Renato Sanches’ links to Liverpool simply won’t go away, and reports this week seem to indicate that the Reds are edging ever closer to clinching this signing.
Indeed, Calciomercato report that the Portuguese midfielder is ‘destined’ to join the Anfield outfit this summer, and while signing a former European Golden Boy is exciting, we have to wonder whether or not this is really necessary.
The Reds apparently see Sanches as a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, but there are a plethora of midfielders in the squad already capable of stepping up to that role.
One would imagine that Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are shoo-ins for two of the midfield spots when everyone is fit and available, but even if Wijnaldum leaves, there’s the likes of Naby Keita, Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones and James Milner battling it out for that third spot.
It’s really hard to see where Sanches would fit into that, especially when you consider that he may not be as good as any of the aforementioned players.
Yes, Sanches burst onto the scene with unbelievable hype surrounding him. After all, you don’t win a Golden Boy award without that, but since 2016 he’s not really done all that much to suggest he’s good enough to play for a team such as Liverpool.
He struggled at Bayern Munich, eventually being sent out on loan to Swansea City where he didn’t flourish, starting just nine games as the Swans sleepwalked towards relegation. He then secured a move to Lille where he hasn’t really been on top form either, struggling to break into the XI this season, playing just 760 minutes all term for the Ligue 1 leaders.
Aside from Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been used sparingly due to injury, every single one of Liverpool’s midfielders have stronger numbers in terms of defensive output this season, while Sanches’ one goal and 0.6 key passes per game certainly don’t particularly stand out from a statistical standpoint.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have a player like Naby Keita – who earned a place in the Bundesliga Team of the Season a year before Sanches was shipped out to Swansea by Bayern Munich – who is struggling to even break into their XI.
Sanches hasn’t pulled up any trees since bursting onto the scene in 2016, and it has to be argued that Liverpool have five better midfield options to play alongside Fabinho and Henderson next season.
The 23-year-old may have once been compared to Clarence Seedorf and described as a ‘bulldozer’ in the middle of the park, but there’s simply no room for him in a Liverpool squad already packed full of talented midfielders.