Potential Mo Replacement
Liverpool reportedly hold a ‘concrete interest’ in PSV winger, Johan Bakayoko, according to Pete O’Rourke.
The 20-year-old had been linked with a move to Anfield over the summer, but a January move for the forward is now expected.
With Mohamed Salah’s contract set to expire in 2025, Liverpool are expected to start looking at alternative options in the market.
Al-Ittihad’s interest in the Egyptian makes things even more difficult for the Reds, with a £175million bid rejected for the winger at the end of the transfer window.
The Reds reportedly see PSV winger Johan Bakayoko as a future prospect that could be moulded into a future star on Merseyside.
Who is Johan Bakayoko?
Johan Bakayoko is a 20-year-old Belgian forward, currently playing for PSV in the Eredivisie.
The youngster had a breakthrough 2022/23 season in the Netherlands, making 15 goal involvements in 39 appearances.
23 of those appearances came in the Eredivisie, where Bakayoko managed to score five goals and assist another five.
His fine form has earned him five caps for the Belgium National Team over the past year, scoring one goal.
So far in the 2023/24 season, Bakayoko has started all three league games for PSV and has managed to notch one assist.
How would Bakayoko fit into Klopp’s plans?
As a left-footed right-winger, it’s expected that Bakayoko would become a rotational option behind Mohamed Salah on the right side of Klopp’s attack.
This would give him the required game time and experience to take his game to the next level, whilst also learning from the best winger in the world in Salah.
Therefore, by the time Mohamed Salah does unfortunately leave the club, Bakayoko would hopefully be able to slot straight into the front three.
The 20-year-old’s raw pace, flair and directness makes him a perfect attacking option in a Jurgen Klopp side.
Bakayoko is also versatile, with the forward able to slot into any role across the front three.
Crunching the numbers:
Bakayoko’s numbers from the past year strongly point out the potential that the youngster holds at such a young age.
First of all, we’re going to look at his passing statistics that have been averaged per 90 minutes:
- Passes completed- 35.42
- Pass completion %- 76.7%
- Key passes- 2.07
- Passes into penalty area- 2.61
- Progressive passes- 3.22
These numbers are extremely promising and show he’s got plenty of ability on the ball.
Especially when you compare these numbers to West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool over recent windows.
Bakayoko is superior in every department of his passing stats, compared to Bowen.
- Tackles- 1.92
- Tackles in attacking third- 0.69
- Blocks- 1.76
- Tackles+interceptions- 2.30
- Ball recoveries- 5.44
- Aerials won- 50.0%
These are highly impressive defensive numbers for such a young forward, which suggests he could be a perfect fit in Klopp’s high-pressing style.
I can’t help but feel that Liverpool’s attack has been missing forwards that will press proactively rather than reactively.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were prime examples of this in their prime, but forwards since then haven’t quite been able to replicate it.
Bakayoko could prove to be an intense presser that has been missing in Klopp’s front line.
- Touches- 60.18
- Successful take-ons- 3.07
- Progressive carries- 7.97
- Carries into penalty area- 3.30
- Shots- 2.91
- Shots on target- 1.23
- Goals- 0.23
- Assists- 0.46
- Goals+Assists- 0.69
Bakayoko’s attacking numbers are largely promising, with 0.69 G/A per 90 minutes.
These numbers more than often increase over time, once the player becomes more experienced and mature.
Also, playing with more creative players alongside him will also boost that output.
His take-on rate and carries per 90 are perfect to fitting into Jurgen Klopp’s plans, where he prefers his wingers to be as direct as possible.
Ultimately, I think this could be an incredible piece of business and forward-planning by the Reds with Mo Salah’s long-term future uncertain.
If the price is right, between £20-30million, I would definitely be pushing to bring Bakayoko to Liverpool.
Belgian counterpart Jeremy Doku has just secured a move to Manchester City for £55million, but I think the Reds could genuinely secure a player with a higher potential for half the price.
Transfermarkt currently values Bakayoko at around £10million, but any move this season would likely cost at least double that fee.