Jurgen Klopp is working overtime to ensure that he has the right mix of players to make this Liverpool side a formidable unit for seasons to come. The club has already acquired the services of goalkeeper Loris Karius and defender Joel Matip, both from German clubs and is believed to be in advanced stages of negotiation with Southampton for Sadio Mane. However, if reports from the Gazzetta dello Sport are to be believed, the club is also in the race for Croatian winger Marko Pjaca and a deal is likely to materialise over the next few days.
Marko Pjaca was born on 6th May 1995 in Zagreb and trained as a youth player with Dinamo Zagreb, NK ZET and subsequently Lokomotiva Zagreb. He was handed his first team debut in 2012 by Lokomotiva Zagreb and featured regularly thereafter, making 49 appearances in all competitions over the next 2 seasons. 9 goals in 51 games while at Lokomotiva was enough to convince the management at Dinamo Zagreb to pursue their former trainee and the club eventually signed him for a fee believed to be in the region of €1 Million. The move to Dinamo proved right for the player as he forced his way into their first team featuring on 60 occasions and finding the back of the net 19 times. His impressive performances at the club level ensured that he was handed a Croatia debut in 2014. His recent performances with Croatia at Euro 2016 have drawn a lot of admirers across Europe and many believe it’s time the player moved to a better league to ply his trade.
Pjaca possesses the ability to play across the front of the pitch and would lend Klopp with some flexibility in setting up his team. Pjaca would become an attacking threat to any opposition in the Premier League, with his pace and acceleration complemented by his creativity. At Euro 2016, the player attempted 11 take-ons and completed 10 of them, which is an indication of his ability to take a man on and beat him.
Though he is primarily right-footed, he can also use his left foot to great effect and would benefit from playing alongside the likes of Coutinho, Sturridge and Firmino. He likes to cut in from the left and is not shy to have a go at the goal. The Croat’s record in front of the goal makes decent readings as well, as he has found the back of the net on 37 occasions, a feature that could serve the often goal shy Liverpool side in good stead.
While there is no major weakness in the player, the Croatian league is definitely not the toughest league in the world and the transfer to Liverpool could test more than his technical abilities. It remains to be seen if the player can adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League. Another aspect of his game that he will need to work upon is his efficiency with his passing. He can often be loose with his possession and would struggle in the Premier League if he does not improve on that.
Though it has not yet been confirmed, the rumour fee for the player is believed to be in the region of £12 million which is not a lot by any means for a player whose career has been on a steep upward curve ever since he made his league debut with Lokomotiva Zagreb. Given the inconsistencies of existing wingers at Anfield, it is only obvious that Klopp is looking outside the club to resolve the issue on the flanks and Pjaca fits the bill perfectly.