Liverpool are being strongly linked with a £24m move for Borussia Monchengladbach youngster Mahmoud Dahoud and according to multiple reports, such as this one in the Guardian, he’s emerged as a key summer target.
Liverpool are one of several clubs interested in a summer move for Borussia Monchengladbach’s Mahmoud Dahoud.
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) April 11, 2016
Unless you watch the Bundesliga every week though, most Liverpool fans won’t know much about the talented central midfielder.
Here’s the lowdown:
Pedigree and history:
Dahoud was born on New Year’s Day, 1996, meaning he’s only recently out of his teens. He was raised in Syria, but moved to Germany at a young age where he learned football and signed for SC Germania Reusrath in his early teens. Professional outfit Fortuna Dusseldorf snapped him up before Borussia Monchengladbach signed him in 2010, and he worked his way up the youth ranks, into the reserves and now is a starter for the first-team. This term has been a real breakthrough for Dahoud, making 28 Bundesliga and six Champions League appearances having not been given a single start last season. As a result of his rapid development, the Guardian state Borussia Dortmund want him while Paul Joyce in the Express says both Manchester clubs will fight us for Dahoud’s signature as well.
Dahoud currently plays in a midfield two alongside Granit Xhaka in his side’s 3-4-1-2 formation. This means he has two wing-backs bombing past him, and Lars Stindl as a no.10, just ahead. As a result, Dahoud has to protect his back-three when the wing-backs bomb forward but also get forward and link up with his attackers. He’s not known for his versatility, and has only been used in this position all season. We like this, as young players who are used in multiple positions often struggle to tie down a proper role going forward. Dahoud is 5 ft. 9′ and slight, but is good at tackling and making interceptions thanks to his feisty style and clever reading of the game. His lack of strength however means he’s poor aerially.
Strengths and weaknesses:
The midfielder, like all the best ones, loves the football. Of the current Liverpool squad, his technical traits would be most similar to Adam Lallana’s, although he plays from deeper. By this we mean he uses his body cleverly to manipulate space, turns his way out of trouble and is happy to take a player on with skill and trickery rather than pace. As well as this comfort on the ball, Dahoud can pick a pass, too. He’s registered seven Bundesliga assists this term, but can strike a ball as well – scoring four – two of which were especially spectacular. As mentioned previously, Dahoud’s technicality is matched by a tenacity and work-rate. (It’s no wonder Klopp likes him…). He presses, harries and runs throughout, providing legs in his side’s midfield alongside the more disciplined Xhaka.
Dahoud’s weaknesses, akin to Emre Can’s perhaps – is that he sometimes doesn’t realise where he is on the football field and makes poor decisions which put his team in trouble. In terms of his ability and attributes, he’s outstanding, but sometimes his maturity and decision making lets him down. Aged 20 though, he has plenty of time on his hands to mould his talent.
Where he’d play for Liverpool:
The German would fit seamlessly into Klopp’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation as one half of the midfield pivot. He’d need a defensive minded, physical player alongside him – such as Emre Can – as Premier League teams need some bulk in central midfield. Dahoud isn’t especially disciplined and enjoys expressing himself and getting involved with attacks, so his partner would need to sit and provide a platform. Klopp also uses a 4-3-3, with one anchorman and two box-to-box midfielders alongside. This would arguably suit Dahoud even more, as he’d have the protection and the licence to bomb up and down the field which would maximise his superb fitness. Klopp’s not shown much preference for wing-backs, unlike his predecessor Brendan Rodgers, so it’s fair to say Dahoud would be adapting to a new formation if he were to arrive.
What it’d mean for the squad:
With Marko Grujic already signing, Klopp would have a plethora of central midfield options if he captured Dahoud. Speaking hypothetically, we could have Grujic, Dahoud, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Lucas, Joe Allen and Kevin Stewart competing for a starting spot. (Klopp sees James Milner as more of a winger, thankfully.) Cameron Brannagan, Pedro Chirivella and Jordan Rossiter are also coming through the ranks… Surely, signing Dahoud would mean the end for at least one of the aforementioned names. Allen is out of contract in 14 months and would be the most obvious candidate for an exit, but he’s been so good in recent months that he might yet earn a new deal. Interestingly, captain Henderson has suffered another injury, and has not reached any kind of consistent level under Klopp. Can’s a certainty to stay, but clubs may come in for Lucas if he’s pushed far down the pecking order.
You’ll hopefully see a little bit of what we’ve been talking about in this five minute clip…