Liverpool have identified Real Betis midfielder Guido Rodriguez as a potential replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, according to La Razon.
Predominantly a defensive midfielder, the Argentine made 35 La Liga appearances last season, averaging 2.8 tackles, 1.9 interceptions and 1.5 clearances per game (via WhoScored). To put those numbers in context, Liverpool’s top tackler last season was Thiago (2.5 per game) and their most frequent interceptor was Jordan Henderson (1.6).
However, Rodriguez was also something of a yellow card magnet, picking up 10 over the course of the campaign. Only seven players in the league amassed more.
The 27-year-old was called up to the Argentina squad for this summer’s Copa America and started four matches for the eventual winners.
The report from La Razon claimed that Liverpool targetted Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez to bolster their midfield ranks, but their arch-rivals Manchester United are now leading the race for the Spaniard.
Rodriguez, who has previously attracted interest from Arsenal, has an €80m (£68.3m) release clause, but Betis are willing to sell him for around €30m (£25.6m). Furthermore, they need to clear wages off the books so they can register a new signing in Brazilian centre-back Lyanco.
Rodriguez shouldn’t be considered a like-for-like Wijnaldum replacement by any means. Instead, he looks to be a more destructive presence in midfield.
However, Liverpool could use a player who can screen the back four effectively should Fabinho succumb to injury. They sorely missed that protection in the middle of the park when the Brazilian had to play as a centre-back last season.
With Betis inclined to compromise, Liverpool should be able to agree a reasonable fee if they choose to escalate their interest in a player who seems to be a very worthwhile alternative to Saul, who appears increasingly unattainable.
In other news, many Liverpool fans erupted as this transfer news emerged.
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