With Gini Wijnaldum’s contract issue still not resolved, Jurgen Klopp has an eye on Lille midfielder Renato Sanches.
That is according to Le10sport who report that the 23-year old’s performances for the French side have caught Klopp’s eye. The French outlet reports that midfielder’s profile appeals to Klopp ‘very much’.
However, any move for the midfielder would be reliant on the contract talks between Wijnaldum and Liverpool. With the Dutchman’s contract set to expire in the summer and with no sign of a deal on the table, the club needs to make a decision.
During the summer Barcelona had reportedly been enquiring about Wijnaldum’s availability after appointing Ronald Koeman.
That move failed to materialise, but it is naïve to think they will not make a move again in January.
But would Renato Sanches be a like for like replacement for Wijnaldum? The Portugal international’s move to Lille has revitalised his career. He has built a reputation as a box-to-box midfielder but also adding defensive discipline to his game.
His total of five goals and one assist in 40 games for Lille is a fair amount for someone who’s career was at a crossroad in 2019.
His move from Benfica to Bayern Munich in 2016 did not go as expected with Sanches finding first-team minutes hard to come by. Surprisingly, he then moved to Swansea on a season-long loan deal, where he struggled in a side fighting relegation.
But the move to Lille has put the former Golden Boy award winner back on the map. If a move to Liverpool did happen, then Sanches would walk into an already competitive midfield group.
Where would he fit in?
The form and leadership of Jordan Henderson makes him an automatic name on the team sheet. Also, Fabinho will move back into a number six role once Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez return from their injuries.
That would leave just one spot available in midfield with Thiago, Naby Kieta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, James Milner and Renato Sanches all fighting for one place.
That all depends on Klopp playing with midfield three, as at times this season Klopp has started just two midfielders. We have seen Salah, Mane, Firmino and Jota all start upfront for the Reds this season.
To conclude, to get a player with the potential Renato Sanches has at just 23-years old is very interesting. His age allows Klopp to form Sanches into the player that he wants for the long-term.