Emre Can looks set for a move to Juventus on a free transfer this summer, but who could the Reds target as his replacement?
The 24-year-old continues to be linked with a move away from Anfield in the summer, as contract-renewal issues continue between him and Liverpool. It is believed the German international will only sign a contract to remain on Merseyside if a release clause is interested in his current deal.
Can sees his future elsewhere and is yet to agree on a deal, meaning he would be the latest player to follow Philippe Coutinho out of the Anfield exit door. Sky Sports expect he is to leave Liverpool, suggest where he would fit in at the Serie A giants.
The Reds have brought in Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, who is expected to join Jurgen Klopp’s squad this summer. If Can departs Liverpool, they will only have Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner, the latter could be moved on however.
Here’s five potential replacements the Anfield outfit could target as his replacement…
#5 Max Meyer (FC Schalke)
The 22-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season and the player has been linked with a move to the Premier League with Arsenal and Liverpool interested in his services.
Meyer is reportedly keen to wait until the middle of this month to decide, but sporting director Heidel stresses the Bundesliga side can ill-afford the German anymore time. The attacking midfielder has recently rejected a second offer at the club, which would mean he is expected to leave Gelsenkirchen.
He would certainly fit into Liverpool pressing game and on a free, a definite steal. With a pass success rate of 89.4%, he likes to make good use of the ball and would add threat going forward, providing through balls for Salah, Mane and Firmino.
Having been in fine form for both club and country this year, he has also alerted Bayern Munich. But Klopp’s influence could prove to be the decisive factor should he decide to make the move to Anfield.
#4 Piotr Zielinski
Liverpool have reignited their interest in Piotr Zielinski, a player they were keen on signing in 2016 only for him to sign for Napoli.
Having been left frustrated in their pursuit of the midfielder, the Reds turned their attention to alternate options, but were keen on Zielinski, who spent the last two seasons on loan at Empoli, before moving to Naples.
The 23-year-old become a formidable figure for the Naples side, but the Polish international made it clear he wanted to secure a switch to Merseyside to play under Klopp’s Liverpool. He even rejected advances from Napoli as he held out for a move to Anfield. The Reds’ bid included a sell-on clause, but Bianconeri Friuliani batted it away and openly encouraged the player to join the Serie A side.
He could however be on the way to Anfield this summer, as Can’s replacement. The Reds are still keen on him but they would have to fork out a staggering €58 million to secure his services. Zielinski has a pass success rate of 88.3%, likes to dribble with the ball and provides a cutting edge.
Klopp may look to pay the fee Napoli want for the player and partner him with Nabi Keita in the next campaign. He is described as the heir to Kevin De Bruyne, and has established himself as an important member of Maurizio Sarri’s squad.
#3 Serej Milinkovic-Savic
Previously with Genk, he signed for Lazio in 2015 and has made 35 appearances this campaign, contributing with six assists for the White and Sky blues, whilst scoring eleven times in the process.
Standing at over six foot, he boasts a terrific engine and also has an eye for goal so would be the perfect addition to Klopp’s squad. The Reds would lack physicality in the middle should Can seek pastures anew, so Savic would be like-for-like. A shot per game ratio of 2.5, he knows where the goal is and could ease the burden on Liverpool’s free-scoring forwards.
Serbians have struggled on Merseyside however, with Lazar Markovic – who is currently on-loan with Anderlecht – suffering a torrid time. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s agent has already confirmed that he is happy at Lazio and is very unlikely to leave in the near future. If Klopp were to match Lazio’s demands however, his loyalty would certainly be put to the test.
This is a player who is surely destined for the Premier League this summer, due to the fact that he is making waves in Serie A with Napoli. Jorginho has been one of the most impressive players in the Europa League with a pass success rate of 93.2%.
The 25-year-old is technically gifted and plays predominately in front of the back four in the holding role. He would surely be an upgrade on Can and is also very creative. The fact that Brazilian-born Italy international is pacy, would only benefit the Reds because of their style. Pace gets you through the banks of four that most teams seem to adopt nowadays when playing Liverpool.
Only Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik have delivered more than his 32 key passes so far this season. Clearly then, It’s a no brainer for Klopp to make a move. He would be a welcomed addition amongst the Liverpool fans too.
#1 Mauricio Lemina
Liverpool have been linked with an eighth raid on Southampton for former Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina, who is also said to be keen on a move to Merseyside.
The Gabonese international, signed for the St.Mary’s side for £15.4m last August and Liverpool were keen on signing him from Marseille in 2015 before he went to Juventus instead.
Kop fans have made public appeals for the club to sign the 24-year-old central midfielder and Klopp is understood to be considering a close-season bid for the former Lorient and Marseille ace. Lemina hasn’t been firing on all cylinders since joining Southampton, but he’s a player of unquestionable talent and, aside from settling into a new league and team, he’s also contending with the fact they’ve been extremely poor, especially further upfield.
He can play as a holder or a more forward-thinking midfield option, is extremely creative, has good vision and a fine passing range when on top form. He could complement Keita well in the Reds midfield.