Liverpool and Everton have reportedly joined the race for Mikkel Damsgaard, despite Sampdoria insisting their plan is to keep him for another year.
One of the most promising talents in Serie A, Damsgaard capped off a successful season by starring for Denmark at Euro 2020. He was an important part of the side that reached the semi-finals and was their only player to score in that round. If those outside Italy and Denmark were not aware of his talents before, they are now.
As such, his future at club level is now coming into focus. He was already being linked with a Premier League move before the Euros, as Tottenham were said to be keen. There have also been murmurs of interest from Leeds during the competition.
However, the first bid for Damsgaard came from another Serie A club. Sampdoria turned down an approach from AC Milan worth €20m plus Andrea Conti. In the process, their sporting director insisted it would be better for the winger to stay with them for one more year.
But rather than fending off clubs, Sampdoria only seem to be attracting more suitors. Indeed, two more Premier League clubs have joined the battle for his signature.
According to Calciomercato, Liverpool and Everton have now come forward for Damsgaard, potentially prompting a Merseyside derby in the transfer market.
Liverpool are on the lookout for more depth in attack after their front three’s output dropped last season. Mohamed Salah retained his usual levels, but both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane suffered from declines in form.
Diogo Jota put pressure on them after joining from Wolves, showing the importance of going into the transfer market to find further competition.
Damsgaard could be an interesting option for them to pursue, as he would be a project for the future. Salah, Firmino and Mane will all be 30 within the next year; a 21-year-old with potential would keep them on their toes, without facing too much pressure.
Benitez to battle for Damsgaard?
As for Everton, new boss Rafael Benitez is looking for reinforcements to the squad he has inherited. There are some fears that James Rodriguez may leave after just one year, which could force them to find a replacement in attacking midfield.
Damsgaard provided two goals and four assists in Serie A last season. That output will likely increase as he grows in maturity. Therefore, he could be a good long-term project for Everton to invest in.
It would be an intriguing transfer battle thanks to the subplot of Benitez crossing the Merseyside divide. The former Liverpool manager’s move to Everton has not gone down too well. Thus, the concept of him trying to battle his former employers in the transfer window would add to the drama.
But both clubs will find it hard to convince Sampdoria, who have Damsgaard under contract until 2024, to sell.