Liverpool are ahead of Chelsea in the race to sign Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira according to the Times.
The paper reports that Reds chief Ian Ayre has flown to Florida, where the Ukrainian club are in the midst of a warm weather training camp, in an attempt to wrap up the deal.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are yet to make a formal offer that even matches Liverpool's initial bid of around £25 million, despite holding talks over a potential move. Shakhtar are reportedly holding out for a fee in excess of £35 million for the 26-year-old Brazilian.
Liverpool are on the lookout for more firepower and Teixeira could be the man for the job, having bagged 22 goals in 15 league games before the Ukrainian league entered its winter break.
However a swoop for the prolific forward in January will not be easy, and Ayre previously failed with an attempt to sign a player from a Ukrainian club, Andriy Yarmolenko, back in 2014 despite flying to eastern Europe to seal the move.
The major sticking point will be Shakhtar's valuation of their star player, which is reportedly at around £38 million.
According to the Times, that is why Chelsea are yet to follow up on their initial interest with a concrete offer and the reason why Liverpool may yet struggle to get another deal done in the winter window.
The paper doesn't rule out a return to the negotiating table for the west London club however - they previously hijacked Tottenham's move for Willian while he was still at Shakhtar, and there remains a chance that could happen again.
Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato seems the most likely arrival at Chelsea for now, although Liverpool have also been linked. His agent Gilmar Veloz said yesterday, when asked who was in the running for the former AC Milan star's signature: “Chelsea, Liverpool, Sporting [Lisbon] and Benfica.”
So far this season, Liverpool have managed just 25 goals in the league and currently sit down in ninth place, eight points off Tottenham, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot as it stands.
Do you think Liverpool are wasting their time by chasing such a huge deal in January?
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