Liverpool’s Search for a New Attacker
Liverpool have dealt with the departures of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane with the additions of Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, but Jurgen Klopp still wants to add another attacker. While the Reds were burned by Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma on multiple occasions in the 2022-23 season, they are now looking to sign a Japanese wing wizard of their own.
Keito Nakamura: The Rising Star
Klopp’s side are now scouting Keito Nakamura, who currently plays his football for Austrian side LASK. Some reports suggest they have already seen an opening bid for Nakamura turned down as Liverpool ramp up their interest in the forward.
What position does Nakamura play in? Like Mitoma, Nakamura’s preferred position is the left wing, from where he can cut inside on his stronger right foot to wreak havoc, but he is also capable of playing across the final third deep or wide of a central striker.
— UEFA Europa Conference League (@europacnfleague) March 3, 2022
Over the course of his career, Nakamura has played a total of 99 matches, accumulating 5,609 minutes on the pitch. He has scored 26 goals and provided 10 assists, contributing to a total of 36 goals. He has also been involved in 5 penalty kicks, scoring all of them. His performance per 90 minutes includes 0.42 goals, 0.16 assists, and 0.58 goal contributions.
In terms of defensive actions, Nakamura has made 17 tackles, with 9 of them being successful. He has also made 84 interceptions and 20 clearances. On the possession front, he has made 4,077 touches with a success rate of 86% in take-ons. He has also made 2,516 carries, covering a total distance of 17,703 meters.
Nakamura’s performance has been instrumental in his teams’ successes. He has been on the pitch for 78 goals scored by his teams and 61 goals conceded, resulting in a positive goal difference of +17 when he is playing. His influence on the game is also reflected in his xG (expected goals) stats, with an xG of 1.8 and an xA (expected assists) of 0.4.
Still only 23, the Japanese international has already had spells in his native Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium and latterly Austria, and the feeling is that he is ready to make the step up as Mitoma has done.
Nakamura’s International Debut
His international debut came as a last-minute substitute against Uruguay in March 2023, but in his first substantial appearance for his nation – versus El Salvador in June 2023 – he scored his first goal for Japan.
Since then, Lille have expressed an interest in signing him, as reported by RMC Sport, while Borussia Dortmund and Aston Villa are also keeping tabs on Nakamura. Foot Mercato have reported that Liverpool have lodged a £6 million offer for Nakamura, but LASK want a fee closer to £10m, which could allow another interested club to pounce.