In recent weeks, Liverpool have been linked with an abundance of players as their defensive crisis worsened following the injury of Joël Matip.
Fast forward a month on, and with the centre-back problem fixed somewhat, attention has now turned to the summer transfer window as the Reds look to rectify their poor effort of trying to retain their Premier League crown.
The likes of Kylian Mbappé and Erling Håland have once again been linked with a move to Anfield in the summer, but Jurgen Klopp has identified that his midfield may need to be his top priority amid speculation surrounding a few of his players.
One of those players has been the well-publicised contract situation of Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder signed for the Reds in 2016 following Newcastle United’s relegation to the Championship and has become a cult hero during his time on Merseyside.
However, rumours have circulated that Wijnaldum may leave the club on a free in the summer as his current contract comes to an end. The likes of Barcelona, PSG and AC Milan have all registered their interest in the 30-year-old, but a decision has yet to be made by the club and the player.Embed from Getty Images
With an agreement on a new contract looking more unlikely as the season draws to a close, the Reds could raid the Bundesliga once more to bolster their midfield options.
Having already acquired the likes of Naby Keïta and Thiago Alcântara from RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich respectively, Klopp and Edwards seem to have honed in on a Borussia Mönchengladbach playmaker as the answer and replacement for the potential outgoing of Wijnaldum.
The player in question is 23-year-old Florian Neuhaus. According to BILD journalist Christian Falk, the German international is available in the summer for €40million and it is reported that the Reds are keen to acquire the highly rated midfielder.
Having played 83 times in the Bundesliga, he has plenty of experience when it comes to playing at the top of European football – having also played in the Champions League and Europa League – along with being capped by his country three times.
Despite Mönchengladbach suffering a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday evening against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Neuhaus enjoyed an impressive performance in terms of statistics. In total, the midfielder made seven tackles, more than any Liverpool player managed in their 4-1 defeat against the Citizens at the start of February.
It is yet to be seen whether Neuhaus would serve as a like-for-like replacement for Wijnaldum, with the German offering more in attacking positions, seeing him score six and assist six in 31 games for Marco Rose’s side already this season.
The midfielder is renowned for being excellent with the ball at his feet, opening up space and passing lanes rather than dribbling past opponents. He can play clever through balls and can make late runs into the area, whilst picking up loose balls and continuing attacking passages of play.
When you compare the statistics to Liverpool’s current midfield, Neuhaus’ numbers overpower the Reds’ midfield options, creating a goal or assist every 205 minutes, with Liverpool’s nearest almost 400 minutes behind in James Milner. The likes of Curtis Jones, Thiago, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have only registered five goal contributions between them, but the latter three have spent the majority of the season playing in defence or on the injury table.
With Neuhaus’ price tag set at around €40million, and the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri looking likely to leave Anfield in the summer, the money coming in from these two players could prove to be significant and a shrewd piece of business should the German join the Reds.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool have struggled with creativity in recent months, an issue which has seen them drop significantly in the table. After Burnley ended their 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield, the Reds have since lost four home league matches in a row. Their over-reliance on the normally reliable front three has become too much and the Reds need that creative spark from midfield.
The next midfielder to pull on the famous Liverpool shirt needs to be physically exceptional, strong, fast, and always available and Neuhaus fits that description. The tactical aspect of his game will be severely tested as he will need to fill in the gaps left by the marauding fullbacks, while also showing an eye for a pass in the final third.
The 23-year-old will need to adapt his game in order to fit into Klopp’s system, however the experience the midfielder has already gained during his early career so far, it may only be a matter of time before the German international perfects his craft in the Premier League.
Don’t miss a thing
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox. It’s free!