Liverpool are one of six sides now claimed to be in talks over a deal for Schalke midfielder Assan Ouedraogo, who at 17 recently broke two club records.
Following Schalke’s relegation from the Bundesliga last season, Ouedraogo has emerged as a regular fixture of their side in the German second tier.
That included a goal on his debut for the first team in July, becoming the youngest player and goalscorer in the club’s history during a 5-3 defeat to Hamburg.
The 17-year-old has so far featured in all 10 games in the 2.Bundesliga, starting seven, impressing in central midfield and earning comparisons to Xabi Alonso.
His progress has not gone unnoticed, nor has his availability for a low fee due to a release clause in his contract at Schalke.
Earlier in October, it was reported that Liverpool were among those sides to hold an interest in Ouedraogo, who is available for €20 million (£17.4m) to clubs outside of Germany.
Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg has furthered that this week, by explaining that the Reds have held talks with the youngster’s representatives.
Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt, RB Leipzig, AC Milan and Napoli have also initiated contact with Ouedraogo’s camp, with it previously claimed that Bayern or Milan were at the front of the queue.
Bayern, Frankfurt and Leipzig may have an advantage in that his release clause stipulates a lower fee for sides in Germany.
The clause, which is able to be activated in 2024, is as low as €7 million for German clubs not playing in Europe and between €9 million and €12 million for those in Europe.
It would rise to €20 million for all clubs if Ouedraogo makes his debut for the Germany national team, though he is yet to make a competitive appearance for their U18s.
Plettenberg has already outlined that the teenager “wants to play regularly next season,” which could play into Frankfurt’s hands given they “believe he’s capable of earning a significant spot in the squad.”
But a transfer to a club such as Liverpool before a loan to another club is not out of the question, which may be the case were he to opt for Anfield.
However, Jurgen Klopp has already shown his willingness to integrate young talents if they have the quality to make an impact at first-team level.
Stefan Bajcetic is a prime example, while this season has seen Ben Doak and Jarell Quansah step up to the senior squad, with further plans to bring Conor Bradley, Luke Chambers and Calum Scanlon into the fold.
As it stands, Liverpool’s talks are likely to be exploratory more than anything, but it is certainly a transfer that the club could be wise to pursue.