With a deal for Mario Gotze looking highly unlikely, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has reportedly turned his attention to Lille winger Soufiane Boufal.
Having endured another torrid season without any silverware, it is clear that Liverpool are in need of a major squad restructuring this summer. Jurgen Klopp took over from former manager Brendan Rodgers, and while the German pragmatist has brought about a change in the approach taken towards games, the stats do not vary to a greater extent as compared to his predecessor.
Klopp was reportedly interested in reuniting with fellow German Mario Gotze by luring him away from the Allianz Arena. The 24-year-old has struggled for game time at Bayern Munich and may weigh his options after the Euros. However, no comments have been made by the player himself, and with the arrival of a new man in charge in Carlo Ancelotti, Gotze may rediscover his lost touch and regain the form he showed during his days at Borussia Dortmund.
Due to the uncertainty regarding the Gotze saga, it may be wiser for the Liverpool boss to look elsewhere to find an equally talented young player. By the looks of it, Klopp has reportedly identified a suitable transfer target in Lille’s highly-rated wing wizard Soufiane Boufal. The Moroccan enjoyed a highly impressive campaign with the French side, scoring 11 goals and tallying another 4 assists in 29 appearances this past season.
As per WhoScored, the 22-year-old wide man scored 11 league goals and assisted another 4 en route to Lille’s 5th-placed league finish. Boufal has also completed the second highest dribbles on average per game (4.4) in Europe’s top five leagues, a stat bettered only by Nice’s Hatem Ben Arfa.
The Moroccan is sharp and skillful in the air and excels at making space inside the 18-yard-area. His pace is coupled with his excellent dribbling ability, which makes him one of the most feared wide-men in the continent. If Liverpool are able to pay in the region of around €20 million, they will be securing the services of one of the most promising young players the Ligue 1 has to offer.
Can Boufal be the one to make a difference at Anfield?
If the Lille winger’s 2015/16 form is to be considered, Jurgen Klopp shouldn’t hesitate any further to secure his services. Boufal can play in all three attacking positions behind the striker, giving Klopp a makeshift option in case things go south due to injuries and/or suspensions. His physical and fast-paced nature make him an ideal Premier League signing.
However, Boufal tends to lift his foot off the pedal at times, and that could be costly for his side. The youngster is not one of those wingers who tracks back and adds an extra layer of cover to the defence, which is a basic necessity in the end-to-end Premier League.
That being said, given Klopp’s current crop of players at Liverpool, he should make the Lille star his first big signing of the summer at Anfield. Barring the aspect that he is still relatively raw, the 22-year-old has shown a great amount of potential, which should make him a welcome addition to the Reds’ roster.