Premier League • England

Liverpool, Arsenal suffer transfer setback as €20m deal agreed for top midfield target

Renato Sanches looking at Houssem Aouar

Liverpool and Arsenal have suffered a major blow in the pursuit of Lille midfielder Renato Sanches, according to a report.

The Portugal international is attracting Premier League interest due to his contract situation. His Lille terms run until 2023, giving the French outfit just a couple more transfer windows to sell for a big fee.

Sanches has the ability to succeed at a top European club, and he clearly knows this. As a result, he is unlikely to pen a contract extension with Lille.

Back in November, the 24-year-old put teams on alert by making the following transfer admission. “Who is interested in me? Maybe Milan and Arsenal are interested, but I don’t know,” he told French outlet L’Equipe.

“I talked to my agent, I know which clubs are calling and which are not, but now I can’t tell. But I know I’m ready. If it happens, I’ll see what’s best for me.”

According to a January report from Spanish source El Nacional, Liverpool have been in ‘advanced talks’ with Lille over Renato’s signature.

They put Jurgen Klopp’s side at the front of the queue to complete a deal. However, that could all be about to change.

Renato Sanches agreement reached

Goal, who cite reports coming out of Italy, claim AC Milan have struck an agreement with Lille to land the playmaker.

The Rossoneri are willing to pay €20million this summer, which equates to £16.7m.

Sanches would be a great addition to the Milan squad. He helped Lille to win the French title last season, making 29 appearances in all competitions.

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This makes it a severe transfer setback for both Liverpool and Arsenal. Klopp could probably do with a new midfielder soon as Jordan Henderson and James Milner are 31 and 36 respectively.

Arsenal, meanwhile, can already rely on the likes of Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi Lokonga. But with Partey back on Juventus’ radar, they may soon need a replacement.

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Pundits talk Mo Salah form

Meanwhile, BT Sport pundits have been debating Mo Salah’s form, following the attacker’s goal against Brighton.

Salah found the net from the penalty spot as Liverpool won 2-0 away from home. It took their winning run to eight matches in the league.

After the latest victory, Peter Crouch labelled the Egyptian an ‘absolutely relentless goalscorer’.

Former midfielder Steve McManaman added: “Funnily enough I don’t think he’s been playing that well of late, since he’s come back from the African [Cup of] Nations, by his lofty standards.

“I don’t think he was great today, necessarily. But then he goes and takes the penalty and gets a goal.

“I don’t expect him to be great every game, that’s just not normal. But the fact that there’s five of them; if he has a quiet day, [Luis] Diaz steps up. Diaz has a quiet day, [Sadio] Mane steps up, or [Diogo] Jota or [Roberto] Firmino.

“And that’s where Liverpool are at the moment, which is brilliant, isn’t it? You can pick and choose who you want depending on what game you want.”

READ MORE: Barcelona become hopeful suitors for Mohamed Salah amid update on critical Liverpool conditions