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Julian Brandt would be the ideal alternative to Nabil Fekir for Liverpool

Liverpool are reportedly turning their interest to the German.

Liam Thomas

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Brandt
Photo: Getty Images

In the transfer saga of the summer so far Liverpool came agonisingly close to signing Lyon midfield maestro Nabil Fekir only to miss out on their top target in the dying stages of the deal.

Now, according to the Daily Star, Jurgen Klopp has identified an alternative to Fekir and has chosen 22-year-old German winger Julian Brandt as the man to fill the void.

Klopp has been a long-term admirer of Brandt’s abilities and with the Fekir deal seemingly off the cards, Brandt would be the ideal man to come in as an alternative for the Reds.

Brandt had a terrific season in the Bundesliga, hitting the back of the net 12 times and assisting seven in 39 appearances for Die Werkself.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

It’s still unclear how much Liverpool would have to fork out for Brandt. However, the German winger certainly possesses the versatility and pacey play that Jurgen Klopp is looking to capture during this transfer window.

Something that is certain has been the Merseyside clubs long-term interest in Brandt, who was considered last summer as the alternative to Mohammad Salah if the Reds failed to sign the Egyptian winger.

Brandt typically plays on the right wing. However, he could also be used as part of a front three, a system that Jurgen Klopp utilised last season and would suit the 22-year-old’s style of play down to a tee.

If you consider Liverpool’s transfer model, Brandt is the perfect fit, young, talented and under the guidance of the enigmatic Klopp, he has the potential to become a world beater.

It remains to be seen whether or not Liverpool will pursue their interest in the Leverkusen winger. However, there are indeed worse alternatives out there; Brandt and the Reds seem to be a match made in heaven.

Football writer published by Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sport and Bleacher Report. Trying to elevate small talk to medium talk.

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Bayer Leverkusen

After Felipe Anderson £35m valuation West Ham should turn attention to Julian Brandt

West Ham should enquire for the German starlet if Lazio maintain their stance.

Jamie Watts

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West Ham have been pursuing Felipe Anderson for the last few weeks, with it looking increasingly likely the Brazilian will end up joining the ranks at the London Stadium.

However, the latest reports from the Mirror are suggesting Lazio are demanding £35 million for the player, which is proving something of a stumbling block for the Hammers.

Perhaps Manuel Pellegrini should begin enquiring for alternatives, as the pursuit for Anderson continues to throw up new issues on a daily basis.

First the 25-year-old’s wages proved caused an issue, followed by Lazio’s desire for a sell-on clause to be inserted in any deal, and now the asking price has reportedly rocketed from £29 million to £35 million.

Photo: Getty Images

It’s not worth ending negotiations at this early stage, but there’s no harm in looking into alternatives, and the opportunity for a better deal may come along.

As such, Pellegrini should reach out to Bayer Leverkusen over the possibility of signing the man preferred to Leroy Sane in the German World Cup squad, Julian Brandt.

Formerly a winner of the Fritz-Walter Gold Medal – awarded to the most talented players in Germany – Brandt has been producing quality performances for a long-time in the Bundesliga despite being just 22.

Leverkusen snapped up the starlet from the Wolfsburg youth ranks, who was playing Champions League football against the likes of Paris Saint Germain at just 17. And he notably collected a winners medal at the European U19 Championship.

Photo: Getty Images

Brandt plays on the left similarly to Anderson and employs a similar style, using his powerful running and quick feet to trouble defences.

Now boasting 32 goals and 34 assists in 172 appearances for Leverkusen, he has also chalked up 15 international caps – three of which came in the FIFA Confederations Cup triumph, and he looks to be constantly improving.

His impact was almost instant for Germany against Mexico yesterday as his volley rifled past Guillermo Ochoa agonisingly wide just minutes after coming off the bench, and teams the world over will be monitoring the youngster throughout the rest of the competition.

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Bayer Leverkusen

Would Bayer Leverkusen’s Benjamin Henrichs solve Tottenham’s full-back conundrum?

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Benjamin Henrichs

According to reports in the Daily Mail late on Monday night, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is considering a surprise swoop for Bayer Leverkusen full-back Benjamin Henrichs.

