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