The early part of this week saw the endless Jude Bellingham rumours ramp up, as well as the on-going Moisés Caicedo links. What did make its first piece of noise however, was the talks of a possible loan move for Bayern Munich midfielder, Ryan Gravenberch. The 20-year-old only arrived at the Allianz Arena in the summer (from Ajax), for a deal valued at approximately €23m. His rise within the Eredivisie was something that enabled his move to the German champions, with his growing reputation placing him as one of the stars of the future. Unfortunately for the player, his impact in the Bundesliga has been less than emphatic, whilst making 18 appearances (across all competitions) so far this term. With a wealth of talent currently at Bayern, it appears there may be the possibility of a move away for the Dutchman, with his agent present at Liverpool’s game against Chelsea at the weekend. It would seem that all sort of links has surfaced in the days since, which may come to nothing, though is certainly something to keep an eye on.
Below are some details on the player.
Age – 20-years old (DOB 16/05/2002)
Current club – Bayern Munich
Height – 6ft 3inches
Weight – 83kg
Senior club appearances – 206 games
Senior club goals & assists – 36 / 34
Total minutes played – 15,329
International caps & goals – 11 games / 1 goal
To say this signing would add physicality to our midfield would be an understatement. His progressive passing and ability to drive forward from a central position is key, with much of his best work coming as the LCM in a midfield three, when at Ajax. Though his form has been somewhat sporadic in Germany, much of that would be down to differing systems and the fact that Gravenberch is still a young man learning his trade. In terms of his availability, it could be a case of the manager identifying a player more suited to their patterns of play. Julian Nagelsmann is a coach who often likes to adjust his system, though has invariably played with two central midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 this season. With Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Marcel Sabitzer, Jamal Musiala and Thomas Müller ahead of Ryan as either the central or attacking midfielders, it may just be the case that the number 38 is being lost in the shuffle, and is looking to progress his career elsewhere.
If Liverpool were to target this player (on a loan with an option to buy), it would be a no brainer for me. With Virgil and Cody Gakpo already at Anfield, there would at least be international colleagues waiting to greet the talented youngster. With Dutchman, Pepijn Lijnders, holding an important role as Jürgen Klopp’s number two, there would be even more support if the former Ajax product were to arrive. Stylistically, Gravenberch is a very good fit for the Reds, with a skill set that could see him play as either of the central midfield eights. With a superb culture and heritage to his game, he would come into the group with a meticulous background immersed in possession-based play. Liverpool do not require ultra-attacking midfielders right now, therefore a player like this 11-cap international would allow both depth and increase the first team levels immediately. Though loan moves have usually failed to work out at Anfield, this is a player that have vast room for growth, with Klopp often able to mould certain types into exactly what he requires.
Though reports of a loan move have already been dismissed by the Bundesliga outfit, it’s possible that there has been some form of contact between the two European giants. With Sadio Mané having departed (to Bayern) from Liverpool only last summer, that allows for some recent conversions between the clubs. It would be a long short to assume that Julian Ward could secure the services of such a coveted player, given he has spent less than a season under their employ. It is more likely that our outgoing Sporting Director is busy testing the European waters, with very little funds to work with this January.
If we did sign Ryan Gravenberch, it would be a very positive move for such a talented prospect. Reinforcing our middle ground is a crucial step forwards, and he would offer the ideal profile to immediately take the RCM spot. Though it’s highly unlikely a deal will actually materialise, it’s most definitely the correct type of player we should be monitoring.