“This Is A Really Interesting One…” – Paul Gorst On Liverpool Links To ‘New William Saliba’

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Written by James Cranford

Yesterday was a momentous day for Kopites around the world as Arne Slot did his first interview as head coach of Liverpool Football Club.

Slot spoke to LFCTV and cut a relaxed and confident figure. The 45-year-old revealed that despite having been on holiday in Ibiza, he has been in regular contact with new sporting director Richard Hughes over a variety of club matters.

One major factor in the Dutchman’s early tenure will be incoming transfers. On that front, The Athletic’s David Ornstein tweeted that both Liverpool and Manchester United are ‘actively pursuing’ Lille defender Leny Yoro, who is considered one of the hottest young talents in Europe.

The Reds are believed to be prioritising signing a centre-back following the release of Jöel Matip but face stiff competition from Real Madrid.

On the latest episode of our Journo Insight show, we asked the Liverpool Echo’s LFC correspondent Paul Gorst for his thoughts on the Yoro story.

All You Need To Know About Liverpool Transfer Target Leny Yoro! | The Deep Dive

Paul said:

“It looks like Real Madrid are in pole position, but the line that interested me was David Ornstein’s ‘actively pursuing’ line.

“Liverpool look at dozens of players in great detail across the continent and to various extents. I think ‘actively pursuing’ it is the interesting line because when Liverpool actively pursues someone, it normally results in the completion of a deal relatively quickly.

“We’ve seen it happen with Luis Díaz, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Cody Gakpo. All deals that – as soon as they were public knowledge – were wrapped up within a number of days.

“Viewed as almost an opportunistic deal, but it will be up to tens of millions – £30/40 million, depending on what Lille do.

“They’re keen to sell this summer to avoid losing him on a free next summer, which I think is where the interest comes from, from Liverpool.

“I think that relationship with the agency [GestiFute] is the interesting one, they represent Jota, Núnez, Luis Díaz, and Fabinho in the past. Liverpool have always been hugely impressed with their discretion and professionalism.

“If you’re signing him you’ve got him for the best part of ten years. He looks like a top talent, playing regularly for Lille in Ligue 1 every week.

“This is a really interesting one this summer and it’s the first one where we know Liverpool are definitely ready to pounce.”

‘Liverpool have a good relationship with his agency’ – Paul Gorst on LFC transfer target Leny Yoro


As one of the most respected journalists in the game, David Ornstein’s words hold weight, so Paul is right to point out their significance. Liverpool were renowned for keeping their cards close to their chest on transfers under the previous Michael Edwards regime, so the likelihood is that there is serious interest in Leny Yoro – who was previously described as the ‘new William Saliba’ by teammate Remy Cabella. The mooted figure of around £40 million could be considered a gamble for a teenager, but Yoro has already made 60 appearances in the top flight of French football – significant experience for one so young. If the 18-year-old is to become the next great European centre-back, that fee could look like a bargain in the not-too-distant future. He would be provided the ultimate mentor in Virgil van Dijk and would have a few years to reach a level high enough to inherit the baton from the club captain, with a view to replacing him in the long term. With four good options in the position already at the club, there would not be immediate pressure on Yoro to hold down a regular first-team place.

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