Liverpool plot Real Madrid transfer hijack for 'next Virgil van Dijk' wanted by Man Utd

Leny Yoro is said to be a target for Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United (Image: GETTY)

Liverpool are ready to hijack Real Madrid’s pursuit of Lille defender Leny Yoro after identifying him as Virgil van Dijk’s long-term successor, according to reports. Yoro is widely considered to be one of Europe’s best young players and is said to be attracting plenty of interest ahead of next season.

The 18-year-old, who operates at centre-back, is said to be admired by Liverpool as well as European champions Real Madrid. Manchester United have also been credited with a desire to land Yoro but the Red Devils are working on a limited transfer budget this summer.

Real Madrid look most likely to sign Yoro, with reports suggesting they were expected to submit a formal bid after the Champions League final. However, it is said that an offer is yet to be tabled, which could open the door for Liverpool to pounce in the coming days.

The teenage defender is widely expected to leave Lille this summer (Image: GETTY)

The Reds are ‘waiting in the wings’ in the hope that Real Madrid’s move for Yoro will not come to fruition, according to The Times. The report adds that United are tracking the situation closely with a view to bringing the defender to Old Trafford if the opportunity arises.

It was previously claimed by Goal that Liverpool have earmarked Yoro as a long-term replacement for Van Dijk, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday next month. The Dutchman is only tied down until the end of next season and there is no guarantee that he will sign a new deal at Anfield.

Yoro played the highest number of minutes of any outfield player at Lille last season, finishing with a pass completion rate of 92 per cent. He also won 63.8 per cent of his aerial duels, with those attributes suggesting that he would fit in perfectly at Liverpool.

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Lille boss Paulo Fonseca recently predicted that Yoro ‘will be at one of the best clubs in Europe’ after helping the French side to qualify for the Champions League. He is expected to represent France at this summer’s Olympic Games after he was named in Thierry Henry’s provisional 25-man squad.

“He is very ambitious but very disciplined,” said Fonseca. “He grew a lot but he is a kid with a big maturity, with big quality. He’s very focused, very concentrated, he wants to learn every day.

“I have no doubt in modern football he will be one of the best central defenders in the world. You see immediately the quality, the bravery, the courage. The intelligence is important.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1911444/Liverpool-Real-Madrid-transfer-news-Virgil-van-Dijk-Man-Utd