Sporting Lisbon have turned down Liverpool's offer for midfielder Joao Mario as Jurgen Klopp looks to bolster his midfield following the departures of Jordon Ibe and Joe Allen. The duo joined Bournemouth and Stoke City respectively on a permanent basis after struggling to nail down a regular place in the starting XI at Anfield.
The German coach has signed Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle United for a reported £25m (€29.8m; $32.8m), but is looking to further add to his squad before the start of the 2016/17 campaign. Klopp has already made seven summer additions strengthening all areas on the pitch, but is reportedly keen to add another signing with left-back being a priority.
However, the Reds boss had made it clear that he needs more width in the squad and Mario's ability to also play on the right wing – apart from midfield – makes him an ideal candidate to fill the void left by the departure of Ibe to Bournemouth. Sporting though are reluctant to let the 23-year-old leave this summer, according to the player's father, Joao Mario Eduardo, they have turned down a €40m (£33.5m, $44m) offer from the Merseyside club, while also rejecting Inter Milan's €45m offer.
"Proposals for the lad don't come directly to me. They go to his agent, Kia Joorabchian, and the Sporting President. I was informed, however, that the club said no to a €35m plus €10m in bonuses from Inter and €40m from Liverpool," Eduadro told Diario de Noticias, as translated by The Sun.
"Nothing particular has happened, my son is a professional and knows he has a contract with Sporting. At the same time, we're talking about a very valuable player for the club, who would aspire to bigger projects in the course of his career," he added.
Mario is highly-rated by the Portuguese club and played an important role in Portugal's triumphant run at the recently concluded 2016 European Championships in France.