Date: 23rd March 2020 at 1:05pm
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Boubakary Soumare, a reported transfer target for Liverpool, is unlikely to be signed unless Georginio Wijnaldum leaves the club. That is according to the Evening Standard‘s Reds correspondent David Lynch, who made the claim in a Q&A about all things Anfield.

A report from Spanish media outlet Sport claimed that Liverpool have been in negotiations with Lille about a possible move for the 21-year-old midfielder for some time, although no agreement has been reached between the parties concerned. Meanwhile, the Reds’ Dutch midfielder is out of contract next year, although Jurgen Klopp is supposedly keen to agree a new deal at Anfield for the 29-year-old.

Lynch told the Evening Standard: “Klopp is desperate to get Gini Wijnaldum tied down to a new contract and talks are ongoing on that front, while his faith in Naby Keita remains unshaken despite the succession of minor injuries that have slowed his progress. If anything changes on those fronts then perhaps Soumare is someone the Reds will consider, otherwise, I believe Klopp is rightly happy with his options in that area.”

Why might Liverpool be interested in Boubakary Soumare?

Defensive midfielder Soumare has been a regular in Lille’s first XI this season, starting 15 Ligue 1 matches as well as each of their Champions League group games. He has been lauded by the club’s president Gerard Lopez, who told Voix du Nord [via]: “He’s one of the very best at his job. He’s technical, with incredible physical power and wins a great deal of possession. He’s a modern No.6 or 8. We’ll see him in the France team very soon. He’s a clear vision of where he wants to go and he’s working very hard to get there.”

The 21-year-old has averaged one successful tackle and 0.8 interceptions per game in Ligue 1 this season, with a match average of two interceptions in the Champions League. He has an impressive passing success rate of 89.8%, with an average of 37.7 passes and 0.6 key passes per game. [via WhoScored]

How does Soumare compare to Wijnaldum?

Although the Lille midfielder primarily plays in a more withdrawn midfield role than his Liverpool counterpart, Wijnaldum appears to offer more to his team overall, certainly in terms of attacking output. The Dutchman has struck five goals in 38 games for the Reds this season, whereas Soumare is scoreless in his 30 appearances at club level in 2019/20.

Wijnaldum averages more passes per game (44.9) than the young Frenchman and has a better accuracy rate (90.9%, rising to 91.8% in the Champions League). He has the same average of one successful tackle per game as Soumare, even if the Lille man trumps the 29-year-old’s 0.5 interceptions per game average. When it comes to aerial ability, Wijnaldum emerges on top with one successful header per game compared to 0.6 for Soumare.

While the 21-year-old Lille midfielder seems a decent prospect and is more than eight years younger than Wijnaldum, the latter seems to be the better option for Liverpool’s team at this moment and it would seem foolish for the Reds to let him run down his contract just to be able to bring in Soumare. This looks like one transfer link that the Anfield club can afford to skip.

Liverpool fans, would you be in favour of signing Soumare if it meant that Wijnaldum was definitely leaving? Join in the discussion by commenting below!