Liverpool have moved ahead of Tottenham in the race to sign Luis Diaz from Porto; Spurs were willing to pay up to £46m for Diaz; but Diaz prefers a move to Liverpool; Diaz was a summer target for Liverpool, but Spurs' interest has accelerated their plans
Saturday 29 January 2022 09:04, UK
Liverpool are in pole position to sign Luis Diaz after making a late £45m swoop for the Porto winger, who prefers a move to Jurgen Klopp's side rather than Tottenham.
The Colombia international was manager Jurgen Klopp's first-choice for the summer transfer window, but Liverpool have accelerated their plans due to Spurs' strong interest.
Liverpool are said to be offering an initial £37m, with bonuses included in the deal that will only be triggered if Diaz becomes a big success at Anfield.
Sky Sports News has been told Liverpool have sent a team to Argentina, in anticipation of doing a medical there, with a timescale of about 72 hours expected for a deal that has been complicated by the player being in South America.
Diaz is set to feature in Colombia's World Cup qualifier against Peru on Friday night, before travelling to Argentina for Tuesday's second qualifier.
Tottenham had been locked in talks with Porto over Diaz this week, with the Premier League club said to be willing to pay up to £46m, with £37.6m up front and £8.4m in performance-related add-ons.
There was confidence from both sides that a deal could be reached before Liverpool reignited their interest.
Sky Sports News understands Tottenham feel like they did everything possible to secure the deal but the player simply prefers a move to Liverpool.
Spurs are now working hard on other targets ahead of Monday's deadline.
Diaz, who signed for Porto from Colombian side Junior in 2019, has 16 goals and six assists in 28 games for the Portuguese side this season.
Missing out Luiz would be another big blow for Spurs this month, after the breakdown of the deal for Wolves winger Adama Traore, who now looks set to return to Barcelona on loan.
Spurs want to make at least one signing this month, and according to Sky in Italy, they are also in talks to sign Morocco midfielder Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina on loan, with a €16m buy option being discussed.
They could do more business if they are able to offload Dele Alli, Tanguy Ndombele or Giovani Lo Celso. Paris Saint-Germain are closing in on a deal to sign Ndombele on loan from Spurs, with an option to buy.
Portuguese football expert Filipe Dias on Transfer Talk:
"The newspapers in Portugal say the deal is going through, so it seems Luis Diaz, the best player in the Portuguese league, is going to be joining Liverpool.
"He is the kind player [Jurgen] Klopp likes, technically he is very gifted. He is bound for greater things than the Portuguese league.
"Diaz is the best Colombian player at the moment, the best player in Portugal at the moment, he can do anything up front despite not being a centre forward.
"He really has something special about him. There is no doubt in my mind that, if things go normally, he will fit in perfectly at Liverpool."
Sky Sports reporter Vinny O'Connor:
"Obviously, it's far from done and could easily come to nothing.
"However, Liverpool view this as an excellent deal if it gets completed - very much close to a Diogo Jota-type fee. Also, it is far better value than the original €60m asking price.
"Diaz was Jurgen Klopp's first choice for the summer, but they have brought those plans forward because it was clear if Liverpool didn't act this window, the player would move on.
"This isn't done and could yet collapse - the player is in South America with his national team, so it will be far from straightforward to complete the deal.
"However, if it does get done, it's a big coup for Julian Ward, who is to succeed sporting director Michael Edwards in the summer. It was a deal in which Ward lead for the first time, but it is fair to say he's been supported strongly by Edwards who put together the strategy to secure the player this month."
A quick glance at his headline stats in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season suggests the 25-year-old provides serious goal threat - but also offers so much more.
The winger ranks top for goals, shots and touches in the opposition box and is among the elite for winning back possession in the final third, creating chances, attempting fast breaks, aerials, dribbling and passes in the attacking third.
The maps below narrow down his goal threat to Champions League appearances over the past two seasons and reveal Diaz is most potent from his favoured left channel, frequently carving chances for team-mates with diagonals into the box.
Besides scoring goals, his most striking attribute is participation in overall play, with above-average numbers for passes in the final third - but the graphic below suggests Diaz also frequently tracks back to support the team.
When visualising his goal and passing averages, Diaz emerges among an elite crop of players in Europe's top leagues, with returns on par with Karim Benzema and Mohamed Salah.
His heat map below emphasises his work-rate with concentrations of activity in his defensive half, while his ability to reclaim possession high up the pitch would certainly suit a high-press style.
The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31?
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