Liverpool 'line up transfer bid' for AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie as they look for Georginio Wijnaldum replacement
LIVERPOOL are reportedly in the race for Franck Kessie ahead of the AC Milan star's contract expiring next summer.
The Ivorian, 24, has impressed in four seasons at the San Siro but is said to be hoping for a big wage increase to stay with the Rossoneri.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he has told Milan to up his salary from £35,000 to £100,000-a-week – a demand which has not yet been met.
Kessie is not said to be demanding a move abroad but interest is growing, particularly in the Premier League.
Liverpool are named as the chief prospective bidders at this time while Jurgen Klopp considers a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.
Milan reportedly hope to agree a new contract during the Tokyo Olympics, which has seen Kessie score the winner in Ivory Coast's group opener against Saudi Arabia ahead of facing Brazil on Sunday.
Talks are described as ongoing ahead of Milan's return to the Champions League in 2021-22.
Liverpool have signed only Ibrahima Konate during the transfer window thus far, paying £36million for the centre-back.
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It remains to be seen whether a new midfielder is a priority for Klopp, following Wijnaldum's freebie move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones could be handed a more prominent role with Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho also options.
Former Anfield star Steve Nicol, who won four league titles on Merseyside during the 1980s and early 1990s, fears the current squad will struggle to match Manchester City in the coming season.
Nicol, 59, told ESPN: "It's difficult to go right now and find a player.
"But I still think they need to go and get somebody who can play the way that Klopp did before Alcantara came.
"We all thought Alcantara was coming to give that little edge with a pass forwards, be a little bit more cute, and as much as he can bring that, I think that affects the middle three defensively.
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"Teams were getting at Liverpool's backline far too easily, the last six months of last season in particular with the injuries.
"I don't have a player in my mind right now where I would say, 'Go and sign this guy'. I just have a question [about] Alcantara as the man between Fabinho and Henderson.
"I think Jones can get better and do it eventually. I'm just not quite 100 per cent right now that, with what they have, they'll be able to get after City."
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