Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City are set to battle it out for Middlesbrough midfielder Hayden Hackney, according to the Evening Standard.
The 21-year-old scored Boro’s winner against Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, and his performances are attracting plenty of interest from Premier League teams.
However, Hackney is not expected to leave the Riverside Stadium during the January transfer window. The Teessiders are said to be only willing to sell him this month if they receive an offer they cannot refuse.
It is much more likely that the player will be sold in the summer when his club will seek to offload him to the highest bidder.
Why are Liverpool interested in Hackney?
Thiago Alcantara’s contract with the Reds expires at the end of the season and there is an expectation that he will leave Anfield, rather than sign an extension, having spent the first 5 months of the campaign on the treatment table.
A replacement will be needed for the Spaniard but it is believed that Jurgen Klopp’s side will be seeking a homegrown player. Every Premier League club is required to have at least 8 players in their squad trained in the UK.
After allowing the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave last year, there is a danger that Liverpool won’t be able to meet their quota in the future. Signing someone like Hackney would alleviate that concern.
What do fans need to know about Hackney?
The 21-year-old has made 63 appearances for Middlesbrough since making his senior debut against Blackpool in the FA Cup just over three years ago.
Hackney is a holding midfielder by trade but he can play further forward if required. He is eligible to play for England and Scotland, having been capped by both countries at youth level.