Liverpool were apparently looking to sign Sporting and Portugal midfielder João Mário, according to the player’s father.
Reds manager Jürgen Klopp was actively looking for a central/attacking midfielder earlier in the summer, and was frustrated in his efforts to sign Mario Götze, Mahmoud Dahoud and Piotr Zielinski.
To that end, he was looking at a number of contingency plans, and João Mário’s father has claimed that his son was one of the names being looked at.
In fact, he alleges that Liverpool’s interest in the 23-year-old led to them presenting a formal €40m offer to the Portuguese side, only to see it rejected.
He told Portuguese outlet Diario de Noticias:
“Proposals for the lad don’t come directly to me,
“They go to his agent, Kia Joorabchian, and the Sporting President. I was informed, however, that the club said no to €35m plus €10m in bonuses from Inter and to €40m from Liverpool.
‘Nothing particular has happened, my son is a professional and knows he has a contract with Sporting.”
Serie A giants Inter have a long-standing interest in the Portuguese international, but their owners’ reluctance to spend means that Roberto Mancini is likely to miss out on another one of his transfer targets.
Manchester United were also rumoured to be interested in the midfielder (because of course they were), but José Mourinho’s public vow that he would not be signing any players from Portugal this year put an end to that link.
How credible this story is is unclear. Klopp may have considered João Mário at one time, but the recent signing of Georginio Wijnaldum means that they are well stocked in that department – in fact, it is hard to see where he would fit into that side now given that the two would occupy similar positions.
To that end, while there may have been some credence to this happening at one time, it’s a non-starter now.