Editor’s Column: Amrabat, Bellingham and Fernandez – explaining Liverpool’s mega-money midfield rebuild

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It’s crazy that the only midfielder Liverpool have signed in the past two and a half years is Thiago.

The mercurial Spaniard is one of the best on the planet and when fit, shines, but the failure to further strengthen this area of the field has left many baffled.

Jordan Henderson is 32. James Milner is very nearly 37. Fabinho looks past his best and Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will both leave on free transfers at the end of this season.

These players have won it all, but they’ve grown old together and it’s clear we needed more bodies acquired to compete with them and develop for the next stage of the Jurgen Klopp cycle.

It should have been happening over the past four to five windows, but belatedly, an overhaul in the middle of the park is now in the making.

Three names are being linked with different skillsets and price-tags, but all would bolster the options at Klopp’s disposal and have huge potential

They are Jude Bellingham, Enzo Fernandez and Sofyan Amrabat.

In descending order of potential cost, EOTK outline where they have been linked, how likely it is they will arrive and what they could bring to Liverpool.

Sofyan Amrabat

Of the three, the Moroccan is the player most likely to arrive in January rather than summer 2023. Amrabat has shone for his country in the World Cup, but has been quietly dominating for Fiorentina in Serie A, too.

We revealed yesterday that Amrabat’s representatives have already met with Klopp, who outlined where he sees the 26-year-old fitting in the side – surely as another option for the holding midfield position.

Interestingly, Liverpool-based Moroccan restaurant Bakchic has openly claimed they’ve heard the deal is done, and having followed up with them, they’ve heard it from a pretty good source. Often places like barbers and estate agents are the first to hear about transfers, as a player’s agents reach out to places that’ll help them settle into a new city.

As a player, Amrabat is bullish, relentless and defensive. Time and time again this season we’ve seen teams simply run through our midfield, so someone with reliability and a desire to defend instead of attack will help, massively.

Fabinho hasn’t tackled, pressed and blocked in the manner in which he’s capable of for some time. If Amrabat plays with the passion and fight he does for Morocco, he might be just be the ticket.

Enzo Fernandez

Reports in Argentina originally and now Portugal have both claimed personal terms with the World Cup finalist have already been agreed with Liverpool.

This has led to a frenzy of excitement online, although no journalists with close-links to Liverpool have yet supported the claims.

O Jogo interestingly state that Benfica would sell Fernandez for his €120m release-clause, but that Liverpool will wait until the summer and try to negotiate a structured deal similar to the one that saw Darwin Nunez sign a few months back.

The relationship between the clubs is good, although it’ll be intriguing to see who is sorting these deals considering sporting director Julian Ward is leaving and many of the transfer team have already announced their intentions to depart.

Fernandez is very, very good. In the long-term, he could replace Thiago, although the prospect of both of them in the same team playing intricate passes through the lines is enticing. He’s technical, maintains possession and makes smart decisions. Fernandez can tick a game over but also inject quality into it through his vision and creativity.

“I’m not surprised by Enzo. I know him and I see him train every day. He deserves it because he’s a spectacular player,” Lionel Messi just said about his Argentina team-mate. He’s the real deal, but would Liverpool be able to pay the astronomical fee for his services on top of someone like Jude Bellingham or instead of?

Jude Bellingham

It would hurt more than any other heavily-linked player if Bellingham ended up elsewhere, given the immense amount of noise about his potential signing.

We could list all the reputable links, but it would take all day.

In short, Bellingham has chosen Liverpool. But Liverpool need to agree a financial deal with Borussia Dortmund, who will naturally want to cash in on their golden boy.

“Jurgen Klopp, as we understand it, has been leading this pursuit [for Jude Bellingham] himself,” David Ornstein said. 

It’s not ‘done,’ but the 19-year-old has fallen in love with the idea of Liverpool and has clearly been wooed by Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold while on World Cup duty, with the two Liverpool stalwarts practically man-marking him throughout.

La Capital in Portugal boldly claim Liverpool want to do both Bellingham and Fernandez next summer – which would cost well over €200m.

We need both, and probably Amrabat as well, but the question will be whether FSG or the new owners will be able to finance an entire midfield overhaul in the space of short two windows, especially when you consider the frontline might need new bodies in as well.

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