By James Miller – @JamesMillernews
With this season’s Premier League quickly approaching conclusion, the work to prepare a squad good enough for the next campaign will soon be under way.
Although in recent times there has been a lot of emphasis on the high transfer fees that Liverpool have stumped up – none more so than the £75m for Virgil van Dijk – it would be naïve to base Jürgen Klopp’s management around massive amounts of money. In fact, Klopp has been well known in the past for developing players into world-class talents.
Take for example one of the best strikers in the world at present, Robert Lewandowski. Klopp secured the services of the Pole from Lech Poznan for a fee of around £4.75m when he was manager of Borussia Dortmund.
Since then Lewandowski has went on to score a hatful of goals for both BVB and his current club Bayern Munich, including a memorable five finishes in just nine minutes against Wolfsburg.
That is just one example of the German’s ability to develop players but, in terms of his current role as Liverpool manager, he has shown similar qualities. Since joining the Reds in 2015, Klopp has signed three players from teams relegated the previous Premier League season.
Initially, it was a policy that had raised eyebrows among the Liverpool faithful but, in actual fact, it has proved to be a genius way of thinking so far.
The first signing under his tenure from a relegated team was Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle. The Dutchman was brought in ready for the 2016/17 season for a fee believed to be around £25m and is still currently firmly in Klopp’s plans it would seem.
Andrew Robertson from Hull was the next player to sign from a relegated club. After joining the club, he initially found chances hard to come by, playing second fiddle to Alberto Moreno until the former Sevilla man picked up a serious injury.
Moreno’s misery quickly turned into Robertson’s delight – the Scot came into the side and cemented himself as first choice. He now is widely regarded as the best left-back in the league, and among the most revered names in Europe.
The most recent of these deals was the one that brought Xherdan Shaqiri to Anfield from Stoke City last summer, with the Reds activating a £13.5m release clause in his contract He has proved to be a shrewd addition to the squad, adding extra quality from the bench and providing some important moments.
Who could Klopp look at this season from relegated sides?
Last week saw confirmation that both Huddersfield and Fulham would be back in England’s second division, while Cardiff City look likely to join them in the Championship for the next campaign.
So, let’s look at a player from each side who be on Liverpool’s radar:
Philip Billing – Huddersfield
As most football followers will probably know, Aaron Mooy is arguably Huddersfield Town’s best asset. However, I have identified Philip Billing as a potential target for Liverpool – at just 22-years-old, the midfield man has shown himself to a player mature beyond his age.
He is tall, powerful, committed and is also no slouch when it comes to speed. The Dane also has an eye for a pass – in particular long ranged – and is very effective at helping his side defend, often putting his body in the way of the ball to make a block or getting in to intercept.
At such a young age, Klopp could yet help Billing develop even further. Another benefit to this signing is that he would probably cost a sensible sum, I’d argue Liverpool could get this deal wrapped up for no more than £12m.
Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham
Dubbed as one of England’s best young talents just last year, to the general eye he has had a tough season.
If you look at as a neutral though, yes he has to give a lot more to live up to what’s expected of him but, when you consider that he has been in and out of the line-up and has still managed to contribute to the second most league goals in Fulham’s squad, it could be a lot worse for the teenager.
The 2018 Championship player of the year clearly has talent at his disposal and under the right guidance I believe he would thrive in the Premier League.
Victor Camarasa – Cardiff
Signed on loan from Spanish side Real Betis, the Spaniard has certainly been a hit in his first season on British soil. Cardiff still have a glimmer of hope in regard to maintaining their Premier League status, but it does look slim.
Camarasa will more than likely be a vital part should they survive though, with five goals and three assists he has certainly been a key player for Neil Warnock from midfield this season. It is reported that he has attracted attention from other clubs in the league already.
Which player would you sign from the bottom three? Let us know!