Every time an international tournament comes around, there are always new names which emerge and almost inevitably, become linked with moves to the Premier League. One of these is German left-back Jonas Hector. Although not entirely unknown in England before the tournament, thanks to the greater worldwide exposure the Bundesliga experiences these days, the Köln full-back was still far from a household name outside of his native country.
However, some excellent performances for the world champions; who exited the tournament at the semi-final stage to hosts France, has seen Hector catapulted into one of Europe’s most wanted players. His new international status means he has probably outgrown Köln, a functional but uninspiring mid-table German side.
Seemingly aware of this and keen to maximise the potential profit that would arise from selling the 26-year-old, the club have slapped a £25 million price tag on their star man. This fee has increased massively over the summer, as was always likely to happen if he had a successful time at Euro 2016. With Liverpool and Spurs reported to be interested, is Jonas Hector really worth that kind of money?
The initial reaction is to say no. Hector is clearly an excellent defender, but even in today’s inflated transfer market, £25 million remains to be a lot of money for a left-back, especially one who has played just two seasons in the Bundesliga and can boast just six competitive international matches under his belt.
Hector is good going forward, but hardly a highly creative talent. He will join in attacks and provide a useful outlet down the left wing, but he is not the sort of defender who will charge into the box and bag five goals and five assists over the course of the campaign. For such a high transfer fee, clubs might expect a little more attacking creativity alongside his solid defensive attributes.
However, the fee does not just represent exactly how good a player Hector is. It is of course influenced by his skills, but the most important factor is whether he is the right player for Liverpool or Spurs. Although it is a lot of money, if Hector is the most suitable man to fill the left-back spot, the transfer fee becomes much less relevant.
For Spurs, £25 million is far too much to expend on Hector. As much as he is a better defender than Danny Rose, Mauricio Pochettino already has the England man and Ben Davies; who was excellent for Wales in the Euros, as his left-back options. Signing Hector would mean that at least one of these fine full-backs would get barely any playing time over the season. It would complicate an area where Tottenham are already blessed with a variation of talent. Quite simply, £25 million is not worth taking the risk of destablising their defence.
Liverpool, though, may be willing to pay the price for Hector, given the number of problems they have experienced at left back recently. Joe Gomez started last season in that position, adding some stability, but a knee injury and inexperience make it unlikely that he will return to the starting line-up immediately, especially after suffering an achilles injury recently. As for Alberto Moreno, his problems are well documented, with a number of defensive lapses costing Liverpool over the season.
Hector would be a massive improvement for the Reds. His defensive talent would help stabilise the defence, which has the tendency to leak a few goals from the left-side, whilst also providing a useful option going forward on the left. His presence could not only help Liverpool’s centre backs, but it could allow Philippe Coutinho more license to express himself on the wing. He seems to be the perfect fit.
£25 million is probably £10 million more than Hector is worth, but he could be the ideal fix for a long term problem for Liverpool. An expensive signing, yes, but if he fixes the left-back problem in the same manner that he has for Germany, he will prove to be worth every penny.
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