Roberto Firmino’s natural successor is out there for Liverpool to find: His name is Kai Havertz.
The Bayer Leverkusen star has been in electric form for the Bundesliga side this season and would be a shrewd acquisition by sporting director Michael Edwards.
The London Evening Standard’s Reds reporter, David Lynch, says that such a move is unlikely, though, given the figures involved.
Indeed, a separate Daily Mirror article claims that the German side will aim to receive upwards of £70m for their prized asset, who has scored 38 goals and registered 30 assists in 139 games for the club.
Per WhoScored, in the Bundesliga, he has made 22 appearances this season, scoring six goals and registering five assists. Offensively, he has averaged 1.6 shots per game, 2.3 key passes, 2.3 dribbles, and has a passing accuracy of 87.1%.
Defensively, his statistics are negligible but this is a player who can play in central midfield, attacking midfield, and on both flanks, offering the versatility craved by Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
Comparing him with Firmino, too, is instructive. The Brazilian is significantly older than Havertz – 28 to 20 – but he also rose to prominence in the Bundesliga, playing for Hoffenheim.
This season, he has scored eight Premier League goals and registered seven assists. It should be noted, at this point, that those contributions have come across 29 games, compared to Havertz’s 22.
He also averages, per WhoScored, three shots per game, 1.3 key passes, and 1.7 dribbles, while he has a passing accuracy of 79.7%.
Havertz, already, outstrips him in most areas, and one has to assume that they would have a similar goal tally had they played the same amount of games.
Firmino has a unique skillset in that he is able to effectively link the midfield with the attack by dropping into pockets of space that opposition defenders often struggle to track.
He is the glue that holds the front three together, offering the poise to play difficult passes, but also the power to finish moves off and score goals himself.
Havertz does similar.
And this is why signing the German should be such a priority for the Reds.
To find a player who is cut from the same cloth as Firmino is rare enough but to find one who could potentially be his better is a different matter entirely.
Statistically, the 20-year-old is something of a freak; he will only get better, and he already looks on course to match the output of Liverpool’s current star.
It would be an expensive deal to do but Havertz is the successor to Firmino; Michael Edwards, the club’s sporting director, should pull out all the stops.