Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has continued his drive to add quality in all positions this summer by officially opening talks over a deal for Atletico Madrid defender Toby Aldeweireld, according to the Daily Star.
Alderweireld is currently busy representing Belgium at the World Cup and played 90 minutes in both of their opening two matches in Group H, but that that hasn't stopped Atletico considering the sale of a versatile star who was often a peripheral figure in his first season at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone only used the 25-year-old 12 times during a shock run to the La Liga title, which means Los Rojiblancos are listening to offers for the ex-Ajax linchpin, who is available for a cut-price fee in the region of £7m.
Champions League ambition
Rodgers has turned his attention to Aldeweireld in an attempt to build a squad capable of coping with the heavy workload of Champions League football, as the Reds bid to prove that last season's fantastic but ultimately failed title challenge was no flash in the pan.
Deals for strike veteran Rickie Lambert and German under-21 international Emre Can but Rodgers is acutely aware that defensive additions must be made an urgent priority, the one primary weakness in a Liverpool side which shipped 50 Premier League goals last season.
Case for the defence
Alderweireld fits the mould in terms of a Rodgers signing because he has technical qualities and can play anywhere across the back four, equally comfortable at both right-back and the centre of defence.
Liverpool need new players in both positions, with Glen Johnson definitely lacking quality competition for his starting spot at right-back in particular.
Centre-back has also been a problem for Rodgers, with the popular but error-prone Mamadou Sakho failing to convince entirely since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain, while Kolo Toure also struggled to provided assured cover during the second half of the season.
With the chance to impress at the World Cup the Reds are hoping to strike quickly and make Alderweireld the latest player to join the Atletico exodus, but for very different reasons to the likes of Diego Costa.
Alderweireld simply couldn't earn a consistent starting spot under Simeone thanks to the collective brilliance of Miranda, Diego Godin and co in a magnificent defence that exceeded all expectations, but that doesn't mean he's not a perfect for the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur have monitored Alderweireld very closely in the last 12 months but are yet to match that interest, which puts Liverpool at the head of the cue to complete their third summer signing once the World Cup concludes.