The Lowdown: Childhood admission
Gvardiol has recently admitted that he wanted to play for Liverpool when he was a child, and even went to games with his dad.
The Reds have been credited with interest in the 20-year-old, but Leipzig have inserted a £110m release clause in Gvardiol’s contract, suggesting that he is extremely highly rated by the Bundesliga side, and that it may be very difficult to prise him away.
The Latest: Liverpool ‘can become contenders’
“Maybe they can become contenders. We should probably consider that it’s in Gvardiol’s interests to build up all the hype around him to make sure that there’s a tussle to sign him.
“I think from a club standpoint, they’ll be happy for that to be the case with Gvardiol at the moment whilst he stays where he is.”
The Verdict: Van Dijk’s successor…
With Virgil van Dijk, turning 32 years of age in July, Gvardiol would be a natural successor to him at Anfield.
Former Premier League centre-back Johan Djourou hailed him as a ‘huge monster’ and likened him to the ‘Hulk’ upon his dominating performances at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he played in every single minute of the tournament on the way to Croatia reaching the semi-finals, where they were eventually knocked out 3-0 by winners Argentina.
At club level, Gvardiol ranks in the 99th percentile for passes attempted and dribbles completed per game of all centre-halves in Europe’s top five leagues over the past year, as well as in the 94th for progressive passes and 86th for shot-creating actions (FBRef).
This shows how comfortable that he is on the ball as well as defending, and at just 20, he can take on the baton from Van Dijk for years to come.
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