Saudi Riches Reshaping Liverpool’s Transfer Strategy

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Liverpool’s Midfield: Saudi Arabia Influencing Change

Liverpool are no strangers to evolution, but the recent transfers seem to be taking things to a whole new level. They’re on the brink of saying goodbye to midfield stalwarts who’ve collectively notched up 1,318 appearances in the famous red jersey.

We’ve already seen departures, like James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, who together contributed a solid 607 appearances. However, the potential exits of Jordan Henderson (491 appearances) and Fabinho (219 appearances) signal a deeper reshaping than anticipated.

Saudi Connection

The rumblings from Saudi Arabia are hard to ignore. Fabinho found himself amidst a whirlwind when Saudi club Al-Ittihad placed a £40m bid for him. Consequently, he missed out on Liverpool’s trip to a training camp in Germany. Henderson’s affiliation with Al-Ettifaq also hints at a seismic shift. After being conspicuously absent from Liverpool’s pre-season clash against Karlsruher, whispers grew louder about a £12m deal, including add-ons, with the Saudi team.

Both Henderson and Fabinho had a challenging last season. But unlike their counterparts, they weren’t intended to be shown the exit. Initially, Liverpool’s approach seemed centred around complementing new signings like Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai with a successor for Fabinho. With Southampton’s youngster Romeo Lavia being on the radar, Fabinho’s potential departure has shaken things up.

Renowned for his ‘lighthouse’ and ‘Dyson’ monikers, Fabinho has been instrumental in the holding midfield position. And while the club might manage Henderson’s absence using existing resources, filling Fabinho’s shoes is a more intricate task.

Midfield Candidates: Who’s Next?

Young talent Stefan Bajcetic showed promise last season, but entrusting him with Fabinho’s responsibilities seems a stretch, especially given his recent injury. Other young talents like Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott will rejoin the squad. But neither they nor Thiago Alcantara perfectly fit the holding midfield mould.

Brighton’s Moises Caicedo has the potential to fit snugly into Liverpool’s midfield puzzle. But with Chelsea lurking and a £70m bid already turned down, the race is on.

Liverpool’s Midfield Metrics

Source: Opta

  • Jordan Henderson: 492 games, 33 goals, 57 assists
  • James Milner: 332 games, 26 goals, 45 assists
  • Fabinho: 219 games, 11 goals, 9 assists
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 146 games, 18 goals, 13 assists
  • Naby Keita: 129 games, 11 goals, 6 assists

Jorg Schmadtke’s Pivotal Role

The baton of decision-making has been passed to Liverpool’s new sporting director, Jorg Schmadtke, succeeding Julian Ward. His capabilities will be put to the test, especially with Fabinho’s situation being the curveball nobody saw coming.

There’s an emphasis on pace too. Both Mac Allister and Szoboszlai came on board prior to the pre-season – a move aimed at helping them integrate into Klopp’s system before the new season. Any fresh face will need to quickly adapt, given that the Reds kick off their season against Chelsea on 13 August.

Klopp’s Evolution Strategy

Questions loom large. Could the scale of this midfield transformation have been limited if Liverpool’s previous midfield signing wasn’t as distant as Thiago in 2020? After all, Klopp’s squad has seen other shifts, like the exits of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and the arrivals of forwards like Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, and Cody Gakpo.

With both midfield and attack under the microscope, it’s a waiting game to see if Klopp can steer this team to title-winning glory once again. Last season’s finale, where the Reds clinched 23 out of 27 points, laid the foundation. But building on that success is the real challenge that awaits.

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