Having won the race to sign Roberto Firmino, Liverpool will have to compete with Manchester United for their rumoured top striker target, Colombia and Sevilla star Carlos Bacca. The Reds have made no secret of their interest in Bacca in recent days, and with Ian Ayre in Chile having worked to complete the Firmino deal, it’s hardly a surprise the club are now pushing hard to land another Copa America star.
None of that is new. What is new are the rumours, being put forward by the Telegraph today, that Manchester United may be in for him as well, though Liverpool moving early for Bacca could take their historic rivals out of the running for the player. That’s because United are reportedly targeting Harry Kane and Karim Benzema at striker and have Bacca down as their favoured fall-back plan should both of those moves fail.
Liverpool similarly tried to beat United to the punch on Memphis Depay, with most agreeing the young winger would choose a reunion with Louis van Gaal if given the chance but Liverpool hoping United’s desire to land Gareth Bale would allow them to steal him away. Instead, that interest caused United to move for Depay early, and though he chose United as expected, it also put an end to rumours of Bale heading to Old Trafford.
Now United could be facing a similar choice: change their plans and go hard for Bacca now in the hopes he chooses them over Liverpool, or allow Liverpool to move for Bacca uncontested with him having become Anfield’s top striker target. In either case, Sevilla have made it clear it will take a club matching Bacca’s £21M release clause to get them to deal the man who has scored 49 club goals over the past two seasons.
The 28-year-old Bacca got a late start in football, not signing his first professional contract until he was 21 and for a time working as a bus driver’s assistant to make ends meet. Since making his breakthrough for Colombia’s Atletico Junior in 2009, though, he has done nothing but score, with 153 goals tallied in six years and 292 games in three leagues since as he moved first to Club Brugge in Belgium and then Sevilla in Spain.
A stellar injury record and robust physicality has allowed him to play over 200 games in the last four years alone, and his movement, hard work, and poacher’s instincts helped him to make an instant impact when he arrived at Sevilla in 2013. As a forward he is perhaps most similar to Diego Costa in style and temperament—something that has at times got him into trouble. He is currently serving a two-match ban at the Copa America.