Liverpool to turn to former boss in order to sign midfielder?

Rafa Benitez 02

Liverpool could be set to receive a favour from former boss Rafael Benitez as they seek to sign Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is looking to improve his squad this month as they seek Champions League qualification, and whilst a winger appears to be the primary target for the former Swansea City manager, it also seems that Rodgers is looking to bring in the heir to Steven Gerrard in the heart of the Liverpool midfield.

Gerrard is now 33, and despite over 15 years of service to the Anfield club, the time is coming for a replacement as he approached his 34th birthday. A number of central midfielders have been linked with the club, including Derby County's Will Hughes and Verona's Jorginho, but Inler is a new name in the frame.

The Swiss international has been a star in Serie A since his 2007 move from FC Zurich to Udinese. After impressing at the Stadio Friuli, Inler attracted the interest of rivals Napoli, and he completed a €13m move there in 2011. His reputation in European football has continued to rise throughout the years, with his all action style drawing plaudits and leading to speculation regarding a move to the Premier League.

Arsenal had previously been mooted as a potential destination for the 29-year-old, as they look to bring in midfielders who protect the back four but also contribute going forward, but Inler played down the speculation in December, insisting that he is solely focused on his playing.

The transfer market? You will have to ask my agent, I do not pay attention to these things,” Inler said. “I’m completely focused on my duties as a player.”

And now, with Napoli linked with moves for Rubin Kazan's Yann M'Vila, Lyon's Maxime Gonalons and Tottenham's Etienne Capoue, it seems Liverpool may get a chance to prise Inler away from Italy and finally bring him to England. Manager Rafael Benitez appears to be making a concerted effort to bring central midfielders to Napoli, and should he get a good enough offer Inler – who turns 30 in June – he may choose to sell.

If the deal comes down to Liverpool or a rival club, the former Reds boss may choose to help out his former side as they bid to break into the top four – though ultimately, the final decision will be Inler's.

image: © thesportreview

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