Portugals forward Gelson Martins during the FIFA 2018 World Cup friendly match between Portugal v Sweden at Estadio dos Barreiros on March 28, 2017 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. (Photo by Bruno Barros / DPI / NurPhoto )

Portuguese press claim Liverpool are preparing record Gelson Martins bid

Reports from Portugal claim Liverpool are set to bid a record £44 million for Sporting CP winger Gelson Martins after their initial offer was rebuffed.

Gelson is reported to be one of Jurgen Klopp‘s alternatives to priority wide target Mohamed Salah, along with Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa and Lazio’s Keita Balde.

Earlier in June, the Reds were said to have “made contact” with Sporting regarding a deal for the 22-year-old.

But according to Portuguese publication A Bola, their opening gambit was rejected, with this believed to be worth up to £40 million.

However, they now claim that Liverpool are prepared to increase this bid to around £44 million, which would easily eclipsed their current record signing, Andy Carroll (£35 million).

Gelson is believed to have a £50 million release clause in his contract with Sporting, but this is said to be negotiable due to the club’s financial issues.

It would seem that Liverpool’s interest in Gelson is genuine, but whether they would be willing to pay such a significant fee for the winger is questionable.

That Gelson is considered an alternative to Salah is one red flag, with the Egypitan supposedly available for around £35 million.

Furthermore, Gelson is far from proven as a top-level talent, having scored 14 goals and assisted a further 18 in 88 games for Sporting so far in his fledgling career.

Mohamed Salah, Roma - John Walton/EMPICS Sport

Conversely, Salah has scored 34 and assisted 24 in 83 outings for AS Roma, and while he struggled for opportunities at Chelsea, would arrive with experience of English football.

The 25-year-old made 19 appearances for the Blues, netting twice and laying on another four goals for his team-mates.

Salah would join Klopp’s squad as arguably the complete package, and would be able to dovetail brilliantly with the Reds’ other first-choice winger, Sadio Mane.

Sky Sports have suggested Liverpool are set to improve their bid for Salah over the weekend, while his agent was sighted in London earlier this week.

Salah is believed to be eager to join Klopp’s Reds, but a deal still needs to be agreed with Roma.

Liverpool’s initial bid was in the region of £28 million, but this is likely to be an opening offer, rather than a steadfast valuation.

Roma appointed a new sporting director this summer in former Sevilla figurehead Monchi, and speaking this month he said “Roma is not a supermarket.”

However, the Spaniard also admitted that “no club exists that does not sell players,” opening up the prospect of a summer departure for his side’s No. 11.

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