The Liverpool fans in the Transfer Tavern are expecting big changes to their midfield personnel this summer with Naby Keita due to arrive at the club and Emre Can widely tipped to depart Anfield for Juventus.
Emre Can’s future has been the subject of intense speculation for the entirety of the season so far, and with just weeks remaining on his current deal it appears he is destined to pursue his career away from the club. The German international has developed into a fine central midfielder during his four-year stint on Merseyside, but yet it seems he is still some way off realising the full extent of his potential.
Perhaps he is holding something back due to a lack of desire to remain at the club or maybe his attributes are better-suited to the speed and tactical approach of Serie A. Either way, he looks destined to flourish into one of Europe’s best midfielders, although unfortunately for the Reds faithful propping up our bar, he’s likely to do so at a European rival club.
With that to consider, Jurgen Klopp will need to invest in a new defensive midfield player this summer in order to deal with Can’s departure, and one player he would be foolish not to consider is Southampton’s Mario Lemina (valued at £13.5 million by Transfermarkt) despite the fact his side all but secured their survival with a priceless victory over Swansea City on Tuesday evening.
Lemina didn’t partake in Southampton’s victory after he sustained an injury during the club’s draw with Everton on Saturday, but his performances have represented a minor bright spark in an otherwise sobering campaign for the Saints. In a deep-lying anchor role, Lemina combines defensive intelligence with neat footwork and driving runs through the heart of midfield to great effect.
There are certainly parallels to be drawn between Can and Lemina, so there’s no doubt the 24-year-old Gabonese international would be an ideal replacement for Can this summer. Lemina still has plenty to learn in English football, but the early signs are extremely promising, so Jurgen Klopp should do everything he can to complete another successful raid on Southampton for one of their rising stars this summer.
Liverpool fans – thoughts? Let us know below!