For months before the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, and well past the point when such a sale seemed a matter of “when” not “if,” the media narrative was that Jürgen Klopp & Co. would need a Coutinho replacement. And for months, from waning days of the summer transfer window, all the way through the January transfer window, Monaco’s attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar seemed to be a leading candidate for said replacement.
Of course, both windows closed without a “Coutinho replacement” and Klopp’s Liverpool side have been having a laugh ever since—scoring goals for fun, beating the English champs three times, and playing their way into the Champions League semifinals. Phil who?
And yet, the media narrative persists that Liverpool need a Coutinho replacement. And, so too, do the Thomas Lemar links.
The latest batch were kicked off by The Mirror, claiming that Liverpool are still interested in bringing in the talented French international.
However, unlike past “once a Liverpool target, always a Liverpool target” links, this Lemar link at least has a general feeling of truthiness surrounding it. Klopp has shown repeatedly, as in the cases of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, and Naby Keita, that once he is interested in a player, he is unlikely to easily move on.
If Lemar is of the Mane/Van Dijk/Keita ilk, and he thinks that Lemar can be had for less than the £90 million or so that has been bandied about over the past couple of windows, it might still be a transfer worth pursuing.
While it would be very difficult to bring in anyone to improve the current front three, Klopp lacks real quality to choose from for rotational and/or substitution purposes. In this regard, Lemar would not so much be a Coutinho replacement, but rather a player that would allow us to continue doing what we do (score goals for fun, being generally boss) across all competitions next season.
Again, it’s not the most accurate of sources, but it’s a type of transfer that would not be all that surprising for Liverpool to pursue this summer.