Liverpool have emerged strong favourites to sign Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim this summer, beating Manchester United and Manchester City for his signature, according to Brazilian publication Globoesporte.
The Reds are in the market to heavily strengthen their side this summer and have earmarked Firmino as the man who can take them back to claiming a place in the Champions League next season. The Bundesliga midfielder has made the second highest assists in the league over the last two seasons, which is only five less than leader Kevin de Bruyne, who managed 26.
The trio were engaged in a bidding war for the player, which the report states has been won by Liverpool, who will be making an offer after the Copa America ends on July 4. However, the transfer depends on Hoffenheim accepting the bid and if there is no further interest from clubs across Europe.
The fee is believed to be more than €25m ($28m, £18m) with a five-year contract on offer for the player. Firmino has been in good form for Brazil, scoring the winner in their 2-1 win over Venezuela, which helped them top the group and allowed Colombia to make their way into the quarter-finals.
His rise to fame has been extremely rapid under Dunga, who called him to the Brazil national team where he has gone from strength to strength and established himself as an indispensable member of the team.
Firmino can play behind the striker or up front and will add some much needed flair in the midfield for the Reds, who have been seriously lacking in this department after the departure of Luis Suarez. Raheem Sterling is also likely to leave this summer with Manchester City having already had a bid rejected for the player, who has refused to extend his contract.
Should they get over the line with Firmino, he will be their fourth summer signing, after they completed deals for James Milner, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings.