Liverpool have entered talks with the agent of Sporting midfielder Bruno Fernandes, according to reports in Portugal.
The midfielder was pivotal in Sporting’s excellent early season form which has unfortunately tailed off in the latter stages of the season – starting all but one game in their Liga NOS campaign.
An ever-present in midfield, Fernandes has made a great contribution from the middle of the park, tallying up 13 goals and 18 assists in all competitions.
The 23-year-old even managed to secure himself four assists against Maritimo in a 5-0 win earlier in the season.
While the club struggled in the Champions League group stage, with Barcelona and Juventus progressing with relative ease, Fernandes showed that he is capable of competing with Europe’s elite players and caught the eye of Liverpool’s scouting department.
He also put in a good showing over two legs against Atletico Madrid as Sporting were knocked out just 2-1 on aggregate.
Having only been capped once by Portugal in his career so far, Fernandes will be in firm contention come the country’s World Cup opener against Spain.
Portugal manager Fernando Santos is a big fan of the midfielder and will likely pair him up with the more defensive-minded Danilo Pereira of Porto should he recover from his Achilles injury in time.
However, it’s a spot that will be heavily contested given the emergence of Ruben Nuves at Wolves, Mario Fernandes’ consistency and the experience of Joao Moutinho.
This World Cup could see Fernandes price skyrocket should he have the impact that many expect him to. Having joined from Sampdoria for just £7m at the start of the season, his price has likely already gone up ten-fold given the magnitude of the impact he’s had at Sporting.
With Naby Keita also set to arrive in the summer, it remains to be seen just how Fernandes would fit into Klopp’s first eleven. As another playmaker that thrives off a counter-attacking style and is such a threat going forward given his assets – you wouldn’t be wrong for questioning the necessity of this transfer.
While Philippe Coutinho’s departure seemed to leave Liverpool with a lack of creativity in midfield, this evidently hasn’t been a problem given the recent form of the side. This could also hinge on the future of Emre Can, which remains uncertain with the German still yet to commit to a new contract or a new club.
Should Fernandes make the move to Merseyside this summer, it would certainly send shockwaves throughout the Premier League and show Klopp’s intent to challenge for the title. Sporting would certainly demand a high fee with rumours of an £87m release clause circulating in the media already.