Why Liverpool are right to target Granit Xhaka this summer

16.02.2016


Liverpool have been linked with a summer move for highly-rated Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka, and he would be the perfect midfield addition.

granit-xhaka

Last month, German paper Bild reported that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had met with Xhaka’s agent, Andy Gross, to discuss a potential transfer for his player – and that the player was Klopp’s No.1 priority for the summer.

Klopp is already making moves in the transfer market, with both Marko Grujic and Joel Matip acquired ahead of next season.

Xhaka is someone who has been on the radar of some of Europe’s top clubs for a while now, with many regarding him as one of Europe’s finest young midfielders.

Should Klopp get his man it would be both a big statement of intent and a superb signing.

‘Young Schweinsteiger’

Xhaka has been seen as the future of Swiss football ever since breaking into the FC Basel first-team back in the 2010/11 season.

The 23-year-old was once dubbed the ‘young Schweinsteiger’ by legendary manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, which is high praise indeed.

Forget about the leggy, one-paced Bastian Schweinsteiger you have seen in a Man United shirt this season; at his peak he was one of the finest central midfielders of his generation.

He was classy in possession, an expert reader of the game, a born leader and occasionally a threat in the final third. Xhaka is no different, and is the complete modern day midfielder.

His influential performances at the heart of the Basel midfield earned him a move to Monchengladbach in the summer of 2012 and he continued to grow from that point on.

He has captained the Bundesliga side this season, further outlining his pedigree, chipping in with three goals so far in 2015/16.

To sum up his qualities, Bayern Munich have been rumoured to be lining up Xhaka as Xabi Alonso’s long-term replacement this summer. And we all know he good he is.


A major upgrade for Liverpool

Ever since the exit of Javier Mascherano in 2010, Liverpool have been crying out for a truly top class defensive midfielder.

Lucas Leiva has been an excellent servant to the club for almost a decade, but he has always been that level below the very best in his position.

Xhaka would represent a significant upgrade on the Brazilian in so many aspects, and would finally solve the midfield issue that has proved problematic for so long.

For starters, the young Switzerland international possesses great dynamism, unlike Lucas, with an ability to cover ground quickly and out-muscle opponents.

At 6″1 tall, he also carries an aerial presence that Liverpool lack – bringing in Matip and Grujic (and Steven Caulker) shows that Klopp clearly wants more height in his team.

Xhaxa, who can play in any of the midfield positions, has won an average of 3.4 aerial duels per game in the league this season, which is superior to both Lucas (2.6) and Emre Can (1.6).

Then there’s his use of the ball, which is far more slick and incisive that any current Liverpool midfielder.

The versatile 23-year-old will keep possession with ease when required, but whereas someone like Lucas is limited when it comes to opening up opposition defences, Xhaka’s eye-catching left foot is more than capable.

In many ways, he is Can but with more intelligence. He is similar in build and stature, but is far less likely to have a brain-freeze in a key area of the pitch.

It must be stressed that the Swiss star is far more than a just a sitting midfielder, however.


While not prolific in front of goal by any means, similar to Schweinsteiger in fact, he has a more attack-minded mentality than someone like Lucas, Nemanja Matic or Sergio Busquets.

No-brainer

Occasionally when a player is linked with a move to a new club, there are reservations about certain aspects of his game.

With Xhaka, however, it really is tough to find any real negatives about him becoming a Liverpool player.

He is at a perfect age in terms of being experienced but still having years ahead of him; he is tall, strong, creative and influential, and is better than anything the Reds have currently.

Some will point towards the fact that is known for having a bit of a short fuse, but frankly, Liverpool need some Mascherano-esque nastiness in their ranks.

The squad that Klopp has inherited is far too nice and easy to bully, and some bite and attitude would be much appreciated.

Being realistic, there is still every chance that Liverpool will be pipped to the post by a European heavyweight like Bayern. It would be tough to turn them down if you were in Xhaka’s shoes.

Klopp’s pulling power does certainly act as a huge advantage, though, especially in comparison to when Brendan Rodgers was in charge, and the German meeting the player’s agent can only bode well.


We have seen so many brilliant rumoured transfer targets move elsewhere recently, so it would be wrong to get our hopes up, but if Liverpool could sign Xhaka it would be a fantastic signing.

