Liverpool have set their sights on landing Wigan centre-forward Joe Gelhardt and could get the ace ahead of the January transfer window, Football Insider understands.
The UEFA Champions League holders are plotting a swoop for the 18-year-old striker after selling prolific youth-team scorer Bobby Duncan to Serie A giants Fiorentina.
An Anfield source has told Football Insider that the club can land Gelhardt outside of the transfer market as he’d be a youth acquisition rather than a senior one.
The youngster has attracted the attention of the Reds’ recruitment team following impressive feats for country and club over the last 18 months.
He has netted frequently at the youth-team level for England and Wigan, netting 12 times in 15 matches for the Three Lions’ U17s side.
Joe has played three times for the senior Latics side after making his senior team debut in August of last year versus Rotherham in the League Cup.
Gelhardt is on the fringes of Paul Cook’s side and made his senior debut of this campaign as a substitute in the previous weekend’s 0-0 draw against Daniel Stendel’s Barnsley.
Liverpool focused on youth recruits in the recently-closed summer market, with Harvey Elliott and Sepp van den Berg joining for significant fees.
The only senior arrivals were goalkeeping duo Andy Lonergan and Adrian on free transfers.
Meantime, according to The Mirror, Liverpool have moved to hand the 28-year-old defender Virgil Van Dijk new terms which will last until the end of the 2024-25 term.
The report adds that the player will also be given wages in the region of £200,000-a-week, a significant rise to the income he has received since departing Southampton.