Liverpool are considering a £7m move for Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. The Mail Online believes the Belgian will replace Pepe Reina as No 1 at Anfield, if the Spanish international leaves Merseyside.
The 30-year-old has been linked with a return to former club Barcelona, who are understood to be considering the Madrid-born shot stopper as replacement for compatriot Victor Valdes; the present No 1 at the Nou Camp is out of contract next summer and has confirmed he will leave the club when the agreement expires.
Reina has now confirmed that he will stay at Anfield unless the Catalans call for his services, leaving Brendan Rodgers the task of planning a potential replacement. The Spaniard explained: "I have a contract at Liverpool and I feel valued there. They only reason I would plan to move elsewhere is if there was interest in me from Barcelona."
Rodgers could also move for Stoke City's Asmir Begovic but he is valued at £12m. And should the Reds target the Bosnian international, they will face competition from Premier League champions Manchester United and Arsenal. The one point in the Anfield club's favour is the fact Begovic is believed to prefer Merseyside to Manchester or London. Signing Mignolet may not be any easier, with an earlier Mail report claiming Arsene Wenger is tracking him as well.
Either way, Mignolet's agent, Nico Vaesen, has revealed his client wants a taste of Champions League football. The goalkeeper is contracted till 2015 but with all this interest and the 2014 FIFA World Cup around the corner, a move to a high-profile club may serve the player well.
"I think it is very unlikely that he will sign a new contract. Simon has obviously come to a point where he wants to step up a level and there is a lot of interest in him. [Sunderland] is a fantastic club. But it is maybe time to step up a level and play for a club competing for a European spot," his agent told the Sunderland Echo.