Liverpool’s long-standing interest in Barcelona squad man Cristian Tello has received a boost after reports in Italy he could be available for little more than £8m.
A hefty 17 of his 19 La Liga appearances this season may have come from the bench, but the Catalan club’s asking price still represents superb value when it’s considered the Anfield bean-counters handed the same outfit £6.8m for Luis Alberto.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are 7/10 for a victory over Chelsea in the weekend’s standout fixture, but it’s unlikely that the latter will be anywhere near his boss’ starting line-up.
Luis Alberto caught the Northern Irishman’s eye after netting 11 times in 38 appearances for Barcelona’s B-team last term.
However, he has yet to notch for Liverpool in nine first-team outings to date, with one assist his solitary contribution.
At 22, Tello is but a year his countryman’s senior, yet he has made 83 appearances for the Barcelona first team.
That’s 83 more than his one-time fellow La Masia student, suggesting that for a trifling £2m more than they paid Barcelona for Luis Alberto, Liverpool can acquire a forward road-tested at a far higher level.
As much is illustrated in Tello’s four goals in nine appearances in the Champions League, while he has posted a useful 20 goals across all competitions for Barca despite a far from unbroken run in the side since arriving on the scene.
While starts have been thin on the ground under Gerardo Martino, Tello has come up with the goods when thrown in from the off, dishing up two assists on the one occasion he has made the XI on his favoured left flank in 2013/14.
AC Milan are likely to rival the Merseyside club in pursuit of the speedy Spaniard, with reports emerging in Italy that the Rossoneri have already discussed a potential switch with his agent Josep Maria Orobitg.