Reds suffer transfer blow as Newcastle set to seal deal for highly-rated free agent

Liverpool could be set to miss out on signing free agent Lloyd Kelly as it has been revealed that Newcastle are now frontrunners for the defender’s signature. 

Kelly, 25, is understood to have turned down Bournemouth’s latest contract offer, which could have made him one of the best-paid players at the club, and is instead resolved to leave the club on a free this summer. 

The versatile defender can play either at either left-back or centre-back and, despite an injury-hit campaign, has been impressive for Andoni Iraola’s side when he has played.

Kelly has started 14 matches in the Premier League this season, making another four appearances from the bench. 

Bournemouth signed Kelly from his hometown club Bristol City for a fee of around £13 million back in 2019. 

His acquisition was overseen by the then-Cherries’ technical director Richard Hughes, who is soon to take up his role as sporting director at Liverpool

However, it looks like Kelly will be instead joining former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe at St. James’ Park according to HITC

Newcastle favourites for Kelly signature

Newcastle have suffered a defensive crisis in recent weeks with both Sven Botman and Jamal Lascelles experiencing season-ending injuries. 

Liverpool remain in the market for defensive cover with Joel Matip out of contract in the summer and injuries affecting the rest of the Reds’ backline throughout the season

Ibrahima Konate has missed a lot of football this term while Andy Robertson - as well as reserve left-back Kostas Tsimikas - have also seen their seasons curtailed due to injury. 

More recently, Conor Bradley suffered what could be a season-ending injury on Sunday during the Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace at Anfield while Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been a long-term casualty. 

Alongside Liverpool and Newcastle, Tottenham, AC Milan and Juventus have all been credited with interest in Kelly, who has captained Bournemouth on occasion this season. 

It was previously reported that the Reds as well as Spurs were in “advanced discussions” for the former England under-21 international, but it now appears that Newcastle are set to win the race. 

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