A Champions League berth is in sight for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, and so is a treasure chest of transfer funds and a new contract.
Currently second on the Premier League table with 10 matches remaining in the season, the Reds are in line for their first UCL appearance in nearly four years. The 41-year-old Rodgers has elevated Liverpool’s play after two short years, and as a reward club owner John Henry will hand his manager a £60 million transfer budget and a three-year contract extension, according to Metro.
Liverpool and Rodgers didn't make any splash signings in January, but that failure likely had more to do with squad management refusing to break the bank. Henry is now expected to open the coffers, making the Reds major players in the summer transfer market.
The attack appears to be fully in tact with Luis Suarez leading all Premier League players in scoring and assists, and Daniel Sturridge growing with every match played. Thus, defense would likely be Rodgers's main concern, beginning with Red Bull Salzburg central defender Martin Hinteregger as a potential target, according to The Guardian.
Scouts were reportedly dispatched to watch the Austrian 21-year-old square off against Suarez’s Uruguay squad last week. Hinteregger would certainly be a major infusion of youth along the back line, with Kolo Toure now 32, and Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson both turning 30 in 2014.
Meanwhile, 28-year-old Jose Enrique's knee injury has kept him out since November.
Other than international play, Hinteregger has never played outside of the Austrian leagues. Since 2010, he’s made 87 appearances and scored three goals for Salzburg.
Youth isn’t exactly an issue at midfield, though Liverpool did expect better form from the likes of Joe Allen. Alternatives are already under consideration, with Benefica winger Nicolas Gaitan and Valencia’s Daniel Parejo some of the bigger names mentioned in transfer discussion.
According to Talk Sport, Benefica is so concerned with Liverpool or even Manchester United stealing the 26-year-old they are trying to extend his contract and increase his buyout clause to £37 million.
As for Parejo, the Reds hope to lure him away from Spain with the promise of more first-team time.