Ramirez Rumour Review: A Spanish left-back to replace… a Spanish left-back?

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By Matthew Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez

This week has been another slow one for rumours but much like last week, we are yet again linked to another young striker who plies his trade in Paris.

In this week’s edition we look again to another possible departure from Anfield, and two possible squad additions for the new season.

IN: Silas Wamangituka – Paris FC

Did you guys think I was going to talk about Mbappe again? Hehe…

If anyone reading this says that they have heard of this kid outside of video games then I’m sorry, but unless you support Paris FC I think you’re lying. I hadn’t heard of him either but after doing some research I think I have enough info to give a reasonably educated opinion.

Wamangituka (what a name by the way) is a 19-year-old Congolese striker who has just completed his senior debut season in the French Ligue 2 – scoring 11 and assisting two. These are hardly magical numbers however it works out that the youngster is providing a goal or assist every two games. Not bad considering his inexperience.

He is hardly the big name player that Liverpool fans have been itching for ever since our Champions League triumph, however, signing the young star would certainly be a step in the right direction in terms of thinking ahead to the future of the club – something which Klopp has done repeatedly at every team he has been at.

Wamangituka currently stands at 6′ 2” and possesses both pace and strength – similar to a young Romelu Lukaku. He is a different mould of striker when compared with Roberto Firmino, but just like with the use of Divock Origi this season, he would offer something different coming off the bench.

It is reported that both Celtic and Benfica are interested in the striker, however it is believed that Liverpool are the front-runners for his signature.

He is currently valued by Paris FC at £4.5million and it is believed that Liverpool have made an official bid. Not much else is known at the moment but don’t be too surprised if you see this confirmed in the coming weeks.

I think we should sign him just for the name. It would be hilarious to see pundits – specifically Paul Merson – struggling to pronounce it.

Verdict:
2.5/5

IN: Junior Firpo – Real Betis

Before anyone else says it, yes, I realise I got his name wrong in last week’s podcast. I think I called him Juan…. yeah that’s wrong.

Aside from that blunder I think my shout to have him as our back up left-back was a great one, however there have been conflicting reports surrounding our interest in him.

First things first lets talk about the player himself. Firpo, 22, has been at Real Betis since 2014 and has come through their youth system until he linked up with the senior squad in the summer of 2017. Last season he was used sparingly, racking 14 appearances, however this campaign he has cemented himself as the main left-back at Betis and has earned himself 29 appearances – 27 of which were starts.

He helped his side to ten clean sheets this season and also notched himself three goals and five assists – hardly Robbo and Trent numbers but good either way.

Firpo is 6ft tall, which gives him quite a physical presence considering he is a full back. He is a left back at heart however his willingness and ability to get forward has seen him at times pushed up into left wing this season therefore signing him could offer us cover to multiple positions.

Apart from his height which is advantageous, Firpo is quick, strong and is a good crosser of the ball. More importantly however is his ability to defend, and it is here where he shines as he is very much a solid player who has shown an ability to control even the very best of wingers this season.

His release clause stands at £45million and is attracting interest from all over Europe, including Barcelona and Manchester United. Real Madrid were also linked however their recent signing of Ferland Mendy seems to have quashed all speculation.

I would love Firpo to sign for us however I do not see it happening for one reason. Andrew Robertson.

Robbo, in my opinion, is currently the best left back in the world. There is no shame in being his understudy, but Firpo has world-class potential and has shown this season that he deserves a starting spot at one of Europe’s big clubs.

If he goes to either Barcelona or Manchester United he would not only earn good money but I also think he would start. For that reason, he won’t be pulling on the red of Liverpool this season.

Verdict:
1/5

OUT: Marko Grujic – Atlético Madrid/Hertha Berlin

Marko Grujic has been a Liverpool player since 2016 but I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting about him as he’s pretty much been out on loan ever since we signed him.

In the second half of last season he helped Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City achieve promotion to the Premier League, and this campaign he has been out in the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin on a season-long-loan.

He is yet to return to Liverpool as his loan deal technically doesn’t end until July 1st, however it is believed that his future will be sorted before that date therefore, it is possible that he won’t have to return to Merseyside at all.

If reports are to be believed, then the player himself has stated that he wants to remain with the Berlin side for another season-long-loan. This, in my opinion, benefits all parties concerned.

Grujic has featured heavily for Hertha since his arrival, racking up 23 appearances of which 21 were starts. He has scored five goals and got one assist from midfield and is developing at a steady rate.

The Serbian is quite an integral part to the Berlin midfield, therefore Liverpool could rest easy knowing their young prospect is earning minutes should he be loaned back. This would mean that Hertha get to keep one of their star players this season and it would also allow Grujic the time to keep developing away from the spotlight that gets so regularly cast on youngsters in the Premier League.

With this being said, it is also being reported that Atletico Madrid are interested in the 23-year-old as a potential replacement for Rodri should he leave the Wanda Metropolitano. The fee being discussed is in the region of £35million, and although this is a big fee and it would see Liverpool turn a huge profit on the player, I don’t think it would be good business for us in the long run.

Grujic has been heavily touted as having high potential, and this praise comes from none other than Jürgen Klopp himself. The youngster possess the ability to control games from midfield, has an eye for a shot from distance and isn’t opposed to getting stuck into tackles. To put it simply, he is a midfield general.

Although Liverpool now possess the midfield stalwart that is Fabinho, 2019/20 will be a long season, so having the option to rotate your midfield and bring in a player like Grujic could be the difference in games.

I personally hope the Serbian stays at Anfield this season and is given a chance to show the Anfield faithful what he can do. If he must leave then I do hope it is back to Hertha on loan as I think in the long run he will be a valuable asset to Liverpool FC.

Verdict:
To Atletico – 1/5

To Hertha – 3.5/5
Stay at Anfield – 2.5/5

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