Liverpool have completed the signing of Porto winger Luis Diaz in a deal worth around £50million, subject to a work permit.

The Reds have agreed on a fee of £37.5million with the Portuguese giants, plus around £12.5million in potential add-ons and bonuses. The release clause in Diaz’s contract with Porto stood at £67million.

Diaz will wear the No 23 shirt at Anfield. He will arrive on Merseyside once he has completed international duty with Colombia, who face Argentina in a World Cup qualifier in Cordoba on Tuesday evening.

“I could not be happier that we’ve been able to get this deal done and bring Luis to Liverpool,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the club’s official website.

“I have always been a believer in only signing players in January if you would want to sign them in the summer, and that’s very much the case with Luis.”

“He is an outstanding player and someone we’ve been tracking for a very long time.”

“We believe he has everything needed to fit into our way and adapt to the Premier League, both physically and mentally. He is a player who is hungry for success and knows you have to fight to get what you want. He is a fighter, no doubt. He’s a skilful team player who has always the goal in mind.”

“This team deserved to add quality and when we played against Luis earlier this season, we saw what a danger he is, how fast he is and how his mentality was to help his team.”

“We know Porto is an outstanding club who nurture players in the best possible way and provide a brilliant football education. They are a class club and, I have to say, have been tough negotiators.”

“We also have to say thank you to the Colombia FA for being so helpful in allowing us the time to complete this deal. They have a big game on Tuesday and I know as well as anyone how important preparation is for matches, so for them to allow us a few hours to finalise the transfer without impacting their training was greatly appreciated.”

“’I also must make clear my appreciation to our ownership and football operations team for how they have managed to act so decisively to get this done.”

“Luis is a player we believe will make us better now and in the future. He is the player we really wanted and they’ve made it happen, so I am very happy.”

It had been anticipated that this would be a summer of change for Liverpool, with Michael Edwards, the sporting director, being replaced by his assistant, Julian Ward, and a host of first-team players either out of contract or entering their final year.

James Milner, the vice-captain, is expected to leave, as are Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino.

Liverpool want to extend Salah’s contract, and Salah wants to stay, but the futures of Mane, Firmino, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are less than certain. Others, such as Joe Gomez and Neco Williams, may need to make tough decisions too.

The Reds prioritised a policy of retention last year, tying down Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Harvey Elliott and Jordan Henderson to new long-term contracts, but there is an acceptance that they will need to freshen up their squad over the next couple of years.

Key players will need to be challenged or indeed replaced, and the overall age profile will need to come down.

Firmino has been linked strongly with Barcelona of late, while pretty much all of the European giants are watching Salah’s situation with interest.

Mane’s form may have been patchy, over the past 18 months, but he would have no shortage of suitors, were he to be made available.

Replacing any of those players, let alone all three would be a challenge, especially without targeting the game’s absolute elite: Erling Haaland, for example, or Kylian Mbappe.

Jota, though, has at least shown that it is possible and that the environment Klopp and his staff have built at Liverpool can coax significant improvement out of talented, hungry footballers. Firmino, Mane and Salah, of course, are even better examples of that.

Diaz is certainly a talent, a right-footed left-winger who scores goals – creates goals and is known for his work ethic and constant running.

Liverpool had long been admirers of the 25-year-old, who has emerged as one of the most exciting talents in European football and were thought to be planning to wait until the summer to make a formal approach.

However, the Reds stepped up their interest late in the January transfer window after Tottenham and Manchester United were linked with the Colombia international, who has scored 14 goals in 18 league appearances so far this season.

Spurs had an offer of £38million reportedly turned down earlier this week, before Liverpool stole a march on them by sending a delegation to South America – where Diaz was on international duty – to meet the player and conduct a medical.

Diaz has faced Liverpool twice this season, with Porto losing 5-0 at home and 2-0 at Anfield in the Champions League.

A fast and direct winger capable of scoring spectacular goals and setting up teammates, Diaz was the joint top scorer at the Copa America last year, finishing level with Argentina’s Lionel Messi on four goals.

He has won 31 caps for Colombia, with the most recent coming in the Cafeteros’ 1-0 defeat against Peru in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Friday night.

His arrival will strengthen Liverpool’s already formidable front-line, which has barely missed a beat despite the absences of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who are on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The pair will both turn 30 before the beginning of the season and with Mane’s contract entering its final 18 months, Liverpool see Diaz as the ideal candidate to refresh their options upfront.


Note: Inputs from Daily Mail UK and Goal


Facebook Comments