With all eyes on the summer transfer market and rumours awash as to who Jurgen Klopp may bring in, it’s easy to forget the signings which have already been completed. One such signing, is Marko Grujić, who completed a move from Red Star Belgrade for just over £5 million, a move which was sealed, despite the attention of other, big name clubs around Europe.
Grujić is a Serbian midfielder, who came through the youth ranks at Red Star Belgrade, before making his debut for the first team. During his time at Red Star, the club set a new record of 19 consecutive victories and the player signed a new contract in May 2015. Upon singing for Liverpool in January 2016, Grujić was loaned back to Red Star for the remainder of the season and he helped them win the Serbian SuperLiga. His performances were very good and he was named in the team of the season.
With interest high in Grujić’s signature, Klopp phoned the player himself and also sent out his assistant, to speak with the player and persuade him to come to Anfield. To have made this much effort, the player must have some talent, so what can Liverpool fans expect from Grujić next season?
A tall and lean looking player, Grujić likes to get on the ball in the centre of pitch and has a good passing range. Many Serbian football fans have compared him to Nemanja Matic but Grujić seems to have more to his game going forward, than that. Zeljko Paunovic, who coached Serbia U20’s to glory in the World Cup, has gone on record as saying he would like to see him play from out wide or as a number 10.
Indeed, upon his return to Red Star after signing for Liverpool, Grujić played in a more advanced position and scored twice against FK Atlantas, having made a late run in to the penalty area. However, Klopp has already stated his desire to play Grujić as a box-to-box midfielder. To do this effectively next season, he could be in for a hard summer of training, as having played for Serbia recently, one journalist thought he looked out of shape. This should not be anything to worry about however, as the match was an end of season friendly and Klopp will soon have his players in the condition he wants them to be in, for the start of the season.
At 20 years of age, Grujić is still young but at the same time, old enough to make an impact next season. Given his size, at 6ft 3”, he will be taller than many midfield players in the Premier League. With his ability on the ball and intelligence to arrive in to the box at the right time, Grujić could become a key component of Liverpool’s midfield during the 2016/17 campaign.
In 1996, at the age of 19, a player of similar stature (physically) and style of play joined Arsenal. His name? Patrick Vieira. If Grujić can have anything like a similar impact as the Frenchman, the Anfield faithful could be in for something special, both next season and beyond.
Watch Mario Grujić in action below.