We’re now just over a month away from Christmas, New Year’s and perhaps most importantly of all, the opening of the January transfer window.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has now enjoyed the best part of two months at the Anfield helm, allowing him to adequately assess the quality of player at his disposal, but the German gaffer won’t truly be able to imprint his own ideals onto the squad until he signs a few recruits of his own choosing.
Resultantly, Liverpool are the club to look out for in the coming transfer window. Although it seems unlikely a major overhaul will be instigated midseason, the Reds look set to make at least a few additions to kickstart the Klopp era.
And we could see the 48-year-old revert back to his old stomping ground to achieve that aim, namely the Bundesliga. He won the division title in successive seasons during his spell at Borussia Dortmund and certainly knows where its brightest and cheapest gems are stashed away.
Just in case Klopp is short on a few ideas, however, here’s a list of FIVE Bundesliga stars Football FanCast think Liverpool should target in the January window…
A natural winger is one of the glaring omissions in Liverpool’s current squad and Karim Bellarabi represents one of the Bundesliga’s best in that regard.
He was nothing short of sensational for Bayer Leverkusen last season, bagging an impressive twelve goals and six assists in 33 Bundesliga outings whilst averaging the most successful dribbles per match, 4.7, of any player in the division.
The 25-yea-rold is yet to rekindle that form this season, finding just two goals and one assist in 13 league appearances. But sixth-place Bayer have been below par as a collective and through his explosive power and pace on the counter-attack, the German international seems particularly befitting of Premier League football.
ESPN rate Bellarabi at around the £15million mark, which should be well within Liverpool’s financial reach. But under contract at the BayArena until 2020, Leverkusen will feel under no obligation to sell midseason.
Since taking the Anfield helm last month, Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly insisted that he won’t attempt to raid former club Borussia Dortmund for their best players. But if there’s one Black-Yellow who’d certainly consider a move to Merseyside, its defender Neven Subotic.
The somewhat more passive partner to Mats Hummels, the Serbian international has been overshadowed by the German World Cup winner for much of his Black-Yellows career. But he’s a highly-talented defender in his own right and particularly on the deck, with a sharp turn of pace, a strong reading of the game and a penchant for last-ditch tackles.
The 26-year-old signed a contract extension until 2018 in May but much has changed at Westfalenstadion since then. There’s a new manager at the helm and Subotic has spent almost the entirety of the season injured due to a recurring back problem, with Hummels and Greek international Sokratis excelling in his absence.
Resultantly, the 6 foot 2 defender could find starting opportunities hard to come by when returning to full fitness and Liverpool certainly need another option at centre-half with £20million man Dejan Lovren still struggling to convince. Having also worked under the Liverpool gaffer at former club Mainz, Subotic would be the ideal signing to kick off the Klopp era at Anfield.
Another Bundesliga-based centre-back option worth Liverpool’s consideration ahead of the January transfer window is FC Schalke’s Joel Matip.
The 24-year-old is enjoying a fantastic start to the season at the Veltins Arena, featuring in every minute of their league campaign thus far whilst averaging 1.5 tackles, 3.5 interceptions, 5.5 clearances and 3.8 successful aerial duels per match. He’s also claimed two goals, one assist and two Man of the Match awards according to Whoscored.com.
Klopp likes his teams to build from the back and the Cameroon international would be ideal in that regard, having spent as much of his Schalke career in midfield as at the heart of defence. Indeed, in addition to boasting an incredibly athletic and agile 6 foot 4 frame, Matip offers composure, quality and occasional flair on the ball.
Perhaps most appealingly of all, his Miners contract is set to expire at the end of the season. Despite murmurings of an improved deal, nothing has materialised just yet and should the situation remain the same in January, Liverpool have a fantastic chance to prize away a talented, young and versatile defender on the cheap.
Liverpool were linked with Granit Xhaka earlier this month and the Borussia Monchengladbach star would certainly be an impressive addition to their midfield.
The Switzerland international has been compared to Steven Gerrard in the past and even dubbed ‘young Schweinsteiger’ by former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, sharing the duo’s blend of robust upper-body strength, mixed-range passing and the ability to find the net from distance.
The 23-year-old has often caught the eye since joining Die Fohlen in summer 2012 and indeed for ex-employers FC Basel, but he’s been in exceptionally good form this season; notching up three goals in eleven appearances whilst averaging 2.2 tackles, 3.2 interceptions, 1.5 shots and 1.1 successful dribbles per match.
He’s also been amongst Gladbach’s best performers in the Champions League, awarded an average rating of 7.46 by Whoscred.com.
Xhaka seems destined to ply his trade at a higher level but under contract until 2019, it will take a considerable offer to convince his club to sell in the coming transfer window.
Mario Gotze may have scored the winning goal in a World Cup final, but his career at club level has taken a significant hit since moving to the Allianz Arena in summer 2013.
Indeed, the German international was deemed one of the most promising youngsters in world football when tipping the midfield of Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side, but has gone on to see just 4476 minutes’ worth of action in the Bundesliga under Pep Guardiola, which works out at just shy of 50 full appearances from a possible 81, and often finds himself benched for Bayern Munich’s most important Champions League fixtures.
The 23-year-old’s agent made plenty of noise about leaving during the summer due to a lack of game time and having made just six starts across all competitions so far this time, the issue will undoubtedly rise up again in the new year.
A supremely natural talent who previously flourished under Klopp and has proved effective in a variety of roles throughout the middle and final third, Gotze represents an ambitious albeit plausible coup for the Merseysiders.
Likewise, his contract will be into its final 18 months come the January transfer window, so a decent bid could convince the Bavarians to cash in.