Liverpool are among the admirers of Inter Milan centre-back Alessandro Bastoni, according to reports in Italy.
Bastoni has established himself as one of the most promising defenders in Italy since joining Inter from Atalanta in 2017.
He spent the following two seasons out on loan, first back at Atalanta and then with Parma. But since being integrated into the Inter senior setup in 2019, he has not looked back.
Bastoni is now a cornerstone of Antonio Conte’s defence at the age of just 21. He has started 24 games in Serie A so far this season.
The left-footer is still under contract until 2023, but Inter will have to fend off interest from elsewhere in that time. Several clubs across Europe are monitoring his development.
Among the chasing pack, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport, are Liverpool.
Last season’s Premier League champions have been linked with several centre-backs in recent months. Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip exposed a lack of depth in that department.
Liverpool responded by signing Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke and Ben Davies on a permanent deal from Preston. However, reports continue to suggest other targets they could pursue in the summer.
Now, Gazzetta claim that Bastoni is on their shortlist. What’s more, they would be open to meeting the £43m asking price.
However, Liverpool are not the only contenders for the three-time Italy international. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also keen to sign him, while Manchester City were credited with an interest last year.
Given the interest from elsewhere, Inter are eager to tie Bastoni down to a new contract. However, they are in financial difficulty at present, so may have to sell some of their key assets.
That may present an opportunity for Liverpool to snap up Bastoni, although it seems Inter are doing all they can to avoid that scenario.
Bastoni not only name on Liverpool radar
Liverpool do seem to have a wide range of other candidates to plug the remaining gaps in their defence. Indeed, they have been linked with another defender currently playing in Serie A.
That man is Nikola Milenkovic, who seems likely to leave Fiorentina in the summer. His contract expires in 2022, so his current club may have to cash in on him.
Liverpool are reportedly one of the main contenders for his signature. But a recent report suggested Manchester United have the advantage in the race to sign him.
That may be prompting them to consider other options, such as Bastoni.