Every year, three teams are relegated from each of the major European leagues, and every year, these teams contain at least a few players that can do a job at a bigger club, whether they be up and coming starlets, wiley veterans, or big fish in smaller ponds. The financial hit of relegation means clubs are more willing to sell, and the lack of exposure means players are more willing to move. In this series, we'll take a look at recently relegated players who might be of interest to Liverpool. In this our second installment, we look at Bundesliga players.
DOB: 10/12/95 (20) | Height: 5’8" (1.73 meters)
2015-16 Season: 26 appearances
2 goals, 1 assist
The diminutive central midfielder made his debut in the Bundesliga at only seventeen years and four months of age, making him the fifth youngest player to ever appear in the league. His stocky frame and workmanlike attitude allows him to compete with bigger midfielders than himself, and he has recorded top five tackling numbers in the Bundesliga two years running, averaging 5.6 ball recoveries per 90 minutes over the past two seasons, despite having spent much of the 14/15 season pushed forward in an attacking midfield position.
On offense, Stendera displays a hammer of a right foot, which he can use to provide solid set piece service for his teammates, or score goals of his own after arriving late in the box. If the latter part sounds a little like a current Liverpool captain, it's not coincidental, as the German U21 international displays many similarities to Jordan Henderson, with a game based around hard work and solid fundamentals.
With Frankfurt relegated* and his contract running out next summer, Stendera is likely available for a relative pittance, and having a pockect Hendo handy wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
DOB: 6/3/96 (20) | Height: 5’11" (1.80 meters)
2015-16 Season: 33 appearances
6 goals, 4 assists
Timo Werner has spent his entire career at struggling Stuttgart, and has led the line for the eternal relegation candidates since he was seventeen years old. Now an ancient twenty, his boyhood club has been relegated and the German U21 striker might be looking to move on.
While 13 goals and 9 assists in three years aren't exactly numbers that blow you out of the water, you'd be hard pressed to find a teenager with that kind of production for a consistently terrible side in a top league. Werner is in many ways an analogue to Danny Ings; the work rate, the ability to play wide or deep if needed, and the unseasoned finishing are all reminiscent of the former Burnley man. Whether developmental project is what Liverpool need at striker is debatable, but if Christian Benteke is moving on and Divock Origi is ready to establish himself as a challenger to Daniel Sturridge, a 20-year old backup with over a 100 senior appearances, a proven track record at the youth international level and the right attitude might just be worth a punt.
DOB: 1/11/92 (23) | Height: 6’2" (1.84 meters)
2015-16 Season: 30 appearances
5 goals, 7 assists
Are you a Liverpool fan? Into left-footed wingers? First name Geoff? What barren years you've had. Trying to get excited over Albert Riera and Stewart Downing is a rough deal. Luckily, Serbian sleek dribbler and thumbs-up enthusiast Filip Kostic can change all that.
At 6'2", Kostic isn't built like the prototypical wideman, but he uses that build - along with tricky feet and quick turns - to good effect, averaging 3.3 dribbles per 90 minutes over the course of the past two BuLi seasons. He complements that dribbling with some end product as well, contributing 18 goals and assists in the last 4000 minutes of action. An average of 3 ball recoveries per 90 indicates that the player isn't afraid to get his hands dirty with some defensive work if the ball is lost.
Liverpool were reportedly linked with the player back in March, with Klopp supposedly a big fan of the Serbian international, and, although a €25m release clause was hinted at at the time, that sum is likely going to be lower now that Stuttgart have been relegated to the second tier.
That's all the relegation racers for this week. Join us next time as we move onto the continent to La Liga.
*As pointed out in the comments, Frankfurt survived their relegation playoff. However, they remain in a very precarious financial situation and would likely be compelled to sell similar to if they had been relegated.