Liverpool: Klopp's Dortmund links maximised; interest in Benteke; Reds want Croatian youngster
Ever since Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield towards the winter months of 2015, there has been no shortage of excitement amongst Liverpool fans. Primarily, this has been rooted in a noticeable change in their style of play and general feel around the club, but also because of his potential to recruit some of his former charges which he managed so successfully during his time at Borussia Dortmund.
Now that the Merseysiders seem to have accepted that their campaign to acquire Mario Götze will end up being rather fruitless, they have moved on to other targets that used to be coached by Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund. The first of these is Neven Subotic, an uncompromising defender who has frequently been the rock at the back alongside Mats Hummels for his club side.
This summer, we have already seen the fabulous German centre-half, Hummels, switch his allegiances to Bayern Munich. Now, it looks as though the Bundesliga runners-up look destined to lose Subotic too, with the 27-year-old Serbian taking to his Facebook page to declare his desire to leave for pastures new over the next few weeks. Reported by The Daily Star, Subotic wrote:
“Dear friends, during the last year I realised that my love for the game of football in an active role is too big to just be able to see it from outside. Football is an important part of my life. I love it and I can’t be without it,” he wrote.
“I am in the best age for a football player and I want to use my time to improve myself and my team every day. And I want to have the feeling I am needed and I can give everything for my club. That is what I am thinking about.
“I do not want to earn my money on the bench, but to be a active part of the history like I was until last year. I hope you can understand that.”
It seems as though Subotic certainly is determined to leave Dortmund; and for the right reasons too, so this is unlikely to merely boil down to posturing for a new contract. Having already signed Joel Matip, Liverpool have certainly reinforced this problem area for the first-team, but additional reinforcements would be welcome. Now that Kolo Touré has departed and Martin Skrtel looks increasingly likely to be playing his football elsewhere in 2016/17, The Reds are still a little short of quality in this area.
Subotic would be a useful addition to the Anfield outfit regardless of Mamadou Sakho’s future, but with the possibility of the Frenchman receiving a lengthy ban for taking a banned substance not yet completely eliminated, the Serbian centre-half could well come in at a vital time. However, taking Subotic’s comments about first-team football into consideration, this is possibly the only scenario when the player would accept a move to Merseyside, even taking his history with Klopp into account.
Staying with a link between Liverpool and Dortmund, the Anfield outfit have been rumoured to be interested in the German club’s former player Ivan Perisic, who has just had his Euro 2016 campaign cut disappointingly short when Portugal progressed through to the quarter-finals on Saturday. Perisic has been in dazzling form in France, continuing from a fine first season playing for Inter Milan, resulting in no shortage of parties interested in his signature.
It is reported that Liverpool are one of them, with the club keen to acquire the two-footed Croatian. It is unclear whether a move for Perisic would be seen as an alternative to Sadio Mane if the Southampton flyer decides that his future is not in fact at Anfield, or if the Inter Milan wide-man could even be in addition to the Senegalese forward. Either way, Perisic is exactly the right type of player that Liverpool should be pursuing, with his high intensity runs and quality in the final third having the potential to add a dynamic extra edge to The Reds’ attack.
Such has been the scale of Perisic’s strong performances in Euro 2016 that it will not only be Liverpool who are looking to secure his signature. Clubs of the size of Barcelona have apparently been linked with the in-form Croat, and if the two sides were to go head to head in a race to capture him, there is only one realistic winner.
Despite the fact that Croatia did not make the last eight, they have captured the imagination of many of the watching public, and youngster Marko Pjaca has been a shining light alongside Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Vedran Corluka.
He has injected pace into proceedings whenever he has entered the action and clearly with a mature head on young shoulders, would surely have the capability to adapt to the rigorous intensity of the Premier League.
Apparently, Liverpool have already submitted a bid of lower than £12 million, an approach which has already been rejected by his current club Dinamo Zagreb. Jurgen Klopp will be keen to harness the kind of impressive displays which we have seen this summer.
A prime example of his promising ability on the ball was when Marko Pjaca danced through a queue of Portuguese defenders as the promising Croatian tried in vain to rescue his side from going down 1-0 to Ronaldo’s men on Saturday night.
Hardly the beneficiary of a superlative first campaign as a Liverpool player, Christian Benteke’s future at Anfield is far from secure. The Belgian made 14 league starts and also appeared off the bench a further 15 times, and although he did manage to accumulate a not entirely disrespectful nine goals, he also missed a bundle of glorious opportunities that a striker of his stature should certainly have converted.
Benteke has not been able to displace Romelu Lukaku from the starting position for his country, symptomatic of his failings on the domestic scene in 2015/16. Keen on recruiting a forward of renowned quality, Crystal Palace are apparently interested in the former Aston Villa forward. The 25-year-old may not be in the greatest vein of form, but has demonstrated an underlying quality in the past and Alan Pardew will be looking to extract this from the burly striker.
Having fallen behind both Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi in the pecking order at Anfield, Benteke will surely be short of chances to impress next campaign too. Roberto Firmino; not a striker by trade, and the returning Danny Ings could also force their way ahead of Liverpool’s number nine. If a bid were to come in from The Eagles in the region of £20 million, surely Klopp will leap at the chance to recoup most of the money spent to bring the Belgian in originally.
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