Liverpool could sign a transformative centre-back this summer.
- Liverpool are preparing a formal transfer offer for a £39m defender.
- The player is highly regarded throughout Europe.
- Statistics indicate that he is a lot like Josko Gvardiol.
Liverpool are putting together a formal transfer offer for a new defender according to one reporter…
Who are Liverpool trying to sign?
That’s according to one Portuguese journalist, who has seemingly confirmed that Jurgen Klopp’s side are indeed in pursuit of a new defender before the window closes.
That happens to be Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio and the Reds are prepared to meet his €45m (£39m) release clause.
Liverpool have been interested in Inacio all year, reportedly sending scouts to watch the defender in action in February, and could now swoop given the importance of signing a left-sided centre-back.
How good is Goncalo Inacio?
The 6 foot 1 defender has played his entire career with Sporting Lisbon thus far, scoring 11 goals and supplying eight assists from 123 outings and winning the 2020/21 Liga Portugal and two Portuguese League Cup trophies.
Hailed as “complete” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, the two-cap international looks to offer the quintessential mould of a modern-day defender destined for a date with an outfit targetting silverware on a regular basis, and Liverpool will hope their confluence of interests will tempt Inacio into making the move to Merseyside.
Aside from the fact that he is left-footed, which is, admittedly, crucial to the Reds’ pursuit, he is one of the most promising defenders globally, and that is not an overstatement – Inacio boasts a ball-playing prowess unmatched by most and a positional fluidity that allows his dynamic qualities to shine.
BBC Sports’ Raj Chohan detailed exactly why he would thrive for the Anfield side, his skills both desirable for a Klopp system and hinting at chemistry with Liverpool’s current options.
He said on Twitter: “Gonçalo Inácio is the perfect counter-weight to Konaté. Inacio-VVD-Konaté: Build-up conductor. Leader/aerial dominator/switches of play. Immense recovery speed & coverage of space.”
As per FBref, Inacio ranks among the top 6% of centre-backs across Men’s Next Eight divisions – below the top European five – for pass completion, the top 1% for assists, the top 1% for progressive passes, the top 3% for progressive carries and the top 5% for successful take-ons per 90.
Inacio would be a brilliant signing for Liverpool, and one which would restore the cohesion and toughness of the defence, creating a domino effect of sorts to enhance the entirety of the squad and create a pretty good chance of returning to the former vigour.
It could also be an acquisition to rival that of Manchester City’s £78m summer swoop for Josko Gvardiol, formerly of RB Leipzig, with the Croatian colossus, also aged 21, renowned as one of football’s most prodigious central defenders and holding an expectation that he will soar right to the very top.
Lauded as a “Rolls-Royce” by journalist Zach Lowy, Gvardiol is also left-footed and ranks among the top 10% of positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues for goals, the top 1% for passes attempted, the top 19% for progressive passes and progressive carries and the top 6% for successful take-ons per 90.
Clearly, as Inacio is, he is a progressive and elegant ball-playing defender.
The Croat will now enter a Citizen side that is searching for an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title having also just completed a sensational European treble last term, and it will indeed take a herculean effort to supersede such a remarkable squad.
Inacio should not shoulder such a heavy burden upon his potential arrival, but by receiving tactful care from Klopp and co in easing him into English football, he could grow into one of the Premier League’s finest players and contribute to a Liverpool revival that those affiliated hope will yield silver-laden success.
Liverpool: Khephren Thuram would excel alongside Lavia
The OGC Nice midfielder would be a “monster” alongside the Belgian…
Khephren Thuram has been a target for Liverpool most of the year, and now Jurgen Klopp’s side could look to complete a swoop as the 2023/24 Premier League season kicks off.
The Merseysiders’ summer transfer window has erupted into confusion and turbulence following the attempted hijack of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo, who is determined to join Chelsea.
Romeo Lavia of Southampton remains a target, but returning for OGC Nice’s Thuram could complete the rebuild and return the Anfield side’s central power to its previous capacity.
What’s the latest on Khephren Thuram to Liverpool?
According to prior reports in Spain, Liverpool are interested in the France international, despite having already brought in the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai in recent months.
Les Aiglons have placed a €50m (£43m) price tag on their coveted midfielder in an attempt to ward off suitors, but Liverpool could well meet that fee after showing their hand with a £111m bid for Caicedo.
How good is Khephren Thuram?
The interest in Thuram appears to be resurfacing at a decisive phase of the transfer window for Klopp’s outfit; with the return of the Premier League now here, more work still needs to be concluded to provide the German manager with enough options to craft a squad capable of competing for silverware after falling by the wayside last year.
With Caicedo ostensibly headed for Stamford Bridge, it looks like Liverpool will shift their full focus back onto Southampton’s precocious No. 6, with Lavia now likely to join the Anfield side following the “rollercoaster” that has been the Caicedo transfer saga, according to journalist Sacha Tavolieri.
Given that Lavia would command a fee of £50m, half of his Ecuadorian counterpart’s valuation, Klopp could then look to complete a deal for Thuram too, with the vibrant gem the quintessential ‘Klopp’ midfielder; his energy and vehicular presence on the pitch typifies what the Merseyside outfit require.
As per FBref, the 22-year-old ranks among the top 5% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for progressive carries and the top 9% for successful take-ons per 90, highlighting his prowess at pushing the play forward with the ball at his feet, weaving his way into dangerous areas.
The £14k-per-week machine would thrive and enhance the performances of his Reds teammates by utilising his physicality and technique, but he would require a first-class anchor to steady the ship and allow him to produce results, and Lavia would be integral in this regard.
The young Belgian midfielder has been described as an “absolute monster” by journalist Benjy Nurick, while The Athletic’s Jacob Tanswell waxed lyrical, saying: “In terms of technical quality and tactical understanding, he’s more than ready to go right into that Liverpool midfield.”
He ranks among the top 4% of midfielders for blocks per 90, and is undoubtedly a prodigious talent who could grow into a first-class phenom at Anfield.
Lavia also completed 86% of his passes in the Premier League last season, as per Sofascore, averaged 2.1 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game and succeeded in 57% of his ground duels.
This could benefit Thuram immensely, who created nine big chances in Ligue 1 last year, completing 87% of his passes, averaging 1.1 shots and key passes per match and succeeding 66% of his dribbles.
Having also been called a “monster” by Sam McGuire, Liverpool would stand a good chance of reclaiming their position at the forefront of domestic and continental football by nurturing these two talents to prominence.