15 Sept 2015

Top Transfer? Liverpool almost signed €10m midfield powerhouse who's like 'amazing' £70m superstar

Over the last three years, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has spent £300m in the transfer market, yet despite that gigantic outlay, the Reds still lack quality in the defensive-midfield department. Lucas Leiva is the only senior DM in the first team-squad, but reports in Italy today claim that Rodgers came close to addressing the issue during a recent transfer window.

According to Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato:

"Liverpool were close to signing Mario Lemina...as a possible replacement for Lucas Leiva, but club decided to opt out of the deal, and so, on the last day of the summer market, Lemina ended at Juventus"..

Liverpool were last linked with 22-year old Lemina - who will cost Juve €10m - in January, when the Daily Mail reported:

"Liverpool have...'enquired' about the 21-year old Mario Lemina, although specific details over the potential transfer have been kept to a minimum".

Some info about Lemina:

* Defensive midfielder who can play as a midfield playmaker, or right-mid.

* 50 apps for Marseille.

* 2013: Helped France win the U20 World Cup.

* Last season: Punched Ola Toivonen in the groin during Marseille's game with Rennes, and after being sent off, Lemina offered the following hilarious explanation: "I have friends in Rennes who said Ola was a woman posing as a man. I could have asked him simply "Are you a girl?" but after I did what I did, I now know he is a man, because I felt his package".

* Lemina on his versatility: “I’m as comfortable going forward as I am tracking back. For that, I owe thanks to my old coach Marcelo Bielsa. I played in a back three for Marseille on occasions, so for the benefit of the team I can slot in anywhere".

* On his best position: “My preferred position is in the centre of the field where I can dictate play and influence the game".

* Lemina's idol is Juve legend Pavel Nedved, about whom he raved: "[Nedved] is a truly great Juventus player who always played with his heart, a style that I look to emulate myself".

* Also a huge fan of 'amazing' £70m-rated Paul Pogba. Last week, Lemina enthused: “I hope to be like Paul Pogba. I’ve known him since we were together in the France youth teams. It’s great to see his daily improvement and I hope to be like him one day.”

* French Football Weekly's assessment: "Lemina is a street fighter. He chases a lot of balls down, harries and pressurises opponents into mistakes, and seems to possess a strong determined attitude".

It's easy to see why Rodgers wanted Lemina - he fits the profile of the kind of player he and his incompetent transfer committee tend to target: young, comparatively inexperienced, cheap, potential resale value, malleable, versatile, defensive-minded etc.

Genital-punching insanity aside, Lemina appears to be a decent prospect, and with Pogba regularly linked with a move away, Juve probably see him as a potential replacement if/when a transfer takes place.

As for Liverpool - given a straight choice between Anfield and the San Siro, there's no contest at the moment. Juve have won four league titles in a row, and are in the Champions League every year.

The Reds consistently struggle to stay above mid-table obscurity.

Author: Jaimie K


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