HomePremier LeagueJurgen Klopp can bolster Liverpool's midfield by acquiring an...

Jurgen Klopp can bolster Liverpool’s midfield by acquiring an ‘unbelievable’ Manchester City player for free

Jurgen Klopp can bolster Liverpool’s midfield by acquiring an ‘unbelievable’ Manchester City player for free

While the Reds have let go of Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino, and Divock Origi in recent weeks, they have also signed Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, and Fabio Carvalho, as well as tying down Mohamed Salah to a new three-year contract.

With Nunez and Carvalho joining Calvin Ramsay at Anfield this summer, Liverpool’s incoming transfer activity is thought to be complete as the Reds stick to their’retain and refresh’ approach to seek long-term success. 

As a result, the club’s ambitions to add a new midfielder have been put on hold until 2023, with the team keeping the same eight senior players that fought for an unprecedented quadruple last season.

James Milner will be 37 when his new one-year contract expires at the end of this season, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are also out of contract in 2023.

While Liverpool hopes to reach an agreement with the Guinean, it would not be surprising if the previous duo left on free transfers.

Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara will turn 33 and 32 next year, respectively. While the duo are under contract until 2025 and 2024, respectively, and remain important players for the Reds, it’s evident that any gradual transition will see them gradually eased out as go-to starts, with Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones ready to step up and play alongside Fabinho.

If Bellingham is chosen as Liverpool’s midfield target next summer, the Reds will be making a long-term investment on a player who will be stationed in their engine room with the likes of Elliott and Jones for at least the next decade.

When looking at the club’s existing octet, it’s evident that one arrival would not be adequate long-term when pursuing this’retain and renew’ plan.

And, if Klopp decides to solve both concerns, there is one player in particular whom he knows well, having described him as “one of the best players” he has ever managed, who could be the ideal option before his contract expires next summer.

Ilkay Gundogan’s future at Manchester City is unknown as he enters the final year of his contract, with the £45 million purchase of Kalvin Phillips moving him further down the pecking order.

As a result, he is ready to go, with reports in Germany stating that signing a new contract with the club is ‘out of the question.’

Liverpool have already benefited from recruiting an experienced midfielder from Manchester City in the form of Milner, and it is never a bad thing to recruit eyes from within enemy lines. 

Given Gundogan’s impending availability, would Klopp be wise to try to reunite with his former midfielder?

The Reds manager signed the 31-year-old while managing Borussia Dortmund in 2011, but he was unable to persuade his compatriot to accompany him to Anfield when he joined Manchester City in 2016. 

And, as he sought a fresh challenge, the midfielder sought guidance from his previous manager before to his move to the Premier League.

“I spoke with Jurgen about different things,’ Gundogan explained to the Daily Mail in 2018. “He always liked me as a player and I would be a liar if I said he didn’t try. But when I had the opportunity to join City and work with Pep, it was quite clear that I wanted to come here.

“When I was a little bit down because of my injury, he was quite sure he was still going to try to buy me. That showed me it could never be the wrong decision to join this club. They are both great managers, great characters and very ambitious. I’ve been lucky.”

“I believe in challenges in life and I always try to challenge myself first of all,” Gundogan told FantasyPL back in 2020. “I feel like if I don’t challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone, I’m not going to change anything and won’t improve.

“So I had a great four years with Jurgen and I love him as a person and a manager but I felt it was time for something else. I wanted to leave Dortmund in Dortmund and didn’t want to think about the time I had with him when I was joining a new club. That was a bit of the reason why I didn’t want to join Liverpool.”

“To be honest I asked his advice, if the Premier League was the right thing for me,” Gundogan would also admit to Sport Bild magazine. “He said ‘yes’ and believed I would feel very well here and that the playing style would be perfect for me. It was good to have my impressions confirmed.”

Despite being competitors in the Premier League and Champions League for the past six years, Gundogan and Klopp remain good friends, with the Germany international fully aware of the influence his former boss has had on his career, dating back to when he first signed for Borussia Dortmund.

“When I came to Dortmund at the age of 20, I had an adaptation problem. The first six months were tough for me,” he told Turkish TV channel Tivibu Spor. “But Klopp helped me because he treated his players like a father figure, like a friend. He was always with me, gave me confidence.”

“Four years have passed with Klopp. A teacher I love very much. He creates an amazing team spirit and motivates footballers incredibly,” he said. “Jurgen as a character is someone when you go on the pitch you are able to sacrifice everything for him, to give your all. He has that power the way he talks to you, the way he speaks to you, to give you the right words going into a game. So you just go onto the pitch and you’d die for him.

“I spent five successful years with him. I became a national player. I started working with Low. Then I had an incredible season with Tuchel in Dortmund. Then I had the opportunity to work with Guardiola…I am very satisfied with the coaches I have worked with so far.”

“It (Liverpool) reminds me a lot (of Dortmund), especially looking at the player types. It’s all very similar,” Gundogan told Bild. “Kloppo just has the gift to fascinate a team and fire it up… Jurgen does sensational work at Liverpool. The team plays great attacking football, scores a lot of goals and has a lot of quality. Liverpool are an opponent we have to take seriously.”

As a result, the two maintain a high level of respect for one another, with Gundogan consistently pleased by what his old coach is accomplishing at Liverpool.

Meanwhile, the Reds manager lost no time in congratulating his former player after the midfielder’s late brace helped City win the title at the cost of Liverpool on the last day of last season.

“He was one of the first,” the midfielder told German outlet SPORT1. “We have always treated each other with the utmost respect. He had another very good season with Liverpool and made life extremely difficult for us.

“He’s just an outstanding guy and coach, and he’s shown that over the years. I know it may be tough to say, but if Liverpool would not be there and would not play the way they are playing, incredible football and very successful, I don’t think that this league would have been that attractive.

“So even though, again, they finished just one point behind us, I think they played an incredible season. We pushed each other, again, to the limits and even though it’s a sad day for them, we need to appreciate what they’ve done.

“Especially my former coach, who I still like a lot. Congratulations to them as well, and we are looking forward to competing again with them next season.”

While Gundogan turned down Klopp’s advances when he first moved to England, if he does leave Man City, a reunion may appeal this time, given his affection for his former manager and his team.

And, having reached three Champions League finals in five years, Liverpool might offer him the chance to win the one trophy that continues to elude Man City, as they surely continue to compete for the highest honours.

Klopp has always admired the player, even if his increasing ruthlessness in front of goal, with 21 goals in 43 Premier League starts over the previous two seasons, has taken the Liverpool manager by surprise!


Jurgen Klopp can bolster Liverpool’s midfield by acquiring an ‘unbelievable’ Manchester City player for free

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