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Liverpool Interest in Tiago Ilori Remains Despite Prolonged Negotiations

Sporting's young central defender had initially been expected to become one of the first few signings of the summer for Liverpool, but drawn-out negotiations have delayed the deal for Tiago Ilori.

Liverpool FC

It's strange to consider it now, but much of the early transfer talk surrounding Liverpool was focused on defenders--Kyriakos Papadopoulos was apparently the main target for the club, and a deal for Kolo Toure was agreed as the first of the club's early business. Another name strongly linked was young Portuguese central defender Tiago Ilori, and while talk of a move for Papadopoulos has cooled, Liverpool are reportedly still interested in a deal for Ilori, who's currently away with the U20s at the World Cup in Turkey.

According to The Liverpool Echo, the club have scouts in Turkey and have continued to follow the young defender (along with Sporting winger Bruma and Barcelona forward Gerard Deulofeu) through Portugal's first three matches, in which they've gone unbeaten, earning a draw and a win in Ilori's two starts against South Korea and Cuba respectively. Ilori didn't see any time in the narrow victory over Nigeria in the opener--in which a Bruma brace proved the difference--but will hopefully feature in the round of 16 next Wednesday.

For many, defensive strengthening is Liverpool's top priority; settling something with Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be fantastic, but Kolo Toure isn't a cure-all for the club's needs, and at minimum there should be additions in the middle and the fullback roles. And as promising as he might be, a deal for Ilori doesn't necessarily benefit the squad that greatly right now, as he's largely considered one for the future in the Sebastian Coates mold, only that he'll supposedly play and stuff.

There don't appear to be any major complications in settling the deal, at least not publicly in the way of Iago Aspas or Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and by all accounts Liverpool are going to work until they can see the transfer through. At some point it seems as though we'll be welcoming Tiago Ilori to Liverpool, and hopefully he's one of about two or three additions meant to improve the club defensively both now and in the future.

Video below of his performance against South Korea in the 2-2 draw:

Video by MrBoyWunder

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