Liverpool transfer chief Richard Hughes to 'open talks' for 'next Javier Mascherano'

Porto's Alan Varela is being linked with a move to Liverpool this summer.
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Gualter Fatia)

Liverpool signed as many as four midfielders last summer in what was viewed as a revolution in the middle of the park by the club. After losing five midfielders in the summer 2023 transfer window, the Reds acted swiftly and signed the likes of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endō to fill the gap.

Yet the club arguably needed a fifth midfielder signed just to even things up, but it never arrived during the 2023/24 season. But the truth of it is Liverpool didn't really need another midfielder come the January transfer window, with the club fighting for the title and looking very good to win major silverware, there was no immediate panic.

Liverpool's title challenge ultimately petered out in the final stretch of the season, and this summer is the right time to bring in another midfielder.

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Mac Allister had been switched to play further back at the base of midfield. It's not the Argentine's best position, and most fans believe the club need a true replacement for Fabinho, who left last summer for the Saudi Pro League.

That Fabinho-replacement may come this summer, and in the shape of Porto midfielder Alan Varela. Varela has only been at the Portuguese side since last summer, when he signed from Boca Juniors. Varela went on to make a total of 44 games in his first season in Europe, impressing with his physicality and desire to do the dirty work in midfield.

According to AS América, Liverpool's new sporting director Richard Hughes has 'opened talks' with Porto over bringing Varela to Anfield this summer. It's claimed Varela will cost Liverpool around $75m (£59/€70m) to take the 22-year-old to England.

Moreover, Boca have a percentage of any future sale, although it's not stipulated exactly how much. This would explain the size of Porto's demand considering Varela has only had one season in European football.

Varela has been dubbed 'the next Javier Mascherano' back in Argentina, due to his physical nature and small height. Former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has been singing Varela's praises as of late, saying: "He is an excellent player. It was an excellent signing for Porto, perhaps the team’s most regular reinforcement in terms of time and quality of play," Neves said.

"He is extremely aggressive, is always very well positioned in defensive balances and, lately, he has been getting a little further forward. He is very complete and has been one of the most important elements of the team." says: Varela is a physical player and this is the aspect of the game Liverpool's midfield has been missing since Fabinho was sold last summer. The midfield doesn't need a great deal of tinkering this summer, but signing a player of this mould is certainly high on the list of priorities.