Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia during the Sheffield Wednesday FC vs Southampton FC EFL Championship Match at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, United Kingdom on 4 August 2023

How 6 Liverpool transfer targets have fared in pre-season this summer

It’s less than a week until the 2023-24 season gets underway for Liverpool, but there’s still plenty of work to be done in shaping Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad.

The mass exodus of experienced first-team players – among them Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Roberto Firmino – leaves Liverpool looking a little light, particularly in midfield. The club looks set to spend the rest of the window chasing their transfer targets.

We’ve checked in on six players that have been linked with a move to Liverpool this summer and assessed how they’ve been performing in pre-season.

Romeo Lavia

The 19-year-old Belgium international has emerged as Liverpool’s next big target in Klopp’s midfield rebuild project. Southampton endured a miserable relegation last term, but Lavia showed great promise in his breakthrough season.

He’s been kept protected by his club, with the extent of his first-team action in the summer friendlies amounting to just 127 minutes, with no more than a half of football played in any one of his four pre-season cameos.

“Of course there will be people going, and when they do go hopefully we will be able to add to the group with players that suit us, and will help the group,” Saints boss Russell Martin admitted ahead of their Championship campaign.

Martin went on to state that Lavia and West Ham-linked club captain James Ward-Prowse would be involved in the season opener against Sheffield Wednesday.

However, when it came to it Lavia was an unused substitute in their 2-1 victory at Hillsborough, suggesting that the club hierarchy aren’t prepared to risk injuries when it comes to their most lucrative asset.

Since then, Southampton are said to have rejected a third Liverpool bid worth approximately £46million. Reports suggest that the club will be resolute in holding out for their £50million valuation.

Leicester, UK. 15th May 2023. Andy Robertson of Liverpool gestures during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium, Leicester on Monday 15th May 2023.

READ: Lavia next? The last eight players Liverpool signed from relegated teams & how they fared


Andre Trindade da Costa Neto, a highly-rated 22-year-old at Fluminense, has emerged as another option to fill the void left by Henderson and Fabinho.

The midfielder received his first Brazil cap earlier this year, and according to Sky Sports he’s keen to make the move to Anfield. Reports suggest that Liverpool are preparing a bid in the region of £21million.

The footballing calendar is different in Brazil, of course, and Andre’s Fluminense are midway through their 2023 campaign. Botafogo are the runaway leaders in the Brazilian Serie A, 13 points ahead of Fluminense, who sit a respectable third place.

A yellow-card suspension meant that Andre missed Fluminense’s last match, a 2-1 victory over Palmeiras, but he’s been a regular starter otherwise.

ESPN Brazil report that the club will only consider selling their rising star after their Copa Libertadores campaign concludes – their Round of 16 tie against Argentinos Juniors currently hangs in the balance following a 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires. The second leg is scheduled for Tuesday, August 8th (23:00 GMT).

Federico Chiesa

Electric during Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph a couple of years back, Chiesa’s career has stalled somewhat since – due to a mix of serious injury and his club’s off-field turmoil.

Banned from UEFA competition next term, Juventus are reportedly open to offloading Chiesa for the right price and last month Liverpool were among a host of clubs linked.

Those reports have cooled a little in recent weeks while Chiesa has taken part in the Old Lady’s pre-season tour of the United States. The 25-year-old forward assisted Daniele Rugani in a 2-2 draw with AC Milan and clocked up 76 minutes in a 3-1 victory over Real Madrid.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Leicester City have already lost Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes following their relegation, so you imagine they’ll be desperate to keep homegrown star Dewsbury-Hall.

The midfielder, 24, featured prominently in pre-season – including 90 minutes in Leicester’s 4-0 defeat to Klopp’s Reds in Singapore – and has since shown he’s ready to become the Foxes’ new talisman by scoring twice late on in their opening weekend 2-1 comeback victory over local rivals Coventry City.

New Leicester boss Enzo Maresca faces a nervous final few weeks of the transfer window as Liverpool continually get linked with his key man in the tabloid gossip columns.

“Liverpool’s scouting team has been closely monitoring Dewsbury-Hall’s progress over the past season, and the club’s interest in him has grown substantially,” claim Anfield Watch.

 Keito Nakamura

Liverpool’s last Japan international signed from the Austrian Bundesliga, Takumi Minamino, never quite hit lived up to expectations at Anfield.

But that hasn’t put them off chasing LASK winger Nakamura, according to Foot Mercato, who claim that Liverpool had a £6million bid turned down in July.

Nakamura scored 17 goals in all competitions last term and looks likely to move to a major European league this summer. He made two pre-season appearances, scoring once, but was not in the squad for their league outing at Sturm Graz at the weekend.

French outlet La Parisien claim that Reims have agreed a fee to sign the 23-year-old, beating Liverpool, Aston Villa and Borussia Dortmund to his signature. We’re still waiting on an official announcement, however.

Kephren Thuram

“The main problem with Thuram was that the package was considered too expensive for Liverpool, both in terms of a transfer fee and salary,” transfer insider Fabrizio Romano told the Born and Red podcast.

“There were many things that concerned Liverpool when they had discussions for Thuram.”

While Liverpool’s interest in the Nice midfielder sounds legit, it won’t be going any further. The France international, younger brother of Marcus and son of Les Bleus legend Lilian, is expected to stay put at the Allianz Riviera for 2023-24.

Thuram has been a frequent fixture of their summer friendlies and looks as though he’s gearing up for another campaign at the heart of Didier Digard’s midfield plans.

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