Transfer gossip: £103m Benfica star joins Man City flop on five-man Liverpool midfield shortlist

Will Ford
Vitinha of PSG tries to escape from Benfica midfielder Florentino Luis.

Liverpool are drawing up a list of replacements for their money-grabbing departees while David Moyes is focused on a Man Utd man following Declan Rice’s departure.


Fabinho’s £40m move to Al Ittihad now looks to be a formality after he was left out of Liverpool’s pre-season squad to travel to Germany having already agreed personal terms with the Saudi side, according to reports.

Jordan Henderson looks to have lost (or won) his battle with morality and wants to leave for Al Ettifaq, though that deal is far from done after Liverpool – quite reasonably – asked for a transfer fee. The England international has gone on tour with the Reds, for now.

So Liverpool need at least one, maybe two, midfielders to replace their money-grabbing departees, and a list of four that emerged on Saturday has since had a fifth name added.

According to various sources Southampton’s Romeo Lavia – who was heavily linked before the Saudi bombshell – remains somewhere near the top of the Reds’ shortlist, though they deem him overpriced at £50m.

Sofyan Amrabat, Erik ten Hag’s top midfield target for Manchester United, is also on the list, along with Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch and Manchester City substitute Kalvin Phillips.

But one to “look out for” according to Liverpool journalist Neil Jones is Benfica star Florentino Luis, who stepped up for the Portuguese giants last term following Enzo Fernandez’s big-money move to Chelsea.

The 23-year-old’s release clause of £103m would put him in the same transfer bracket at Enzo but reports suggest Liverpool could steal him away for as little as £25m this summer.

Liverpool scouts are said to have travelled to watch the Portugal Under-21 international in action back in March, and he’s just started the Reds on Instagram which is of course a definitive indication of his transfer desire.

On a possible move for the midfielder, Jones said: “He’s a very Fabinho-type player in terms of defensive midfielder, gets about the pitch, gets his foot in, strong in the tackle, really good defensively. If Liverpool are looking for a like-for-like replacement for Fabinho, they could do a lot worse than look at Florentino Luis.

“Just keep an eye on that name. I haven’t heard if there’s anything moving yet in that regard but it’s certainly one I would keep in mind.”


Barcelona are still keen on pinching Bernardo Silva from Manchester City.

Along with Paris Saint-Germain, they’ve been on the Portugual international’s trail for some time with manager Xavi Hernandez said to be a huge admirer, for obvious reasons.

Silva played a critical part in City’s Treble last season and has been one of Pep Guardiola’s most trusted players in recent years.

It would take a huge bid to land Silva, and Guardiola has so far refused to sanction his sale.

Mundo Deportivo claim Barcelona chiefs met with Silva’s agent Jorge Mendes in a bid to thrash out a deal and it’s thought the playmaker is open to it.

Football Espana claim the Spanish giants could offer Frenkie de Jong – who was Manchester United’s top target last summer – in exchange for Silva, which may lead Guardiola to consider his transfer.


Harry Maguire is now ‘firmly in the sights’ of West Ham after Declan Rice departed for Arsenal.

That’s the line from the Telegraph, which suggests Maguire could be about to take up a new role in central midfield for the Hammers, which would be a bold call.

The report does though make clear that Maguire would be one of a number of additions made on the back of Rice’s departure.

Early reports claimed Man Utd wanted £50m for Maguire, but that price tag was ‘privately slashed’ to £35m after they pretty quickly realised no-one would pay that much.

David Moyes apparently wants an initial loan of Maguire with the option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.