2RFK143 Hamburg, Deutschland. 28th July, 2023. firo : 07/28/2023, football, soccer, 2nd league, 2nd Bundesliga, season 2023/2024, HSV Hamburg Hamburg, HSV Hamburg Hamburg Hamburg - FC Schalke 04 Assan OUEDRAOGO, Schalke, half figure Credit: dpa/Alamy Live News

Liverpool could sign ‘next Xabi Alonso’ for £12m within the next fortnight

Liverpool are among the English clubs reported to be interested in Schalke midfield wonderkid Assan Ouedraogo, who is available for just £12 million.

Ouedraogo was first linked with a move to Anfield in October, when Liverpool were named along with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Brighton and Everton as suitors.

Soon after, talks with the 18-year-old’s camp were reported in Germany, with the Reds one of several clubs making contact with his representatives.

Eight months later, and Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg claims that Liverpool, Man United, Aston Villa and Newcastle have all made contact to gauge interest in a move to the Premier League.

Plettenberg claimed on Saturday that Ouedraogo was “waiting for a call from Bayern” to determine whether he would land his preferred move to Munich.

But the journalist has since reported that Bayern had “officially informed” the youngster that they would not be pursuing a deal with Schalke.

That has opened up the prospect of a move to Liverpool, who would be able to take advantage of a £12 million release clause in Ouedraogo’s contract.

The clause is strictly for Premier League clubs, and Plettenberg claims that it “must be activated by mid-June,” setting a clear deadline for interested parties.

Ouedraogo made his debut for Schalke’s first team in July, becoming the club’s youngest-ever player and goalscorer as he netted in a 5-3 defeat to Hamburg.

He has been used in a variety of positions throughout his young career but is now settling into life as a midfielder, with comparisons even drawn with Xabi Alonso.

“The Schalke midfielder is more of natural No. 8 than a No. 6, and he has the potential to be a difference-maker in games with his eye for goal and incisive passing range,” GOAL‘s James Westwood wrote in a profile of Ouedraogo in April.

The teenager stands at a lofty 6’3″ but Westwood explained that he is “surprisingly nimble for such a tall player, and an accomplished ball carrier who has no trouble operating in tight spaces.”

His report continued:

“Schalke began relying on Ouedraogo to break through the lines in the first half of the season, and he’s very difficult to stop once in full flow because of his explosive pace and close ball control.

“He also wreaks havoc when receiving the ball on the half-turn and has a very direct style of play, with a mature head on his shoulders belying his tender age.

“As previously mentioned, he is also a huge threat from corners, and has proven he can be deadly with either foot when he gets into shooting range.

“There is every chance Ouedraogo can become a great goalscorer as well as a masterful all-round midfielder, and it won’t be long before he earns his first cap for Germany if he continues on his current trajectory.”

It remains to be seen, of course, whether Liverpool’s reported interest in Ouedraogo will develop into a concrete move.

But with the clock ticking, we could discover sooner rather than later.