Jurgen Klopp has said he will look to strengthen his attacking options in January – might one of these five European-based stars be heading to Anfield?
The Liverpool boss spoke earlier this month of his concern over a shortage of depth in the Reds’ attack, and that was before the injury to Philippe Coutinho.
“We watch the market all the time and of course we need to be prepared for different situations and one of them is injuries,” Klopp said.
“The African Cup of Nations we already knew about so we don’t need to be influenced or surprised by that, but it could be a moment when we approach the market.
“It’s not about about how many strikers. Three strikers is enough, I think. But when Sadio Mane is away we will be without a winger. We do not have many wingers, I would say.
“Roberto Firmino could play as a kind of a winger which would then just give us two strikers. It is a long way to go from January onwards and that month of January is busy.
“If we can go to the semi-final of the League Cup it could be the busiest month of the whole year. We need to be prepared for this for sure.”
Klopp and his staff will have been scouring Europe for possible recruits, and these five stars may well be on their shortlist…
The 20-year-old midfielder was wanted by Klopp in the summer but Borussia Monchengladbach fought hard to retain the services of the Germany Under-21 international given they had already lost Granit Xhaka to Arsenal before the European Championships.
Various reports this month suggest Klopp hasn’t given up on Dahoud, who has only 18 months remaining on his contract. ‘Gladbach sporting director Max Erberl said recently that there is “zero per cent chance” of the Syria-born star leaving this month but the club official is less certain over Dahoud’s long-term future.
“It is the club’s desire to extend his contract. We have not opened talks yet, but that will soon happen,” Eberl said.
“We will have to consider our options if he only has one year left on his contract next year, but that is pure speculation at this stage.”
Dahoud is undoubtedly a Klopp-type of player. A tireless, ball-carrying central midfielder whose graft off the ball matches the quality of his passing on it.
‘Gladbach are by no means reliant on Dahoud, which could help Liverpool’s cause if they are looking to do a deal in January and they are ready to pay a premium to beat the likes of Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. Dahoud has been in and out of the side so far this season, having started only half of the club’s Bundesliga matches, though his first goal of the season arrived during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim.
The Athletic Bilbao striker continues to be linked with Liverpool, despite having signed a new contract until 2021 only in January that values his buyout clause at around £42.6million.
The 22-year-old’s comments last month don’t offer the Reds, or anyone else, much encouragement.
“I’m happy at Athletic, it’s where I want to be,” Williams told AS Diario.
“I want to continue here for many more years. I want to be Athletic’s future number nine – the player who raises the roof at San Mames every week and scores lot of goals.”
Estoy donde quiero estar!! Orain eta beti AUPA ATHLETIC!! ?⚪️?⚪️ pic.twitter.com/48L5V72vpY
— IÑAKI WILLIAMS (@Williaaams45) January 21, 2016
Williams notched eight goals in 21 La Liga starts last season and his form this term hasn’t quite matched those standards, with the Spain cap having scored only one goal despite starting all but one of Bilbao’s 12 league matches.
Reports earlier this month suggested Liverpool were interested in a January deal for the Porto captain, who had been watched by Man Utd in the summer.
Herrera has a £35million release clause but the 26-year-old’s stock has fallen slightly this season, with reports suggesting he could be available for £20million next summer.
The Mexico international, capped 48 times, is seen as a box-to-boxer but can also play as an attacking midfielder or on the right. The 26-year-old would be a superb squad addition in the winter with Liverpool looking to strengthen to maintain their form during the first half of the season and to compensate for injuries, suspensions and the likes of Mane disappearing for international duty.
This blast from Hector #Herrera & all the best goals you may have missed this weekend!
— KICK (@KICK) August 15, 2016
Who should Liverpool make their number one target in January?
Klopp is a known admirer of Pulisic having been coach at Dortmund when the USA teenager was recruited to the club as a 15-year-old.
Indeed, Liverpool reportedly had an £11million offer rejected for the winger last summer. Pulisic’s progress since means the Reds would likely have to at least double that offer to even tempt Dortmund into a conversation, with the Daily Mail claiming on Tuesday that the club could go as high as £30million.
The Pennsylvania-born flier has started half of Dortmund’s Bundesliga matches, contributing two goals and four assists, while also starting all but one of their five Champions League matches.
Since making his first-team debut in January, Pulisic has become the youngest foreign scorer in the Bundesliga at 17, the club’s youngest player in the Champions League and the youngest scorer in the USA national team.
Should Dortmund be willing to listen to offers, Liverpool will be among those at the head of a lengthy queue. But the German club haven’t given up hope of persuading Pulisic to stay.
“There have been some offers for him in the summer window from England and from German clubs, but we would like to have him here and develop him here,” sporting director Michael Zorc told Sports Illustrated.
“We did not educate him to sell him. We have a long-running contract until 2019, but because of his development the club is ready to speak to him to prolong his contract at any time.”
The 23-year-old midfield powerhouse has been linked with a January move to Liverpool ever since the summer window closed. Though tempted Klopp may be, as a holding midfielder, Kondogbia is perhaps not at the top of the Reds priorities for the winter.
The France international is more of a destroyer than a creator, and though he offers more of a screening option than the likes of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, Klopp is known to be prioritising the recruitment of an attacking player.
Kondogbia started at Lens before joining Inter last summer via Sevilla and Monaco, generating transfer fees worth a combined £40million. Having failed to impress at Inter
Despite failing to impress at Inter, Kondogbia clearly has grand plans for his next move. His agent this month dismissed Marseille’s supposed interest, saying: “Even if we were considering a departure, OM’s project would not be our priority.
“His arrival at Inter was just the next step for him to arrive towards one of the biggest clubs in the world. That was and still is the idea.”
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