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Liverpool track anchorman struggling for gametime in La Liga

| 13.04.2015

The Metro believes Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Barcelona holding-midfielder Sergi Samper, with the 20-year-old’s first-team prospects in Catalonia looking bleak.

It’s fair to say the freesheet isn’t known for the veracity of its transfer links, but even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day and they may well be on to a winner here.

Samper has caught the eye since coming through Barcelona’s B team over the past 18 months, with some football watchers likening him to Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo and former Los Blaugrana midfielder Pep Guardiola, who guided the club to unprecedented success between 2008-12.

However, with world-class holding-midfield duo Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets blocking Samper’s path to a place in Luis Enrique’s matchday squad, it seems the local boy will have to move sooner or later.

Busquets may have turned out over 300 times for Barcelona’s first team, but he’s still only 26 years old and unlikely to ever leave his native Catalonia, while Mascherano turns 31 at the end of the campaign and looks to have a few top-level seasons left in his legs.

Samper made his first-team debut in Barcelona’s 1-0 Champions League win at home to Apoel Nicosia in September, afterwards describing his appearance as “priceless”, but having made it onto the pitch for the seniors just thrice since, and each time in the Copa del Rey, a true breakthrough looks unlikely.

The Metro suggests Samper “is ready to accept a transfer to Liverpool”, who currently have young Spaniards Alberto Moreno, Javi Manquillo, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Rafael Paez on their books, despite Arsenal also being keen on the anchorman’s signature.

Deep midfield will be a priority position for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers to freshen up this summer, with only Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen, neither of whom have had spectacular 2014/15 campaigns, thought able to fill the anchor role at Anfield.

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Alex Fortune