Liverpool are planning a major transfer swoop for AS Monaco pair Aymen Abdennour and Geoffrey Kondogbia, according to the Metro – who cite a report from respected French publication l’Equipe.
The duo have long been linked with Premier League moves, with Arsenal also named as interested parties in the race to sign Kondogbia by the newspaper.
The 22-year-old is the kind of influential, imposing midfield powerhouse that the Gunners have been crying out for so many seasons, and performed excellently in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie between Monaco and the north London outfit.
Similarly, the Metro also noted at the beginning of May that Wenger was planning a summer move for Abdennour.
The 25-year-old centre-back, like Kondogbia, impressed against Arsenal in the Champions League as Monaco advanced to the quarter-finals, and has the physique and the presence to thrive in the EPL.
Liverpool are keen to rival their North London rivals for the two Ligue 1 stars, and the Metro add that Brendan Rodgers and his transfer committee would need to part with at least £25 million to bring Kondogbia — who has three France caps — to Anfield. Abdennour —who is under contract until 2019 — would reportedly cost Liverpool £21.5 million.
Rodgers will be wary of those prices rising; should Arsenal prompt a bidding war, the transfer fees of both players could inflate due to the demand.
Kondogbia’s signing could begin to ease the loss of skipper Steven Gerrard, who is departing for Los Angeles Galaxy, as the Frenchman’s combination of physical and technical skills would make him a worthy replacement.
Abdennour would help solve the Reds’ defensive problems, with the Merseysiders having conceded 48 goals this season—ten more than any of the Premier League’s top four.
Given the poor recruitment of last summer though, Rodgers’ real test may come in convincing Liverpool’s owners FSG to part with their cash.