The reason why Liverpool are looking at free transfer for Fulham star

Liverpool are monitoring Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo with a view to a possible a free transfer this summer.

The centre back's contract expires in the summer and the Evening Standard has reiterated previous reports that Liverpool are among the clubs interested in a deal, along with AC Milan.

While 26-year-old Adarabioyo, who came through Manchester City's academy, has impressed season at Fulham, the Standard's report suggests another reason why a Liverpool move could be shrewd as well as cost-effective.

It is speculated that the Reds' interest in the Fulham star could be a result of the club's need for homegrown players in the Champions League next season.

With Liverpool on track to qualify for Europe's top competition for 2024/25, squad planning for the coming campaign is key.

The Reds are already subject to the same perennially awkward UEFA quotas for this season's Europa League — which require a minimum of eight homegrown or locally trained stars in the 'A list' of the officially registered squad.

Liverpool submitted 22-year-old reserve keeper Vítězslav Jaroš among their homegrown players this season in order to make the quota, while more senior option Adrian was left out of the European squad.

In addition to the advantage of being 'free', Manchester-born Adarabioyo, who has made almost 70 top-flight appearances across his career, would be classed as a locally trained player for an English club.

In terms of his playing ability, the 6ft 5in defender ranks in the 93rd percentile for aerials won and 98th for clearances, as per Fbref.

Liverpool are known to be on the lookout for defensive reinforcement in 2024, having undergone a midfield rebuild last summer.

Anfield Watch understands the club are interested in sourcing a left-sided centre back and have made enquiries about Bayer Leverkusen's Piero Hincapie. However, there may be room for more than one defensive addition.

Joel Matip is out of contract in the summer and may have already played his last game for Liverpool, after suffering a serious knee injury earlier this season.

Meanwhile, there are question marks over Ibrahima Konate's availability record and Joe Gomez's need to provide cover for multiple positions.

The Standard claim that Fulham are preparing a 'fresh' contract offer for Adarabioyo to head off interest from would-be suitors. While the player himself is said to be 'open' to staying at Craven Cottage, he will decide his future at the end of the season.

Sporting CP duo Goncalo Inacio and Ousmane Diomande, Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi and Lille teenager Leny Yoro are among the defenders who have also been touted for Liverpool in recent weeks.

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