Liverpool have reportedly made Shakhtar Donetsk’s Armenian international midfielder, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, one of their primary transfer targets for next season.
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has quietly become one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe, after shattering the Ukrainian goal-scoring record last season.
From his position in central midfield, Mkhitaryan scored a remarkable 25 league goals.
Far from a small league wonder, he also caught the eye playing for Shakhtar in the Champions League, and Liverpool have had their attention on him for most of the past 12 months.
Seen as a potential long-term replacement at Anfield for club icon Steven Gerrard, Liverpool are apparently not put off by the transfer fee in the region of £22 million that Mkhitaryan would likely command.
Bankrolled by a billionaire and adept at singing under-the-radar quality, Shakhtar are not hard pressed to sell Mkhitaryan, but Liverpool are confident that he is open to a move to Merseyside.
Tall and powerfully built, Mkhitaryan also has electric pace off the mark.
His box-to-box abilities have led to comparisons to the Premier League’s two primary midfield tyros, Gerrard and Frank Lampard. And Liverpool seemingly view Mkhitaryan as the ideal candidate to power forward alongside their more subtle Brazilian, Philippe Coutinho.
Mkhitaryan is also comfortable playing on the right wing, and so if the three-time Armenian is indeed signed, his arrival could spell the end of the line for Stewart Downing at Liverpool.
The Reds also reportedly retain an interest in Schalke’s Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos, and expect Spanish attacker Iago Aspas to sign in the coming days.
The sale of Luis Suarez to Real Madrid remains a possibility, despite the fact that it will take an official transfer request and a massive bid from Los Blancos to lubricate any deal. A host of other squad players are also expected to be sold.
And so it appears that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers could have close to £100 million to spend as he attempts to mould Liverpool in his image, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan the kind of player Rodgers has his heart set on.