One of the more refreshing aspects of the deal to bring Roberto Firmino in from Hoffenheim was the speed at which the transfer was settled. Talk emerged of interest earlier in the week, but in a 48-hour span after their efforts to sign the player were confirmed by well-connected sources, his signing was announced. Liverpool looked to follow suit with Nathaniel Clyne, even if there had been a previous bid made, and a move to Merseyside is imminent with minimum fuss.
That doesn't appear to be the case in their search for further reinforcements at striker, with Christian Benteke long rumored to be the top target and the club apparently willing to wait Aston Villa out. The West Midlands club have, to date, held firm that they won't accept anything less than the £32.5m release clause inserted into his contract. Liverpool rightfully won't pay that much, as it's nowhere near the player's actual value, and as such, they moved on to other targets, including Sevilla's Carlos Bacca.
The Colombian striker was among a few identified alternatives to Benteke, and one that, for many, represented better value for money despite being slightly older. The 28-year-old has scored goals at every stop in his professional career, and with an agent that made it clear Liverpool were among the clubs he'd consider, a deal to bring him in rather than the Belgian seemed possible.
It might not be now, however, as Liverpool's waiting game has allowed AC Milan to begin negotiations with the player. And, according to the website of Italian journalist and world-class rumor monger Gianluca Di Marzio, Bacca has agreed personal terms, with only a deal between the clubs needed. Bacca has a £21.5m release clause in his contract with Sevilla, a fee that Milan should be more than capable of paying given that they were willing to splash out a significantly larger amount for Porto's Jackson Martinez only to miss out.
If true, this could prove a missed opportunity, as there are few other available strikers that can match Bacca's talent and strike rate. Concerns about playing style remain, but a number of his traits seemed a good fit, chief among them an eye for goal that Liverpool lacked last season. If they miss out on him, hopefully there's further alternatives available, and that the club move on to them quickly.
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