Liverpool attempt to recruit yet another midfield asset despite bloated squad
Liverpool have had a massive €40million bid for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Mario turned down, according to the player's father.
With Joe Allen offloaded to Stoke City in a reported £13million (€15.5million) deal, Kop boss Jurgen Klopp is looking to add more firepower to his midfield and has targeted 23-year-old Mario, who impressed during Portugal's Euro 2016 win.
According to Portuguese paper Diario de Noticias, Liverpool's €40million bid was flatly rejected.
In an interview with the Portugal international's father, he said: "Proposals for the lad don't come directly to me.
"They go to his agent, Kia Joorabchian, and the Sporting president.
"I was informed, however, that the club said no to €35m plus €10m in bonuses from Inter, and to €40m from Liverpool."
"Nothing particular has happened, my son is a professional and knows he has a contract with Sporting.
"At the same time, we’re talking about a very valuable player for the club, who would aspire to bigger projects in the course of his career."
The Anfield club recently signed Holland international Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle United, and with no European campaign for the Reds this season, it is difficult to see the logic in another midfield signing for Klopp.
Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, James Milner and Lucas Leiva are all vying for central midfield berths at Anfield, while a bloated attacking midfield roster includes Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, new boys Sadio Mane and Marko Grujic, Adam Lallana and youngster Sheyi Ojo.
With the German tending to play just one up front, one of Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi can also be added to that list.
While there is no doubt that Mario is a talented player, Liverpool would likely need to see some midfield departures before investing so heavily in the Euro 2016 winner.