Liverpool were overly criticised for not making any signings in January but the upcoming summer transfer window will provide the Reds with another opportunity to improve the squad depth.
Jurgen Klopp made it clear recently that the club will be ready to spend big on ‘right players’ that were not available in the winter window. The German also revealed that transfer talks are already going on and the response has been very good.
The club needs reinforcements in several departments and a few names are being touted as priority targets for the summer. One of the players who looks to be at the top of Klopp’s summer shopping list is RB Leipzig’s dynamic central midfielder, Naby Keita.
The 21-year-old’s sharp rise to prominence has caught the eye of many big clubs, including Bayern Munich and Arsenal. Keita is a complete midfielder who provides creativity in building up the play as well as disruption to regain ball possession.
During the current campaign, Keita has completed 75 successful dribbles in 27 games, which is considerably more than any current Liverpool midfielder, including our little magician Philippe Coutinho.
John Aldridge recently pointed out a flaw in Jordan Henderson’s game. The former Liverpool striker stressed on the fact that the Liverpool captain is not very good at breaking up opposition’s play and everything tends to go through him. While the assertion is a bit harsh, the stats somewhat support Aldo’s claim.
Keita’s off the ball stats are as impressive as his creativity with the ball. The Guinean has made 70 interceptions so far this season, 30 more than Henderson. In fact, the Reds captain is the only Liverpool midfielder who has made more successful tackles this season than Naby Keita.
One rare negative aspect of Keita’s game is his weakness in the air. The Guinea international, who weighs just 64kgs and is 5’7″ tall, has won just 15 of total 67 aerial duels attempted so far this term, which is less than any Liverpool midfielder this season. In fact, Emre Can has won the highest aerial duels (63 won of total 108 attempted) for the Reds in 2016/17.
Liverpool have dearly missed a midfield destroyer ever since Javier Mascherano left for Barcelona in 2010. It is about time for Klopp to sign a midfielder who can help the team, both with and without the ball.
Keita is not a classic number 6 like Mascherano but he is indeed the type of central midfielder Klopp loves to work with. He has a good pace, very creative and reads the game quite well, with as well as without the ball. In fact, Keita is very similar to Klopp’s former favourite Ilkay Gundogan who was one of the key elements of his Dortmund revolution.
A very crucial summer awaits Liverpool as the Reds continue their fight for the top-four with limited resources. Klopp will need to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes made in recent transfer windows.
Do you think Naby Keita is better than all the current Liverpool central midfielders?
Let us know your thoughts regarding our summer transfer plans by commenting below.