Liverpool are plotting a raid on Benfica to land 18-year-old Portuguese starlet Rafael Brito, but will face stiff competition from Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona in the process.
The Benfica teenager has impressed with the club’s B team this campaign, doing enough to be handsomely rewarded with a new contract that inserted a hefty release clause for a player so young.
The £38m price tag indicates just how highly the right-footed midfielder is thought of at the Estádio da Luz, with a host of Europe’s elite teams now taking note.
The price of Brito’s release clause will reportedly ‘increase once he makes his first team debut.’
With 11 appearances to his name for the Benfica B team in the Liga Pro, and a further four in the UEFA Youth League, Brito is expected to soon make the transition into the first-team set-up.
Upon the signing of his new contract with the Portuguese side, Brito said: “This means a lot to me, it is the achievement of yet another goal that I had when I was a child.
“Today, at 18, I can say that I am very happy with the renewal and hope to continue progressing at Benfica.
“I have developed in the B team and also in the Youth League. My expectation is to continue the good season, to play as many games as possible to develop as a player.
“I dream of making my debut for the main team and playing in the Champions League.”
The Japan international, a £7.25million arrival from Red Bull Salzburg, is in line to play in the FA Cup fourth-round tie at League One Shrewsbury on Sunday, having made his debut in the previous round against Everton.