Under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool have begun to seem to be mirroring Chelsea's approach to youth development: vacuum up as much top European talent as possible and loan it back out to develop. And newly rumoured target Zakari Bakkali is a player who would fit that approach perfectly.
One of the most promising talents on the continent, Bakkali has already developed something of a reputation as a troublemaker. There are rumours of poor effort in training and a player who can at times seem to act as though he believes he has already made it. His talent, though, is inarguable.
Whether there's truth to the accusatory rumours levelled at him, what is known is that Bakkali has had something of a falling out with PSV Eindhoven's management this summer. And now, with only a year remaining on his contract, the 18-year-old attacker has flat out refused to sign any new deal offered to him.
As a result, he has been sent to train with the reserves as PSV prepare for the upcoming season. And as a result of that, there is growing talk that the player will be on his way out for a bargain fee. In England, Tottenham and Liverpool have been linked. Out of it, Porto and Valencia.
Sources close to the player have told Belgian outlet Sport Magazine that Liverpool are in pole position, though if he did end up at Anfield it seems likely the player would quickly head back out on loan again—though there's a case to be made for the club keeping him for a season to assess and work on the mental side of his game.
If rumours of Bakkali being a player with issues have been overstated, though, or if Liverpool can help him to work through them, this is a player with all the talent to become one of the game's biggest stars. Those ifs, though, do seem massive. Even if they could make him a bargain.
Depending on the source, there are suggestions the fee could be as low as €2-3M. Though some sources in Belgium are believe PSV rate him closer to €8M, most are insistent the fee will end up being far less due to his contract status, attitude issues, and clear desire to move on.