Why Liverpool must make a move for Hakim Ziyech this summer?
Morocco international Hakim Ziyech put in a stellar display as Ajax crushed Real Madrid 4-1 in the second leg of Champions League Round of 16.
Ajax travelled to Spain for the Champions League last-16 second-leg, having lost 2-1 in Amsterdam to Real Madrid two weeks ago. Very few would have given Ajax a realistic chance of progressing, but they came all guns blazing in the opening stages and found themselves 2-0 ahead inside just 20 minutes.
The architect of the comeback was none other than Hakim Ziyech, who scored the opener very early in the game and tormented Real Madrid with his movement, passing and creativity. The Moroccan alongside the likes of Dusan Tadic, David Neres, Frenkie De Jong and Lasse Schone tore Madrid to shreds at the Santiago Bernabeu, sealing a 5-3 aggregate victory and eliminating the holders before the quarter-finals.
Last May, a report from Calciomercato suggested Liverpool were one of the few Premier League clubs interested in Hakim Ziyech. Having excelled both in the Eredivisie and the Champions League this season, Liverpool should rekindle their interest in the Ajax playmaker this summer.
The Reds are gunning for the Premier League title this season but have fallen a point behind league leaders Manchester City after a 0-0 draw with Everton at the Goodison Park last weekend. Jurgen Klopp didn’t make any investment in the January transfer window and his team seems to be haunted by it as they are now battling with injuries in the team without enough bench strength.
Moreover, Liverpool are yet to sign a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who left Anfield for Barcelona last January. However, Ziyech could to be the answer to Coutinho’s replacement, with the 25-year-old enjoying his best season in Ajax colours.
Ziyech is extremely versatile, capable of playing in central midfield, right and left wing and as a no.10. His main strengths lie with passing and dribbling ability, with the Moroccan combining his agility and skill to wreak havoc against the opposition defenders. Apart from excellent dribbling, he can deliver killer passes, whether from open play or from set-pieces.
A goalscoring midfielder, Ziyech is someone who always likes to get close to the ball and is also known for his superior work rate. His contract with Ajax runs out in the summer of 2021 and judging by his performances this season, the midfielder seems to be ready for a step up in his career.
And Liverpool should benefit immensely by signing Ziyech, who would add more dynamism and cutting edge to their attack whilst being a long-term replacement for Coutinho.
Who is this 19-year-old Championship wonder kid being surveyed by Premier League giants? All you need to know
Premier League Opinion: Scout Report – Bilal Brahimi
Players such as Lee Cattermole, Stuart Downing and James Morrison are living legacies of this famous football clubs. Even now, their production quality certainly hasn’t dropped. One player from their academy is now turning heads even at Premier League level.
Bilal Brahimi is a 19-year-old French left-winger who currently features mainly for the Boro U23 side although he did make a first-team appearance earlier this season. His exploits have attracted interest from both Liverpool and Newcastle United, as suggested by Hull Live.
Brahimi was born in Paris, France on the 14th of March in 2000 and that’s where stayed until 2017 when he finally made the switch to a professional football clubs.
After spending time with multiple amateur clubs within Paris, he was signed up by Leixoes who play in the Portuguese 2nd division.
It was here that he was scouted by Middlesbrough and within a year of being in Portugal, he was given the opportunity to spread his wings as a footballer at the famous Middlesbrough academy. Since then, there’s been no stopping him as he’s turned into one of their brightest young prospects.
Since he mostly represents the U23 side, he plays in the Premier League 2 and has scored once and assisted once in his 13 league appearances this season. His lone first team appearance came in August when he came on in an EFL Cup against Rochdale.
Style of Play
He is a tricky winger who loves to get on the ball but also displays amazing unselfishness in the final third. His ambition to pick out teammates is matched by his ability as the eventuality of a misplaced pass from the youngster is rare.
Quite direct in his approach, he has the right attributes to develop into a tricky Premier League winger given the right training and nurturing. All this added to the fact that he also plays as a striker, means that he’s effectively guaranteed a future in the English game.
The Way Forward
Brahimi turned 19 just a week ago and pushing a player of such youth into making a difficult decision could have serious effects on his growth as a player and hence it would be best for him to stay at Middlesbrough for at least another season.
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With that said, when clubs like Liverpool or Newcastle United come calling, irrespective of who you are, it will be really difficult to turn them down and with the right intentions, he can be turned into a superstar in the coming years.
