According to the latest transfer rumors doing the rounds, Liverpool are all set to revive their interest in Serbian attacker Adem Ljajic in the summer. Liverpool were said to be interested in signing the former Fiorentina man last summer but he move to Roma instead and has been in fine form for them this season, prompting the Reds to supposedly revive their interest.
Liverpool have been one of the most free-scoring teams in Europe this season, and much of that has been down to the performances of strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge’s lethality in front of goal. However, they lack any depth in the forward line and have had to rely on youngster Raheem Sterling to do the job since summer signing Iago Aspas has failed to find his feet at the club. Hence, improving the depth and quality of the line of the forward line is likely to be a priority for manager Brendan Rodgers this summer, and Ljajic could be an impressive addition were the move to be finalized.
Ljajic was on the cusp of a move to Manchester United in the 2009-10 season but the deal failed to materialize, and he has since then gone on to impress in the Serie A for Fiorentina and now Roma. The Partizan Belgrade youth product has been a consistent performer for Fiorentina and last season was his best by far as he scored 12 goals and provided 7 assists in 31 appearances in the Serie A and the Coppa Italia.
This season, Ljajic has been integral to the vast improvement that has happened to the Roma side as he has gone on to create 22 chances, including 3 assists, in his 21 Serie A appearances to go with the 5 goals he has scored. His shooting has been great as he has hit the target an impressive 68% of the time while his passing too has been exemplary (91% accuracy).
Ljajic is a talented player who is most effective when deployed as a second striker, but he is equally capable of playing out wide on the left or in a deeper, more conventional trequartista role as well. He spent most of his early career playing as an attacking midfielder at Partizan but last season, he was used as a second forward for Fiorentina. A tactical switch in the team to a 4-3-3 system meant that he also operated from the left side of the forward line, while he has featured in all the roles for Roma this season, displaying his versatility.
His greatest strengths are his abilities to dribble past opposition defenders and to find space to thread passes through for fellow attackers. This is what makes him such a good creative player with excellent vision despite his tender age of 22.
At Liverpool, he would be expected to perform a similar versatile role depending on the tactics manager Brendan Rodgers would choose to use. Rodgers has decided his personnel for most occasions and only tweaks the system to counter the opponents and hence Ljajic could well see himself as trequartista in one game and then playing out wide on the left in another as Rodgers will look to get the best out of him in tandem with SAS.
Whether the move materializes or not, at the £10.5m fee being valued, Ljajic would certainly be a player who would add immense value to this current Liverpool team as they look to build a squad capable of challenging on all four fronts next season.
Stats via squawka