Liverpool are ‘on the list’ to sign a player Samuel Eto’o said was the ideal Lionel Messi successor at Barcelona. Erling Haaland is a fan and Jürgen Klopp should be too.
The closer we move towards January, the more a conversation has emerged around whether Liverpool might actually need to sign a forward as much as they need a new midfielder, largely thanks to injuries to Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota.
Either way, Liverpool need reinforcements mid-season and they could benefit massively from starting the huge amount of business they need to conduct in 2023 in the winter window rather than waiting until the summer to complete the lot.
Spanish outlet SPORT reported that Liverpool were in pole position to sign Borussia Dortmund starlet Youssoufa Moukoko in October and the links have persisted since, with Sky Germany this week saying the Reds are ‘on the list’ for the exciting forward.
Plenty of others are interested in him as well, but while there is quite the list of teams that would love to sign Moukoko, Liverpool have an excellent pitch should they want to properly attempt to entice him.
“Moukoko is much better than I was at his age,” Erling Haaland said of him in 2020 (via the Bundesliga’s official website). “I think he’s the biggest talent in the world right now. 16 years and one day, that is quite amazing. I’m 20 years, so I’m getting old now!”
Samuel Eto’o said Moukoko was the ‘next Lionel Messi’ and should move to Barcelona (via Goal) and the Argentina superstar sent him a gift on his 15th birthday amid speculation linking him with clubs all over the world.
Borussia Dortmund was a logical next step for Moukoko to take. There is an argument that he should stay there for longer and develop before moving on: after all, Haaland was still at Molde and yet to move to Red Bull Salzburg at the same age.
But Liverpool need attacking reinforcements, and if ever they were going to be in the conversation for Moukoko, then now would be a decent time. Out of contract at the end of the season, plenty of clubs are sniffing a bargain.
Jude Bellingham’s nine-figure price tag shows how quickly valuations can skyrocket yet Moukoko could be snapped up for free, unless he signs a new deal at Dortmund before the end of the campaign. He might even be available in January for the right fee.
If someone can convince him that a move away is the best decision to make, then it would seem logical for the player to depart for nothing in the summer.
And if there is a club that can offer him what he wants, it is Liverpool. If he wants minutes as close as it gets to guaranteed at senior level, Dortmund can offer the easiest pathway to that, but the Reds also have a history of being able to incorporate youngsters into the fold.
Roberto Firmino is out of contract at the end of the season and Liverpool are already looking a little light in attack as it is. Bringing in a talented teenager to add to the group they already have would make a lot of sense.
Manchester United need a forward as well, but have not got the best record of integrating youngsters, while Chelsea are similar: eager to collect talents, but less keen to offer them a clear path to first-team action.
The Stamford Bridge side have also lacked a good success rate with attackers lately, with even Premier League-proven players like Raheem Sterling struggling to adapt since moving there.
Manchester United and Chelsea, of course, could change their ways under new managers over the next few seasons, but under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool already have the evidence of it happening.
Other sides will be interested, too. Barcelona, given the Messi link, could be appealing, while plenty of scouts will have been impressed with what they have seen so far: 142 goals at youth level for Dortmund, plus a further 11 at senior level having just turned 18 in November.
There is a reason that Moukoko was included in the Germany squad for the World Cup and it is for the same reason that Liverpool should sign him if given the chance.