Liverpool rounded off their pre-season tour of America with a 2-1 defeat to AS Roma last night, and now just have the small matter of Barcelona to face before they kick off their Premier League campaign against Arsenal.
Seven new faces have joined the squad, but an injury against Roma to Alberto Moreno; who was already set to be replaced as first choice left-back by the Anfield side, has now brought the hunt for a new left-sided defender into even sharper focus, even though it is thought that the knock will not keep the Spaniard out for long.
Jetro Willems is a name who has been linked heavily with a move to Anfield, but Liverpool are also reportedly interested in AC Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio and have made a bid of £16 million, according to La Gazzetto dello Sport. Any news of a bid has yet to be confirmed in England, but it is certainly a significant step up in the chase for De Sciglio and Liverpool’s hunt for a new left back.
Much taller than Moreno at 6 foot, De Sciglio’s benefits in the air are certainly an attractive prospect for the Reds, who have been vulnerable to crosses for some time. Furthermore, De Sciglio’s versatility and ability to play on the left or right of a four or five-man defence gives Jurgen Klopp a massive amount of options should he sign the Italian for the new season.
Whether he settles in England is a different question. Matteo Darmian has struggled at Manchester United and the less said about either Alberto Aquilani or Andrea Dossena the better for Liverpool fans, but with Moreno injured and struggling to properly fulfill his defensive duties, the signing of De Sciglio would certainly be a welcome one.
The move for De Sciglio signals an end to the chase for another left-back, though, with Jonas Hector reportedly close to signing a new contract at Köln.
Hector impressed massively for Germany this summer at the European Championships this summer, successfully plugging the gap that has been left in defence for a number of years, and Liverpool were confident at one stage of securing a deal for the 26-year-old, but it now appears a highly unlikely prospect.
A solid player going both forward and backwards, Hector would probably be a slightly more preferable option for Jurgen Klopp than De Sciglio, but should he sign new contract at his present club then the chase will be over for the Reds. It is a shame, seeing as he would have fit into the side perfectly, but De Sciglio should prove to be an excellent alternative to the German, if he is to sign.
Finally, Lucas Leiva may be heading closer to the exit door, with interest from Turkish side Galatasaray. Although the veteran of 313 appearances is in no hurry to leave the club, a likely lack of first team football could force the Brazilian to seek opportunities in Turkey as opposed to a ninth season at Anfield.
After losing Joe Allen, but gaining Marko Grujic and Georginio Wijnaldum, the dynamic of Liverpool’s midfield is certainly changing for the upcoming season. Although not a vital part of the starting eleven, Lucas’ ability to break up play and sit at the base of midfield is something that nobody else in the side can offer, not even Emre Can, who is much more forward thinking than the Brazilian.
It is not essential that Liverpool keep hold of Lucas, but, on balance, they would be better off for having him in the squad.
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