Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool has been a little strange. In truth things weren’t catastrophic under Brendan Rodgers, but towards the end fan unrest was growing, while the football on show was, if not terrible, pretty uninspiring. Since then ‘Kloppmania’ has stretched its arms around the whole club and embraced the Reds in a tight hug – akin to those Jurgen gives his players on the touchline – and the ‘feel-good factor’ is certainly back.
What Klopp has managed to achieve so far at Anfield is nothing short of miraculous, with the 48-year-old German having been parachuted in just about as far from a transfer window as was possible and handed a squad of stars not living up to potential. He’s revived players who looked to have lost their way such as Jordon Ibe and Roberto Firmino, but it’s clear that he will need his own signings at some point.
January and the transfer window that grips the month are now firmly on the horizon, and among the names being linked with Liverpool one stands out above others… Leroy Sane. While a goalkeeper to replace/challenge Simon Mignolet or another centre-back may be options fans want more, the 19-year-old is certainly exciting.
Is there interest?
In a word, yes. German tabloid Bild have already claimed that a £10m offer has been made, while respected Liverpool Echo journalist James Pearce told Anfield HQ that the teenager is “certainly a player Liverpool have scouted”. With Klopp fully aware of the talent in German football, this seems to be a case of 2+2 adding up to 4.
Is he worth the effort?
This season is the first in which Sane has been a ‘first-team regular’ at Schalke, and he’s certainly delivered thus far. Four Bundesliga goals and assists in 13 games (eight starts) is a solid return for a wide attacker, while he’s also shone in the Europa League with a further goal and assist in just over four hours of play. 1.8-shots-per-game is also encouraging in terms of his attacking output and confidence, while Sane’s three dribbles-per-match show that he’s willing to get on the ball and drive at opponents – which is the sort of threat Klopp has only from Ibe at the moment.
Does he fit
Both in terms of playing position and profile… yes. Able to play on either flank or as a ‘No. 10’, Sane is well suited to the 4-3-2-1 and the 4-2-3-1 formations Klopp has been using and his pace could offer the sort of threat from wide that the German boss is missing – the likes of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Firmino all want to drift inside. As well as fitting on the pitch, his age and sell-on potential fit with Fenway Sports Group’s model.
Depending on the fee, he certainly is. Much more than the mooted £10m would be too large of a risk, but for a respectable figure (somewhere below £15m) a deal makes sense. Getting Sane so early is a gamble, but Liverpool are operating in a niche that requires some speculative moves, and Klopp is in need of some pace and guile.
Stats via WhoScored