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Liverpool set to strike amid Man Utd target’s release clause uncertainty

Liverpool are in contact with Sporting CP midfield star Pedro Goncalves, according to reports in Portugal.

Bracing themselves for the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum as a free agent, Liverpool need to reinforce their engine room. They have already been linked with a number of possible targets. Goncalves has now emerged as one suggestion who could provide creativity they have lacked in that area ever since selling Philippe Coutinho in 2018.

22-year-old Goncalves has established himself as an important player for Sporting in recent years. He effectively replaced Bruno Fernandes when he joined in 2020 and has even drawn comparisons to his predecessor.

As a result, Goncalves has been tipped to follow Fernandes to Old Trafford. But now, Record claim that Liverpool are well in the hunt.

The Reds are said to have made contact with the playmaker over a potential transfer. He has a £52m release clause, which would leave Sporting powerless if Liverpool were to activate it.

The recently crowned Portuguese champions are ready to raise that clause to ward off interest, though. They want Goncalves to sign a new deal with a £69m exit fee.

But Liverpool could still swoop in and test their resolve.

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Goncalves has scored 20 goals from 31 appearances in the Portuguese top flight this season.  For his debut season with the club, that has been a promising tally and Liverpool could try to take advantage.

It will be an important summer at Anfield as Liverpool look to make the right adjustments to their squad after conceding their Premier League crown this season. They still have a chance of breaking into the top four but want to be challenging for the title again next year.

Signing someone like Goncalves would be one of the first steps towards helping them get back in contention.

Liverpool advised over another Wijnaldum replacement

Goncalves is not the only option to be linked with Liverpool, though. For example, there have been rumours about Yves Bissouma or Sander Berge.

One alternative solution would be Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, according to BBC pundit Garth Crooks.

“He was instrumental in everything Southampton did last Tuesday against Crystal Palace,” Crooks wrote in his team of the week column.

“Danny Ings and Che Adams may have got the goals that night but it is Ward-Prowse who makes my team. The Saints demolished the Eagles and then did the same to Fulham a few days later, with Adams, Nathan Tella and Theo Walcott scoring this time, and Ward-Prowse getting an assist.

“Ward-Prowse, in my opinion, has been Southampton’s player of the season. They will do well to keep him. He’s a Liverpool player if ever I saw one.”

Whether he is actually on Liverpool’s radar or not remains to be seen.

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