Liverpool

Liverpool

Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp picks LAST-EVER Liverpool signing to replace Salah as major decision looms on new sporting director

Real Sociedad winger Takefusa Kubo is tipped to become the final Jurgen Klopp signing for Liverpool

Takefusa Kubo is tipped to become the final Jurgen Klopp signing for Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reportedly informed the club’s board of his one final transfer wish – having handpicked the star he wants to ultimately replace Mo Salah in their side.

The Reds boss emotionally revealed on Friday that he is to step down from his Anfield hotseat at the end of the current campaign. Regarded as one of the club’s most-successful ever managers having led them to Premier League and Champions League glory – as well as four major European finals – the announcement by Klopp has hit Liverpool and the entire footballing world hard.

Just who replaces Klopp in the Anfield dug-out is not likely to be decided upon any time soon. Liverpool currently top the Premier League table by five points, are through to the Carabao Cup final and also have high hopes of going deep into both the FA Cup and the Europa League final.

As such, Liverpool will hope for a huge final flourish from Klopp and will do all in their power not to distract them or their players from the current task in hand.

However, that has not stopped speculation arising already with Xabi Alonso already earmarked as the early favourite for the job, though a potential concern could yet force Liverpool to turn to another top Bundesliga boss instead.

All the same, whomever the new manager may be could be walking into a potential difficult situation over star player, Salah.

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Klopp picks Takefusa Kubo as Mo Salah replacement at Liverpool

His deal on at Anfield is due to expire in summer 2025 and, with interest in him from Al-Ittihad still as strong as ever, there is mounting speculation that this too could also be Salah‘s last one too on Merseyside.

The Egyptian’s exit would leave a seriously significant hole in the Reds side. As one of, if not the, club’s greatest signing in a generation, Salah has scored a phenomenal 204 goals in 332 appearances for the club since a bargain £36.9m move from Roma in summer 2017.

The Reds have been linked with an explosive move to bring in Kylian Mbappe with owner John W Henry reportedly putting a signing plan in action to land the France superstar.

However, even in their wildest fantasies, the majority of Liverpool supporters will realise the chances of signing Mbappe are remote at best, especially given his extortionate wage demands which would be like a sledgehammer to the club’s finances.

Instead, Liverpool’s list of realistic replacements for Salah is likely to be far more modest – and now the name of Takefusa Kubo has been revealed as the club’s No 1 target.

The Japan winger has been in fine form for Real Sociedad this season, scoring six goals and adding four assists from 21 starts in LaLiga and the Champions League, with his side through to face a Round of 16 clash against PSG next month.

While his numbers are perhaps not on the same levels as Salah, reports in Spain claim that Klopp has earmarked to the Liverpool board that Kubo ‘is the most similar there is to Salah’ in terms of wingers they are monitoring.

Furthermore, the 29-times capped Japan international has an affordable €60m (£51m) release clause in his contract, which would be well within the Reds’ reach.

Liverpool to make announcement on new sporting director

Per the report, Kubo is Klopp’s ‘chosen one’ to replace Salah and will request he is signed in what may well prove his final act as Liverpool boss on the transfer front.

However, according to the Daily Telegraph, Liverpool want a new sporting director in place first before they decide on Klopp’s successor.

That’s after it was also announced on Friday that current incumbent, Jorg Schmadtke, who helped the Reds rebuild their midfield last summer, would also be leaving Anfield, with his exit brought coming next month.

Sam Wallace’s report adds that Liverpool ‘will run a recruitment process from now until the summer with the aim of making an appointment around the end of the season’.

Wallace continues: ‘The club have been planning for this announcement, the timing of which was Klopp’s choice, since he informed them in November that this would be his last season.

‘There are issues around some potential candidates, including favourite Xabi Alonso, who are themselves at clubs involved in title races. Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) would not wish to destabilise those clubs’ campaigns.’

Max Eberl has been mentioned as a possible candidate, though Florian Plettenberg recently announced he is close to agreeing terms on the same role with Bayern Munich.

And whoever the new incumbent proves to be will likely have their own ideas in mind as to who could replace ultimately replace Salah in the Liverpool attack.

All the same, Klopp has long had a succession plan in place for the Egyptian and it remains to be seen if his final act will indeed be to sign his replacement.

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