29 Jan 2016

Late Transfer: Klopp desperate to sign 'amazing' midfielder who idolises superstar £42m attacker

With Marko Grujic already signed for next season, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is reportedly tracking another young player to compete for a place in the club's increasingly congested midfield.

According to The Mirror:

"Klopp is keen to wrap an £11m move for Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski, and [is] looking at securing his services this January".

Zielinski - currently on loan at Empoli - doesn't appear to be interested in a move to the Premier League, though, and when asked last week about his future, he told Gazetta Dello Sport:

"I would like to join Juventus or Roma, however I was happy to hear of interest from Napoli.”

Some info about Zielinski, whose current contract expires in June 2016:

* 21-year old central midfielder, who can also play as a number-10. 2 goals/8 assists in 50 apps for Empoli (One every 294 minutes).

Apr 2014: * Ex-Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin enthused: "When I saw Zielinski three years ago  he was...so skinny and fragile but with two amazing feet. This is why I decided to work with him, as he has the stigmata of a champion".

* On his goals for the remainder of the season: "I can still improve. I want to score five goals and create 10 assists. I have a lot riding on the next five months.”

* On his football idols: “Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil* and Miralem Pjanic. Zinedine Zidane is the best of them all.”

If Liverpool seal this deal, and (for the sake of argument) sell Allen and Lucas in the summer, that'll leave the following senior options in midfield: Henderson, Milner, Can, Grucic, and Zielinski.

One question: where are the midfield goals and assists going to come from?

* When fully fit, Hendo is capable of weighing in with 15/20 goals/assists per season (as he did last year), but Milner and Can are not the answer (this season: 1 goal/assist every 440 minutes between them).

* Grujic and Zielinksi have poor creative records so far, and both will need to adapt to the Premier League. What is the likelihod of one (or both of them) making smashing in goals/assists right off the bat? The odds are against it.

On a related note: Signing players like Grujic and Zielinski highlights once again the utter failure of Liverpool's youth policy. What is the point in developing midfielders at the academy if the club then goes out and buys two YOUNG MIDFIELDERS (aged 19 and 21 respectively).

It must be so demotivating for the like of Brannagan, Chirivella et al to see the club sign teenagers to basically replace them in the first team squad. I've said it once and I'll say it again: Liverpool's academy system is not fit for purpose, and should be replaced with a reserve team system, principally for players aged 21+.

* Cost £42m

Author: Jaimie K


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