Liverpool have one ‘hidden’ reason why they’re interested in Mason Mount transfer

Mason Mount has been linked with a transfer to Liverpool from Chelsea.

Mason Mount. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty ImagesMason Mount. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Mason Mount. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images

During the international break. with Kopites looking to sate their appetite for all things Liverpool, it’s hardly been a surprise that transfers have been a heavy talking point.

Of course, Jude Bellingham has dominated. Former Reds captain Steven Gerrard and the current skipper Jordan Henderson have both gone on a charm offensive in a bid to prise the midfielder to Anfield in the summer transfer window.

Indeed, the engine room is expected to be replenished when the season is over. Amid an underwhelming that’s confounded even the most astute judges around, fresh faces will be required. Even Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Liverpool have to ‘do something’.

Given that the Reds require reinforcements, coupled with the fact that they might not be in the Champions League in 2023-24, a raft of names have been linked. Some will be concrete, others are likely to be balderdash.

A name who has been linked with Liverpool for a few months - not quite as long as Bellingham, mind you - is Mason Mount.

The 24-year-old is at an impasse with Chelsea when it comes to negotiations over a new contract. Despite being named the west London outfit’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons, helping them win the Champions League in 2021 and playing 32 this term, talks have hit a stumbling block. Head coach Graham Potter has admitted he wants to keep Mount at Stamford Bridge but it has been reported that the England international wants to be paid similar wages to team-mates Reece James and Raheem Sterling.

Mount’s current deal expires in June 2024 and if he’s not to commit his future then Chelsea could look to cash in rather in the summer rather than allow him to leave on a free in 12 months’ time.

In terms of what Klopp could covet when it comes to midfield signings, Mount does tick plenty of boxes. He’s an experienced Premier League and Champions League performer whose best years are still to come. Being capped 36 times for England is not to be scotched at his age.

The former Derby County loanee is versatile and he’d augment Liverpool’s goal threat from the engine room, having bagged 33 times for Chelsea in 192 outings.

But another reason why the Reds may be keen - that perhaps is going unnoticed - is the homegrown element. Mount, of course, has come through the academy ranks at Stamford Bridge, having been picked up by the club aged six when playing junior football around his hometown Portsmouth.

Premier League rules state that clubs when submitting their squads twice per season can have no more than 17 players who do not fulfil homegrown player criteria.

A homegrown player ‘means a player who, irrespective of nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to The Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21)’.

When Liverpool resubmitted their squad after the January transfer window, they were at the maximum of 17 players. However, they fell short of the eight senior players required to fulfil a maximum number of 25 players. Those who fell into the category were Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nat Phillips and Caoimhin Kelleher. Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho did not count as they were all born on or after 1 January 2001 and classed as under-21 players.

Yet there are doubts over some of the aforementioned seven senior players. In fact, it’s not hyperbole to suggest that four could leave the club in the summer.

Oxlade-Chamberlain looks almost certain to depart Anfield as his contract heads towards expiry. The midfielder hasn’t been included on the bench for the previous five Premier League matches. In truth, an exit suits both parties.

James Milner is another whose deal comes to an end in June. The vice-captain has made 32 appearances this season despite being at the ripe age of 37 and Klopp has previously hinted he’d like Milner to extend his eight-year stay. However, an agreement is still to be reached.

Phillips and Kelleher are tied down until 2025 and 2026 respectively. Yet it is feasible that both could look to depart in search of regular football. Phillips has been fifth-choice centre-back this season and aged 26, may want to play a more prominent role elsewhere. Injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate put paid to Phillips departing in January.

Kelleher, meanwhile, is very much No.2 goalkeeper behind Alisson Becker. The Republic of Ireland international was Liverpool’s hero in last season’s Carabao Cup final triumph against Chelsea but had made only three outings this term. Having recently turned 24, Kelleher may too want to fully kickstart his senior career. He has the ability.

While Jones will no longer be classed as an under-21 player next season, Liverpool will still be short on enough members of the squad when it comes to the homegrown criteria.

Of course, Bellingham would fill one of those berths if the Reds were successful in their pursuit. Despite spending the past three seasons at German giants Borussia Dortmund, the midfielder was reared in the youth ranks at Birmingham City. Bellingham is Liverpool’s top target although there is expected to be hot competition from Manchester City and Real Madrid.

It remains to be seen whether it will be and/ or Mount. While the 24-year-old is approaching the final 12 months of his contract, he’s still likely to command a sizeable fee.

Yet to land both England stars would help Liverpool when it comes to the homegrown rule.