Liverpool aren’t always keen to do significant business in January, but which midfielders should we be keeping an eye on for a summer move?
Last summer represented the biggest midfield overhaul in the club’s recent history, with five senior midfielders making way for four new ones ahead of 2023/24.
Despite this, fans have called for further reinforcements in that area of the pitch, with Wataru Endo currently the squad’s only specialist No. 6 option and Thiago likely to depart for free at the end of the season.
We’re not expecting a great deal to happen between now and the end of the current window, but who might the Reds be looking at for the next campaign?
Let’s assess some of the options!
At 28, he doesn’t necessarily fit the profile you’d typically associate with a Liverpool target, but Joao Palhinha would unquestionably add quality to the base of the midfield.
The Portuguese midfielder missed out on a deadline-day move to Bayern Munich in the summer due to formalities not being completed in time, and is not expected to join them in January either.
Liverpool strayed from convention to bring 30-year-old Endo to Anfield in August, but it feels somewhat unlikely that history will repeat itself in that area of the pitch.
The Brazilian is said to have a release clause in his contract worth around £98 million, but would undoubtedly add plenty of creative talent to the side.
Should the Magpies be forced to sell for less than that, one would expect Liverpool would, at the very least, entertain the idea of being involved in such talks given the imminent exit of Thiago.
Club: Aston Villa
The Aston Villa man hasn’t been the subject of many links to Anfield in recent years, but he has gone from strength to strength in Unai Emery’s impressive side this season.
Boubacar Kamara has been a key component at the base of a midfield, in side which has surpassed all expectations and ended up as unlikely title contenders at the midway point of the campaign.
With 24 appearances to his name so far in 2023/24, as well as Premier League experience, there is certainly a chance that the Reds could find space for the Frenchman in an already revitalised midfield area.
Club: Aston Villa
The 25-year-old has missed just one league game through suspension so far in 2023/24 and has been capped 10 times by Brazil, which is no mean feat given the quality of the squad.
He was tentatively linked with a move to Merseyside towards the back end of the summer transfer window, but he has already demonstrated his ability to mix it at the very top level and would likely thrive in an even better midfield.
Youssouf Fofana is a high-profile name which would undoubtedly excite supporters, and he would come with a big reputation having featured 15 times in a strong France midfield.
He has continued to impress for Monaco this season, notching 16 Ligue 1 starts for a Monaco side sitting in the top four of the table.
It would take a hefty fee, but there is no doubting the 25-year-old’s quality and a team competing on multiple fronts can never have too much of that.
Club: OGC Nice
It is evident that the Reds have held long-standing interest in Khephren Thuram, and he may just be a versatile answer in Klopp’s midfield engine.
The Frenchman can operate as both a No. 6 and a No. 8 in the middle of the park, which could take away some of the burden from Endo and Alexis Mac Allister as anchors.
Unlike many of the reported targets over the summer, Thuram did not make a move elsewhere for 2023/24 and may still be looking to make the next step in his career.
The German picked up 10 international caps at U21 level and has 85 appearances in the English top flight to his name for the Bees.
Aged 25 and with his deal expiring in 2026, he might be an interesting proposition for the Reds that would not necessarily break the bank.
Club: Real Sociedad
It is a signing that would come at the higher end of the price spectrum, but one that would almost certainly improve Liverpool’s first team.
Martin Zubimendi has played under Reds legend Xabi Alonso at Real Sociedad, but has more recently been the subject of links to Arsenal.
He is reported to have a release clause of around £50 million, but whether the club are willing to add to the sums spent in that area of the pitch to such an extent in the summer remains to be seen.
Teun Koopmeiners has been linked to Liverpool in the past, but he is another midfielder who would be unlikely to come cheap.
Reports last January indicated the Reds had shown interest in the Dutchman, but a formal approach never followed.
He has become an integral part of Atalanta’s midfield since arriving in 2021, playing in a variety of roles including more recently as a regular goalscorer, and would add to the Dutch presence in the squad by joining Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo and Ryan Gravenberch.
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach
A more familiar name to Reds fans is Manu Kone, who was consistently linked throughout the summer before an unfortunate injury spelled the end of any realistic hopes of a deal.
His lack of playing time so far in 2023/24 may deter Liverpool somewhat, having started the campaign late due to knee injury and then missing more football through suspension and muscular problems.
The club’s admiration for him is no secret, however, and it could be something we see revived should he return to the form that piqued the interest in the first place.