Liverpool have been linked with a move for AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu as the summer transfer window approaches.
What’s the story?
Serie A giants Juventus and Qatari outfit Al-Duhail are also credited with an interest in Calhanoglu as the race for his signature hots up.
Klopp needs him
Liverpool’s all-action gegenpressing style has proved hugely successful for Jurgen Klopp’s men in recent years.
A first Premier League title arrived just 12 months after the enigmatic German manager delivered the Anfield outfit’s sixth European crown but a hugely substandard 2020/21 campaign has left the need for some readjustments on Merseyside.
The high-energy, direct nature of Liverpool’s attacking play was fuelled by the work rate and tireless running of their midfielders.
Whether it was Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Fabinho taking up residence in the centre of the park, Klopp’s charges would regularly win the ball back high up the pitch before playing quick, simple passes to their famed front three.
However, their usually high standards dropped in the recently-concluded campaign, and a lack of alternative options available throughout Liverpool’s squad hurt the 19-time English champions.
Ever since Philippe Coutinho departed for Barcelona in January 2018, Klopp has been unable to call upon the service of a natural number 10.
The arrival of Thiago last summer added a deep-lying playmaker to Liverpool’s ranks, but the absence of a creative talent who thrives on playing intricate passes and through balls from an advanced midfield area has been noticeable in recent years.
Acquiring the services of Calhanoglu could solve that particular problem and Klopp may need the Turkey international if he wants to regain the Premier League crown for Liverpool.
Milan manager Stefan Pioli has praised the former Bayer Leverkusen wizard’s ability after his impressive performances in Italy, saying: “He knows how to marry perfectly with the game of his teammates. I have great respect for him, and with intelligent players, you can play great games. He has the qualities to have some more goals.”
Twelve assists in 43 appearances for the Rossoneri in 2020/21 illustrates the quality that Calhanoglu would bring to Anfield, and given that he’s available on a free transfer, it’s a signing which makes sense for many reasons for Klopp and Liverpool.