Liverpool were widely believed to be in the market for a central midfielder this summer, and a surprise transfer target has been revealed following the conclusion of the window.
The Reds were left with a sizeable gap in their engine room following the departure of Gini Wijnaldum, and the likes of Saul Niguez and Renato Sanches were linked with a move to Merseyside as a result.
No formal offer materialised for any potential target, though, but Goal’s Liverpool reporter Neil Jones has revealed a previously unknown Premier League star was on their wish list. According to Jones, the Reds were interested in signing Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, as he was someone who caught the eye of the club’s hierarchy and was looked at by the recruitment team.
However, nothing came of the Anfield club’s interest, and despite several bids from Aston Villa, the 26-year-old put pen to paper on a new contract at St Mary’s, committing his future to the south coast outfit.
After rising through the ranks of his boyhood club, Ward-Prowse has established himself as one of the Premier League’s top midfielders outside of the traditional ‘big six’ clubs, scoring 34 goals and providing 42 assists in 326 appearances for the Saints.
The £27m-rated beast has cultivated a reputation as a tireless workhorse in the middle of the park, blessed with a brilliant passing range and outstanding dead ball ability in recent years, earning himself eight England caps and a raft of plaudits.
“(He’s) such an important player for Southampton. His technique from free-kicks has been so good for a long time. How he can generate the pace to get it up and down over the wall is incredible,” Sutton said.
“He’s a really good footballer, isn’t he, a versatile footballer, Gareth Southgate rates him highly. He’s been in the (England) squad now for a while.
“For Southampton, he’s a player now who I think all the players there look to.”
Therefore, Klopp is likely to be gutted that the Liverpool hierarchy didn’t make a move for Ward-Prowse over the summer despite their interest.
His addition to the club’s ranks would have seriously bolstered the German’s options in the middle of the park, adding the strength in depth needed to fight on multiple fronts.