Liverpool to land Sporting Lisbon stopper Rui Patricio?
Sporting Lisbon and Portugal goalie Rui Patricio could soon be making his way to Merseyside, with Liverpool (20/1 with Coral to lift the 2015/16 Premier League) the leading contenders to snap-up the stopper, according to reports.
Portuguese big-guns Sporting, who have announced the sacking of manager Marco Silva, despite the coach having recently lifted the Taca de Portugal, have signed Slovenia custodian Azbe Jug on a five-year deal, increasing speculation over Patricio’s future.
A graduate of the Lions’ lauded youth academy, 27-year-old post-protector Patricio has made over 300 appearances for the Portuguese capital club, where he is also captain.
Earlier this season, the Navigator’s keeper did little to dampen doubts over a long-term stay at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, telling press: “I only think day by day. I have no huge plans for the future, I live one day at a time.”
Sporting have evidently acted quickly to ensure they are covered in case of their skipper’s exit, meaning the door is open for Brendan Rodgers’ Reds (5/2 for a top four finish in 2015/16) to make their move.
Patrico, capped 36 times for his country, could command a fee of around £11m, and would join the Reds’ roster to increase competition for the number one spot. Current incumbent Simon Mignolet has come under-fire for subpar performances in what his been a mixed campaign for both keeper and club.
A new goal guard is widely expected to arrive at Anfield, with Lions skipper Patricio now emerging as the most likely recruit to help solve Liverpool’ leaky defence.
Watch the best of Patricio’s super saves:
Back-up Belgium keeper Mignolet has often looked indecisive, and Rodgers will be hoping that an addition of the calibre and experience of Patricio, can put the former under pressure to perform, though any new signing would surely be eyeing the number one jersey for themselves.
Patricio may benefit from a move abroad, as Portugal have strong competition in net, with Sevilla’s Beto and Lyon’s Anthony Lopes also competing for a place.
Any decision to leave his Lisbon comfort zone to be tested in the Premier League would surely be looked upon favourably by Fernando Santos.
Should Patricio opt to stay put with Sporting, however, there could be an intriguing season ahead, as the Lions are believed to be on the verge of snaring Benfica boss Jorge Jesus, who could cross the bitter Lisbon divide with a shock move from Eagles.
This could mean a serious, and exciting, shake-up may take place in the Portuguese capital, and could prove too much of an alluring prospect for Patricio to resist.