8 May 2016

Replace Sakho? Liverpool plan €19m offer for 'exceptional' Bundesliga star admired by Klopp

With Mamadou Sakho facing a lengthy ban, Liverpool are reportedly lining up potential replacements, and Roma star Antonio Rudiger is reportedly on Jurgen Klopp's summer wish-list.

According to German TV channel Sport 1:

"Liverpool are preparing to make an initial offer of €19m for Antonio Rüdiger. Klopp has admired the robust defender since his time in the Bundesliga, and would love to lure him to Anfield".

When asked recently about his plans for next season, Rudiger - hailed in April by Roma boss Luciano Spalletti for his 'exceptional' performances this season - told Kicker magazine:

"I think the club [Roma] will activate my clause. Returning to Germany is not in my head. I think I made the right choice, there’s so much pressure here, both from fans and the media, but I’m fine".

Some info about Rudiger:

* Centre-back, who can also play as a right-back, or a defensive-midfielder. Currently on loan at Roma from VFW Stuttgart. Current contract expires: 2017.

* Roma and Stuttgart: 116 appearances in the last four seasons (Averages 29 apps per season). 9 apps for the German national team.

* Three separate knee injuries in the last 2 seasons (168 days out; 17 games missed)

* Jun 2015: Joachim Low's assessment: "He [Rudiger] is another Jerome Boateng, just because they’re so alike. He’s been one of our strongest defenders in training and that’s why he’s playing."

* Oct 2014: Rudiger enthused: "On the pitch my idol is Thiago Silva. He’s just world class and a player I hope to be able to play against in the future."

* Scouting Report (Strengths): "Lightning fast and agile; strong aerially and in the tackle; a tidy ball-playing defender; never-say-die attitude".

* Scouting Report (Weaknesses): "Prone to the odd lapse in concentration; guilty of trying too hard on occasions; committed the most fouls of any player at Stuttgart last season, and conceded three penalties".

If Rudiger has an issue with pressure from 'fans and the media', then Liverpool is clearly not the right destination. By his own admission, Dejan Lovren struggled with the weight of expectation, and endured a torrid debut season at Anfield.

From 2008-2011, Rudiger spent three years in Borussia Dortmund's youth system, and although he didn't make a breakthrough at the club, Jurgen Klopp will be well aware of his talents.

A viable replacement for Sakho, or Toure?

Author: Jaimie K


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