Goodbye Mario Gotze, hello Joao Mario…
Both 23, both playmakers, both targeted by Liverpool this summer during Jurgen Klopp’s first real window of change.
The German doesn’t want to come, though – that much has become obvious, and as a result, links to the Sporting Lisbon attacking midfielder have surfaced in Portuguese publication A Bola.
Joao Mario started for his country in last night’s friendly defeat to England, but failed to have much of an impact with his side down to ten men early in the game following Bruno Alves’s disgusting tackle on Harry Kane.
But for Sporting last term he was impressive, scoring seven goals in total, which led to interest from Premier League rivals such as Chelsea and Manchester United.
Outrageously, Mario won 77 caps for Portugal at youth level, which has to be some kind of record – but is now firmly established in the first-team proper – alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.
He doesn’t have the pedigree of Gotze, or probably the potential for greatness either, but plays from the right – a position we badly need to strengthen.
Jordon Ibe has not impressed Jurgen Klopp following the German’s arrival, while there are doubts surrounding the fitness of returning loanee Lazar Markovic. An attacker with speed and technical skills, who enjoys the right flank, is a necessity this summer, and it appears Mario might be the latest in a long line of options.