(statistics via WhoScored)

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152 COMMENTS

  1. He’s absolute class. Yes please!! Ever since I read Klopp talked to his agent I’ve been hoping for a summer move.

    • 25 mil euros according to transfer market but I would think that’s way on the low side, this is one link I would love to be true but if Bayern want him it might take more than just a Klopp charm offensive…

        • That would be 40 mil euros, £31 mil in real money,
          I’d happily pay £30 mil for him and consider it damn good business…

          • He’d definitely put some steel in our midfield, he might fall foul of some PL refs though, if he can temper that he’s also a damn good footballer as well, I’m excited about this one even if it is going to be difficult to make it happen…

          • True but truth is with Real interested he was never gonna come to play under Mr Character…

    • Agreed. Unless we know what it would cost to get him, it is impossible to say whether he would be a good signing or not.

  2. The only negative of this move is the fee. We will have to smash our transfer record to buy this kid. 37 mil euros was suggested,but a bidding war can take this to 40+. Hopefully Klopp can work his magic.

    • Some say 35mil, some say 22.5 mil release clause.. I don’t think FSG are willing to spend 35mil on a player..

      • I’m not sure I agree, I think it’s more likely Klopp will know or have a pretty good idea of how much he can spend, I’d like to think he’d be given a free hand as to how he spends it, the fact that he’s only 23 years old might appeal to FSG as well. We could offset some of the fee by selling Lucas or the Welsh Pirlo, even more so with Stewart looking good..

  3. If he is that highly rated than we must hear big clubs going after him. What would he cost.

    He will not be a marquee signing but will surely an upgrade over lucas and Allenso.
    If we are after him or any other midfielder than that surely means klopp understand the importance of good midfielders unlike tactical genius.

    Though I’m quite torn out on him. I prefer someone like Grzegorz Krychowiak who is on his peek and best in the business. Again if klopp wants him bring it on. You can surely trust him and his team.

        • Which is why I said ‘if Bayern genuinely want him’ just a though but if Gardiola rates him maybe City might move for him but now I’m speculating, right now we don’t even know for sure if JK wants him, he could have been talking to his agent about a totally different player…

    • Málaga’s Ignacio Camacho will be coming this summer. krychowiak would be my choice but Camacho is a good player and a decent upgrade on Lucas.

      Xhaka want’s to go to Man City so that’s a forgone conclusion if Guardiola wants him.

    • Krychowiak signed a new contract in the summer with Sevilla with a higher buyout clause.

      Kante will come at an EPL PREMIUM – if he wants to leave UCL football for Europa.

      Think you mean Kouyate? Again West Ham financial position will also mean Premium.

  4. This guy was mentioned a few weeks ago and after looking at his numbers I failed to see what the attraction was (haven’t seen him play that much).

    I just looked at them again and I’m still not seeing it. Coqueillin is considerably better in almost every department for example and he’s as good a yardstick as any for a good DM in the league this year (and last) so for all the hype here he should be at least measuring up to him in most departments.

    The only thing that stands out for me in his stats are he manages to give about 33% more fouls away than our very own foul machine Lucas.

    He gets foward a bit but defensively speaking Lucas and Coq au Vin are better. Anyone watch this guy regularly?

    • His team is struggling at the moment. After a bad start into the season they overrun every team they played. Now they are struggling again. But this guy is really a good one.

    • he is a fouling machine – as young players are in a destroying role, – but apparently is maturing. Supposed to have good vision in his game though, but by all accounts he’s off to a big CL club anyhow.

  5. Xhaka would be an excellent signing. Matip is already done and I think we need a winger or two to supplement the 10 no 10s we have. Dream summer would be Xhaka, Gotze and a good winger with maybe another full back. Another striker would not hurt if Trekkers goes. I think we will see a couple leaving as well.

        • Expected Liverpool is an English team and so are those teams. Southampton is not bad team either (bale, walcott, Ox etc) maybe we are just bad at buying players. Even PSG sakho looks like crap ………

          • A couple bad games and Sahko is crap?!

            Sorry man how long have you supported Liverpool?

          • Looks” like” and is crap 2 different phrases. Supported LFC since 87′ whats so important about when i started supporting the team ? If i started yesterday or next year will that make any difference to the way sakho is performing ..

            “The right question would have been when was the last time i watched LFC play “

          • Sorry I phrased it wrongly.

            Sahko over the past 2 seasons up to December was our best defender – check the ratings. Sahko biggest issue is injuries and getting back into form.

    • 2 definite outs IMO.

      Allen will definitely leave – his contract is expiring next June and no new contract on the table. We told Swansea to come back in the summer for him.

      Rossiter contract expiring this summer and he is not to keen on a new one – given his age and his want for first team football understandable.

      —————————————————-
      Given Klopp wants to play 4231 – we will be covered in the 2 with:

      Hendo, Can, Xhaka, Brannagan, & Stewart. 5 players for 2 positions is enough IMO.

      ——————————
      Klopp hasn’t played lucas in a 2 man MF because he doesn’t have the legs to play in the 2 man MF. But he may keep Lucas as experience and for cup games.

