Why Mathieu Goncalves could be a good long-term signing for Liverpool

According to claims from French newspaper L’Equipe, as relayed by the Daily Mail, Liverpool have been credited with an interest in teenage defender Mathieu Goncalves, who currently plies his trade with Toulouse in Ligue 1. 

The 18-year-old left-back has burst on to the scene at Toulouse in the French top-flight this term and his burgeoning reputation in his homeland has attracted interest from Liverpool, who are looking at a potential bid for the teenager when the transfer window reopens in January. (L’Equipe h/t Daily Mail)

Born in Paris, France, to parents of Portuguese descent, Goncalves started his footballing education at lower division outfit Blagnac FC before moving on to join the youth setup at Toulouse back in 2015. 

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Mathieu Goncalves made his senior professional bow for Toulouse against PSG in Ligue 1 back in August (Getty Images)

The starlet was promoted to the first-team ranks prior to the start of the ongoing campaign and was eventually handed his professional bow in a 4-0 defeat to PSG in Ligue 1 back in August. Goncalves has made a total of four senior appearances for Toulouse in all competitions so far, including three league starts to his name.

The 18-year-old, who has already made his mark for France at U-16, U-17 and U-18 levels, is held in high regard by the youth coaching staff at Toulouse as a player with the potential to go on and ply his trade at the highest level. 

Meanwhile, Liverpool have been simply unstoppable in the Premier League this term, with Jurgen Klopp’s side currently 14 points clear of reigning champions Man City atop the domestic standings. 

The Reds have also secured qualification to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League and they could be set for a trophy-laden campaign on all fronts if they manage to keep up their impressive run of form in the coming months.

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Goncalves has emerged as a target for Liverpool ahead of the January transfer window (Getty Images)

To that end, Liverpool don’t really need to make wholesale changes to their squad during the mid-season transfer window but the club’s links with Mathieu Goncalves is a clear indication that the Reds are planning for the future. 

The 18-year-old has only just enjoyed his senior breakthrough in France this season but his talent and potential have apparently impressed the reigning European champions, who have identified him as cover and competition for first-choice left-back Andrew Robertson. (h/t Daily Mail)

Besides forking out millions of pounds to build a world-class first-team capable of demolishing any opposition on a given day, Liverpool have also put a lot of emphasis on their youth recruitment drive to improve their academy ranks, with a view to promoting more players from the development side. 

The Reds have roped in bright emerging defensive talents like Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg in recent times from across the continent and Mathieu Goncalves could be yet another exciting addition to the existing pool of burgeoning young talents at Anfield. 

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Credits: Getty Images

Verdict

Klopp has handed first-team debuts to the likes Herbie Kane, Rhian Brewster, Harvey Elliott, van den Berg, Curton Jones and several others in the EFL Cup this term and Goncalves could also get his chance to impress should a move to Merseyside materialize. 

With veteran utility man James Milner more than a handy back-up to Robertson at left-back, the 18-year-old will have enough time to settle down in his new surroundings before eventually staking a claim for a first-team role. 

Liverpool, though, could have a gem on their hands if the teenage sensation goes on to fulfill his promise in the years to come and Goncalves looks more like a long-term prospect rather than someone who could make an immediate impact. 

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Either way, Liverpool’s interest in Mathieu Goncalves certainly strikes the right chords while sending a clear warning message to their rivals that they are looking to consolidate on the strong platform provided by the charismatic stewardship of Jurgen Klopp in the years to come.

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