Liverpool have turned their attentions to signing Sporting Lisbon attacking midfielder Joao Mario, according to reports in Portugal.
- 23-year-old Portuguese attacking midfielder
- Tracked by several high-profile European sides
- New target after Reds ‘miss out’ on Gotze and Zielinski
Portuguese publication A Bola report that the Reds have now placed their focus on bringing the much sought-after midfielder to Anfield this summer.
The change of direction in targeting Mario comes after Liverpool had their hopes of signing Mario Gotze dashed by the German opting to stay at Bayern Munich, as well as missing out on Udinese’s Piotr Zielinkski.
Mario has been the subject of much speculation since the domestic season finished, having reportedly told his current club that he will end his 10-year stay in Lisbon this summer.
And the former Porto youth player is said to have attracted interest from a host of Europe’s high-profile clubs, with fellow Premier League sides Man United and Chelsea also hopeful of bringing the 23-year-old to England.
Mario has been included in Portugal’s squad for Euro 2016, and is tipped to become on the tournaments star performers this summer, which could go some way to determining how much the Reds will have to pay for his services.
The attacking midfielder enjoyed a productive season in Lisbon, scoring six goals and claiming 11 assists in 33 league outings, ending the campaign with seven strikes and 12 set-ups in all competitions.
However, it’s yet another attacking name linked with a move to Liverpool who already boast an overpopulated attacking department with both senior players and upcoming talents filling Klopp’s offensive options.
There are certainly more pressing areas of the team for the Reds boss to address before bolstering his attacking options further, but at 23-years-of-age, Mario would also represent a long-term addition to Klopp’s squad.
However, the Portugal international is represented by Super Agent Jorge Mendes – who also manages Jose Mourinho’s affairs – which makes a move to Old Trafford, rather than Merseyside, seem a more likely destination.