      Grujic and Milner can play further forward in the 3 as seen with Milner deployed on the right.

  6. I’ve been screaming for his signing for a while now!!he a quality midfielder, possesses great passing ability,has good control unlike all our current midfielders bar allen,has a wicket long shot on him,and most important,he is hard as fuk!!!would be ideal,considering our midfield got over ran by most teams this season!! The Westbrom’s and West ham’s would find it a little bit more difficult to out muscle us if we get this lad!!

  7. I watch him every weekend in the Bundesliga. Xhaka is a really good player, hopefully it’s not too late trying to sign him, a lot of other clubs already watching him. Very nice tacklings, his gameplay without the ball, fast decision making, strong tacklings and nice passing even under pressure is excellent. A very intellegent player with the strength and pace for the PL. Perfect, get him! Main challenge will be, like as Matip, how fast can he get used to the pace and intense of PL …

  8. I don’t know the player and he’s probably very good, but is it really who we’re looking for ? We already got Grujic coming, 2 promising young players of our own (Stewart/Brannagan), plus all our regulars bar Allen who I feel will be departing. Do we really wanna spend that much money on another DM when we desperately need a quality GK and a (fit) striker ?

    Edit : forgot about Chirivella too, who has been more than decent the few games he’s played

  9. If Bayern have recently been interested, he could quite easliy end up at Citeh next season. He’s better than the Fernando/inho’s & possibly Delph there now, anyway.

    • Or we beat Citeh to 4th place, Pep spits the dummy and refuses to come and we get Granit for a bag of sand and a handy j

  10. Being Swiss I can say that I agree with eveything you say in this report TIA. He would be a really awesome signing, he is a great holding midfielder and he grew a lot as a footballer in these last years. The only problem is his aggressiveness (sometimes he loses his head), but I guess I can agree with TIA when they say that we could a bit of attitude and thoughness.

    Fun fact: Hitzfeld when coaching the swiss national team would play him behind the strikers, with poor results. And I think every single Swiss wanted Xhaka as a holding midfielder, but Hitzfeld would still use him behind the strikers (and then calls him “young Schweinsteiger”…)

    If we get Xhaka I guess Lucas is leaving (otherwise we really have a lot of midfielders: Hendo, Milner, Can, Grujic, Allen (really hope he stays), Rossiter, Brannagan, Stewart,….)

    • Allen… it is a 50/50 for me. I would happily take Illaramendi, Xhaka, Reus or Gotze. BUT, we REALLY do need to address the goalkeeper situation Mignolet had cost us points and given the fans heart attack throughout the season

    • Allen and Milner should be the one to leave. Milner is less likely to leave but if he goes at would be great, freeing up a lot of wages.

      I want lucas to complete 10 years.

      • Milner leads in assists this season and has a couple of goals and you want him to leave? He is no super star, but he is that player who runs and play in various positions and does a decent job. He is a great squad rotation player and we should keep him.

        • I agree. Milner’s contribution are invaluable. He’ll never be a ‘superstar’. He’s more of the gel between the stars, much like Allen: Just as important albeit less flashy.

      • me too! my favourite
        my favourite Liverpool players were: Xabi Alonso, Agger, Fábio Aurélio, Jack Robinson, Torres
        everybody gone

          • Favourite players generally need to have played. How many games he play for Liverpool? How many games he ever play to be far?

          • Not really. Johnathan Woodgate played for Real Madrid 9 times over 3 years, didn’t play at all in 04-05 and scored an own goal AND got sent off on his debut. He’s still treated as a cult hero.

            Favourite players don’t need to play much to be a favourite. It’s subjective, an opinion.

            FWIW, Robinson played 3 games for Liverpool, 11 for Wolves, 34 for Blackpool, and 30 for Huddersfield, so 78 between 2010 and 2015, and he’s been out for almost a year now with knee cartilage injury.

          • Cult hero and favourite player are 2 different things (imo). In some cases being so bad they gain the status, didn’t Woodgate have an horrific debut for Madrid and then never play? Cult favourite, maybe, favourite player, I doubt it. Any you are right everything in football is personal. Each to there own.

        • Why? are we a charity now? players like Toure and Lucas have served the club and been payed very well. When its time to move, free up wages then it should be done. Why do we need passengers. Oh, and they aren’t scouse …

          • Passengers when we have a world class DM signed, Id rather have Brann and Stewart used as back ups. Keep up Goose lad. Klopp is on the verge of altering all those mindsets that believe we possess players that are LFC quality. 3/4 should never have been bought for LFC. Its criminal and they should be sentenced at the Hague. :)

          • Fair enough, but I think players like Lucas and Toure in particular offer much more than just what you see on the pitch. How many trophies has any our defenders won? Toure has won trophies. He knows… He’s been there.

