Gravenberch: The Deal That Divides the Support

Gravenberch: The Deal That Divides the Support

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The Curious Case of Ryan Gravenberch

It appears a deal for the Bayern Munich midfielder is close to being reached, with Jürgen Klopp close to signing his man for around £35m. Many believe this long-term target to be due to the wants of Liverpool’s assistant manager, Pepijn Lijnders. It is undeniable how talented this rangy former Ajax prodigy is, though after two seasons of very underwhelming performances in the Bundesliga, it is a curious decision to sign someone that is predominantly an attacking midfielder. Both Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister appear the first team starters, as Thiago Alcântara, Stefan Bajčetić, Curtis Jones, and Harvey Elliott offer nice rotation options.

Looking back at his time in the Eredivisie, below is a quick breakdown of the energetic nature that was often apparent for Ryan’s former club.

The Squad Depth Dilemma: Where Does Gravenberch Fit?

I have no problem at all in stocking the middle group with talented youngsters that can compete and help in this transitional period. My main worry is that we are signing a gifted individual, that in no way fills and immediate need within the starting eleven. Despite signing the solid Wataru Endō (to cover the holding midfield position), there is still a glaring lack of elite level quality to protect the back four. In signing Fabinho (once upon a time), our former Sporting Director, Michael Edwards, acquired a Brazilian destroyer that would go on to become one of the world’s best in his position. That capture was undertaken due to his track record of excellence in that specific role, albeit in a double pivot. The conversion to the central area of a midfield three took a good few months to train, despite being a specialist to some degree. Many of the fan base that believe Ryan Gravenberch to be a capable long-term option, may be right, however, that will require long term adjustments to his natural game, which is something the scouting department must have been attracted to in the first place.

Ryan Gravenberch

Age – 21-years old (DOB 16/05/2002)

Current club – Bayern Munich

Height – 6ft 3inches

Weight – 83kg

Appearances – 222 games

Senior club goals & assists – 36 / 33

Total minutes played – 15,737

International caps & goals – 11 games / 1 goal

I am particularly keen to see the reds taking on more physical specimens, after the recruiting of Ibrahima Konaté, Darwin Núñez, Cody Gakpo, and Dominik Szoboszlai, in the recent past. All these players stand over 6ft 2inch tall, which offers a physicality we had previously been lacking. All the above were transitioned into the side based upon their skill set when signed, yet to start considering Gravenberch as a defensive midfielder any time soon, would be foolish and not in keeping with how our manager acts.

As I write this article, we are exactly 48hrs away from the summer transfer window closing, without having signed either a Moisés Caicedo or Roméo Lavia alternative. Each of these new Chelsea players operate perfectly as what we require most, which is a shield to the back line. To imagine we have simply abandoned this dire need would be a shocking revelation, essentially as the club were willing to pay £111m for the former of the two. This summer of change has seen tired and redundant assets moved on, with the clear objective to regenerate the ranks. The part time appointment of our current Sporting Director, Jörg Schmadtke, has seen a flurry of discontent regarding his overall performance. The recent success of this fabled football club has been built upon a world class structure and elite level performance of every single part. Though many can point to the disruption caused by the swarming Saudi Pro League clubs and the sheer absurdity of Chelsea, it is still clear that the reds recruitment team have stumbled more than they have strived through this window.

The Final Verdict: Trust in Klopp or a Missed Opportunity?

If our German manager is dead set and convinced by the quality of Munich’s underachieving player, then we must trust that he has seen something he can mould and develop. We have of course seen such instances with the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, which does at least give hope for what may come. Unfortunately, the Premier League does not offer any time for such luxuries, with so many teams now operating to a very good level. The need for better is enormous if this team is to regain a top four finish this year, I just worry that Ryan Gravenberch is the pet project that means we do not actually attain what is needed.

There is one key positive in all this, at least. Given the fact our squad is prone to injuries, the below statistic is very encouraging.

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