It seems that with each passing day the changes and evolution of our gaming system become a little more evident. With Trent Alexander Arnold now taking on a hybrid role between central midfield and full-back (in the close season), it appears the squad’s line-up could still be altered.
With a new sporting director in charge, Jorg Schmadtke will spend the summer months recruiting players who can benefit from the next phase of Jürgen Klopp’s vision.
While I hope Joe Gomez can be revived in that RCB/RB option, it could well prove that another bad season could lead to his last at Anfield. Should we lose Ibrahima Konaté for a longer spell (with Joël Matip possibly leaving this summer) only the ex-Charlton defender would remain as his immediate replacement in the starting XI.
As we’ve seen over the years, running out of coverage is a costly decision. With that, I hope that with our popular Cameroonian about to leave, another established defender will be brought in to further expand our beleaguered squad.
To the left, it looks like we’ve finally targeted two new players. Micky van de Ven and Gonçalo Inácio look like the two most likely targets, one of which will bring more power and pace to the left of our new back three.
This alternative would see Andy Robertson become more of a backup and a definitive left-back option whenever a backup four is deployed. Again, that leaves Kostas as just another man who could be fired this summer, due to an even less involved role.
The departure of two figures within the defensive ranks means that two incoming players are a must. It could also be argued that Trent’s migration to midfield has meant that a different body has been reduced to the ranks of the defense, even if that group is now predominantly a defensive trinity.
The fact remains that Klopp is a four-man rearguard coach who could decide to fall back regularly in that rearguard. While I consider Joe Gomez to be a great defensive option at full-back, I worry if he will be able to replicate his past form at back three.
With a trio of central defenders patrolling the width and midfield, the performance and organization of our defensive block is paramount. Essentially, our 26-year-old ticks all the boxes as an RCB/RB remote hybrid.
The question is whether the peak of him is beyond him and whether the injuries have had a detrimental effect on both his body and mind. With a high line defense and quick decision making critical to our success, it is impossible to determine the full extent of his resilience, following some serious injuries and extended spells out of the squad. With that, he makes one of the latest red links intriguing to watch.
Age – 27-years old (DOB 28/03/1996)
Current club – Bayern Munich
Nationality – French
Height – 6ft 1inch
Weight – 81kg
Appearances & goals – 276 goals / 15 assists
Total minutes played – 22,503
International caps & goals – 48 games / 3 goals
Transfermarkt value – €35m
This is a player who played regularly at four and three backs over the course of an impressive and silver-laden career. As a central defender, he played 109 games in his career, while he played 146 games at right back.
This makes him the perfect example of what it takes, with our German manager loving the adjustments of his players. With 43 games played this season, he has played 23 times in center and 20 times at right back.
The regularity of his playing time for both elite club and elite country points to the unmistakable pedigree he possesses. However, the problem has always been the same, that it is not truly elitist in either position and is often considered the safe option for any manager who chooses it.
With just 12 months left on his current contract, it could be that a departure this summer would suit both FC Bayern and the former Stuttgart defender.
Despite having a season that saw them win the Bundesliga, it was also a campaign that saw former manager, Julian Nagelsmann, sacked mid-season, before Oliver Khan was removed as CEO shortly after the league was been insured.
The regeneration of several European clubs is evident at the moment, often leaving top players looking for their next step. While Pavard may not suit the direction of his new manager, Thomas Tuchel, his versatility within a three-man back could very well prove ideal for another German manager.
While key personnel are expected to join in the coming months, specific hires with high level experience are still needed. Should Matip leave this summer, the £30m signing of a World Cup-winning defender could be a masterful feat. Not everyone we sign may be marquee or electric, but Benjamin Pavard could be the perfect reliability for a team that is about to evolve.
This is a deal that I see as 50/50, in terms of the odds. If that comes to fruition, I would be very happy to have a proven and experienced top-level player amongst a plethora of young midfielders. With the first confirmed signing still unbelievable, it’s an interesting summer of gossip.