Although the return of players from long term injury, such as Joe Gomez and Danny Ings, will seem like new signings for Liverpool next season, there is still much room for improvement in the squad. With the 2015/16 season coming to a close, it’s inevitable the summer transfer rumour mill will kick in to motion. However, what positions do Liverpool need really need to strengthen and who can Jurgen Klopp realistically expect to bring to Anfield this summer?
The goalkeeping position has been under scrutiny for some time and the recent error against Newcastle by current number one, Simon Mignolet, has only served to reinforce the need for a new keeper. The Belgian’s distribution is also lacking and good distribution is something Klopp likes in a goalkeeper. So, who could come in and make an improvement to this area of the team?
Well it seems Liverpool are interested in signing FC Koln goalkeeper, 22 year-old Tomo Horn, who Jurgen Klopp sees as the ideal replacement for Simon Mignolet in the long run. The Germany U-21 international has been watched by Liverpool scouts several times, and is said to be highly rated by the Liverpool manager, who himself has watch the young goalkeeper on a few occasions. Horn is a good shot stopper, good at saving close range shots and penalties. The Cologne goalkeeper is under contract until 2019, however Liverpool believe a deal can be done.
Others that have been considered are Barcelona’s German goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen who is unsettled at the Camp Nou, having to share playing time with Claudio Bravo. During Barcelona’s recent visit to the Emirates Stadium in the Champions League, ter Stegen displayed a 94% passing accuracy and only Aaron Ramsey completed more passes in the Arsenal team, than the German keeper.
Manchester City have also been linked with the player, who as the statistics above demonstrate, is very good with his feet, something incoming City manager, Pep Guardiola, also craves. If Manchester City follow through with a bid, it’s unlikely Klopp press on with his interest.
So who else could be a realistic target to become Liverpool’s number one next season? Sticking with the German theme, Bernd Leno, who at the age of 24, has played over 150 Bundesliga games for Bayer Leverkusen, could be a good choice. However, his range of passing is not in the same calibre as ter Stegen and a good range of passing is an attribute Klopp will keen to add to the goalkeeping department at Liverpool next season. There has also been talk that Zinedine Zidane has been keeping a close eye on Leno this season and unfortunately, if Real Madrid do come calling, it will be impossible to lure Leno away from the carrot of the Santiago Bernabeu.
An interesting option could be Italian goalkeeper, Mattia Perin. Currently playing in Serie A for Genoa, Perin is just 23 years old, which is young for a goalkeeper and has been earmarked as Gianluigi Buffon’s successor in the Italian national team. Again, Perin is not as good with his feet as ter Stegen but if Manchester City do move in for the German, Perin could prove to be a goalkeeper who is capable of being the number one at Liverpool for the next ten years.
One key issue, when it comes to attracting the three goalkeepers mentioned above, is the prospect of Champions League football. There is little doubt ter Stegen will want to move to a club which is playing in European football’s premier competition, as this will keep him in the frame for the German number one spot, should it become available. His compatriot, Bernd Leno, is already first choice at a club who look set to be in the Champions League again next season and Mattia Perin’s agent has already talked about his player wanting to play in the Champions League, so this seems a big draw for the Italian too.
Other names who have been linked to Anfield include Ralf Fahrmann of Schalke and Marwin Hitz of Augsburg but these are not players who could instantly command the number one jersey at Liverpool. Instead, they are names who could challenge Mignolet for the starting position in goal and this is not going to solve the problem.
A big summer of transfer activity is in prospect for Liverpool, with the goalkeeping position being one of the main priorities. It remains to be seen, just what Klopp has up his sleeve but he will be desperate to have a more commanding and controlling presence behind his defence, come the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
Watch Timo Horn in action below.