It's official! Julian Brandt is your Liverpool Transfer Saga Target™ of 2017. The 20-year old Bayer Leverkusen winger was linked with moves all over the continent in January, including Merseyside, Munich and Madrid, but die Werkself managed to turn away all interested parties. Temporarily, if James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo is to be believed. Pearce had previously claimed the Reds were interested in completing a deal, but on Tuesday, he went one step further.
“I’m not sure if he’s the No 1 target but he’s certainly very high up on Klopp’s summer shopping list," the Koala whisperer said in an interview with the Anfield Edition. "Klopp wanted to buy him in January but Leverkusen were adamant that he wasn’t for sale. Klopp rates Brandt very highly and Liverpool will certainly go all out to get him this summer.”
Pearce is generally considered a trusted source within Anfield, and if he states Klopp's intentions this plainly, the manager's interest in Brandt is not meant to be a secret. Nor does it need to be, if the cherub-faced winger is considered the kind of character that would choose the current Anfield project over clubs offering more money or promises of instant success.
On the pitch, Brandt ticks all the FSG boxes; young, gifted, and available at below market price due to his contract running down. Klopp must be placing check marks left and right as well, as the former Wolfsburg youth prospect possesses size and natural athleticism to spare, comes out of one of Europe's hardest pressing systems under recently dismissed gegenpressing fiend Roger Schmidt, and has produced a goal or assist every 163 minutes over nearly 5000 minutes in the Bundesliga before the age of 21. The near universal interest in Brandt is there for a reason, is the point.
We'd tell you to keep an eye on this one, but in all likelihood, the hype won't allow anything else.