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Rumour Mongering: Reds Chasing Bruno Fernandes Replacement

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Exciting Portuguese attacker 2.0?

Sporting CP v SL Benfica - Liga NOS Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

After standing pat in the transfer market — and seeming intent on persisting with that stance — Liverpool suddenly made moves on transfer deadline day, bringing in short-term cover for their decimated central defence in the shape of Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak.

Despite these late moves, however, the expectation remains that the bulk of the Reds’ transfer strategy will come to fruition in the summer, with long-term solutions at centre-back and depth options or replacements for the frontline at the top of their shopping list. Big names have been floated, but fans familiar with Michael Edwards’ transfer dealings suspect that more under-the-radar targets are more likely.

Pedro Gonçalves fits that bill, with the 22-year old largely an unknown quantity as late as this summer, and according to Portguese outlet Record, Liverpool made inquiries last month. It remains questionable how long that tag will stick, though, as the attacker is having a monster season, putting up 14 goals and two assists for the Leões in just 16 appearances.

Brought in for €6.5m this summer to fill the whole left by Bruno Fernandes, after playing a central role in Famalicão’s incredible 6th place finish last year, the former Wolves player hit the ground running, scoring a brace in his third game for the club and never looking back.

Although he has featured on either flank in Rúben Amorim’s exciting hybrid 3-4-3 system, Gonçalves does his best work in the centre of the park, where he can hassle opponents, win the ball, then either run it up the park or spring an attacker in behind, before finishing attacking moves by driving into the box for a finish.

Busy and tenacious, the diminutive Portuguese youth international would fit Jürgen Klopp’s pressing philosophy, although there are question marks about what his best position would be in the German’s 4-3-3. The reported price tag north of €50m will also raise eyebrows, as it seems entirely unlikely the Merseysides would pay anything in that range for a player who is producing well over his underlying numbers in a competition that is much weaker than the Premier League.

Nonetheless, depending on what happens with the Liverpool front three this summer, this could be an interesting one to follow.