With Liverpool having pulled out of a deal for Lyon star Nabil Fekir over concerns about the condition of the player’s knee and an increased risk of long-term injury issues, expect to see them linked to plenty of versatile attacking options in the coming days.
Already they have been linked with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini—though with that player’s recent injury with Argentina apparently ruling him out—but according to L’Equipe, it could be another player with connections to France who becomes Plan B to Fekir.
They claim that 21-year-old Portuguese rising star Gonçalo Guedes, currently on the books at Paris Saint-Germain but coming off an impressive loan season at Valencia that has the La Liga side trying to tie him down permanently, is drawing Liverpool’s interest.
That he’s Portuguese seems, almost inevitably, to have him linked with Wolves as well, but whoever ends up with should expect to pay in the realm of £40M for the exceptional young talent—and a player some consider Ronaldo’s heir apparent for Portugal.
Ronaldo, though, makes for a poor comparison point for the smaller and more combative Guedes, a player who has experience playing every attacking role bar striker, likes to get involved in the build-up, is a strong dribbler, and is useful pressing from the front.
Guides is a battler, and all his key markers—key passes and involvement in chance creation along with dribbling and tackles—compare favourably with Fekir though right now, three years younger than Fekir, he isn’t as good at holding on to the ball in traffic.
Last year for Valencia he scored six goals and 11 assists—good for a goal or assist every 159 minutes he was on the pitch—in a left-sided supporting role and he now is expected to start up top alongside Ronaldo for Portugal at this summer’s World Cup.
The main knock against him, at least for a club like Liverpool, is he’s not quite at the point of being the finished product and wouldn’t walk straight into Liverpool’s best eleven the way Fekir would. He could, though, be on the cusp of being even better.