“We have enough strikers – five with Roberto [Firmino] – but not too many wingers, just a few young ones with great potential.”
If ever there was a hint that Liverpool will be chasing wide attacking players this summer, then Jurgen Klopp dropped it yesterday. The Reds chief openly revealed that he’s not entirely happy with his options on the flanks, and it’s hard not to agree with the German that he indeed hasn’t got the players he needs.
Only Jordon Ibe fits the bill terms of being a winger, but the youngster is still finding himself as a player and sways between sublime and anonymous when he’s called upon. Inexperienced players like Ryan Kent are available to Klopp, but with a plethora of players suited to the ‘No.10’ position, snapping up a genuine wide option, or two, seems to be a sensible approach going forward.
And, there are plenty of potential additions out there. Here are FIVE…
After a fairly nomadic career that saw him struggle to break through at Atletico Madrid before moving off to play in Ukraine and Greece, Perez seems to have found his feet at Deportivo La Coruna over the course of the past 18 months. The 27-year-old’s form this season in particular has been stunning, with the wide-man having netted 14 La Liga goals – a tally above that of big name wingers such as Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann – to become the focal point of an over-performing side at the Riazor
Not a traditional ‘chalk on the boots’ winger, Perez has been used centrally fairly often by Depor this season, but his natural position has always been on the right flank, from where he likes to drift inside and link the play. It’s hard to tell if this season is a one off from the Spaniard, but Klopp is understood to be interested in him.
Even though world champions Germany rarely operate with orthodox wingers, Karim Bellarabi has been in and around their squad for the past 18 months, winning 10 caps. This really is testament to his quality, with the Bayer Leverkusen man having long been talked about as one of the best players in his position in the Bundesliga – something Klopp is sure to be aware of.
With pace and an eye for goal – he netted 12 in the league last season – Bellarabi would seem suited to the style of football being ushered in at Anfield, however, he’s unlikely to come cheap!
Somewhat forgotten in Paris Saint-Germain’s list of stellar names, Moura was once heralded as one of the very best wide attackers on the planet. He made his big move from Sao Paulo to the Parc des Princes in 2012, and although he’s shown promise, the 23-year-old has struggled to really cement himself in the starting XI – a feat that’s now even tougher with Angel di Maria around.
There have already been links between Liverpool and Moura, and with Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Lucas at Anfield, there is perhaps scope to lure him away from guaranteed title challenges and Champions League football to be part of the ‘project’ under Klopp.
Not strictly a ‘signing’, Markovic is, of course, already a Liverpool player, albeit it’s hard to argue that the club have seen what he’s really capable of yet. The Serbian endured a difficult debut campaign under Brendan Rodgers, often being shifted to a right-sided wing-back role, and seemed to have been deemed surplus to requirements by the Northern Irishman after being shipped off to Fenerbahce over the summer for the 2015/16 season.
Reports suggest that Klopp, however, has left the door ajar for the 21-year-old after being impressed by his performances in Turkey. Markovic may have looked a little lightweight in his first Anfield spell, but it’s worth remembering that he was long heralded as one of the best young players in Europe, has won league titles in Portugal and Serbia and was valued at £20m. Maybe under the right guidance he could shine.
Able to play as either a left-sided attacking midfielder or up front, Ntep boasts the versatility and physicality to be a key player under Klopp. The France international broke through at Auxerre – the club that produced Eric Cantona – and since moving to Rennes he has proven himself to be an able, if a bit inconsistent, attacking player at the top level.
Ntep, at 23, seems to be a rough diamond, and Klopp has shown in the past that he can extract ability from potential.