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Rumour Mongering: Liverpool Pursue €50M Atletico Madrid Star

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Vague reports in Spain are being turned into supposed concrete interest in defensive midfielder Thomas Partey.

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Liverpool have lost three of their last five games. They’re without captain Jordan Henderson. Defensive midfielder Fabinho has looked short of his best since returning from injury. Put it together and it was probably inevitable the club would be linked to a player who can anchor the midfield.

That player is Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey, the 26-year-old Ghanian international with a reported €50M release clause who Atleti have been trying to convince to sign a new deal. And, according to Cadena Set, at least, failing at. Which is said to have a pair of English clubs sniffing.

The Spanish report is coy about which clubs are interested, but they do say they’re both used to paying €80M or more for defenders—which would seem to narrow it down to the two English clubs with the two most expensive centre halves, Liverpool and Manchester United.

When throwing around such massive sums, it’s always possible Manchester City are meant to be one of the interested parties, but Virgil van Dijk and Harry Maguire are—along with Bayern Munich’s Lucas Hernandez—the only defenders who have fetched over €80M for their transfers.

And in the days following Cadena Sur’s claim, the rumour mongers in England have begun to amplify the story. We’re skeptical, though. Even if Liverpool are without Henderson and with Fabinho off his best, Partey doesn’t represent a clear upgrade. He might not represent an upgrade at all.

He also turns 27 in the offseason, putting him a season or two into his prime—and making him a few months older than Fabinho. For now at least, it seems likelier any rumours in Spain hinting at Liverpool interest in the Atleti man reflect his agent trying to get him a bigger payday.