Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool have won the race for Leicester City's highly-rated starlet Ben Chilwell despite ongoing competition from Arsenal, reports The Mirror.
Chilwell is only 18-years-old and did not make an appearance for the Foxes during their stunning Premier League title win. He was, however, regularly seen on the bench in second half of the season and was there when the trophy was lifted at the King Power Stadium, proving he is very much part of Claudio Ranieri's senior squad.
The left-back impressed during a loan spell with Huddersfield earlier in the campaign, which is where scouts from both Liverpool and Arsenal first spotted his talent. They have both been courting Chilwell for several months and it appears he has set his heart on a move away from the English champions.
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He rejected a long-term deal from Leicester worth £18,000-a-week, which would have represented a significant increase on his current terms. There is, however, no suggestion that the English teenager is seeking big money by moving to one of the league's so-called elite clubs.
Chilwell has been frustrated with his lack of opportunity under Ranieri, who, despite his previous reputation as 'The Tinkerman', has stuck with a very rigid starting XI for most of the season. Christian Fuchs was very much the Italian's first-choice at left-back and Chilwell hardly got a look in.
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Currently, Liverpool's first-choice left-back is Alberto Moreno, who was less than impressive against Sevilla in Wednesday night's Europa League final. That performance may have supercharged the Reds' pursuit of Chilwell.
Liverpool cannot offer Chilwell any European football, which both Leicester and Arsenal can, but the England youth international is believed to be excited by the project that Klopp is undertaking at Anfield and wants to jump on board.
Klopp has led Liverpool to two cup finals in his first eight months in charge and promised 'big changes' after seeing the Reds lose both of them. Their eighth-placed finish in the Premier League hardly broke boundaries but, overall, there is a level of optimism around Anfield not seen for many a year.
The German is expected to make as many as half a dozen signings this summer with Chilwell looking more and more likely to become the first. Liverpool will have to pay in the region of £3m for him and will then look for their next deal.
That is likely to be Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius. The 22-year-old has developed well since leaving Manchester City's youth team and is wanted to give Simon Mignolet some serious competition. He will cost in the region of £4.5m.
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