Liverpool are unofficially out of the transfer race to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre – with Jurgen Klopp now putting his entire January transfer focus into the signing of a Sporting Lisbon star instead, TEAMtalk can reveal.
The Reds spent the summer transfer window effectively rebuilding their midfield after the exits of six senior stars from their ranks. And while Jurgen Klopp and Co managed to bring in four new players to the combined tune of £145.2m, there has been suggestions of late that Liverpool may be not yet done in terms of midfield recruits.
To that end, Liverpool were on Tuesday linked with a fresh move for Nice midfielder Khephren Thuram, with a report stating the Reds were willing to ‘break the bank’ to sign a star who is very much the ‘object of Klopp’s desire’.
Klopp looked long and hard at signing Thuram over the summer before ultimately casting his eyes elsewhere.
Whether he does go back in for the Frenchman remains to be seen, though he’s not the only summer target Liverpool were said to have rekindled their interest in.
Indeed, Fluminense star Andre has found himself one of the most wanted men in the world game right now. After helping his side to Copa Libertadores glory, the 22-year-old midfielder has been linked with moves to the likes of Arsenal, Barcelona, Fulham, Napoli and Liverpool.
Interest from the Reds actually dates back from the summer when a Liverpool approach was confirmed by Fluminence president Mario Bittencourt.
At the time, the Brazilian side did not want to sell. And while their stance will soften in January, we revealed earlier this month that Liverpool were directing their attention towards other targets.
Liverpool rule out Andre move; focus now on signing Goncalo Inacio
And with Fulham now emerging as favourites to sign Andre in a deal worth around €35m (£30m), we can confirm that Liverpool did not follow up on that summer interest and are instead focusing their attention on other areas of the side.
As a result, we can also confirm from sources that Liverpool’s main focus of attention in the winter window will be on the recruitment of a new central defender.
Klopp had initially planned to try and sign a new centre-half over the summer window before the unplanned exits of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson forced them to instead put all their energies into rebuilding their midfield.
Now we can reveal that Klopp is indeed ready to switch his focus entirely back towards a new central defensive recruit. And with Joel Matip’s deal at Anfield due to expire at the end of the season, the Liverpool boss is ready to go all out to bring in a replacement.
Rather than a like-for-like successor, however, Klopp wants to ideally sign a left-sided centre-half with Lloyd Kelly of Bournemouth among the targets he’s looking at.
However, we can confirm our report from earlier in the week that Klopp’s dream signing would, in fact, be Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio.
The Reds have been watching the 22-year since his breakthrough for the Portuguese giants and are now seemingly ready to make their move.
His deal contains a €60m (£52.4m) exit clause, which Sporting have gone on record as saying must be met if any side are looking to prise him away.
That figure is a little high for Liverpool, but also not seen as insurmountable either. As a result, it’s not impossible Liverpool could meet the clause to buy the player out of his Sporting deal.
New role for Van Dijk if Inacio signs for Liverpool
Meeting Inacio’s clause would see Liverpool spending the fifth-largest fee in their history, narrowly matching the amount paid to RB Leipzig for Naby Keita, but still behind the amount spent on Alisson (£56m), Dominik Szoboszlai (£60m), Darwin Nunez (£64m) and Virgil van Dijk (£75m).
On the subject of Van Dijk, Liverpool’s capture of Inacio would likely mean a slight positional change for the Reds captain, who is often seen operating on the left-side of Liverpool’s central defence.
And with Inacio a natural left-footer himself, that would allow Klopp to move the Dutchman to the right side of his central defence.
The Reds also have Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate as options too, with Van Dijk’s versatility giving Klopp the option to change his personnel as required.
Inacio is contracted to Sporting to 2027, with the 139-game star also having won five caps for Portugal and earning comparisons to Manchester City’s stylish defender Ruben Dias.