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17 Jul 2016

Transfer Update: Liverpool keen to sign 'incredible' €25m midfielder who's like 'Xavi'. Replace Allen?

Despite the recruitment of Marko Grujic, Liverpool continue to be linked with central midfielders, and the latest name to enter the fray is Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic.

According to Gazetta Dello Sport:

"Liverpool and Arsenal are interested in signing Marcelo Brozovic, and Inter Milan will sell if they receive an offer of €25m".

This is a far cry from Inter's position in January, when Roberto Mancini insisted:

"We don’t want to sell him [Brozovic], even if faced with a great offer. He must work, but he has incredible quality.”

Some info about Brozovic, nicknamed the 'Croatian Xavi':

* 23-year old midfielder, who can play in a number of different roles, but operates mostly as a box-to-box midfielder for Inter.

* Inter: 8 goals/6 assists in 51 apps (Goal every 478 mins. G/A every 273 mins)

* Scouting Report (Strengths) "Technically proficient. Equally capable of providing assists and goals. Creative spark with excellent vision and passing, and is a real danger from distance".

* Scouting Report (Weaknesses): "Despite being quick and agile, Brozovic doesn’t possess the most imposing frame and his lack of strength, and poor ability in the air (36% duel success rate) could cause concern".

* Mar 2016: Croatian legend Mario Stanic enthused: "Brozo can read the game like few others. He knows when to go direct, and above all, he has quality. He is a machine. He resembles a German".

As usual, this all sounds great, but Brozovic's goals/assist return is poor, and is certainly no upgrade on Lallana, Coutinho, or Henderson. Additionally, what is his best position? As noted in Four Four Two's scouting report:

"Versatile midfielder who can be used in a number of roles – central midfield, defensive midfield, attacking midfield and on the right flank".

The last thing Liverpool need is yet another 'Jack of all Trades' who doesn't excel in any one position. I've said it a hundred times, but I'll say it again: the Reds need positional specialists, especially in midfield, and right now, the club lacks players in two specific specialist roles:

* Defensive midfield (Convert Can into a full-time DM already!)

* Deep-lying playmaker capable of intelligently dictating the pace of play.

Signing a player like Brozovic is pointless unless he's a specialist in one of these two roles. Jose Mourinho summed it perfectly last week, when he told reporters:

"I am a manager that likes specialists, and not so much multi-functional players. When you are in trouble, like if you have three central defenders injured, you need someone to fill in, but basically I want specialists".

The ability to play in five different positions doesn't win titles. Specialists win titles. For example, how many different positions did Roy Keane play? Eric Cantona? Patrick Vieira? Jamie Vardy? Ryan Giggs? David Silva? Nemanja Matic?

Conversely, Steven Gerrard was the poster boy for Premier League versatility, and didn't win a single league title during his entire career. Right now, outside the defence, Lucas Leiva and Daniel Sturridge are Liverpool's only positional-specialists, and that needs to change ASAP.


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