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Liverpool may have found £27m replacement for Gini Wijnaldum who can also fix Fabinho problem



Liverpool may have found £27m replacement for Gini Wijnaldum who can also fix Fabinho problem

Liverpool have not replaced Gini Wijnaldum since he left the club but may now have found an ideal candidate who could also solve the club’s Fabinho problem.

Liverpool have been looking for a solution to their midfield problems since the departure of Gini Wijnaldum. The Dutchman was the last player to competently replace Fabinho in the Brazilian’s absence in midfield and Liverpool have been vulnerable since his departure.

Ever since Wijnaldum left the club, Liverpool have relied too much on Fabinho, even recalling him early last season through injury to play in the Champions League final – that’s how important he was to Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool machine.

The aftermath of that overload is being felt this season. Fabinho looked jaded and a shadow of the player once considered one of the best in his position. These days, Liverpool’s midfield is a bit scrappy and easy to exploit.

A presence like Wijnaldum in his prime would be a welcome addition to Liverpool’s midfield and if Liverpool are serious about reaching the Champions League next season they cannot afford to procrastinate and wait until the summer to do so in order to strengthen the options of the association.

One player being watched by the club, according to i News, is Teun Koopmeiners, who the Reds have been “watching for a few months” and who, like Cody Gakpo, was a fellow Netherlands national team player at the World Cup. Cup.

At just 24, Koopmeiners has caught the eye in Serie A this season and could be an ideal profile to finally close the gap for Wijnaldum at Anfield. A robust and technically gifted midfielder, he is more in the Xabi Alonso mold of a tenacious midfielder with great distribution and excellent understanding of the game than a tough attacking midfielder, but he is also capable of playing more up front in a box-to-box, attacking midfielder, which makes him the kind of versatile player Klopp likes to work with.

Overall, he played the vast majority of his games in midfield at club level, and while at Atalanta he had to play a bit further up front, which reduced his defensive stats given his numbers in the Eredivisie where he played all ‘AZ Alkmaar played in a more defensive role, similar to what one would expect of him at Liverpool, Koopmeiners has shown himself to be a capable defender.

He ranks in the 87th percentile for tackles attempted and tackles won among his positional peers in the league and has won 56% of his one-on-one defensive games according to FBref.

Also at the World Cup Koopmeiners stood out for his ability to regain possession. After the end of the group stage, for players who have amassed the equivalent of at least three football halves, Koopmeiners recorded the most tackles and interceptions per 90 and won 6.88 according to FBref. Additionally, Koopmeiners is a player adept at penetrating the box or scoring from distance and he could pose both a defensive and offensive threat if used in a box-to-box role as well. He can play both roles in midfield, just like Wijnaldum, and is far from a one-dimensional player, which is exactly what the Liverpool midfielder needs.

Koopmeiners has excellent range and plenty of energy to match Klopp’s counter-press well and is valued at just $32m (£27m/€30m) by Transfermarkt, making him a for the Reds even in the affordable option of the current window.

Still relatively young and with the profile that would suit the club, it would be wise to move in January if Liverpool really keep tabs on him.

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