Jurgen Klopp has spoken of how Liverpool were snubbed by Aurelien Tchouameni earlier this summer and says the Reds have several “really interesting” midfield targets ahead of Thursday’s 11pm deadline, but admits they simply are not available at this moment in time. Klopp publicly admitted last week that a new midfielder would be welcome at Anfield.
Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all out injured and there have been calls by the club’s fanbase for Liverpool to freshen up their midfield options. Of their other midfielders, James Milner turns 37 in January while captain Jordan Henderson is 32 and Fabinho is soon to be 29. Elsewhere Curtis Jones (21) and Harvey Elliott (19) are still only young, while Fabio Carvalho is more of a No 10 and has also been used as a wide forwrad.
Liverpool have no midfielders between the ages of 22 and 26 despite their favourability for recruiting players between those ages in the past five years. Tchouameni, who turns 23 in January, was one major midfield target earlier this summer but the Frenchman joined Real Madrid from Monaco for a total fee post-add-ons of £85million instead.
Klopp has acknowledged that the Merseyside club were rejected by Tchouameni but has also again hinted at their long-term interest interest in the likes of Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham and Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez. He said the Reds have several exciting targets who they cannot yet move for, with it thought Bellingham will be available next summer.
Klopp explained: “The situation is the following – we have nine midfielders and in every aspect have everything, creativity, speed, excitement because some are young, technique, fight, runners. Whatever you want, it’s all in there.
“So a tenth midfielder? Not sure. But even then we were going for a midfielder but the midfielder decided to go to another club. That can happen. Then some players at the moment are not available, but really interesting for us. It must always be short and long term and this didn’t happen yet.”
Klopp admitted earlier on Tuesday to the press: “Are we after a midfielder? Ish. The closer we get to last minute… the more likely [we don’t sign one]. I couldn’t [give you a name]. It’s difficult because for sure there a few who are right but there are different issues, at clubs who don’t want to sell, that’s how it is.”
The German added that Liverpool must keep an eye on the age profile of their squad but insists he does not believe his options are too old. Klopp continued: “When it’s over and if we signed or didn’t sign, then I’m really happy because then we can stop thinking about it.
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“We can just focus on the squad we have – let’s go from there, let’s make something special of this team now. It is a great team and they have everything even with injuries. We have balance in midfield.
“I could name a really young line-up and they are already here. We could start with Stefan Bajcetic at No 6, believe it or not, he could play that and Harvey [Elliott] and Fabio [Carvalho]. The average age is 18, I would do that, no problem at all.
“In a year, [it will be] great. Then we have other players in the best football ages between 25-26 and we have players around 30 who bring in experience, determination and they are the characters in this team. The moment (when) we consider 29, 30-year-old people as old then that will be a real problem.
“Those players bring in experience, determination and they are the characters in this team. It is very important. They developed it over years, and then at 30 they are ‘getting too old’? Of course we have an eye on that [the age profile] but they are not too old.”