          • Mate, your missing a fundamental point in all of this. We are managed by a World Class Manager now, who has won Trophies, hates losing and will show the way to everyone there.

    • Great personal insight!

      I really like him as a player – watched him in Basel with Shaquiri and then at Monchengladbach vs Dortmund and he really impressed me – far more than Illa.

      Allen will definitely leave – his contract is expiring next June and no new contract on the table. We told Swansea to come back in the summer for him.

      Rossiter contract expiring this summer and he is not to keen on a new one – given his age and his want for first team football understandable.

      Given Klopp wants to play 4231 – we will be covered in the 2 with:

      Hendo, Can, Xhaka, Brannagan, & Stewart. 5 players for 2 positions is enough IMO.

      Klopp hasn’t played lucas in a 2 man MF because he doesn’t have the legs to play in the 2 man MF. But he may keep Lucas as experience and for cup games.

      Grujic and Milner can play further forward in the 3 as seen with Milner deployed on the right.

      • Damn! This is a great analysis, well done!
        I think I agree with what you say, I just don’t want see Allen leave, because he slowly became one of my favorites (and don’t ask me how because I don’t know :))

        • Thanks appreciate it!

          I also really like him. I think the ill feelings was more because of Rodgers favoritism to him however he really has tried so hard!

        • Just age is a factor plus given their respective positions in the market – BVB could sell Aub for 5-60M. I don’t see Leverkuson getting more than 30M for Chica.

          Would still be ecstatic for either over Benteke!

          • 20 mil for Chicha is enough.. Which means we can sell Ben and bring Chicha without spending..

          • Dream scenario really but would love it!

            We can actually generate a fair bit from player sales: Taking lower estimates.

            Benteke – 20-25M.
            Allen – 10-12M.
            Skrtel – 5M.
            Enrique – GONE finally!
            Balo – 3M unless someone in China offers more – fingers crossed!
            Sinclair – we rejected 3M so hopefully tribunal will get us more. Though Watford owners own Italian clubs – surely they sign him through Udinese and “loan him to Watford? Lets say 3M.
            Wisdom – 1M.
            Bogdan – we won’t get much.
            Kolo – free.

            42M in lower estimates. Also not including the possible sales of Lucas or Lallana (may not want to play squad player role).

            Enough for Xhaka and Chica.

          • Doubt we could get 18 for Lallana given age maybe 12-15.

            Also doubt we will sell either Sahko or Lovren just yet. Would leave us desperately short in defense.

            If one can stay fit and form a partnership with Matip then the other will leave next season or in the winter. Or Joe Gomez could take that place but considering the severity of the injury he will take a while before being EPL ready.

          • 6 Cds?

            Skrtel will probably be sold.
            Kolo contract is not being renewed.

            Lovren
            Sahko
            Gomez
            Matip
            Illori – still quite raw but good 5th choice
            Lucas can cover there but wouldn’t be a long term option especially if he too is moved on.

            5 to me? Unless you count Wisdom who is struggling to make the grade in the EPL..

          • Personally I would keep Lovren and Sahko and let them fight it out for the LCB spot and move on Skrtel and Wisdom.

            Each to their own opinion :)

            I can see Lovren/Sahko with Matip being the partnership. Probably Lovren. Sahko seems to be going backwards.

          • For me Sakho is the best defender we have..
            Anyway, one of them will not be happy for not playing,that was my point.. One of them will wanna leave.. And maybe Gomez – Matip will be a starting combo..

          • Absolutely agree one will get upset at the lack of game time as you can’t rotate CBs. But will happen next summer or winter not this window IMO.

          • milner should leave too carry high wages and offer nothing much on the field. if henderson could be sold and replace with better player like xhaka i wouldnt mind him leaving he is sub par average player at best. lallana and allen tho are musts!

    • I personally think a midfielder needs bit of an ‘Edge’. Mascherano had it. That little bit of aggression is important.

      • Yes I absolutely agree, we have been lacking this kind of grit and aggressiveness.
        If we get Xhaka we could rebuild a sort of Mascherano-Xabi Alonso partnership with Xhaka-Can (obviously in the future, some years I would say)

  11. I don’t think we will see xhaka in liverpool for two reasons:
    1) He is a high profile target for many big clubs, so might not choose non-CL club.
    2) Being thr best player he will not come cheap, so hugh transfer fee will be required which is anti-klopp transfer approach.

    The only reason he will want to come to us is because of Klopp.

