Liverpool could form their perfect midfield partnership by signing Lille star Renato Sanches this summer.
What’s the story?
The Reds are in the market for Gini Wijnaldum’s replacement after the Dutch international departed Anfield, and they could pick up his ideal successor in the shape of Sanches.
With French football’s finances in a far from healthy state, the Ligue 1 champions have already sold two of their title-winning talents, meaning the Stade Pierre Mauroy may be the perfect place to look in order to pick up a bargain over the coming months.
Whilst the Reds have not been linked with making a move for the Portuguese star at this stage, The Athletic have touted him as a player who Liverpool should be looking to sign and they are absolutely right to do so.
Imagine him and Thiago
Fans of the Anfield outfit may hold a negative view of the 23-year-old after his dismal loan spell at Swansea City back in 2017/18.
However, the Portugal international has kicked on considerably since his nightmare 12-month period at the Liberty Stadium.
A lot was expected of the youngster after he won the Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2016 as Portugal shocked the continent, securing the title for the first time in their history.
Just a few months prior, Sanches had move from his boyhood club Benfica to Bayern Munich in a £35 million deal. His arrival at the Allianz Arena led to Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge lauding the then-teenager with praise.
“Renato is a dynamic, combative and technically gifted midfielder who will strengthen our team further,” he said.
“We are delighted to have completed the signing despite notable interest from other big-name international clubs. Renato has been on our radar for a long time now,” Rummenigge added.
Despite his early promise, Sanches struggled to replicate his standout displays in Bavaria, or with the Swans, and it seemed as though he would be remembered as another over-hyped talent who would fail to live up to expectations.
That was until a move to Lille materialised in 2019. With Les Dogues, Sanches has gone from strength to strength, rediscovering his confidence and performing to the levels that were previously expected.
He featured 23 times in the league as Christophe Galtier’s men toppled Paris Saint-Germain to end their domestic dominance and re-established his status as one of Europe’s most promising midfielders.
Although he’s far from a like-for-like swap for Wijnaldum, his skillset may perfectly lend itself to a fruitful partnership with Thiago.
Liverpool’s deep-lying playmaker excels at passing, playing through balls and dictating the tempo of the game, whereas Sanches progresses the ball forwards through his dribbling ability and would provide a dynamism and energy to the Anfield outfit’s engine room that Thiago simply cannot bring.
The two contrasting sets of attributes would make the perfect midfield marriage, and it’s a combination that director of football Michael Edwards must try to create.