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 By Mike Whalley

Liverpool linked with Mignolet move

Simon Mignolet has emerged as a leading transfer target for Liverpool if current Anfield goalkeeper Pepe Reina moves to Barcelona, ESPN understands.

Simon Mignolet is looking forward to another derby
Mignolet shone for Sunderland last season

Reina’s future remains uncertain, with Victor Valdes having said he will leave the Nou Camp when his current deal runs out.

Valdes had looked set to move on in the summer but said on Friday that he intends to stay until his contract expires in 2014 but leave then.

That has reduced the chances of Reina, 30, returning to the Camp Nou - where he began his career - before the start of next season.

But Liverpool are considering a number of goalkeeping options if he does go, with Belgium international Mignolet, 25, understood to be top of their list ahead of Stoke’s Asmir Begovic and Reading’s Alex McCarthy.

At this stage, though, Liverpool have not made an approach for Mignolet, whose impressive form in 2012-13 saw him named Sunderland’s player of the season.

Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to freshen up his squad over the summer, but speculation linking him with a move for Reading defender Alex Pearce is wide of the mark.

Rodgers, who has brought in centre-back Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City, is hoping to complete a £7.7 million deal for Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas, 25, in the coming days.

The manager needs to bolster his forward line, with Luis Suarez having made it clear that he wants to leave and Daniel Sturridge facing four months out after suffering an ankle injury during England’s 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland last Wednesday.

But despite those problems, there is still no way back into regular first-team contention for Andy Carroll, who has accepted that his future lies away from Anfield and is likely to agree a £15 million permanent move to West Ham this week.


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