With the opening weekend of the 2023-24 Premier League season just days away, Liverpool currently only have four fit natural options in midfield ahead of their clash with Chelsea on Sunday.
Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic are both not expected to be available for selection by the weekend, leaving Jurgen Klopp with just Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Curtis Jones, and Harvey Elliott to choose from.
Whilst fans begin to grow in frustration over the lack of transfer activity in recent weeks, the Reds may have missed out on a fantastic midfield option to another Premier League club.
According to Fabrizio Romano, West Ham United are on the verge of confirming the signing of Edson Alvarez from Ajax for a fee of just £35million.
In my opinion, Alvarez would have been the perfect signing for the Reds this summer for multiple reasons, which we’re now going to look deeper into.
Who Is Edson Alvarez?
Edson Alvarez is a 25-year-old defensive midfielder, currently playing for Ajax in the Eredivisie in the Netherlands.
Despite usually featuring as a defensive midfielder, the Mexican international is also more than capable of playing as a centre-back at the heart of a back four.
Despite still being quite young, Alvarez has made a massive 69 appearances for Mexico and has scored three goals.
Since joining Ajax in the summer of 2019, Alvarez has also made 147 appearances for the Dutch club, scoring 13 goals and assisting a further six.
During his time in Holland, he has won two league titles and one Dutch Cup, before featuring 44 times in a sub-par season for Ajax which saw them finish 3rd in the Eredivisie and exit the UEFA Champions League in the group stage.
Alvarez has previously been linked with moves to the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, but now looks set to make the switch to the current UEFA Conference League winners West Ham United.
His current contract at Ajax is set to expire in June 2025, which has possibly played a part in him being sold for a smaller price than usually expected for the midfielder.
How Would He Solve Liverpool’s Current Squad Issues?
Liverpool desperately needs to strengthen two positions: the defensive midfield and the squad depth in the back line. Edson Alvarez would’ve been the perfect solution, addressing both of these issues simultaneously at a reasonable price.
The 25-year-old would’ve been a cheaper option than the Reds’ current priority target in Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, who is valued at around £50 million. Signing Alvarez might have allowed us to retain funds to sign an additional midfielder or full-back before the transfer window closes.
Having already signed two creative midfielders this summer, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly be in search of a robust defensive midfielder to round out his midfield.
This is where Alvarez could’ve become the perfect signing for the Reds, with his stats from the 2022/23 season further backing up this point.
Edson Alvarez: Tackles per 90- 2.47 Interceptions per 90- 1.25 Blocks per 90- 1.25 Dribblers challenged per 90- 2.51 Ball recoveries per 90- 9.19
Romeo Lavia: Tackles per 90- 2.43 Interceptions per 90- 1.34 Blocks per 90- 1.90 Dribblers challenged per 90- 2.15 Ball recoveries per 90- 7.58
It’s crucial to note that Lavia would shoulder more defensive responsibility in a Southampton side that was relegated last season. However, Alvarez’s defensive numbers remain top-tier, given the team he played for.
Overall, I can’t help but feel like Liverpool have missed a huge opportunity in signing Edson Alvarez, especially for such a small price.
I believe Lavia has the potential to become a top player for Liverpool. The Belgian has immense talent, but it remains to be seen if he can consistently start for the Reds in such a pivotal season.
Whereas, someone with the profile of Edson Alvarez would be ready to come in and slot straight into the role that Fabinho has occupied in Jurgen Klopp’s side over the past five years.