With months still to go until the summer transfer window opens, Liverpool fans who have not yet grown tired of the dubious and endless twists and turns in the Jude Bellingham transfer saga will undoubtedly reach that point long before the 19-year old actually signs on the dotted line for whichever club is fortunate enough to win the upcoming bidding war.
It is important, however — not only for the club, but for media outlets looking for clicks — that Bellingham is not seen as the only candidate to reviatlise their midfield this summer, and now another name has been dropped into the hat, from a most unexpected source.
Former Reds fullback and cult hero, Jose Enrique, reportedly claimed on a youtube livestream — in a video that is no longer available anywhere on the internet — at the weekend that Ryan Gravenberch had been secured by Liverpool, citing as a source that the two share an agency.
Now, exactly what Jose Enrique’s agent situation is at the moment is unclear, but Gravenberch is managed by Rafaela Pimenta, who took the reins after Mino Raiola passed away last year. Liverpool have — following the Mario Balotelli fiasco — as a rule refused to work with players managed by Raiola. Things might have changed now that Pimenta is in charge, but just a year ago, this would have made the deal immediately impossible.
Should the club decide to work with the agency and require Gravenberch, they would be getting a young playmaker and ball-winner who, following rave reviews in his breakthrough season at Ajax moved to Bayern Munich for a measly £16m last summer, and who has seen limited playing time for the bavarians since then, failing to break 600 minutes in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Having never played as solo six — despite internet rumours to the contrary — the 20-year old thrives more as a playmaking free eight, particularly in the centre-left area of midfield, and would likely be competing with Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic for minutes next season. As such, this would make him a true alternative to Bellingham, rather than a replacement or understudy to Fabinho, but while his passing is truly exceptional, he can carry the ball up the pitch with regularity, and his physicality and frame should translate to the Premier League, questions have to be asked about why he has featured so little for Bayern this season.
There is also the matter of cost, and it seems unlikely a highly-rated 20-year old moving from a top team in the Bundesliga would be priced significantly lower than a highly-rated 19-year old moving from a top team in the Bundesliga, certainly not without Reasons that might give one pause.
Whatever the case may be — Jose Enrique is right and overshared on a hot mic or Jose Enrique is as confused about transfers as he used to be about using his right foot — Ryan Gravenberch is a super talented midfielder the Reds have undoubtedly tracked for years and would no be a bad band-aid on a potential Bellingham failure, but we still hope Liverpool get their number one target.