Liverpool will move for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke if Luis Suarez leaves for Real Madrid. The Mail Online believes the Belgian international is first choice to replace the Uruguayan, whom Marca believes has agreed personal terms on what could be a €47m move to the Spanish capital.
A number of other clubs, including Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund, north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham and Madrid's cross-town rivals, Atlético Madrid, have also been linked with a move for the 22-year-old.
Benteke has had an excellent first season in English football, scoring 19 goals in 32 Premier League starts. The Belgian has three more years left on his original contract and Villa boss Paul Lambert is keen to tie his star down for the long-term. However, the striker is not too keen on committing himself and has hinted he could force an exit from Villa Park this summer.
Sturridge Injury Concerns
Liverpool, meanwhile, will be increasingly desperate to hold on to Suarez, particularly after confirmation that England international Daniel Sturridge faces several months on the sidelines with an ankle problem. The former Chelsea man signed in the mid-season window but has proven himself indispensable to Brendan Rodgers' squad, with fine performances in the absence of the South American.
Sturridge injured himself in last week's international friendly against the Republic of Ireland and the Mail Online believes he could be out for up to four months, meaning he too will miss the first few games of the new season. Suarez will miss six games as he has to finish a 10-match suspension, carried over from this season, for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
Aspas Provides Relief
There is some good news for Anfield fans though, with the expectation that Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas will complete his medical and sign this week. The Liverpool Echo believes the Reds will pay the La Liga club £7.7m for the 25-year-old Spaniard's services.
Will Hughes on Watch
Meanwhile, the Express believes Liverpool are tracking Derby County midfielder Will Hughes. The 18-year-old had a reasonable season with the Rams, scoring twice and creating two more in 33 Championship starts. There is also reported interest from Newcastle United, Arsenal and Manchester City, with all clubs willing to meet the £10m fee.
Hughes has a number of admirers in the Premier League, with the Mirror reporting in December that both Tottenham and Chelsea were also monitoring his progress. But perhaps the most interesting indication of his quality is a BBC report that claims Spanish champions Barcelona have been tracking Hughes for a while now.
Derby boss Nigel Clough is a big fan of his young player and said: "'Just give him the ball', that is what we tell the lads. They have the confidence to give him it all over the pitch. People say 'is he really only 17?' It is like having a senior pro in the team. His composure belies his age and there are not many 17-year-olds in the country playing to the standard that he is; it sets him apart."