Liverpool have had a very successful summer transfer window thus far, seeing seven new faces join the squad as they look to markedly improve on a disappointing eighth place finish in last season’s Premier League campaign.
However, the club are still very much in the hunt for a new left-back, with Alberto Moreno seen by many as too much of a liability for the club to utilise as they push for a Champions League return.
This had led to the club being linked with a number of full-backs, most notably Germany’s Jonas Hector, although that deal now appears to be unlikely to happen. This has not deterred the Reds from their search, though, and they are rumoured to be interested in either Jetro Willems of PSV, or Mattia de Sciglio of AC Milan.
Willems, the 22-year-old Dutch left-back, has teased fans by posting photo-shopped pictures of himself in Liverpool gear and commenting positively on Georginio Wijnaldum’s move on social media, effectively issuing a ‘come and get me’ plea to the Anfield club.
Willems broke into the Netherlands national team all the way back in Euro 2012, where he was a rare bright spark in a doomed campaign, and impressed for PSV in the Champions League this season.
A fast and athletic full-back, Willems would provide much of the attacking energy of Moreno, but with a more consistent ability to deliver crosses and also a better defensive nous. He would be a good upgrade for Liverpool, but is a fairly similar player to the Spaniard.
De Sciglio though, is a very different kind of full-back to Willems and Moreno. Rather than being small and rapid, the Italian is much taller at six foot and has a rangy style that provides plenty of energy down the wing.
He can play on both flanks, which would mean he could also be used to cover for Nathaniel Clyne, and operates equally effectively in a four or five man defence, switching to wing-back when necessary.
Available for £16 million, de Sciglio has emerged as an outsider to take on the left-back role at Liverpool, but it could be a move that pays off. His added height would protect Jurgen Klopp’s side against aerial balls, a distinct hubris of the side since Rafael Benitez’s departure in 2010.
Willems probably provides more going forward, but de Sciglio could well be the better option for Klopp as he looks to solve his left back problem.
Whilst the Italian de Sciglio may be walking through the Anfield door, the club are having real trouble getting another member of the Azzurri out of it, with Mario Balotelli’s proposed move to Besiktas breaking down. Manager Senol Gunes said that he had “never expressed a positive light” on the Italian, and he was “not in his plans,” potentially putting pay to a move that many Liverpool fans are desperate to happen.
His one Premier League goal since joining for £16 million from AC Milan two seasons ago was bad enough, but this summer, things have gone from bad to worse for the Italian. Not only was he left behind on the club’s pre-season tour to train with the reserves, he was recently caught smoking on a boat whilst on holiday, failing to inspire many new clubs to take him on for the new season. Liverpool will hope Gunes changes his mind, and quickly.
Another player who may be on his way out of Anfield is Luis Alberto, who has been linked with a £6 million to Aston Villa. Alberto failed to make an impact after a £7 million move in 2014, and spent last season on loan at Deportivo la Coruna, but a permanent move back to old club Sevilla fell through, leaving Alberto stuck in his Anfield nightmare.
Queens Park Rangers and Wolves are also reported to be interested, and a move to the Championship could suit Alberto, who has yet to prove he can cut it at the highest level of English football. Valued at around £6 million, Alberto is another flop who Liverpool fans won’t be too sad to see the back of.
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