Written by Mizgan Masani.
With the summer transfer window now officially open in England, and clubs jockeying for position to get their deals done, scouting some of the players in action in the Euros and/or Copa America before making their moves. Liverpool acted swiftly and quickly in the market by signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig to bolster their centre-back position.
However, with long-serving midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum leaving the club on a free transfer to Paris, it has left them with the possibility of needing to sign a replacement in that position. On the face of it, the Reds have enough bodies to cover for the loss of the current Dutch captain, but the question of availability and consistently delivering on the highest stage is a lingering doubt affecting some of them.
Wijnaldum rarely missed games due to injuries in his time at Anfield. In fact, as per the Transfermarkt injury history stat, the Dutchman has missed only five games due to injuries since the start of 2018/19 season. The 30-year-old has made 110 out of the possible 114 league appearances in that time. He also played a major part in Liverpool’s Champions League and Premier League winning campaigns.
Those are some insane numbers produced by a box-to-box midfielder playing the role of a quarter-back and covering wide areas at the same time. Hence, despite having the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones, it can be assumed that Jürgen Klopp wouldn’t mind signing another central midfielder.
The above-mentioned trio made a combined 47 league appearances last season, amounting up to 1948 minutes. Meanwhile, Wijnaldum himself appeared in every league game, racking up 2947 minutes of football with incredible fitness levels. So, it is clear that Klopp has lost one of his most trusted lieutenants, and setting up the team without him would not be straightforward.
It will make sense if Liverpool add another body in midfield, not just to replace the aforementioned Dutchman but also to add more variety to that position in overall terms.
I have picked up five players who are either linked with a move to Anfield or can be potentially good options for the purpose – Florian Neuhaus (currently at Borussia Monchengladbach), Yves Bissouma (currently at Brighton), Youri Tielemans (currently at Leicester City), Marcel Sabitzer (currently at RB Leipzig) and Lorenzo Pellegrini (currently at AS Roma).
Out of them, Neuhaus has been strongly linked with a move recently and it is said that the Reds will scout him during the Euros. The other players have been part of the rumour mill linking them with a move to Merseyside.
Now, let’s move forward and do an in-depth analysis of these five midfielders statistically and profile-wise, looking at their underlying stats and heatmaps of the past two seasons, and trying to match them with what Wijnaldum produced in that time for Liverpool on those same metrics.
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