Luis Suarez has already explained why Mauricio Pochettino reportedly should sign Federico Valverde from Real Madrid. The 24-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea following the 51-year-old's appointment in west London.
Valverde, who sees his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expire in 2027, has featured 56 times for Carlo Ancelotti's side this season, directly contributing towards 19 goals. While Barcelona may have beaten Los Blancos to the La Liga title, his impressive performances helped the Spanish giants venture into the Champions League semi-final.
With the Blues in the market for a new midfielder or two this summer, the Uruguay international has reportedly been identified as a target by Pochettino. N'Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic all face uncertain futures at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea conducting a summer clear out.
The west Londoners have been heavily linked with both Moises Caicedo and Manuel Ugarte lately, though the race for Valverde has built a head of steam recently. According to Spanish outlet SPORT, the newly-appointed Chelsea boss has convinced the club to offer up to £85million for the Real Madrid star.
The report states that Los Blanco view Valverde as untouchable and will therefore not entertain any offers. However, if Pochettino can get his hands on the Uruguayan then the Blues could be signing the next Steven Gerrard.
In an interview with MARCA, Luis Suarez compared his fellow countryman to his former Liverpool teammate. The former Barcelona striker said: "Honestly – and there are the newspaper archives from 2017 when Fede debuted in the national team – I already said that he reminded me of Steven Gerrard, who was my teammate at Liverpool.
"He has similar conditions. A box to box, with punch, change of pace, a lot of arrival. I don’t want to compare, but the characteristics are similar. I saw Fede coming and he has made tremendous progress, surrounded by big stars. He did very well."
Valverde is widely regarded as one of the world's top midfielders, and Joe Cole believes that he could be just as good as Jude Bellingham. Speaking on BT Sport in November following Real Madrid's win over Celtic, the former Chelsea ace said: "He's standing right at the top of the tree with Bellingham in the young players, and he's on the verge of becoming the best.
"He's box-to-box, he scores goals, he's a technician he was the unsung hero in the final, I thought he was outstanding against Liverpool. He drove that team forward, he's a powerful boy, took his goal lovely, and he's one that I earmarked about two years ago.
"He's found it tough getting into Casemiro, Kroos and Modric, they've been incredible. He's had to wait, bide his time and learn from the greats, take a little bit from everyone's game.
"His stats this year are unbelievable, his goals, assists, goal involvements, incredible player and we talk a lot about Bellingham in this country, but this kid is every bit as good as Bellingham."