Houssem Aouar: A hidden gem amongst Liverpool's transfer plans
Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Nicolo Barella are just some of the names being thrown around the Liverpool supporters when it comes to potential summer signings to bolster Jurgen Klopp’s midfield.
However, one name that very few seem to be pointing out is Olympique Lyon’s Houssem Aouar, who will be available on a free transfer when his current contract expires in June.
Who is Houssem Aouar?
Houssem Aouar is a right-footed 24-year-old midfielder, currently playing for Olympique Lyon in the French top flight, Ligue 1.
The Frenchman rose through the academy at the club, has representing the first-team since 2017 and has since made 230 appearances for the French side, scoring 41 goals and assisting 36.
As well as having success at club level, he has one cap for France’s first team as well as representing them in multiple youth sides.
How would Aouar fit in Klopp’s system?
In my opinion, Aouar would be a perfect player to bring competition and possible rotation to Thiago Alcantara’s role on the left-hand side of the midfield three.
Over recent years, Klopp has often turned to Naby Keita in that role but with the Guinean set to leave in the summer, Aouar could fill that void for no cost.
I struggle to see Aouar slotting into the opposite side of the midfield three, mainly due to the defensive responsibilities on that side in terms of covering for Trent Alexander-Arnold when he goes forward.
The 24-year-old is certainly capable of playing as a box-to-box midfielder, who could press with high intensity – but also has the natural creative ability to play as the main link between the midfield and attacking lines.
Another important point to consider is the age profile of Aouar is one that is desperately needed within the current Liverpool squad.
On one end of the scale we have the likes of Stefan Bajcetic (18) and Harvey Elliott (19), who has featured in nearly every game so far this season.
There is then a big age gap in the midfield until the likes of Fabinho (29), Thiago Alcantara (31) and Jordan Henderson (32) come into play.
Aouar may not be the player to turn a 70 point season into a 90 point season for the Reds – but he could prove to be a crucial rotational player, bringing an abundance of depth and talent.
How realistic is the signing of Aouar?
With this move costing nothing in terms of a transfer fee and Aouar’s wages unlikely to be higher than what Naby Keita was earning at the club – I see no reason why this couldn’t be a deal that Liverpool secured early on in the window.
At the moment, there is yet to be any concrete rumours linking with the Frenchman to any specific club except the odd link to Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma.
I have no doubt that we would be able to get this transfer completed, but it’s simply down to what Jurgen Klopp wants from this summer window.
Ultimately, I believe this could be a smart piece of business from the Reds, allowing them to splash the cash on other signings like a Barella or a Rice.