Liverpool have suffered a cruel blow in their pursuit of Lille midfielder Renato Sanches as manager Jurgen Klopp continues to search for engine room reinforcements.
The Reds have been linked with several star names following Gini Wijnaldum’s departure this summer, and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano had previously revealedthat Sanches is one of the targets they were tracking.
“Also, Barcelona are looking at his situation. So it’s Barcelona and Liverpool interested in Renato Sanches, but the price tag is around €40m (£34m). So we will see in the coming days.”
However, Lille have confirmed that the 23-year-old is set to be sidelined for around six weeks with a knee injury, so he would be unable to pass a medical before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
“He had this discomfort for a few days, but he had restarted training well this week,” manager Jocelyn Gourvennec said (via L’Equipe). “But this pain has become more severe.”
The French champions confirmed on Monday that Sanches underwent successful surgery for a meniscal lesion in his right knee, and he is estimated to be out of action until the end of September.
Sanches wasn’t included in Lille’s matchday squad for their Ligue 1 clash against Nice, which resulted in a heavy 4-0 defeat, but it seems that he’ll be part of the Stade Pierre-Mauroy set up for a little while longer.
The Portugal international made 23 Ligue 1 appearances for Les Dogues last term, playing a big part in their outstanding run to the title, and his contribution to their success saw the £27m-rated gem described as a “machine” by Lille’s official Twitter feed in April.
He has rebuilt his career with Lille in northern France following a tricky spell with Bayern Munich and a tough 12-month loan stint at Swansea City, catching the eye of some of the continent’s top clubs, and his underlying numbers indicate why.
As per WhoScored, the Portugal international completed 1.7 dribbles and 0.8 key passes per league game last term while recorded a passing accuracy of 85.8%, highlighting his effective use of the ball.
Therefore, Klopp is likely to be gutted to learn of the youngster’s injury, ruling out an immediate move to Anfield. Sanches has the potential to be an ideal successor to Wijnaldum, but the German will now be forced to look elsewhere.