Kylian Mbappe signing would be a massive statement for Liverpool
Liverpool have been linked with a sensational move for Monaco's Kylian Mbappe, with Spanish newspaper Marca reporting on Thursday that Monaco had rejected a €75 million offer from the Merseyside club.
However, sources have told ESPN FC that Liverpool have yet to approach the Ligue 1 champions, but added that the Reds have been monitoring the 18-year-old's rapid rise.
ESPN FC lists five reasons why Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp should break the bank to sign Mbappe.
1. It would be a statement signing
Beat relegated Middlesbrough on Sunday and Liverpool will be back in the Champions League. With that comes the financial benefits and increase in stature for players around Europe. Having only qualified for Europe's premier competition once in the past seven seasons, Liverpool are looking to return to the top and to stay there. This summer will see the club lay down the foundations for that plan.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Mbappe is catching the eye of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, so in the unlikely event Liverpool beat those teams for the Frenchman's signature, it would send shockwaves around football. Teams and players all across Europe are likely sit up and take notice of the project currently going on Anfield.
In recent history, world-class talent has been heading out of Liverpool rather than coming in, so Mbappe's signing would signal that the tide is turning on Merseyside.
2. Klopp needs a striker next season
The simple fact is that Liverpool need another forward option next season. Behind a central defender, the position should be high on Klopp's priority list this summer.
Daniel Sturridge's injury problems are well-documented and Divock Origi has struggled to reach the standards he set towards the end of the 2015-16 campaign. Roberto Firmino's impressive performances in the "False No. 9" role have seen him become first-choice.
Sturridge's future at Anfield remains uncertain and Origi hasn't proven himself enough to become a regular starter. Ultimately, at times this season, Klopp has been left with a shortage of out-and-out options upfront. Mbappe would fulfil that need immediately and for many years to come.
3. He fits the owner's bill
When Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, took charge of the club, an emphasis was placed on buying youth in the hope of nurturing them into world-class stars.
The approach in the transfer market has changed under Klopp's management, but the signing of Marko Grujic and willingness to play academy prospects Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn prove there is still an interest in developing young players at Liverpool.
At 18-years-old, Mbappe is already a star in European football, but his career is only just beginning, with no limit to just how far he can go. At the right price, FSG would sanction the signing in a heartbeat.
4. Mbappe would allow Coutinho to move deeper
Klopp has already hinted at plans to move Coutinho into a central-midfield role next term. It's a position that he feels would bring the best out of the Brazilian's immense creativity and eye for a pass.
Coutinho has predominantly played as a left forward this season, scoring a career-best 13 goals this campaign. However, it was abundantly clear to see his talent shine from deep when Klopp deployed him in the middle of the park for the 4-0 demolition of West Ham United last weekend -- he provided the wonderful long-range assist for Sturridge's opening goal and twice found the back of the net.
Mbappe, a proven goal scorer with a record of 26 goals in 43 this season, would allow for the positional switch to take place without taking anything anyway from Liverpool in the final third.
5. Liverpool need to keep up with rivals
Speaking on Friday, Klopp was adamant that Liverpool have the financial muscle power to sign the players they need. With a lack of Champions League revenue, the Merseyside outfit have seen rivals in the Premier League continually break the bank in transfer fees and wages on players simply out of their reach.
Klopp has reduced the competitive gap on the pitch with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, but he will need help in the transfer market to take Liverpool to the next level.
This season has seen the competition towards the top of the Premier League increase substantially. It is expected a number of teams in the top six will spend big this summer in order to ensure they can, at worst, secure top-four finishes.
Liverpool's record incoming transfer is still Andy Carroll's £35 million move from Newcastle United back in 2011. It's about time that changed.
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.