29 Jan 2016

Transfer Stunner: Klopp held secret talks with Agent of 'combative' £37m midfielder. Anfield-bound?

In December, The Telegraphy claimed that Liverpool are willing to break the club's transfer record to sign Borussia Moenchengladbach star Granit Xhaka, and new reports suggest that Jurgen Klopp is taking personal charge of this particular transfer.

According to German newspaper SportBild this week:

"SportBild has learned that Jurgen Klopp had a meeting with [Granit] Xhaka's Agent in December 2015".

Some info about Xhaka, who, according to Moenchengladbach Sporting Director Max Eberle, is 'one of the best players in the Bundesliga':

* 23- year old central midfielder, who's spent much of his career playing as a defensive midfielder.

* Recently extended his contract until 2019 (€30m buyout clause), but The Telegraph claims that BMG want a £37m transfer fee.

* 127 apps for Moenchengladbach (16 goals/assists). 38 apps for the Swiss national team.

* Jul 2015: Revealed his next career goal: 'Gladbach are a top club, but there are other top clubs that could be my next career step.'

There is one major issue with Xhaka, however: discipline on the pitch.

* 40 yellow cards since the start of the 13-14 season. 8 yellows/3 reds in 23 games so far this season.

* Total: Eight suspensions since in the same time period (!)

With the overt physicality of English football, Xhaka will almost certainly pick up suspensions in the Prem. Gladbach boss Lucien Favre is aware of the problem:

"I'm doing my best to change aspects of Granit's combative behavior on the pitch. He is making progress , but it will take a while."

Liverpool clearly need a tough, combative midfielder, but Xhaka's yellow card/suspension record will needs serious improvement. As with injuries, it's impossible to build a team around a player who's constantly on the sidelines.

According to his agent, Klopp 'does not like to speak to players’ representatives', so in this instance, he must really want Xhaka. Three red cards in just half a season, though - is the potential disciplinary hassle worth £30m+?

Author: Jaimie K


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