Liverpool have reportedly identified Manuel Lanzini as a possible replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who is being targeted by Barcelona.
According to a report by The Sun, Jurgen Klopp has set his sights on Manuel Lanzini, who could be Liverpool-bound soon. The West Ham United midfielder is being lined up as a possible replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who is the subject of persistent interest from Barcelona.
Lanzini has come a long way since being an unknown quantity in the Premier League, back when West Ham signed him on a season-long loan from Al Jazira in the summer of 2015. The player is now a pivotal figure for the Hammers, and is regarded as one of the best playmakers in the English top-flight.
Signed on a permanent deal last summer, Lanzini has only continued adding to his burgeoning reputation over the last 18 months, although he is yet to completely get into his stride this season. So far, the 24-year-old has just scored a solitary goal in 15 appearances, though he has provided 7 assists.
His exploits seem to have earned him several admirers as well, with Liverpool among the clubs tailing him. The Reds have been eyeing Lanzini for a long time now, but have now stepped up their pursuit of the player as Barcelona continue to target their playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
— West Ham Fan Zone (@WHUFCFZ) December 31, 2017
The La Liga giants had attempted to sign the Brazil international in the summer as well. But, Liverpool had refused to let Coutinho leave even for eye watering sums far exceeding £100 million. With the winter transfer window open, Jurgen Klopp is expecting another Barcelona assault for his number ten, although he does look likely to stay until the end of the season.
A Liverpool exit seems to be inevitable for the Brazilian playmaker though, which is why Klopp has now set his sights on Lanzini so as to ensure that his attack does not lose its edge. The Argentine may not be a player who shares the same stature in the game as Coutinho.
But, with similar qualities in his game, he is someone who could be moulded into a fine playmaker by the Liverpool boss. Not to forget, Lanzini does not have players anywhere near the level of those Coutinho shares the stage with at Liverpool, which would explain why his numbers pale in comparison to the Brazil international.
Most importantly, Klopp believes, as per the report, that Lanzini is a player who could become a consistent Champions League performer, and a move could soon be in the offing. Liverpool will have to shell out at least £40 million to secure the player’s services, with West Ham likely to command a sizeable fee for their talisman.
The fee shouldn’t be a problem though, with Liverpool set to command £115 million for Coutinho. It now remains to be seen if Lanzini indeed moves to Anfield to replace Coutinho, should the latter make his switch to Barcelona.