Liverpool open talks for Brazil starlet as Jurgen Klopp eyes another South American legend

On the hunt: Liverpool are chasing Brazil’s next big thing, Luan
On the hunt: Liverpool are chasing Brazil’s next big thing, Luan

Liverpool have entered discussions over the transfer of Brazil international Luan. The Gremio forward has captured the attention of several English Premier League clubs, and is understood to have a release clause of €18million in his contract with the South American champions.

Luan scored eight goals in 12 appearances as Gremio won the 2017 Copa Libertadores and the 24-year-old was named player of the tournament. Capable of playing as a central striker, but normally deployed in the second line of attack, he made his full international debut last January and was recently voted South American Player of the Year.

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Liverpool have had significant success recruiting, then selling on, South American forwards during Fenway Sports Group ownership of the club, seeing first Luis Suarez then Philippe Coutinho establish themselves as the club’s best footballer before taking club record transfer fees from Barcelona for both.

Their current first-choice centre forward, Roberto Firmino, is also Brazilian. Though, like Suarez and Coutinho, he was recruited from a leading European club rather than being taken direct from his home country.

Luan signed an improved three-year contract with Gremio at the beginning of November ahead of the Porto Alegre side’s narrow 1-0 FIFA Club World Cup Final loss to Real Madrid. “Luan said he was ready to renew and would never leave without a favourable renewal of his situation,” said Gremio president Romildo Bolzan.

“He has now kept his word. In addition, it demonstrates that we are willing to keep our players and our important values, especially those formed at home.

“This shows how important our youth policy, technical policy and sports policy is in making Gremio increasingly competitive. We will celebrate this moment.”

Liverpool have an agreement in place with Thomas Lemar to join the club having courted the France winger for much of last year, but have refused to meet AS Monaco’s asking price of at least €100m.

They also hold a strong interest in Christian Pulisic, the teenage United States forward who Jurgen Klopp promoted to Borussia Dortmund’s first-team squad as a 16-year-old. The Bundesliga side do not want to sell in the current transfer window and are expected to demand a high fee for Pulisic in the summer.