Liverpool have made Matheus Nunes their ‘priority’ signing as they ‘prepare to start negotiations’ for the Sporting Lisbon midfielder.
The Brazil-born Portugal international was in good form for Sporting last season as he provided three goals and two assists in 33 league appearances as they finished runners-up to Porto in the Primeira Liga.
A report earlier this month revealed that Nunes would be ‘leaving’ Sporting this summer and that his ‘destination is revealed’ as Chelsea.
Chelsea were thought to be ‘preparing’ an offer worth €45m initially with a further €5m in variables that could take the deal to €50m (£42.8m), but said bid has not materialised.
And now Correio da Manha (via Sport Witness) claims Liverpool have made Nunes their No.1 target and now ‘prepare to start negotiations’ with Sporting for the midfielder.
The report claims Jurgen Klopp has ‘identified new needs during preseason’, meaning ‘they will advance’ for Nunes.
Manchester City and Wolves have also been linked with the 23-year-old and it’s thought a ‘race’ could ‘accelerate’ a move.
But Klopp’s recent comments suggest Liverpool will not be making a move for Nunes, certainly not this summer, as he’s “counting on” the options he currently has available to him.
Klopp said: “How I said, if nobody wants to leave – and no player came to me with that request yet and I don’t expect it really, to be honest – there is no need for a new midfielder.
“We cannot just add on midfielders. We respect the contracts with our boys as well, that means as long as we signed them they get all our support – in training, between the sessions, during the games and between the games.
“That is the situation we have; really, you can count our midfielders. And, for me, Harvey Elliott is a new signing as well, after last season how he started. He is very young, came back brilliant, then had a little low, that is completely normal after being that long out. So, really excited about seeing him.
“If you go through, the quality of the players we have is really, really high. People make one mistake. They underestimate the chance that a player who didn’t play his best season last year might play the best season this year.
“It’s like football fans – I’m not sure all, but some – don’t give people the chance to improve. It’s like, ‘He didn’t play well last year, he cannot score goals, he cannot do that, so get him out of the house.’
“Thank God, I am not like this; I judge potential as much as the last season. Actually, the last season is not really interesting, it’s gone. When a player didn’t perform on his highest level, it is at least 50 per cent my fault. So, I have to improve, I have to say the right things, I have to say better things, I have to help him in a better way.
“Because it is not about the potential of these players, that is incredibly high. It is about bringing it onto the pitch and why should we stop that after a year where we nearly won four trophies? I know we didn’t but we were as close as somehow possible. That’s the reason. If these boys want to stay, they will stay and then we will work with that.”