Liverpool are lining up a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, with reports suggesting manager Jurgen Klopp is targeting a Real Madrid midfielder. Regardless of us weathering a heavy storm over the summer to keep hold of Brazilian ace Philippe Coutinho, the Catalan giants are expected to intensify their efforts come the January transfer window.
Coutinho handed in a transfer request last summer to try and force through a move to Barcelona, who were desperately splashing money around to try and fill the Neymar-sized hole that had been left in their side. However, the move collapsed and since then, Klopp has reintegrated the Brazilian into his first-team plans.
It appears that the Reds are already planning for life without the Brazilian, who is still heavily linked with a move to Barcelona.
As per Spanish outlet Diario Gol, Liverpool have verbally agreed to terms with Real Madrid superstar Mateo Kovacic, to sign the player at the end of this season. Apparently, Klopp is a big admirer of the 23-year-old, who is a key squad player for the European champions. Kovacic has been a squad player for Zinedine Zidane ever since he joined Los Blancos and it is understandable as to why he is keen on a move away.
Kovacic only managed 19 La Liga starts last season and has only featured three times for Real in the league so far this season. With limited first-team opportunities, the Croatian is obviously unhappy with his role and is pushing for more game-time ahead of the 2018 World Cup. A player of his quality needs to play regularly in order for him to fulfil the potential.
For those who are not aware of Kovacic, he is highly-rated in Europe and there’s no doubt he keeps the ability to replace Coutinho at Liverpool. Before he left for Madrid, the Croat was the creative hub of Inter Milan and was renowned for his dribbling, vision and passing abilities.
Klopp has laid his eyes on the young Kovacic, who wants to play, but has Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco and Casemiro ahead of him. He finds himself down the pecking order and in addition, Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente are also fighting for a place in the starting XI.
It’s clear that Kovacic wants to leave Real and Klopp seems to have been excited by what the midfielder can bring to the Merseyside. The ex-Inter star would certainly add an extra dimension to the Liverpool midfield while giving it more balance.
Given his age and the price Madrid paid for him originally, Kovacic is unlikely to come cheap, but with the funds that are expected to come from the sale of Coutinho, Liverpool won’t face many issues in tossing the money to sign the talented Croatian.