Benfica defensive midfielder Andre Gomes could be the first new face at Anfield during the January transfer window, reports Duncan Castles of The Sunday Times (subscription required).
The 20-year-old Portuguese Under-21 international is reportedly available for £12.4 million and could be seen as a future mainstay in the Liverpool midfield.
With an injury to Lucas Leiva ruling him out for a chunk of the season and Steven Gerrard no longer the all-action player he once was, Brendan Rodgers is keen to add additional midfield reinforcements as his side fights for the title.
Castles reports that Gomes, who represented his nation at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup last summer, could be an ideal signing for Liverpool as his qualities fit into Rodgers' style of play, as well as transfer strategy:
[Gomes] is known for his precise use of the ball and is regarded by Brendan Rodgers as well suited to Liverpool’s possession-oriented game.
Liverpool’s transfer-window strategy has been to look for good-value signings that will give Rodgers the option of two quality players.
However, Portuguese football expert Tom Kundert said on Twitter the reported sum is a lot for a player who has rarely featured for Benfica in the league or Champions League this season:
€15+ for Gomes who's hardly played for a year too much imo. But I'm in minority. Most in Portugal say it's bad business i.e. he's worth more— Tom Kundert (@Portu_Goal) January 27, 2014
Manager Rodgers has so far been unable to add to his squad during January despite being linked with a host of players. Most recently, Egypt international Mohamed Salah chose Chelsea over a move to the Reds.
It may also be Chelsea that indirectly scupper Liverpool's chances of signing Gomes.
The Stamford Bridge outfit purchased Nemanja Matic from Benfica earlier in the transfer window, meaning that the Portuguese side may be unwilling to sell another one of their midfielders during this window.
However, O Jogo, via Sky Sports, reports that Benfica are actually close to selling Gomes to an English club, indicating he may be available if the price is right.
In another twist, super agent Jorge Mendes—who represents Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho and other global stars—reportedly bought the economic rights for Gomes for around £12 million, meaning that his days in a Benfica shirt could be numbered, per espbr.com.