Naby Keïta may be off the agenda for this summer at least, but with Liverpool having now properly booked their place in the 2017-18 Champions League, the club desperately need to bring in a little depth to help their talented but thin squad stand up to four competitions.
There is a fear they won’t do it. That they’ve left it too late, that manger Jürgen Klopp went into the summer wanting Keïta or nothing and having got nothing will now roll with what he’s got. There’s also a little bit of hope, though, that a new signing might still arrive.
Journalists with ties to the club have said in recent weeks that Keïta alternatives are being explored. And today, Germany’s Kicker says one of those alternatives could be Bayern Munich’s stalled talent Renato Sanches, a 20-year-old who looked set to take the football world by storm last year.
Things didn’t go to plan for Sanches, who found himself out of his depth at Bayern, and with minutes limited there are real fears if he doesn’t head off somewhere this season—either on loan or permanently—he could do real damage to his development as a player.
Bayern, for their part, prefer the idea of a loan. And for Liverpool, if Klopp really does have his heart set on Keïta and still wants to bring him in next season, that might make some sense. Sanches would play a part, would rotate in and contribute for this Liverpool side.
He wouldn’t be an automatic starter, though, which does make one wonder why Bayern would want to send him to Anfield—a bit like when the club brought Nuri Sahin and Victor Moses in on loan a few years ago, Liverpool would favour their own players when all else was equal.
And Sanches, for all his talent, is a work in progress. He’s also a player who wouldn’t add a new dynamic to Liverpool’s midfield—his skillset is most comparable to Emre Can’s and he lacks the mobility to take on the role of Adam Lallana or Philippe Coutinho in a midfield trio.
Still, Liverpool need midfield depth. And Renato Sanches is a midfielder. If Bayern Munich want to farm him out for a season, and assuming their are no permanent solutions Klopp favours, it would be difficult to turn him down as an option for the coming campaign.