Liverpool have a 'strong' interest in Real Betis wonderkid Assane Diao, according to one report.
The 18-year-old winger has been one of the breakout stars in La Liga so far this season.
Born in Senegal but representing Spain at Under-19 level, Diao has scored three times in his last four outings, including a late winner in Betis' Europa League win over Sparta Prague earlier this month.
Having only turned 18 in September, Diao is also the youngest player to score in each of his first two La Liga starts in the 21st century, according to Opta.
Spanish rumours site Fichajes now claim that Liverpool would be willing to pay Diao's contractual buyout clause to bring him to Anfield next summer.
The report claims that the Reds' 'plan is to finalise the arrival' of the rising star next year, with Mohamed Salah's exit a possibility amid continued speculation about a switch to the Saudi Pro League.
With Diao's release clause set at just €30m (£26m), it is not anticipated that Liverpool would have any difficulty in coming up with the cash for a deal.
It is added that Liverpool 'are determined to follow Diao closely' and will 'do everything possible' to add him to their squad for next season.
— LALIGA (@LaLiga) October 1, 2023
It is worth noting that, while Diao is unquestionably an exciting prospect, Fichajes is hardly the most reliable source when it comes to transfer rumours and all information can be taken with a healthy pinch salt. However, that is not to say that the Reds may not be keeping an eye on such an exciting talent with a temptingly low price tag.
Better to file this one as 'wait and see', rather than getting any hopes up.
Links to wingers generally have ramped up recently amid the ongoing uncertainty over Salah's medium to long-term future.
Jarrod Bowen had been identified as a player the Reds liked, though he has since signed a seven-year contract extension at West Ham, while the likes of Nico Williams (Athletic Club) and Donyell Malen (Dortmund) have also been touted as possible targets.
While moves for a new forward may hinge on Salah's future, Liverpool are expected to spend on the defence next year regardless, with at least one new centre back a priority.