Liverpool track Yves Bissouma as Wijnaldum replacement - sources

Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma is being closely followed by Liverpool ahead of the January transfer window, sources told ESPN, with manager Jurgen Klopp tracking him as a potential replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, who is out of contract in the summer.

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Bissouma, at 24 and with a likely value of around £30 million, fits the profile of potential players that Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards and the club's recruitment team are interested in.

Liverpool won't be the only club after him, though, as sources told ESPN Monaco and Manchester United are also keeping tabs on the former Ligue 1 star, as well as two Spanish clubs. Brighton are expecting to receive offers for him, possibly in next month's transfer window, and will face a battle to persuade him to stay.

Bissouma, who joined Brighton from Lille in the summer of 2018 for around £15m, has raised his game massively this season. Some of his statistics so far this term are pretty much on par with Wijnaldum, who looks likely to leave Liverpool in the summer as his contract expires, with Barcelona hoping to sign him.

According to statistics provided by Opta, Bissouma has clocked up 1,061 minutes to Wijnaldum's 1,081 in the league this season. The Brighton midfielder has created three chances to the Liverpool man's six, while making 40 tackles (Wijnaldum has made 11) as well as winning 73 of his 153 duels contested compared to Wijnaldum's 35 from 64 contested. Bissouma's 86% pass completion rate also stands up to Wijnaldum's 92%

With Wijnaldum's future still unresolved, Liverpool are giving thought to making a move for Bissouma before other clubs firm up their interest.

Meanwhile, Klopp has joked Thiago Alcantara will be like a new signing in January as the midfielder nears return to full fitness. Thiago was injured in the Merseyside derby back in October and has made just two appearances for Liverpool after signing for £19.8m from Bayern Munich in September. Thiago is now back in individual training as he recovers from his knee injury, but Liverpool will not rush him.

"We already made jokes here we should sign Thiago for January, in a good way," Klopp said. "We cannot rush it -- he will not be allowed to rush it. It's nice to have him on the pitch -- he's not in team training yet, that's the final step. We'll see how it is.

"Can he be in team training next week? I don't know. He has to pass a few tests on the pitch until we make that decision."

Klopp was talking ahead of Liverpool's visit to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Liverpool are unbeaten in nine league games, but last won away in the league in September at Chelsea.

"We were slightly unlucky in one or two games," Klopp added. "We didn't win a lot away from home, but we've tried to change it by doing the right things again. Playing the best possible football away and home time and time again. We try that again tomorrow."