In all the excitement over rumours Liverpool could land Mario Götze for a bargain £15-20M fee this summer, it’s been easy to overlook that Götze’s arrival wouldn’t address a major need for the Reds. On the other hand, the fullback position is one that could do with a bit of strengthening.
It’s not as easy to get excited about left backs as it is attacking midfielders who can fill in at striker in a pinch, but Liverpool remain light at the back, and the rumour mongers at the Daily Mail at least believe that manager Jürgen Klopp has prioritised strengthening the position heading into his first offseason.
Accordingly, they have three names they believe the club has shortlisted: Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, Cologne’s Jonas Hector, and Lorient’s Raphael Guerreiro. Of the trio, Chilwell is the one Liverpool fans are likely to be most familiar with—mostly because he’s been linked with a Liverpool move before.
The 19-year-old spent the autumn on loan with Huddersfield, where he made eight appearances. On either side of that loan spell, he made three cup appearances for Leicester, though he has yet to make a Premier League appearance for the surprise title favourites. As such, he very much seems a name for the future.
Jonas Hector and Raphael Guerreiro, on the other hand, are in a rather different mould. Both are far more established, but neither has especially stood out as amongst the game’s best at the position. Hector, at 25 years of age, is the most experienced, and he has made 28 appearances for Cologne this season.
He has also made a pair of appearances for Germany in 2016, including against England on Saturday. All told, he has earned 11 caps for his country, and he is likely to make the squad for this summer’s Euros, though few will expect him to see many minutes given he’s behind Philipp Lahm in the pecking order.
Guerreiro, meanwhile, is 22 years old and the starter at left back for bottom-half Ligue 1 side Lorient. He can also push up the pitch and fill in in midfield in a pinch. All told, he has made 28 appearances for the club this season and, as a fringe international player, he has earned three caps for Portugal.
Collectively, though, and despite the individual differences, none seem a clear upgrade on current left back Alberto Moreno. On paper, Hector seems most likely to challenge him for regular minutes while Chilwell appears to have the most upside. None, though, would be anything like a statement signing.
If the rumours are true, then, it would seem to suggest the club will be looking for depth rather than a clear-cut starter, with the only real question whether in the end the preference is youth and upside or reliable and experienced.