Liverpool close in on Euro 2016 star: Tough tackler could be missing piece in Klopp's title jigsaw
Liverpool could be set for a huge January transfer swoop as reports in the Portuguese media suggest the Reds are chasing a deal for Sporting Lisbon midfield powerhouse William Carvalho.
The front page of newspaper A Bola suggests Anfield officials have flown out to Lisbon in a bid to move forward to negotiations and any transfer would likely coat £25m. The Liverpool Echo has also picked up on the story.
Carvalho, 24, is no stranger to Premier League interest having been linked with Arsenal in the past, but according to the Daily Mirror, one of the most highly rated holding midfielders in Europe has penned a new contract at Sporting, who are currently fourth in the Portuguese league.
It may make life tough for Liverpool if they do indeed push for a deal, but despite boss Jurgen Klopp’s constant stance that the club would be making no new deals before next Tuesday’s transfer deadline unless something drastic occurs, there is little doubt that Carvalho would improve the German’s midfield options.
He showed his prowess in the summer as his Portugal side went all the way to a shock win at Euro 2016 in France, and his main attributes, tackling, close control and upper body strength, as well as being six foot four, make him an ideal player for English football.
Moving for Carvalho would show Klopp wants variety in midfield. The likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson, currently the main men in that area of the field, are better with the ball at their feet and have a low centre of gravity, but lack something of a physical presence.
Klopp has changed the fortunes of Liverpool since replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2015, reaching two cup finals in his debut campaign on Merseyside. While they lost them both, to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup and Sevilla in the Europa League, the positive signs have continued into the current campaign.
Liverpool are hoping to end their 27-year wait for a league title this year and their overall form suggests they are on the right track to do so. Despite a shock 3-2 defeat to struggling Swansea City last weekend, which has left them 10 points behind runaway leaders Chelsea, the Reds have impressed all season and look like the real deal.
One midfield space could become available in the squad very soon, with Lucas Leiva once again heavily linked with a loan move to Italian giants Inter Milan this winter, via Metro. The long-serving Brazilian midfielder, who joined the club from Gremio in 2007, has not been a regular starter under Klopp, finding minutes on the pitch hard to come by.
A move for Carvalho does look tough to pull off, but it certainly would be a huge statement of intent from Liverpool, particularly with Sadio Mane set to return from African Nations Cup duty with Senegal in the coming weeks.