Liverpool have to beat Chelsea in race for £87m-rated Portuguese No.8

Chelsea have opened talks with Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes as they pursue a move for the 23-year-old this summer, reports claim.

Fernandes has been in inspired form this season, scoring 15 goals and providing 12 assists in 42 starts for the Portuguese giants and is attracting plenty of interest around Europe.

Liverpool were said to have begun negotiations to sign the former Udinese and Sampdoria star, who has been capped four times by Fernando Santos’ Portugal.

His fine displays have thrown him into contention to head to Russia for the World Cup and he may well end up at a new club too. Chelsea have followed Liverpool’s lead by opening secret talks with the player’s entourage as they try to gauge whether he’s keen on a move to Stamford Bridge, according to A Bola.

Fernandes has an £87million release clause – a fee which Sporting are keen to recuperate fully.

The Blues would no doubt be reluctant to part with such a large amount of money and face serious competition to land him, with Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and, of course, Liverpool all in the race for his signature.