Liverpool and Barcelona are considering a January swap deal involving two fringe centre-forwards.
Roberto Firmino has started five of eight games in all competitions for Liverpool and is expected to feature even less once Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota have reached full match fitness.
Memphis Depay has been forced onto the periphery at Barcelona by an aggressive approach in the transfer market which has seen Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Ferran Torres improve their attacking depth over the past year.
The Dutchman has subsequently started just twice in La Liga and made a substitute cameo in the Champions League this season.
Both players are on contracts which expire at the end of the current campaign and thus Liverpool and Barcelona are exploring the possibility of an intricate deal which would suit all parties involved.
Reports in Spanish outlet Somos Fanaticos suggest that while ‘the idea is only on paper’ when it comes to a straight exchange of Firmino and Depay, ‘conversations should get more intense with the turn of the year’.
Firmino has been linked with Barcelona on numerous occasions over the past couple of years, even being lined up in a £16.7m move earlier this year.
Depay came close to joining Liverpool in summer 2015, the player being invited to the home of then-manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of a proposed £25m deal which subsequently collapsed when the Reds turned their focus to Christian Benteke instead.
‘Sources close to the player suggest Liverpool’s approach was confusing,’ The Athletic once said of those negotiations.
With neither Liverpool nor Barcelona keen to lose the players for ‘zero cost’, a straight swap could appeal.
Jurgen Klopp rubbished the idea of letting Firmino leave in the summer, which could prove to be quite the obstacle.
“Bobby is crucial for us,” he said. “He is the heart and soul of this team. Everything looks really good. He is essential for us.”
Former Manchester United forward Depay has discussed his struggles in keeping hold of a first-team place at the Nou Camp.
“I look extra forward to this week with the national team, I’m sure you can guess why,” Depay said of his Netherlands call-up for the international break.
“I played less than usual and it’s not something I am used to. But here you know you are going to play, so I am extra motivated and thankful..
“I had two starting spots in the last two weeks in La Liga. It’s not enough.
“I get taken off after 60 minutes, but I am longing for more. In the last 25 minutes of the game, there is more space and I always have the power to profit from that.”