With Jurgen Klopp looking to sign a winger in the January transfer window, Spartak Moscow’s Quincy Promes has emerged as a prime target.
Mane, who has scored six goals and assisted two in just 12 games since his £30 million move from Southampton in June, has established himself as an invaluable player under Klopp.
Therefore his impending absence, which could see him miss six key games, including a potential League Cup semi-final, is something Klopp needs to address before the turn of the year.
This is where Promes comes in, with the 24-year-old reported to be on Klopp’s list of targets ahead of January.
But who is Promes, and is he capable of replacing Mane in the Liverpool attack?
Club: Spartak Moscow
Promes’ career has taken an unusual route so far, with the winger one of just 11 Dutch players to turn out in the history of the Russian Premier League.
Along with Anzhi Makhachkala midfielder Lorenzo Ebecilio, Promes is one of two Netherlands natives to currently ply his trade there, with the likes of Alexander Buttner, Royston Drenthe and Douglas all having moved on.
Born in Amsterdam, Promes moved through the youth academies at RKSV DCG, Ajax and Haarlem, before making the switch to FC Twente in 2009, as a 17-year-old.
He made swift progress in the Twente youth setup, and enjoyed title success in 2011/12, with Jong FC Twente suffering just four Beloften Eredivisie defeats, and his excellent season culminated in a first-team debut against AZ Alkmaar in April 2012.
Promes replaced Nils Roseler with less than 10 minutes to play, linking up with the likes of Leroy Fer, Luuk de Jong and Nacer Chaldi, who laid on Emir Bajrami’s last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Then 20 years old, Twente’s No. 89 made two further appearances at the end of 2011/12, both from the substitutes’ bench in a two-legged Europa League playoff clash with RKC Waalwijk, with Steve McClaren clearly identifying his potential.
However, Promes was then sent out on loan for the 2012/13 season, joining Eerste Divisie outfit Go Ahead Eagles, home to former Reds right-back Jan Kromkamp.
Promes scored 17 goals and laid on 11 assists in 41 games for his temporary side, helping seal their promotion to the Dutch top flight, and was promptly named the Jupiler League’s most valuable player.
His steady rise has continued since, with 11 goals and eight assists in 31 league games pushing Twente to a third-placed finish in 2013/14, as well as making his senior international debut against France, leading to interest from Napoli, Juventus, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund—then managed by Klopp.
However, he opted to join Spartak in a deal worth around £13 million, and the Russian Premier League‘s 11th Dutch import has been in scintillating form since.
Playing Style, Strengths & Weaknesses
Promes is a 5’9″, 70kg attacker who is capable of performing in a variety of roles across the forward line, taking up six different positions throughout his career so far.
These have included fleeting appearances in the middle of the park, while his time with Go Ahead Eagles was largely as a No. 10, but Promes has now found a home on Spartak’s right flank, with 55 of his 75 outings for the club coming from out wide.
At international level, this has largely been the case, too, with Promes taking advantage of injury to Arjen Robben, earning 16 caps for the Netherlands so far.
From the right, Promes has proved his ability to adopt a varied attacking game, either in cutting inside onto his left foot, or pushing towards the byline to deliver crosses into the penalty area.
Many of his 36 goals in the Russian Premier League have come peeling off the shoulder of opposition defenders, with Promes able to pick the ball up at speed and finish moves off clinically.
However, he is also blessed with an excellent long-range strike, and this translates to his set-piece ability, too, as seen when he scored a sensational free-kick in a 2-2 draw with Kuban Krasnodar in April:
He is a skilful, pacy winger with a growing maturity, and following Hulk’s move to Shanghai in June, is now arguably the most talented player in the Russian top flight, reaching star status in Moscow.
Speaking in March, Netherlands manager Danny Blind described Promes as “really fantastic,” envisioning a bright future for the Oranje.
“He has scoring ability, depth in his game and can easily bring in the required pace,” he explained.
“I think he is an interesting player who is going through a very positive development.”
But there are a number of examples to go against this; case in point, Luis Suarez.
Where Would Promes Fit in at Liverpool?
On paper, Promes presents the ideal alternative to Mane for the winter months, with his residency on the right flank highlighting him as a like-for-like replacement in 2017.
If he did make the move to Merseyside, Promes could take up Mane’s position alongside Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in Klopp’s three-man forward line, with his versatility allowing him to interchange with the Brazilians in a similar manner to the ex-Saint.
Joining Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Sheyi Ojo, Promes would be an excellent addition to Klopp’s squad; and given his prior interest, the 49-year-old clearly believes he is capable of making the step up.
However, there remain financial difficulties in a potential move for Promes, with Spartak reportedly valuing the winger at £25 million.
United, Juventus, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain were all linked with Promes in 2015, while Tottenham Hotspur weighed up a move in the summer, suggesting the Reds could have competition from elsewhere.
Promes signed a new contract with Spartak in August, now earning around £55,000 a week, and while this is a relatively paltry salary compared to his prospective team-mates at Anfield, his renewal does put the Moscow club in a position of strength.
But if Liverpool are able to sign Promes in January, they would be acquiring a hugely promising talent, who could add goals, assists, pace and power to Klopp’s attack at a crucial time.