The Need For More Options in Defence
With long-term injuries to the likes of Joel Matip, Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas, many supporters have been urging Liverpool to make a move for a defender in the January transfer window.
With Joe Gomez currently deployed as a full-back, Jurgen Klopp is down to just three fit centre backs in Virgil Van Dijk, Ibou Konate and Jarrell Quansah.
Conveniently, a previous Liverpool target in Rennes defender Arthur Theate has been tipped to secure a move away from the French side either this month or in the summer.
AS Roma are reportedly the current favourites for the Belgium international defender, but if Liverpool show interest then they would undoubtedly move into the driving seat for the youngster.
Today we’re going to be looking at why Arthur Theate could be a potential solution to Liverpool’s defensive issues.
Who is Arthur Theate?
Arthur Theate is a left-footed central defender, currently playing for Rennes in Ligue 1.
Since his £17million move from Bologna in 2022, the defender has become one of the hottest defensive prospects in European football.
Theate has made 62 appearances across all competitions for Rennes, whilst scoring six goals.
So far this season, Theate has made 20 appearances with 14 coming in Ligue 1 and six coming in Rennes’ Europa League campaign.
Theate’s impressive domestic form has also earned him some serious game time on the international stage.
He has represented Belgium on 14 occasions already, showcasing his world class potential regularly.
The 23-year-old only signed a contract extension in September 2023, but his impressive performances for the French side has enhanced interest from some of Europe’s top clubs.
His current contract is set to expire in June 2027, but a reported fee of around £25million would be enough to secure his services.
Why Would Liverpool Want Him?
First of all, the fact that Theate is a left-footed defender automatically makes him much more appreciated in terms of fitting a system.
A left-footed defender that can allow Trent Alexander-Arnold to push higher up has been on many supporters’ wish list for some time now.
Theate also has a lot of the raw materials that Jurgen Klopp looks for in his defenders, with bags of natural strength and pace.
His ability on the ball is quite amazing, averaging 6.28 progressive passes per 90 minutes.
In comparison, Virgil Van Dijk averages 4.45 progressive passes per 90 minutes, whilst Ibou Konate averages 4.78.
In terms of pass completion, Theate boasts a fantastic 90.1% pass completion rate.
In this department, Virgil Van Dijk just trumps the Belgian with a 91% pass rate. However, Konate has just a 88% pass completion rate.
Theate would be a perfect fit on the left-hand side of a back three, alongside Van Dijk and Konate.
However, one negative of Theate’s numbers is his pure defensive numbers, which suggest that he may not be suited to playing in a flat back four.
His pace and strength would allow him to play as a sweeper quite effectively, but perhaps not as a traditional centre-back like Van Dijk or Konate.
The reported price tag for the youngster also makes him a fairly favourable option, with £25million potentially being a bargain for a player with Theate’s potential.
Whether it’s Theate or another defender like Inacio, hopefully Liverpool make a move for a defender in the January transfer window.