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Liverpool, Bayer Leverkusen 'battling for 19-year-old Bundesliga starlet'

Liverpool, Leverkusen 'battling for 19-year-old Bundesliga starlet'
© Reuters
Liverpool are reportedly set to rival Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen for the signature of Mainz 05 winger Brajan Gruda.

Liverpool are reportedly set to rival Bayer Leverkusen for the signature of Mainz 05 youngster Brajan Gruda.

The Reds are set to enter the first summer transfer window with Richard Hughes as sporting director and Arne Slot as manager.

That duo are likely to consider attacking reinforcements, with uncertainty surrounding the futures of Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez.

Salah has hinted that he will stay with the Reds for the 2024-25 campaign, but Liverpool may have to fend off more interest from the Saudi Pro League after they turned down a lucrative offer for the Egyptian last summer.

Nunez and Diaz have both been linked with a move to Barcelona, although the latter has indicated thathe is "very happy" at Anfield.

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot on October 4, 2023© Reuters

Liverpool set to rival Leverkusen for Gruda

With Liverpool keeping their options open, Bild are reporting that the Reds are keeping tabs on Mainz winger Gruda.

However, the Reds are facing competition from the Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen, who are preparing for another campaign under Xabi Alonso after warding off interest from the likes of Liverpool.

Alonso is looking to build upon a successful 2023-24 campaign after guiding the German club to a league and cup double as well as the Europa League final.

Gruda is set to hold talks with Mainz over his future, having also emerged as a potential target for Aston Villa, Newcastle United, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund.

With two years left to run on the player's contract, Mainz are likely to demand around €20m (£17m) to part ways with the 19-year-old this summer.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso before the match on April 18, 2024© Reuters

Who is Mainz's highly-rated youngster?

Gruda is attracting interest from the likes of Liverpool and Leverkusen after experiencing a breakout season with die Nullfunfer.

The Mainz academy product registered four goals and three assists in 28 Bundesliga appearances, helping his side preserve their Bundesliga status.

Gruda produced a starring display in Mainz's crucial final-day clash with Wolfsburg, netting a goal and an assist to guide Mainz to a 3-1 away victory.

Having impressed for his club side, Gruda has also been given the chance to make seven appearances for Germany's Under-21 team.

The attacker is now believed to be keen to make the next step in his career and move to a club that can offer him the chance to Champions League football.

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