According to supposedly reliable reports on Serbian news site Mondo, we are close to agreeing a deal to bring in 19-year-old midfielder Marko Grujic.
The youngster has reputation for being a quality box-to-box midfielder who also had the ability to play in a defensive holding role. Given Lucas is arguably our sole defensive midfielder, and with question marks around the future of Joe Allen, there is no doubting that it would be an astute first purchase by Klopp.
Of course, we don’t want to jump the gun and say he’s definitely going to put pen to paper, but either way it’s a good idea to wise-up about our potential new boy. Here are five things you need to know about him:
1) He’s a tank…
Grujic stands at an impressive 1.91 metres (6 foot 4 inches). That kind of height would add some much needed aerial presence into the centre of our line-up. Lucas, Allen, Coutinho are all short, while Lallana, Henderson, and Can are not exactly giants.
It would also give us more threat from corners. While Benteke is clearly a skilled header of a ball, the fact that he and (sometimes) Skrtel are our only real danger-men from set-pieces means opposing teams can easily monitor them.
2) He’s not been capped by Serbia, but…
At just 19, it’s not exactly a disgrace that he’s not yet broken through into the Serbian national team. A breakthrough does look imminent, however.
He’s represented Serbia at U16 (four caps), U17 (one cap), U18 (one cap), U19 (12 caps, two goals), U20 (seven caps), and U21 (five caps). The fact his five U21 caps have all come since making his debut on 8th September bodes well for his international future.
Those five caps have also all come in competitive games, with Serbia sitting third in Group 2 in the U21 European Championship qualifiers, with ten points from their five outings.
3) He’s a World Cup winner…
One of his finest achievements of his fledging international career was lifting the U20 World Cup with Serbia last summer.
He didn’t score from open play in the finals, but did bag in Serbia’s quarter final penalty shoot-out victory over the United States.
Serbia beat Brazil 2-1 in the final after extra time, with Nemanja Maksimović bagging the winner in the 118th minute.
4) He played for two clubs at once!
Not many players can claim to have the skill or fitness to play for two teams at the same time, but that exactly what a then 18 year old Grujic did in 2014.
Thanks to a quirk in Serbian league rules, he had a dual registration with both Red Star Belgrade and second tier side FK Kolubara.
During the course of the two campaigns he made ten appearances for Red Star and five appearances from Kolubara.
5) He’s a leader…
Grujic is a proven leader, having captained his generation of youth players throughout all the age groups in the Red Star academy system.
Liverpool need players who will stand up and be counted in key positions, such as central midfield. Our skipper Jordan Henderson obviously does, but vice-captain James Milner has hardly instilled confidence or led by example. Lucas and Joe Allen are reserved characters, while Emre Can is young and needs to be focussing on his own improvements.
Grujic won’t be captaining Liverpool any time soon, but it’s good to know he’s got the credentials!