Liverpool have been linked with Theo Hernandez, the 19-year-old Athletico Madrid left back currently out on loan with Alaves, a number of times in the past month. They aren't the only ones, with Real Madrid and now Barcelona both rumoured to be sniffing around Spain's top young fullback.
Despite that, rumours in the English media insist Liverpool haven't abandoned hopes of signing the French-born defender, who was born in Marseille and has represented France at every youth level but joined Athletico's youth set-up at the age of ten, claiming his £20M release clause gives them an opening.
Spanish tax law used to be written such that a foreign club triggering a release clause essentially had to pay double, but that was changed recently, and now Theo could be had for £20M. It's a steep price, but one that wouldn't be excessive given his standing and age—at least if he pans out as expected.
Liverpool, though, would certainly have a tough go of convincing him to first leave the Athletico system and, then, to join them ahead of one of the Spanish giants if he did. Still, the promise of major playing time and a starring role in the Premier League next season could work in their favour.
It also might not. It's easy for fans to watch young players head to clubs like Barcelona and Madrid only to languish on the bench and wonder what they were thinking, but to make it as a professional athlete one typically needs a preternatural level of self-confidence and belief.
Offering Theo a clearer path to starting regularly at a big club might not mean a lot of the player believes it would only take half a season to win the starting place at an even bigger one. Still, it's an encouraging name for Liverpool to be linked to, and the existence of a release clause does add plausibility to the rumours.