It’s no secret that, after a disappointing season — and having done little in the way of significant signings in recent years — Liverpool will be looking to strengthen in the transfer market this summer. Much focus has been placed on the defense, where injuries have ravaged Jürgen Klopp’s squad, and on beginning to turn over the misfiring frontline while its members can still fetch significant transfer fees.
The midfield has largely gone underexamined, though, and on its face, with nine first teamers available, it looks considerably deeper than other parts of the squad. However, considering the probability of both Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri leaving, the fact that Jordan Henderson and Thiago have both passed 30, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta’s health and form issues persisting, there is little doubt that additions will be needed in the middle of the park as well, ideally at a discount.
Enter Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose Roma contract runs out next summer, and who, according to reports out of Italy, has come no closer to signing the new deal that was offered to him back at Christmas. With Jose Mourinho coming in, there will be upheaval, and the lifetime giallorosso might well be on his way out, reportedly for less than €30m.
The graceful midfielder has produced five goals and six assists in the Serie A this year, typically averages a goal or assist every two and half games or so in his career, and contributes on both sides of the ball in Bryan Fonseca’s 3-4-2-1 formation. Questions will be asked about whether he possesses the application and steel to deal with a higher tempo league and a more aggressive pressing system, but there is little doubt the 24-year old’s ability to progress the ball through the middle of the final third would benefit a Liverpool side that has lacked goal contribution from midfield for years.
Roma are struggling more than most financially, are hanging on to their seventh place finish and a potential Europa League spot by a two-point margin, and at the time of writing, are in the process of getting eliminated from that same competition. Given patience, Pellegrini could become available at a legitimate bargain price this summer, and although the Reds have had little success with Italian playmakers in the past, this is not an opportunity that should be entirely overlooked.