After winning the Champions League, Liverpool fans will still be on cloud nine. The celebrations should rightly continue, but casting an eye to the summer would be a wise move also, and Liverpool simply cannot afford to miss out on Bruno Fernandes.
The Portuguese midfield maestro has been one of the most impressive players in Europe this season and according to Portuguese outlet Record, Fernandes has already hinted at a willingness to move to Merseyside by praising the coaching methods of Jurgen Klopp. And even more encouragingly, the same publication (via Sport Witness) has named Liverpool as one of the three Premier League clubs interested in signing the 24-year-old, alongside Manchester United and Tottenham.
What Fernandes would add at Anfield is what a lot of people believed Naby Keita would bring last summer. The Guinean midfielder arrived with plenty of hype but his debut season was mightily disappointing.
After impressive campaigns for RB Leipzig, a lot was expected of the dynamic midfield man and given how he’s fallen below expectations with just two goals and one assist in the Premier League, Fernandes could quickly push him down the pecking order.
Across the course of the season, the Portuguese playmaker featured 53 times and has come mightily close to providing a goal or an assist in each of those appearances, his 32 goals and 18 assists meaning he contributed to a whopping 50 goals.
With those numbers, he’d be a perfect fit on Merseyside and solve easily the biggest problem in Liverpool’s starting XI – a lack of consistent goals from the middle of the park. The forward line is set and the defence is sensationally solid, but the Reds’ engine room just doesn’t offer much offensively – a mere 12 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League last term.
The way that Klopp operates his 4-3-3 system requires three different types of midfielders. Fabinho thrives at the base of the trio, whilst one of Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner or Jordan Henderson play as an industrious box-to-box man just in front of him.
The final role is where problems have occurred, though. With Keita out of form and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injured, they haven’t had a star man to step up in the final third to support the attack from midfield, and that’s exactly where Fernandes would find his niche.
Finding a goalscoring creative midfielder to roam behind the Reds’ deadly front three should be a priority this summer, and after Fernandes’ comments to Record, the Merseysiders would be foolish not to battle hard for his signature. He could be the final piece of the jigsaw in what is already an incredibly impressive starting XI.