Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Liverpool Join European Heavyweights For Bundesliga Midfielder: Why They Must Step Up The Chase

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

If a report from the Kicker (as cited by the Austrian outlet Loala1) is believed to be accurate, Liverpool have joined the race for RB Leipzig ace Konrad Laimer. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are the other high-profile suitors circling like vultures. Therefore, the Red Bulls must be sweating over the future of their key midfield star.

The 24-year-old Austria international progressed through the youth ranks of his hometown club RB Salzburg. He experienced senior minutes with Salzburg’s reserve team FC Liefering and the early promises depicted in Erste Liga earned him his top-flight debut at the age of 17. He eventually grabbed a regular role in RB Salzburg colours, and Leipzig, their sister side, secured his services three years later.

Coincidentally, Laimer was brought in as a long-term replacement for Liverpool bound Naby Keita. They spent the 2017-18 season together before the Guinean plied his trade to Merseyside in a staggering £52.75m transfer. Prior to Leipzig, Laimer and Keita featured together in Salzburg midfield for a couple of years and the latest rumours highlight the possibility of yet another reunion.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have ample options in the centre of the pitch. Fabinho, Keita, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones are challenging each other for first-team spots, and a few of them are even failing to make it to the matchday squad amid growing competition.

Liverpool target konrad Laimer in action for RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig’s Austrian midfielder Konrad Laimer (L) and Atalanta’s Dutch defender Teun Koopmeiners go for the ball during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final, second-leg football match between Atalanta and RB Leipzig on April 14, 2022 at the Azzurri d’Italia stadium in Bergamo. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Why Liverpool Should Secure His Services

Having said that, the Reds might undergo a crisis in the long run unless they rope in new names to succeed the veterans. Henderson, Thiago and Milner are in their thirties, whereas the lack of minutes might see Oxlade-Chamberlain forcing a summer exit. Persistent injury problems have refrained Keita from building momentum, and a move for Laimer makes absolute sense given his flexibility in the middle of the park.

Predominantly a central midfielder, the Austrian can operate as a ‘number 6’ or deep-lying playmaker. His box-to-box movements, creative spark and vision showcase his all-round ability. Also, the consistency as a right fullback early into his Leipzig stint ticks the boxes of a ‘Klopp signing’.

Laimer’s current deal is set to expire in the summer of 2023. Talks will be held upon the completion of the current campaign, but it remains unclear whether the two parties would agree on new terms beyond next season. Leipzig must listen to offers and maximise the profit before it gets too late.

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