Yesterday, even the most stubborn Liverpool fan began to accept that our pursuit of Virgil van Dijk is dead in the water.
We won’t bore you with another chronological retelling of how atrociously we ballsed it up, but since Mauricio Pellegrino only took charge on the promise the Dutchman would stay (Sky Sports), any slim hopes are gone.
In his place, a variety of names have been touted, but the one that stands out for us at EOTK is Jerome Boateng. Below, we’ve listed a number of reasons why we think he’s attainable, and why we think he’d be the perfect man for the job.
Now it’s quite possible that Bayern have absolutely no intention of selling Boateng, the player wants to stay, or more annoyingly, that Chelsea have a lead in the chase – but there’s enough to suggest if Liverpool go all out for the world-class centre-back – a conversation can at least be had.
1- He’s potentially available:
In May, Bavarian Football ran a piece suggesting Boateng was unhappy due to Carlo Ancelotti dropping him for the DFB-Pokal semi-final and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge criticising his off-pitch engagements. What’s more, Chelsea have earmarked him a target, suggesting they too think he could be signed.
2- Bayern have already signed a replacement:
Earlier this year, the perennial Bundesliga champions confirmed Niklas Sule’s arrival. The towering young German is very the much ‘The next big thing’ and would seemingly fit perfectly alongside the technical ball-players such as Mats Hummels or Javi Martinez. (That really is an offensive number of top centre-backs to have at one club’s disposal, isn’t it?)
3- He’s German and will feel the lure of Jurgen Klopp:
Klopp is quite literally iconic in his homeland. If he gets on the phone to Boateng and sells our project, the defender would find it hard not to at least listen. What’s more, Boateng shares German as a first language with Joel Matip, the man he’d likely start alongside at the back. Finally, Boateng’s brother Kevin claimed in February that Klopp is the best manager in the world. Perhaps they’ve discussed it over dinner at some point!
4- At 28, he’s in his defensive prime:
28 is perhaps the perfect age for a centre-back. He’s got four good years ahead of him, but is already vastly experienced.
5- Unlike Van Dijk, Boateng has a winning pedigree:
The Dutchman won stuff at Celtic, but Boateng has competed regularly in the knockout stages of the Champions League and has won a World Cup. He’s elite – and arguably – a step up from van Dijk anyway.
6- We can afford him:
Liverpool were willing to shell out £60m on van Dijk and pay him £200k/week, and we’d be surprised if Boateng would cost more than that in either fee or wages. He’d more likely be marked between £40m and £50m and we can now pay Champions League salaries.
7- He has a point to prove in England:
Boateng flopped in England during a failed season at Manchester City, which thankfully, rules them out of his potential pursuit. Iconic players of Boateng’s ilk are winners and it’s quite possible he feels he has unfinished business in the Premier League.