Barcelona manager Xavi has been speaking about a player who could be the perfect replacement for Mohamed Salah and who should be on Liverpool’s transfer radar.
No one knows what may happen in the future, the only inevitable truth is change. In the game of football that change is a constant cycle.
Players come and go in an eternal merry-go-round. Liverpool fans know one day Mohamed Salah will leave the club. But nobody knows when that day will be.
Based one the facts, with Salah turning 32 years old next summer and his contract expiring in 2025, there is a good chance it will be soon — especially with interest rife in Saudi Arabia for the Egyptian star. Last summer Saudi Arabian clubs showed their might, and proved anyone could be lured to the league.
Back then Liverpool resisted the urge to part ways with Salah and rejected approaches made by Saudi clubs. However, given the context, it remains to be seen for how long Liverpool will hold out, and whether the club will make a similar response if the same offers arrive next summer for the Egyptian.
Replacing Salah will not be an easy task at Anfield. Over the last few years he has become the epitome of Jürgen Klopp’s success. A player who has reached new heights and set new records that will make him go down as one of the best in the club’s history.
Filling those shoes will be no easy task for anyone. But change is sometimes necessary and inevitably someone else will have to step up into that role eventually. One player who fits the profile impeccably based on his performances this season is Japanese international Takefusa Kubo.
Kubo has been in prolific form, and his ability to cut in from the right onto his left foot is eerily reminiscent at times of Salah at his best. A player who thrives in one vs one challenges, Kubo caught the eye against Barcelona at the weekend.
It was a match that ultimately ended in defeat for Kubo’s Real Sociedad, but the former Barcelona academy player could hold his head high. He not only completed the most dribbles (four) in the match, but he also created the most chances (five) for his teammates and put in his fair share of defensive work as well.
This latter trait makes him particularly ideal for Liverpool and Klopp’s gegenpressing style of play. Kubo is extremely effective in his counter pressing and for Real Sociedad this season he has made the most tackles and interceptions (16) among the attackers at the club as per FBref. He’s also made the second-most recoveries out of his positional rivals (49).
That’s something Barcelona manager, Xavi, highlighted in his pre-match press conference leading up to the game. He praised Kubo’s ability both on and off the ball while also describing him as ‘world-class’, per Fabrizio Romano.
“Trust me, Kubo is world class player. With and without the ball, he’s top top level. He scores goals and provides assists,” Xavi said.
“Kubo’s time at La Masia for Barça? I wasn’t at the club at the time but we will come across these situations, for sure.”
When one of the best players in the last couple of decades speaks so highly of a player it speaks volumes about his talent. Kubo has been in extremely exciting form this season for club and country and at this rate he could prove to be an excellent candidate to replace Salah at Liverpool.