Liverpool face Spanish threat over Portuguese starlet

Sporting Lisbon

Sporting CP youngster Tiago Ilori is reportedly on Liverpool’s radar as they seek a long term replacement for their stalwart centre back, but Valencia are now also interested.

After a successful January transfer window saw Liverpool bring Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho to Anfield to bolster their attacking options, they will be keen to replicate that success this summer, although they might prioritise their defensive options come June.

Jamie Carragher is set to retire, and both Martin Skrtel and Sebastien Coates look likely to leave the club after failing to impress Brendan Rodgers this season. Andre Wisdom is a fine young player, but they will clearly need some reinforcements alongside Daniel Agger at the back.

One player they have been linked with recently is Tiago Ilori, Sporting CP’s twenty year old defender. Ilori has made several appearances for Sporting this season, and has drawn rave reviews as one of the most promising young defenders in Portugal.

It has been reported this week that Valencia are now interested in Ilori, which could lead to the Reds stepping up their pursuit.

His rumoured price tag of around £2million could be set to rise before the end of the season, but he would still be a relatively cheap option for the Reds.

Liverpool fans will be hoping that they invest in a more experienced defender to replace Carragher in their first team this summer, with Ashley Williams perhaps amongst their targets with Brendan Rodgers not shy of raiding his former clubs. Whilst this is a wise option, also bringing in a prospect like Ilori would give them greater depth and add another talented young player to their squad.

Having broken into the Sporting side this season, and regularly appearing for the Portugal national team’s youth sides, Ilori might feel that another season in Portugal would be best for his development.

But Liverpool’s recent record of giving youngsters a chance to impress in their senior side might convince him that a move would be in his best interest, and with the Reds likely to reshape the centre of their defence considerably this summer, Ilori would have a real opportunity to accelerate his progress at a top European side.

image: © goulao

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