Liverpool had a €40m (£33.5m) offer for Joao Mario rejected by Sporting CP this summer, according to the player’s father.
The 23-year-old midfielder was a key part of Portugal’s successful EURO 2016 team, featuring in all seven of their games as they lifted their first piece of major silverware.
And now his father has told Diario De Noticias that Liverpool came calling with a £33.5m offer, but that Sporting dismissed this out of hand:
“Proposals for the lad don’t come directly to me, they go to his agent, Kia Joorabchian, and the Sporting President.
“I was informed, however, that the club said no to €35m plus €10m in bonuses from Inter and to €40m from Liverpool.
“Nothing particular has happened, my son is a professional and knows he has a contract with Sporting.
“At the same time, we’re talking about a very valuable player for the club, who would aspire to bigger projects in the course of his career.”
This development somewhat throws Liverpool’s decision to sign Georginio Wijnaldum into question, with the Dutchman and Mario operating in similar midfield roles.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has already signed six players this summer, with Sadio Mane another attacking midfield recruit snapped up for a large fee.