After opening negotiations with a €32M (£24.5M) offer for Shakhtar Donetsk’s 26-year-old Brazilian attacker Alex Teixeira, Liverpool are believed to have increased that to a €38M (£29) base fee plus add-ons in an effort to get a deal done before the close of the transfer window.
Liverpool clearly want Teixeira, who has scored 26 goals in 26 games this season for the Ukrainian club while playing just off the main striker. And Teixeira, according to multiple reports, wants the deal to get done just as badly, and he and his agent are believed to be pushing the club hard for a move.
Shakhtar, though, are so far refusing to budge on their valuation of the player, who they claimed was worth a hefty €50M when Chelsea were rumoured to be interested in him back in the autumn. With less than a week to go in the transfer window, it seems to be a case of waiting to see who blinks first.
"He’s worth €50M," said Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu. "He’s incredible, very fast, and has very good technique. I would compare him with other players of the same age who changed a club. Angel di Maria for example at Paris Saint-Germain. Teixeira can be at the same level. Better even."
However, if it is now a case of waiting to see which side blinks first, Liverpool could have the advantage. Chelsea had been rumoured suitors under Jose Mourinho, but even they baulked at a €50M fee for a player who hadn’t yet proven his worth in a top league and hadn’t represented his country.
They’ve also moved on, from Mourinho obviously but also it would appear from Teixeira, with the Blues pushing to sign Alexandre Pato to add to their scoring options. It leaves Liverpool the only serious January suitor, and while Shakhtar could wait for the summer, there’s no guarantee Chelsea will be back.
If they don’t return, it doesn’t leave many potential destinations other than Liverpool who would pay more than €35M for a 26-year-old who, for all his talent, has yet to prove himself in a top league or at the international level. And despite their hard line stance, it appears that Shakhtar do understand this.
"Our president knows when it is the time for Teixeira to go," added Lucescu, providing a sliver of hope for Liverpool fans that it will be Shakhtar who end up blinking first. "I don’t want to keep a player against his will, and he wants to play in a big league."