Liverpool to boost Champions League bid with Shakhtar star

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Another of Shakhtar Donetsk’s cheaply assembled Champions League squad could be about to make a mega-bucks move to the Premier League.

Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan could follow in Fernandinho’s shoes after Liverpool made him their top target of the summer, with the Anfield club ready to splash as much as £22m to secure his signature.

The link between club and player emerged after Mkhitaryan played a crucial role in Armenia’s 4-0 demolition of Denmark in their recent World Cup qualifier, where he scoured the final goal of the rout.

It was arguably the perfect way to end what has been a stellar season for the 24-year-old, who helped his side reach the knock-out stage of Europe’s premiere competition against the odds, won the Ukrainian title and bagged a record-breaking 25 league goals, and that’s despite being deployed in an attacking midfield berth.

The Reds would have to fend off a whole host of Europe’s elite in order to snare Mkhitaryan, with Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea all said to be keen on his services too.

All of these clubs can obviously offer far more than Liverpool from a fiscal and trophy-winning perspective, but given the star-laden squads they possess, his game time could well be restricted.

A player of such strengths is exactly what Liverpool require, having been far to reliant on Steven Gerrard for goals from midfield. As the England captain enters the twilight of his glittering career, the arrival of the three-time Armenian player of the year is likely to herald the Reds’ talisman move into a more orchestrating, deeper midfield position, much like how Manchester United utilised Paul Scholes.

The quick completion of the transfer, however, could depend on whether Andy Carroll decides his future lies with West Ham.

Liverpool’s £35m record signing seems unlikely to commit to the east Londoners long-term after stalling on the completion of the £15m transfer both clubs have long-since agreed. The funds generated from this move are reportedly what Brendan Rodgers will use to fund the Mkhitaryan deal.

Pulling off this coup would make the Merseysiders the envy of many a continental giant and would immeasurably improve their Champions League qualification dreams for next term. They’re currently 2/1 to finish in the top four.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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