The stunning £52m January swoop that Liverpool must beat Arsenal to

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The Reds and the Gunners have both been linked with Sao Paulo defender Lucas Beraldo in recent days.

It's what you might call 'a broad spectrum of interest'. Lucas Beraldo, a player you may very well have never heard of, is reportedly attracting interest from Championship leaders Leicester City, as well as Premier League high-flyers Arsenal and Liverpool. Somebody's scouting department is evidently a little wide of the mark in their aspirations.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Beraldo, for those unaware of his work, is a 20-year-old centre-back, born in the small city of Piracicaba, Brazil, who currently plies his trade for famed local outfit Sao Paulo. Since making his senior debut for the club, he has gone on to establish himself as an ever-present at the heart of defence, and has occasionally showcased a capability to operate at the base of midfield too. He is young, promising, and seemingly destined to earn himself a European move sooner rather than later.

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Which, unsurprisingly, is where this glut of English interest enters the fray. Various recent reports in Brazil have suggested that Leicester are willing to table a bid of around £17.3 million for the player, and that Sao Paulo would be open to the prospect of sanctioning a transfer at that price. (That being said, it is worth emphasising that contrary to those reports, Beraldo is understood to have penned a fresh deal the Estadio do Morumbi which includes a release clause closer to £52 million.) It has also been suggested that Russian giants Zenit Saint Petersburg have already had an offer of around £15.5 million rejected for the centre-back.

Intriguingly, however, according to an update from Italian outlet TuttoJuve, Beraldo is garnering attention from a higher calibre of club too. Both Arsenal and Liverpool are directly name-checked as prospective, as are - somewhat unsurprisingly given the focus of the reporting publication - Juventus. Few other details are given, except that those around the defender believe he is worthy of a more illustrious transfer than Leicester could offer him, and that Sao Paulo would be willing to agree to his exit almost immediately, opening the door to a deal in January.

And it is easy to see why both Arsenal and Liverpool have been seduced by his talent. Nicknamed 'The Joker' in reference to his signature pre-match maniacal grin - seriously - Beraldo is a staggeringly assured, ball-playing central defender, and ever since being handed an extended run in Sao Paulo's first team due to a spate of injuries, he has seized his opportunity with a maturity that far belies his tender age.

Left-footed and physically imposing, there are still aspects of his game that require some development; Beraldo's confidence in possession has, on occasion, led to the odd error, and he is guilty of lapses in concentration here and there. But, it should be pointed out that these moments are becoming rarer all the time, and according to those around him, the precocious talent is a diligent and willing learner. Speaking earlier this year, former coach Rogerio Ceni said: "He's a dedicated kid. He arrives early at training and always works well. I think he's gaining great experience [from a defensive perspective] but he already creates more than the vast majority of defenders."

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Naturally, given his nationality, his links with Sao Paulo, and his undeniable talent, Beraldo has drawn comparisons to Real Madrid star Eder Militao, but in truth, there is probably a much greater similarity in his style of play to that of Arsenal defender William Saliba. Between his pace, strength, and technical ability, the 20-year-old is certainly cut from the same cloth as the Frenchman, and it is for that reason that Liverpool must go all out to sign him.

When all is said and done, Arsenal have a Saliba of their own, but the Reds do not, and to that end, bringing in a player who could make even a fraction of the impact on the Premier League that the Gunners talisman has would represent a significant coup for any club boasting title aspirations.

The competition might be fierce (and Leicester are interested too) but this is one transfer race that Jurgen Klopp's men should seriously consider limbering up for. If they don't, Arsenal could land themselves yet another defensive starlet of immense pedigree and potential.

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