Liverpool have been linked with a trio of European wingers this week, with Jurgen Klopp seemingly poised to add to his attacking ranks this summer.
The charismatic German has made no secret of his search for options out wide this summer, explaining in February that “we have enough strikers—five with Roberto [Firmino]—but not too many wingers, just a few young ones with great potential.”
According to reports this week, the 48-year-old is exploring his options, with moves for three wingers rumoured.
Firstly, French publication RMC Sport claim that the Reds have offered former Newcastle United forward Hatem Ben Arfa a contract, with his current deal with OGC Nice set to expire at the end of the season.
After a nightmare spell in the north east, Ben Arfa has restored his reputation in Ligue 1.
Far from the sluggish, sporadically brilliant winger that English supporters will remember, Ben Arfa has served as Nice’s inspiration in a season that looks set to seal a top-four finish.
The 29-year-old has scored 16 goals in 30 league appearances so far, leaving him behind only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (32) and Alexandre Lacazette (17) in the French top flight.
Liverpool are said to have watched Ben Arfa score a hat-trick in Nice’s 3-0 win at home to Rennes this month, and have joined AC Milan in offering the France international a pre-contract offer—though whether this is reliable remains to be seen.
While Ben Arfa may be an unlikely target for Klopp, Portuguese outlet A Bola claim that SC Braga winger Rafa Silva has been the subject of talks with Reds officials of late, and “should indeed be very much taken seriously.”
Silva, a 22-year-old left-sided winger, also capable of operating on the opposite flank and in central midfield, has developed into a key option for Braga this season.
His ability to cut inside onto his stronger, right foot is similar to that of Coutinho, giving the Primeira Liga side an unpredictability on their wings.
Klopp is said to have been “enchanted” by Silva’s talents, and there have been “preliminary” talks between Liverpool and Braga.
Silva is unlikely to trouble Coutinho for the role of Liverpool’s first-choice left winger at this stage, however, much like Klopp’s third rumoured target, Borussia Dortmund man Christian Pulisic.
Liverpool supporters will be perhaps most familiar with Pulisic for being the second-half substitute that Alberto Moreno so bewilderingly lunged into towards the end of the Reds’ 1-1 first-leg draw away to Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-finals.
But enjoying a rise through the ranks at Dortmund this season, the USMNT international will have caught Klopp’s eye long before that.
According to the Mail, “Klopp has put Pulisic on Liverpool’s long-term radar, viewing him as one of the premier talents in Europe.”
Aware of the left winger’s talents before his move away from Dortmund last summer, Klopp is believed to be taking a patient view regarding Pulisic’s future, and is unlikely to move for him this summer.
Whether the 17-year-old would leave Dortmund for Liverpool, however, seems questionable at this stage; and either way, where does Mario Gotze fit into all this?
The Liverpool transfer rumour mill will go into overdrive this summer!