Before Gini Wijnaldum put pen to paper on his Liverpool contract during the most recently concluded summer transfer window, the Merseyside club had been linked with a host of options in midfield. In addition to Mario Götze, Mahmoud Dahoud and Piotr Zielinski (none of whom found their way to Anfield, though Dahoud yet might), Liverpool were also linked with Porto’s Héctor Herrera, no doubt as part of Operation Sign All The Hectors.
With Lucas Leiva seemingly bound for Turkey at the time, Joe Allen poised to join the Stoke City experiment, and with questions then surrounding Jordan Henderson’s long term future, the link to Herrera was not an entirely fanciful proposition. The Mexico midfielder had just come off an impressive campaign with Porto, scoring nine league goals in twenty-nine appearances for the azuis e brancos while crafting a reputation as an all-action, box-to-box midfielder with the potential to contribute with goals.
A bidding war with Napoli never materialized, and as noted, Wijnaldum eventually bid Newcastle adieu before making the trip to Anfield. Portuguese newspaper A Bola has indicated, however, that Jürgen Klopp maintains an interest in acquiring Herrera’s services, and that Liverpool will consider triggering a release clause estimated to be in the vicinity of £35 million when January comes around. The midfielder’s contract with Porto runs through 2019, so there isn’t necessarily pressure to sell on the club’s part.
If Liverpool do formally register an interest, expect other clubs to come out of the shadows. Napoli, and perhaps even Manchester United, are rumored to be monitoring Herrera’s situation. The outlets who reported Liverpool’s interest in Herrera have also suggested that Sadio Mané’s absence during the AFCON is key motivator for this deal. While certainly not a like-for-like understudy for Mané, it’s conceivable that Herrera may spell one of the more central operators, such as Adam Lallana, who would then in turn be asked to do a job out wide.