It has been a strange old time for domestic European football over the last month and a bit, as all major leagues found themselves on an enforced pause so FIFA could allow the first-ever winter World Cup out in Qatar to take place. The tournament came to quite a dramatic end on Sunday afternoon as Lionel Messi’s Argentina established an unexpected 2-0 first half advantage over reigning World Cup holders France.
France staged a late comeback in the final ten minutes of the game to take the match to extra time, and when both sides again scored, it had to be decided by penalties – and Messi finally added this medal to his collection as they took a 4-2 victory and for those who like a flutter by novibet.ie, that result would have put a smile on their faces if they picked it.
For Liverpool fans specifically, they may well have taken a watching brief on the game simply to make some assumptions about almost Argentine unknown starlet Enzo Fernandes. The 21-year-old Benfica midfielder barely has 100 career games under his belt, and coming into the World Cup he only had three caps for his country – but he has become one of their standout stars, and has impressed many in the wider world of football as he showed he could more than cope on the world’s biggest stage and against the biggest and best players.
Liverpool, had of course, been previously linked with having an interest in the player and many suggested he could ultimately become the long-term solution to the Thiago Alcantara issue that will soon face manager Jurgen Klopp, given the 31-year-old Spanish international now heads towards the twilight of his career.
Speculation about Fernandez was always going to increase given his growth in the Argentine side over the last few weeks as he moved from a substitute, to being a regular mainstay in the starting XI, but Liverpool fans have begun to get a little bit more excited as recent reports from South America have began suggesting that there could well be a pre agreement in place between the Anfield outfit and Portuguese side Benfica that already allows for a move to take place during next summers’ transfer window.
There is reason to be sceptical about those reports, as in simple terms, Fernandez only moved to Benfica from River Plate last summer and he remains under contract for the next four seasons. Moreover, why would the Portuguese giants – even if they were willing to cash in quickly on how impressive he has been out in Qatar – strike a deal a few weeks back before the tournament and Fernandez’s own journey had concluded. The interest in him and his growing valuation would only regress if he were to have unfortunately picked up an injury. If Benfica were to do a deal a few weeks back, they would simply have only achieved in wiping out additional potential further valuation growth – added to the fact they would be scuppering their best chance of driving up their profit return by encouraging a bidding war when the next summer transfer window rolls around.
Why do a deal in December, or late November, six months in advance of when you would be willing to let the player leave given the further attention he would garner in the second half of the 2022/23 campaign.
It just does not really track, particularly as he is now a World Cup winner.
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