Liverpool edge closer to deals for Simon Mignolet and Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Anfield optimistic over Sunderland goalkeeper deal, Shakhtar midfielder believed to have been approached

Armenia’s Henrik Mkhitaryan (centre) is a transfer target for Liverpool. Photograph: Jens Noergaard Larsen/Scanpix/Reuters

Armenia’s Henrik Mkhitaryan (centre) is a transfer target for Liverpool. Photograph: Jens Noergaard Larsen/Scanpix/Reuters


Liverpool are confident their attempts to strengthen the squad will accelerate further this week with deals edging closer to secure the Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and Shakhtar Donetsk’s prolific midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The club’s managing director, Ian Ayre, pulled out of a scheduled appearance at a conference on football economic opportunities in Rio de Janeiro over the weekend to remain in Europe, with discussions on-going with the players’ respective clubs.

Mignolet, who is currently on holiday in the Caribbean, has two years to run on his contract at Sunderland and has indicated a reluctance to sign a new deal, with the Wearside club seeking around €11.7m for the Belgium international.

No fee has been agreed as yet for the player, with Liverpool having had an initial offer nearer €7.5m rejected, but there is optimism at Anfield that a compromise can still be struck.

That signing could yet impact upon José Reina’s future on Merseyside, with the Spaniard having been mooted as a replacement for Victor Valdés back at his former club, Barcelona, should the 31-year-old depart Camp Nou this summer. Valdés has since indicated a desire to see out the remainder of his contract at the Spanish champions, taking him to 2014, so it remains to be seen whether Barça rekindle any interest in Reina.

The arrival of Mkhitaryan for what is expected to be a fee of €25.5m would represent something of a coup for Liverpool, with the Armenian having proved prolific for a Shakhtar side who impressed in the Champions League last term.

The Ukrainian club’s chief executive, Sergey Palkin, had suggested that there had been no official contact with Liverpool over the player, who scored 25 league goals last season, but that approach is now understood to have occurred and Anfield officials are hopeful about concluding a deal.

Mkhitaryan (24) has been voted Armenia’s player of the year three times and has thrived as an attacking midfielder, prompting interest from clubs in the Bundesliga and France’s nouveaux riches, Paris St-Germain and Monaco.

He would potentially join the Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas at Anfield, with a €8.9m transfer agreed in principal with the Spanish club, with the veteran centre-half Kolo Touré having also been secured on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract at Manchester City.

Guardian Service