Liverpool want to make 22-year-old attacker their 2nd January signing to replace Coutinho

Liverpool have identified AS Monaco’s midfielder Thomas Lemar as the man to replace Philippe Coutinho at Anfield, according to several reports. The Reds have admitted defeat over keeping Coutinho, with his heart set on Barcelona and want Lemar as a replacement.

The Daily Mirror report that Anfield officials have made contact with Monaco to re-start negotiations for a player they tried to get last summer. The report adds that the 22-year-old is also a target for Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

However, it is suggested that Lemar wants a move to Anfield and thus is leaning towards a transfer to join Jurgen Klopp’s side. Arsenal tried to sign the French international on deadline day in August and were expected to move for him again. However, they now fear that the player would prefer a switch to Anfield.

Dumped out of Europe and 9 points behind Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, Monaco are open to offers for Lemar, who would become Liverpool’s second record transfer in a week, should he sign. Lemar is widely considered to be one of the best young attacking talents in Europe and getting him would soften the blow of losing Coutinho, whose move to the Catalan giants looks imminent.

Liverpool and Klopp have admitted defeat in their attempts to persuade the playmaker to stay at Anfield after the Brazilian made clear he will not agree an improved contract due to the dream opportunity to join Barcelona.

The Merseysiders have not yet set a price for Coutinho and there are no firm offers from the Nou Camp as of now. But it is understood any fee would have to be in the region of £150m, including clauses and add-ons. If the Brazilian does leave this month, there will be a lot of cash available for the Reds to reinvest, with Lemar touted as Klopp’s prime target after acquiring the services of defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim has insisted Monaco are not prepared to sell the France international this month, despite the player almost leaving on transfer deadline day in the summer. But if Liverpool do come up with a staggering offer for the classy Frenchman, the Ligue 1 champions will have no option but to cash in on their star.