Liverpool could target three Barcelona stars in Luis Díaz transfer deal

Luis Díaz of Liverpool arrives for the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on May 05, 2024 in Liverpool, England.
Luis Díaz has been linked with a transfer away from Liverpool, with Barcelona among the apparent suitors. -Credit:John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Luis Díaz may well not be leaving Liverpool at all, never mind for Barcelona. The Reds will at the very least be placing a high price on his head, and may not even want to consider a sale, while there are question marks over whether the Catalans could stump up the cash.

However, if nothing else, there is an element of uncertainty there. Díaz has been linked to Barcelona, and his father has previously admitted he has not 'lost hope' that his son could one day sign for one of the Spanish giants.

Meanwhile, there are significant changes going on at Liverpool. First and foremost, Jürgen Klopp is leaving, with Arne Slot expected to be confirmed as his replacement. But there are also major developments behind the scenes.

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Slot will arrive as 'head coach' rather than manager, and the final say on transfer activity and new contracts will lie elsewhere. There's Richard Hughes, the incoming sporting director, as well as the returning Michael Edwards (CEO of Football for FSG) and Julian Ward (technical director).

That's not to say any of those changes will necessarily push Díaz towards the exit door. They could even have the opposite effect. But assuming for a moment that Liverpool is minded to consider proposals for the Colombian, it should at least try to turn the tables by making a play on some of Barcelona's finest talent.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Díaz is the top transfer target for Barcelona. Yet the club would need to sell players in order to fund a move, and that financial position could be something for Liverpool to look to exploit for its own benefit by pursuing the following three players as part of any possible deal.

Frenkie de Jong

Linked a couple of summers ago, albeit not as extensively as Manchester United, Liverpool could do a lot worse than picking up the pursuit of Frenkie de Jong. In that time, despite signing four midfielders last year, the Reds have never really acquired someone who performs a similar function.

Alexis Mac Allister comes the closest, but despite also being a gifted technician, De Jong is that little bit closer to an out-and-out defensive midfielder. In many ways, he is the archetype for a modern numbers six in a possession-oriented side.

Should Liverpool get the chance, landing him as part of a Díaz swap would be shrewd. Nor would either side be getting the raw end in terms of age profile, with both having recently turned 27 — a little older than Liverpool would no doubt like, but nonetheless good for another half-decade of high-level service.

Ronald Araújo

Again, this would not be a like-for-like swap. But while Liverpool would probably need to strengthen the attack if it sanctioned a departure for Díaz, the defense will need reinforcing regardless.

A deal for Ronald Araújo just about meets the plausibility criterion for inclusion — the reason why someone like Lamine Yamal hasn't made the list. The Uruguyan is also a key performer at the Nou Camp, but his contract situation gives reason to believe that Barcelona might be open to sanctioning a departure.

In fact, Sport claims that Araújo is the only big-ticket star who is genuinely open to a departure, with De Jong among those to have once again made it clear he would rather stay put. Manchester United and Barcelona have shown an interest, but given its defensive need, Liverpool should look to be on the scene as well.

Ferrán Torres

This is about as close to a direct swap as it comes. Both right-footers who typically play off the left, Díaz and Ferrán Torres have plenty in common.

Why, then, would Liverpool wish to consider a trade? Well, for one thing, it would be getting a younger model, with Torres just 24 years old. And he comes boasting huge versatility, having played all across the front line this season.

His numbers have been solid, if unspectacular, but his underlying data is more impressive. Over the last year, Torres has averaged 0.58 expected non-penalty goal contributions per 90 minutes (FBref). For context, Díaz sits at 0.55 — Salah, impressively, is all the way up at 1.0.

Speaking of Salah, though, Liverpool has not done too badly in the past when it has given wingers a second chance in the Premier League. Having not lasted long at Manchester City, perhaps Torres could achieve greatness at Anfield.