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Who’s This 22-Year-Old Virgil Van Dijk Alternative On Liverpool’s Radar? Everything You Need To Know

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Scout Report – Manuel Akanji

Liverpool are reportedly interested in a move for FC Basel centre-back Manuel Akanji. The Reds are in dire need of a new central defender and judging from their performances this time, it is clear as to why Jurgen Klopp was so keen on signing Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton over the summer. However, there seems to be no end to the battle for the Dutchman as various clubs are vying to acquire his services.

Hence, it makes sense for Klopp to scout the market for other options. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Akanji’s profile.


Born in 1995 in Wiesendangen, Switzerland, Akanji embarked on his football career with his hometown club FC Wiesendangen in 2004. He spent 3 years there and eventually moved on to join FC Winterthur in 2007, where he played for their U18 team and the second-team. He gradually rose through the ranks to establish himself as one of their finest and in the 2014–15 season, he was a part of Winterthur’s starting eleven.

However, his performances attracted attention from a lot of clubs and he moved to Basel during the 2015-16 season. His displays made him indispensable for the club and Akanji even won the Swiss Super League championship with Basel that season. The club picked up a consecutive league title in the following season, making it their 8th title in a row. For Akanji to have been a part of a side like that speaks volumes about what he can do.

Playing Style

At a little over six feet tall, Akanji is a physically formidable centre-back, capable of instilling fear into the toughest of opponents. He knows how to use his height and physicality to his advantage. He is quite strong in the air, which means he can help Liverpool in set-piece situations since that is one area they have struggled in. He is quite quick and can use his pace effectively to cut in and prevent attackers from getting ahead.

He contributes while going forward as well and his pace is possibly his greatest attribute. That makes him capable of holding his own in a high defensive line and his long passes can also prove to be quite beneficial.

Akanji’s Future

If Liverpool were to approach him, the player is likely to be interested. At 22 years of age, he has a lot of years ahead of him and can prove to be a valuable addition to the Reds. Instead of chasing Virgil Van Dijk who may or not join the club, Klopp is likely to be better off targeting Akanji instead. He may be younger but he is not inexperienced and he does seem like a better prospect when compared to the Southampton man.