Liverpool - as well as most clubs around Europe - should be closely monitoring the situation brewing over at Portuguese outfit Sporting CP, with the club having suffered a mass player exodus since the end of the season.
Eight players have already made the decision to break ties with the side following their turbulent end to the term, and it leaves the market more attractive, with several top names having departed so far.
✍️ 7 Sporting Lisbon players have now terminated their contracts because of the attack last month.— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) June 15, 2018
▪️ Rui Patricio
▪️ William Carvalho
▪️ Gelson Martins
▪️ Bruno Fernandes
▪️ R. Ribeiro
▪️ Bas Dost
▪️ D. Podence
Some very good players available on a free?! 👀 pic.twitter.com/3kY9zS0Ug6
Gelson Martins, in particular, should have clubs scrambling for his signature in the coming days. The 23-year-old Portugal international is said to have been in talks with Liverpool before they signed Mohamed Salah from Roma last summer. And, although the Reds hardly regret recruiting the crafty Egyptian instead, they could be inclined to re-enter negotiations given the player's availability.
According to BBC Sport, Martins has officially left the club, citing "just cause." In fairness, Sporting players have little reason to feel safe after suffering an attack at the hands of 50 hooded thugs after they missed out on Champions League qualification on the last day of the season.
Bas Dost, who has also decided to terminate his contract with Sporting, suffered a nasty head injury, while other players and members of staff were beaten.
There's also the rift with club president Bruno de Carvalho that has rendered Sporting untenable for most of the squad. The outspoken chief openly bashed his players on social media after a Europa League loss to Atletico Madrid, later threatening to suspend 19 first-team members.
Coach Jorge Jesus has also left the side as a result, while Rui Patricio, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Ribeiro, Daniel Podence and Rodrigo Battaglia have also engineered exits.