Liverpool are looking to fill a Steven Gerrard-shaped void this summer, and Inter Milan youngster Mateo Kovacic is the perfect signing to solve their problem.
Tottenham to rival Liverpool for Kovacic: Spurs want the talented midfielder too.
Liverpool to offer defender to Kovacic: Exchange could help make deal.
Man City target Kovacic: Croat part of big spending spree.
As the dust settles at Anfield on life without their inspirational former captain, they will need to address the hole that currently sits in midfield in what is generally considered a talented squad capable of competing on various fronts.
It is an impossible task to replace an individual that has played such a prominent role in the club’s progression and success for so long, and so the club must instead look to bring in players that can move them forward in their own unique way.
While the likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen all offer great work-rate and an ability to keep play ticking over, Liverpool are still missing creativity and a midfielder with an ability to break forward with the ball and make things happen.
That is where Kovacic enters the equation, with the Daily Mirror reporting that Inter boss Roberto Mancini refused to comment on the Croatian international’s future at the club, which in turn has put his time at San Siro in doubt.
The Mirror also claim that the player is close to moving to Anfield.
In many ways it is astonishing that the Nerazzurri are even contemplating selling one of their most talented youngsters. Having made that mistake already with Philippe Coutinho, the Italian outfit are seemingly giving the green light to lose another top prospect who has already proven how good he can be.
The 21-year-old playmaker fits with the current transfer policy on Merseyside, with Brendan Rodgers looking to bring in promising youngsters that can be developed further.
Kovacic won’t be cheap, but his transfer fee is unlikely to reach the levels that the Reds have been splurging in recent times. What has made that rebuilding process after losing Luis Suarez even more difficult is many of their big-money signings have simply not lived up to expectations.
That won’t be the case with the Croat, as not only would he arrive to relatively little fanfare, but he thrives on working under the radar and simply going about his business at the heart of a team in less than extravagant fashion.
The youngster was previously criticised for his inability to score goals, but he added that to his armoury last season after scoring eight goals along with four assists in 44 appearances in all competitions.
Admittedly, there are plenty of areas that he can still improve in and there will be fears that he may struggle in a more physical league. However, his overall game would bring something different to the Liverpool squad and it would at least contribute to helping the club move on from the Gerrard-led team of old.