According to the rumour mongers in Portugal today, Bruno Fernandes is closest to signing for Tottenham but there are two things holding that deal back. One is that Spurs aren’t yet certain about Christian Eriksen’s future.
The other more interesting thing from a Liverpool perspective is that, at least according to Correio de Manha, Fernandes prefers Liverpool. Before everyone gets too excited, though, it’s probably worth taking a step back.
First off, transfer rumours out of Portugal are notoriously unreliable and rarely pan out. And second, even if there’s some truth to this, the story as it’s being presented doesn’t have the Reds on the verge of closing the deal.
Instead, it’s a story that suggests—if it’s true at all, that is—that Fernandes is an option but perhaps not first choice. And given Sporting are said to be holding out for around £60M for Fernandes, he would be a very pricy option.
It’s slightly better than the £70M Lille are trying to get for Nicolas Pepe, who The Liverpool Echo say the Reds aren’t actually in for, but it’s still a very high fee given Liverpool aren’t expected to spend massively this summer.
An outlay of around £30-40M, net, plus sales is likely what Michael Edwards and Jürgen Klopp are working with, and while further funding could be found for the right target, the preference will be to stick to the budget.
With a backup goalkeeper and fullback depth top priorities, that could still leave room for the club to splurge a little on a versatile forward, but even then the expectation would be that the club will try to find good value.
Even when Liverpool spent big on Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, it was in the belief that players at those positions were undervalued and they were leading a market adjustment. Given what the duo would now cost, they were right.
On the other hand, paying £60-70M for a versatile 24-year-old attacker would represent paying top market rates. Fernandes, then, might be a target—aside from being perhaps two years older than ideal, he checks all the boxes.
It appears that even amongst the Portuguese rumour mongers, though, he’s not the top target, and that just like the rest of us he’s waiting to see if the Reds firm up their interest in him in the coming days and weeks.