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16 Aug 2015

Late Transfer: Liverpool trying to sign 'extraordinary' £21m playmaker who's 'like Kaka'

Last month, Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic categorically stated that he 'will not leave' inter Milan during the current transfer window, but new reports this weekend suggest that Liverpool are still hopeful of sealing a deal before the end of August.

When asked in early-July about a possible move to Liverpool, Kovacic - who has 'incredible potential' according to Croatia legend Zvonimir Boban - told Gazzetta dello Sport:

"Could I replace Sterling? We have two different roles. It's not for me to say whether there have been any offers from the Reds or not, hopefully that's down to my agent".

Kovacic also emphatically reiterated that he wants to stay at Inter:

"Inter have never said they want to sell me. I want to stay. I will not leave. That's what my renewal until 2019 shows. There will be a long relationship between myself and Inter."

Denials be damned! According to The Telegraph today:

* Brendan Rodgers still wants to sign Kovacic this month, who is allegedly available for €30m (£21m)

* Italian newspaper Gazzeta Dello Sport further claims that Liverpool are planning to submit at official offer for the 21-year old.

Inter boss Roberto Mancini pulled Kovacic out of Sunday's pre-season game with AEK Athens, which suggest that a transfer may be on the horizon. Is the Croatian the type of player Liverpool need, though?

Unlike Asier Illarramendi, who is a dedicated defensive midfielder, Kovacic is very much a man without a position, just like Joe Allen and Emre Can.

During his career, Kovacic - described by Giovanni Trappattoni as 'like Kaka - has been utilised as a deep-lying midfielder; a number 10 (just behind the striker); a central-midfielder, and a wide-man, and he's (arguably) failed to excel in any one position.

As such, there's no point signing Kovacic unless he has a specific, well-defined role in the team, otherwise he'll end as an Emre Can-style utility man, which will be no good for his development. Additionally:

* Henderson/Milner is Rodgers' first-choice central midfield partnership, and unless one or both of those two are injured (unlikely), they'll probably play most games.

* Ditto Coutinho and Firminho, who will be amongst the first names on the team-sheet.

The leaves precious little room for Kovacic to consistently play in central midfield, or as a number-10.

That said, Lazar Markovic appears to be on the outs, so if Rodgers sees Kovacic as a replacement for him - or even for Lucas - then the signing makes a modicum of sense.

Still, spending £20m+ on yet another very young player is a gamble, and if Rodgers takes the plunge, he'll be under even more pressure to ensure his expensively assembled team finishes in the top four this season.

* UPDATE: 17 Aug - Real Madrid have reportedly agreed a £25m fee for Kovacic.

Author: Jaimie K


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