When Roberto Firmino’s contract expires in the summer, Liverpool should replace him. And Jürgen Klopp is capable of doing it with a player who is also available for the free transfer
Whatever happens the rest of the season, Liverpool has a lot to think about before the summer, and whoever replaces Julian Ward as sporting director will have a major job.
Their midfield is the clearest area for improvement, and there are definite targets that they aspire to achieve, the most notable of which being Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
But there are decisions to be made both behind and in front of the goal, with Goal claiming this week that Jol Matip could go in the summer and Roberto Firmino out of contract at the end of the season.
Matip would be the most hardest to replace if he left. In attack, though, there may be a clear alternative to replace one free agent with another at Anfield in the form of France forward Marcus Thuram.
Thuram has 10 goals and three assists in 17 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach this season (13 goals and four assists in 19 games in all competitions).
His statistics offer a picture of a player who not only moves into the perfect spots to score goals, but also has the ability to dribble and defeat players in possession.
His non-penalty anticipated goals value is in the 92nd percentile, while his value for successful take-ons is one percentage point lower.
Thuram’s most stylistically similar players, according to FBref, are Timo Werner and Christopher Nkunku. Victor Osimhen of Napoli is also among them, as are other players who are quick and direct.
Jürgen Klopp’s previous favorite, Robert Lewandowski, is also ranked fifth on the list, demonstrating Thuram’s ability to play as a focal point in a team while also playing a deeper or wider role.
If Firmino becomes a free agent at the conclusion of the season, it would make a lot of sense to replace him with a younger player who would incur no transfer fee.
Thuram is seasoned, proven, and quick, and has only missed one game due to injury this season. For no transfer fee, he may play as a fifth-attacker for a few seasons before being transferred for a profit.
He is not the same player as Firmino, but Liverpool appears to be molding Cody Gakpo into a false number nine (albeit the Dutchman did go wide against Wolves), and they also have Harvey Elliott and Fábio Carvalho who can do similar things.
With so much of their resources going towards the midfield, adding Thuram on a free transfer would rejuvenate the attacking line without spending a dime.