Why Liverpool should go all out for Donyell Malen in January
The Reds spent next to nothing in the summer transfer window but Klopp is expected to have plenty of funds at his disposal during the mid-season trading period and Malen has been identified as someone who fits the bill perfectly at Anfield.
The 20-year-old, who currently plies his trade with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie, has been in scintillating form in front of goal this term, scoring 9 in 12 appearances across all competitions, including an incredible five-goal haul in a 5-0 drubbing of Vitesse Arnhem earlier in September.
Malen joined Ajax at the age of 8 back in 2007 and spent eight years in the club’s youth ranks before departing for Arsenal in 2015.
However, despite showing plenty of promise while playing for the Gunners’ U-18 and U-23 sides, the Dutch starlet failed to make the cut into the senior side and was sold to PSV Eindhoven in 2017, much to the disappointment of the Arsenal fans, who had high hopes of him.
The talented jet-heeled striker initially spent time with Jong PSV in the second-tier before receiving a call-up to the first-team towards the end of the 2017-18 season, as the Dutch giants bagged the Eredivisie title.
Malen netted 10 goals and provided 4 assists in 31 league appearances in the following campaign, with as many as 25 of those appearances coming as cameos off the bench.
However, the 20-year-old has really come of age this term and has nailed down a regular starting role as the first-choice No.9 in Mark van Bommel’s side, with his red-hot form in front of goal grabbing the attention of the reigning European champions, who are currently understood to be keeping close tabs on his progress.
As well as that, Malen’s rich vein of form early in the season has also been rewarded with his senior international debut for The Netherlands.
The youngster came off the bench against Germany in the European qualifiers during the most recent international break and found the net on his debut to propel his nation to a 4-2 victory.
To put things into perspective, Donyell Malen had failed to make a breakthrough at Arsenal earlier in his career for reasons we can only speculate on but Liverpool should not hesitate to make a move for him in January, given that the youngster has now proven his credentials at the highest level.
Malen’s rapid rise at PSV Eindhoven coupled with his international debut has put him right up there with some of the most sought-after young talents in Europe and it is hardly surprising to see Liverpool mulling over a move to bring him back to English football.
Blessed with lightning pace, quick feet and silky dribbling skills, Malen is not only adept at making space for himself in the final third with his sharpness and agility but he is equally proficient in getting into right positions to put chances away.
Strong in the air, quick across the ground, adept at bringing others into the game with his smart hold-up play, Malen seems to have all the makings of a top-class all-round centre-forward and Liverpool have every reason to look at him as a handsome long-term investment.
The Reds currently have Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as their undisputed attackers up top and, while Divock Origi continues to be a useful back-up for Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool should try to accommodate a bright young talent like Malen as a part of their long-term plans moving forward.
Despite scoring some crucial goals and showing flashes of brilliance, Origi hasn’t quite evolved into the prolific goalscorer that Liverpool would have wanted him to and Malen, who is at a similar stage in his career as the Belgian was when he first came through the door at Anfield, could be a more worthwhile option for the Reds.
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All in all, the 20-year-old is only going to get better with time and Liverpool going all out in their pursuit of the Dutch prodigy could reap rich rewards in the years to come.