Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Ryan Gravenberch will sign for Liverpool on deadline day for a fee of up to €45m – but the Bayern Munich boss could not resist one last dig at the Netherlands midfielder over the imminent deal.
The Reds have made no secret of their desire to add to their midfield options before the transfer window closes, having seen six players depart from their engine room since the end of last season. And while four of those departures were planned for, the unexpected sales of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia have left the Merseysiders with a shortfall in midfield.
Three new players have arrived so far, with Waturu Endo most recently joining in a £16.2m switch from Stuttgart. He adds to Alexis Mac Allister and new Kop favourite Dominik Szoboszlai’s arrivals earlier this summer.
But Jurgen Klopp desperately wanted a fourth new midfield capture and they have finally struck gold with an agreement for Gravenberch.
The Netherlands midfielder has been on Klopp’s radar for some time and was actually targeted by the Reds boss last summer when it became apparent he was leaving Ajax.
Ultimately, he decided to sign for Bayern instead, though a lack of minutes at the Allianz Arena suggests the move has backfired after it cost him his place in his nation’s World Cup squad.
Now a move to Anfield is accelerating towards completion after Liverpool struck an agreement – that could ultimately top €45m (£38.5m) on Thursday evening.
Thomas Tuchel trolls Ryan Gravenberch ahead of Liverpool transfer
The 21-year-old travelled to Merseyside overnight and he will now undergo a medical on Friday ahead of the switch.
Having already agreed personal terms on what is expected to be a five-year deal at Anfield, Liverpool will be confident of presenting Gravenberch as their final big summer signing before the window closes at 11pm Friday.
Confirming his sale had been agreed, Bayern Munich boss Tuchel could not resist a dig at Gravenberch over his impending departure.
He had slipped to fourth choice in their midfield pecking order, with his exit clearing the Bundesliga champions to sign Joao Palhinha from Fulham in a deal worth around £50m.
As such, Tuchel, speaking at a press conference to preview Bayern’s match against Borussia Monchengladbach this weekend, claims Gravenberch was never right for their system.
“He’s a box-to-box midfielder for me, an attacking player,” Tuchel began.
“The main problem for him is that we don’t really have a No 8 in our 4-2-3-1 system. And we’re spoilt for choice up front, with really experienced players.
“Ryan is a very nice, hard-working, committed player. He wasn’t happy with his situation. He sees the chance in Liverpool to fight for a place at No 8 in a 4-3-3.
“He’s wanted to go for a while. An offer came in and we discussed it. It’s not done yet, but the outcome is clear.”