  12. He’d be a good signing but I’d rather see us go after Lars Bender or Kramer. Bender would arguably be about the same price but more proven and is a leader in Leverkusen’s midfield and Kramer would be the cheaper and younger alternative with massive upside.

  13. Can’t wait to see the Klopp Liverpool. There will be little room for lightwieghts who get pushed around by the likes of Watford.

  14. With all these midfielders being targeted in an already packed midfield, does that mean he is clearing out the current stock? If so, unfortunately I think Allen, Milner and Lucas might be getting sold.

    I do like all three, but they’re not exactly the world beaters we need

    • Have to agree, we have too many contesting the midfield positions but not one of them has that aggressive bite, I too feel Klopp will have a major clear out in that area but don’t think Lucas will be one of them, he’s too versatile and experienced to let go just yet.

  15. Don’t know if any you guys been following the Italian league but Napoli playing some of the best football in Europe right now – very unlucky to lose to Juve last week. I think there are some very good players one might target on that team other than the obvious one who I would also love but probably too expensive.

  16. The X Man! His secret mutant abilities include enhanced vision, telepathic understanding with those around him, high aggression, while also maintaining his Swiss neutrality. :)
    Bring him to Anfield Jurgen!!!!!

  17. I thought Xhaka was certainly going to Arsenal in January. Xhaka would be a good addition and bring more options but with the right price. If we’re also going after Nordveidt then someone must have to leave. Either it is Allen, Lucas or Rossiter.

    Klopp should focus on GK. Enough with Migs

  18. Xhaka would be a great signing,if we can get him!
    If Klopp has the pulling power many think,this will prove it.
    The guy seems to have attitude and we can certainly use a bit more of that.

  19. Call me sentimental or whatever anyone wants but personally I’d like to see Lucas have his testimonial with us. The bloke have been a great servant to the club and he’s been thru hell and back with fans hating him at one stage to become one of the first name on the teams sheets. Have some loyalty guys!!!

  20. Three red cards in the first half of this season alone, from the captain, no less. Seen sitting in the stands shortly after the most recent sending-off, laughing with his mates, despite having let his team down yet again with his selfish, immature stupidity. Already running his mouth about moving on to a bigger club. He’s a disrespectful, impulsive liability. If he came here, he would just get sent off repeatedly in big games and then start agitating for a move to Real Madrid or the like. Don’t need him.

  21. Really annoys me when fans take it upon themselves to act like the chief scout/head of recruitment. Why don’t we just let the journalists do their job and do the research, let the manager do his job and actually get the players, and we can do our job, supporting whoever comes in rather than throw a wobbly when we don’t sign every talented player in all of Germany?

  22. personaly i would take him whatever the cost. DM is where liverpool is very very weak. It has been more than 5-6yrs that liverpool has not wanted to buy a good DM by thinking lucas can do a job. this is what has gone wrong with liverpool. imagine lucas playing then replace him with xakha, how dynamic we will be.
    lucas, allen must make way for xakha, steward.

    we will have:
    can, xakha,henderson,milner,steward,branagan, rossiter,chirivellla, grujic.
    if any one has to go then maybe rossiter, chirivella,

  23. Out- Balotelli, Jose Enrique, Joe Allen, Benteke, Adam Bogdan, Lallana, Wisdom,

    In- Inaki Williams, Granit Xhaka, Jack Butland.

    Williams/Sturridge

    Firmino

    Coutinho

    Henderson Xhaka

    Can

    Moreno Sakho Matip Clyne

    Butland

  24. It’s starting- and it feels great! Klopp is starting to cherry pick the Bundesliga and things are about to get right at Liverpool. I can’t help but notice that none of these guys is a goalkeeper (although there have been rumors about Leno coming). Mignolet is not a first option for next season.

  25. Granit Xhaka – big name and reputation.. Defensive Midfielder and more provide a goal.. The Best way he play with Can and Hendo..
    and at front we have sturridge , firminho and Cautinho. Every place we have a good player and backup.
    … I like to sign him.

    • …………………………..STERGEN………………………….
      Clyne……………MANTIP…………….Shako……..Moreno
      ………………………………XHAKA………………….
      …..Henderson……………………………….Emre Can
      …………………Firminho………….Cautinho
      …………………………….Sturridge
      2nd Team
      …………………………….Mignolet………………………..
      Flanagan……..Lovren……………….Ilori……….Gomez
      ……………………………….Steward………………………..
      …………..Grujic………….Teixiera……….Markovic
      ………………………Ings…………….Origi
      ……………..
      Must sell…
      Baletolli
      Sinclair
      Ibe
      Lallana
      Benteke
      Allen

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