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Reds Face Stiff Competition for "New Yaya Touré"

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Atalanta starlet Franck Kessié is turning heads, one of which might be Jürgen Klopp's.

Atalanta BC v FC Torino - Serie A Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Despite their — to many — surprisingly elevated league position and reportedly overflowing coffers after just about breaking even on transfers this summer, Liverpool probably won't be chasing a marquee big-money signing in January. It's just not Jürgen Klopp's preferred way of working. In eight years as manager for the second richest club in Germany, the lanky hug enthusiast spent a net sum of £41m or transfers, or an average of just about £5m per season. For comparison's sake, Liverpool have an average net spend of six times that number since FSG took over in 2010. He doesn’t mind an expensive signing if the right player comes along -- Marco Reus, Henrikh Khitaryan and Sadio Mané — are evidence of that, but in general he shows a preference for building over time with young, hungry athletes.

One player who fits that description is Atalanta's Franck Kessié. Dubbed The New Yaya Touré by the kind of people who still do that, the former central defender displays the kind of irrepressible drive on the ball that defined his fellow Ivorian for years, and combines it with an impressive passing range and willingness to get into the box, all packed into a powerful six-foot frame. He has been a key figure in the Orobici's strong start to their Serie A campaign, and while his five goals in the first four league games this season are hardly predictive of his overall production — he scored a total of four in 36 apperances last year — his late runs into the area are sure to make him a consistent goal threat throughout his career.

On the downside — eternal Serie A to Premier League caveat notwithstanding — he contributes surprisingly little defensively for a central midfielder who covers that much ground, and there is competition — all of the competition — for his signature. Bayern Münich, Juventus, Sevilla, Napoli and Arsenal have all been linked with the 19-year old, and should the Reds look to capture him, Klopp will have to be at his most persuasive. Despite being a production line for young talent, Atalanta rarely get outstanding deals on their players -- they have never sold one for more than €15m — so price shouldn't be a deterrent for the thrifty German, regardless of a possible bidding war.

Should Kessié become the latest hungry young player to join the Klopp revolution, all Liverpool fans have to do is sit back, enjoy, and try to get over that one time he said Manchester United would be his "dream move". I'm sure it won't be a problem.