Reports in Portugal claim Liverpool are the first club to have made a formal offer for Sporting Lisbon’s star midfield man Bruno Fernandes.
Correio de Manha reports that the Reds have offered £40m for the 24 year old but that Sporting’s valuation is considerably higher. So far there have been no other firm offers for one of Europe’s most sought after players.
Fernandes is in high demand, with Spurs, Inter Milan and both Manchester clubs having already been linked with him this summer. He certainly fits Liverpool’s recent profile of signings as under Jurgen Klopp the Reds have tended to target players in the 23-26 age bracket. Players who have proven themselves but are ready to take the next level.
Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Fabinho amongst others all fall into this category, and Fernandes would be another. At 24 years of age he’s coming off the best season of his career, scoring 32 goals and also claiming 18 assists from midfield. Hugely impressive numbers, which even if halved would still make him a valuable asset to any team.
A year ago the Reds were only a failed medical away from adding Lyon star Nabil Fekir to the squad as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has never truly been replaced and although Liverpool have fared pretty well without him (reaching successive Champions League finals, winning one of them while also breaking the club record for points in a top flight season), many would argue that there is still a vacancy in the squad for a creative, goalscoring midfield player.
Liverpool finished just one point behind City last year and need to explore every possible avenue if they are to overhaul Pep Guardiola’s team. UK bookmakers still make City favourites to retain their title, but that may change depending on how both clubs fare in the transfer market this summer.
The Reds have the best defence and the most potent forward line, so adding extra goals from midfield could be the key to jump from second to first. That is the one obvious area where Liverpool are behind Manchester City. Klopp certainly has a number of high quality midfield players at his disposal, but he has no ‘magician’ following the departure of Coutinho and collapse of the Fekir deal. City have the two Silvas and Kevin De Bruyne.
From that perspective, a move for Fernandes would seem plausible but as of yet the usual suspects on the LFC patch have yet to confirm it. Until that happens, best to take these rumours with a pinch of salt.