Late last week news emerged that Roberto Firmino, Hoffenheim's highly rated 23-year-old forward, had agreed a deal to join Manchester United for a fee in the region of £13m. For a player of his quality that seemed a remarkable deal, and it was compounded by the fact that he would apparently be moving to one of Liverpool's direct rivals for a spot in the top four. As United sealed that deal, Liverpool were in the midst of haggling over the tribunal fee for Danny Ings. Unlike the supposed price tags, the contrast in quality and promise between the two players--and the ambitions the reported moves represented--was stark.
But shortly after news of a deal broke it was refuted, and little has been said up until the last 24 hours. United could very well remain frontrunners, and with the player's agent confirming that he will be moving to England this summer, ending up at Old Trafford may even seem likely. It's not quite a foregone conclusion, however, and on the heels of his agent's assertions that he Firmino will be in the Premier League by August, reports suggest that Liverpool have entered the race to bring the promising playmaker to Merseyside.
The Brazilian source is Globo, who speculate that Liverpool are credible competition not only for United, but Manchester City as well, and that a deal cannot be completed for less than £18m. Given that both Manchester clubs can offer Champions League football and higher wages, Liverpool would have to be seen as also-rans. It's an outside shot, but as with Kovacic, one worth pursuing, as Firmino is exactly the type of signing to give a disaffected fanbase a boost. A deal beating out either half of Manchester and a host of other clubs on the continent, however unlikely, would be significant, and would finally provide the excitement that most have been waiting for this summer.
A summer that, it should be noted, hasn't even reach the official start of the transfer window.