Liverpool’s Rejected Bid
Liverpool have reportedly had a bid rejected for LASK winger, Keito Nakamura, according to reports from Santi Aouna.
The reported bid would see the Reds pay around £7 million for the Japan international, and the forward would be loaned back to the Austrian side for the 2023-24 campaign.
The 22-year-old isn’t publically a topic of interest to any other big European clubs, meaning Liverpool will fancy themselves to get this deal over the line.
Who is Keito Nakamura?
Keito Nakamura is a left-winger currently playing for LASK in the top division of Austrian football.
The forward has made a total of 68 appearances for the club since his move in August 2021, scoring 26 goals and assisting a further nine during his time in Austria.
In the 2022/23 season, Nakamura made 36 appearances across all competitions and was directly involved in 25 goals.
The 22-year-old has also made two caps for the Japan National Team, scoring one goal.
Transfermarkt currently value Nakamura at around £8 million, but LASK are likely to hold out for closer to £10 million to let the Japanese forward leave this summer.
How would he fit in at Liverpool?
Although he is most oftenly deployed on the left-hand side of an attacking trio, Nakamura can also slot into the central role as a false-nine, which Cody Gakpo nailed down at the end of last season for the Reds.
That trait of versatility is so often admired by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, with very few players in his squad being restricted to just one position on the pitch.
Nakamura is also a very tall, quick and powerful player which is also often highly rated by Klopp based on the signings of Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo.
However, Liverpool already have Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo who are all capable of playing in that left-wing role in Klopp’s system.
There’s also the option of playing the likes of Curtis Jones and possibly even Fabio Carvalho there once he returns from his loan spell at RB Leipzig.
Breaking down the numbers
Jurgen Klopp has always relied on his attacking options being clinical and putting up solid goalscoring and creative numbers, previously seen by the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi.
Keito Nakamura averaged 0.65 goals+assists per 90 minutes for LASK last season, which is a solid return from a wide player.
For Liverpool, Luis Diaz averaged 0.50, whilst Diogo Jota 0.97 averaged Darwin Nunez averaged 0.73 but the latter two both playing a large number of games as a number nine.
In terms of straight up goalscoring, Nakamura averaged 0.50 goals per 90 minutes for LASK last season from the left-wing.
In comparison, Luis Diaz averaged 0.36 goals per 90 minutes, whilst Diogo Jota averaged 0.45 goals and Darwin Nunez averaged 0.56.
As you can see, Nakamura more than held his own in terms of his creative and goalscoring numbers, although did do so playing in a much lower standard of league.
Overall, this could prove to be a genius piece of business by the Reds if they can negotiate for the right price.
I see very little risk involved with this move, in a similar way to when Liverpool signed Takumi Minamino for just £7 million from the Austrian league back in January 2020.
Regardless of how Nakamura was to perform at Liverpool, the chances are we would still make profit or at least receive a similar fee when looking to move him on in the future.
Nakamura could be a hugely exciting prospect that could take his game to the next level under Jurgen Klopp and could prove to be a valuable rotation option for the Reds, meaning the likes of Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota can focus solely on becoming a number nine.
My one issue with this rumoured move, is that I would certainly be pushing to sign a right-winger as a backup to Mohamed Salah, rather than another left-sided player.
If Salah was to get injured, we would be left with just Ben Doak and Harvey Elliott to play on that right-hand side, which is a major weakness in terms of squad depth.