Liverpool have joined Chelsea in the race to sign Bayern Munich midfielder and mooted Manchester United target Renato Sanches, who has been urged to join AC Milan by Portugal teammate and Inter midfielder Joao Mario.
Sanches, 19, joined Bayern Munich from Benfica for €35m (£31.3m, $41m) in the summer of 2016 but failed to impress during his first season in Bavaria and was eventually consigned to the substitutes' bench by Carlo Ancelotti, who has seen midfielders Corentin Tolisso and Sebastian Rudy arrive at the Allianz Arena this summer.
Sanches revealed that he is open to joining AC Milan last week as he seeks to reignite his fledging career, and Mario, who joined the Rossoneri's arch-rivals Inter last summer, welcomed the idea of his compatriot moving to the San Siro.
"We talked on Thursday, after the game," Mario told Gazzetta dello Sport. "He is young and he wants to play, I understand that.
"I told him that if he goes to AC Milan he'd join a big club and I'd have one more friend in Milan."
Manchester United are known admirers of Sanches and were pursuing him before he opted for Bayern, while Chelsea's interest was made public last week as Antonio Conte looks for midfield reinforcements with Nemanja Matic poised to join Jose Mourinho's side.
Along with Chelsea and Manchester United, German outlet SportBild claims that Liverpool are also believed to be keen on signing Sanches after calling off their pursuit of RB Leipzig's Naby Keita. Jurgen Klopp had identified the Guinea international as his top midfield target, but Leipzig's stance has force him to pursue options.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss is a fan of the European Championship winner but is not interested in bringing him in on loan. The Bundesliga champions seem to favour a loan move over a permanent deal, but Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the club would be willing to let Sanches depart permanently if an interested party meets their asking price of €48m.
Chelsea have already signed a midfielder for big money this summer in the form of Tiemoue Bakayoko, but Conte is keen to add options to his engine room after losing Nathaniel Chalobah and bidding farewell to Matic, who is set to link up with former boss Mourinho at Manchester United.
The Red Devils' purchase of Matic suggests that they may no longer be in the hunt for a new midfielder, but Liverpool are still looking to strengthen their midfield options and may have money burning a hole in their pocket if they do decide to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, who have identified the Brazil international as a replacement for Neymar.