Arne Slot may already have figured out a £37m replacement for Luis Diaz if Liverpool sell this summer

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The Colombian winger has been linked with Barcelona since Jurgen Klopp’s departure.

Liverpool’s new sporting director Richard Hughes has teased fans that they are headed for a busy end to their summer transfer window. During Arne Slot’s first press conference, Hughes confirmed that the club is expected to see out a ‘quiet July’ but follow up with a ‘crescendo in August’.

Slot has inherited a solid squad from Jurgen Klopp but he is looking to put his own stamp on the team ahead of his first season in charge. The Reds have been linked with multiple exciting transfer targets as they look to strengthen their defence, attack and potentially add a new midfielder to the ranks as well. But signing new talent is unlikely to be the only business that goes on at Anfield this summer, as some players have also been linked with departures.

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Luis Díaz has been heavily linked with Barcelona for several weeks now and Liverpool are on the market for new wide players, as Mohamed Salah’s future also remains uncertain. However, a new admission from Cody Gakpo could spare Liverpool the need to enter talks and table big money for a marquee winger, and rather focus on a rotational player instead, if they so wish.

Gakpo enjoyed a strong run at Euro 2024, contributing three goals and an assist for the Netherlands while operating on the left throughout the tournament before their defeat at the hands of England on Wednesday night. The 25-year-old has played a number of roles since his arrival at Liverpool in 2022, but he has confirmed that he is currently in his favoured position under Ronald Koeman.

“I was a left winger before so that's always been my preference. But in the last one-and-a-half years, the coach [Jurgen Klopp] needed me to play somewhere else and that's what I tried to do at my best,” Gakpo said, via The Mirror.

Indeed, most of Gakpo’s appearances last season for Liverpool saw him operate as a centre-forward, while also featuring in midfield when called upon from time to time. As Liverpool’s options on the left have been quite saturated, the Dutchman was often Klopp’s first choice No.9, alternating with Darwin Núñez.

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Interest in the Uruguayan has also been rising but recent reports claim Liverpool have no plans to sell him this summer. Both Núñez and Diogo Jota are confident playing as a No.9, so the pair can use pre-season to determine who gets the starting spot up top, while Gakpo slots back into his preferred role on the left.

The boss himself has been assessing where to deploy players like Gakpo when the season starts but he has remained tight-lipped in revealing any plans, at least until he has the discussions in house.

“I don't have an opinion about what their best position would be at their countries because that depends on what other players they have. You cannot judge a player on their own,” the manager said in his recent press conference.

“It's always a team effort. But I do have my opinion about where they're going to play here. But if you don't mind, I'm going to talk to them about that first and work with them first before telling you.”

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Slot also praised Gakpo’s efforts on the European stage this summer and admitted the team are keeping a close eye on him and hoping to see even more from him in these final stages of the tournament.

He added: “I am hoping he will step up even more. We are hoping and expecting him to do even better. He has been impressive and had a good tournament so far. We've inherited a good team. With the way I look at football, I can see how important it is to work on a daily basis.”

If Díaz does leave and Slot opts to deploy Gakpo at left-wing, it should save the club a handsome amount of money on signing a new senior attacker. However, if the Dutch boss also follows a similar strategy to Klopp, he may resume duty as a No.9.

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