Liverpool are hopeful of beating Manchester City to the signing of highly-rated Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates, who will cost around £12million.
The 20-year-old centre-half was named best young player at this summer’s Copa America where his performances for the tournament winners Uruguay has only increased interest from several Premier League clubs.
Scouts from Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City all watched the 6ft 6in Coates in action during the championships in Argentina and have also monitored his club performances for Nacional.
But Liverpool are optimistic that their Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez can persuade his compatriot Coates’ to link up with him at Anfield.
The Premier League certainly seems the most likely destination for the towering stopper and could cost Reds owners Fenway Sports Group, who have already sanctioned a £110m recruitment drive this year, a fee of around £12m.
Coates was linked with a £3.5m transfer to Porto in June following the collapse of a proposed move to the Brazilian side Sao Paulo but his rise to prominence at the Copa America has since inflated Nacional’s asking price.
Liverpool are keen to strengthen their defence, especially after allowing Sotirios Kyrgiakos to join Wolfsburg on a free transfer.
Coates is an elegant and quick defender, comfortable with possession and capable of bringing the ball out from defence.
He missed out on his country’s World Cup squad in South Africa last summer and his inexperience at senior international level could provide an obstacle in obtaining a work permit, although he does have Spanish and British ancestry.
Liverpool are also hoping to sign Birmingham defender Scott Dann before the transfer deadline next Wednesday.