On Tuesday, Spanish media outlet Sport claimed that Liverpool had shown an interest in Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa, whose contract with the Ligue 1 side expires at the end of the season.
The Reds are not the only club linked with a possible free transfer for the 27-year-old left-back, capped 13 times by France. According to Sport, Barcelona, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli are all believed to be keen on snapping him up.
Why might Liverpool consider signing Kurzawa on a free transfer?
The possibility of adding to the squad without making any dent in the transfer budget is an obvious lure, although in the case of Kurzawa, it would not be a case of a free transfer purely for the sake of it.
The PSG defender has won three Ligue 1 titles with the Parisian club, no mean feat considering that the French league is fifth in UEFA’s association club coefficient. He also has plenty of big-game experience from the Champions League, having played 23 matches in the competition proper, helping Monaco to reach the 2015 quarter-finals and doing the same with PSG this season.
At 27, he already has the experience of more than 200 senior club games but is still young enough to play at a high level for several more years, injury permitting. His addition would also provide some much-needed cover for Andrew Robertson, who is currently the only senior left-back in Liverpool’s squad.
Kurzawa does not possess the same attacking instincts as the Scotland international. The PSG man has set up just nine goals since the start of 2017/18, only two more assists than Robertson has managed this season alone. The Liverpool left-back also has a far higher crosses per game average (one to 0.3). However, Kurzawa has the edge on Robertson in a couple of departments, notably in terms of passing accuracy (90.8% to 83.4%) but also for interceptions per game (1.3 to 1.1).
Signing Kurzawa could have echoes of James Milner
Liverpool have gone down the free transfer route before when it comes to picking up experienced players jettisoned by other clubs. In 2015, they signed a 29-year-old James Milner from Manchester City on a free and that has since proven to be very astute business. The Leeds native has since gone on to make 210 appearances for the Reds, more than for any other club, and was a regular starter in his first two seasons at Anfield before adopting more of a rotation role over the last couple of years (as per WhoScored).
A midfielder by trade, Milner carved out a different role for Liverpool in 2016/17 as he played the vast majority of that season at left-back, routinely being preferred to Alberto Moreno despite the Spaniard being a natural fit for that position. Now 34, Milner has come up with some huge moments in his time at Anfield, with vital late penalty winners against Fulham a year ago and Leicester in the early months of this season while also netting crucial goals in away games at Tottenham and both Manchester clubs in 2016/17 (as per TransferMarkt).
While there is no guarantee that Milner’s success would be replicated by Kurzawa at Anfield, it shows that experienced players can be picked up on a free transfer and make a name for themselves at Liverpool. As a cost-free alternative to Robertson and with ample experience of major European competitions, the 27-year-old looks like he could be a smart coup by the Reds if they were to follow through on their interest in him.
Would you like to see Kurzawa at Anfield if he becomes available on a free transfer? Have your say by commenting below!