Marco Reus has often been linked with Premier League clubs but his anticipated move to the English top flight could finally materialise this summer, following reports that the Borussia Dortmund star has stalled contract talks at Westfalen.
News of the German international’s apparent £20million release clause, set to come into effect in summer 2015, was brought to light during the off-season by none other than Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. It was assumed however, Reus’s loyalty, despite his availability, remained firmly with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
But with discussions over a new deal – that would eradicate his remarkably cheap buy-out fee -reportedly hitting a sour note, potential suitors will feel their chances of signing Reus have dramatically improved. And according to the tabloids, Arsenal and Liverpool have emerged as the most interested parties.
It won’t be the clear-cut choice the British press are currently making out. After all, Reus is regarded as one of the most exciting attacking talents in European football, and at just 25 years of age, virtually every major club on the continent will look to capitalise upon the opportunity to sign the forward for his best years.
But in the interests of debate, the question must be asked; who should Marco Reus choose – the Mersey outfit or the Gunners?
Liverpool need a new hero after losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona this summer and Reus is more than capable of filling that void with a paralleled talismanic tone.
It may not be an achievement of recognised value like trophies or titles, but maintaining the tradition of world-class attacking talent at Anfield is an honour in its own right. Reus possesses the quality to rival the likes of Michael Owen, Luis Suarez, Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres and Kenny Dalglish in Liverpool’s history books, and one can already envisage him in the famous No.7 jersey.
That nostalgic prestige won’t be enough on its own however, and at this moment in time, it remains to be seen just where Brendan Rodgers can take the club in terms of silverware. Following their subdued start to the season, even Liverpool’s Champions League status is currently under threat.
History tells us too that Anfield is more of a stepping stone than a final destination. Many of the aforementioned names left for huge money to the world’s top clubs. Having already more than proved his worth at Borussia Dortmund, it’s not as if Reus needs the platform Liverpool would provide to attract attention from Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Philosophically however, Liverpool’s style of play suits the Germany star well. The Anfield outfit share many characteristics with the Black-Yellows; particularly, their industriousness, desire to defend from the front and the ability to move the ball at breakneck pace going forward. In theory, Reus would transition to life on Merseyside with few teething pains.
Not that he’d be in any way alien to Arsenal’s brand of football. Reus is best famed for his electric pace but the forward’s technical qualities are equally astounding. And the level of talent on the display at the Emirates is arguably more alluring than Anfield- the prospect of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Reus operating in attacking tandem verges upon orgasmic. You could throw Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere into that equation too.
The recent plight of Mesut Ozil however should serve as a warning to Reus. Arsene Wenger spent around £80million to bring Ozil and Sanchez to the Emirates, but he’s yet to truly mould the team around either of them – something the Dortmund star would surely expect should he join the Arsenal ranks next summer.
Of course, Reus is an exceptionally versatile footballer but that same characteristic has served his countryman poorly, who now finds himself regularly lingering in an unaccommodating role on the right hand side. The core of the issue is Arsenal’s depth of quality in midfield; Wenger struggles to find room for all and, as is the case with Ozil, eventually settles on an uneasy compromise.
Comparatively, at Liverpool, Reus would be uncontested for his habitual role on the left hand side; currently, the Anfield roster is absent of established wide options. How he would fit into a strike-force that already contains two elite strikers in Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge however, or how Rodgers would balance gametime between the German, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the No.10 role, remain further conundrums.
Admittedly, the differences between the two clubs are rather minimal. Both will be competing for the same aims in the league this season, both will be challenging regularly for auxiliary silverware, and both employ a style of football that suits Reus’ natural strengths as a footballer.
In terms of the starting Xi however, I feel that there would be a natural role for Reus at Liverpool, or at least, Brendan Rodgers will feel obliged to carve one for him. For Arsenal on the other hand, he’d only be exacerbating a situation that Arsene Wenger is already struggling to resolve.
That being said, a year in the world of Premier League football is a very, very long time.
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