Forget it Klopp – Liverpool would commit a massive blunder by signing this 77-goal hitman and here is why
Liverpool Opinion: Reds signing Pablo Dybala could have a negative impact
An earlier report from Tuttosport claimed that Juventus were willing to offer Dybala as a part of a swap deal for Mohamed Salah. That, however, did not materialize, with Liverpool keen to hold on to Salah at all costs.
Dybala made his move to Turin from Palermo back in 2015 and has gone on to establish himself as one of Europe’s most sought-after attacking talents, accumulating 77 goals and 31 assists from 175 appearances for Juventus in all competitions.
Dybala’s stocks were soaring after he racked up a career-best tally of 22 goals in the Serie A last season but he has been a bit disappointing this term, netting only four goals and providing four assists from 25 appearances in the league.
The 25-year-old Argentine international has seen his playing time decrease a little since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer and it looks like Juventus are planning for life without one of their prized assets next season.
Given that Dybala is one of the best players on the planet currently and boasts of a eye-catching scoring record, he is definitely not going to be short of potential suitors should Juventus put him up for sale.
To put things into perspective, a player of Dybala’s calibre would be a welcome addition to any top-level European side but Liverpool should not be tempted by Juventus’s desire to sell the Argentinian.
Even if Juventus put him up for sale, Dybala would not be available for less, which means that Liverpool would have to break the bank and shatter their club-record transfer fee to sign him.
The Reds already boast of a prolific front trio that has tasted plenty of success in the Premier League and the Champions League.
Their forward line comprising of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino is comparable to the best in the world and there is apparently no reason why the Reds cannot continue to rely on their existing options.
Salah, Firmino and Mane have shared a total of 53 goals among them in all competitions this season, which further epitomises that Liverpool’s interest in Paulo Dybala goes against all logic and reason.
Quite truly, Jurgen Klopp needs to add a new central striker to his squad in the summer and get rid of the out-of-favour duo of Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge.
A new centre-forward would reduce the workload on the front three but Liverpool cannot have a player like Paulo Dybala in their squad as an understudy to Roberto Firmino.
With all due respect to his managerial acumen and man-management skills, Klopp is going to find it extremely difficult to keep both the stalwarts happy simultaneously with adequate play time.
Moreover, Dybala won’t add anything extra to the squad which Liverpool currently do not have. In Firmino, they have a quick, agile and prolific centre-forward with wonderful technical abilities and high work-rate and the Argentine international is more of a similar kind of player.
Signing Dybala would not only increase Liverpool’s wage bills significantly but also disrupt the balance of the team and cause unwanted selection dilemma, which in turn could have a negative impact on team morale.
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With that being said, Klopp would be better off investing in a rising talent to bolster his options up front.
Transfer blunder waiting to happen? Liverpool must avoid selling this powerful 26-year-old at all costs
Liverpool Opinion: Mane must be kept at Anfield beyond this summer
One of the luxuries that come with being what can only be regarded as a ‘super-club’ is their ability to lure the biggest talents in the world to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The opportunity to pull on the famous all-white kits worn by the Los Blancos is enough for most but the legacy that they have created over the years is assured to make even the most loyal players in the world have a second thought.
As suggested in a report by France Football, Real Madrid have seemingly identified their next target under the guidance of returning manager Zinedine Zidane and that man is Senegalese international winger Sadio Mane.
The Liverpool man is having a fantastic season at Anfield with the Reds still fighting it out at the top of the Premier League table with Manchester City. The 26-year-old has stepped up to the plate for Jurgen Klopp’s side whenever Mohamed Salah has looked off the pace this season.
Having joined from Southampton in 2016, the left-winger is having an extremely prolific season in front of goal. With 17 goals and 2 assists to his name in 29 league appearances, the speedster has really turned into a fan-favourite at Anfield.
Real Madrid’s interest in the Senegalese winger could spell trouble for Reds fans but under no circumstance should the Liverpool chiefs let go of one of their prized possessions without an outright fight.
His partnership with Salah and Roberto Firmino has really blossomed over the last couple of seasons and when in full-flow, they’re nearly impossible to stop.
Also, if it wasn’t for the early injury to Salah in last year’s Champions League final, who knows, Liverpool might have gone on to beat Madrid.
Additionally, the regularity of first-team football at a club like Real Madrid is never a guarantee, considering the kind of players they have. With Marco Asensio and young Vinicius Junior both vying for the same role, Mane would be better off staying away from Madrid.
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Liverpool have got a great thing going for them right now and if they keep playing the way they are, the trophies are going to start flowing eventually. The trouble of replacing Mane would be massive headache for the Reds and that’s a problem they don’t need at this point in time.
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