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Liverpool ‘in mix’ for $72m England star who could be Jürgen Klopp’s Thiago transfer replacement

Liverpool has a lot to think about in its midfield transfer rebuild. Replacing Thiago won’t be top of Jürgen Klopp’s agenda, but a good candidate could be available.



It is due to be a big summer at Anfield as Liverpool looks to add some reinforcements in several areas, following a season of mixed fortunes. Of course, Jürgen Klopp’s staff will be assessing a variety of options, with as many as four current midfielders potentially set to depart.


Although Liverpool will be buoyed by the recent upturn in form, culminating in the 7-0 demolition of Manchester United at Anfield, Klopp will probably be looking to add some experience to his midfield ahead of next season. There is a dearth of options in their prime years, which is likely to be something his recruitment staff will look to rectify.


Although the top target will likely be Jude Bellingham, it is fair to suggest that one addition in midfield will not suffice if James Milner, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Naby Keïta all depart as free agents this summer, with Arthur Melo expected to return to parent club Juventus.


The elephant in the room in this regard is the fact that both Milner and Oxlade Chamberlain qualify as homegrown players, meaning that Liverpool may want to bring in some additions who can help to fill this quota. One such solution could be Leicester City’s James Maddison, who currently has less than 18 months left on his contract at the King Power Stadium.


According to Football Insider, Liverpool would need to match the Foxes’ valuation of the England international, who is available for a fee of around $72m(£60m/€67m). They suggest that the Reds currently have an ‘active interest’ in Maddison and are ‘expected to be in the mix for his signature’, alongside Newcastle and Tottenham, this summer. It is also worth noting that Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers said last month that he ‘won’t be begging for a player to stay’, when he was asked about Maddison’s future.


Thiago Alcântara is one Liverpool midfielder who won’t be going anywhere this summer. But given his advancing years and the fact that, he too, will be out of contract in 2024, it perhaps does not seem too unlikely that Klopp would target a midfielder who is known primarily for his creative output.

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Stefan Bajčetić and Harvey Elliott may be candidates to replace the Spanish ace in the long term but perhaps the links with Maddison, who has 150 Premier League appearances to his name, are not too far-fetched given the tender ages of both of those players.

The England international operates mostly as a a box-to-box midfielder for the Foxes and has excelled on the left of a midfield three, as one of two attacking midfielders in front of Wilfred Ndidi. One misconception appears to be that Maddison’s game is purely based around attacking, however, and it is worth noting that he is in the 83rd percentile of all midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues for tackles in the past year, according to metrics website FBref.

Clearly, his eagerness to win the ball back would particularly appeal to Klopp, who famously operates with a gegenpressing style. His forward and midfield players are expected to make significant efforts to regain possession in the final third and look to create chances.

James Maddison of Leicester City could be an option for Liverpool in the transfer market this summer (Image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)


On top of this, Maddison’s numbers comfortably mean he is one of Europe’s top midfielders in terms of attacking output, and it is easy to see why several Premier League clubs are interested in acquiring the 26-year-old’s signature, given his impressive record of goals and assists from midfield over the last three seasons.


Maddison has followed up a total of 20 Premier League strikes over the past two seasons with another nine in 17 appearances so far this term, demonstrating his keen eye for goal, alongside five assists. It is also worth noting that Maddison is in the 89th percentile for progressive passes and the 81st percentile for shot-creating actions in FBref’s data this year across Europe’s top five leagues, which interestingly puts him alongside the likes Mason Mount, who has been heavily been linked with Liverpool in recent weeks.


Klopp could do a lot worse than adding a player of Maddison’s experience to his squad this summer. He may well end up signing a player who, very quietly, has developed into one of Europe’s best creative players in the process.


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