The versatile 20-year-old has impressed in recent seasons in the Bundesliga, with his solid performances earning himself a call-up for Germany’s FIFA Confederations Cup squad last month.

It is understood that Henrichs’ representatives are keen on discussing a switch to the Premier League, although Tottenham would have to meet the £18 million valuation put on the German.

Would the German be a good fit for Tottenham?

With Kyle Walker recently completing his move to Premier League rivals Manchester City, it’s arguable that Mauricio Pochettino should use the £50 million fee to re-invest in the full-back area.

Although Kieran Trippier left a lasting impression during his various appearances last season – earning himself a five-year contract extension – there is still a feeling that more strength in depth is needed.

If it is youthful exuberance, character and potential that the Argentine desires then he should look no further than Henrichs, who has burst onto the scene in Germany and really caught the eye with his displays.

What he lacks in experience – after all he is only 20-years-old – he more than makes up for in creativity and intent. Unlike Trippier, he has Walker’s natural ability to rush to the by-line and create chances for the strikers to feed off in the box, creating 1.67 chances per game last season.

On a much wider pitch at Wembley Stadium this attacking edge could really benefit Tottenham’s offensive play in the final third, taking his love of getting forward and utilising it almost as a winger.

He could do with working on his end product,  but the fact of the matter is that Henrichs spends enough time in the final third that, eventually, chances will fall to the likes of Harry Kane.

The prime difference between Henrichs and Trippier, however, comes in the lack of maturity that the German has and a lack of exposure at the highest level, leaving him prone to errors in positioning.

It would be a gamble for Tottenham to move for the 20-year-old, especially with him by no means the finished article. Nonetheless given time to develop at the right team he could easily emulate Walker’s impact.

 

Benjamin Henrichs to Tottenham Hotspur
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Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
Although £18 million may seem steep for somebody that’s only 20-years-old, and has only recently burst through into the Bundesliga, the long-term investment in his potential could pay off one day. If the report is true and representatives of the player are willing to begin negotiations with Tottenham then it seems foolish for Pochettino to say no – this could be worth keeping an eye on.
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Bayer Leverkusen

Could Javier Hernandez be the answer to West Ham’s goalscoring issues?

Rob Meech

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West Ham United are believed to have turned their attentions to Javier Hernandez, as they step up their search for a prolific goalscorer.

The Hammers have been linked with numerous strikers already this summer, including Arsenal‘s Olivier Giroud and Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City, with Slaven Bilic targeting a marquee signing to lead their attack. According to ESPN, the West Ham manager is weighing up a move for the former Manchester United hitman.

The Mexico international, affectionately known as ‘Chicharito’, currently plies his trade in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen. He has enjoyed a fruitful spell in Germany, where he has notched up 39 goals in 76 appearances. It is that goals-per-game ratio in one of the strongest leagues in Europe that appears to have caught the attention of Bilic.

West Ham largely struggled for goals last season as they limped to an 11th-placed Premier League finish. Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll both endured injury problems, as the Hammers found it difficult to adjust to life in the London Stadium. The Dimitri Payet saga also contributed to a toxic atmosphere at the club.

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Hernandez was a popular figure during a five-year-spell at Old Trafford, despite failing to establish himself in the starting XI under Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes or Louis van Gaal. However, he is a natural goalscorer who thrives on service – a real fox in the box.

A predatory instinct in front of goal is a quality the Hammers have lacked in the past few seasons, so it is easy to see why Chicharito may be of significant interest to Bilic.

Considering he is in the final year of his contract at Leverkusen, the German outfit may be tempted to cash in on Hernandez now, rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer.

Javier Hernandez to West Ham
4
Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
Bilic's priority in this transfer window is to sign a proven striker - and Hernandez may well fit the bill. He is likely to be less expensive than Giroud or Iheanacho, while his Premier League pedigree is another major plus point. The 29-year-old guarantees goals and his infectious personality would captivate the West Ham supporters. With the Hammers hoping to push on in the forthcoming season, Hernandez could be an excellent acquisition
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