Graeme Souness has made a big hint about who Liverpool should sign to bolster their midfield, with the Reds urged to go after a Tottenham-linked star.
Liverpool will likely revamp their midfield in 2023. Big changes are definitely needed if Jurgen Klopp is to get Liverpool back challenging for the Premier League title.
Thiago and Jordan Henderson are 31 and 32 respectively, and Liverpool cannot rely on them forever. Fabinho, meanwhile, has looked a yard off the pace so far this campaign.
To add to Klopp’s misery in the position, he has also had to deal with several players picking up injuries. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both missed large parts of the season due to hamstring problems.
Even Arthur Melo, who was signed on deadline day to alleviate the midfield issues, is receiving treatment. He made just one appearance for Liverpool before suffering a muscle injury, which he has had to have surgery on.
On Sunday, Fabrizio Romano confirmed Liverpool’s midfield overhaul is underway. They are ‘expected’ to let Oxlade-Chamberlain go on a free transfer, once his contract expires next summer.
The Englishman’s departure will free up space on the club’s wage bill for one or two potential arrivals. And Romano says signing new midfielders will be ‘the priority’ for Liverpool officials in 2023.
Jude Bellingham is widely seen as their prime target. The Borussia Dortmund ace has proven he can do pretty much everything required of a midfielder during his two-year spell in Germany.
Bellingham has even captained Dortmund in the Champions League, despite being just 19 years old. And he is aiming to play a big role for England at the World Cup.
Liverpool firmly in race for Jude Bellingham
Liverpool are battling Real Madrid for the player’s signature. The only trouble for Klopp’s side is they will not be able to afford Bellingham, should a bidding war reach astronomical money like £130m.
Liverpool are hoping to keep the cost down and would prefer to sign him for somewhere in the region of £87m. But Dortmund are in a fairly strong position and Bellingham’s transfer fee will largely be down to them.
During an appearance on Sam Allardyce’s No Tippy Tappy Football podcast, Liverpool legend Souness has been discussing the potential capture of Bellingham.
While he thinks Liverpool ‘would do well’ to bring in the teenager, he has also suggested they pursue Tottenham target James Maddison. And Leicester’s Maddison has one big advantage over Bellingham.
Reds icon suggests Bellingham alternative
“I think all the big guns are after him and I think Liverpool would do well to sign him [Bellingham],” Souness said. “I think they will have stiff opposition.
“The way football works today, if Real Madrid come after you you generally end up there.
“He’s a player, I like him very much, but I just think there are more goals in James Maddison, and I like James Maddison.”
Tottenham and Newcastle are both big fans of Maddison. Newcastle even made two bids to sign him in the summer transfer window.
Leicester held strong and ultimately kept the attacking midfielder. He has done extremely well this season, registering seven goals and four assists in 14 matches.
Maddison certainly has the advantage over Bellingham when it comes to threat in the final third. But this is because he is more of an attacker, whereas Bellingham is a box-to-box midfielder.
It would be major news if Liverpool beat Spurs and Newcastle to Maddison. The 25-year-old has shown he has the ability to shine for an elite club, and he could form a great relationship with Liverpool’s forwards.
His future is certainly one to keep an eye on during the January, and then summer, transfer windows.