Sporting CP could play hardball over Liverpool's Ruben Amorim negotiations

  • Liverpool yet to agree personal terms with Amorim despite reports claiming otherwise
  • Reds must also strike an agreement with Sporting, who could play hardball in search of more money
  • Amorim's contract includes a €20m release clause
Amorim is a key target for Liverpool
Amorim is a key target for Liverpool / Carlos Rodrigues/GettyImages

Sporting CP could look to complicate Liverpool's interest in manager Ruben Amorim in the hope of extracting a higher compensation fee from the Reds, 90min understands.

With Xabi Alonso publicly confirming his decision to remain with Bayer Leverkusen beyond this season, Amorim has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Jurgen Klopp when he steps down this summer.

Amorim's contract with Sporting includes a release clause worth €20m (£17.1m) for non-Portuguese sides, but sources indicate there is a gentleman's agreement between club and manager which will see Amorim allowed to leave for just €10m (£8.6m) if a 'top European side' makes an offer.

It is the definition of 'top European side' which could complicate any approach from Liverpool. Multiple Sporting sources claim it refers to any club in a top-five league who are playing Champions League football, and while Liverpool are almost certain to qualify for the competition next season, they are not currently a Champions League side, with last season's struggles leaving them in the Europa League this year.

Should Liverpool approach Sporting now, the Portuguese side could potentially argue that Liverpool do not meet their criteria for a 'top European side' and try to get closer to €15m for Amorim's departure. It is unlikely, given a good relationship between Sporting and Liverpool, that triggering the €20m clause will be necessary.

Liverpool could, of course, just trigger Amorim's release clause to bypass all negotiations with Sporting but they are expected to try and negotiate if they do proceed.

Ruben Amorim
Amorim's contract includes a €20m release clause / Zed Jameson/MB Media/GettyImages

Despite some reports to the contrary, Liverpool sources insist they have not yet reached an agreement with Amorim over personal terms and no candidate in their search to replace Klopp has yet had a formal interview.

Contact has been made with Amorim's agents and financial terms have been discussed, but Liverpool argue this is simply part of their process. Conversations are ongoing over a number of other managerial targets, with the Reds always planning to offer formal interviews to at least three candidates before making a final decision on their top target. This could yet happen quickly and in the month of April.

Amorim has also not made up his mind on his future yet either, but the 39-year-old is expected to speak to Liverpool in the coming days or weeks.

Liverpool want to have wrapped up the signing of their next manager before the current campaign comes to a close, even if a public announcement is delayed until the summer.

Links between Amorim and Chelsea have been downplayed by sources at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are still planning for a future with current boss Mauricio Pochettino, whose position will be reviewed in the summer as part of a long-standing agreement between club and manager.