Liverpool are expected to move for a high-class centre back in the summer transfer window, with defensive leader Virgil van Dijk now 32, Joe Gomez and Ibrahim Konate having patchy injury records and Joel Matip coming into the last months of his Reds contract.
Accordingly, Jurgen Klopp’s side have been linked with a move to emerging Sporting CP pair Goncalo Inacio and Ousmane Diomande.
Inacio, 22, has established himself in the Sporting backline as well as the Portuguese national team and is on the shopping list of many of Europe’s top sides.
Reports emerged this week in Portuguese sports daily Record that Liverpool were also considering a move for Diomande along with Inacio.
The Ivorian, currently on duty at the Africa Cup of Nations in his home country, has a release clause of €80m and is under contract with the Lisbon side until June 2027.
He would not come cheap having emerged as one of the world’s leading young central defenders since completing a €7.5m move from Denmark’s Midtjylland in January 2023, after a spell on loan at Portuguese second tier side Mafra.
However, transfer insider Fabrizio Romano has poured cold water on the Liverpool links to Diomande, writing in his CaughtOffside column on Tuesday.
“Diomande is a fantastic centre back, he can be an excellent addition for any club. But, despite links with Liverpool, I’m not aware of movement around Diomande now, honestly,” he said.
“He’s been linked with ten clubs but there is nothing concrete on Sporting’s table so far.”
Diomande’s Ivory Coast are reeling from a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Equatorial Guinea in their final group stage game at AFCON and now face an anxious wait to see if they will make it through to the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams.