Leny Yoro & The Future of the Reds Defence
Liverpool’s Recruitment Success and the Central Defence Challenge
The Liverpool recruitment department have been brilliant at identifying and signing the perfect central defenders for Jürgen Klopp since the 56-year-old arrived on Merseyside. The only issue has been, in not doing their business frequently enough. The unfortunate season (and potentially Liverpool career) ending injury sustained by Joël Matip, means that the Reds will likely look at a long-term successor to the popular Cameroonian at the end of the season. Despite the emergence and startling development of Jarell Quansah this year, I believe Joe Gomez will see the next phase of his Anfield career emigrate towards the right fullback role, where he has excelled during this current campaign. That circumstance will then create a knock-on effect.
The Need for a New Centre Back
As Trent Alexander Arnold continues his hybrid endeavour, inevitably that will see him integrated into a full-time midfield role. The summer signing of an elite-level defensive midfielder should see a midfield double pivot incorporated, with Wataru Endō and Stefan Bajčetić offering good rotation options. Given that and the continued regeneration process, I would be amazed if a new and exciting central defender was not a primary summer target, alongside a midfield destroyer. Recent reports have linked the European giants with a move for a spectacular French prospect, who is currently excelling in Ligue 1. His name is Leny Yoro and he may just be the perfect defensive addition.
Profile: Leny Yoro
- Club: Lille
- Nationality: France
- Age: 18-years-old DOB – 13/11/2005
- Height: 6ft 3inch
- Weight: 73kg
- Senior Appearances: 38 games
- Goals / Assists: 3 goals / 1 assists
- Senior Minutes Played: 2,678
- Contract Expiry: June 30 2025
- Transfermarkt Value: €25m
- Projected Cost of Deal: €60m
- France Under-21 Caps: 4 games
Leny Yoro is the centre-back with the best defensive duels success rate (83.82%) and the best aerial duel success rate (80%) in all of Europe’s top five leagues this season.
He also has the best pass completion rate in Ligue 1 (93.68%).
— Bence Bocsák (@BenBocsak) January 9, 2024
Why Target Someone So Unproven?
As a graduate from the Lille academy, this 2023/24 season has been a truly outstanding breakout campaign for the much-coveted defender. In possessing a dominating aerial presence, powerful physicality, and a remarkable maturity to his game, the towering teenager ticks every box required for a Liverpool centre-back. The current contract of the future France international is set to expire in the summer of 2025, therefore, this period should be spent trying to orchestrate an end-of-season deal. Much like when the recruitment team identified and eventually landed Ibrahima Konaté, it does feel like there may be a window of opportunity to steal a march on other suitors, who may well be committed to more flamboyant signings. Real Madrid and Manchester United appear to be viable options for the wonder kid, yet the Spanish giants may well immerse themselves in attaining Kylian Mbappe. As for the Red Devils, they are a mess right now and will not be competing in the Champions League next season. With Liverpool having already vastly improved the level of Ibou, the French connection may be what gives the Anfield club an edge in negotiations.
Leny Yoro in the summer and we’d have an immense group of CBs.
— Nostalgia Merchant (@HendrickD82) January 7, 2024
The Role of External Factors in Transfer Decisions
Ultimately, Jürgen Klopp has a proven track record with young talents, especially those that have arrived during his Liverpool stay. The prototype for the Germans’ defensive group is very bespoke and high-level, therefore, you would imagine it would take a club like Real Madrid to beat the Reds to the signature of Leny Yoro. This same scenario unfolded once before when both the footballing heavyweights were gunning for the signing of Aurélien Tchouaméni. That battle ended with the Bernabéu club signing the elite Frenchman, though only once Kylian Mbappe had chosen an extended stay at PSG. It appears the scintillating French striker may well play a part in the summer business of each of these clubs, with both linked to the world-class striker and Leny Yoro.
Monitoring and Anticipation
Let the monitoring commence.