9 Jan 2016

Anfield MegaDeal: Liverpool willing to pay €30m for 'exceptional' attacker who's 'like Reus'

In November 2014, The Agent of Anderlecht midfielder Dennis Praet claimed that Liverpool is a possible transfer destination for his client, and new reports suggest that Liverpool are willing to shell out a big transfer fee to seal a deal for the coveted attacker.

According to Italian journalist Gianluca DiMarzio this week:

* Liverpool and Fiorentina want to sign 21-yer old Praet.

* Fiorentina have made contact, but are put off by Anderlecht's €30m transfer fee.

This fee is apparently not an issue for Liverpool, though, and on Friday, The Mirror claimed:

"Liverpool would have no issue meeting that [€30m] valuation".

Anderlecht are definitely considering cashing-in on Praet. In December, the club's General Manager, Herman Van Holsbeeck told reporters:

"We have to sell as he [Praet] has only one year on his contract. We have to work towards a transfer, otherwise he is in a stronger position than we are."

Some info about Praet:

* Attacking midfielder, who can also play central-mid, and right/left-wing. Under contract at Anderlecht until June 2017.

* 61 goals/assists in 156 in 158 games for Anderlecht (Goal/assist every 191 minutes).

* Jul 2012: Named one of the world's top 50 prospects by 'World Soccer' magazine.

* Oct 2012: LFC scouts watched Praet during Anderlecht's 2-0 victory against Waasland-Beveren.

* Nov 2014: Former Anderlecht coach Aad De Mos raved: "Praet is an exceptional talent; he's the number 10 every club is looking for. He is like [Marco] Reus. He can be his successor."

€30m for yet another number-10? You're having a laugh. For the right price (i.e. £10m-£15m), a player like Praet is arguably worth a punt, but as history shows, it's too much of a gamble to spend £20m+ on a possible future star who may or may not come good (in the Prem) at some undetermined point in the future.

The obvious example is Lazar Markovic. At £20m, the Serb's value reached a ceiling five seconds after he signed his Liverpool contract, and realistically, there's little chance of the Reds recouping that ridiculously inflated transfer fee.

Given Liverpool's decades-long failure to consistently buy quality young players (with long-term first-team potential), the only fiscally responsible policy is to seek out the best available youth prospects in the mid-range price category.

And those type of players are out there. Thibaut Courtois cost Chelsea €9m, and look at him now; Christian Eriksen went for £11m, and Philippe Coutinho cost Liverpool a piffling £8m, which is an amazing bargain.

I'm not a huge fan of Emre Can, but he also falls into the mid-range category, and like other players bought for similar fees, pressure to perform is often commensurate with the price-tag.

I'd rather see Liverpool continue with this policy, which also gels nicely with Jurgen Klopp's comparatively frugal approach to transfers.

That means not spending €30m on Praet, especially when Andriy Yarmolenko is available for £14.5m (his buyout clause).

Author: Jaimie K


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