Around eighteen months ago now, Sporting Lisbon sold Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United. In his place, another young Portuguese player was given the chance to shine, with Pedro Gonçalves stepping into his attacking midfield role.
Now, Gonçalves could be on the verge of following Fernandes to England—and maybe even to United—with both Manchester’s Red Devils and nearby rivals Liverpool said to be interested in the 22-year-old with a reported €60M release clause.
Or at least that’s the story according to Portugal’s Record, which it should be said has something of a record of linking Liverpool with moves for promising young Portuguese players with eye-watering release clauses that never happen.
They also say that Sporting are eager to get Gonçalves on a new contract, not so much to secure his future there—that current €60M release clause on a deal that runs through 2025—but to reward the young player for his growing importance.
Gonçalves made 37 total appearances for Sporting last season, scoring 23 goals and adding five assists. It’s worth noting, though, that while only two of the player’s goals were penalties, that top-line 23 came from roughly 11 expected goals.
For an elite finisher—which there’s always a chance Gonçalves is—outperforming expected goals by 20% might not raise eyebrows, but to exceed it by more than double is an extreme outlier and represents an entirely unsustainable return.
As such, one imagines even if Liverpool are genuinely interested, if Sporting are indeed not considering selling and the only way Gonçalves could be had is by triggering his €60M release clause, it’s a price that would be deemed too steep.