Liverpool could be in pole position to complete the summer signing of Lille midfielder Renato Sanches ahead of Italian giants AC Milan, according to reports. The 23-year-old has struggled with injuries this season but has impressed when called upon, starting eight Ligue 1 matches for the French outfit and making a further seven appearances from the substitutes’ bench.
Sanches arrived at Lille in 2019 after a mixed spell at Bayern Munich, with the midfield powerhouse ultimately failing to hold down a starting spot at the German champions.
Since leaving Bayern he has made a big impression, earning back a regular place in Portugal’s national setup as a result of his improved performances.
Lille are currently leading the way in Ligue 1 ahead of Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain, and will be relying on Sanches to steer them to a first domestic title since 2010.
However, at the end of the season, there is a chance he could be on his way to Merseyside.
A report by Calciomercato has claimed that Sanches is ‘destined to wear Klopp’s Liverpool shirt’ in the near future, hinting at a summer approach for his services.
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Milan have also been linked with the midfielder for a number of years, with their interest reportedly resurfacing as of late.
The Serie A heavyweights were eyeing a move back in 2017, leading the player himself to announce that he would be open to a switch to the San Siro.
“Milan is an interesting option and if the opportunity were to arise, I would like it,” he told German newspaper Bild at the time. “I think that I would have more chance of playing in Milan than in Munich.”
Jurgen Klopp is said to be planning a reshuffle at Anfield between now and the beginning of next season, with the hope of launching a renewed Premier League title bid after failing to defend Liverpool’s crown this time around.
Georginio Wijnaldum is expected to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract in the summer, potentially opening the door to a move for Sanches, who could prove to be an effective replacement for the Dutchman.
His ability to pick up the ball and drive forward with tenacity could be a welcome addition to Klopp’s side, with the Portugal star more than capable of starting counter attacks and assisting Liverpool’s star-studded front three in the final third.
There is a possibility that Lille could sell up if the Reds table a sizeable bid, with French clubs expected to struggle financially after the loss of a lucrative TV rights deal with MediaPro earlier this month.
The company had initially agreed to pay Ligue 1 sides a combined total of more than £3billion over the course of four seasons.
When paired with the financial havoc caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it paints a bleak picture for top-flight clubs on the opposite side of the Channel.
If Liverpool decide against an approach for Sanches at the end of the season, they could turn to a host of other reported targets in the middle of the park.
Brighton and Hove Albion star Yves Bissouma has also been touted as a potential replacement for Wijnaldum, as well as Borussia Monchengladbach enforcer Denis Zakaria, with the holding midfielder said to be pushing for a move away from the Bundesliga.