Liverpool’s midfield received a major overhaul during the summer transfer window with the arrivals of Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endō, and Ryan Gravenberch. However, the defense remained relatively untouched, leaving the team with a need for more depth and balance in the back four, particularly highlighted by Ibrahima Konaté’s injury and Virgil van Dijk’s suspension.
To address this issue, Liverpool is reportedly showing interest in Japanese defender Yukinari Sugawara. The versatile 23-year-old is capable of playing as a full-back or center-back, making him a valuable addition to bolster the team’s defensive options. Sugawara currently has less than two years left on his contract with AZ Alkmaar and could be available for as little as $21 million (£17 million/€20 million) in the upcoming transfer window. He has also earned six caps for the Japanese national team, which is captained by Liverpool’s own Wataru Endō.
Sugawara’s potential arrival could potentially allow Trent Alexander-Arnold to transition into a more permanent midfield role, as he has recently been used in a hybrid position in recent matches.
Both Liverpool and Premier League rival Tottenham Hotspur are also reportedly monitoring Sporting Clube de Portugal star Pedro Gonçalves. The Portuguese international has drawn attention due to his impressive performances for Sporting, particularly in last year’s Europa League, a competition Liverpool is set to participate in this season. Sporting is reportedly determined not to sell Gonçalves for less than his $86 million (£69 million/€80 million) release clause, and the player signed a new contract with the club this summer, reaffirming his commitment.
Speaking about his future at Sporting, Gonçalves emphasized his dedication to the team, stating, “I always had the characteristics of a goal-scorer, even in the junior and youth teams. I played in midfield but ended the season with a lot of goals. Even so, the most important thing is that the team does well and wins. I will always give everything for the team; that is the objective.”