This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Spanish publication MARCA, Liverpool are keeping an eye on Real Madrid man Dani Ceballos ahead of a potential move for the midfielder this summer.
The report claims Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has made it clear Ceballos doesn’t fit into his plans for next season, which has alerted the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham to his services.
It adds interest from Anfield has grown in recent weeks and that whilst Jurgen Klopp’s side would not consider a loan move for the Spaniard, they would be prepared to strike a permanent deal.
Despite their triumph in the Champions League last month, the Reds still rely on their much-vaunted front-three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane for the bulk of the goals.
In fact, the side has been so geared to getting the best out of their attacking trident that contributions from their midfield players are rather lacking. Per BBC, James Milner led the midfield ranks with seven goals last season, due mainly to penalties, while the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson mustered a measly five and one respectively.
Whilst the club were vindicated in their approach by lifting the European trophy, Klopp will no doubt be hoping that players from other areas of the pitch can ease the burden on the forwards next season. Step forward, Ceballos.
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The Real Madrid star shone in Spain’s victorious U21 European Championships earlier this summer, and offered a tantalising glimpse of the enormous potential he has – if used correctly. At the Bernabeu, Ceballos was often hidden in the shadows, drowned out of the spotlight by the rest of the Galacticos.
But for Spain, he really came into his own. In his five appearances in the tournament, he scored twice and assisted a further two and recorded some extraordinary numbers on the whole. Averaging three shots, 2.8 key passes and 3.8 dribbles per game, Ceballos was well and truly at the heart of everything going forward for the side.
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Playing as a number ten but capable of drifting deeper into midfield or interchanging with the wide players, the 22-year-old showed a willingness to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
They were the kind of performances that Liverpool bought Naby Keita for last summer. Instead, the Guinea international’s debut campaign ended with just three goals and an assist over the entire season.
So when Liverpool look to fight Manchester City for the Premier League title next season, a midfield goal threat like Ceballos could be the sort of game-changing signing the Reds need.