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Rumor Mongering: Liverpool Turn Eyes Back to Serie A

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Leandro Paredes is the new Piotr Zielinski

AS Roma v Udinese Calcio - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Having already been part of one ultimately fruitless transfer story involving a promising young talent who spent the last year on loan with Empoli, Liverpool Football Club are now rumored to be popping up in another. According to reports from Sky Italia correspondent Gianluca di Marzio, Liverpool have expressed an interest in Roma's Leandro Paredes, whom supporters may remember from all those YouTube scouting videos they watched when Piotr Zielinski was the name being whispered in links to Merseyside.

It’s not the first time Paredes has been mentioned as a possible target for Liverpool. Back in early 2016, outlets in Italy had reported that scouts from Merseyside were in attendance at an Empoli match to assess both Zielinski as well as the 22 year old Argentine midfielder. Since then, Zielinski - who had purportedly expressed a personal preference to join Jürgen Klopp’s project - appeared the more likely capture, though that transfer saga ultimately ended with the Polish midfielder landing in Napoli. Paredes now comes to the forefront, at a rumored price point of €20 million or so.

If Liverpool are indeed to acquire Paredes from Roma, they will face stiff competition from AC Milan, who are reportedly also keen on the youngster, to the point where the rossoneri have asked to meet with Roma to push a deal through. Those reports suggest Liverpool may have an advantage due to their interest being in the nature of a permanent transfer, while Milan are proposing a year-long loan arrangement instead. Either way, the interested parties will have to overcome resistance from Roma manager Luciano Spalletti, who has indicated a preference for keeping Paredes in the Italian capital.

Despite having just returned from loan, Paredes has slotted right into the starting XI for Roma alongside more established players like Kevin Strootman, Radja Nainggolan and Stephan El Shaarawy, so it’s clear there is some potential there. While on loan at Empoli, Paredes featured primarily in central midfield, drifting occasionally to the left, and displayed some of the same qualities that had made Zielinski a plausible target for Liverpool. The issue is whether or not Liverpool need another question mark in their central midfield (spoiler alert: they don’t).

If acquired, Paredes would join a cohort currently including Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lucas Leiva, Kevin Stewart, and perhaps Cameron Brannagan. Though Lallana has acquitted himself well thus far, Liverpool’s central midfield has somehow managed to be less than the sum of its parts, proving to be just about competent against Arsenal, and disastrously incoherent against Burnley. From a talent and toolkit perspective, it’s not clear what Paredes would bring that isn’t already there, besides perhaps youth and promise.

Klopp currently has a puzzle to solve in the center of the park, and doesn’t have the luxury of preseason matches to do it anymore. While the funds are likely to be available if the interest in Paredes is real, adding the youngster at this stage of the season would likely complicate Klopp’s task more than it would present immediate solutions.