24 Nov 2015

Contact Made: Klopp determined to sign 'excellent' €20m attacker ASAP. Official Liverpool offer expected

With speculation continuing to mount, Empoli attacker Riccardo Saponara is seemingly emerging as a major transfer target for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

Earlier this month, Italian newspaper Tutto Sport claimed that Klopp wants to sign €20m-rated Saponara, and according to Italian newspaper La Nazione this week:

* Liverpool are 'poised' to make a bid for 23-year old Saponara.

* The Reds are 'in contact' with Empoli, and Klopp is determined to complete a deal during the January transfer window.

When asked recently about Saponara, Empoli Chief Fabrizio Corsi told reporters:

“We’re not talking about the transfer market [as it could] destabilise the team."

Saponara himself has also dismissed the possibility of January move:

"I am honoured by the interest, but I don’t think anything will happen in January”.

Some info about Saponara, described last season as an 'excellent player' by Filip Inzagi:

* 54 goals/assists in 121 apps for Empoli (One every 157 mins)

* 26 games for various Italy youth teams, but is yet to play for the senior international team.

* This season: 8 goals/assists in 11 games (One every 120 mins)

* 5 injuries in the last two seasons (85 days out/12 games missed).

* Jul 2014: Confirmed his favourite position: “As a winger I am very happy. I have the chance to touch the ball more often and play facing our opponents’ goal".

* July 2013: Saponara revealed that he uses a 'mental coach' (arguably a giant red flag): "I had a mental block that stopped me from playing well. Roberto Civitarese [the mental coach] taught me to focus on my work, and express myself 100% without worries. We see each other every two weeks".

Thanks but no thanks. The very best players don't need a 'mental coach' to fulfill their potential; players like, say, Luis Suarez have 100% belief in their own ability, and the self-confidence to make it happen on the field.

Liverpool have bought too many mentally weak small-club players over the years, and paid the price, so in my view, the Reds should steer clear of Saponaro.

If Klopp wants a winger, the best option remains Andriy Yarmolenko, who has 17 goals/assists in 18 games already this season (one every 95 minutes).

Author: Jaimie K



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