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Liverpool Now Join Manchester United In Race To Land Coveted £25m-Rated Portuguese Left Back In January

by Ron Carne

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Fabio Coentrao

Reds hope to be able to steal a march on top-flight rivals United and Spurs in the race to land the in-demand Portuguese next month. 

CaughtOffside understands Premier League giants Liverpool have now joined the race to sign coveted Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao when the winter transfer window opens again for business in the new year.

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The experienced and highly rated Portugal international has been the subject of much interest in his services of late from a number of big-name Premier League clubs, including both top-flight champions Manchester United and also Tottenham Hotspur too.

In fact, both those two outfits made strong attempts to bring Coentrao to the Premier League on a season-long loan deal during the recent summer transfer window, only to each fail in their efforts.

The north Londoners were hoping to be able to include the left back as part of the world-record transfer deal that saw Wales international wide man Gareth Bale move to the Santiago Bernabeu for a whopping fee of 100 million euros back in September.

However, Coentrao himself decided that he did not want to make the switch to White Hart Lane, preferring to instead fight for his first-team place with Brazil international Marcelo in the Spanish capital.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils then also made a play for the attacking full back themselves in the final hours of transfer deadline day, as new United head coach David Moyes sought to bring in some much-needed experience at left back for current first-choice Patrice Evra at Old Trafford this season.

But the Scot failed in his efforts to land Coentrao on a season-long loan deal after United were unable to complete the required paperwork before the midnight cut-off point, meaning the player was forced to spend at least the first half of this campaign with los Blancos.

However, the 25-year-old has failed to convince new Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti that he should be the La Liga giants’ first choice left-sided full back so far, with the Italian instead preferring to go with Marcelo, and it is that fact which has now apparently convinced Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to make his own move for the defender when next month’s winter transfer window opens.

And that is because the Merseyside outfit are currently struggling badly in the left-back position themselves following the recent knee injury picked up by first-choice full-back Jose Enrique, with the dependable Spaniard having been ruled out of action until at least February at the earliest after having an operation on the problem recently.

Meanwhile, the Reds boss is also understood to not be fully convinced either about the qualities of both of the defenders that the Northern Irishman has so far used to take over from Enrique, France international Aly Cissokho or John Flanagan.

The muscular Frenchman was brought to Anfield on a season-long loan deal for La Liga outfit Valencia on transfer deadline day as Rodgers sought to add some competition in the left-back role for this campaign, but it is fair to say that Cissokho has been a major let down so far at Anfield.

In total, the 26-year-old has featured in just the six matches in all competitions for his new side, five of which have come in the Premier League, although despite having been utilised at various times by Rodgers in a more attacking wing-back role,  Cissokho has failed to impress the Liverpool coach.

And while Flanagan has fared slightly better than his more experienced rival when asked to cover for Enrique of late, the 20-year-old is by profession a right back as opposed to a left back, with Rodgers believed to see the England Under-21 international’s long-term future at the club being on that side of the back four.

All of which means that Liverpool are now desperate to recruit an experienced and capable left back when the winter window opens next month, with the club hoping that that man will be Coentrao.

The Portuguese first arrived at the White House in July 2011 from Lisbon-based giants Benfica in an eye-catching deal worth a staggering 30 million euros, making Coentrao the most expensive full back on Planet Football.

And in the intervening two-year period, the player has since gone on to make 67 appearances in total for Real in all competitions, registering one goal and three assists along the way, all of which have arrived in his 40 La Liga outings for the club.

However, Liverpool hope to be able to now agree an initial six-month loan deal for Coentrao, who has a contract at the Bernabeu that runs until June 30 2017, up until the end of this current campaign, with a view to then possibly being able to land the left back on a permanent deal come next summer, although the Reds do realise that they are likely to also face stiff competition for the Portuguese’s signature from title rivals United and Spurs in January too.

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