Liverpool: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann has suggested that Florian Neuhaus could be the perfect replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum if the Reds manage to seal his signature this summer. The 24-year-old, who is under contract with Borussia Monchengladbach until 2024, has been heavily linked with a switch to Anfield ahead of next season.
Liverpool are believed to be in the market for a new central midfielder in the wake of Wijnaldum’s departure, with the Dutchman joining Barcelona on a free transfer earlier this month.
He played a huge role for Jurgen Klopp’s side during his time on Merseyside, helping the club to seal their recent Champions League and Premier League triumphs with a number of commendable performances in the middle of the park.
Wijnaldum’s exit has threatened to leave a huge hole in Liverpool’s ranks ahead of the new campaign, with sporting director Michael Edwards understood to be hunting for a viable replacement.
The likes of RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer and Yves Bissouma of Brighton and Hove Albion have been tipped to join the Anfield club over the summer, but it seems as though Neuhaus could emerge as a priority target.
The man from Germany has established himself as a useful operator with Gladbach and the Reds are now understood to be keen on a move for his services.
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Hamann, who lifted the Champions League trophy with Liverpool back in 2005, has urged his former employers to act on their reported interest by claiming that Neuhaus would reach new heights under Klopp’s guidance.
“Neuhaus would definitely suit Liverpool,” Hamann told The Athletic. “Technically, he’s a very gifted player and he’s also not scared of hard work so there’s a good mix.
“He’s slight in terms of build, he’s certainly not a unit. He would probably need some time to adapt to the physical side of English football.
“But he’s a very good passer of the ball and he’s smart. He’s got a football brain. He’s really a No 8 who likes to get forward and get into the box.
“He’s creative and he’s a decent finisher, he’s a Klopp kind of player.”
Neuhaus played 45 matches for Gladbach in all competitions last season, chipping in with eight goals and setting up another eight in the process.
The midfielder’s strong form was rewarded with a place in the Germany squad for Euro 2020, although he is yet to make an appearance for Die Mannschaft at the tournament thus far.
Hamann continued, suggesting that Gladbach will struggle to keep hold of Neuhaus into next season as a result of his increased profile and the club missing out on European qualification.
“Every challenge he’s faced so far he’s taken in his stride,” added the former Liverpool man.
“He’s not a kid anymore, he’s 24 now. It’s probably time for him to take the next step. Liverpool would be a great move for him.
“He’s got Champions League experience. Gladbach did very well in the competition last season to reach the knockout stages. Their season fell apart after it emerged that their manager [Marco Rose] was off to Dortmund.
“They didn’t even qualify for Europe in the end so it would be difficult for them to keep hold of Neuhaus if they get a decent offer.”
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will eventually pursue a move for Neuhaus or snub the Gladbach playmaker in favour of another target, but it seems as though the addition of a new midfielder will be the order of the day ahead of the new campaign.
The Reds will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s shortcomings, with their failure to sign a centre-back in the summer transfer window sparking a nightmare injury crisis when Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were all ruled out with long-term problems.
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