As the transfer window fast approaches, Jürgen Klopp faces the task of revamping his squad following an inconsistent season. Signing one Eredivisie star could be the perfect alternative to one top target and prove shrewd business for Liverpool.
Anfield’s recruitment chiefs will be all too aware by now that the Reds probably require at least three fresh additions in midfield in the summer, especially given the impending departures of James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta. A number of potential options have been mooted by observers in recent months, however supporters will be hoping the club avoids a repeat of last year, with indecision having cost Liverpool significantly last summer.
One may recall that the Reds failed to line up an alternative to Aurélien Tchouaméni in that instance, before eventually bringing in Arthur Melo on a season-long loan on deadline day after a poor and injury-hit start to the season forced their hand. Now, with Mason Mount having possibly decided to move elsewhere, it now feels more important than ever that the right calls are made this time around.
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In an interview with Sky Sports News, The Athletic’s David Ornstein revealed that the England midfielder has expressed a preference for a move to Manchester United this summer, with fellow suitors Liverpool and Bayern Munich both aware of his choice. With this in mind, therefore, it would seem remiss of the Merseysiders to not move swiftly on with business ahead of what could prove to be a pivotal few months.
According to Football Transfers, one alternative option that may be of interest to Klopp is Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus, with the 22-year-old having experienced something of a breakout year for Dutch giant this term. The eye-catching attacking midfielder has found his goal-scoring touch for the four-time European champion, scoring 18 times and notching six assists this season.
One imagines that his price tag of $50m (£40m/€46m), as per The Athletic, would not put a club of Liverpool’s standing off either, especially when considering that Chelsea will likely demand a fee of double this for Mount. Furthermore, with Cody Gakpo having excelled since moving to Anfield from PSV Eindhoven in January, Klopp will likely feel confident that Kudus could also successfully make the transition to life in the Premier League.
Looking closer at the 23-time international’s statistics from the past year, it becomes clear that he is a player who is ready to make the step up to one of Europe’s big five leagues. As per FBref, Kudus has been one of the best midfield players across the world’s ‘next eight’ competitions — the leagues adjudged to be just below Europe’s big five leagues in terms of standard. Within this peer group, he ranks in the top one per cent of performers in his position for successful take-ons, non-penalty expected goals (xg) and pass completion.
On top of this, the former Nordsjælland trainee was in the top three per cent for touches in the opposition penalty area, by the same measure. Effectively, Kudus has been unplayable in the final third this season, while his output as an attacking midfielder has been as good as anyone’s outside of Europe’s big five leagues. Again, Gakpo is instructive in deciding to what extent output in the Eredivisie might be scalable.
Klopp and his staff have earned a reputation for making smart buys in the transfer market down the years and it is clear that this attacking midfielder could well prove to be a cost-effective Mount alternative. Missing out on the Chelsea star’s signature could be a blow at first but Kudus has shown enough talent this season to indicate that he may well have an equally bright future in the game.