 

“We’re already made jokes we should sign Thiago for January, in a good way,” the German said ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Crystal Palace this weekend. 

“We cannot rush it — he will not be allowed to rush it. It’s nice to have him on the pitch — he’s not in team training yet, that’s the final step. We’ll see how it is.

“Can he be in team training next week? I don’t know. He has to pass a few tests on the pitch until we make that decision.”

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