Liverpool want to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, reports Spanish tabloid AS Futbol. The Reds see the Rojiblancos youth product as an ideal replacement for captain Steven Gerrard, who is set to leave Anfield at the end of the season.
Manchester United are also interested in Koke, while Barcelona earlier in the season were closely monitoring the 23-year-old.
Koke has become a senior member of Atletico Madrid squad over the last two seasons, since making his debut in 2009 as a 18-year-old.
Koke has also been Diego Simeone’s potent weapon, with his ability to deliver pin-point deliveries on deadball situations bringing his side a lot of goals, a similar ability which Steven Gerrard possesses. He recorded 13 assists en route to their La Liga winning campaign, while also being a vital cog in their Champions League campaign.
Liverpool have faced dearth in the midfield department of late, with only Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard seen reliable for the role. Lucas Leiva’s future in jeopardy, Joe Allen’s inconsistency and Emre Can’s extended run across their back-three means a move for Koke all but makes sense, but whether Atletico are willing to let one of their best performances go remains to be seen.
Koke at the start of the season insisted on staying with the Spanish capital club, also expressing a possibility of retiring at his boyhood club.
“I see life in red and white. I am happy here, the club is growing and I grow with it. I don’t see the time or the place to leave here.” The 23-year-old said.
Having represented Spain on all youth levels but U-18’s, Koke made his Spain debut in 2013 and has represented the La Roja on 15 occasions, while also being a part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.
Atletico Madrid face Barcelona later tonight in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals showdown as they look to overcome a 1-0 first leg deficit.