8 Mar 2016

Klopp to Sign? Liverpool chase €12m midfield powerhouse who's like 'amazing' £70m superstar

In September, Tutto Mercato claimed that Brendan Rodgers came 'close to signing Mario Lemina on the last day of the summer transfer market', and new reports this week suggest that Reds are still tracking the 22-year old midfielder.

Liverpool reportedly 'enquired' about Lemina (currently on loan at Juventus) in January, and according to Monday's edition of Italian newspaper Tutto Sport:

"Juve Vice President Pavel Nedved dotes on Lemina, and he is doing his utmost to quell the advances of Sevilla, Liverpool and Napoli".

Some info about €12m-rated Lemina:

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

* 2 goals in 50 apps for Marseille. 2 goals in 8 apps for Juventus.

* 2013: Helped France win the U20 World Cup.

* 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".

* Last season: Punched Ola Toivonen in the groin during Marseille's game with Rennes, and after being sent off, Lemina offered the following 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".

* 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".

* Lemina is a huge fan of 'amazing' £70m-rated Paul Pogba: “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.”

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 Juve, 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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