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EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool Admire Johan Bakayoko, But Are Yet To Make Formal Approach

Liverpool are huge admirers of PSV Eindhoven winger Johan Bakayoko, but they have yet to make any sort of formal approach for the 21-year-old. The Belgian, who scored 14 goals and delivered 14 assists in 48 games this season, is expected to leave the Eredivise this summer in search of a new beginning in another league.

The team from Anfield has yet to approach Bakayoko with a formal offer or make concrete contact, but they have registered their interest in his services before. They are not the only club in the Premier League to show interest in the PSV winger, with Manchester City also showing admiration for his talents. A deal with City, however, is now unlikely after they landed a deal for Girona winger Savio. The Brazilian is set to join the club this summer, effectively ruling out a move for another right-sided attacker.

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PSV’s Belgium forward #11 Johan Bakayoko celebrates after scoring his fourth goal during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between PSV Eindhoven and Vitesse Arnhem at the Phillips stadium, in Eindhoven, on April 13, 2024. (Photo by MAURICE VAN STEEN / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by MAURICE VAN STEEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Bakayoko’s Future:

Bakayoko is more intrigued by the project being offered by clubs this summer and is unlikely to be motivated by any sort of money. His next move is something that has to make sense for his future development, and that is likely to mean signing for a club where first-team football is easily available.

Liverpool are yet to clarify the future of Mohamed Salah, and signing for the club if they keep the Egyptian is extremely unlikely, as Bakayoko would not be guaranteed first-team football. The situation could change if Liverpool choose to sell Salah, who has major interest from the Saudi League, but at this moment in time their interest in Bakayoko remains informal, and they are unlikely to push that forward until Salah’s future is resolved.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League, moves to Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal are all considered unlikely. There is interest from the Bundesliga, which as of right now looks to be a route the Belgian winger could go down. PSV are looking for a fee of around £50million for Bakayoko, but this is a fee seen by many as unfair.

£40+5million in add-ons is viewed as a more reasonable fee for the 21-year-old to be sold for, especially considering Cody Gakpo’s sale to Liverpool was worth an initial £37 million last January, as well as Noni Madueke’s £29million deal to Chelsea. There are questions about how Bakayoko is costing more than Gakpo did, especially considering the Dutch winger was an established international at the time Liverpool secured a deal for him.

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PSV’s Belgium forward #11 Johan Bakayoko reacts during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first leg football match between against PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund at the The Philips Stadium, in Eindhoven on February 20, 2024. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Bundesliga Move?

A move to the Premier League is not ruled out but is considered less likely as there are question marks over whether it’s the best place for Bakayoko to go in regards to his development. In clubs like Arsenal and Spurs, there are already starting right-wingers in Bukayo Saka and Dejan Kulusevski. At Manchester United and Chelsea, there is inner turmoil with managerial appointments and player unrest, which makes neither destination a mouth-watering prospect when you’re thinking of the development of a young, talented footballer looking to maximise his talent.

There are only a handful of clubs in the Bundesliga capable of affording such a fee, in the shape of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig. The situation at Dortmund could depend on whether they decide to spend big on Jadon Sancho this summer, with his loan deal from Manchester United expiring after the Champions League final. Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig are also options that could be explored, as Bakayoko would like to be playing in the Champions League next season after having a taste of it this year with PSV.

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There are other clubs across Europe with an interest in Bakayoko, but a move to countries like Italy and France at present is not expected to happen. Real Madrid have active interest in the 21-year-old, but a move like that is more likely to materialise in a couple of years, as opposed to right now or this summer. There are very few wingers on the market with the technical skills or goals and assist returns of Bakayoko, especially for a player as young as he is, which means it comes as no surprise there are so many clubs with keen eyes on his services.

The situation remains open regarding his future. Nothing is expected to happen between now and the EURO 2024 campaign. Bakayoko’s future will not be solved until Belgium’s tournament is over, and that stands for whether they win the tournament or not. The feeling as of now is that Bakayoko is likely to leave the club this summer.

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