Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Can and Grujic are the current first team midfielders on Liverpool’s book. While the first 3 have been regular starters, the latter 2 have been made to watch from the sidelines. And it’s not a question of quality, as the youngsters would sure pounce when given the opportunity.
Despite the obvious quality in quantity of midfielders available for Klopp to draw from, the German still wants more and is reportedly planning on making a major addition come winter.
Inter Milan and French midfielder, Geoffrey Kondogbia, who was also linked with Arsenal before joining Inter, is said to be on Jurgen Klopp’s wish list for the January transfer window. The 23-year-old arrived San Siro last summer for €31million, but has failed to live up to the billing, and to further compound his woes, he has fallen out of favour with the side’s coach De Boer following a perceived lack of listening to instructions.
Klopp, however, believes a temporary move to Anfield by the turn of the year can help Kondogbia regain the lost form of his Sevilla and Monaco playing days; which made him one of the most-sought after players at the time. So, why does the Liverpool chief want to take this risk?
He is the Klopp type of player
Kondogbia’s work ethics are second to none, and that has been a noticeable trait since his Lens days in the France Ligue 2. He comes in the mould of the Klopp prototype because of that and other qualities.
Liverpool are always pressing on and running with the ball. The 23-year-old powerhouse is able to do exactly the same for 120 minutes. His strength is another feature that distinguishes him from the lot.
While current Liverpool players are still trying to adapt the demands of the new playing style, Kondogbia has already done that since his Monaco days back in 2014.
That season, he averaged 86% pass accuracy in the league and completed 40 out of 48 attempted take-ons (completed 16 this season – one short of the most take-ons completed). He was also solely responsible for cutting short Arsenal’s Champions League campaign with a superb performance over the double-legged clash in the round of 16.
In the summer that followed, up to 10 top clubs, including United, Arsenal, Juventus, City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Madrid, and the Milan giants were at loggerheads over acquiring his services.
He hasn’t lost his magic touch overnight, and under the right guidance, he would hit top form again.
He’s the complete box-to-box midfielder
None amongst Liverpool’s midfielders has the total defending and attacking package that Kondogbia has.
His youth coach back at Lens Bijotat Olivier once enthused of his all-round abilities,
“He has a high level of play, he is a vacuum; excels in recovering the ball and often wins his clashes with opponents. He’s technically good on his left foot, can play short and long, retrieve and distribute.”
Definitely what Liverpool can do with in their title ambitions this term.
Adds more than enough quality and options to the ranks
There can never be surplus quality in a team that aspires to reach great milestones. Liverpool are good to go with the current crop of midfielders within their ranks, but adding another of top-notch quality won’t hurt.
His arrival will put pressure on the guaranteed starters, as they will be forced to put in their best efforts every game. It’s a win-win situation for everybody, and it’s the reason why Klopp is keen to add him to his squad.
With a Kondogbia breathing down everybody’s neck for a starting berth, there won’t be room for complacency and mediocrity.