Why Liverpool need not push too hard to sign Casemiro in January

According to claims from Spanish outlet El Desmarque, as cited by the Daily Star, Liverpool have made contact with Real Madrid over a potential deal for Brazilian midfielder Casemiro in the January transfer window. 

Liverpool have been dealt a massive blow by the injury to their first-choice defensive midfielder, Fabinho, who could face an extended spell on the sidelines until the end of the ongoing campaign due to an ankle ligament damage. 

With the mid-season transfer window set to open in a few day’s time, the reigning European champions are understandably lining up some alternatives heading into the second half of the campaign, and Casemiro has emerged as an option on Jurgen Klopp’s shortlist. 

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Casemiro has been linked with a shock move to Liverpool ahead of the January window (Getty Images)

However, as per the report, the 27-year-old Brazilian international has rebuffed Liverpool’s approach, insisting that he has no intention of switching Real Madrid for a move to Anfield in January. 

The report further adds that Casemiro feels a huge debt of gratitude to Madrid, who have made him a regular starter over the years, and both Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane are keen to keep hold of him as a part of the club’s long-term plans. 

Meanwhile, Liverpool have already completed their first piece of transfer business ahead of the January window, with Red Bull Salzburg attacker Takumi Minamino set to join the Reds come the New Year and provide more cover and competition for the prolific front trio of Mane, Salah and Firmino. 

Still unbeaten in the Premier League and ten points clear of nearest rivals Leicester City atop the standings, Liverpool seem to be cruising to what would be their first domestic title since 1990. 

To that end, the Reds don’t really need to make wholesale changes to a settled squad in January but Fabinho’s injury has apparently prompted Klopp to weigh up moves for some alternatives, and Real Madrid star Casemiro has emerged as a shock target. 

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Casemiro has won four Champions League titles with the Los Blancos (Getty Images)

To put things into perspective, the injury to Fabinho has, indeed, left Liverpool somewhat light in the middle of the park but signing a like-for-like replacement in January doesn’t necessarily need to be a priority for the Reds, who already have other options to cover for the Brazilian’s absence. 

In fact, Fabinho’s injury has opened the door for Naby Keita to prove his worth and finally make strides towards repaying a chunk of the £52 million fee that Liverpool had spent to bring him to the club from RB Leipzig back in the summer of 2018. 

Having struggled to make a big impression, largely due to injuries, during his debut season at Anfield, the Guinean once again found himself down the pecking order in the initial stages of the ongoing campaign, but he has come back from a spell in the shadows to play a significant role for the club in recent weeks.  

The 24-year-old delivered back-to-back man-of-the-match performances in victories over Bournemouth and RB Salzburg earlier in December before going on to play a key role in Liverpool’s triumphant campaign at the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar. 

Jordan Henderson, who previously played in a box-to-box No.8 role on the right-hand side of the pitch, has been shifted to a more defensive No.6 role to fill in the void left by Fabinho’s injury. That ploy his worked really well for Klopp, who is right up there with the best in the world when it comes to moulding players to suit his tactics.

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Fabinho could miss the rest of the season due to an ankle ligament damage (Getty Images)

Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana have also done a good job as a part of Klopp’s double pivot in the middle whenever the German has opted to switch to a 4-2-3-1 system, meaning that Liverpool already have enough depth, versatility and dynamism in their ranks to cope with Fabinho’s absence.

Verdict

Notwithstanding that the fact that some like Casemiro, a veteran of over 200 appearances for Real Madrid and a four-time Champions League winner, could be a natural replacement for Fabinho in that No. 6 role for the rest of the season, Klopp could be left in limbo with his selection when Fabinho returns to fitness next year. 

Casemiro presumably wouldn’t want to settle for a bit-part role an Anfield, given that he is already an accomplished player in the La Liga with plenty of years remaining on his prime. 

Looking at things from the player’s point of view, the 27-year-old is very much a key figure at Madrid and it’s hard to see why he would possibly want to switch to Liverpool, knowing that the Reds’ injury crisis is only a temporary one.

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Having said that, Liverpool pushing too hard to sign Casemiro in January would simply be a knee-jerk reaction to Fabinho’s injury, and if they are genuinely interested in improving their squad depth, the reigning European champions might as well look at younger players who could offer better value for money. 

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