Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre will return today (Friday) from talks in Florida to try to sign pounds 38?million-rated Brazilian attacker Alex Teixeira, with the Merseyside club hopeful that a deal can be done with his club, Shakhtar Donetsk.
The pursuit of Teixeira, 26, is indicative of the club's determination to back new manager Jurgen Klopp, who has identified the player as his key target in this transfer window. It is a considerable outlay for the club mid-season, especially given their net spend in the summer was around pounds 20?million.
Talks will continue between Ayre and the Ukrainian club, and although Teixeira will not automatically qualify for a work permit, Liverpool have good reason to hope that he would obtain one on appeal, under new Football Association-operated Home Office guidelines.
Shakhtar's valuation is around pounds 38?million, although Liverpool have told the club they value the player at pounds 24.5?million.
The new rules means that higher transfer fees are more likely to see a player granted a work permit on appeal. The Brazilian is uncapped and was signed by Shakhtar from Vasco de Gama when he was 20.
Ayre met with officials of Shakhtar in Orlando, Florida, where the club are preparing for the restart of their domestic season. Liverpool are confident a deal can be done for a player who scored three Champions League goals in the group stage this season, as well as 22 goals in 15 league games in Ukraine. Teixeira currently has a hamstring injury, according to his coach Mircea Lucescu, though it is not thought to be an issue in terms of passing a medical.
Teixeira has been on the radar of Chelsea this month, and the interest of the Premier League champions cannot be discounted. The club have form for hijacking late deals, most notably with Willian, a target for Tottenham in August 2013, and Pedro, who was close to signing for Manchester United in the summer.
It is now up to Liverpool to gauge how far to go to get their man. Given that it is Klopp's first transfer window and the club want to deliver his chosen player, the expectation is that they will push hard.
Shakhtar played the Brazilian champions Corinthians in a friendly on Wednesday, in which Teixeira did not figure. The Ukrainian season restarts on March 5, after the club's round of 32 Europa League tie with Schalke.
Under new FA guidelines on the appeals process for work permits for players who do not meet the requirement on international appearances, much would depend on the fee Liverpool paid for Teixeira and the wages they agreed.
Were Liverpool to conclude a deal for Teixeira, his application would go in front of an FA-appointed exceptions panel. That committee would make a decision largely based on a points system introduced by FA chairman Greg Dyke's task force, to ensure that only the better non-European Union players were granted work permits.
That means the higher his transfer fee and the higher his wages, relative to other Premier League players, the more points he would score.