Liverpool have been linked with both Boubakary Soumare and Sandro Tonali in recent weeks and months.
According to Le 10 Sport, the former is hoping for a move to either Anfield or Manchester United after turning down a switch to Newcastle during the January transfer window, whilst Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness) says that Jurgen Klopp likes the Italy international “a lot”.
Of course, there is unlikely to be space for both of them on Merseyside in the future. After all, the Reds are 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and are the European champions – they are not in need of any wholesale changes. However, one new arrival may be required if they are to stay at the top of the pile and, with the rumours of Georginio Wijnaldum potentially leaving the club in the summer, a spot in the first XI could be up for grabs. So, which one of these two would be the better choice for Klopp?
20-year-old Soumare currently plays for Lille in Ligue 1. As a defensive midfielder, he would be in line to replace Fabinho in defensive midfield, which may lead the Brazil international to move slightly further forward – he does have one goal and one assist so far this term, whilst he has managed nine goals in a league campaign in the past, so he clearly has the ability to provide attacking threat. However, Soumare’s addition would see the Reds lose out defensively. Before this weekend’s matches, the Frenchman had 1.1 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per game – a considerable drop on Fabinho’s 2.3 and 1.1 respectively.
Tonali, meanwhile, is more of an attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists for Brescia this term, which is good going for a side struggling at the bottom of the table. His input has been telling both going forward and at the back – he has 2.1 key passes and 1.4 dribbles per match in Serie A, as well as 1.2 tackles and 0.9 interceptions. In all four of those areas, he would be an improvement on 29-year-old Wijnaldum.
The two may not differ too much in price – the Magpies’ bid for Soumare was £45m including bonuses, whilst Massimo Cellino, Brescia’s president, wants a minimum of €50m (£42.4m) for the 19-year-old. However, Tonali has proven himself to be far more worthy, and would prove to be the more astute arrival.