The Sporting stars Ruben Amorim could take to Liverpool - Goncalo Inacio
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The Sporting stars Ruben Amorim could take to Liverpool

Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim is the new frontrunner to become Liverpool manager, with attention turned to the 39-year-old after Xabi Alonso decided to turn down an exit from Bayer Leverkusen.

Amorim has built an impressive reputation in Portuguese football and led Sporting to a drought-breaking title in 2021/22, ending the club’s 19-year wait for the Primeira Liga. Sporting are also leading the title race this time around and Amorim’s impressive outfit has plenty of talent.

Coaches often return to raid their former clubs to find trusted personnel for new projects and we’ve looked at the Sporting stars who could make Premier League transfers if Amorim heads to Anfield.

The Sporting stars Ruben Amorim could take to Liverpool:

Goncalo Inacio

Central defence looks an area in need of additions for Liverpool in the summer, with Joel Matip’s contract set to expire at the end of the campaign. Amorim favours a three-man backline and defensive depth could be sought amid an anticipated change in shape for the Reds.

Goncalo Inacio has been named as a potential Liverpool transfer target in recent windows, while Manchester United and Real Madrid have also been credited with interest. The 22-year-old has established himself as one of the best young centre-backs outside of Europe’s top five leagues, making 162 appearances for Sporting since progressing from the academy.

He leads Portugal’s Primeira Liga for passes into the final third (161) and ranks second for touches (1913) and progressive carrying distance. Excellent stepping out of defence or passing through lines, Inacio would offer a natural left-footed option for Liverpool at centre-back, a balance lacking in the current squad. He has a release clause of €60m (£51.4m).

Ousmane Diomande

Another option to bolster the backline, Ousmane Diomande is on the shortlist of each of Europe’s elite clubs. The 20-year-old has been a revelation since signing for Sporting from FC Midtjylland in January 2023, adding a rock-like presence to the Portuguese side.

The Ivorian leads the Primeira Liga for percentage of dribblers tackled (82.4%), ranks third in the division for pass completion (91.7%) and sixth for distance carried in possession. A formidable athletic obstacle for opposition forwards, Diomande’s defensive skillset looks suited to the demands of the Premier League and Arsenal and Chelsea have been named as admirers.

His combination of presence and speed across the ground would complement Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk, who have often been tasked with one-against-one defending in a high line in the current Liverpool system.

Pedro Gonçalves

Pedro Gonçalves has been one of the most effective performers in Portugal in recent campaigns, a regular source of goals and assists from midfield.

Gonçalves has thrived as one of the two attacking midfielders in Amorim’s 3-4-2-1 system, scoring 71 goals in 164 appearances in all competitions for Sporting. After ending the 2020/21 campaign as the Primeira Liga’s top scorer with 23 league goals, he has reached 10+ goals and 10+ assists in each of the last three campaigns.

At 25, ‘Pote’ may feel now is the time to take the next step in his career as he looks to establish himself as a regular with the Portuguese national team. After failing to make an impression during a spell at Wolves earlier in his career, the midfielder might feel he has a point to prove in the Premier League. He has an €80 million buyout clause in his contract at the Estádio José Alvalade.

Viktor Gyokeres

Viktor Gyokeres has taken European football by storm this season after a stunning first season at Sporting Lisbon.

Signed from Coventry City last summer, Gyokeres has emerged as one of Europe’s most prolific goalscorers in the Portuguese capital. The Swedish striker has 36 goals and 15 assists in 51 appearances across all competitions for Sporting, leading to speculation over a €100m (£85m) exit in the summer window.

Gyokeres mix of strength, ball-carrying and finishing made him an ideal option to lead the line, where he occupies defences singlehandedly and creates room for the creative options to shine in support.

Liverpool have another ex-Primeira Liga forward in Darwin Nunez showing signs of improvement this season, but Gyokeres could offer another out-and-out number nine option to the incoming boss, with Cody Gakpo’s best role still unclear.

Read – Ranking the five best attacking midfielders in the world right now

See more – Next Liverpool manager latest as Barcelona and Bayern eye top targets

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