Liverpool have a major vacancy available following the departure of Sadio Mané — and not just on the pitch (despite the arrival of Darwin Núñez).
Without Mané, Liverpool do not have a number 10 anymore (in a literal sense rather than a positional, attacking midfielder sense). The highly-valued number is now vacant and plenty will likely have eyes on taking it.
It is a big marketing tool for both the club, who need to sell as many Nike shirts as possible to gain most from that deal, and also any individual, with big players often building their brand around their squad number.
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Other than Mané, who was initially number 19 when he signed from Southampton in 2016, six other players have worn the number 10 shirt in the Premier League era: John Barnes, Michael Owen, Luis Garcia, Andriy Voronin, Joe Cole and Philippe Coutinho.
But now, without Mané, that shirt number is missing an accompanying name. Liverpool.com has taken a look at who could take on the mantle of being Liverpool’s next number 10.
With Núñez signed (he took Divock Origi’s number 27 shirt), it seems unlikely that there will be another forward player added to the squad this summer — or indeed anyone in any position, given that the Reds are now likely to wait until 2023 for more incoming business.
But there are a number of players who could take on the number 10 shirt in future. Jude Bellingham might be the obvious one if he was signed next summer, while there are a number of options in attack being linked who could be tempted by it.
Should Liverpool move for a creative midfielder, with RB Leipzig number 10 Dominik Szoboszlai among those who could fit the bill, then they would have a decent shout of taking the shirt.
Any attacker who might have to replace Mohamed Salah next summer should the forward fail to agree a new deal could also be interested — though in that (hopefully avoidable) outcome, the number 11 would also become available.
Harvey Elliott – currently the number 67 for Liverpool, Elliott will surely move down the shirt number pecking order at some point (though Trent Alexander-Arnold has retained the number 66). The number 10 shirt could be appealing for him. With James Milner at some point moving on, the iconic number seven shirt could also be up for grabs in future, which he might also have his eye on.
Fábio Carvalho – the closest thing to a traditional number 10 that Liverpool have (but with a considerably higher defensive work ethic), Carvalho does not have a number yet at Anfield. Taking the number 10 straight away would be a bold move but it could be returned to in future. He wore 28 at Fulham, but Ben Davies has that at Anfield — at least for now.
Mohamed Salah – Egypt’s number 10 has made the number 11 shirt famous at Liverpool, so a move seems unlikely. But if it could tip the balance on a new contract (a big if, admittedly) then it could work nicely. Probably not, but you never know.
Luis Díaz – having taken the number 23 shirt when he arrived, Díaz could switch to the number 10 at some point. Particularly in South America, the shirt holds huge value. Díaz has shown more than enough flair so far in a Reds shirt to prove that he would warrant the switch, and there is no doubt he will be a big part of Jürgen Klopp’s side over the next few years.
Is there anyone else you would like to see take the number 10 shirt? Let us know in the comments section below.
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