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Liverpool 'hatch plan to beat Arsenal to Willian Pacho deal'

Liverpool 'hatch plan to beat Arsenal to Willian Pacho deal'
© Reuters
Liverpool reportedly hatch a plan to beat Arsenal to the signing of 23-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Willian Pacho this summer.

Liverpool have reportedly formulated a plan to pip Arsenal to the signing of Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Willian Pacho this summer.

The 23-year-old came through the academy setup at Independiente del Valle before commencing his European career, joining Belgian side Royal Antwerp in the January 2022 window.

Pacho spent 18 months in the Jupiler Pro League, catching the eye of 2021-22 Europa League winners Frankfurt, who paid just €9m (£7.7m) to prise him away from Antwerp last summer.

The 6ft 1in centre-back has continued to go from strength to strength in Germany, making 41 appearances for Die Adler and providing two assists as his side chase Europa League qualification.

Pacho - who has also been deployed as a left-back in Frankfurt colours - has two goals to show from 10 Ecuador caps too, and he could be at the centre of an intense bidding war during the summer market.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on April 18, 2024© Reuters

Liverpool to loan Pacho back to Frankfurt?

Both Arsenal and Liverpool are said to have made enquiries about the South American, whose Frankfurt contract does not run out until 2028, and the Premier League duo could be quoted over £50m to secure his services.

Nevertheless, Frankfurt are braced for his exit and are believed to be eyeing up replacements, while German outlet Bild claims that Liverpool are also formulating their own plan to beat Arsenal to his signature.

The report claims that the Reds could agree a deal for Pacho this summer, but they would be prepared to loan him back out to Frankfurt for the 2024-25 season before integrating him into their team next season.

The Ecuador international could therefore arrive as Virgil van Dijk leaves, as the Dutchman is out of contract at Anfield next summer, and there has been no serious talk of an imminent extension.

Van Dijk has even been linked with a move away during the upcoming transfer window, but his inclusion in the Reds' 2024-25 home kit launch suggests that he will see out his current deal at least.

Liverpool to rejig defence regardless of Van Dijk future

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk pictured on March 10, 2024© Reuters

Whether the Liverpool captain leaves or stays should have no impact on Liverpool's rearguard plans, as new head coach Arne Slot - alongside sporting director Richard Hughes and Fenway Sports Group's CEO of Football Michael Edwards - will oversee a major defensive rejig.

As many as four current centre-backs could end up departing, as Joel Matip's deal runs out next month, while Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips and Sepp van den Berg's careers are stalling at Anfield.

In addition, Joe Gomez apparently wants the Reds to listen to appropriate offers this summer, so if their transfer plan for Pacho does come off, at least one new centre-back must be sought for the 2024-25 campaign before the Frankfurt man touches down next year.

Slot's arrival from Feyenoord could see the Dutchman try to bring Lutsharel Geertruida and David Hancko to Anfield with him, and the former was in attendance to watch Liverpool draw 2-2 with West Ham United last weekend.

Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi, Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo and Sporting Lisbon's Goncalo Inacio are also believed to be of interest to the Reds, who host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday requiring a win to stand any chance of keeping their Premier League title hopes alive.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on April 7, 2024
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