After failing to land Timo Werner, Liverpool will have to look elsewhere for another forward option. The rapid German, who is bound for Stamford Bridge and Chelsea, was deemed as perfect for the Reds, so it came as a big blow to their fanbase when the 24-year-old committed to Frank Lampard in a money-spinning deal.
The reigning Premier League champions — whose financial muscle, along with 99% of all clubs around the world, has been lessened by the ongoing pandemic — may have to think outside the box to add more attacking ballast to the established firepower of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
One player who could provide Liverpool with a different tactical option is Wolfsburg’s towering Dutch centre forward Wout Weghorst. The towering Dutchman finished the Bundesliga season — which had its curtain call last weekend — with 18 goals and three assists.
In a recent article, David Lynch of the London Standard — who is well connected to the club — said that the Reds would consider adding a new element to play in the transfer market, targeting a player who could assist in playing against teams like Atletico Madrid — whose ultra-defensive approach nullified the reigning European Champions, limiting their space and neutering their attack — who knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League.
Weghorst, who stands at 6’6″, is a player who could help the Reds switch their point of attack and provide a crossing option for their full-backs, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander Arnold, and a reference point for the other players — including midfielders running from deep — to play off. Of the 27-year-old’s 126 career goals, 24 have come from headers and this is an attribute which Salah, Mane, and Firmino — all of whom are admittedly not bad in the air — cannot match. Robertson and Alexander Arnold have, between them, 43 Premier League assists last season and in the ongoing campaign and could have a field day playing with four times capped Netherlands international.
It’s not as if Weghorst, who averages 1.2 key passes per 90 this season, doesn’t add creativity either, having provided — across stints with FC Emmen, Heracles, AZ Alkmaar and Wolfsburg — 36 career assists for his team-mates. Roberto Firmino thrived in the Bundesliga playing off a target man, Anthony Modeste, at Hoffenheim in a 4231 shape and this is an approach that could be replicated at Anfield if the Dutchman made the move to England’s north-west.
Burley and tall players often get typecast as unintelligent and cumbersome, but the Dutchman — in a similar manner to Peter Crouch in his stint at Anfield — could offer the Reds a focal point that would assist in the penetration of low block defences, a tactical approach that Liverpool face in the vast majority of their games. During his pomp at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud — a similarly built centre forward — was a massive factor in the Gunners qualifying for the Champions League by dint of regularly beating the teams lower down the division. With Alexander Arnold and Robertson so adept at crossing, teams will have to commit men to closing them down and stopping them at source, which, in turn, leaves space further infield for the midfielders and other forwards to thrive.
To sweeten any potential deal, Weghorst, who Wolfsburg signed in the summer of 2018, recently admitted in an interview with the Dutch media that he has long held ambitions of playing for Liverpool.
“I’ve dreamt of [playing for Liverpool] since childhood,” he told De Telegraaf. “If I continue to train with full commitment, I think that opportunity will come. Of course, something like that depends on several factors. You have to stay fit and a coach and club must see it in you, but apart from that you can create many things in life for yourself.”
It may not be the most glamorous of signings, but Weghorst — whose passion for the club would endear him to fans — could be a clever signing for the Reds.