Liverpool want to sign 85m ace who's got "Virgil van Dijk in him"

liverpool want to sign 85m ace who's got

Liverpool want to sign 85m ace who's got "Virgil van Dijk in him"

Jurgen Klopp's departure marks a significant step in Liverpool's history. Away from the poignancy, the pathos and the raw pain of losing the man who transformed an outfit that had fallen by the wayside, the pendulum has swung with far more dramatic and long-lasting overtones.

Michael Edwards, FSG's CEO of Football, heads a new infrastructure that has recently seen a manager leave and a head coach take his place.

The terming of this switch is key: Arne Slot will control the first team and Liverpool's football, its on-pitch performance and progress, but there is little doubt that Klopp's exit has seen the metaphorical flight of managerial power at Anfield.

But that's okay, Liverpool are in good, intelligent hands and there's a tentatively optimistic sense that all the newly-formed facets will dovetail to unleash an institution of lasting synergy and success.

Especially when Edwards appears to be engineering a move for an exciting young defender - who could potentially solve Slot's most pressing early concern.

Liverpool lining up exciting defender

According to French outlet Le Parisien, Liverpool have entered the race for coveted Lille defender Leny Yoro, who may cost as much as €100m (£85m).

The 18-year-old is regarded as one of Europe's foremost young talents and is also attracting interest from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, with the former having long been admirers.

But Carlo Ancelotti's side are set to welcome Kylian Mbappe and Endrick to the Santiago Bernabeu and might not have the means to launch a bid this summer, suggesting that Edwards and co might find success in an incisive swoop for Yoro's signature.

Leny Yoro's season in numbers

Last year, Yoro's high-class performances in Lille's academy saw him prematurely promoted to the senior set-up, completing eight starting appearances in Ligue 1 and leading journalist Zach Lowy to pronounce him as the latest in a "treasure trove of ballers" emerging from Les Dogues' youth ranks.

Tentative steps into the big league saw Yoro earn the confidence and admiration of manager Paulo Fonseca and he is now an essential part of the team's backline, starting 30 times in the French top flight and playing 44 matches in all competitions, scoring three goals.

As per Sofascore, the French teenager featured 32 times in the league this season, bagging twice, keeping 13 clean sheets, completing 92% of his passes, averaging 3.9 ball recoveries and three clearances per game while winning 63% of his contested duels.

His ability is reflected in the quality of his performance against Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League. Lille were defeated on penalties in the quarter-finals but only on penalties, losing 2-1 in England before securing an impressive 2-1 victory at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in the second leg.

Leny Yoro: UECL Stats vs Aston Villa

Stat

First leg (A)

Second leg (H)

Minutes played

90'

120'

Touches

67

98

Accurate passes

58/62 (94%)

82/87 (94%)

Possession lost

4x

5x

Long balls

3/5

7/10

Tackles

1

1

Interceptions

1

2

Clearances

3

6

Duels won

1/1 (100%)

4/4 (100%)

Fouls

0

0

Stats via Sofascore

Sure, Lille crashed out against one of Europe's most exciting, fast-rising teams in Unai Emery's Villa, but if Yoro's two-legged performance was an audition, he passed with flying colours, winning every single one of his duels across the tie and maintaining superlative control and composure.

Yoro is contracted at Lille for 12 more months and his team will be desperate to ascertain whether he would consider agreeing to fresh terms in the coming months. If not, Yoro's market value would suggest that cashing in this summer would be the prudent move.

How Leny Yoro would fit in at Liverpool

Said to be "world-class material" by talent scout Jacek Kulig, it's easy to forget that Yoro spent the opening few months of the 2023/24 season as a 17-year-old, and spent some time observing him in action, his youthfulness becomes all the more perplexing.

How is the future France star performing with the guileful swagger of a seasoned veteran, tried and tested and draped in illustrious praise? Yoro is simply destined for greatness, and he would be the perfect successor to Van Dijk's throne in the Liverpool defence.

As per FBref, Yoro ranks among the top 7% of centre-backs across Europe's top five leagues over the past year for pass completion, speaking of his technical prowess and composure in the rearguard. He's not, at this primitive stage, very creative, but that's okay, especially given he still has striking similarities to Van Dijk - journalist Antonio Mango noting that he sees "Virgil van Dijk in him"...

Van Dijk, aged 32, is out of contract in 12 months but Liverpool will address this in due course, hopeful to tie their captain down to fresh terms.

He has been utterly imperious throughout the campaign, leading Liverpool's resurgence and holding the backline together despite the incessant injury issues.

In the Premier League, the Netherlands phenom completed 91% of his passes, averaging 4.7 recoveries and 3.9 clearances per game while incredibly winning 76% of his duels.

Related

Liverpool have already made first move for 48,000-p/w man who loves Slot

They've already scouted the 26 year-old before Slot's arrival.

Yoro's finely wrought array of abilities makes him a real contender for Europe's finest centre-half down the line, and while he would be the perfect player to adopt Van Dijk's presence at Liverpool, signing him this summer could give Slot's system the security it needs to flourish, augmenting a crop containing Van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Jarell Quansah, but not much else.

Moreover, he could absorb the fruits of the Dutchman's prowess over the next year or two to put him in a brilliant position to forge a career that will live long beyond the day he decides to hang up his boots.

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