Liverpool may have been handed a double transfer boost following an admission from a key figure at a Bundesliga club – one which could have knock-on consequences for some current Reds players.
Max Eberl, Borussia Monchengladbach’s director of sport, told German media outlet Express that the club will “have to try to make up for the deficits of millions”, a reference to the probable need to sell key assets to atone for a loss of income arising from the lack of football activity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent weeks, Express had linked two Monchengldbach players with possible moves to Liverpool. Defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria and striker Marcus Thuram are both reportedly on the Reds’ radar, with Express claiming that the duo have been valued at €45m (£39.6m) and €50m (£44m) respectively. However, these touted fees could drop considerably depending on how urgently the Bundesliga club need to sell them.
What could Denis Zakaria and Marcus Thuram bring to Liverpool?
Zakaria is a well-rounded player whose figures suggest that he is effective as a holding midfielder as well as being comfortable in possession and willing to get forward. Match averages of 2.1 successful tackles and 1.6 interceptions illustrate his aptitude for breaking up the play, while the completion of two successful dribbles per game shows his flair in possession. Also, with a passing success rate of 86.7%, he is often reliable in his distribution of the ball.
As noted by Total Football Analysis, the Swiss international is already playing in a system which requires him to press opponents relentlessly in order to win back the ball, a style similar to what Jurgen Klopp has implemented at Liverpool, so there is a strong chance that he would quickly adapt to playing at Anfield.
Thuram has hit 10 goals in 33 appearances for Monchengladbach this season, finding the target once for every 248.5 minutes on the pitch. He has also provided nine assists, showing that he is a reliable creator of goals as well as scoring them himself. An average of 1.8 shots per game suggests that he is instinctively willing to have a pop at goal when the chance presents itself, a welcome trait whenever playing against massed defences, and an aerial duels average of 2.8 per game could give Liverpool a strong attacking threat in the air to get on the end of crosses from full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.
Zakaria and Thuram coming to Anfield could spell bad news for two Liverpool men in particular
Zakaria’s potential arrival could further diminish the chances of Naby Keita obtaining regular game-time at Liverpool. The Guinea midfielder has already struggled to get his place in Klopp’s side and, in contrast to his chequered injury record, Zakaria has been consistently available for Monchengladbach. Also, the Swiss international outperforms Keita in terms of match averages for tackles (1.8), interceptions (0.7) and dribbles (1.2).
Meanwhile, the possible arrival of Thuram at Anfield could make it even harder for Divock Origi to earn regular minutes for Liverpool, the Belgian striker having started just five Premier League games all season. He has a marginally better goals-per-minute ratio (one every 247.8 minutes) than Thuram but the Monchengladbach forward sets up goals with greater regularity and, unlike Origi, would be sharp from starting regularly for Marco Rose’s side. However, the current cessation of football due to COVID-19 could well negate that latter factor.
Zakaria and Thuram might not go straight into Liverpool’s first choice line-up if they were to join the Reds but they should both bolster the squad in comparison to some of the options that Klopp currently has in their respective positions. Also, with Monchengladbach seemingly in desperate need to sell the pair and both potentially available for significantly reduced fees, opportunity knocks for Liverpool to pounce with a double swoop.
Liverpool fans, do you think the Reds should move to try and sign Zakaria and Thuram this summer? Comment below with your views!