Liverpool are planning to go big during the last few days of the window as they attempt to provide Jurgen Klopp with a squad strong enough to challenge on multiple fronts. They have agreed a deal to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig next summer, but their attentions will now switch to players for now. Goal reported on Monday that the Reds were looking to push through a club-record £70 million bid for Monaco attacker Thomas Lemar, who is keen on a switch to Anfield. It looks like the club will make a sustained push for the Frenchman during the next few days with the Telegraph reporting that Divock Origi could be used in part-exchange.
This is an ambitious move from Liverpool as it has been widely reported that Lemar wouldn’t be sold this summer, with Arsenal failing to complete a deal for the 21-year-old. However, the Reds must have received some encouragement and Monaco pursuit of Keita Balde could lead to the French international’s departure.
What would Thomas Lemar bring to Liverpool?
It was a superb season for Lemar during the 2016/17 campaign as he played a vital role in the success achieved by Monaco. Across the Champions League and Ligue 1, he contributed 11 goals and 14 assists which a goal involvement every 140.28 minutes. His performances in Europe proved that he could compete at the highest level, with his performance at Wembley against Tottenham being a particular highlight. This will have brought him to the attention of several English clubs.
Lemar would be a great addition to the Liverpool squad, as he is tactically flexible and capable of playing a number of different roles in the midfield. He was primarily used on the left wing in a 4-2-2-2 by Leonardo Jardim last season, but he can also play as a number ten on an advanced playmaker as part of a midfield three.
The Frenchman has excellent close ball control and operates confidently in tight spaces. His quick burst of pace is a weapon he deploys well to glide past opposition players and he is good with both feet. This coupled with his agility makes him incredibly dangerous on the dribble and an effective attacker in a counter-attacking team. His reading of the game and movement off the ball allow him to regularly take up threatening positions.
One of his best assets is his set-piece delivery, while his passing range is impressive for a player of his age. He offers a threat in the final third, as displayed by his average of 2.41 chances created and 2 attempted shots per ninety minutes in Ligue 1 last season. Considering he was one of several attacking players in the Monaco team, these are good contributions.
If he was to join Liverpool, he would have to improve his physicality as he does struggle in that part of the game. Supporters would have to be patient with him as he adjusted to the Premier League, but there is no doubting his potential at only 21. There is a lot to get excited about and he looks a great fit for the current Reds’ squad.
Where would he fit in at Anfield?
His flexibility would make him an excellent addition and provide Klopp with a number of options, which he will take advantage of as the season progresses. There will need to be rotation and Lemar is a player capable of filling in across the forward and midfield positions. If the German persists with a 4-3-3 formation, the Frenchman would likely take up the advanced playmaker position and offer support to the front three. However, he could also play on the left wing or as the box-to-box midfielder. The fluidity of the formation would play to the 21-year-old’s strengths and he would thrive in any number of roles.
Liverpool supporters will be concerned that Lemar is the replacement for Philippe Coutinho and that could be the case, but he would be one of the better replacements on the market. If the club managed to sign the Frenchman and agree a deal for Naby Keita with the Coutinho money, it would be great business for the Reds.