Monday, June 17, 2024

Liverpool transfers: Arne Slot ecstatic as Reds ace rejects £75m Barcelona move, with tempting swap plan also torched

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Liverpool need not worry about one of their brightest stars leaving for Barcelona in any capacity this summer after the player laid rampant transfer speculation to rest.

A new era has dawned over Anfield following Jurgen Klopp’s departure. Dutchman Arne Slot is the man Liverpool’s hierarchy have chosen to lead the way and the squad he’s inherited is supremely talented.

However, there are a handful of questions hanging over Liverpool’s squad that do need resolving.

Firstly, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah are all about to enter the final 12 months of their respective deals.

Elsewhere, goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher wishes to leave in order to become a regular starter. If the Irishman does depart a new back-up to Alisson Becker must be signed.

The future of livewire winger Luis Diaz has also come under the microscope of late amid fervent speculation he could join Barcelona.

Diaz, 27, was signed as the successor to Sadio Mane and while he never fails to give maximum effort he has been found wanting in front of goal at times.

With Cody Gakpo impressing in his more favoured left wing role towards the back end of last season, Barcelona have sensed an opportunity to strike for Diaz.

Liverpool value the Colombian at £75m, a price that obviously poses a problem for the cash-strapped Catalonians.

However, to significantly lower the cost of the deal the idea of sending Raphinha to Anfield as part of a blockbuster swap deal has been touted.

Such a move could make sense given the left-footed Raphinha could be viewed as the heir apparent to Salah. The Egyptian is expected to stay with Liverpool for the 2024/25 season, though all bets are off as whether his future lays in Liverpool or Saudi Arabia beyond that.

Joining either Barcelona or Real Madrid is often the dream outcome for South American stars like Diaz. Indeed, Liverpool have seen the likes of Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho poached by Barcelona in the past.

But in the case of Diaz it appears Merseyside is where the Colombian wants to be.

READ MORE: Liverpool transfers: Eight Euro 2024 stars enticing Arne Slot in transformative summer window

Luis Diaz ends Barcelona transfer talk

Speaking after his country’s punishing 5-1 friendly victory over the USA, Diaz insisted he’s “very happy” at and in Liverpool.

Furthermore, the winger effectively put summer transfer talk to rest when stating he’s “not thinking about anything else” amid the rampant speculation.

“I am very happy there in Liverpool, it is a great team and club,” declared Diaz. “I always wanted to play there, so I am very happy and calm.

“I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m thinking about the Colombian national team, which is where we are.”

While Liverpool’s European players will go for glory at Euro 2024 this summer, Diaz is aiming to spring a surprise by firing Colombia to the Copa America.

That competition – being held in the USA – gets underway on June 20.

Why Diaz stay is best possible outcome for Slot

Despite Liverpool’s £75m price tag emerging it’s been consistently reported that Liverpool and new boss Arne Slot don’t want to sell Diaz.

In reality, Barcelona were never likely to be able to fund a £75m transfer, meaning their faint hopes rested on a swap.

Raphinha is a fine player in his own right, though also aged 27 is no younger than Diaz and would not displace Salah in the starting eleven.

As such, retaining Diaz who remains a defender’s worst nightmare on his day makes perfect sense for Liverpool and their new boss.

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