Klopp: Third place finish 'felt impossible' just weeks ago
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Liverpool will reportedly swerve the signing of Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches, despite his impressive performances at Euro 2020.
Sanches, still only 23, is beginning to blossom into the player who many thought he would become when he broke into the first team at Benfica aged 17.
His development was hindered by a move to Bayern Munich in 2016. Sanches failed to make an impact and made just 53 appearances in three years.
He also spent half a season on loan at Premier League Swansea City but could not prevent their relegation to the Championship in 2017.
But Sanches’ reputation has risen drastically since leaving Bayern for Lille in 2019.
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Lille stunned French football by beating Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title last season, with Sanches key to their success.
He then impressed for Portugal at Euro 2020 before their last-16 exit against Belgium.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wants to sign a midfielder this summer, especially after losing Gini Wijnaldum on a free transfer, and Sanches has been linked with a move to Anfield.
However, the Liverpool Echo claims that the Reds deem a deal for Sanches to be too expensive given the wages he would want and the fact that he may not be a guaranteed starter.
Instead, Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma is top of their shortlist and would cost around £36million to sign from the Seagulls.
Klopp is also believed to like Aston Villa’s John McGinn but will not try to sign the Scotland international.
Liverpool passed up on triggering the release clauses of Germany international Florian Neuhaus and of Porto star Otavio.
The latter’s increased from £35m to £52m overnight and there was reportedly no interest from Liverpool’s side to meet the cost.
Holland starlet Ryan Gravenberch, 19, is a long-term target but it seems unlikely that Liverpool will prompt discussions over the Ajax midfielder this summer.
Klopp lost key man Wijnaldum when his contract expired on Wednesday. The Dutchman has joined Paris Saint-Germain after reportedly being left unimpressed by the Reds’ offer of a new contract.
Liverpool’s squad is in need of a revamp during the transfer window following the disappointing defence of their 2019-20 Premier League title.
A stunning late revival by the Merseyside outfit saw them finish third, despite Klopp ruling out their chances of Champions League qualification as late as March.
An injury crisis derailed their title chances early in the campaign.
Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury in the October Merseyside derby while fellow defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip missed large parts of the season.
Captain Jordan Henderson had his season ended prematurely due to a groin injury suffered during the reverse fixture against Everton in February.
Klopp has moved to prevent a worsening defensive crisis by signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.
Liverpool met the 22-year-old’s £36m release clause and the Frenchman will soon join his new team-mates for pre-season training.
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