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Liverpool could sign ideal player for Arne Slot as 'contact made' amid $109m release clause

Benfica defender Antonio Silva with his arm raised during a Europa League tie earlier this year.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Johnny Fidelin/Icon Sport via Getty Images)


While it is not quite as obvious as last summer's desperation for a new midfield, Liverpool has a need for a center-back this time around. Arne Slot is inheriting a good squad, but some more depth at the back would be a good idea.

Ibrahima Konate has been injury prone for most of his Liverpool career to date and Joel Matip is set to leave as a free agent. While Jarell Quansah had a superb season last year, another option is a must.

According to 90min, the Reds had officials in attendance to watch two Benfica players defeat Famalicao last year, in António Silva and Florentino Luís. And the former is now being linked with a move to Anfield once again.

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The Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha (print edition via Paisley Gates) reports that Liverpool has 'already made contact' over a possible deal for the $109m (£85m/€100m)-rated player. Manchester United and Arsenal, it says, are also keen.

A modern defender, Silva is 1.87m tall. He looks like a natural when in possession of the ball, displaying real ease and composure alongside an expansive passing range when called upon to hit more direct passes up the field.

There is a question mark attached to whether the Portuguese international offers the level of pace required to occupy the high Liverpool defensive line and daring offside trap, but he's got plenty of time on his side to continue evolving. He's still far from the finished product, even despite his sudden emergence as an exciting starlet.

Silva became a regular starter for Benfica the season before last, replacing Jan Vertonghen after the Belgian joined Anderlecht last summer. In that same window, Liverpool secured the signature of a certain Darwin Núñez from Benfica, after the Uruguayan striker thrived at the Estádio da Luz.

The Portuguese giants are known for unearthing gems in the transfer market, with Enzo Fernández perhaps acting as another example. He was tipped for a move to Anfield in the winter of 2023 — as reported by three Portuguese news outlets — but Chelsea managed to sign him for an extortionate amount in the closing hours of the winter window.

Ahead of last summer, Football Transfers reported that Liverpool has placed Silva among its 'top targets' for the upcoming transfer window, with Fichajes suggesting that the Reds were 'confident' of winning the race. While that never happened, Silva should remain high up the list for the Reds this time around.

Liverpool's awareness of Núñez and Fernández suggests they are more than awake to Silva and his potential, and with Julian Ward possessing links to Portugal having previously worked for their football federation, he could very easily end up on Merseyside in the coming months. Núñez has already paved the path from Benfica to Anfield, and Silva could end up following in his footsteps.

An original version of this story was first published on 7 March 2023. It has since been updated.