Liverpool are pressing ahead with plans to sign Shakhtar Donetsk’s Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mkhitaryan, who scored 25 goals from midfield for Shakhtar in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, is available for around £20 million.
The 24-year-old, who is under contract with Shakhtar until 2015, has been linked with Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City in the past, and is believed to be attracting the attention of Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group have not been put off by the player’s price tag, and are prepared to sanction the signing of Mkhitaryan, who was Armenia’s Player of the Year in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Mkhitaryan is expected to leave Shakhtar this summer, having reportedly stated in March that he “will do everything this summer to join one of the strongest clubs in the world”, although he later claimed that he had been misquoted.
The midfielder, who began his career in his homeland with Pyunik Yerevan, moved to Ukraine to join Metalurh Donetsk in 2009, before crossing the city to join Shakhtar a year later.
Liverpool, who have signed centre-back Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City and have agreed a £7.7 million deal in principle for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, are pursuing a number of other options.
The club are in negotiations with Sunderland for £10 million-rated goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, while reports in Spain suggest a £6.8 million deal is close for Sevilla forward Luis Alberto. Liverpool are also looking to bring in Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori.