As a club that has often been quite reticent to sign from the Portuguese market, things are changing at Liverpool. The arrival of Pepjin Lijnders into the Liverpool backroom staff gave the team a more insightful knowledge of Portuguese football. The Dutchman worked at FC Porto for some time. He has also been joined by Vitor Matos, a Portuguese native who also worked in the domestic league. As such, Liverpool have great insight into these markets on their coaching staff – and it appears to be working in their favour.
In the last few years alone, the club has signed the likes of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, and Darwin Nunez. These players have all come either from Portugal or have played in the league, and have shone in the Liga NOS. Therefore, signing players from Portugal has become a common place to shop for the Reds. Given the success of the signings above so far, too, it is fair to say that it is a happy hunting ground.
Another player might be arriving from the league now, too, with Liverpool linked with a move for Matheus Nunes. The Sporting Clube de Portugal midfielder has become one of the most wanted targets in the league. Other Premier League clubs, including Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea, are credited with an interest.
No official offers have arrived, though, and Sporting are believed to be keen to do a deal to sell the player on. That might seem strange, given his ability, but the club needs funds to help reshape their squad and balance the books at the same time.
As such, reports of a deal around £40m have appeared in both local and Portuguese press in recent days. It will be interesting, then, to see if the Reds make a move.
Is there space for a new midfielder?
Most fans want to see a new midfielder arrive this summer. It is seen as a weak position within the team, despite the presence of the likes of Thiago, Fabinho, and Jordan Henderson. However, with youngsters like Harry Elliott and Curtis Jones on the fringes, too, some wonder if Liverpool will truly look to add a new midfielder.
If exits take place for the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, then a deal would become more realistic in prospect. For now, though, while reports are clear that Liverpool want the player, it does feel like a deal that will only happen on their terms.
Sporting are believed to be keen to sell the player before the deadline of the summer transfer window. If Liverpool wait, they could pick up a long-term and much-coveted target for a very fair price indeed. Klopp himself addressed the midfield question recently, though, saying: “I know that people think we should have signed a midfielder…actually we have because Harvey Elliot was our best player in the first four matches of the start of last season.
“We’ve signed Fabio Carvalho who is a really interesting player and Tyler Morton is now training as an 8, so when you see him now training, he’s absolutely exceptional.”