Liverpool will move a step closer to signing Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori by offering out of favour winger Oussama Assaidi as part of the deal, reports suggest.

The Reds have been in the hunt for the 20-year-old centre half throughout the early stages of the transfer window, as the club look to address their concerns at centre half.

Jamie Carragher's retirement in addition to the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Sebastien Coates and Martin Skrtel has left Brendan Rodgers with no choice but to strengthen his defensive options, with the Portuguese U20 international seen as a possible long term solution.

While Sporting's financial issues suggest the club may eventually be forced to cash on Ilori, Portuguese newspaper O Jogo report Liverpool will sweeten the deal by offering the Moroccan international Assaidi as part of the deal, just a year after his arrival at Anfield.

Assaidi, 24, has himself fuelled speculation that such a deal could be in the offering, by suggesting through his official Facebook account that his next club will be in Portugal.

While Liverpool would be open to making Assaidi's move to the Estadio Jose Alvalade a permanent one, O Jogo also suggest Sporting only wish to take the 24-year-old on a season-long loan, while the Reds continue to pay a considerable portion of his wages for the duration of the season.

Reports have suggested that Liverpool have been hopeful of securing the services of the highly-rated centre half for a fee of €4.2m, although Sporting are determined to resist such offers and hold out for €7m. The inclusion of Assaidi, who signed for the club for a reported €4m from Heerenveen last summer, could be enough to push through the deal.

London born Ilori has also attracted the attention of Valencia who are in the market for a replacement for Adil Rami, who would appear determined to leave the Mestalla this summer.

But a growing number of reports suggest the Merseyside club have moved into pole position, and Ilori could soon join Kolo Toure as the club's latest defensive recruitment as Rodgers continues to rebuild his side.