Liverpool’s pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Julian Brandt fell short in 2017, but a bargain release clause in his contract may tempt a renewed bid.
The Reds identified Brandt as a priority target ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, but the Germany international instead opted to commit his future to Leverkusen.
Signing a new long-term contract with the Bundesliga club, Brandt set his focus on building his reputation at the BayArena ahead of last year’s World Cup, which ultimately saw Joachim Low’s side drop out at the group stage.
Famously, Liverpool secured a deal for Mohamed Salah instead, with the Egyptian going on to score 64 goals and assist a further 24 in 88 games for the club so far.
They report that when penning his extension at Leverkusen, Brandt negotiated a release clause that can be activated at the end of this campaign.
BILD claim that this would make him available for just €25 million, or £21.6 million, which is a paltry fee for a 22-year-old who has shone in the German top flight for the past five seasons.
Brandt has played the majority of his 204 games for Leverkusen on the flanks, with his most natural role in recent years as a left winger—an area which is still relatively short within Klopp’s squad.
But under Peter Bosz, he has since shifted roles from out wide to deeper in the midfield as a No. 8, which has seen him net three and lay on four in his last five outings in the Bundesliga.
Bosz has set his side up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Brandt the most advanced midfielder, and this is also a position which could require reinforcement at Anfield.
The waning fitness of Adam Lallana, long-term injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a stop-start campaign for Naby Keita has left Liverpool light in terms of midfield creativity, while Xherdan Shaqiri is only trusted on the wing.
Signing Brandt would provide cover for Sadio Mane, along with a top-level option in the middle of the park, and one attuned to the demands of Klopp’s system.
Klopp is clearly a fan, and if Brandt becomes available for less than half the fee paid to sign Keita from RB Leipzig it is likely Liverpool would consider an approach.