As the deadline for the summer transfer window quickly approaches, Liverpool appear in need of at least one more midfielder. Even Jurgen Klopp has admitted as such. Having previously declared he’s happy with his options, the German admitted on Friday: “I was wrong. That’s the situation. We will do something but it has to be the right one [player].”
Liverpool are prepared to wait for Jude Bellingham next summer but their performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford, where James Milner and Jordan Henderson sorely struggled, suggests more immediate action is necessary. They need a midfielder now, and at least another one next summer.
Milner is 37 in January and can no longer be relied upon physically in high-intensity matches while Henderson appears to be declining. Elsewhere Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara are prone to injuries and niggles, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho are both just 19 and Curtis Jones’ ceiling is unclear.
If the Merseyside club react fast, though, they could snap up a player whom can offer appealing qualities to bolster Klopp’s squad in the short term and the long term – and all at an affordable price. But to do the deal, Liverpool must hijack interest from Atletico Madrid.
The player in question is Rennes’ Lovro Majer. A No 10 who has been moulded into a No 8, Majer produced six goals and eight assists in 29 Ligue 1 matches last season in his debut campaign in France. Rennes finished fourth, qualifying for the Europa League group stages.
Liverpool might have midfield fix in ‘next Luka Modric’ if they can hijack £21m transfer
Operating in a Kevin De Bruyne-like role on the right-hand side of a 4-3-3, the supremely technical Majer is a high-level passer and ranks near the top of the league in almost every passing metric. He also carries the ball forward too with excellent close control and composure.
With Thiago out of the team, Liverpool struggle to effectively control matches and to progress the ball up the pitch. Performances and results are massively affected by the loss of his class, control and technical quality.
The left-footed Majer does not operate on quite the world-class level of Thiago but can capably conduct the flow of matches with his intelligence and use of possession, like the Spaniard. That he plays on the right means it would not necessarily need to be a pick between the two when both are fit.
Defensively, Majer can still improve but courtesy of Rennes’ counter-pressing style of play, he’s accustomed to pressuring opponents. There are indications he could develop to match the desired intensity of a Liverpool team.
The Croatian international has been dubbed ‘the next Luka Modric’ in his homeland and at just 24, turning 25 in January, fits into the right age category for Liverpool. Reports in Spain indicate Atletico are ready to pay around £21million (€25m) to sign him this summer.
There have been other suggestions it might take at least £34m (€40m) to snare Majer but even that still seems a reasonable fee given his profile and age. It is not too dissimilar a fee to other midfielders linked with Liverpool earlier this summer – Fabio Vieira who joined Arsenal from Porto for an initial £30m and Matheus Nunes, now at Wolves after they paid Sporting Lisbon £38m rising to £42m.
There are very few cost-effective options on the market for Liverpool in these final days of the window. But Majer might just be one of them, if the Reds can trump Atletico. And if he can be as productive in England as countryman Modric, Klopp would really see the benefits.
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