Fabrizio Romano confirms Liverpool miss out on deadly attacker as he prepares to join Klopp transfer target in Europe

Andreas Schjelderup

Liverpool have been beaten to the signing of an in-form winger as he is preparing to join Enzo Fernandez at Benfica, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Following his exceptional performances for Argentina at the World Cup, Liverpool were named as potential suitors for Fernandez. Several sources suggested him as a midfield alternative to Jude Bellingham.

Liverpool made an initial approach to Benfica to see whether the World Cup winner was available for transfer and how much he might cost. They were told they would have to match his €120m (£105m) release clause to complete a deal this month, making a swoop unlikely.

Chelsea then their sights on Fernandez, and the player himself was pushing to try and make this transfer happen. However, Benfica boss Roger Schmidt soon stated that the transfer saga was ‘closed’.

Liverpool and Chelsea will be keeping tabs on Fernandez’s situation, in case he becomes available in the summer. But the two Premier League giants now know they will have to spend big money to capture him.

Fernandez might not be the only Benfica player Liverpool track over the next six months. That is because their transfer target Andreas Schjelderup is close to joining the Portuguese side.

On Wednesday, it emerged Liverpool had ‘presented’ their project to Norwegian starlet Schjelderup, who has been dubbed as ‘the next Erling Haaland’ after scoring 10 goals in 17 matches this season.

Interest also came from Brentford. But the report revealed Benfica to be the frontrunners for the winger, and Romano has confirmed this to be the case.

Liverpool-linked forward goes to Portugal

The transfer guru tweeted: ‘Andreas Schjelderup to Benfica, sealed as medical tests are completed.

‘Understand Benfica will pay €14m (£12.4m) fixed fee, no bonuses — 20 per cent on future sale. These are the final conditions. The talent born in 2004 signs contract until June 2028. Benfica did it again. Here we go.’

In a follow up, Romano added that Liverpool were in ‘concrete talks’ to sign Schjelderup. ‘Understand Liverpool were actively in the race to sign this gem in June 2023, concrete talks,’ he wrote.

‘Andreas was tempted but decided for Benfica immediately as best step. Another Norwegian did something similar with BVB [Haaland].’

It makes sense for the teenager to reject Liverpool and go to Benfica. While Klopp is good at developing young players, Schjelderup would struggle to get regular game time at Anfield. He would face plenty of competition for a starting spot due to Liverpool’s wealth of attacking options.

Benfica have a decent attack in their own right, which includes Portugal international Goncalo Ramos. But clearly Schjelderup has a better chance at flourishing for Benfica than Liverpool. The Portuguese league also brings less pressure with it, which should help his development.

Schjelderup could end up joining Liverpool in the future as Klopp is clearly a big fan of his. For now, though, Liverpool will focus on other signings.

And the Reds could land a star who has been labelled ‘the best player in La Liga’, according to reports.