Liverpool have confirmed that they have agreed a deal in principle for the £9.75m signing of Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen
Liverpool are continuing with their productive start of the transfer window and have agreed to meet the release clause of Bayer Leverkusen’s versatile midfielder Emre Can (his surname is pronounced as Chan!)
The U-21 German international is the second deal Liverpool have agreed this week, following the capture of Rickie Lambert for an initial £4.5m from Southampton on Monday. Can’s transfer is reported to be finalized on 1 July once documentation has been completed.
The 20 year old scored four goals and grabbed five assists in 39 appearances for Leverkusen following his move from Bayern Munich last year and played an influential role in the team’s fourth-placed finish in the Bundesliga.
In the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Can captained the German squad that won third place. Because of his Turkish ancestry, Can is eligible to represent Turkey at the international level but he prefers to play for Germany.
The then Germany U-17 coach Steffen Freund, who played as a defensive midfielder and represented Borrusia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur during his playing days and now is Tottenham’s assistant manager, spoke very highly of Emre Can and has nicknamed him ‘skipper’
“Emre is the most complete player I’ve ever seen in my career. And I have seen some. He has what it takes to make it to the top”
Can left Bayern Munich for Leverkusen in a £4.5m deal last summer and the German champions did have an option to buy-back the player. He was sent to be developed at the fellow German club and Bayern made sure of inserting the buy back clause in his contract, since they were obviously aware of his huge potential. “Emre Can is one of the biggest talents in German football,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at the time. “With this step, we want to make sure he gets enough playing practice, for example like Toni Kroos had at Leverkusen, Philipp Lahm at Stuttgart or David Alaba at Hoffenheim.” Howeverer, the clause couldn’t be activated until next summer. If someone met his release clause, Can would be able to leave the club.
This meant that Bayern or Bayer couldn’t keep him in Germany if an offer came. Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller explained two weeks ago that Bayern Munich were adamant on their desire for Can to stay in Germany as they were keen on bringing the player back to their club next season.
“It is clear that Emre now has a clause in his contract, and it would be lucrative business for us, but that is not the sticking point – we feel he could do well for another year with us. Of course I spoke with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge [of Bayern Munich] on the subject. They think that for Emre’s development another season at Leverkusen would be just right.” he said.
But Liverpool, who had identified Can as one of their prime targets for the summer, acted swiftly and agreed to meet the player’s £9.75m release clause.
Can is a highly rated midfielder, who can operate in a range of positions, from his primary deep lying midfielder or a holding role to that as a centre back or a full back. Brendan Rodgers insisted his desire to add ‘multi dimensional’ players to the Liverpool squad and the 20 year old fits the bill.
Liverpool have clearly learnt from the mistakes of the past where the Merseyside club has lost numerous targets due to not acting with promptness. The Reds have already secured Rickie Lambert from Southampton and have agreed a deal for Can. Negotiations regarding Adam Lallana and Alberto Moreno continue. The Reds need a lot of depth in the team for next season, as they make their comeback to the Champions League after five seasons. They also look to make another title challenge. From the looks of it, Brendan Rodgers is targeting the right men to increase the quality and provide that much needed depth to his squad.