Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks set to rope in a left-back at Anfield this summer.
Given the crisis of left-backs at Anfield, Liverpool have been linked with a host of defenders this summer. Alberto Moreno, who is currently Klopp’s first-choice option at the club, has shown lapses in form and could be given a more marginalized role going into the 2016/17 season. Also, after releasing Kolo Toure and accepting Bournemouth’s £6 million bid for Brad Smith, the Reds are now looking for reinforcements on the left side of their defence.
The Hard Tackle takes a look at three possible names who could move to Anfield this summer:
Club: FC Köln
Estimated Transfer Fee: £15 million
Jonas Hector’s impressive showing with Germany at Euro 2016 has seen him grab the limelight in the transfer market. It was earlier reported that Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool were interested in signing the left-back from Koln. However, it was then understood that the Catalan Giants were never interested in bringing the German to the Camp Nou, and opted to go for Lucas Digne.
According to German outlet Kicker (h/t the Daily Star), Koln’s sporting-director Jorg Schmadtke has hinted that an offer in the region of £15 million may be enough to lure the German away to the Premier League. Schmadtke said:
“I cannot say £15 million is not enough for him, because I never received such an offer.”
Jonas Hector: No player blocked more crosses in the Bundesliga last season than Hector (20) pic.twitter.com/B6NU63K7w2
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 13, 2016
Given his young age and relatively low asking rate, there is no surprise that two of England’s top sides are in the hunt for his services. As per WhoScored, Hector averaged 2.4 interceptions and clearances per game and also made 1.9 tackles per 90 minutes of play. Despite being sound at the back, the 22-year-old is largely effective in the final third – giving his side an added attacking option.
Hector would make a good signing should his German compatriot decide to bring him to Anfield. He would certainly be an immediate upgrade on the under-performing Moreno, and given his age it should take him little to no time in adapting the fast-paced and physical nature of the Premier League.
Club: PSV Eindhoven
Estimated Transfer Fee: £13 million
The dynamic Dutch left full-back has recently emerged as a £13 million target for Premier League side Liverpool. His fine showing in the Eredivisie with PSV, has seen him draw the attention of Klopp – who is in desperate need of roping in reinforcements at left-back.
Despite the fact that the 22-year-old has suffered from a number of injuries over the last few years, his performances and hard-work on the field is certainly unquestionable. His speed, coupled by his knack to dribble past players and whip crosses into the box, make him one of the must-see players in the Dutch top-tier league. Signing him would give Liverpool a steady option at the back, and also someone who could aid the side in the offensive end.
Like many Dutch full-backs, Willems has the ability to play in various positions. He has the physical presence and the eye to find a pass that could see him play at the heart of midfield as well as a centre-half. His pace and ability to drift forward could see him play as a winger, and given the predicament faced by Klopp regarding his wide men, Willems could be brought in as a utility player.
Club: VfL Wolfsburg
Estimated Transfer Fee: £23 million
Ever since his breathtaking performances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Swiss left-back Ricardo Rodriguez has been subject to transfer interest of many of the top European sides. Even this summer, the 23-year-old was reportedly a target of Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, none of the sides made a formal bid for the defender, leaving him up for grabs.
Liverpool, who weren’t previously linked with Rodriguez could come in as suitors for the Wolfsburg left-back. The 23-year-old could be everything the club needs, and his relatively young age would see him be a part of the Reds setup for at least the next 5-7 seasons. According to WhoScored, Rodriguez made an impressive 1.8 interceptions per game in the Bundesliga in the 2015/16 season campaign. He also tallied 1.5 clearances per game and averaged the same number of tackles per 90 minutes. The defender is also a clean striker of the dead ball, and could give the Reds a deputized free-kick and penalty taker.
Surely you just pay whatever it takes to get Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez, unbelievable player, has everything you want in a LB #LFC
— Ricky Mann (@RickyMann4) July 24, 2016
It was also reported in June by German outlet Wolfsburger Nachrichten that Rodriguez has admitted a desire to leave Wolfsburg, and the club would consider selling should the right amount of money come their way. “Rici [Rodriguez] has stated that his future is not with us,” sporting director Klaus Allofs told the publication. “But we can live with this decision.”
The defender would be the costliest option for Liverpool in this list, but would also considerably be the most efficient option. His international exposure has already seen him being touted as one of the world’s best left-backs, and he could take this career to the next level with a move to Anfield.