No Caicedo? No Lavia? Not the End of the World - Exploring the Defensive Midfield Market
Well, it's been quite a weird few days if you are following the transfer activities of Liverpool football club. Ultimately, trying to go toe-to-toe against an entity that is financially superior and morally inferior did not make sense.
As a result, the club has missed out on two top defensive midfielder targets to Chelsea - Roméo Lavia and Moisés Caicedo. Had they got either or both them, it would have instantly made the team better.
To be perfectly honest, even a decent number six makes things better because of the fact that we don’t have one in the squad barring the young Stefan Bajčetić, who has been out of action since March.
Moving on, with the season starting last weekend, this is not a time for Liverpool to sign a raw, young talent and hope to develop him over the course of the next 6-12 months. They do not have Fabinho to start games now and then phase him out later while readying the successor.
The club has the money to fork out. The sale of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson has swollen the pockets, which was on display when the Caicedo fee was agreed with Brighton.
Now, it is high time the recruitment team decides whether they want to sign one elite defensive midfielder at whatever the price, or try and get two at a mid-range price (between £30m-£65m) and let Jürgen Klopp have the options to choose from.
Before jumping on to have a detailed look at the options below, I would ask you to go through a few scouting reports on this website on the defensive midfielders who could be great additions to the squad. I am linking those articles here -
Right, let's take a look at the four others Liverpool can look at before potentially making a move for them in the next couple of weeks. The list had five players in it initially, but Tyler Adams is now off to Bournemouth.
Martín Zubimendi (Age - 24, Contract until June 2027, Height - 1.81m)
Martín Zubimendi is a highly-rated defensive midfielder currently playing for Real Sociedad. He started as a youth player there before making his senior debut in the latter half of the 2019/20 season.
The Spanish international has made 144 senior appearances for Sociedad, most of which coming as a lone number six. Aside from four games, the 24-year-old operated in that position in a three-man midfield last season.
Zubimendi is a technically strong player - as most of them are in Spain, who possesses the tenacity to be as effective off the ball as he is on it. Arsenal wanted to sign him earlier in the summer and were very close to doing so before turning their attention towards Declan Rice.
Let’s take a look at the numbers the 24-year-old produced last season, ranked among his positional peers in the league. It will help us understand his game better.
The Spaniard was right up as the best in the country when it came to winning duels and defensive duels last season. Aerial numbers are decent while the pass accuracy and progression of the ball is at a very good level.
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