Liverpool have made Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan a leading transfer target this summer, according to various reports. The Armenian finished as top scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League last season with an impressive 25 goals.
Shakhtar have no financial need or desire to sell the player and would charge in excess of £20 million, but Liverpool are prepared to meet the valuation, reports the Guardian. Mkhitaryan has previously said that he would welcome a move to one of the world’s great clubs and has also been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea. With Shakhtar regulars in the Champions League, reaching the knockout phase this past season, there must be doubts as to whether the 24-year-old would be too eager to join a team in Liverpool that cannot offer any European action.
Still, it should be encouraging for Liverpool fans that the club’s owners are willing to sanction such a big move, without the provision of the money from a potential sale of Luis Suarez. The Reds are believed to be holding firm on Suarez, despite the forward’s public revelations that he wants to leave the club, and will only sell him for a fee over £50 million. However, there are reports that replacements for Suarez are already being targeted. The Daily Mail claims that Christian Benteke is one of the names on Liverpool’s wanted list and that they are weighing up making an offer for the Aston Villa striker.
The Belgium international scored 19 goals in his first Premier League season and his agent recently rubbished reported quotes from Benteke claiming that he wanted to move to a bigger club. Even if he is available, the 22-year-old will have plenty of other suitors, with Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund all linked.
Liverpool may yet have more luck fighting off competition for another of their reported targets -- Christian Eriksen. The Ajax attacking midfielder, who looks set to leave the Netherlands this summer, is thought to have been on Brendan Rodgers’ radar for some time. It had been widely thought that he was set to join Borussia Dortmund as a replacement for Mario Gotze. Eriksen, though, has said that no decision has yet been made and both the Bundesliga and Premier League provide good options.
“They are two very different leagues but they are also very alike,” the 21-year-old said, according to Sky Sports. “The German league is on its way up where the English league is now. So I won't prefer one before the other. And it also rains equally much in Germany as it does in England. The most important thing is to do what I feel is right. My next club has to express that they really want me. I have to feel that it is the right place and then their style of play has to fit me. I can't play in a club that prefers to play with long balls."
With continued uncertainty over the future of Pepe Reina, Liverpool have identified Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet as their primary goalkeeping target, according to the Guardian. Reina is being targeted for a return to his boyhood club Barcelona, with Victor Valdes expected to depart the Camp Nou this summer. Reina has also been linked to other clubs and it is believed that Brendan Rodgers is preparing for life without the 30-year-old Spain international.
Several names have been linked as a potential replacement, including at one stage Valdes himself. More substantially, Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic and Reading’s promising young keeper Alex McCarthy are thought to be on the Reds’ radar. But the Guardian reports that Liverpool view Mignolet as the best value for money and believe that they could persuade the Belgium international to come to Anfield.