Given Liverpool’s pressing need to sign a defensive midfielder before the summer transfer window slams shut in a little more than two weeks, we’re entering into a period where not every name linked and rumour kicked off may entirely reflect the club’s plans.
From clubs looking to spark bidding wars to agents looking for moves or new deals for their clients to tabloids wildly speculating, there will be times when inevitably Liverpool will find themselves said to be considering or moving for players they have no real interest in.
Which brings us to today’s reports out of the Netherlands that Liverpool and Fiorentina are close to a deal that would see 26-year-old Morocco star Sofyan Amrabat join Jürgen Klopp’s Reds, going as far as to claim the player’s signature is “on his way to Liverpool.”
Amrabat had something of a coming out party at the World Cup, where he led his country to a fourth-place finish. However, subsequent links to Liverpool in January were widely believed to be the work of his agent and not to reflect genuine interest in the player.
It’s also noteworthy that at Fiorentina, Amrabat has profiled as a defensive midfielder who doesn’t really defend—and what he does isn’t done to an especially high standard. Tackles, interceptions, defensive transitions, and reading the play are not his strong suits.
He excels at is progressing the ball, both passing and dribbling, once it has been won. It’s a profile that—setting aside World Cup heroics—sets him up as a plausible partner to a more defensively sound player in a double-pivot when Liverpool need a single-pivot.
Add in that he has spent much of the summer being linked with a Manchester United move—and remembering his agent’s likely role in January rumours—and it’s hard not to wonder if Liverpool are now being used to motivate their historic rivals to get a move on.
Alternately, given Liverpool’s needs it’s possible the club or Jürgen Klopp see something in Amrabat the statistics most of us have access to don’t speak to. If that’s the case, we’ll be crossing our fingers, because this feels like it would be a massive gamble.